Battle lines drawn over Roslin housing plans

Ross Laird at the Battle of Roslin cairn
Ross Laird at the Battle of Roslin cairn

A campaign has begun to protect the 700-year-old site of a Midlothian battle from being destroyed by future housing developments.

The Battle of Roslin was waged in 1303 on land around the village but now faces its own battle for survival as Midlothian Council moves forward with its development plan.

Penicuik resident Ross Laird, a board member with Archaeology Scotland, is amassing his forces to seek greater protection and awareness of the Scottish Independence battle ground.

“The amount of public awareness there is, despite the fact there is a physical memorial, seems to be pretty low.

“It does strike me that the local development plan is potentially putting some parts of the site at some element of risk as they are looking to redevelop around the flanks of Roslin where the old Roslin Institute was,” he said.

Mr Laird added he was not opposed to development but believed any construction had to be carried out in a “sensitive” manner. In addition, a full archaeological survey should be conducted.

He added: “This site does seem to be be undervalued and Midlothian is full of absolutely fantastic heritage.”

Roslin Heritage Society has welcomed Mr Laird’s campaign adding: “RHS supports any efforts to protect and preserve archaeological remains on the site and raise awareness of the scale and the historical significance of the Battle of Roslin.”

A Midlothian Council spokesman said: “We are conscious of the potential archaeological significance of the site and we would like to see information boards erected giving the public more information about the battle.

“Before any development gets underway, an archaeological assessment, including a metal detector survey, will be carried out by an archaeologist to record any metal finds related to the Battle of Roslin 1303 and determine whether the development will disturb any buried archaeological deposits and record and excavate them if they cannot be preserved in situ.

“We have also contacted Historic Scotland. It does not object to the principle of the development.

“However, they advised that if planning permission in principle is granted it should be subject to conditions to mitigate the physical impact on buried archaeological remains.”

An Historic Scotland spokesman said: “As a statutory consultee, we have worked with Midlothian Council throughout the process of drafting their latest development plan, advising on how best to look after heritage in the area. As the plan is still in draft format we cannot speculate on its possible effects at this time.”

Historic Scotland added the Battle of Roslin site to the Inventory of Historic Battlefields in December 2012.