Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see ‘About Listed Buildings’ below for more information.


Status: Designated


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Date Added
Local Authority
Na h-Eileanan Siar
Planning Authority
Na h-Eileanan Siar
NL 66436 98382
66436, 798382


Probably Dr Alexander Ross, circa 1879. Single storey and attic, 4-bay former primary school and schoolhouse, with later additions and alterations. Squared and snecked rubble sandstone with long and short sandstone dressings. Long and short quoins; overhanging eaves; timber bargeboards.

S (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: asymmetrical; gabled entrance bay advanced to penultimate bay to left, pointed-arched doorway, 2-leaf timber door with single pane fanlight; tripartite window to ground floor of flanking bay to right; gabled bay to outer right advanced, bipartite window to ground floor, pointed-arched window centred to attic floor, window to ground floor of right return; elongated gableted tripartite window breaking eaves to bay to outer left.

E ELEVATION: asymmetrical; window to ground floor of bay to left, gabled bay advanced to right, glazed timber door to ground floor with letterbox fanlight, pointed-arched window set in gablehead; bays to outer right not seen 1999.

N ELEVATION: not seen 1999.

W ELEVATION: asymmetrical; gabled bay to right with 2 windows to centre, flanked to left by elongated bipartite window breaking eaves with gable; bay to left advanced, window off-centre to left, window to ground floor of right return, flanked by small

4-pane window, 2 gableted windows to attic floor, left return and flanking bays to left not seen 1999.

Variety of timber sash and case and some modern PVCu windows. Grey slate roof, some replacement with lead and tiled ridges. Coped gablehead and ridge stacks with octagonal cans. Cast-iron rainwater goods.

INTERIOR: not seen 1999.

GATES, GATEPIERS AND BOUNDARY WALLS: random rubble boundary wall surrounding school to N, S, E and W, with semi-circular rubble coping. 2 pairs of square-plan gatepiers to S wall with pyramidal caps and cast-iron gates.

Statement of Special Interest

According to the New Statistical Account in 1840 "few of the natives (on Barra) can either read or write" (p216), and three schools, rather than the existing one, would be required to improve the state of education. It seems likely that this improvement, and the building of Castlebay Primary School, did not come until some 30 years later, following the

Elementary Education Act, 1870, where public, rather than private, money was used to provide schools and a basic level of education throughout the country. Dr Alexander Ross (1834-1925) an architect practising in Inverness and the surrounding area produced model designs and plans for schools which were then carried out, under his supervision, by the

Education Department. One of the most interesting features of Castlebay School is its boundary wall, said to have been laid out in the early 19th century to enclose exactly one

acre of land. The reason for this was that records of the size of local crofts were being made, so the residents needed to know what an acre looked like.



THE NEW STATISTICAL ACCOUNT OF SCOTLAND, Vol XIV, (1845), p215-16; 2nd (1903) EDITION OS MAP; "Obituary of Dr Alexander Ross", INVERNESS CITIZEN, Thursday May 21 1925; BARRA AND VATERSAY LOCAL PLAN, May 1996, p67. Information courtesy of Comhairle nan Eilean.

About Listed Buildings

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.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the 1997 Act. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect subsequent legislation.

Listed building consent is required for changes to a listed building which affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. The relevant planning authority is the point of contact for applications for listed building consent.

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


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Printed: 05/07/2020 09:27