Ancient Monuments

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Shenval, settlement

A Scheduled Monument in Aird and Loch Ness, Highland

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Latitude: 57.3318 / 57°19'54"N

Longitude: -4.2382 / 4°14'17"W

OS Eastings: 265353

OS Northings: 829028

OS Grid: NH653290

Mapcode National: GBR H9XB.MCX

Mapcode Global: WH3FX.VZZ6

Entry Name: Shenval, settlement

Scheduled Date: 29 August 2006

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11434

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: settlement, including deserted, depopulated and townships

Location: Daviot and Dunlichity

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Aird and Loch Ness

Traditional County: Inverness-shire


The monument consists of the upstanding remains and footings of a large farmstead or small township, between 300 and 100 years old, sitting on a shoulder of ground on the upper S facing slopes of a wide valley. The ruins of at least seven buildings and a kiln are visible, along with a number of enclosures and field walls.

The settlement is depicted on the 1st edition 6 inch OS map (Inverness-shire 1874, sheet xxxi), which shows five buildings, three of them roofed and two roofless. By this time the kiln was evidently no longer in use, as it is described as an 'Old Limekiln'. The OS Name Book describes 'a small farmhouse with suitable offices attached, the whole thatched and in bad repair' (ONB 1871). By the time of the 2nd edition map (Inverness-shire 1905, sheet xxxi) only one building retained its roof.

The roofed buildings on the 1st edition can be identified with the three most substantial structures now visible, the walls of which stand relatively high and range from 0.7m to 0.8m in thickness, enclosing spaces between 12.4m to 17m long by 3.5 to 3.9m wide. In one of these buildings, which is shown as still being roofed in 1905, there are a number of cruck-slots, a lum fireplace, windows and a bedneuk. The adjacent, well-preserved structure has a central drain running out through one end, pointing to its use as a byre.

The two buildings depicted as unroofed on the 1st edition can also be identified with remains on the ground. These are smaller buildings, measuring 9.2m in length by 2.6m in breadth and 8.8m in length by 3m in breadth, both within faced rubble walls measuring up to 0.8m in thickness. One of these may have had a central drain, and therefore may have served as a byre.

The kiln is well preserved, with a bowl measuring 3m in diameter within a faced rubble wall standing up to 1.3m in height, the robbed remains of a barn are attached on the N side. Two or three other buildings survive as stony banks and wall footings.

A number of associated enclosures and dyke footings remain nearby, which would have been erected to control the movement of animal stock and allow for the cultivation of vegetables.

The area to be scheduled is an irregular polygon bounded to the W by a stream, to include the buildings, kiln, enclosures, some of the field dykes and associated archaeological deposits, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The fences and stream are not to be included in the schedule.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument's archaeological significance is as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics: The monument is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a nineteenth-century farming complex, retaining a large collection of the building types necessary for that farm to undertake its agricultural business: larger-scale housing for the main tenant/owner, smaller-scale housing for workers/sub-tenants, byres and enclosures for stock, barns for housing equipment, tools and produce, and a kiln to enable field improvement. The main house and adjacent byre retain a number of architectural features, which may provide additional ground for future archaeological investigation and understanding of these types of features. There is a strong likelihood of the preservation of sub-surface archaeological deposits associated with the later, visible phase of the site's occupation, as well as the high potential for those of earlier phases of settlement: the settlement's name, G. Sean Bhaile, literally 'Old Town', indicates a settlement here of some longevity.

Contextual characteristics: There are few abandoned examples of such well-preserved township/farmsteads in Inverness-shire, which retain all the functionary buildings of a small township/large farmstead along with a number of fine vernacular architectural details. This monument represents a rare chance to study and understand this period of settlement from the perspective of standing buildings archaeology, and an opportunity for the undertaking of future research into understanding how these details might be viewed archaeologically in other excavations. Comparisons of local vernacular architectural features in this region with elsewhere in the Highlands and the rest of Scotland also has the potential to inform our understanding of the development and expression of regional identity over the last few centuries.

National Importance:

The monument is of national importance because it is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a nineteenth- and early twentieth-century farmstead/township, with a wide corpus of functionary building components and architectural details. It has the potential to inform future research into the development of nineteenth-century settlement patterns and building forms, including study of the nature of the communities that inhabited them, the agriculture they practised, the environment they inhabited and the interactions they had with the rest of world. Its loss would severely impede our future ability to understand these issues and detract from the corpus of preserved vernacular architectural features in this region.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



The monument is recorded by RCAHMS as NH62NE 17.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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