Ancient Monuments

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Balnacarn, township 550m WSW of

A Scheduled Monument in Aird and Loch Ness, Highland

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Latitude: 57.1747 / 57°10'29"N

Longitude: -4.866 / 4°51'57"W

OS Eastings: 226836

OS Northings: 812964

OS Grid: NH268129

Mapcode National: GBR G9CR.MTB

Mapcode Global: WH2F8.7X3N

Entry Name: Balnacarn, township 550m WSW of

Scheduled Date: 27 March 2007

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11482

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: settlement, including deserted, depopulated and townships

Location: Urquhart and Glenmoriston

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Aird and Loch Ness

Traditional County: Inverness-shire


The monument comprises the remains of a township dating to the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. It survives as a series of low stone footings, dykes and clearance cairns and is situated in rough pasture across the lower slopes of Glenmoriston, at around 75m above sea level.

General Roy's map of 1747-55 shows the township as Craskie, a group of six buildings with associated fields of rig and furrow. Only four of the buildings are shown as being roofed in the Ordnance Survey (OS) First Edition 6"' map of 1869, suggesting that although the site was still occupied in the mid 19th century by a scatter of individual farmsteads, the majority of the buildings making up the township had fallen out of use by this date.

The monument consists of the stone footings of at least fourteen rectangular and sub-rectangular structures in various states of disrepair, between 5 m to 12 m in length by 3 m to 6 m in width and up to 0.5 m in height. A number of associated stack bases, enclosures, dykes, clearance cairns, trackways and a pond are located among the structures. The southernmost building is a well preserved kiln-barn.

The area proposed for scheduling consists of two discrete areas, both irregular on plan, to include the remains described and an area around them within which evidence relating to their use and construction may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The N area is bounded on the S by a shallow ditch that runs alongside the modern road and on the NW by a modern post-and-wire fence. The S area is bounded on the W by a burn and on the N by a drystane dyke. The modern ditch, the dyke and the modern post-and-wire fence are specifically excluded from the scheduling, to allow for their maintenance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

The monument's archaeological and historical significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics: The monument is a well-preserved example of a settlement that transformed from an 18th-century township to a scatter of early 20th-century farmsteads, retaining a corpus of the building types and monument forms that demonstrate how those farming communities undertook their daily and seasonal activities. It includes a relatively well-preserved kiln-barn, a common feature of pre-Improvement settlements. Given the site's current use as pastureland, it is likely that archaeologically significant deposits relating to the construction, use and abandonment of the structures remain in place. The site has considerable potential to enhance understanding of pre-Improvement rural settlements and the daily lives of the people who occupied them.

Contextual characteristics: This monument is known to have been occupied from at least the mid-1700s through to the early 1900s, and it is possible that it was occupied in the period prior to this. It therefore represents a rare example of a site occupied during two periods of change in settlement which are little understood throughout Scotland: when agricultural communities began to live together within townships and organise the landscape and their farming activities accordingly, and when those communities began to disperse over the following centuries. Comparison of the local vernacular architectural features in this area with those on other Scottish historic rural settlement sites may enhance our understanding of regional variation in rural settlement between the 18th and early 20th centuries.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it is a well-preserved example of an agricultural township, with a wide corpus of functionary components that transformed over the 18th to early 20th centuries. It has the potential to inform future research into the development of 18th- and 19th-century settlement patterns and building forms, including study of the nature of the communities that inhabited them, the agriculture they practiced, the environment they inhabited and the interactions they had with the rest of world. Its loss would impede any future ability to understand these issues.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record this monument as NH21SE7 and the Highland Council SMR as NH21SE0007.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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