MHG54254 - Byre house, longhouse/farmstead, enclosure - Soulmarksie


A ruinous byre house, longhouse/farmstead and enclosure to the W of Luichart Dam.

Type and Period (4)

  • LONGHOUSE (Post Medieval - 1560 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FARMHOUSE (Post Medieval - 1560 AD? to 1900 AD?)
  • ENCLOSURE (Post Medieval - 1560 AD? to 1900 AD?)
  • BYRE (Post Medieval - 1560 AD? to 1900 AD?)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A longhouse was photographed during a site visit by Kirsty Cameron. It survives as an unroofed building, standing to eaves height. Shown as within an enclosure on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey map. <1><2>

Centred on NH 3851 5800 and set on a knoll on a SE facing slope to the west of the River Conon and the Loch Luichart Dam. The farmstead, recorded by NOSAS in 2007 as part of the Scotland's Rural Past Project, comprises a large enclosure, a substantial building and at least 2 small pens or byres. There is also evidence of an earlier building and field system and to the east on the steeper bouldery slope there are 2 pens, several walls and a possible well. See plan. To the north, above the main farmstead there is a well constructed rock shelter, site 33, which may be associated. The area is grossly infested with bracken. A roofed building and enclosure appear on the FES, but this is not a FESP site. The settlement of Glenmarksie also appears on the Roy map c.1750 in this position. The census record has 4 households in 1841 and then 2 from 1851 which may have been the time at which the large dry stone wall which bisects the whole of this hillside dividing Soulmarksie from Glenmarksie, was constructed. From 1901 there is only 1 household at Glenmarksie, presumably Soulmarksie had been abandoned by this time.

040 Enclosure - This main enclosure is sub rectangular and on a N-S axis, it measures roughly 120m x 80m. It is bounded on 3 sides by a substantial wall which on its lower/outer face reaches 1.2m in height in several places. The wall is quite irregular and tortuous and may be on the line of an earlier one. The south side of the enclosure is bounded by a crag. The main building is situated at the north end of the enclosure. There are several quite large clearance cairns within the enclosure and in the southeast part there is a linear wall, possibly a consumption dyke, NH 38536 57932, 9 x 1m in length, which may form the east wall of a small level area, possibly an enclosure, to the west.

041 Building - NH 38495 58006 The main building is 19.90m E-W by 4.80m and the walls are largely intact up to gable height at both ends. There are 3 compartments each with S facing entrances. The E compartment may have been extended to the S (there is an indication of a wall join on the external face, this is less pronounced on the inner face.) The W wall is partially tumbled. There are no internal features (apart from a corrugated iron arc). The central compartment has a tapered window space on either side of the doorway. To the E of the doorway there is a cruck slot and also a corresponding one on the N wall. There are no cruck spaces to the W of the doorway. The N wall is partially tumbled. The W compartment has no internal features apart from a setting of loose stones that appears to be recent and may be a fox trap. The S wall is set back from the general line of the S wall. The outer face of the east end of the central compartment and the W end of the E compartment is inaccessible due to a fallen tree. Along the front (S) of the building there is an apron or platform 2.10m wide. 1m to the W of the main building is a small structure set into the bedrock. To the S of the main building are the upstanding (c.0.75m) remains of an enclosure wall. To the N and abutting the building is a more tumbled enclosure wall. There may be an entrance through this wall c.1m N of the building but it has been filled with tumble. This building may possibly be built on the site of an earlier building indicated by a platform which extends to the SE - site 042.

042 Platform/Building - NH 38502 58002 This platform extends to the SE from building 041. It is a raised area measuring 7m x 8m and 0.8m in height with steep banks. There is a dished central area - this and its situation may be evidence of an earlier building.

043 Byre/pen - NH 3852 157981 15m to the SE of 041 there are the low stone footings of a building measuring 3m x 2m internally.

044 Structure/Pen - NH 38485 58012 Situated 1.5m to the NW of the NW corner of main building 41, this rectangular structure is on a NE-SW axis and measures 2.5m x 1.5m internally. It uses two large in-situ boulders for its NE(1.8m x 1.8m) and NW walls. There is rough stonework adjacent to the largest boulder to a height of 1m, but on the SE side the wall is tumbled and has a height of 0.3m and spread of 1-1.5m. The structure is open to the SW. Bracken covered.

031 Pen - NH 38475 57991 A small pen measuring 2 x 1.5m, set into the hillside and defined on its south side by a single setting of stones.

032 Wall - A short length, 20m, of curving wall which contains a marshy area to its west and which may continue east to join the main wall of enclosure 40. It ends at its west end at a large boulder. The 1st edition OS map has a well in this vicinity, but there is only a silted up marsh, alder trees surrounding today.

034 Pen - NH 38432 57978 A sub-rectangular pen on a NE-SW axis. This pen is to the west of a large boulder and on 2 levels. The overall dimensions are 14 x 8m and it is defined by very wasted walls of small boulders. Bracken covered.

035 Wall - NH 38458 57980 A curving wall recessed into the slope on a E-W axis to the SE of pen 34. Length 20m and height generally 0.8m on its outer face. <3>

Sources/Archives (3)



Grid reference Centred NH 3850 5797 (173m by 158m) (3 map features)
Map sheet NH35NE
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY
Civil Parish CONTIN

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