Scheduled Monument

Fedeland,fishing station and prehistoric house at Isle of FethalandSM6072

Status: Designated


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Date Added
Industrial: farming, food production; house, associated office, Prehistoric domestic and defensive: house, Secular: house
Local Authority
Shetland Islands
HU 37491 94255
437491, 1194255


The monument consists of the remains of an 18th-19th century fishing station, within which are the remains of a prehistoric house.

Fedeland, or Fethaland as it appears on maps, was one of the most important stations used for the "haaf", the open-boat long-line fishery practised during the summer months in Shetland. Initially undertaken to supplement subsistence diet, this fishery developed into an integral part of the islands' economy, with farming tenancies requiring participation in the "haaf" at fixed prices.

The industry was wiped out during the later 19th century by a combination of larger, competing, vessels, severe losses of life and the abolition of the complex system of credit, fishing leases and joint ownership which maintained it.

Like most "haaf" stations, Fedeland is at an extremity of the islands, at the extreme N tip of Shetland. The physical remains take the form of the walls of up to 20 rectangular houses. Most are of one compartment and all, with the sole exception, on the NE, of the factor's house, were of single-storey construction, with drystone walls occasionally patched with mortar.

The roofs of these houses were generally temporary affairs, constructed for the fishing period only, due to the scarcity of timber. Old photographs show much use of old spars, masts and sailcloth. Towards the central N side of the settlement, on a grassy slope, are the remains of an oval prehistoric house, perhaps of Iron Age date.

The area to be scheduled is irregular, measuring a maximum of 300m N-S by 250m. It is partly bounded by the high water mark in the Wester and Easter Wicks, and by the top of low cliffs to N and S of the Easter Wick. Its NW boundary is partly marked by a ruined drystone field wall.

This area includes all of the ruined houses, including the prehistoric one, and an area around and between them in which evidence relating to their construction and use may survive, as marked in red on the accompanying map.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance as the finest surviving example of a 'haaf' fishing station, illustrating an important aspect of the Shetland economy in the 18th and 19th centuries. It provides evidence for domestic architecture at its most basic. The prehistoric house, although badly excavated, still has the potential to provide information about prehistoric domestic architecture and economy.



RCAHMS records the monument as HU 39 SE 1.


Abercromby, J. (1905) 'Report on excavations at Fethaland and Trowie Knowie, Shetland; and of the exploration of a cairn on Dumglow, one of the Cleish Hill, Kinross-shire', Proc Soc Antiq Scot, vol. 39, 171-5.

RCAHMS (1946) Inventory for Orkney and Shetland, No. 1355.

About Scheduled Monuments

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for the designation of buildings, monuments, gardens and designed landscapes and historic battlefields. We also advise Scottish Ministers on the designation of historic marine protected areas.

Scheduling is the way that a monument or archaeological site of national importance is recognised by law through the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

We schedule sites and monuments of national importance using the criteria published in the Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement.

The description and map showing the scheduled area is the legal part of the scheduling. The additional information in the scheduled monument record gives an indication of the national importance of the monument(s). It is not a definitive account or a complete description of the monument(s). The format of scheduled monument records has changed over time. Earlier records will usually be brief and some information will not have been recorded. 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

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Printed: 18/04/2019 18:18