Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Fedeland,fishing station and prehistoric house at Isle of Fethaland

A Scheduled Monument in Shetland North, Shetland Islands

We don't have any photos of this monument yet. Why don't you be the first to send us one?

Upload Photo »

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.


Latitude: 60.6299 / 60°37'47"N

Longitude: -1.3166 / 1°18'59"W

OS Eastings: 437491

OS Northings: 1194255

OS Grid: HU374942

Mapcode National: GBR R03N.1DJ

Mapcode Global: XHD10.827S

Entry Name: Fedeland,fishing station and prehistoric house at Isle of Fethaland

Scheduled Date: 10 October 1994

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM6072

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Industrial: farming, food production; Prehistoric domestic and defensive: house; Secular: house

Location: Northmaven

County: Shetland Islands

Electoral Ward: Shetland North

Traditional County: Shetland


The monument consists of the remains of an 18th-19th century fishing station, within which are the remains of a prehistoric house.

Fedeland, or Fethaland as it appears on maps, was one of the most important stations used for the "haaf", the open-boat long-line fishery practised during the summer months in Shetland. Initially undertaken to supplement subsistence diet, this fishery developed into an integral part of the islands' economy, with farming tenancies requiring participation in the "haaf" at fixed prices.

The industry was wiped out during the later 19th century by a combination of larger, competing, vessels, severe losses of life and the abolition of the complex system of credit, fishing leases and joint ownership which maintained it.

Like most "haaf" stations, Fedeland is at an extremity of the islands, at the extreme N tip of Shetland. The physical remains take the form of the walls of up to 20 rectangular houses. Most are of one compartment and all, with the sole exception, on the NE, of the factor's house, were of single-storey construction, with drystone walls occasionally patched with mortar.

The roofs of these houses were generally temporary affairs, constructed for the fishing period only, due to the scarcity of timber. Old photographs show much use of old spars, masts and sailcloth. Towards the central N side of the settlement, on a grassy slope, are the remains of an oval prehistoric house, perhaps of Iron Age date.

The area to be scheduled is irregular, measuring a maximum of 300m N-S by 250m. It is partly bounded by the high water mark in the Wester and Easter Wicks, and by the top of low cliffs to N and S of the Easter Wick. Its NW boundary is partly marked by a ruined drystone field wall.

This area includes all of the ruined houses, including the prehistoric one, and an area around and between them in which evidence relating to their construction and use may survive, as marked in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as the finest surviving example of a 'haaf' fishing station, illustrating an important aspect of the Shetland economy in the 18th and 19th centuries. It provides evidence for domestic architecture at its most basic. The prehistoric house, although badly excavated, still has the potential to provide information about prehistoric domestic architecture and economy.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as HU 39 SE 1.


Abercromby, J. (1905) 'Report on excavations at Fethaland and Trowie Knowie, Shetland; and of the exploration of a cairn on Dumglow, one of the Cleish Hill, Kinross-shire', Proc Soc Antiq Scot, vol. 39, 171-5.

RCAHMS (1946) Inventory for Orkney and Shetland, No. 1355.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Other nearby scheduled monuments is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself. is a Good Stuff website.