MHG22965 - Farmstead building - Gillie Phaeton, Breakachy Burn, Urchany


Ruined buildings, Gillie Phaeton, Urchany

Type and Period (1)

  • FARMSTEAD (Post Medieval - 1560 AD? to 1900 AD?)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A farmstead comprising two unroofed buildings and an enclosure is depicted on the 1st edition of the OS 6-inch map (Inverness-shire 1876-81, sheet ix) and on the current edition of the OS 1:10560 map (1971) where another enclosure and parts of what may be a head-dyke are also shown.
Information from RCAHMS (SAH) 14 May 1996
See assoc. docs. File.

J Aitken : 25/01/01.

This site was visited by Roland Spencer-Jones of the North of Scotland Archaeological Society on the 8th of January 2014. A long, south-facing building with three compartments was recorded nestled into a bank to its rear, 4m in depth. The central compartment was a dwelling 10m wide with outbuildings on each side, both with seperate entrances and each measuring 6m in width. The building was overgrown with vegetation, particularly the western outbuilding. Here the walls existed up to 1m in height. In front of the building is an enclosure, the whole settlement is aligned with a long dyke which runs roughly north -south. <1>

This structure and an adjoing settlement [see MHG22908] appear on the Lovat estate maps of 1797 entitled 'Gilly Phaeton'.

The North of Scotland Archaeological Society (NoSAS) undertook an archaeological survey of Urchany in 2015. West of the Breakachy burn there are two or three buildings in a settlement called Gillie Phaeton on both the 1757 and 1797 estate maps. It was farmed by “Mr Nicol” on the 1798 estate map, consisting of pasture, ploughed fields, clearance cairns, a large rectangular enclosure and two buildings (B201, B202).

Site B202; House with outbuildings. The B202 building is a long composite structure, 20m in total length, orientated SW-NE, consisting of (at least) three components and sloping gently down to the NE. Its northern corner is 17m from the southern corner of B201. Between the two is a large clearance cairn, C203. The main structure consists of a 14m x 5m building with a probable entrance in the SE wall. The SW & NE gable walls are stone, covered with some heather, standing to 0.8m high. The remaining NW and SE walls are represented by heathercovered banks only at the northern end. Much of the southern part of these two walls is now missing and therefore partly conjectural. Along the middle of the NE end of the building is a recessed gully, probably representing a drain. 5m from the NE wall a partition running across the building is still identifiable as a hard, stony ridge in the ground. This has almost no height. As this part of the building is lower than the SW part, it seems likely that animals were stored here. At the SW end of this building, a 6m x 4.5m annex has been added to the SW gable end, set at a slight angle from the line of the main building. This annex has a 1.2m entrance in the northern part of the SE wall. The stone walls still stand up to 0.6m in height. An old dyke, running NW-SE, has been interrupted by this annex, suggesting that the latter was built at a later stage. <2>

1st Edition OS 6" <3>

NGR adjusted based on 2009 aerial photographs. <4>

Sources/Archives (4)



Grid reference Centred NH 4398 4465 (24m by 19m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH44SW
Civil Parish KILMORACK
Geographical Area INVERNESS

Finds (0)

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Related Investigations/Events (1)

External Links (1)

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