Clan Pollock

From The Historian's Corner

An Addendum - A Visit to the Earthwork Fort at Pollok

I am very happy to include here a report from James Polk Farber, Sr., a Clan Pollock member, who just returned from a visit to Scotland. Jim took the opportunity to visit the earthwork fort at Pollok which I described in my July article in the Pollag. I am of course quite envious of him and hope to visit it myself sometime.

Jim provides directions for those of you who may wish to make the same pilgrimage when you have a chance. He reports that the folks at nearby Pollock House, the family seat of the Maxwells of Pollock, had no knowledge of this site, or of the Pollock family generally, although we preceded the Maxwells to this area by a century. The earthwork fort may not have the recognition and grandeur of later Scottish fortresses, but it exceeds them in antiquity and marks the effective beginning of the Scottish feudal system from which those later structures sprang. This was mostly likely the actually dwelling place of our first Pollock ancestors, Peter and Robert, from the time when they first assumed the name. Certainly they trod this site in their time.

Jim took a few photographs using a disposable camera, but the area is completely wooded now so they turned out a bit dark.

John F. Polk, Ph.D.
Clan Pollock International
First published in the October 2005 Pollag.


Visit to the Earthwork Fort at Pollok

By James Polk Farber, Sr.

earthwork fort at pollokOn September 8-9 I had occasion to locate and visit this Fort, subject of John Polk's article on the subject in the July Pollag newsletter. Knowing that I planned a visit to the area, John asked if I could check out this likely first residence of our Pollok ancestors.

I found the Ring Fort rather easily, and exactly as described in the RCAHMS (Royal Commission of Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland) record of the site quoted in John's article. The Fort stands in a mature woodlot of tall beech and oak trees with minimal understory, so can be easily earthwork fortseen and understood. It in fact saddles the east-west running crest of the ridge (drumlin) and if the woods were not there, the view around the adjacent countryside would be very good although whether one could see the Clyde itself wasn't too clear. One can easily see the outline of the moat, causeway, modern drainage structure and the banks thrown up from the moat upcast. One can also see the central area where the circular house with central post socket stood, although 45 years' of rainfall and soil erosion since the archaeological excavation makes this less well defined than in the report.Probably for the same reason, I found only one or two large stones in the circular house site and little evidence of the reported cobbles and kerbstones, although they easily earthwork fortcould be there under the leaf mold and rain-eroded soil.

Unfortunately the gloom of a late afternoon and an inferior disposable camera did not enable me to take many useful photos of the site - but it was thrilling just to explore it!

The site is very easy to access per following directions: Proceed south from Glasgow city centre on the M8 motorway, then take first exit onto the M-77. Take first exit off of M-77 onto DUMBRECK Road. Almost immediately across from the intersection of the M-77 ramp and Dumbreck Road is a small way, LOCHINCH ROAD leading to HAGG CASTLE. Enter that road, keeping to the left past Hagg Castle and follow the signs left to "Riding School" and "Red Lodge". At the Riding School turn Left - the "Red Lodge" (which is yellow) is about 100 yards ahead.

Park at Red Lodge. There, on the left side facing the Lodge, you will see a path entering the Pollok North Wood. It is marked by stakes and red emblems which is both a hacking trail for riders and for use by cross country bicyclists. This path leads straight ahead about 100 yards until it meets a narrow asphalt road. However: halfway down this trail there is a marked mountain bike trail to the LEFT, leading into the woods. Take and follow this marked trail about 300 yards and you will come to the Ring Fort.

~James Polk Farber, Sr.
First published in the October 2005 Pollag.

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