Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Stoora Taft, house 250m ENE of Bighton, Unst

A Scheduled Monument in North Isles, Shetland Islands

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Latitude: 60.7296 / 60°43'46"N

Longitude: -0.9471 / 0°56'49"W

OS Eastings: 457530

OS Northings: 1205630

OS Grid: HP575056

Mapcode National: GBR S00C.W24

Mapcode Global: XHF7B.3K5V

Entry Name: Stoora Taft, house 250m ENE of Bighton, Unst

Scheduled Date: 2 March 1998

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM7654

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: house

Location: Unst

County: Shetland Islands

Electoral Ward: North Isles

Traditional County: Shetland


The monument comprises the remains of a house of probable Viking or Norse-Medieval date.

The house survives as stony grass-covered wall footings in poor ground, high on a damp slope above the Westing. The N corner of the house is about 5m from a modern fence. The site's slope is very steep, and the structure (which is aligned SE-NW, up and down the slope) has a vertical difference of about 2m between the top and bottom ends of the interior.

The internal dimensions are 18m long by between 3m and 4m wide, between noticeably bowed side walls. There are entrances halfway along both the NE and SW walls, and the entrance in the SW wall connects to a parallel extension measuring some 10m by 2.5m. Some 12m to the S are the remains of a small (3m by 4m) rectangular structure, and there are traces of field walls nearby.

The area to be scheduled is a square of side 50m, to include the house, extension, outbuilding, traces of field walls and an area around in which evidence relating to their construction and use may survive, as marked in red on the accompanying map extract. The NNW boundary of the area to be scheduled is the line of the modern fence, although the fence itself is excluded from scheduling.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as a rare occurrence of a house of probable early Norse date identifiable on field characteristics. It gains additional importance as a member of a group of several such sites on the island of Unst. The important evidence regarding Norse settlement and agricultural economy which this monument can provide could be further expanded by comparative study of the related monuments in the island, several of which are being scheduled at this time.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland




Stummann-Hansen, S. (1994) Report No. 4. Stoora Taft, Bighton.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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