MHG27258 - Township, Rarsaidh


Township, Rarsaidh

Type and Period (4)

  • TOWNSHIP (Post Medieval - 1560 AD? to 1900 AD?)
  • BUILDING (Post Medieval - 1560 AD? to 1900 AD?)
  • ENCLOSURE (Post Medieval - 1560 AD? to 1900 AD?)
  • WALL (Post Medieval - 1560 AD? to 1900 AD?)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description


A township, comprising one roofed building, four unroofed buildings, one enclosure and two lengths of field-wall is depicted on the 1st edition of the OS 6-inch map (Inverness-shire 1876, sheet lxii). Four unroofed buildings are shown on the current edition of the OS 1:10000 map (1971).
Information from RCAHMS (AKK) 26 July 1996

These sites were recorded by NOSAS in 2008/9 as part of an archaeological survey of outer Loch Hourn.

Ràrsaidh is a large area with a long and complex history. The present day Ràrsaidh Cottage lies within Rarsaybeg, and it appears as roofed on the OS 1st edition map of 1872. The 1st edition map also shows one roofed building close to the shore on Rarsay, along with several unroofed buildings. Ràrsaidh was apparently cleared in 1849 (English 2000, 287). Roy, in the mid 18th century, shows a small enclosed settlement of 5 buildings at Torr an Aoil, with rig and furrow on both sides of the Ràrsaidh Burn, though nothing where Ràrsaidh Cottage stands today. The 1808 map suggests a park close to the shore within Rarsay shieling, though no buildings are shown, as well as a small park close to the shore at Rarsaybeg with one building.

Site 1380. A rectangular building on a NNW-SSE alignment which has a later structure (Site 1381) sitting within its NW part. The original building is probably associated with the large area of improved ground to the W which stretches down to the beach and which has several substantial clearance cairns. The building is revetted into the slope and has a substantial apron of stone on the W side, 2m-3m in width. Most of the original building is obscured by the later structure, but at its SSE end is a rectangular depression, 0.4m deep, which indicates the former building. Its SSE gable has a bank of stones 0.7m high x spread to 2.5m wide. In places, the internal faces of the compartment are visible as straight stone settings. The structure is covered by moss, bracken and bluebells.

Site 1381. A rectangular building constructed on top of an earlier building, Site 1380. It is aligned NNW-SSE and measures 9m x 3m internally. The walls are of drystone construction and stand to 1.2m high internally (though only 0.5m-1.2m externally) and are 0.8m thick. The building has squared corners and an entrance in the SE corner, which is 0.7m wide. There is a small, roughly constructed pen in the SW corner, which measures 1.5m x 0.8m.

Site 1382. A roughly square, drystone structure, measuring 4m x 4m, situated at the foot of a steep slope and most likely associated with Sites 1380 and 1381. The walls are 0.7m-1m high and are 1m thick. The building has square corners and there is a 1.2m wide entrance in the S wall. It is covered in moss and bracken.

Site 1383. A tumbled wall running in a NNE-SSW direction for 50m down to the beach. The wall is 0.4m high and is spread to 1m in width. It may continue into the undergrowth to the N, but was not explored in this direction.

Site 1386. A bracken covered building, aligned ENE-WSW and divided into 2 or possibly 3 compartments. It measures 15m x 5m overall and its drystone walls are 0.6-0.8m thick and stand up to 1m height. The central compartment measures 5.4m x 3.5m internally, with a possible dividing wall forming a W compartment, measuring 3m x 3.5m. The E compartment is roughly 3.5m x 3.5m internally and has a small pen, measuring 1.5m x 2m, in its NE corner. There is an entrance to each compartment in the S wall.

Site 1387. The remains of a rectangular enclosure, measuring 6m x 3m internally, situated between Building 1386 and the sea, and located just 3m from the HWM. Three of the walls are very tumbled; they are 0.6m high (0.2m on the sea side) and spread to 2m in width. The S wall, on the sea side, may have been washed away. To the W and on the same alignment is a pile of stones, measuring 5m x 3m in size. It appears to have some straight edges and may be a further building, though it could just be clearance. Its cover of brambles prevented detailed exploration.

Site 1388. A rectangular building, aligned E-W, which measures 9m x 4m internally. The wall footings are of dressed stone, double faced and are very low, standing only to between 0.2m and 0.5m in height; they are 0.6m thick. The corners of the building are square and there is a 1.2m wide entrance in the S wall. A ditch runs along the rear wall of the building. The whole site is completely covered in bracken and brambles.

Site 1389. A rectangular enclosure, with a crag forming its N end. It is aligned N-S and measures 8m x 5m. The crudely constructed walls on its W side are 1m high and 0.7m thick, but, on the E side, the wall - which is contiguous with building 1388 -is just 0.3m high and is spread to 1m-1.5m. To the S, there is a stony apron, 1m high, dropping to the HWM. <1>

NGR adjusted based on 1999-2001 AP’s <2>

1st Edition OS 6" <3>

Sources/Archives (3)



Grid reference Centred NG 8245 1154 (316m by 134m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NG81SW
Geographical Area SKYE AND LOCHALSH
Civil Parish GLENELG

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

External Links (1)

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