MHG12101 - Na Cuilean


A pre-clearance settlement in excellent condition.

Type and Period (1)

  • TOWNSHIP (Post Medieval - 1560 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

NC22SW 10 249 225.

Centred on NC 249 225 is a crofting township cleared in the 'Sutherland Improvements' of the 19th century. Remaining are the footings of a nucleus of twenty or more buildings, dimensions from 17.0m by 4.5m to 5.0m by 3.0m, with associated enclosures and banks; outflung to the NE are field enclosures.
Surveyed at 1:10,000.
Visited by OS (J M) 30 July 1980.

A township comprising six unroofed buildings and an enclosure is depicted on the 1st edition of the OS 6-inch map (Sutherland 1879, sheet lxxi). Seven unroofed buildings and one enclosure are shown on the current edition of the OS 1:10,560 map (1967).
Information from RCAHMS (SAH) 14 September 1995

Visited by the Assynt's Hidden Lives project in December 2009.
A large, dispersed township, located c.100m to east of the A837 on a series of flat plateaus/ledges. The township is surrounded by improved pasture, grass and moss, while much of the surrounding area is bracken covered; there are excellent views over the loch to the W and hills to the N, S and E. All of the houses observed are of drystone construction, with no bonding material visible in any structures. The stone all appears to be gathered rather than quarried.
38 structures were identified, most of which were rectangular in shape, with only one or two showing a possible sub-oval shape or appearing to have rounded gable ends. Most of the buildings are between 5 and 9m long and average between 3 and 4m wide, nothing survives above a height of 0.75m.
Structure A was one of the larger buildings, with footings 14m long by c. 3.5m wide, with a possible additional room or building having been added to the E end. As with all of the buildings, the walls were
very spread, and it was therefore difficult to identify any entrances. Structures B, C, D, E and F are all very similar in size and shape to structure A. A somewhat fragmentary stone wall, Structure I, runs roughly E/W for 8m, from the middle of
Structure D, with a gap of 2m before continuing for another 7m where it meets the base of the surrounding crag. Structure G is a 16m long building on a roughly N/S alignment. Structure H, is mid-sized at 10.5m long, located close to the crags and stone wall I. Structures J, K, M and N are rectangular buildings similar to those described above. Structure L is quite small, only 4m by 2.5m and sub-square in shape. Structure O is one of the larger structures at 12m long, with a small stretch of now mostly turf covered stone wall c.7m long running from its east gable. Structures P, Q and R are further rectangular buildings in the same style, although R is poorly preserved and barely visible. To the west of structures O and P is a fairly steep sided narrow gully with two or three possible stone walls, S, running across the gully - perhaps forming small enclosures.
Structure T used the stone face of the gully as one of its long walls so that only three walls needed to be constructed. Structure U is poorly preserved, with very spread walls and lots of tumble, making it difficult to identify whether this was one long structure or two smaller ones. Across the small stream, a small (4m by 3.5m) roughly square structure was identified, nestled up against the crags with a small stone wall just to the east running between the crags and the stream. Above Structure V, on the next
plateau, approximately 30m away, another rectangular structure, W, aligned roughly NW/SE was identified, c.10m long by 4m wide. On the same ridge/plateau three smaller rectangular buildings were observed c.5m long by 2-3m wide, clustered together (X, Y and Z). Further to the south on the same level, three more rectangular structures were found, between 7m and 15m in length and 3-4m wide (Aa, Ac and Ad). Also in this cluster was a roughly sub-oval structure, Ab, c.6m long by 3m wide. Directly to the east of this cluster, a stone and earth bank was observed which runs from the edge of the crag, 5m east before turning north for 15m where a 1.5m gap may be an entrance, it then continues for 5m before another 1.5m gap which my be another entrance. The bank then turns east for 20m, then south east for 16m. A this point the bank splits to the NE and SE to form an enclosure c.26m by 13m in size, which incorporates a rectangular building, Ae, c. 10m by 4m in size. The bank then continues east up the hill to the base of the next crag. Just outside the enclosure on its south east side a further rectangular building, Af, c.15m by 3.5m was located. The banks are c.1m wide at the base and up to 0.5m high. The final two structures are located c.50m to the NNE of the cluster of small structures X, Y and Z. Two further structures consist of a rectangular building Ag, c.6m x 3.5m and a sub-oval building Ah, c.5m x 3.5m. Ai is located on flat ground directly adjacent to the north side of enclosure Ae; sub-rectangular in plan, with no obvious entrances and very poorly preserved. Structure Aj consists of a stone and earth bank running roughly NW/SE between two outcops of rock, close to Structures X, Y and Z; around 40 m long it may be part of a boundary for the settlement. Although most of the structures only have footings remaining, the buildings are clear and this pre- clearance settlement is in excellent condition. <1>

<1> Cavers, G & Hudson, G, 05/2010, Assynt's Hidden Lives: An archaeological survey of the the parish, 97, p.111-3; p.36 (Text/Report/Fieldwork Report). SHG24882.

Sources/Archives (1)



Grid reference Centred NC 2500 2256 (302m by 315m) (Buffered by site type)
Map sheet NC22SE
Geographical Area SUTHERLAND
Civil Parish ASSYNT

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

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