Scheduled Monument

Lettie's Grave, square cairnsSM13619

Status: Designated


Where documents include maps, the use of this data is subject to terms and conditions (

The legal document available for download below constitutes the formal designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The additional details provided on this page are provided for information purposes only and do not form part of the designation. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within this additional information.


Date Added
Prehistoric ritual and funerary: cairn (type uncertain)
Local Authority
NC 69193 5305
269193, 905305


The monument comprises the remains of three square burial cairns, probably dating to between 500 AD and 800 AD. They are visible as three stone settings, arranged around 11m to 12m apart, and in a roughly equilateral triangle. The cairns lie at around 120m above sea level, on a level terrace overlooking the River Lettie.

The best preserved cairn is that to the southeast. It measures about 2.4m east-west by 2.2m transversely over a kerb of edge-set slabs, which remain in place only on the north and east sides. The cairn material within the kerb measures around 0.2m in height. Two large upright stones stand at the northeast and southeast corners, while two large fallen slabs probably represent the remaining corner stones. The second cairn stands around 11m to the northwest and measures around 2.7m square over a kerb which survives only on the northeast side. The cairn material measures around 0.3m in height and a single large stone stands at the east corner. Traces of a third cairn are visible to the south. It is poorly defined, but appears to have measured at least 1.7m square. The remains of a kerb survives on the west side.

The scheduled area is circular on plan, measuring 45m in diameter, to include the remains described above and an area around them within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Statement of National Importance

This monument is of national importance because it can make a significant contribution to our understanding of the past, particularly the design and construction of burial monuments, and the nature of burial practices and their significance in Early Historic society. The best preserved cairn is an impressive monument that retains its field characteristics, and the three cairns form an integral group of burial monuments. Due to the relative rarity of this type of funerary site, the loss of the monument would significantly diminish our ability to appreciate and understand the placing of such monuments within the landscape and the meaning and importance of death and burial in the Early Historic period.



Historic Environment Scotland reference number CANMORE ID 5412 (accessed on 10/05/2016).

The Highland Council Historic Environment Record reference is MHG12400.

Ashmore, P. 1980 Low cairns, long cists and symbol stones. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 110, 345-55.

Ritchie, A. 2011 Cemeteries of platforms cairns and long cists around Sinclair's Bay, Caithness. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 141, 125-143.

HER/SMR Reference


About Scheduled Monuments

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.

Scheduling is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for monuments and archaeological sites of national importance as set out in the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

We schedule sites and monuments that are found to be of national importance using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Scheduled monument records provide an indication of the national importance of the scheduled monument which has been identified by the description and map. The description and map (see ‘legal documents’ above) showing the scheduled area is the designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The statement of national importance and additional information provided are supplementary and provided for general information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within the statement of national importance or additional information. These records are not definitive historical or archaeological accounts or a complete description of the monument(s).

The format of scheduled monument records has changed over time. Earlier records will usually be brief. Some information will not have been recorded and the map will not be to current standards. Even if what is described and what is mapped has changed, the monument is still scheduled.

Scheduled monument consent is required to carry out certain work, including repairs, to scheduled monuments. Applications for scheduled monument consent are made to us. We are happy to discuss your proposals with you before you apply and we do not charge for advice or consent. More information about consent and how to apply for it can be found on our website at

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


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Printed: 02/12/2023 22:04