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


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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

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


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Printed: 22/01/2019 12:15