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West Town

Corn Drying Kiln (Post Medieval), Township (Post Medieval)

Site Name West Town

Classification Corn Drying Kiln (Post Medieval), Township (Post Medieval)

Canmore ID 13279

Site Number NH63SW 45

NGR NH 6253 3267

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Dores
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Inverness
  • Former County Inverness-shire

Archaeology Notes

NH63SW 45 6256 3265.

"(NH 626327) A horse-shoe shaped mound with walls 4 ft. thick and 4 ft. high situated near a deserted settlement on the shore of Loch Dun Seilcheig. The chamber is 11 ft. in diameter and opens towards the loch."

A A Woodham 1963.

NH 6256 3265. This is a well-preserved corn-drying kiln associated with a nearby depopulated settlement. Not an antiquity.

Visited by OS (NKB) 6 February 1970.


Field Visit (22 October 1992)

This township occupies a broad terrace above the NE end of Loch Duntelchaig. It consists of eight buildings and huts, a corn-drying kiln, and an outlying building situated some 150m to the NW, close to the buildings of modern West Town.

The buildings can be divided into two groups on the basis of their condition. In the first group there are four buildings, all lying to the SE or to the NE of the main group, and all defined by grassed-over stony banks nowhere more than 0.25m high. Three of them range in length from 6.6m to 9.8m and in breadth from 4.1m to 5.4m, over banks spread to 1.4m in thickness (USN93 114, 433 and 434). The fourth building (USN93 112) measures 23m in length by 6.5m transversely over a stony bank spread to 1.5m. This building has a slight rise halfway along its length which may indicate a partition.

In the second group there are four large buildings of faced rubble construction, the kiln and the outlying building. Four of the buildings measure between 15.6m and 23.7m in length and between 3.4m and 4m in breadth within walls up to 1m thick. The fifth building (USN93 113) measures 31.5m in length by 3.5m in breadth internally; the remains of this building display several phases of construction and the NE compartment, which is the earliest, seems to have had a bedneuk on its SE side which was converted into an entrance when the original entrance was blocked. A larger compartment was then added at the SW end, with its own entrance and a second bedneuk. Finally, a third compartment was added to the SW end of the second, the end wall of the second compartment being demolished and rebuilt at this time. There is also a bedneuk in one of the smaller buildings (USN93 118) and both this building and USN93 111 (the outlier to the NW) have porches enclosing their entrances. The use of USN93 116 as a byre is demonstrated by its central drain.

The kiln is set into a SE-facing slope at some distance from the other buildings and has a circular bowl measuring 3.3m in diameter within a wall 1.2m thick. Above it on the NW there is a flat area which may be the site of a loading platform.

Several short stretches of bank were recorded amongst the buildings, and at the N and E edges of the township there are two pits, each dug into a slight knoll. Pits such as these have been recorded close to several ruined townships in the area and were presumably used for storage. One pit is surrounded by an upcast bank which overlies the corner of building USN93 434.

The 1st edition of the OS 6-inch map (Inverness-shire, 1875, sheet xxx) depicts all of the buildings of the second group, although only one, the outlier to the NW (USN93 111), is shown roofed. This is depicted as part of a farmstead, of which the rest has been destroyed, presumably the successor to the four buildings and kiln to the SE. The buildings of the first group are not shown at all, and presumably relate to an earlier phase again.

(USN93 111-8, 433-4)

Visited by RCAHMS (SDB) 22 October 1992.

Measured Survey (22 October 1992)

RCAHMS surveyed the building (USN93 113) at West Town with self-reducing alidade and plane-table on 22 October 1992 at a scale of 1:250. The resultant plan was redrawn in ink in November 1992.


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