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Thom's Water Cuts, aqueduct and dam, Little Barone to Kirk Dam

A Scheduled Monument in Isle of Bute, Argyll and Bute

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Latitude: 55.8293 / 55°49'45"N

Longitude: -5.0655 / 5°3'55"W

OS Eastings: 208095

OS Northings: 663810

OS Grid: NS080638

Mapcode National: GBR FFW9.LGF

Mapcode Global: WH1LM.5R32

Entry Name: Thom's Water Cuts, aqueduct and dam, Little Barone to Kirk Dam

Scheduled Date: 5 January 1998

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM7112

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Industrial: inland water

Location: North Bute

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Isle of Bute

Traditional County: Buteshire


The monument comprises an aqueduct and dam.

The aqueduct measures about 1000m in length. It varies in width from 5m along its western stretch, where it canalises two unnamed burns rising respectively from east of Little Barone Farm and in Craigberoch Wood, to 20m along its eastern stretch, where it is carried in an embankment to the Kirk Dam reservoir. The monument includes all the stretch of aqueduct in water, together with the following structures:

(1) the clapper-bridge immediately west of the Loch Fad road;

(2) the arched bridge with clapper extension at its west side under the Loch Fad road;

(3) the dam at the north end of the Kirk Dam reservoir including the drainage tunnel with its upper sluice, and the overflow, and

(4) the bottom stretch of the Foley Cut as it enters the Kirk Dam reservoir.

The area to be scheduled includes the aqueduct plus all of the above structures, together with an area around them in which traces of activities associated with their construction and use may survive, as marked in red on the accompanying map extract. The area to be scheduled is very irregular in plan, with a total length in the order of 1200m, extending from S of Barone Road by way of Cnoc na h-Ulaidhe (where it widens out from 15m to 25m at the start of the embanked section) and the NW end of Kirk Dam, where it widens again to include the dam and its associated features, reaching a maximum width of 70m before narrowing to 15m again for its final stretch which terminates at a small bridge approximately 100m WNW of St Mary's Well.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because it forms part of a series of aqueducts, or water-cuts, designed by the distinguished Scots engineer, Robert Thom. He died, and was buired, in Rothesay. The aqueducts and dam were constructed between 1811 and 1822 to provide a workable water-supply to Thom's cotton mills in Rothesay, and the ingenius way in which he wrung every last drop of water from off the landscape of central Bute is physically demonstrated by these remains and a lasting testimony to one of Scotland's notable engineers and inventors.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland




Earls, A 1945, 'Robert Thom and his work on water power for the Rothesay cotton mills', Trans Buteshire Natur Hist Soc, vol.13, 129.

Ferrier, J 1966, 'Robert Thom's water-cuts', Trans Glasgow Archaeol Soc, New, vol.15, 3, 129.

Sharp, R, 'The Cotton Industry in Bute', Trans Buteshire Natur Hist Soc, vol.2, 12.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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