MHG3158 - Broch - Kingsburgh, Skye


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Type and Period (1)

  • BROCH (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Kingsburgh, NG35NE0010

Brochs were the defended homesteads of local chieftains in the Later Iron Age and are common in the northern and western Highlands. Kingsburgh is in the prominent position typical of these structures. It is located on the highest point of a gently sloping ridge, overlooking the mouth of Loch Snizort Beag. The broch itself stands on a rocky platform, 7m above the surrounding ground level. (65)
The interior is circular, with the outer face surviving to a height of 1.5m. Almost opposite the entrance, another doorway gives access to an intra-mural gallery within the thickness of the drystone wall. A circular building, of recent date, now occupies much of the interior. (45)
The broch lies close to a group of hut-circles and associated cultivation remains, which may be contemporary. In its immediate vicinity are settlement remains of much later date. (28)
Armit, I., 1997. Celtic Scotland. Edinburgh: Batsford.
RCAHMS. 1928. The Outer Hebrides, Skye and the Small Isles. Edinburgh: HMSO, 196, No. 619.
Information from SCRAN Project, March, 2000

This broch is quite overgrown with turf although a fair proportion of stone is visible. The broch is very much as described by the Royal Commission in 1928 and does not appear to have undergone any major changes since then. The later foundations of the circular structure are still visible in the centre of the interior. The inner wall faces of the broch are clear in many areas and it still survives a well divined structure. Visible in the surrounding area are many remains of dykes and rectangular structures these are interpreted by the RCAHMS as being later features and appear to have been solidly built as they survive well. There are traces of fields in the vicinity.
The entrance still survives in the North West as a well defined feature although some tumble into the passage way has occurred this does not appear to be recent. The area is heavily used for cattle grazing and there is evidence for cattle feeding stations having been located in the vicinity although not on archaeological features. A large amount of trampling by the cattle is evident and there does appear to be some ground disturbance due to this on the lower slopes of the ridge where the broch is situated. The broch looks out over the loch and has good vantage points although to its rear there are hills which lower the area of good visibility. The buildings remains are plentiful around the broch and easily identified there is a corn kiln immediately to the North, of the broch and a number of other structures lie in the vicinity of this. The area could benefit from a full scale survey due to the obvious use of this area over extended periods of time. Down from the broch on the west side the water edge there is a gentle bay which would have be suitable for launching or beaching shallow bottomed boats. As far as the eye can see the area has been utilised for agricultural purposes in the past. Know easy vantage points for a photograph with this broch.

NG35NE 10 3891 5688

(NG 389 566) At the S and highest end of a gradually rising ridge, some 25ft above the surrounding ground, about 1100 yards due W of the 10 1/4 milestone from Portree to Uig, is a circular dun about 34ft in diameter internally, the wall of which is reduced to a height of about 2ft above the foundations on the inside and about 6ft at most on the outside. The outer and inner faces of the wall, which has a average thickness of 11 1/2ft, can be traced around the whole of the circumference. The entrance in the NNW measuring 3 1/2ft wide, is well-defined. In the inner walling on the S, a doorway 2ft wide gives access to a gallery with apparent continuations round the W and E arcs.
A large part of the interior is occupied by the later foundations of a circular structure, averaging 18ft in internal diameter, surrounded by a wall about 3ft thick and impinging on the S wall of the broch at the entrance to the gallery. A wall 3ft thick and 10ft long connects this construction at the NE with the main wall. A secondary wall foundation, 5ft thick and now 15ft long, justs perpendicularly outwards from the NE face of the Broch.
RCAHMS 1928.

A broch as described by RCAHMS: fair condition. Surrounding it are about 20 ruined houses and yards associated with lazy-beds.
Visited by OS (C F W) 2 May 1961.

See: NG35NE 32: 388 569: Township; Field-system; Cultivation Remains

NG/3891 5688
This probable ground-galleried broch in Snizort, Skye, stands on the southern and highest end of a rocky ridge about 7.5m (25 ft) above the surrounding ground (the author failed to find this site on two occasions). There is a recent settlement of longhouses close by which doubtless explains why so much stone has vanished from the site. Even so the outline of the structure is still clearly discernible [4, plan].
The entrance faces north-north-west but, though it is well defined and 1.07m (3.5 ft) wide, there were no signs of door-checks in 1921 [2]. However one on the left was seen in 1985 at 1.4m from the outer end, together with a sill stone at the front of the passage [4]. Beyond the door-frame the passage widens to about 1.4m.
The main wall is reduced to about 61cm (2 ft) in height along the inner face and to not more than 1.83m (6 ft) on the outer: both faces are traceable most of the way round. Thus the mural gallery, which is also traceable most of the way round, must be at ground level. A doorway to the gallery is apparent at about 12.30 o'clock.
Much of the interior is occupied by the foundations of a circular structure with an internal diameter of about 5.49m (18 ft) with a wall 92cm (3 ft) thick; this slightly overrides the inner face of the broch wall on the south, at the gallery door. There is also a secondary radial wall projecting outwards from the broch on the north-east.
Dimensions: external diameter about 17.4m (57 ft), internal about 10.37m (34 ft), wall proportion c. 40.4%. Swanson gives the internal diameter as c. 10.8m and the external one from 18.5 - 17.8 m, which gives about the same wall proportion.
Sources: 1. NMRS site no. NG 35 NE 10: 2. RCAHMS 1928, 196, no. 619, and fig. 282: 3. MacSween 1984-85, 43-44, no. 17 and fig. 17: 4. Swanson (ms) 1985, 825-27 and plan. <1>

Sources/Archives (13)



Grid reference Centred NG 3890 5688 (70m by 70m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NG35NE
Geographical Area SKYE AND LOCHALSH
Civil Parish SNIZORT

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