MHG30519 - Multi-period settlement, Corrie Ghardale


A multi-period settlement with possible prehistoric remains and still permanently inhabited in 1841.

Type and Period (10)

  • TOWNSHIP (Medieval to 19th Century - 1058 AD to 1900 AD)
  • SETTLEMENT (Early Iron Age to Early Medieval - 550 BC to 1057 AD)
  • ENCLOSURE (Early Iron Age to 19th Century - 550 BC to 1900 AD)
  • (Former Type) SHIELING SETTLEMENT (Post Medieval - 1560 AD to 1900 AD)
  • SHIELING (Post Medieval - 1560 AD to 1900 AD)
  • DROVE ROAD (Post Medieval - 1560 AD to 1900 AD)
  • DYKE (Early Iron Age to 19th Century - 550 BC to 1900 AD)
  • RIG AND FURROW (Medieval to 19th Century - 1058 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FANK (Post Medieval - 1560 AD to 1900 AD)
  • HOMESTEAD? (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Corrie Ghardale, referred to in the 1509 and earlier charters as Keankilze (Ceann a Coille - Woodend) (charter dated 1508/9 granted by King James IV to Ewen Maclean of Kilmaheu (See Acts of the Lords of the Isles 1336-1493, Munro JM & RW, Edin 1986: Scottish History Society, 4th series, Vol 22; see also Origines Parochiales Scotiae [Bannatyne Club] 1855 and Thornber lain, Dail na Cille, The Field of the Church, privately printed 2000.).
The settlement area is extensive and complicated and runs NE upwards of a mile onto the corrie. It comprises 6-8 substantial rectangular freestone buildings, some standing to lintel height, terraced enclosures, turf and stone field walls, associated shielings and an unusual 'sunken' sheep fank (I know of only one other of this type in the Morvern peninsula) all on or close to an old drove road leading across from the head of Loch Sunart. The majority of the larger rectangular structures are possibly mid 18th - early 19th century overlying the medieval settlement. From my knowledge of the local archaeology and from what I have seen on the ground without the vegetation, I am of the opinion that part of this extensive site may be of Iron Age period, perhaps earlier. I consider it to be one of the most important occupational sites in West Lochaber which is so far relatively intact.

Notes by Iain Thornber 6/1/2002
Added by John Wood 15/2/2002

Created automatically by NMRS Register Utility
User: Admin, Date: Wed 13 Oct 2004
NM85SW 6 830 543

A field and an enclosure are depicted on the 1st edition of the OS 6-inch map (Argyllshire 1875, sheet xlii). The field, two enclosures and what may be three unroofed shieling-huts lying to the NW (NM 8279 5439, M 8284 5444 and NM 8294 5436) are shown on the current edition of the OS 1:10000 map (1973).
Information from RCAHMS (SAH) 13 May 1998

NM 830 543 (centre) A desk-based assessment and rapid walkover survey were carried out in September 2001 over the proposed works and pipeline routes of two hydro-electric schemes. A range of post-medieval features were noted, as well as one settlement, abandoned in the mid-19th century, containing possible prehistoric features (previously recorded as shieling huts) at NM 830 543 (NMRS NM 85 SW 6).
Report will be lodged with Highland SMR.
Sponsor: Ash Consulting Group for Scottish & Southern Energy plc.
C Dagg 2001

This is described in the NMRS as possible shieling huts and enclosures, but is in fact a multi-period settlement with possible prehistoric remains and still permanently inhabited in 1841. The whole settlement is enclosed by a dyke, stone in parts and turf across wet ground. Within this dyke are three substantial ruins of well constructed houses and the remains of one further poorly constructed building, two small enclosures and other features which could not be interpreted under thick bracken.Other features such as rig cultivation were noted on the aerial photographs of 1946. These structures probably represent the settlement of Ceann na Coille, first named on maps in 1801, but as some of these features are typical of pre-improvement settlement probably going back considerably earlier.
Within the sheep enclosure in the eastern part of the settlement (see MHG52638) and occupying the summit of a knoll, is a further enclosure of high turf and stone walls. This had the possible characteristics of a prehistoric homestead, or may just be a pre-Clearance enclosure. No features were discernible under the bracken and no clearance piles located, but a more detailed survey at a better time of year may further the interpretation of this site.
Two of the streams running into the Allt Ghardail have rubble boundary dykes running down their eastern banks. The full extent of these was not investigated. <1>

Sources/Archives (1)



Grid reference Centred NM 82987 54346 (514m by 393m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NM85SW
Civil Parish ARDGOUR
Geographical Area LOCHABER

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

External Links (1)

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