MHG13667 - Farmstead, The Corr


A traditional Caithness croft complex including a unique survival of an original extended longhouse, until recently the last occupied thatched house in Caithness.

Type and Period (3)

  • FARMSTEAD (Built, 19th Century - 1801 AD to 1830 AD)
  • LONGHOUSE (19th Century - 1801 AD to 1900 AD)
  • CROFTHOUSE (19th Century - 1801 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

Full Description

East Caithness Local Plan, May 1987: P31/2.53.
J Aitken : 22/05/01.

The Buildings at Risk register entry for this croft complex provides a good summary of its history and significance. <1>

A descendant of Georgie Keith, who was the last occupant of The Corr, contacted the HER in October 2011. He recalls Mrs Keith saying that her ancestor established The Corr after returning from war and there was already a croft building on the site which he repaired for he and his family to live in after taking over the lease in 1897 (see <4>). He was a fisherman from Buckie in Banffshire and then a Cavalry man in the Crimean war (his solid nickel saddle stirrups are still in the family) and later a crofter, blacksmith and cobbler. The former tenant was a Mr Munro who may have been related by marriage to the Keith family. Due to the congruence of as many as six roads at The Corr on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey map, it is suggested that site of The Corr has been of some significance in antiquity, maybe as a droving stance. It is also noted that there are many "stout stones" at dry stone dyke gate openings all over the croft, which may be reused from elsewhere.

The wall that lines the long access road of the Thurso Road was built by Georgie's father, John Keith, using the proceeds from the blacksmith's business that he ran from The Corr. The road is now full of gorse. It is suggested that the road may well be of some antiquity - it is known as the "Crask" road.

The oldest part of the building is believed to be the byre and main living area. The walls are over two foot thick and the living area door is low, only about 5 ft 6'' high. At the back of the barn is a horse engine, powering machines, calf house and laundry room etc (probably 1900 onwards). There is a heavy lintel in the laundry room to counterbalance the weight of large cauldrons of water to boil. <2> <3>

The following is taken from the House of Commons Sessional Papers for 1897:
"William Munro, a crofter on the Estate of Forse, Caithness, belonging to Captain William Baird, had a claim before us in 1899 for £44 5s. 8d. In respect of permanent improvements executed by him on two holdings, called Corr and Cragganmore, which he held from the Respondent. He renounced the tenancy of these subjects, in 1897, and claimed the said sum. In dealing with the claim we held he was bound, under the Estate regulations which he had signed, to execute the improvements claimed for, and we accordingly dismissed the same. There were, however, certain meliorations, amounting to £10 19s., for which he contended he was entitled to payment at conamon law. We had not dealt with that matter, as it was not raised in the first Application, and accordingly Munro lodged a supplementary claim asking us to make an Order on the Respondent for payment of the same. It was met by a counter-claim on the part of the Respondent in respect of deterioration. We found that both claims were well founded in point of fact and ,law. The estimated cost of putting the subjects which had been allowed to deteriorate into tenantable order and condition was £11 Os. 2d., and we held that this amount fully met the claim for £10 19a. Made by the Applicant. We accordingly dismissed the Application." <4>

The site was visited and photographed by C Jones in April 2011. <5>

A site visit and photographic survey were carried out by the Highland Council in 2012 in response to concerns over the deteriorating condition of the buildings. A structural survey was also undertaken. <6> <7>

Sources/Archives (7)



Grid reference Centred ND 2024 3568 (50m by 58m) (2 map features)
Map sheet ND23NW
Civil Parish LATHERON
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

External Links (3)

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