MHG720 - Reay Burgh


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Type and Period (1)

  • BURGH (Post Medieval - 1560 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

NB two sources of information appear to have been garbled here. The settlement revealedd in 1751 was probably the one to S of Knock Stanger, this is undoubtedly prehistoric (at least in its earliest phases - 16 identified). A norse cemetery (and earlier) has been reported to the NE of settlement of Reay and as the parish church is here (disused scheduled), the settlement that predates the burgh should be located in this area. No obvious trace of this in the surviving topography as depicted by 1st ed OS. The graveyard is a suspicious shape and there is only a small cluster of buildings around this W of the stream. The post office & school lie to E of the stream (which may of course have shifted from its original line). The Norse cemetery also lies E of the stream line. - HAW 2/2003

NC96SE 48 968 645.
In 1751 a waterspout laid bare the foundations of a town on W side of Burn of Reay between the village called Old Reay and the sea. The old village had a market cross (NC96SE30), now removed to New Reay, a village built to westward of the former (OPS 1855). The old village is said to have been a burgh of regality with two free fairs and a free port granted by James VI when he knighted Donald MacKay in 1616 (F H Groome 1901). In 1640 the 'town of Rhae' is referred to as being 'of new erected into a burgh of barony' (OPS 1855).
The church of Reay is 'built in a little village called the town of Reay close by the sea side which seems to be a place of considerable antiquity and in which there are some vestiges thereof to be seen, but is now almost covered with sand. The privileges of this town tho' ancient are very few, having only two mercats in the year'. The old village of Reay stood in vicinity of the parish church but no vestige of it is now to be seen.
Orig Paroch Scot 1855; NSA 1845; F H Groome 1901; W Macfarlane 1906-8; Name Book 1873; J Drummond 1873.

Erected burgh of barony in 1628.
G S Pryde 1965.

Sources/Archives (8)



Grid reference Centred NC 9679 6490 (30m by 30m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NC96SE
Civil Parish REAY
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

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Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

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