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Burgh (Medieval)

Site Name Reay

Classification Burgh (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Burn Of Reay; Old Reay

Canmore ID 7371

Site Number NC96SE 48

NGR NC 968 649

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2020.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Reay
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Caithness
  • Former County Caithness

Archaeology Notes

NC96SE 48 968 645

See also NC96SE 64.

In 1751 a waterspout laid bare the foundations of a town on the west side of the Burn of Reay between the village called Old Reay and the sea. The old village had a market cross (NC96SE 30), now removed to New Reay, a village built to westward of the former (OPS 1855). The old village is said to have been a burgh of regality with two free fairs and a free port granted by James VI when he knighted Donald MacKay in 1616 (F H Groome 1901). In 1640 the 'town of Rhae' is referred to as being 'of new erected into a burgh of barony' (OPS 1855).

The church of Reay is 'built in a little village called the town of Reay close by the sea side which seems to be a place of considerable antiquity and in which there are some vestiges thereof to be seen, but is now almost covered with sand. The privileges of this town tho' ancient are very few, having only two mercats in the year'. The old village of Reay stood in the vicinity of the parish church but no vestige of it is now to be seen.

New Statistical Account (NSA) 1845; Orig Paroch Scot 1855; Name Book 1873; J Drummond 1873; F H Groome 1901; W Macfarlane 1906-8.


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