MHG12259 - Township, Gleann Leireag


No summary available.

Type and Period (1)

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

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

NC13SE 4 153 314.

Glen Lerag: Shown as a group of four buildings surrounded by arable depopulated by 1878, (J Home 1747)
W Roy 1747; OS 6"map, Sutherland, 2nd ed., (1878); J Home 1774-5.
About 20 buildings shown. J Home 1774-5. <1>-<2>

Centred at NC 153 314 contains the remains of approx twenty rectangular buildings, and several sheep folds and small enclosures. There are also indications that the area has been cultivated. The remains now consist of low dry stone walls, the western buildings have rounded corners and appear to be earlier. The name Glenlaraig now applies to a farmstead and cottage at the head of Loch Nedd, there is no evidence of an earlier settlement at this spot. Visited by OS (G H) 18 May 1962.

The deserted township of Gleann Leireag (current spelling) is as described by the previous field investigator. The building footings range in size from 4m by 4m to 17m by 4m and average 0.5m high. Visited by OS (J B) 14 August 1980.

A township comprising one unroofed building and three enclosures is depicted on the 1st edition of the OS 6-inch map (Sutherland 1878, sheet lix). 21 unroofed buildings and 5 enclosures are shown on the current edition of the OS 1:10,560 map (1967).

Information from RCAHMS (SAH) 6 September 1995

Visited by the Assynt's Hidden Lives Project in December 2009.
A very large township with over 50 structures remaining, including buildings and enclosures/pens. All
appear to be constructed from gathered rubble.
153a - Bank running up from river to the North. Earth and stone, moss covered. 100m N then 45m W, curvilinear, 0.7m wide and up to 2.2m high and steeper on the outside face.
153b - 12m x 3m, NW-SE alignment, wall thickness of 0.5m and up to 0.9m high. Consists of two compartments, 7.5m to division from the SE. Entrance is to the NE, a bowed end to the NW. The division wall has an entrance to the east, the door is 2m after division.
153c - 8.8m x 5m x 0.6m. NW-SE. Possible entrance on the SW side. Bowed end to the NW. Extra footings to the SE, unclear as to whether it was a lean-to shack or the remains of the building being shortened at some point. Wall leads from S corner and curving around the ridge. Walls up to 1m spread.
153d -Three clearance cairns all 2m diameter x 0.4m high situated in a 15m area.
153e - Enclosure 0.4m high made of stone and earth and covered with bracken and grass. 0.8m wide bank.
153f - Enclosure with 0.5m high stone wall, 1m wide.
153g - Semi-circular enclosure like a sheepfank. 8m diameter, 0.5m high and constructed of stone.
153h - Building 7m x 3.5m, stone walls. V spread to 0.7m wide, aligned NW-SE. Entrance to the south. Much rubble infill.
153i - 6m x 4m stone boulder footings, aligned NNE-SSW. Possible east entrance. Made of a single line of boulders.
153j - 4m x 3m stone building footings aligned NW-SE and very grassed over.
153k - 10m x 5m, aligned NW-SE building with an entrance to the SW. Built on bedrock with walls up to 0.5m high and 0.7m wide.
153l - 17m x 5m x 0.75m stone building aligned NNE-SSW. Divided into two compartments of 7m and
10m. 8m x 4.5m outbuilding to NW side, with an entrance to the S. South end bowed with no obvious entrance.
153m - 12m x 5m x 0.9m stone building, aligned NNE-SSW. Open ended 1.5m cell in NE corner. Walls 0.6m wide. Situated on a slope.
153n - 3m x 2m x 1m stone wall aligned NW-SE. 0.6m wide.
153o - 10m x 3m x 0.4m, aligned NW-SE. Up to 1m wall spread. Stone.
153p - Enclosure truncated by road, 6m x 11m aligned NE-SW. 18m wall running W from enclosure to modern sheepfank.
153q - 9m x 4m x 0.75m, aligned E-W, stone building. Awful collapse to the N and S walls. Entrance to the N.
153r - 8m x 5m stone footings aligned E-W
153s - L-shaped building, stone walls up to 1.2m spread, bowed ends, 0.4m high.
153t - 4m x 3m, aligned E-W, rubble very spread.
153u - 12m x 6m x 0.3m, aligned NNW-SSE. Very spread walls.
153v - ruinous enclosure, 3m x 4m, aligned NW-SE, single boulder remains, no NE wall.
153w - 20m x 12m x 0.8m, aligned NNE-SSW, walls 0.6m spread, no north wall.
153x - 3 x 5m, aligned E-W, barely footings, very uneven and ruinous.
153y - 4m x 4m, aligned NW-SE, only NW and SE walls remain, very ruinous footings.
153z - 2 clearance cairns, 0.5m high, oval 2m x 1m, aligned NW-SE.
153aa - curvilinear wall, leading around and across a natural ridge, made of earth and stone. 0.4m high, and leads 70m uphill and 100m across a ridge, curving round to the road.
153ab - Uneven, almost circular enclosure, 8m in diameter, 0.5m high, walls very spread rubble.
153ac - 17m x 16m oval sheepfank situated on a slope, up to 0.5m high walls but uneven spread of 1m walls, made of Lewisian Gneiss.
153ad- Stone, 14m x 4m with bowed SE end, aligned NW-SE, walls 0.6m wide, 0.4m high. Rubble spread everywhere. Clearance cairn 2m x 1m by SE end.
153ae - Enclosure joining 3 buildings (153ad, 153af and 153ag). No S wall, 0.4m high and 0.6m wide walls.
153af - 10m x 4.5m stone building, walls 0.6m wide and 0.5m high, aligned N-S, entrance to the East.
153ag - 17m x 6m x 0.5m stone building, aligned NW-SE, includes boulders up to 1m x 1.2m.
153ah - L-shaped building, 13m x 9.5m, walls 0.4m spread. (see sketch).
153ai - 9m x 4m x 0.4m, aligned NW-SE, walls up to 1m spread, entrance either on N or S side, SE wall survives up to 0.8m.
153aj - 6m x 3.5m x 0.3m, aligned NE-SW, situated on a slight slope. Entrance to the NW
153ak - 8m x 5m x 0.8m, aligned NW-SE, very close to 153aj, 0.6m wide walls.
153al - 16m x 7m x 0.6m, aligned NW-SE, long enclosure with up to 1m wall spread.
153am - bridge/ford, 3.5m wide with a wall face going over a stream.
153an - 13m x 10m x 1m enclosure, 0.6m wide walls. Semi-circular cell in NE corner. Entrance in SE corner and on S side of the cell, truncated on the N.
153ao - Curvilinear wall, 300m long and 0.4m high, 0.8m wide aligned E-W
153ap - 6m x 4m x 0.9m stone building on a slight slope, walls 0.6m wide
153aq - 9m x 6m x 0.5m building, walls up to 1m spread.
153ar - sub-rectangular sheepfank 16m x 16m NE-SE. Walls up to 1.2m high, 0.6m wide. Entrance in SW corner, truncated in many places.
153as - 8m x 3.5m building, 0.6m high, aligned NNW-SSE, entrance to the E, bowed N wall.
153at - 5m x 3m stone building aligned NNW-SSE.
153au - 12m x 5m (see sketch).
153av - 18m x 18m enclosure, square, up to 1m high. N and E side footings, aligned NW-SE
153aw - 2 equal compartments in a 16m x 4m structure. Footings barely on the N and S. Up to 1m high, 0.6m wide walls. Much rubble infill.
153ax - 17m x 4m x 0.4m stone building. 5m from west to first partition, 3m to next partition. Aligned E-W, very rubble spread.
153ay - 10m x 5m, aligned E-W, very rubble spread.
153az - sub-rectangular drystone rubble building c. 5.2m x 3.5 m with opening in N wall, built on a large cairn-like feature c. 9 m in diameter.
153aaa - sub-rectangular building appears to have been disturbed during road construction, mossed over drystone rubble 7.5 m long x 3.5 m wide.
153aab - possible wall remnant of drystone construction , truncated by road, c. 13.5 m long x 0.65 m wide and up to 0.7 m high.
153aac - drystone wall remnant, badly truncated by road, 0.45 m wide x 0.8 m high x 7.5 m long.
153aad - Rectangular drystone building with no obvious entrance, c. 7.2 m x 3.8 m x 0.5 m high.
153aae - Sub-square drystone building, no obvious opening, large boulders form part of wall construction, c. 5.4 m x 4 m x 0.45 m high.
153aaf - Rectangular structure, barely visible, no obvious entrance, c. 7.6 m x 4 m x 0.6 m high.
153aag - Sub-rectangular structure, mossed over rubble walls, opening in S wall, c. 6.8 m x 4.6 m x 0.45m high. <3>

Surveyed in detail by the Assynt's Hidden Lives project.
The surviving township spans much of the S-facing slopes of Glenleraig, with the majority of buildings located in the NW, upslope areas north of Allt Mhathain, a tributary stream of Abhainn Gleann Leireag. To the S and E of the township are extensive cultivation remains and clearance cairns. These seem to be bounded to the E by a large earth and stone embankment running N from the river. To the W of this boundary are numerous clearance cairns and fragmentary stretches of cultivation, partially disturbed by the regeneration of birch woodland.
Detailed information on a building-by-building basis is included in the project report. <4>

The Assynt Hidden Lives project is planning to excavate one of the longhouses in this cleared village in summer 2011. The aim is to expose all of the structural features of the chosen building, allowing them to be recorded. <5> <6>

Builing AD was subject to archaeological excavation by AOC Archaeology, most likely in the summer of 2011. The three principal aims of the excavation were to explore the architecture, function and chronology of the site. Excavations revealed two dicthes predating the structure of an unknown date which the longhouse was built upon. The building was unusual in that instead of the traditional 50:50 split of byre and living space, this house was of a 75:25 division. Potentially, a lower number of animals were sheltered within the house or this design was implemented to maximise the available area for human habitation. Another unusual feature of the building was that there was only one entrance way into the building which was placed in a corner rather than in a central location. This entrance also would have only allowed access to the living space through the area believed to have been used for animal stalling. The ceramic assemblage suggested a date of 1770 - 1780, all of which was of a good quality suggesting a certain degree of disposable wealth of the inhabitants. Futher research was suggested for further understanding of the Glenleraig township. <7>

Sources/Archives (8)



Grid reference Centred NC 1521 3133 (709m by 726m) Approximate extent
Map sheet NC13SE
Geographical Area SUTHERLAND
Civil Parish ASSYNT

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (3)

External Links (1)

Comments and Feedback

Do you have any more information about this record? Please feel free to comment with information and photographs, or ask any questions, using the "Disqus" tool below. Comments are moderated, and we aim to respond/publish as soon as possible.