Ancient Monuments

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Balephuil Bay, kelp kilns, Tiree

A Scheduled Monument in Oban South and the Isles, Argyll and Bute

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Latitude: 56.4556 / 56°27'20"N

Longitude: -6.9698 / 6°58'11"W

OS Eastings: 93941

OS Northings: 740346

OS Grid: NL939403

Mapcode National: GBR 9C5N.JC1

Mapcode Global: WGW8X.XZ7Z

Entry Name: Balephuil Bay, kelp kilns, Tiree

Scheduled Date: 14 January 2002

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM9048

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Industrial: glass

Location: Tiree

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Oban South and the Isles

Traditional County: Argyllshire


The monument consists of a group of kiln structures of late 18th to early 19th century date, surviving as upstanding remains.

The monument lies above the high-water mark on the rocky W shore of Balephuil Bay. It comprises a group of rectangular kiln structures, measuring on average 6m in length by 2m in width. Each structure consists of a shallow pit, open at one end, and enclosed around the remaining three sides by low walls of rough dry-stone construction. The pit, which formed the kiln-chamber, is floored with loose cobbles.

These kilns were used in the burning of kelp to provide an alkaline ash which could be used in the glass manufacturing industry. The kelp-burning industry was introduced into Tiree in 1746, and reached a peak during the Napoleonic War, when continental routes which supplied barilla - the agent traditionally used by glass manufacturers - were disrupted by blockades imposed by the French navy. The burning of kelp on an industrial scale had ceased in Tiree by 1837, as the re-opening of trade routes meant that the traditional use of Spanish barilla was resumed and the demand for a native-produced alternative dwindled.

The kilns described above are unusually well-preserved and typical examples of a type of kiln described in a late 18th century treatise on the industrial processing of kelp.

The area to be scheduled comprises the remains described and an area around them within which related material may be expected to survive. It has maximum measurements of 103m NNE-SSW by 56m transversely, as marked in red on the accompanying map extract.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland


No Bibliography entries for this designation

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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