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Druid Glasgow

PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2004 2:43 pm
by Ronnie
Some starting points if anyone would like to do some research into the druids in Glasgow:

Ludovic Maclellan Mann wrote two books on Glasgow in the Dark Ages.

1 - Earliest Glasgow, A Temple of the Moon (The Mann Publishing Company Limited, Glasgow and London, 1938). This is in the Mitchell Library (G 913/ B476228). This book argues that Glasgow was a centre of moon worship. Quote: "Glasgow is rich in places named after the Moon divinity ... The suffix in the word Glasgow [is] one of the names given to the Moon Deity."

2 - The Druid Temple Explained (Ditto, 1938). This is also in the Mitchell Library (G913 MAN/ B614847). It tells the story of the Druid Temple at Knappers, near Clydebank.

There is more on Knappers (including two drawings by Mann) at ... druids.htm

and there is also a serious recent study of the temple by Derek Alexander of Edinburgh University. It is called 'Knappers, Great Western Road (Old Kilpatrick parish, West Dunbartonshire) Evaluation', and it is published in "Discovery and Excavation in Scotland, New Series, Vol. 1, 2000 (Council for Scottish Archaeology, Edinburgh, 2001).

Anybody up for investigating either or both of these?

PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2004 4:58 pm
by crusty_bint
Absolutely Rondo!!!! T'was only the other night I was reading over Harry Bell's, "Glasgow's secret Geommetry" and talk of Druidic Moon worship in the Necropolis 8O

I've never heard of Knapper's? It'd be great to see it (if that's what you're suggesting?), especially with the paternal ( ::): ), guiding voice of reason :wink: ::):

Off to dissect that site now :D

PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2004 6:56 pm
by Ronnie
Ah, young Master Bint. I'n not even sure where Knappers actually is, but the archaeological paper or the Mann books might give some help with location. Mann gets a mention on the Harry Bell website, but not sure if he's cited in the book. If I can find out where it is, and if there is anything there worth seeing, we could organise an expedition. Under my, err, fatherly eye, of course. :?

PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2004 8:45 pm
by Ronnie
More info: the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) database, called Canmore lists lots of photographs and illustrations in the commission's collection, which is in Edinburgh. It also notes that the site is in a quarry, and has the alternative name of Kilbowie. There's nothing obvious on the maps I have, but I will delve deeper. :wink:'
Best, Ronnie

PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 1:42 pm
by crusty_bint
Here's an arial shot of the Kilbowie area
(sorry about the size)


Running SE to NW is Great Western Rd with a golf course on the right of it. The dotted red line running roughly North to South is Kilbowie Rd.

The larger of the two white circles (on Gt Western Rd) shows a small body of water in what looks to be scrub land, could this be the remains of the quarry? Also encircled is what's appears to be an earth mound?

Interestingly, there is a known Roman fort on Castle Hill about a mile away.

Seeing as its such a nice day Im gonna have a wee look around :D

PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 2:39 pm
by Ronnie
Top man, Crispy. The round object looks like a gas holder. There is also a grassy area in the middle of the traffic intersection, which might be worth a look. I'll await your expedition report with bated breath :D

PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 7:41 pm
by crusty_bint
Well folks, never go temple hunting after a joint 8O !

First up, the circular thingy is West Scotland Water's Kilbowie service reservoir (thought it was too good to be true :oops: ):
Image there went that theory! The adjoining Radnor Park is a huge hill with great views of the surrounding area but not much Druidic activity apparent... I knew i should have taken my geophys equipment :wink:

The light kept changing as there was a lot of cloud-cover by the time I got there (and I think I was doing something wrong with my camera), so a lot of the fotos are a bit dark, but heres some of the view anywas

A Big Crane

The changing light

The Erskine Bridge and Dumbarton Rock

The Kilpatrick Hills (correct me if Im wrong Graeme?)


I'd be surprised if this hill wasn't occupied at some time in the past, but there was nothing that screamed "moon Temple" to me, and not much in the vicinity that was pre WWII

PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 8:54 pm
by Pgcc93
Hi Crustoid,
we weren't too far from each other today. I cycled down to Old Kilpatrick then over the Erskine bridge and back to Glasgow via Inchinnan/Govan etc.
I know what you mean about the changing lighting conditions, I was hoping to get some pics looking down the Clyde from the bridge but it was clouding up over to the West :evil:
Not to worry it was brilliant sunshine all the way back to Glasgow 8)

Didn't notice anything particularly Druid-esque on my travels though.
A wee pic of Glasgow skyline in the sunshine this afternoon.


PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 11:18 pm
by crusty_bint
I was looking for the quarry today aswell but ended up in the wrong piece of scrub-land, and didn't realise till I got home :oops:

I checked out Castle Hill too, the site of a Roman fort on the Antonine Wall. I know the Romans are supposed to have never "re-cycled" sites and simply built thier fortifications wherever the wanted, but as it was so close I thought I chould check it out.

This is the approach


Not much to see on top but a strong defensive viewpoint

Glasgow and University steeple


Fallen Tree


Clydebank & Drumchapel



I also noticed on the map a Temple Hill Wood, a few miles east of kilbowie, just nirth of Summerston and acoss the Kelvin... anyone know anything about this?

PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2004 6:14 pm
by Ronnie
Nice pix, Curly.

Some more gen (from Ludovic Maclellan Mann, 'An Appeal to the Nation: The "Druids'" Temple near Glasgow' [Glasgow and London, 1937]).

"In July 1937 sand diggers accidentally uncovered some stone-built graves which were soon proved to be in close association with a magnificant timber-built sacred edifice of circular form." This proved to be a Stone Age ritual landscape, with a diameter of 172 feet, with an altar in the centre, and including a number of stones with cup-and-ring markings.

The site was a sand-pit on Knappers Farm, Kilbowie, on the edge of "the new arterial roadway" between Glasgow and Dumbarton. The road was also referred to as the Duntocher Boulevard (now Great Western Road). The farm was seven miles from Glasgow, roughly north west of the city. It was tenanted by Edward Miller, and owned by Captain Robert Bush Black of Auchentoshan.

An initial survey of the site revealed "hundreds of socket holes ... the structure was made up of concentric palisadings ... the interstices contained vestiges of symbolic figures delineated and outlined by a succession of wooden structures ... in the shape of huge serpents ... constructed of wicker-work like gigantic cages or baskets ... in the spaces between each serpentine construction ... were ... dozens of graves".

Mann concluded: "It can be shown with mathematical precision that at Knappers there was a temple of gigantic proportions erected during the Late Stone Age to comemmorate a solar eclipse."

Okay dokey. All we need now is map from the 1930s (ideally an OS map) that shows the location of the sand pit, and a modern map (ideally an OS map with matching grid lines), so that we can pin-point the location. Then a site visit may be in order ...

More news as we have it ...

PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2004 6:18 pm
by Sharon
This is all great stuff Ronnie!

Does canmore list the site???

PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2004 6:23 pm
by Sharon
Knappers Quarry
Alternative Names: Kilbowie
Type of Site: Burial Ground; Ritual Site
NMRS Number: NS57SW 22.00


Map reference: NS 5070 7130
Parish: Old Kilpatrick (Clydebank)
Council: West Dunbartonshire

Archaeology Notes
NS57SW 22.00 5070 7130

NS57SW 22.01 NS 5089 7101 to NS 5097 7149 Trial Excavations; Beaker

(NS 5070 7130) A Bronze Age burial ground was uncovered in 1933-4 by workmen, and during excavations by Davidson, at Knappers Sand Quarry, on the E side of Duntocher Boulevard (Great Western Road). Some 34 deposits were found, including cremation inhumation burials, some under cairns. Artifacts found included a polished flint adze, a stone some 3' long and 21" broad at its widest, said to be an end stone of a cist, marked with two pecked double ellipses and other markings (this is now in Glasgow Art Gallery and Museum), an Early Bronze Age rivetted dagger, flint scrapers, flakes, segmented paste beads, jet beads, some six food vessels in varying degrees of preservation, fragments of unidentifiable Bronze Age pottery, a very small rim fragment of grey-black ware, with a fine plain surface, which Davidson suggests is probably Roman, and a few sherds of green-glazed medieval ware.
In September 1937, a grave was found at NS 5073 7127 (information from A S Robertson to OS, 1951) near Knappers farm. Roughly circular, with irregular boulder-built sides, it contained a Neolithic bowl and a plano-convex flint knife. A number of neolithic and Bronze Age sherds were also found in the area between 1937 and 1938. These artificats are now in the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland (NMAS).
In 1951, Mr Mann owned a number of items from this site, but after his death, his collection was given to Glasgow Art Gallery and Museum. He also constructed a bogus henge, W of the Great Western Road; not far from the Kanppers Quarry.
Catalogue of finds and re-assessment of site, suggesting the existence of a henge or a Bronze Age Barrow, pre-dating a Food Vessel cemetery.
J M Davidson 1935; R W B Morris 1967; J M Coles 1971; V G Childe 1946; R R Mackay 1950; Proc Soc Antiq Scot 1960; Glasgow Art Gallery and Museum 1955; L M Mann 1939; J N G Ritchie and H C Adamson 1982; Information from L M Mann to OS, 10 May 1951.

(Flat rivetted knife-dagger). Knife-dagger, two rivet-holes with rivets still in position, flat section. Recorded length 10.6cm, recorded width 3.7cm. Lost.
S Gerloff 1975.

Collection Summary
Photographs: 110
Prints and Drawings: 33
Manuscripts: 1



Childe, V G (1946 c)
Scotland before the Scots: being the Rhind lectures 1944,
London, 112,

Coles, J M (1971 b)
'Scottish Early Bronze Age metalwork',
Proc Soc Antiq Scot, 101, 1968-9, 90,

Davidson, J M (1935 )
'A Bronze Age cemetery at Knappers, Kilbowie, Dumbartonshire',
Proc Soc Antiq Scot, 69, 1934-5, 352-82,

Gerloff, S (1975 )
'The early bronze age daggers in Britain, and a reconsideration of the Wessex culture',
Prahistorische Bronzefunde, 4, 2, 1975, 165, no. 287,

Glasgow Art Gallery and Museums (1955 )
Annual report,

Mackay, R R (1950 )
'Neolithic pottery from Knappers Farm, near Glasgow',
Proc Soc Antiq Scot, 82, 1947-8, 234-7,

Mackie and Davis, E W and A (1991 )
'New light on Neolithic rock carving. The petroglyphs at Greenland (Auchentorlie), Dumbartonshire',
Glasgow Archaeol J, 15, 1988-89, 144,

Mann, L M (1939 )
The Druid Temple Explained,
London and Glasgow,

Morris and Bailey, R W B and D C (1967 )
'The cup-and-ring marks and similar sculptures of South-Western Scotland: a survey',
Proc Soc Antiq Scot, 98, 1964-6, 160, No. 34,

PSAS (1960 )
'Donations to and purchases for the Museum and Library
Proc Soc Antiq Scot, 91, 1957-8, 200,

RCAHMS (1978 d)
The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. The archaeological sites and monuments of Dumbarton District, Clydebank District, Bearsden and Milngavie District, Strathclyde Region,
The archaeological sites and monuments of Scotland series no 3, Edinburgh, 21, No. 8,

Ritchie, G (2002 )
'Excavation archives: preservation and chance',
Ballin Smith, B and Banks, I, In the shadow of the brochs: the Iron Age in Scotland,, A celebration of the work of Dr. Euan MacKie on the Iron Age of Scotland, Stroud, 207, 208,

Ritchie and Adamson, J N G and H C (1982 )
'Knappers, Dunbartonshire: a reassessment',
Proc Soc Antiq Scot, 111, 1981, 172-204,

and the quarry...

PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2004 6:24 pm
by Sharon
Knappers Old Quarry

Type of Site: Industrial/ Quarry
NMRS Number: NS57SW 202


Map reference: NS 5012 7143
Parish: Old Kilpatrick (Dumbarton)
Council: West Dunbartonshire

Architecture Notes
NS57SW 202

Knappers old quarry is depicted on GIS Epoch 3 and 4 maps. On current map houses have been built over it. Information from RCAHMS LKFJ, May 2003.

Collection Summary



Davidson, J M (1935 )
'A Bronze Age cemetery at Knappers, Kilbowie, Dumbartonshire',
Proc Soc Antiq Scot, 69, 1934-5, 352-382,

Mann, L M (1937 )
An appeal to the nation: the "Druids" temple near Glasgow: a magnificent, unique and very ancient shrine in imminent danger of destruction,

Re: and the quarry...

PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2004 6:36 pm
by Ronnie
Sharon wrote:On current map houses have been built over it.

Now that is a shame. :(

Still, there were sun worshippers (according to Eyre-Todd) or moon worshippers (according to Harry Bell) on the Necropolis hill. Maybe they worked shifts ...

PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2004 7:22 pm
by jim
There is a supposed Druid Temple on the Craigmaddie Muir above Baldernock (near Milngavie). A ring of trees were said to have surrounded the 'Auld Wives Lifts' until relatively recently (obviously not the originals, but if not who planted them and why?) and Baldernock itself has some etymological connection to the Druids.
There is some mention of a Druid 'college' below the Necropolis, on railway land that subsequently has become a big carpark (just off Duke St).
I like this thread! (cheers Ronnie)