GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY ADJACENT TO

COUSLAND CASTLE

MIDLOTHIAN

SEPTEMBER 2008

H.M.D. JONES

EAFS GEOPHYSICS OCCASIONAL PAPER No 20

Geophysical Survey adiacent to Cousland Castle Cousland, Midlothian
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Contents
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1. Summary

2. Introduction
3 . Method
4. Results

5. Conclusions

7. Illustrations 7.1. Plan of Castle Site. Survey Squares Scale 1: 1200 7.2. Ground Resistance Survey Printout. West of Castle. 7.3. Ground Resistance Survey Printout. East of Castle. 7.4. Ground Resistance Survey Printout. South of Castle. 7.5. Ground Resistance Survey Printout. South of Castle Interpretation
8. References

8.1. Geological Survey of Gt. Britain (Scotland) Scale 1:10,560 NT 36 NE Solid and Drift Geology.

EDINBURGH ARCHAEOLOGICAL FIELD SOCIETY Geophysical Survey adiacent to Cousland ~astlec~id1othian.-.
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1. Summary

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An area ground resistance survey, totalling 7,600 sq.m.. was conducted in the field in which the remains of Cousland Castle or Tower House stands. A further 3,200 sq.m. were surveyed in the field that lies immediately to the south of the castle field. In the area adjacent to the castle historical documents showed apparent ancillary buildings and Cousland Nunnery was reputed to lie further to the south.
The field surrounding the castle appears to have been quarried for limestone reducing the field level by about 0.5m and thus destroying any foundations that were close to the castle. The eastern entrance to the castle stands on solid limestone bedrock some 0.5m.above present field level. It is presumed that the topsoil was replaced over the main area of the field subsequent to the quarrying. High resistance patches, to the east of the wall that runs southwards from the castle, looked as though there could however be some remaining demolition debris. Other areas of high and low resistance were amorphous in shape suggesting that holes left from excavation, infilled with possible topsoil and therefore low resistance, together with patches of high resistance where the limestone had probably not been removed, indicated quarrying activity rather than building. The 2,000 sq.m. surveyed beside the south fence of the field and the 3,200 sq.m. that were surveyed in the adjacent field to the south show rectangular and square features that are very suggestive of building footings. These extend to the east from the 20 by 20 metre squares beside the road for at least 50 metres.

2. Introduction
The remains of Cousland Castle NGR NT 3780 6830, stand in a field on the south side of the main street, unclassified, that runs approximately east-west through the village of Cousland. Butting on to the castle-on the west side is a wall that appears to have enclosed a later walled garden. This area has been levelled, possibly in association with the removal of limestone and there are the remains of a disused lime kiln about 200m.to the south. The area is associated with the Macgill family, initially of Nisbet and Cranston Riddell who, by marriage into the Primrose family, later became of 'Cranston Riddell and Drylaw'. Sir James Macgill was a Provost of Edinburgh and his great grandson was, in 1651, created Viscount Oxford and Lord Macgill of Cousland. He had held the position of Lord of Session since November 1629. The survey objectives were firstly to ascertain, in advance of a programmed excavation, whether building footings could be detected in the area surrounding the castle and secondly to survey to the south of the castle to see whether any remains of the nunnery could be found. The use of area ground resistance survey equipment was deemed adequate to indicate whether there were any relevant foundations still in existence.

3 Method .
The field survey was started on 23 September 2006 on the western side of the castle. . Ten 20 by 20 metre squares were laid out with the western sidc?of four of th&e on a a, line 1.Om from the west wall. The north wall is not precisely at right angles to thk west wall; this necessitated having to make the extreme north-western corne~of the survey 3.0m from the north wall. The first square surveyed was the one in thk NW corner; the start point was adjacent to the west wall and twenty readings were taken proceedmg northwards. The survey was then made zig-zagging south and then north again across the three squares that have their north side adjacent to the north wall. The last row of these three squares was, at its northern end, 1.6m. from the castle wall. The next three squares were surveyed in a similar manner starting adjacent to the west wall and proceeding zig-zag to the east. The final square surveyed on the 23rdwas in the next row to the south beside the west wall. The two squares to the east of this and the fourth square beside the west wall were surveyed on 10 February 2007. The area to the east of the castle is just over 20m. wide and four 20 by 20m squares were laid out and surveyed on 2 June 2007. Measurements were made starting at the SW corner and proceeding northwards and thence across the square zig-zag. The three squares to the north were surveyed in turn completing on the eastern edge of the most northerly square, The western edge of these squares is on a line 3.7m, from the face of the wall that runs south from the castle. The southern border of the final (north) square is on the line of the north face of the south castle wall, see Illus. 7.1. On 29 March 2008 five 20 by 20m. squares were pegged out with their southern border 1.Om. from the wire fence along the southern side of the field and their western edge on the same alignment as the 23 September 2006 survey. The most westerly of these was surveyed first and overlapped, on its north side, the final square surveyed on 10 February 2007, by 4.8m. The fifth square in this row was curtailed by the garden fences of houses to the east; thirteen metre rows were measured and seven entered as dummies. Four hrther squares were laid out, later in the day, on the south side of the wire fence; these are aligned with the four most westerly squares on the south side of the fence. Due to the difficulty of making measurements close to the fence there is a 2.0m gap between the squares measured in the morning and those in the afternoon. The final survey was made on 5 April 2008 of four 20 by 20m. squares that adjoined, on the south side, those that had been recorded on 29 March. As on previous surveys the start was made in the southwest corner and proceeded zig-zag across the four squares. All 20 by 20m.squares are shown in the site plan Illus. 7.1. The TR/CIA area ground resistance measuring equipment was used throughout the survey. The equipment operates in the 'twin' configuration in which two of the probes are mounted on a portable fiame 0,5m apart. They comprise one current input and one potential measurement probe. The two remote probes, again one for current input and one for potential measurement, complete the two circuits; they are inserted about 1.Om apart and are positioned so that no reading is taken with the portable fiame nearer than 15m to them. All readings were taken at 1.Omintervals in lanes 1.0m wide with the 400 measurements in each 20 by 20m. square recorded walking zig-zag north and south up and down the 20m. lanes. In surveymg the larger area there was a

requirement to move the remote probes due to the limited length of the cable. A final reading was taken with the probes in their initial position; the probes were then moved and their distance apart adjusted to obtain, as near as possible, #e same resistance reading on the meter. A small resistance difference can be corrected during t ~ print ' e out process using the computer 'edge matching' facility.
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The unit on the frame generates the 137Hz signal current that flows through the ground and the potential drop is detected by the measurement probes; the computer in the unit converts this voltage reading in to a ground resistance value in ohms. Within the unit is the display, that indicates this resistance, together with the data store into which the readings are dumped for later processing and printing. The data were down loaded, via the RS232 interface, to a computer and printer running the programme 'Snuffle?. The printout is in grey scale with the black and white limits chosen based upon the highest and lowest ohms readings recorded. It is normal practice to print high resistance (well drained areas and bedrock) as black and low resistance (infilled ditches and damp areas) as white. Computer processing of the data includes the facility to average between adjacent metre squares and thence to half metre squares, this gives a printout that shows smoother gradation than would be the case if the pixel size had not been reduced from the original 1.Om square. It is normal to use a final processed sample size of 0.25m. The black to white ohms range is shown in the printouts @us. 7.2,7.3 and 7.4) as is the processed sample size,
4. Results

The large amorphous high and low resistance areas on both the east and west sides of the castle seem to confirm that the limestone bedrock, that originally lay close to the old land surface, has been removed in places, to a depth of about 0.5m. The eastern entry in to the castle, which now stands about this height above field level on a solid limestone foundation, would appear to confirm this supposition. The removed topsoil was probably spread back over the field and infilled the excavated areas. The infilling, due to holding more moisture, appears as lower resistance in the printouts. The British Geological Survey maps of the area, Ref 8.1, support this interpretation. The Solid geology is shown as comprising sections of both the North Greens and Top Hosie Limestones that form part of the Carboniferous Group. On the Drift geology map 'artificial deposits and worked ground7together with 'bedrock at or near the surface or beneath artificial deposits7are recorded. The area between the west wall of the 'walled garden' and the castle has been levelled for about 65m.southwardsfrom the north wall. At that point the ground rises quite sharply and incorporates a linear high resistance that could represent the south wall of the garden; this appears in the final 20 by 20m. square surveyed on 20 February 2007. To the south of this change in level of the field the ground slopes gently up to the southern fence with the field to the south of the fence being roughly level. Within the walled garden it is difficult to interpret any significant anomalous features. Two vague high resistance lines run parallel to the west wall and may relate to a series of socket holes on the wall suggesting that a lean-to greenhouse may have+existed. The only other small feature appears within about 15m.of the west wall of the castle on a different alignment.

There is historical record of buildings in the field to the south-east of the castle and features on the wall that runs to the south from the castle confirm that a range did exist in that direction. Two significant high resistance spots that lay to the east of butting points on to this wall could represent demolition debris:

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The five 20 by 20m. squares surveyed on the south side of the field show no pbvious features at the eastern end where they were curtailed by garden fencing; the amorphous high resistance appears to be limestone bedrock. The two squares on the west side are significantly lower in resistance and show possible linear features that run north-south about 2 and 7 metres east of the road. A square structure, divided symmetrically into four, appears 20m.fiom the road and about 7m.south of the fence. The eight 20 by 20m. squares surveyed in the field to the south of the fence show a series of raised resistance lines, again mainly aligned approximately north south, parallel with and starting adjacent to the road. These could be linked, in the three most southerly squares adjacent to the road, by more pronounced high resistance lines aligned east west, The final square, in the extreme south east corner of the survey, has a high resistance line that runs almost parallel to its eastern edge with an apparent turn to the east at the northern end. It must be assumed that this feature extends outside the surveyed area.
5. Conclusions

The initial aim of attempting to detect ancillary buildings adjacent to the castle was relatively unsuccessful apparently due to the removal of limestone bedrock and its replacement by 'worked ground'. The remains of an old lime kiln within the wood some 200m to the south suggests that this explanation is likely to be correct. The area to the southeast of the castle, alongside the wall that runs to the south, did indicate two high resistance areas that appeared to relate to buildings that had their west ends incorporated in this wall but most of the area appears to have suffered fiom limestone extraction. The area within the 'walled garden' shows no significant features and must have been excavated for limestone except at its southern end. The assumed south wall of the garden does not extend clearly to the wall beside the road and appears to stop some 10m short of this wall in a square feature. The survey did not extend to the east to ascertain whether a similar square feature was detectable at this end. The survey at the southern end of the field and in the next field to the south was significantly more successful in detecting rectangular shaped higher resistance outlines that can be interpreted as man made structures. It was suggested that, due to small finds, the nunnery buildings could have been located in this area and the rectangular outlines are plausible foundations for these buildings. The main high resistance features run at right, angles to the road which, at this point, is aligned about ten degrees west of grid northP(Seeannotation A on Illus.7.5). +t both the west and 4 east ends of these lines are 'structures7 on different alignments. The small subdivided square, that lies about 20m. east of the road and 8m north of the wire fence, is on the same alignment as the main high resistance; see annotationB on Illus. 7.51 The less pronounced raisedind low resistance lines that run'to the nortefrom the main east .
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.west, high resistance features possibly extend over 30m.and appear to have been detected on the southern edge of the castle field; see annotation C of Illus. 7.5. The linear high resistance, that lies on the edge of the square inShe extreme south east . corner of the survey, is aligned slightly differently. This 'wall' runs almost du'ezn_orth' and south with a right angled turn to the east at its northern end; see annotation D of Ulus. 7.5. This could be construed as west wall of a building laid o u ~ m ~ r e ~ a ~ u r a t e l ~ on an east west axis and therefore more likely to be of ecclesiastical origin or possibly in a different building phase from those on the different alignment.
6. Acknowledgements

The Society records its thanks to all who made this project possible and successhl. To David Connolly, who issued the first invitation for the Society to become involved in the surveys in conjunction with the Cousland Local History Project. David was also instrumental in organising the grant aid from the Heritage Lottery Fund. This covered ground resistance equipment expenses, travel, administration, part of members insurance on site and the preparation and printing of this report. The data processing was carried out by Ian Hawkins who also supplied the ground resistance printouts for the illustrations. Fourteen Society members contributed to the 35 member days during the five days of survey; they are: Kathleen Allenach, Alan Calder, Graeme Collie, Charles Conner, Val Dean, Hugh Dinwoodie, Ian Hawkins, David Jones, Bill Maclennan, Don Matthews, Tom Sharp, Denis Smith, Jill Strobridge and Brian Tait.

Document: Cou-07View2 Grid Width: 240 (60 m) , Grid Height: 320 (80m) Orig. Sample Size: 1.00 x 1.00m New Sample Size: 0.25 x 0.25rn
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lllus 7.2 Ground Resistance Survey Printout, West of Castle

lllus 7.3 Ground Resistance Survev Printout, East of Castle

Document: Cousland-EastView Grid Width: 80 (20 m) Grid Height: 320 (80 m) Orig. Sample Size: I x I .OO .OOm New Sample Size: 0.25 x 0.25m

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Document: C2View2 Grid Width: 400 (100 m) Grid Height: 320 (80 m) Orig. Sample Size: 1.00 x 1.00m New Sample Size: 0.25 x 0.25m

lllus 7.5 Ground Resistance Survey Printout, South of Castle Interpretation

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