Ancient Monuments

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Mey Battery, battery 80m north east of Braes of Harrow

A Scheduled Monument in Wick and East Caithness, Highland

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Coordinates

Latitude: 58.65 / 58°38'59"N

Longitude: -3.2332 / 3°13'59"W

OS Eastings: 328533

OS Northings: 974225

OS Grid: ND285742

Mapcode National: GBR L5CV.ZM5

Mapcode Global: WH6CF.9VN7

Entry Name: Mey Battery, battery 80m NE of Braes of Harrow

Scheduled Date: 10 October 2016

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM13649

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: 20th Century Military and Related: Battery

Location: Canisbay

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Wick and East Caithness

Traditional County: Caithness

Description

The monument is the remains of a coastal artillery battery constructed around 1866.  It is visible as a mortared stone wall, incorporating two cannon embrasures and describing a rectilinear enclosure, with an earth bank on the seaward side. A sunken chamber lies at the west end of the battery and the probable remains of a rectangular building at the east end. The battery is located on the coast overlooking the Pentland Firth, around 10m above sea level.

The monument was constructed in response to the perceived threat of a French invasion, and manned by a volunteer artillery battalion. The wall of the battery is constructed of Caithness slabs bonded with lime mortar and measures up to 1.9m high and 0.6m wide. It is protected on the seaward side by an earth bank measuring about 5.1m in width, broken by two cannon embrasures. The embrasures are wide angled and revetted with large slabs secured into the earth bank with a single iron tie rod. An entrance to a sunken room, measuring around 1.2m in width by 1.9m transversely and about 1.7m in height, lies within the west wall. The remains of a lintelled doorway on the east wall suggests the former presence of a building.

The scheduled area is irregular in plan, 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, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduling extends up to but excludes the post and wire fence to the east, south and west.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to contribute to our understanding of the past, in particular of the construction and use of late 19th-century artillery batteries. It is a good example of a coastal artillery battery that retains its field characteristics. As a well-preserved example, the monument represents an unusual survival of a formerly common defensive structure and can significantly expand our understanding of the history of defence and volunteer forces in Scotland during the late 19th century. The loss or damage of the monument would diminish our ability to appreciate and understand the nature and character of late 19th-century coastal defences and the role of volunteer regiments within Caithness society and more widely.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

The Highland Council Historic Environment Record Reference is MHG13741.

Grierson, James Moncrieff, Lt Gen Gen, 1909. Records of the Scottish Volunteer Force, William Blackwood and Sons.

Ordnance Survey (Name Book. Object Name Books of the Ordnance Survey (6 inch and 1/2500 scale). Caithness Volume 4, 143.

Watson, G 1996. The Artillery Batteries at Mey and Castletown (Caithness Field Club Bulletin Vol. 5 Number 8), Vol 5, Number 8.

HER/SMR Reference

MHG13741

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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