- Category: N/A
- Date Added: 23/03/1998
- Type: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: dun, Secular: folly
- Local Authority: Na h-Eileanan Siar
- Parish: North Uist
National Grid Reference
- NGR: NF 731 750
- Coordinates: 73100, 875000
The monument consists of the site of a dun, represented today by a circular island in Loch Scolpaig, formed with material from the demolished structure around 1830 (and certainly before 1837), when Dr Alexander Macleod erected a folly in its place as a means of providing employment for local people. According to tradition, the dun had been occupied in medieval times by Donald Herroch, a descendant of one of the lords of the Isles.
The folly stands at the centre of the island. It is octagonal in plan, with two stages defined by string courses, topped by crenellations. The ground floor has a south-facing doorway and an opening in each of the other three alternate faces, while the upper stage has an opening in each face. The door and openings all have pointed heads. The building is now a roofless shell.
The area to be scheduled is circular, 33.5m in diameter, and includes the tower, the island and an area below water extending 3m out from the edge of the island, as shown in red on the accompanying map extract.
Statement of National Importance
The monument is of national importance because it represents the site of a later prehistoric/early medieval dun, which because of the circumstances of its destruction is likely to retain significant structural and cultural remains below ground (and below water), which is thus available for further investigation and study through archaeological excavation.
As such it has the potential to shed further light on the material culture and society of Scotland in the later prehistoric and medieval periods. The monument's importance is further enhanced by the erection on it of an early 19th-century folly, which although of only minor architectural interest in itself, contributes to an understanding of the social history of the period.
RCAHMS records the monument as NF 77 NW 6.
Loch Scolpaig Tower is a category B listed building
Beveridge, E (1911) North Uist: its archaeology and topography, with notes upon the early history of the Outer Hebrides, Edinburgh, 193.
NSA (1837) XIV, 170-71.
RCAHMS (1928) The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland. Ninth report with inventory of monuments and constructions in the Outer Hebrides, Skye and the Small Isles, Edinburgh, 97, No. 322.
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.
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