MHG698 - Castlehill Pavement Works


C19 flagstone works established c.1824 by the Sheriff of Caithness, James Traill of Rattar. The site consists of quarries, spoil heaps, workers cottages, windmills, offices and a harbour. At its peak c.1900 over 500 people were employed and the flagstones were shipped to the UK (Caithness flagstone was used to pave The Strand in London) and as far as Australia and South America. It was closed in the early C20, partly due to the depression and partly due to the increased use of cheaper materials such as concrete.

Type and Period (2)

  • FLAGSTONE WORKS (In use, 19th Century to First World War - 1824 AD to 1914 AD)
  • SANDSTONE QUARRY (19th Century to First World War - 1824 AD to 1914 AD)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

An extensive site which comprises flagstone quarries, a cutting yard with machinery powered by water and steam, wind powered water pump, worker's housing, a farm steading, a harbour, the owner's manison house and spoil heaps . The works were disused by 1914. Much of the quarry has now been backfilled. All of the buildings at the cutting yard site have been demolished and cleared to ground level and all the machinery has been removed. The worker's houses are disused.
The Ordnance Survey 1st edition 25-inch maps of 1872 and 1905 (Caithness, sheet VI.10) show the extent of the flagstone quarry and the location of the works. The cutting yard was used to dress and saw the quarried stone before it was shipped from the harbour. By the early 1990s, part of the quarry, cutting yard, dam, water wheel pit, windmill stump and a portion of the steading have been transformed into a museum and interpretation centre. The ONB entry (1872) states that the works was powered by water and steam.
[See MS/744/63/1-5]
Visited by RCAHMS (GJD) November 1991 <1>.

Buildings now form part of the Castlehill Pavement Works Trail, waymarked, parking boards etc. Area to S of spoilheaps etc, part the new carpark, part now planted as community forest. Most of the other buildings are ruinouse, those on the E side of the road (the offices and farm steading are in better condition (ie roofed) but fenced off and marked as dangerous <2>.

Sources/Archives (7)



Grid reference Centred ND 1910 6844 (1436m by 676m) (3 map features)
Map sheet ND16NE
Civil Parish OLRIG
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (18)

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External Links (2)

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