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Isbister, St Mary's Kirk

Broch (Iron Age)(Possible), Chapel (Medieval), Site (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Isbister, St Mary's Kirk

Classification Broch (Iron Age)(Possible), Chapel (Medieval), Site (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Skaill; Grind

Canmore ID 1990

Site Number HY31NE 2

NGR HY 3997 1872

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Orkney Islands
  • Parish Evie And Rendall
  • Former Region Orkney Islands Area
  • Former District Orkney
  • Former County Orkney

Archaeology Notes

HY31NE 2 3997 1872

(HY 3997 1872) St. Mary's Kirk (NR) (Site of)

OS 6" map, Orkney, 2nd ed., (1900).

The site of this Roman Catholic chapel was on a knoll formed by the remains of a structure, believed to have been perhaps a broch or circular chapel. The structure '... has been built of two concentric walls ...'

'Mr Marwick, tenant, has dug up human bones, whale- bone, shells and what he thought to be gravestones near this place. He also demolished ruins adjoining this spot...'

Name Book 1880.

A grass-and-nettle-covered mound, c. 1.4m. high, squared off by ploughing, from which protrude large broch-like stones, situated on a low hill in the middle of a cultivated field. There is no trace of a building on the mound, and no signs of walling in it.

Mr H Seaton of Grind, Evie, uncovered a flagstone at HY 3996 1870, close tp the mound, which was supported by two parallel stone walls, whilst ploughing last year. Underneath the flagstone was a pile of bones so he immediately replaced the stone and covered it with soil. No trace can now be seen.

The site may have been occupied by a broch and its adjacent outbuildings, but, pending excavation, the precise nature of the remains cannot be determined.

Surveyed at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (RL), 3 June 1967.


Field Visit (May 1981)

As described, very prominent, almost vertical-sided,

ploughing-truncated mound.

Information from Orkney SMR (RGL) May 81.

Publication Account (2002)



Possible broch in Evie and Rendall consisting of a grass-covered mound reported to contain the ruins of a broch or a circular chapel, built of two concentric walls [1].

Source: 1. OS card HY 31 NE 2.

E W MacKie 2002


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