Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see ‘About Listed Buildings’ below for more information.

GRAEMSAY, HOY SOUND HIGH LIGHTHOUSE INCLUDING KEEPERS' HOUSES, BOUNDARY WALLS AND GATEPIERSLB12736

Status: Designated

Documents

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Summary

Category
A
Date Added
09/12/1977
Local Authority
Orkney Islands
Planning Authority
Orkney Islands
Parish
Hoy And Graemsay
NGR
HY 26809 6078
Coordinates
326809, 1006078

Description

Alan Stevenson, 1851. 6-stage with lantern, circular-plan tapered tower with single stage, semi-circular-plan coal-store/dry-store to E side, standing at E side of rectangular-plan court; single storey 10-bay symmetrical Egyptian-style keepers' accommodation block to W side of court. Tower: painted stugged sandstone ashlar; channelled ashlar at 6th stage. Base course; blocking course to coal-store/dry-store; band course below 6th stage; cast-iron railings around balcony at 6th stage, supported by pointed-headed mock machiolations. Keepers' accommodation: stugged ashlar sandstone with polished dressings. Base course; massive projecting door surrounds with band course below cavetto cornice; blocking course with raised central panel above.

TOWER: raised doorpiece to W (court) side at 1st stage; band course below outswept cornice and shallow pediment above; timber-panelled door; boarded door to coal-store in each bay flanking; 3 every disposed window (blocked) in curved side of coal-store to E; 2 evenly disposed tall, tapering stacks above with band course and outswept cornices. Window (boarded) at each stage to E side of tower. Pointed-arched window at 6th stage to W side. Triangular-pane glass to lantern with hemispherical dome above.

INTERIOR: spiral stone staircase with timber handrail to main tower; architraved, timber panelled doors; timber-lined lamp room beneath lantern; painted central column supporting iron lantern floor above; brass angel statuettes and ventilators decorated with the faces of wind gods; timber and iron stair with brass handrail to lantern above; decorative lattice walkway around lantern; triangular pane apexes bearing lion masks; riveted dome with central ventilator above.

KEEPERS' HOUSES: E (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: window in 2 recessed bays to centre. Deep-set 2-leaf boarded doors with small-pane fanlight in advanced bays flanking. Window in each recessed bay flanking. Window in each advanced bay to penultimate left and right. Boarded door in recessed, slightly lower bay to outer left and right. W (REAR) ELEVATION: 6-bays. Window in each of 2 recessed bays to centre. Window in each advanced bay flanking. Window in each recessed bay to outer left and right.

Predominantly 12-pane timber sash and case windows. Platform roof; tall tapered stacks with band course below outswept cornices, regularly disposed, grouped 2-4-2; tall cans; predominantly cast-iron rainwater goods.

INTERIOR: timber skirting boards, architraves and panelled doors; timber-panelled shutters.

BOUNDARY WALLS: roughly coursed rubble wall around court with curved rubble cope, extending S to enclose rectangular-plan garden; square-plan stugged ashlar, corniced gatepiers to N.

Statement of Special Interest

Described as 'the Rolls-Royce of Orkney's lighthouses', Hoy High displays particularly fine internal details such as the brass ventilators and angel statuettes. The tower dominates the flat landscape of the island of Graemsay, rising 33 meters from its east coast. In the 1840's and previously, it took skillful seamanship to negotiate the tides and skerries of Hoy Sound to reach the safety of Stromness harbour, prompting the Northern Lighthouse Board to commission the building of two 'leading lights' on the island of Graemsay, one being Hoy High, the other Hoy Low. By lining the two lights up upon approach to the harbour, their navigational use as leading lights becomes apparent, ensuring a safe entry into the Sound. Designed by Alan Stevenson and built by Alexander Wilson, the structure was erected by Irish workers who first had to construct a robust slipway at Sandside (see separate list description) and who subsequently built a road across the island from Hoy High to Hoy Low, on the west coast. The stone was initially quarried at the Bring Deeps on Hoy, but was found to be too soft, and so was imported from the Northern Isles instead. The stone was cut and the courses fashioned in Stromness and transported to the island, completing the structure early in 1851. The lights are described as 'occulating' white and red every 8 seconds with a range of 20 miles, and were tested on the 5 April that year. From plans in the NMRS, it can be seen that the keepers' accommodation consisted of 3 bedrooms along the rear (W) wall with 2 kitchens flanking a visiting officer's room to the E, facing the court. Their design is distinctive and often likened to Assyrian temples or of being Egyptian in chatacter. The semi-circular structure at the base of the tower was reserved as a coal-store with a central dry store between. The courtyard wall was originally much higher, but proved to be too high to withstand the strong sea winds and was subsequently lowered. Hoy High was automated in 1978.

References

Bibliography

Appears on 1st edition OS map (1882); Groome, ORDNANCE GAZETTEER OF SCOTLAND (1892) p 209; 3RD S A (1985) p 65;

J Hume, THE INDUSTRIAL ARCHAEOLOGY OF SCOTLAND, VOL II, (1977), p 242; B Wilson, LIGHTHOUSES OF ORKNEY (booklet accompanying the Summer Exhibition at the Stromness Museum), (1975), pp10-11; R W Munro, SCOTTISH LIGHTHOUSES, (1979), pp 125, 275; K Allardyce and E M Hood, AT SCOTLAND'S EDGE, (1986), p138;

A Ritchie, ORKNEY (1996) p 51; NMRS Records, DC 8738, DC 8743; KIRKWALL ARCHIVE, D8 G/27.

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the 1997 Act. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect subsequent legislation.

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