Ancient Monuments

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Teind barn, 120m north of Kebister

A Scheduled Monument in Lerwick North, Shetland Islands

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Latitude: 60.1913 / 60°11'28"N

Longitude: -1.1777 / 1°10'39"W

OS Eastings: 445701

OS Northings: 1145491

OS Grid: HU457454

Mapcode National: GBR R1FS.YVS

Mapcode Global: XHF9Y.23MK

Entry Name: Teind barn, 120m N of Kebister

Scheduled Date: 7 February 2005

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11262

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Ecclesiastical: grange/farm - secular buildings associated; Industrial: farming, food production

Location: Tingwall

County: Shetland Islands

Electoral Ward: Lerwick North

Traditional County: Shetland


The monument consists of the excavated remains of a substantial post-medieval structure identified as a probable teind barn dating from the early 16th century, and perhaps built for Henry Phankouth, archdeacon of Shetland (1501-1529).

The interior and an area around the exterior of the monument was excavated in the 1980s as it was threatened by the construction of an adjacent oil rig supply base at Dales Voe. It was built overlying the remains of earlier medieval, rectangular stone structures, contained within an enclosure wall, probably a chapel and associated enclosure. It is situated within a complex and multi-period landscape, which was bounded by a dyke (the March dyke) to the N, S and E and by the sea to the W. The site is now dominated by the oil rig supply base to the NW.

The barn was a substantial building, erected on foundations up to 1.5m wide, and is aligned E-W with its long axis running parallel with the slope. It had maximum dimensions of 17m by 7.2m, with walls 1m thick, which today stand to a maximum of 1.5m high, and was partitioned into three units of unequal size. The thickness of the walls and the large amounts of rubble present when the building was excavated, suggest that it may have originally stood two storeys high. There was a single entrance through the W gable, immediately outside of which was found an armorial panel that would originally have been situated above the doorway. The arms have not been identified, but the work is sophisticated, shows ecclesiastical influences, and is likely to date from the late 15th/early 16th century, suggesting that it was produced in an ecclesiastical context for an ecclesiastical patron such as Henry Phankouth. It bears the Latin inscription 'sine paulusper'.

A corn-drying kiln was later inserted into the central space of the building, probably during the mid-17th century, after a period of abandonment and ruination. This kiln was remodelled in the late 17th or early 18th century.

The area to be scheduled comprises the building and an area around it where associated archaeological features would be expected to survive. The area is rectangular in shape and has maximum dimensions of 22m E-W and 16m transversely.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as the remains of what has been identified as a pre-Reformation teind barn. Teind barns are an extremely rare type of building with only two other surviving examples identified in Scotland; Whitekirk (East Lothian) and Foulden (Berwickshire). In both cases the buildings have been significatly altered and Foulden is a post-Reformation example. In a Shetland context, a teind barn would therefore be a unique and significant structure which illuminates a little known aspect of Shetland's past; the ecclesiastical organisation of the Islands and the collection of the archdeaconry teinds and rents. It is the only probable teind barn found in the Northern Islands, and it is one of the very few high status late medieval/early modern structures to survive on the archipelago.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



The monument is recorded by RCAHMS as HU44NE 5.02.


Owen O and Lowe C 1999, 'KEBISTER: THE FOUR-THOUSAND-YEAR-OLD STORY OF ONE SHETLAND TOWNSHIP', A Ritchie (ed.), Society of Antiquaries of Scotland monograph series No. 14, Edinburgh.

Owen O and Smith B 1988, 'Kebister, Shetland: an armorial stone, and an archdeacon's teind barn', POST-MEDIEVAL ARCHAEOL 22, 1988.

Smith B 1989, 'In the tracks of Bishop Andrew Pictoris of Orkney, and Henry Phankouth, Archdeacon of Shetland', INNES REV 40, 1989.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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