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St Kilda, Dun, Na Sgarain

Wall (Post Medieval)

Site Name St Kilda, Dun, Na Sgarain

Classification Wall (Post Medieval)

Canmore ID 9657

Site Number NF19NW 11

NGR NF 10883 97181

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/9657

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
© Copyright and database right 2017.

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Western Isles
  • Parish Harris
  • Former Region Western Isles Islands Area
  • Former District Western Isles
  • Former County Inverness-shire

Archaeology Notes

NF19NW 11 1089 9717.

(NF 10899717) Castle (NR)

OS 6"map annotated by J Mathieson (1928)

Macaulay (K Macaulay 1764) describes a ruined fort here called 'Dun-Fir-Bholg', built of large, nearly square, quarried stones of a kind not seen above ground on the island. The standard of construction was superior to that of the St Kildan masons of that time.

Sands (J Sands 1878) found no trace of a castle in 1876, and was of the opinion that there never had been one. Nor could he find any tradition of such a building. There is, however, a wall built of loose stones

c 400ft from the SE end of the island, broad at the base with parapets inside. Its use is problematical, whether for defensive purposes or for separation of sheep. It looked quite modern to Mathieson (J Mathieson 1764), and cuts off an area containing nothing except two small caves, with no signs of habitation.

K Macaulay 1764; J Sands 1878; J Mathieson 1928.

The site is a prominent spur of rock outcrop with a considerable quantity of loose rock scattered over it. Access to the site was not possible at time of visit, but the apparent wall described above, was examined through binoculars and at a distance from boat, and seems to agree with description. As the site does not appear to have possibly served as a defensive work (the cut-off area is to uneven) it can only be reasoned that the wall was built as a hefting-dyke, ie. to keep sheep away from the precipitous headland (as in three other cases on Hirta); but Mathieson's conclusions are generally agreed with. A closer examination is necessary to arrive at positive conclusion.

Visited by OS (J L D) 11 August 1967.

Activities

Desk Based Assessment (3 February 1966)

(NF 10899717) Castle (NR)

OS 6"map annotated by J Mathieson (1928)

Macaulay (K Macaulay 1764) describes a ruined fort here called 'Dun-Fir-Bholg', built of large, nearly square, quarried stones of a kind not seen above ground on the island. The standard of construction was superior to that of the St Kildan masons of that time.

Sands (J Sands 1878) found no trace of a castle in 1876, and was of the opinion that there never had been one. Nor could he find any tradition of such a building. There is, however, a wall built of loose stones

c 400ft from the SE end of the island, broad at the base with parapets inside. Its use is problematical, whether for defensive purposes or for separation of sheep. It looked quite modern to Mathieson (J Mathieson 1764), and cuts off an area containing nothing except two small caves, with no signs of habitation.

Information from OS (BRS) 3 February 1966

K Macaulay 1764; J Sands 1878; J Mathieson 1928.

Field Visit (11 August 1967)

The site is a prominent spur of rock outcrop with a considerable quantity of loose rock scattered over it. Access to the site was not possible at time of visit, but the apparent wall described above, was examined through binoculars and at a distance from boat, and seems to agree with description. As the site does not appear to have possibly served as a defensive work (the cut-off area is to uneven) it can only be reasoned that the wall was built as a hefting-dyke, ie. to keep sheep away from the precipitous headland (as in three other cases on Hirta); but Mathieson's conclusions are generally agreed with. A closer examination is necessary to arrive at positive conclusion.

Visited by OS (J L D) 11 August 1967.

Photographic Record (1985)

Field Visit (2 September 2009)

Two stretches of rubble wall lie to either side of a rocky knoll cutting off the SE end of Dun (NF 10880 897175 to 10885 897185 and NF 10889 897196 to 10893 897203). The wall is aligned from NNE to SSW and is over 1m thick and up to 3m high.

(Dun 10)

Visited by RCAHMS (SPH) 2 September 2009

References

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