MHG13472 - Farmstead - West Shebster


A farmstead at West Shebster.

Type and Period (2)

  • FARMSTEAD (18th Century to 19th Century - 1750 AD? to 1850 AD?)
  • ENCLOSURE (18th Century to 19th Century - 1750 AD? to 1850 AD?)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A farmstead at West Shebster.

Farmstead, recorded by R Mercer in 1982 during a survey undertaken by the University of Edinburgh, one of several over a number of years in Caithness:

129a: Longhouse. Dimensions: 44m x 6m. Rectangular structure with internal divisions 5m, 12m, 22m, and 30m from W end. Entrance visible to N. Orientation: E-W.

129b: Longhouse. Length: 16m. One internal partition at W end. Entrance in E side. Attached by a wall to the middle of (a) and parallel with (a). SE corner of (b) is joined to a wall which runs E-W, and has its E end attached to (c). Orientation: E-W.

129c: Longhouse. Dimensions: 21m x 5m. Only partially preserved especially on its W side. Two internal divisions. Orientation: N-S. This forms the focus of three enclosures to the E. To the N of the W end of (a) is a discontinuous wall which is attached to this structure and is 11m long, and continues 29m to the N.

The whole area to the N of the longhouses is covered with broad rig oriented N-S, with 3m between furrows, rigs 0.10m high. In the enclosure directly to the E of longhouse (c) the rig is oriented SW-NE. There is a field-clearance cairn superimposed upon the rig, and to the E of this is a crescentic mound 1.50m high and 4m wide with many stones visible, also superimposed upon the rig. Elevation: 250' OD. ND 010632 <1>

A farmstead comprising four unroofed buildings, one of which is a long building of five compartments, and three enclosures is depicted on the 1st edition of the OS 6-inch map (Caithness 1877, sheet x). Three unroofed buildings and three enclosures are shown on the current edition of the OS 1:10,000 map (1987). This farmstead is part of West Shebster township.
Information from RCAHMS (AKK) 12 September 1995.

A fourth building was identified in LiDAR data gathered by AOC Archaeology in 2011 as part of the mitigation for the visual impact on the archaeological landscape associated with the proposed Baillie Hill windfarm, Caithness. Possible footings of ruinous longhouse strucuture, possibly precursor of other structures. <2>

The additional building in <2> is located at NGR 301022 963225 and measures c.26m x 6m and is aligned roughly north-south. An enclosure wall goes around it which may indicate that the enclosure, or at least part of it, dates to the same construction period [IS-L 30/06/2020].

Sources/Archives (2)



Grid reference Centred ND 0100 6319 (138m by 149m) (2 map features)
Map sheet ND06SW
Civil Parish REAY
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (2)

External Links (2)

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