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Hoy, Crockness, Martello Tower

Martello Tower (19th Century)

Site Name Hoy, Crockness, Martello Tower

Classification Martello Tower (19th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Crookness; Crock Ness; Long Hope; Lyness; Longhope Anchorage; Scapa Flow

Canmore ID 9478

Site Number ND39SW 10

NGR ND 32426 93437

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Orkney Islands
  • Parish Walls And Flotta
  • Former Region Orkney Islands Area
  • Former District Orkney
  • Former County Orkney

Archaeology Notes

ND39SW 10 32426 93437

Martello Tower [NAT]

OS (GIS) MasterMap, August 2010.

For (associated) Martello tower at Hackness (ND 3384 9128), see ND39SW 8.

The Crockness tower, 1813-15, is the twin of the one at Hackness (ND39SW 8), guarding the approach to the Longhope anchorage from a position on the north side of the sound. It remains dilapidated, the masonry still good, but the timberwork decayed.

R P Fereday 1971; S Sutcliffe 1972; RCAHMS 1989.

Martello Tower, Crock Ness. Built c. 1812-18.

J Gifford 1992.

The two Martello towers at Hackness and Crockness (ND39SW 8 and ND39SW 10 respectively) were evidently constructed to cover the eastern entrance to the defended anchorage of Longhope, situated between the islands of Hoy and South Walls near the southern entrance to Scapa Flow. Their construction has traditionally been associated with the depradations of John Paul Jones.

Oblique aerial photography (RCAHMSAP 1995) has recorded the circular ditch around the tower, with immediately to the S what appears to be an arc of a second, possibly earlier ditch. Within this arc is a small square structure, possibly the remains of a building which may have been a magazine. The tower was omitted from the 1st edition of the OS 6-inch map (Orkney, 1878-81, sheet cxix) 'since they were classified as of military importance' (Fereday 1971).

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM, DE), 4 and 10 September 1998.

Architecture Notes

Non-Guardiaship Sites Plan Collection, DC23158.


Field Visit (August 1997)

Crockness martello tower is one of two such structures which served the Hackness battery at Longhope. The battery was built in 1815, during the American War of Independence, to protect the sheltered harbourage at Longhope from American privateers.

The tower is 47m in circumference and 10m high. It appears circular on the exterior, but due to a thickening of the seaward section of the wall, the interior is elliptical in plan. It was designed to be entered through a doorway on the first floor, via a removable ladder. It is not generally accessible now and thus the interior was not inspected. This site lies 1.5m from the coast edge. The coastline immediately in front of the tower is protected by a gabion wall, 20m long and 1.5m high.

Moore and Wilson, 1997

Coastal Zone Assessment Survey


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