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Thurso, Harold's Tower Mausoleum

Mausoleum (18th Century)

Site Name Thurso, Harold's Tower Mausoleum

Classification Mausoleum (18th Century)

Canmore ID 8433

Site Number ND16NW 15

NGR ND 13542 69236

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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

Archaeology Notes

ND16NW 15 13542 69236

(ND 1354 6923) Harold's Tower (NAT)

Mausoleum (NAT)

OS 6" map, (1971)

The chapel at Thurso East is apparently the chapel that is mentioned in 'Orkneyinga Saga' (1780) and 'Torfaeus' and existing when the former was written.

Orig Paroch Scot 1855.

There was a chapel at the Hill of Clairdon on the site of which Harold's Tower was built by Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster before 1780 to mark the spot where Earl Harold (the younger) is supposed to have been killed and buried at the Battle of Clardon Hill in 1196 (ND16NW 14). The enclosure is called 'Kirkua' from the temple built over Earl Harold's grave and vestiges of the chapel were visible until George Sinclair of Ulbster (father of Sir John) enclosed the ground (Torfaeus 1886).

T Torfaeus 1886; W Campbell 1902; D Beaton 1909.

No trace of a chapel exists at this site. The mausoleum has a plaque on the SW side bearing the words: 'The burial place of the Sinclairs of Ulbster'.

Visited by OS (E G C) 18 April 1962.

Harold's Tower, a mausoleum, is generally as described by the previous investigator, but the steps to it have been removed, the burial vault has been broken into and the coffins are displaced. The mausoleum is within an embanked enclosure, 35.0m across, presumably that built by Sir George Sinclair. There is no trace of a chapel.

Revised at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (J M) 1 October 1981.


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