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.


Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Date Added
Local Authority
Orkney Islands
Planning Authority
Orkney Islands
Hoy And Graemsay
HY 24708 6643
324708, 1006643


Alan Stevenson, 1851. Single stage with lantern, circular-plan short tower standing within rectangular-plan court to N of single storey, 7-bay rectangular-plan symmetrical Egyptian-style keepers' accommodation block with coal- and dry stores to left (S). Tower: stugged sandstone ashlar with polished dressings. Base course; wide cavetto band course below cast-iron railings around balcony to lantern. Keepers' block: stugged sandstone ashlar. Base course; blocking course. Massive, tapered, raised door surrounds with band course below cavetto cornice; raised central panel to blocking course above.

TOWER: massive raised door surround with tapered pilasters supporting cavetto cornice with shallow pediment to S side of tower at 1st stage; part-glazed 2-leaf timber-panelled doors; window (blocked ) to N at 1st stage. Boarded door to S side of lantern; small occuli around lantern base; triangular glazing to lantern ; domed roof above.

INTERIOR: not seen, 1998.

KEEPERS' ACCOMMODATION: E (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: window in bay to centre. 2-leaf boarded doors with small-pane fanlights in raised bays flanking. Window in recessed penultimate bays flanking. Window in each raised bay to outer left and right. W (REAR) ELEVATION: window in each of 2 recessed bays to centre. Window in each raised bay to outer left and right. N AND S (SIDE) ELEVATIONS: blank. STORES: single bay dry store with boarded door to E abutting main block to S. Single storey, 2-bay coal stores with 2 evenly disposed boarded doors to N, sited at right angles to dry store, to S of main block.

12-pane timber sash and case windows. Platform roof; tall, tapered stacks with band course and cavetto cornice, grouped 2-4-2; tall cans; cast-iron rainwater goods.

INTERIOR: not seen, 1998.

BOUNDARY WALLS: court defined by low stugged ashlar sandstone wall with ridged ashlar cope; rubble wall enclosing large rectangular-plan garden around court; square-plan corniced, stugged sandstone ashlar gatepiers to E of keepers' accommodation block; store with 2-leaf boarded doors incorporated into garden wall to S; cast-iron tapered, fluted sundial base in garden.

Statement of Special Interest

Standing at the west end of the island, Hoy Low, as its name suggests, is a good deal shorter than its towering partner which stands on Graemsay's east coast. Its existence, however, is vital as it forms one of a pair of 'leading lights' which, when lined up, provide a safe course through the Sound into Stromness harbour. The light at Hoy Low is described as 'isophase' white every 3 seconds, and despite the tower's relatively low height of 12 meters at an elevation of 17 meters, its range is 15 miles. As at Hoy High, the Keepers' accommodation block is constructed from fine sandstone ashlar and is almost identical, if smaller, in plan and elevation. The east side consists of a row of 4 bedrooms with 2 kitchens flanking a visiting officer's room to the west. Stylistically it bears identical massive door surrounds with cavetto cornices and blocking courses, reminiscent of Egypt or of Assyrian temples. The tall, tapered stacks are grouped identically to those at Hoy High and achieve a similarly dramatic effect. A 2nd World War defensive battery was subsequently erected adjacent to the group. Hoy Low was automated in 1966.



Appears on 1st edition OS map (1882); Groome, ORDNANCE GAZETTEER OF SCOTLAND (1892) p 209; R W Munro, SCOTTISH LIGHTHOUSES, (1979) p 255; 3RD S A (1985) p65; K Allardyce and E M Hood, AT SCOTLAND'S EDGE, (1986), p138; L Burgher, ORKNEY, AN ILLUSTRATED ARCHITECTURAL GUIDE (1991), p 80; NMRS Records, DC 8744, DC 8749; KIRKWALL ARCHIVE, D8 G/27.

About Listed Buildings

Listing is the way that a building or structure of special architectural or historic interest is recognised by law through the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest using the criteria published in the Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement.

The information in the listed building record gives an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building(s). It is not a definitive historical account or a complete description of the building(s). 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 only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing and if a number or name is missing from a listing address it may still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing can also cover structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage of the building, such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. The planning authority is responsible for advising on what is covered by the listing including the curtilage of a listed building. Since 1 October 2015 we have been able to exclude items from a listing. 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 Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014. 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 current legislation.

If you want to alter, extend or demolish a listed building you need to contact your planning authority to see if you need listed building consent. The planning authority advises on the need for listed building consent and they also decide what a listing covers. The planning authority is the main point of contact for all applications for listed building consent.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8716 or at


There are no images available for this record, you may want to check Canmore for images relating to GRAEMSAY, HOY SOUND LOW LIGHTHOUSE, INCLUDING KEEPERS' HOUSES, BOUNDARY WALLS AND GATEPIERS

There are no images available for this record.

Search Canmore

Printed: 18/04/2019 19:30