MHG29316 - Mervyn's Tower (Nicolson Monument)


A commemorative monument at Nybster Broch for Sir Francis Tress Barry, built by John Nicolson.

Type and Period (1)

  • COMMEMORATIVE MONUMENT (Post Medieval - 1560 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Two photographs were taken of the monument in 1897 showing it in the middle of the roundhouse complex. One image shows the overall monument, the second shows detail of one of the sculptures. <1> <2>

Two photographs were taken of the on the 29th of April 1987 when the monument was dismantled and relocated to the western side of the broch as part of a job creation scheme. Unfortunately these photographs are missing. <3> <4>

A photograph was taken of the monument in 1998 showing an overall view of the tower in its relocated position. <5>

A folly constructed by John Nicolson at Nybster Broch, probably from stone excavated from the broch by himself and Sir Francis Tress Barry. Moved from the middle of site of the broch itself and rebuilt in the 1980s by a job creation scheme. See also SMR ND36SE0004 (= Nybster broch, Parent); ND36SE0049, 50 (= other Nicolson monuments nearby)
John Wood 21/11/00

Two photographs were taken of the site by Highland Council officers in 2000 as a part of the SCRAN photography exercise. <6> <7>

The Memorial now lies inland from the broch. The stone is not obviously from the main broch structure. A number of carved elements are integrated into the design - a possible mermaid among them and other heavily carved figures. Panel that identifies Mervyn's Tower is built into one layer and a coat of arms into the higher level. The edges of the platform that can be reached by the steps appear to be getting loose on the seaward side and need attention. - HAW 9/2002

Several photographs were taken of the monument as a part of the AOC Archaeology condition survey in 2004. <8>

The condition of this site was assessed in January 2011 as part of a wider condition survey of the Nybster broch settlement: The repositioned Mervyn Tower is located to the W of the broch enclosure outworks. Although the structure has been built with modern mortar with neater facings than the original tower, in several places this mortar is loose, and many of the upper courses of the monument are unstable, and require re-pointing as part of the long-term conservation requirements of the site. <8>

Sources/Archives (8)



Grid reference Centred ND 3700 6314 (48m by 14m) (4 map features)
Map sheet ND36SE
Civil Parish CANISBAY
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

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