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: Removed


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Date Added
Date Removed:
Local Authority
Orkney Islands
Planning Authority
Orkney Islands
Cross And Burness
HY 79012 55392
379012, 1055392

Removal Reason

The designation of this site as a listed building has been removed as part of the Dual Designation project. It will continue to be recognised as being of national importance through its designation as a scheduled monument.


Thomas Smith and Ezekiel Walker, 1798. Tall, circular-plan 2-stage tower with bracketed cornice below flagstone ball finial. Harl-pointed rubble. Window (blocked) at 1st stage to E; window at 2nd stage above. Remains of rubble, single storey, rectangular-plan keepers' houses abutting base of tower to W. Abutting gable with doorway offset to right, affording entry to tower. Internal timber stair now gone.

Statement of Special Interest

Scheduled Ancient Monument, No 6596. One of the first four lighthouse to be built in Scotland. Thomas Smith was commissioned by the Northern Lighthouse Board together with the English lighthouse designer, Ezekiel Walker, to build a lighthouse to illuminate the dangerous waters at the northernmost tip of Orkney. The masons, John White and James Sinclair, constructed the 70ft tower from undressed local stone. The cost of the light was estimated at ?199 12s 6d and was first lit on 10th October, 1789. The lighting system was advanced, being the catrophic, or reflecting system, consisting of a number of oil-burning lamps surrounded by copper reflectors covered in facets of mirror glass to magnify the light. This fixed light survived until 1809 when the commissioners realised that the choice of position was somewhat unfortunate. The light proved to be too low to be seen by ships coming from the west and the south and was often mistaken for a ship's light. As a consequence, it was decided to transfer the lighthouse to a higher elevation at Start Point on the island of Sanday. The original cast-iron lantern with its copper-sheathed cupola was replaced by the huge ashlar ball finial which had previously topped the Sanday beacon.



Appears on 1st edition OS map (1882); NMRS Photographic Records, O/969/4, (1966); B Wilson, THE LIGHTHOUSES OF ORKNEY, (booklet accompanying the Summer Exhibition at Stromness Museum), (1975), pp 3-4; J Hume, THE INDUSTRIAL ARCHAEOLOGY OF SCOTLAND, VOL II, (1977) p 249; G Moberg, STONE BUILT ORKNEY, PHOTOGRAPHS (1979), no 2; 3RD S A (1983), p 90; L Burgher, ORKNEY, AN ILLUSTRATED ARCHITECTURAL GUIDE (1991), pp 99-100; J Gifford, HIGHLAND AND ISLANDS (1992), p 347; A Ritchie, ORKNEY (1996) p 52; North Ronaldsay Community Council, THE ISLAND OF NORTH RONALDSAY, (pamphlet).

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: 23/03/2019 12:52