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Rousay, The Burrian

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

Site Name Rousay, The Burrian

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

Canmore ID 2278

Site Number HY33SE 13

NGR HY 3949 3338

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Orkney Islands
  • Parish Rousay And Egilsay
  • Former Region Orkney Islands Area
  • Former District Orkney
  • Former County Orkney

Archaeology Notes

HY33SE 13 3949 3338.

(HY 3949 3338) Chapel (NR) (Site of)

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

The Burrian: Applies to a small island situated in the Loch of Wasbister. It contains the site of an ancient chapel and was formerly connected with the mainland with stepping stones still visible under the surface of the loch. From the fact of deer horns, bones, coins etc having been found on the site of the old chapel, it is thought that a more ancient building existed there prior to the erection of the chapel. Name Book 1880.

No remains are now to be seen on this small island, but a submerged causeway connects it with the W shore of the loch, 100 yds distant. The name 'Burrian' and the existence of the causeway suggest a broch rather than an eccl|siastical building, although, as often happens elsewhere, a broch may have been succeeded by a chapel.

RCAHMS 1946. Visited 1928.

No trace of a chapel, or broch. There are slight indications around the periphery of the island (1 to 2 m outside the modern wall) of the outer face of an earlier wall, which is otherwise completely destroyed. The submerged causeway can be seen leading NW from the centre of the NW side of the modern wall for about 30 m before it disappears into the mud on the bed of the loch.

Visited by OS(AA) 15 October 1972.

Burrian: A probable artificial island; an islet 'bough' or ring-fort apparently re-used as the site of a chapel, possibly dedicated to St Peter.(RCAHMS 1946; H Marwick 1924).

Visited by R G Lamb 1979.

RCAHMS 1982.


Publication Account (2002)



Possible broch on Rousay: no further information

Source: OS card HY 33 SE 13

E W MacKie 2002


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