Scheduled Monument

Red Smiddy,ironworks 1km S of PooleweSM4389

Status: Designated

Documents

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Summary

Date Added
03/06/1986
Type
Industrial: iron and steel
Local Authority
Highland
Parish
Gairloch
NGR
NG 86138 79811
Coordinates
186138, 879811

Description

The monument comprises an ironworks, built before 1608 by Sir George Hay of Kinfauns, Earl of Kinnoull. It is very probably the first charcoal-fired blast furnace built in Scotland. It smelted iron ores imported from central Scotland with locally-made charcoal. The finished product (pig iron and possibly cast-iron cannon) was shipped straight to markets in the south. The ironworks was probably in blast for at least 50 years.

The ironworks, on the low-lying ground beside the River Ewe, includes the remains of a stone-built furnace-stack, with the blowing house, casting-house and wheel pit adjacent. The lade runs down the east side; this is now a dry channel. There is a slag-heap on the north. All these features, save for a part of the furnace-stack, are beneath the grass cover.

There may be other working surfaces (perhaps a forge) in the area to the north of the stack, beyond the slag heap. On the high ground to the east, above and beyond the lade, there is evidence for the existence of storage sheds for charcoal and ore. They would appear to have been constructed of timber or turf, not stone.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance as an early, well preserved and complete field monument of the industrial period. It is of national importance because the evidence in it is crucial to our understanding of iron working in Scotland. Its importance is enhanced by the proximity of an advanced bloomery and Fasagh, also on Loch Maree. It will encapsulate the reasons for cessation of iron working in NW Scotland and this aspect of its importance is not neglible.

References

Bibliography

RCAHMS record the site as NG87NE 2.

References:

Dixon, J. H. (1886) Gairloch in north west Ross-shire: its records, traditions inhabitants and natural history with a guide to Gairloch and Loch Maree, Edinburgh, 77, 79, 83, 93-5, 335, 367, 398, 405.

Lewis, J. H. (1985a) 'The Charcoal-fired blast furnaces of Scotland: A Review', Proc Soc Antiq Scot, vol. 114, 435-6, 440-4.

MacAdam, W. I. (1893) 'Notes on the Ancient Iron Industry of Scotland', Proc Soc Antiq Scot 21, 1886-87, 89-131.

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.

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Printed: 10/12/2019 04:27