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Burn of Gilsetter, burnt mound and mills, Fair Isle

A Scheduled Monument in Shetland South, Shetland Islands

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Coordinates

Latitude: 59.5318 / 59°31'54"N

Longitude: -1.6229 / 1°37'22"W

OS Eastings: 421428

OS Northings: 1071829

OS Grid: HZ214718

Mapcode National: GBR Q3BJ.YZ5

Mapcode Global: XHD63.7PZ3

Entry Name: Burn of Gilsetter, burnt mound and mills, Fair Isle

Scheduled Date: 23 December 1996

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM6590

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Industrial: farming, food production; Prehistoric domestic and defensive: burnt mound

Location: Dunrossness

County: Shetland Islands

Electoral Ward: Shetland South

Traditional County: Shetland

Description

The monument comprises a series of small horizontal water-mills and their water-supply systems, together with a prehistoric burnt mound.

There are at least 4 mills, of which 2 have been partly restored. They are of typical "Norse mill" or "Click mill" type. Each drew water from the same stream by means of small channels and sluices, and the area which fed the mills is still rather marshy. Several of the discarded millstones lie within the area, near to the mill sites. In earlier times this same marshy area provided water for use at a burnt mound, a prehistoric cooking place, and this mound is also included in the scheduling.

The area to be scheduled consists of 2 parts: the basin of the Burn of Gilsetter to the S of the modern road, and a smaller section to the N of the road. The larger section is defined on the N and W by the edge of the road. To the E, where the road turns away, the N boundary of the scheduled area is formed by the break of slope above the small ravine into which the burn flows. The S boundary follows the line of a drain and a fence for most of its route.

This part is a maximum of 660m from its SW to its NE corners by 160m. The small part is bounded on the S by the N edge of the road, and measures a maximum of 160m WNW-ESE by 70m transversely. Both parts are as marked in red on the accompanying map extract. The above-ground elements of several structures within the scheduled area, used to trap migratory birds, are excluded from scheduling, as are the water-supply dam and reservoir, to allow for their ease of maintenance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as a fine group of small mills, in varying states of repair, together with their water-supply arrangements. It illustrates the degree of sophistication attained in subsistence agricultural technology during the medieval and early modern periods. The prehistoric burnt mound is itself of importance as a good field example of this class of monument, an accidental survival which serves to indicate how many such monuments may have been lost to later activity.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS records the monument as NZ 27 SW 7.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Other nearby scheduled monuments

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