Ancient Monuments

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Snarravoe, township and field system, Unst

A Scheduled Monument in North Isles, Shetland Islands

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Latitude: 60.6964 / 60°41'47"N

Longitude: -0.9607 / 0°57'38"W

OS Eastings: 456849

OS Northings: 1201917

OS Grid: HP568019

Mapcode National: GBR R0ZG.NDF

Mapcode Global: XHF7H.XDJT

Entry Name: Snarravoe, township and field system, Unst

Scheduled Date: 2 March 1998

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM7665

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 small crofting township together with its distinctive field system.

The township of Snarravoe lies on a low rise overlooking an inlet of the sea (to the SW) and the Loch of Snarravoe (to the SE). All of the crofts are now abandoned and roofless, but at one time there were at least 5 separate households. The croft houses survive to wall-head height, with their attached yards and outbuildings in a slightly poorer state of repair. The crofts were progressively abandoned in the first half of the twentieth century, the last in the early 1950s.

To the SW, S and SE of the township are the grassed-over remains of a remarkably well-preserved series of fields. To the SW are broad strip fields, while to the S are narrow strip fields, in both cases aligned up and down the slope. To the SE are a series of rectangular fields with distinctive lynchets, or banks, at their upper and lower edges. A track leads W from the township and down to the shore at Snarra Voe, where traces of nousts (boat shelters) survive above the beach.

The whole complex is a remarkably complete survival of a crofting township, its state of preservation owing much to its lack of subsequent disturbance.

The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan, bounded in part by the NE shore of Snarra Voe, in part by the N side of the track to the shore and in part by the NW shore of Loch of Snarravoe. The area measures a maximum of 635m from just S of W to just N of E by a maximum of 415m from NNE-SSW, and includes all of the elements described above and an area around them, as marked in red on the accompanying map extract.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as one of the best preserved examples of a deserted crofting township in Shetland, which survives almost completely undisturbed along with its former fields and associated features. It has the potential to provide important information about a recently vanished way of life, and affords the opportunity, through comparison with settlements of similar social and economic status elsewhere, to provide a physical basis for the study of a period which is more normally approached from oral traditional or documentary sources.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as HP 50 SE 51.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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