A. Graham and R. W. Feachem
The Deil's Dyke in Dumfriesshire and Ayrshire
In 1950-1954 A. Graham along with R W. Feachem [G&F] completed the survey of the Deil's Dyke in Dumfriesshire and Ayrshire and concluded that evidence did exist of a unitary earthwork, in this part of upper Nithsdale. They determined that the Deil's Dyke proper (see DD in Map below) ran from the farm of Burnmouth in the parish of Durisdeer, Dumfriesshire and on through the Dumfriesshire parishes of Sanquhar and Kirkconnel before traversing part of the parish of New Cumnock, Ayrshire in total a distance of sixteen miles.
From the appearance of the dyke [G&F] observed that it exhibited no defensive qualities. This was in agreement with an earlier assessement of the Dumfriesshire section of the dyke by George Irving (1863), 'From the features presented by this and similar other earthworks there can be no doubt that there purpose was not to frustrate an attempt to penetrate them'. From the location of the dyke [G&F] concluded that 'it was designed to include the good land on the right bank of the upper reaches of the River Nith with a property or political unit belonging mainly on the left bank in the same region.' With respect to those responsible for erecting the dyke they concluded that 'the work must almost certainly have been planned and executed by some single authority' .
Initially, they considered the two principal 'historical Nithsdale dynasties', Douglas and Crichton as possible candidates.
uch objections [G&F] concluded that their 'single authority' responsible for building the Deil's Dyke proper was unlikely to be found in the Middle Ages or later, and instead turned their attention to the Strathclyde Britons of the Dark Ages.
© Robert Guthrie
THE DEIL'S DYKE
Dumfriesshire and Ayrshire