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Loch Of Tankerness, 'howie Of The Manse'

Broch (Iron Age)(Possible)

Site Name Loch Of Tankerness, 'howie Of The Manse'

Classification Broch (Iron Age)(Possible)

Canmore ID 2989

Site Number HY50NW 3

NGR HY 5142 0899

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Orkney Islands
  • Parish St Andrews And Deerness
  • Former Region Orkney Islands Area
  • Former District Orkney
  • Former County Orkney

Archaeology Notes

HY50NW 3 5142 0899.

(HY 5142 0899) Broch, probable, 'Howie of the Manse' Tankerness. - At the end of the short promontory is a grassy mound rising 8ft above the shore line, and measuring 60ft in diameter. There are many stones in the interior, and several large slabs havebeen dug out by the farmer, while a midden deposit of shells and bones has been notes on the NW arc. On the landward side there are three or four lower mounds which may cover building, while traces of two lines of low mounds, suggesting defensive walls, extend across the low-lying neck of the promontory, respectively 85ft and 145ft from the centre of the main mound. The inner-line, in which a few stones show here and there, curves inwards near its middle as if towards an entrance.

The character, dimensions, and situation of these remains all suggest that they may be those of a broch and its 'outbuildings' but no coursed masonry or wall-faces could be seen.

RCAHMS 1946.

This probable broch now consists of a mutilated grass covered mound rising about 2.5m above the shoreline and measuring 17.0m x 12.0m. Many stones protrude from the top at its northern end. Three almost rectangular banks and the remains of others could be discerned to the south and west of the broch and 27.0m and 42.0m from the centre, the remains of what could have been two defensive walls were found, one of these connects up with one of the almost rectangular banks. All the banks were grass covered earth and stone with a few stones protruding here and there; no bank was higher than 0.3m.

Surveyed at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (RD) 8 April 1964.


Orkney Smr Note (1979)

'On a small neck of dry land which juts into this loch we see the remains of a building of the same form with those so frequent on the shores, but altogether in a heap of ruins.'


'Its form is now semicircular. The wall is 9ft. thick, in which there seem to have been no apartments, or if there have, they are now filled with rubbish. Some pieces of wall have been found on the outside, but there use or form cannot be ascertained. Bones and shells of various kinds of animals, with peat ashes, have been found in different apartments on the outside of the great wall. The minister . . . has taken a great number of the stones of this building for enclosing his glebe.'[R2]

'. . small bone rings, shells and bones of various kinds of animals have been found in it. Part of it has also the

appearance of having, at one time, been a burial ground . . '[R3]

'An ornament like the rings of the trachea of an animal found in a Picts House on the margin of the loch of Tankerness in 1808 given to Dr. Traill by Rev Jas Smellie.' [R4]

Grassy mound, 8ft. above loch level, 60ft. diameter. Many stones visible including slabs dug out by farmer as fence posts. Midden of shell and bones on NW. Landward are 3 or 4 lower mounds which may contain buildings. Traces of 2 possible defensive walls across isthmus, 85ft. and 145ft. from centre of main mound. Near its middle the inner line curves inwards as if for an entrance. [R5]

Mutilated, grassed mound 2.5m above shoreline, 17 x 12m, many protruding stones at N end. Three almost rectangular banks and remains of others to S and W of broch; and 27m and 42m from centre remains of two possible defensive walls one of which connects up with one of the rectangular banks. No bank higher

than 0.3m.

OS visit Apr 1964.

As described by OS. 'Rectangular banks' form a possible building. Stumps of many erect slabs suggest whole promontory is full of structures. Does not now suggest a broch but rather, a densely grouped settlement. Erect slab structures visible in hollow top of main mound, not at all broch-like. The 'defensive walls' of RCAMS are vague and uncertain, although 2 possible lines can be made out.

RGL April 1979.

Information from Orkney SMR

Publication Account (2002)

HY50 7 TANKERNESS 1 ('Howie of the Manse')


Possible broch in St Andrews and Deerness, a grassy mound situated on a short promontory near the south end of the Loch of Tankerness. Traces of many stones have been seen, and a midden on the NW arc [2]. There are suggest-ions of outbuildings close by on the landward side, traces of what looks like double defensive wall or rampart across the neck of the promontory.

Sources: 1. OS card HY 50 NW 3 (with photo.); 2. RCAHMS 1946, 2, no. 626, 243.

E W MacKie 2002


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