Ancient Monuments

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Thom's Water Cuts, aqueduct (drain), Scalpsie to Loch Quien

A Scheduled Monument in Isle of Bute, Argyll and Bute

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Latitude: 55.7879 / 55°47'16"N

Longitude: -5.0963 / 5°5'46"W

OS Eastings: 205962

OS Northings: 659291

OS Grid: NS059592

Mapcode National: GBR FFSD.Y53

Mapcode Global: WH1LS.PSD9

Entry Name: Thom's Water Cuts, aqueduct (drain), Scalpsie to Loch Quien

Scheduled Date: 5 January 1998

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM7115

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 a stretch of aqueduct, part of the Scalpsie or Barmore Cut.

The total length of this stretch is a little under 900m. It extends from just N of the public road (A844) beside Scalpsie Farm on the W in a NNE direction to a point a short distance west of Loch Quien, where it bifurcates. The aqueduct, now dry, measures 10m in width overall. Associated with the aqueduct are two arched bridges and the abutments of a third.

The area to be scheduled includes the aqueduct and bridges as described and an area on either side in which traces of activities associated with their construction and use may survive. This area has a width along its whole length of 20m and an approximate aggregate total length, measured along the centre of the aqueduct and its branch, of just under 900m, as marked in red on the accompanying map extract.

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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