Scheduled Monument

Castletown Battery, battery 505m N of TralornSM13625

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
20th Century Military and Related: Battery
Local Authority
ND 18454 69047
318454, 969047


The monument is the remains of a coastal artillery battery constructed around 1866. It is visible as a mortared stone wall and earth bank, with two cannon embrasures. A small sunken chamber lies at the east end of the battery and a rectangular building at the west. The battery is located on the coast overlooking Dunnet Bay, around 10m above sea level.

The monument was constructed in response to the perceived threat of a French invasion, and manned by a volunteer artillery battalion. The wall of the battery is constructed of Caithness slabs and stands 1.95m high, measuring 0.73m wide at the base, tapering to 0.48m at the top. It is protected on the seaward side by an earth bank measuring about 7m wide and 1.5m high. The two cannon embrasures are slightly splayed and faced with Caithness slabs bolted to timber beams running across the width of the bank. The small sunken chamber, likely the powder room, is set down three steps at the east end of the wall and bank, while the rectangular building, which measures 6.45m in length by 3.4m transversely, is at the west end of the battery.

The scheduled area is irregular in plan, 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. The scheduling extends up to but excludes the post and wire fence to the north and east.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to contribute to our understanding of the past, in particular of the construction and use of late 19th century artillery batteries. It is a good example of a coastal artillery battery that retains its field characteristics, and represents one of the best preserved examples of its class. The monument is an unusual survival of a formerly common defensive structure, and can significantly expand our understanding of the history of defence and volunteer forces in Caithness and Scotland in the late 19th century. The loss or damage of the monument would diminish our ability to appreciate and understand the nature and character of late 19th century artillery batteries and the role of volunteer regiments within Caithness society and more widely.



The Highland Council Historic Environment Record Reference is MHG52816.

Grierson, James Moncrieff, Lt Gen Gen, 1909. Records of the Scottish Volunteer Force, William Blackwood and Sons.

Ordnance Survey, Name Book. Object Name Books of the Ordnance Survey (6 inch and 1/2500 scale). Caithness Volume 7, 32.

Watson, G 1996. The Artillery Batteries at Mey and Castletown (Caithness Field Club Bulletin Vol. 5 Number 8), Vol 5, Number 8.

HER/SMR Reference

  • MHG52816

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: 18/06/2024 10:12