Link to printer-friendly page

Record details

Type of record:Monument
Name:Castlehill Pavement Works


C19 flagstone works established c.1824 by the Sheriff of Caithness, James Traill of Rattar. The site consists of quarries, spoil heaps, workers cottages, windmills, offices and a harbour. At its peak c.1900 over 500 people were employed and the flagstones were shipped to the UK (Caithness flagstone was used to pave The Strand in London) and as far as Australia and South America. It was closed in the early C20, partly due to the depression and partly due to the increased use of cheaper materials such as concrete.


Castlehill Workers Cottages (photo by Assynt Photographics)  © Highland CouncilHarbour Office (photo by Assynt Photographics)  © Highland CouncilCastlehill Farmhouse (photo by Andrew Puls)  © Highland CouncilHarbour wall c.319756 968607 (photo by Andrew Puls)  © Highland CouncilMooring posts c.319818 968620 (photo by Andrew Puls)  © Highland CouncilCastlehill Boathouse (photo by Andrew Puls)  © Highland CouncilCastlehill Windmill (photo by Andrew Puls)  © Highland CouncilCastlehill Farmsteading (photo by Andrew Puls)  © Highland CouncilCastlehill Farmsteading (photo by Andrew Puls)  © Highland Council


© Please contact Highland Council for details (File size: 1290 KB)© Please contact Highland Council for details (File size: 1697 KB)© Please contact Highland Council for details (File size: 1920 KB)© Please contact Highland Council for details (File size: 23 KB)
Grid Reference:ND 1910 6844
Map Sheet:ND16NE
Civil Parish:OLRIG
Geographical Area:CAITHNESS

Monument Types

  • FLAGSTONE WORKS (In use, 19th Century to First World War - 1824 AD to 1914 AD (between))
  • SANDSTONE QUARRY (19th Century to First World War - 1824 AD to 1914 AD)

Other References/Statuses

  • Historic Environment Record: MHG698
  • NMRS NUMLINK Reference: 8417
  • Non-Statutory Register (R)
  • Old SMR Reference Number: ND16NE0042

Full description

An extensive site which comprises flagstone quarries, a cutting yard with machinery powered by water and steam, wind powered water pump, worker's housing, a farm steading, a harbour, the owner's manison house and spoil heaps . The works were disused by 1914. Much of the quarry has now been backfilled. All of the buildings at the cutting yard site have been demolished and cleared to ground level and all the machinery has been removed. The worker's houses are disused.
The Ordnance Survey 1st edition 25-inch maps of 1872 and 1905 (Caithness, sheet VI.10) show the extent of the flagstone quarry and the location of the works. The cutting yard was used to dress and saw the quarried stone before it was shipped from the harbour. By the early 1990s, part of the quarry, cutting yard, dam, water wheel pit, windmill stump and a portion of the steading have been transformed into a museum and interpretation centre. The ONB entry (1872) states that the works was powered by water and steam.
[See MS/744/63/1-5]
Visited by RCAHMS (GJD) November 1991 <1>.

Buildings now form part of the Castlehill Pavement Works Trail, waymarked, parking boards etc. Area to S of spoilheaps etc, part the new carpark, part now planted as community forest. Most of the other buildings are ruinouse, those on the E side of the road (the offices and farm steading are in better condition (ie roofed) but fenced off and marked as dangerous <2>.

Castlehill Windmill (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG13916.

Castletown Heritage Society, The story of the flagstone industry (Text/Publication/Volume). SHG3530.

Untitled Source (Image/Photograph(s)/Aerial Photograph). SHG3607.

Untitled Source (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG3608.

Castletown Heritage Society, March 1993, Untitled Source (Text/Publication/Newsletter). SHG3531.

<1> Douglas, G J, 1991, Castlehill Pavement Works, Castletown, Olrig, Caithness (Text/Report). SHG23730.

<2> White, H, Comment by Hilary White, HC Archaeologist, 01/07/2003 (Verbal Communication). SHG23635.

Related Monument/Building records

MHG1392Parent of: Country House, Castlehill, Castletown (Monument)
MHG34121Parent of: Covered Road Drain, Castlehill Pavement works (Monument)
MHG51245Parent of: Covered Tail Race, Castlehill Pavement works (Monument)
MHG1583Parent of: Farmstead, Castlehill House Steading (Building)
MHG51239Parent of: Harbour Office, Castlehill House Steading (Building)
MHG51250Parent of: Harbour Shed and Store, Castlehill Pavement Works (Building)
MHG1393Parent of: Harbour, Castlehill Pavement Works (Monument)
MHG51240Parent of: House, Castlehill House Steading (Building)
MHG18268Parent of: Pilot's House, Castlehill Pavement Works (Monument)
MHG1578Parent of: Pond, Dam and Sluice, Castlehill Pavement Works (Monument)
MHG51302Parent of: Possible Store Building, Castlehill House Steading (Monument)
MHG1580Parent of: Quarry, Castlehill Pavement Works (Monument)
MHG34135Parent of: Spoil Heap, Castlehill Pavement Works (Monument)
MHG13636Parent of: Windmill, Castlehill Pavement Works (Monument)
MHG13637Parent of: Windmill, Castlehill Pavement Works (Monument)
MHG13638Parent of: Windmill, Castlehill Pavement Works (Monument)
MHG1394Parent of: Windmill, Castlehill Pavement Works (Monument)
MHG17851Parent of: Workers Cottage, Castlehill Pavement Works (Building)

Related Investigations - none

Related documents/files/web pages

Conservation Areas
Listed Buildings
Scheduled Ancient Monuments
Designed Landscapes
Registered Battlefields
Marine Protected Areas