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
Na h-Eileanan Siar
Planning Authority
Na h-Eileanan Siar
NL 66436 98382
66436, 798382


Probably Dr Alexander Ross, circa 1879. Single storey and attic, 4-bay former primary school and schoolhouse, with later additions and alterations. Squared and snecked rubble sandstone with long and short sandstone dressings. Long and short quoins; overhanging eaves; timber bargeboards.

S (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: asymmetrical; gabled entrance bay advanced to penultimate bay to left, pointed-arched doorway, 2-leaf timber door with single pane fanlight; tripartite window to ground floor of flanking bay to right; gabled bay to outer right advanced, bipartite window to ground floor, pointed-arched window centred to attic floor, window to ground floor of right return; elongated gableted tripartite window breaking eaves to bay to outer left.

E ELEVATION: asymmetrical; window to ground floor of bay to left, gabled bay advanced to right, glazed timber door to ground floor with letterbox fanlight, pointed-arched window set in gablehead; bays to outer right not seen 1999.

N ELEVATION: not seen 1999.

W ELEVATION: asymmetrical; gabled bay to right with 2 windows to centre, flanked to left by elongated bipartite window breaking eaves with gable; bay to left advanced, window off-centre to left, window to ground floor of right return, flanked by small

4-pane window, 2 gableted windows to attic floor, left return and flanking bays to left not seen 1999.

Variety of timber sash and case and some modern PVCu windows. Grey slate roof, some replacement with lead and tiled ridges. Coped gablehead and ridge stacks with octagonal cans. Cast-iron rainwater goods.

INTERIOR: not seen 1999.

GATES, GATEPIERS AND BOUNDARY WALLS: random rubble boundary wall surrounding school to N, S, E and W, with semi-circular rubble coping. 2 pairs of square-plan gatepiers to S wall with pyramidal caps and cast-iron gates.

Statement of Special Interest

According to the New Statistical Account in 1840 "few of the natives (on Barra) can either read or write" (p216), and three schools, rather than the existing one, would be required to improve the state of education. It seems likely that this improvement, and the building of Castlebay Primary School, did not come until some 30 years later, following the

Elementary Education Act, 1870, where public, rather than private, money was used to provide schools and a basic level of education throughout the country. Dr Alexander Ross (1834-1925) an architect practising in Inverness and the surrounding area produced model designs and plans for schools which were then carried out, under his supervision, by the

Education Department. One of the most interesting features of Castlebay School is its boundary wall, said to have been laid out in the early 19th century to enclose exactly one

acre of land. The reason for this was that records of the size of local crofts were being made, so the residents needed to know what an acre looked like.



THE NEW STATISTICAL ACCOUNT OF SCOTLAND, Vol XIV, (1845), p215-16; 2nd (1903) EDITION OS MAP; "Obituary of Dr Alexander Ross", INVERNESS CITIZEN, Thursday May 21 1925; BARRA AND VATERSAY LOCAL PLAN, May 1996, p67. Information courtesy of Comhairle nan Eilean.

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: 16/02/2019 08:19