Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing under the Planning (Listing Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 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. The further details below the 'Address/Name of Site' are provided for information purposes only.

Address/Name of Site


Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
ND 23910 73555
323910, 973555


Early to mid 18th century girnal; mid 19th century conversion to water-powered corn mill, and later alterations (see Notes). Large 4-storey, 5-bay agricultural building (former girnal) built against north facing slope presenting 3-storey appearance to S elevation. All Caithness flagstone rubble with tooled rubble dressings. N (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: paired fenestration to outer bays; off-centre vehicular opening (20th century alteration) to ground with further doorway to left. Rear (S) elevation: central timber doorway to 2nd floor approached by forestair; segmental headed wide entrance to left. No water wheel, lade or other external machinery.

INTERIOR: no internal floors. No internal machinery. Remains of 20th century concrete grain dryer to ground. Some evidence of earlier flagstone floor. Timber joists.

Caithness slate roof. Square-plan, mid 19th century kiln addition (roofless) adjoins to SW.

Statement of Special Interest

The former girnal and water-powered grain mill at Ham is an important example of its agricultural building type in Caithness. Having undergone a number of interrelated changes of use, the building is notable for its scale and it continues to reflect the historic importance of the grain trade to the economy of the area. Prominently sited within its rugged coastal setting it is also notable for its Caithness flagstone construction. The location of the building appears to correlate with a building depicted on Roy's map of 1747-51, possibly dating the first phase of its construction to the early half of the 18th century.



Roy's Map of 1747-1755. Evident on 1st edition Ordnance Survey Map (1870-72). John Hume, The Industrial Archaeology Of Scotland - The Highlands and Islands (1977) p191. John Gifford, The Buildings of Scotland: Highlands and Islands (1992). Iain Sutherland, Caithness 1770 to 1832 (1995) p41. Elizabeth Beaton, Caithness: An Illustrated Architectural Guide (1996) p64. Andrew PK Wright, Ham Girnal and Corn Mill, Caithness - Conservation Statement (Jan 2010).

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. Other than the name or address of a listed building, further details are provided for information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland does not accept any liability for any loss or damage suffered as a consequence of inaccuracies in the information provided. 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.

Listed building consent is required for changes to a listed building which affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. The relevant planning authority is the point of contact for applications for listed building consent.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


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Printed: 29/01/2023 05:32