MHG948 - Chambered Cairn, Shurrery Church


A chambered cairn, of Orkney-Cromarty type, unusual in Caithness for its size. Heavily damaged by 19th century building in the area.

Type and Period (1)

  • CHAMBERED CAIRN (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2401 BC)

Protected Status

Full Description

Cairn (NR) OS 6"map, Caithness, 2nd ed., (1907)

The remains of this Orkney-Cromarty type round cairn are about 6ft high, 115ft NNE-SSW and 120ft transversely; it may have been longer. The cairn is crossed by two walls. S of southern wall the rise is barely perceptible. Between the walls, little is visible above the rough turf. N end has been greatly reduced round the edges and faced with a retaining wall, while field stones have been added to the top. The remains of a probable stalled chamber, 40ft long, are visible to E of apparent centre of cairn, and stones protruding from cairn may be the remains of a second chamber.
A S Henshall 1963. <1>

The mutilated remains of this round cairn measure about 35m in diameter by 2.1m high. To S of each of the walls which cross it, the cairn survives as a grass-covered mound. N of northern wall, more details can be seen. The main body of the cairn is within a retaining wall, and in E five slabs are set on edge forming four stalls. The original perimeter of the cairn cannot be traced.
Resurveyed at 1:2500. Visited by OS (R D) 17 November 1964.

Chambered Cairn (NR) OS 6"map, (1963)

The chambered cairn is as described and planned by the previous authorities. A very low spread of rubble E of the chamber appears to be cairn material.
Revised at 1:2500. Visited by OS (J B) 21 July 1981.

A shepherd's cairn appears to be marked on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey map to the W? of the chambered cairn. An annotation of remains of Pict's House could refer to the Chambered Cairn, although this is unclear, and no previous authorities have mentioned this site. <2>

The cairn extends into the wall surrounding the Kirk to the south. This wall, buildings shown on the 1st edition and a fenceline have heavily disturbed the profile of the cairn mound. Photographs were taken on a site visit by Andrew Puls. <3>

Sources/Archives (5)



Grid reference Centred ND 0487 5874 (80m by 80m) (2 map features)
Map sheet ND05NW
Civil Parish REAY
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

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