A complex site
The broch, or roundhouse, at Edin’s Hall is just one part of a complex site.
The hillfort surrounding Edin Hall’s Broch pre-dates the broch itself – it was probably built between 2,000 and 2,500 years ago. The impressive double ramparts enclosure an oval area measuring about 135m by 75m. In places they stand up to 4.5m high.
The broch stands in one corner of the fort, within its own enclosure, separating this building from the rest of the site. It is thought that the broch was built in the first two centuries AD.
Towards the centre of the fort are the remains of another large round house, which was probably the most important building here, before the broch was constructed.
The remains of a number of other roughly circular structures can also be seen. These low stone footings mark the positions of houses and other structures. In places the structures overlie the ramparts, indicating that they are part of later activity. However, we cannot say for sure whether this settlement came before or after the broch – it is likely some of the structures may have been in use at the same time.
Roundhouse or broch?
Edin’s Hall has most features of a broch. They include:
a thick circular stone wall – more than 5m in the case of Edin’s Hall
a narrow entrance passage
guard chambers flanking the doorway
a stone stairway between the walls, rising to the wallhead
But the broch’s extraordinary 22m diameter makes it much larger than the typical Highland broch. This also suggests it may not have been as tall as other brochs – but it is possible that it once stood to twice its present height of 2m. Edin’s Hall may be closer to a substantial Iron-Age roundhouse than a broch.
Brochs are a type of roundhouse only found in Scotland. There are well over 500 of them, found mostly in northern and western Scotland and the islands. Only a handful exist in Lowland Scotland, making Edin’s Hall a rare and fine example.