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St Thomas's Kirk, Hall Of Rendall

Broch (Iron Age)(Possible), Settlement (Period Unassigned), Carved Stone Ball, Unidentified Pottery (Iron Age)

Site Name St Thomas's Kirk, Hall Of Rendall

Classification Broch (Iron Age)(Possible), Settlement (Period Unassigned), Carved Stone Ball, Unidentified Pottery (Iron Age)

Canmore ID 2680

Site Number HY42SW 12

NGR HY 4250 2097

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

HY42SW 12 4250 2097

(HY 4250 2097) Brough (NR)

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

The remains of this possible broch are, for the most part, hidden by turf, and no satisfactory ground-plan can be traced.

Close behind and parallel to the modern wall that separates the site from the seashore the bank has been broken down for some distance in a north-south direction, and along this line a stretch of drystone walling, which must have been of the outbuildings if the site is that of a broch, has been revealed.

No distinctive features were exposed but many pot-sherds of broch type were found in 1928 by the Commission.

RCAHMS 1946.

Generally as described. There are no signs of a broch but the site bears a strong resemblance to the chambered settlements (prob. IA), such as the Knowe of Nesthouse - HY22NE 6. A large quantity of midden material, bones, shells, burnt stones, fire-blackened potsherds, and a flat stone disc, probably a potlid, were found at the time of investigation.

Resurveyed at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (RL) 7 June 1967.

HY 424 210 Geophysical survey and cliff-section recording were carried out at the site of St Thomas' Church and the adjacent settlement mound (NMRS HY42SW 12) to evaluate the threat from coastal erosion. The work was part of a field course organised by the University of Leeds School of Continuing Education. Wall footings were partially exposed by J Storer Clouston in 1931, who claimed a 12th-century date for the church: his excavation trenches and spoil heaps are still visible. Resistivity survey suggests that the S boundary of the churchyard lies approximately 10m from the church, and returns to the junction with the N wall of the nave as reported by Clouston. The church is not under any immediate threat from erosion, although human remains have been reported from the beach.

Erosion of the settlement mound has exposed two main sections of massive stone walling, suggestive of an Atlantic roundhouse. There may be occupation levels still surviving between them on the seaward side, which would have been the interior of the roundhouse, and in extra-mural structures defined by further coursed masonry and vertical slabs. Although pottery and midden material have been recovered from the site, the only artefact found on this occasion was a bone weaving comb of Iron Age type, which was picked up from detritus on the N side of the main structure. Geophysical survey suggests that structural evidence does not extend very far inland, and that there is a substantial outwork enclosing the mound.

Sponsor: University of Leeds.

R D Martlew 2000.


Publication Account (2002)



Possible broch near the shore in Evie and Rendall, now hidden under turf. Many Iron Age potsherds were found in 1928 [2].

Sources: 1. OS card HY 42 SW 12: 2. RCAHMS 1946, 2, no. 270, 80:

E W MacKie 2002


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