Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Whitegate Broch

A Scheduled Monument in Wick and East Caithness, Highland

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Latitude: 58.5342 / 58°32'2"N

Longitude: -3.1108 / 3°6'38"W

OS Eastings: 335420

OS Northings: 961207

OS Grid: ND354612

Mapcode National: GBR L6P5.FP4

Mapcode Global: WH6D2.5RXH

Entry Name: Whitegate Broch

Scheduled Date: 15 June 2016

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM13621

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: broch

Location: Wick/Wick

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Wick and East Caithness

Traditional County: Caithness


The monument is a broch, a complex stone-built substantial roundhouse, dating from the Iron Age (between 600BC and 400AD). The broch is visible as the exposed foundations of a solid based stone-built roundhouse and is located on a flat raised beach overlooking Sinclair's Bay.

The broch measures approximately 16m in overall diameter, with an internal diameter of around 8m. An entrance is visible on the south east side of the broch, while exposed stone facing indicate the presence of the inner and outer faces of the broch wall. The interior of the broch is divided by flagstone partitions and the entrance passage is extended outwards through a series of buildings containing four irregular shaped chambers. The internal divisions and the outbuildings appear to be secondary to the construction of the broch.

The scheduled area is circular in plan, measuring 40m in diameter, to include the remains described above and an area around them within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment is expected to survive, and adjoining land essential for the monument's support and preservation, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduling specifically excludes the above ground elements of the dry-stone wall and post-and-wire fence, to allow for their maintenance and upkeep.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

This monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to our understanding of the past, in particular of Iron Age society in Caithness and the function, use and development of brochs. This is a well-preserved example of a broch with identifiable architectural features including an entrance and evidence for a stair. The presence of secondary internal and external structures also demonstrates an extended development history at this site. The broch adds to our understanding of settlement patterns and social structure during the Iron Age around Sinclair's Bay and this potential is enhanced by the broadly contemporary monuments in the vicinity, specifically the high density of brochs around Keiss. The loss of the monument would significantly diminish our future ability to appreciate and understand the development, use and re-use of brochs, and the nature of Iron Age society, economy and social hierarchy in the north of Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Historic Environment Scotland CANMORE ID 9328 (accessed on 13/04/2015).

The Highland Council HER reference is MHG1645.

Anderson, J. (1901) Notices of nine Brochs along the Caithness coast from Keiss Bay to Skirza Head, excavated by Sir Francis Tress Barry, Bart., MP., of Keiss Castle, Caithness , Proc Soc Antiq Scot, vol. 35, 1900-1.

Barber, J. and Heald, A. (2015) Caithness Archaeology: Aspects of Prehistory, Whittles Publishing, Dunbeath.

Heald, A. and Jackson, A. (2001) Towards a new understanding of Iron Age Caithness , Proc Soc Antiq Scot, vol. 131, 2001. Page(s): 129-47

MacKie, E. W. (2007) The Roundhouses, Brochs and Wheelhouses of Atlantic Scotland c. 700 BC - AD 500: architecture and material culture. Part 2 The Mainland and the Western Islands . BAR, vol 444. Oxford. Page(s): 464-465.

RCAHMS. (1911) The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland. Third report and inventory of monuments and constructions in the county of Caithness. London. Page(s): 156-7, No. 516


HER/SMR Reference


Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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