Oldest buildings in Scotland

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Abernethy Round Tower, which dates from 1100 AD.[1]

This article lists the oldest extant freestanding buildings in Scotland. In order to qualify for the list a structure must:

  • be a recognisable building (defined as any human-made structure used or intended for supporting or sheltering any use or continuous occupancy);
  • incorporate features of building work from the claimed date to at least 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) in height and/or be a listed building.

This consciously excludes ruins of limited height, roads and statues. Bridges may be included if they otherwise fulfill the above criteria. Dates for many of the oldest structures have been arrived at by radiocarbon dating and should be considered approximate.

The main chronological list includes buildings that date from no later than 1199 AD. Although the oldest building on the list is the Neolithic farmhouse at Knap of Howar, the earliest period is dominated by chambered cairns, numerous examples of which can be found from the 4th millennium BC through to the early Bronze Age.

Estimates of the number of broch sites throughout the country, which date from the Iron Age, range from just over 100 to over 500.[2] However, only a small percentage are sufficiently well preserved for them to be included here.

As there are relatively few structures from the latter half of the first millennium AD and a significant number from the 12th century, the latter group is placed in a sub-list. There are larger numbers of extant qualifying structures from 1200 onwards and separate lists for 13th-century castles and religious buildings are provided. As the oldest buildings in many of the council areas in the more urbanised Central Belt date from after the 14th century a separate list showing oldest buildings by council area is provided.

There is also a supplementary list of qualifying structures for which no confirmed date of construction is available and a short listing of substantial prehistoric structures that are not buildings as defined above.

Main list[edit]

Neolithic and Bronze Age[edit]

Building Image Location Council area First built Use Notes
Knap of Howar Knapofhowarinsun.jpg Papa Westray Orkney 3700 BC House Oldest preserved stone house in north west Europe.[3][4][5]
Midhowe Chambered Cairn Midhowe Cairn interior - geograph.org.uk - 33776.jpg Rousay Orkney 3500 BC Tomb A well preserved example of the Orkney-Cromarty type on the island of Rousay.[6]
Unstan Chambered Cairn Unstan chambered cairn entrance by Bruce McAdam.jpg Stenness Orkney 3450 BC Tomb Excavated in 1884, when grave goods were found, giving their name to Unstan ware.[7][8][9]
Knowe of Yarso chambered cairn Knowe of Yarso Chambered Cairn 20110525.jpg Rousay Orkney 3350 BC Tomb One of several Rousay tombs. It contained numerous deer skeletons when excavated in the 1930s.[7][10][11]
Quanterness chambered cairn Chambered Cairn and Farm House - geograph.org.uk - 1075905.jpg St Ola Orkney 3250 BC Tomb The remains of 157 individuals were found inside when excavated in the 1970s.[7][12]
Skara Brae Skara Brae 12.jpg Sandwick Orkney 3180 BC Settlement Northern Europe's best preserved Neolithic village.[13]
Tomb of the Eagles Isbister Chambered Cairn 20110524.jpg South Ronaldsay Orkney 3150 BC Tomb In use for 800 years or more. Numerous bird bones were found here, predominantly White-tailed Sea Eagle.[14][15]
Grey Cairns of Camster Camster Round Cairn 20090613.jpg Upper Camster Highland 3000 BC or older Tomb A group of three cairns.[16][17]
Taversoe Tuick chambered cairn Taversoe Tuick - geograph.org.uk - 1448330.jpg Rousay Orkney 3000 BC Tomb Unusually, there is an upper and lower chamber.[18]
Holm of Papa chambered cairn Inside the chambered cairn on the Holm of Papa Westray - geograph.org.uk - 1364571.jpg Holm of Papa Orkney 3000 BC Tomb The central chamber is over 20 metres long.[19][20]
Barpa Langass Entrance to Barpa Langass Chambered Cairn - geograph.org.uk - 1523313.jpg North Uist Na h-Eileanan Siar 3000 BC Tomb The best preserved chambered cairn in the Hebrides.[21][22]
Cuween Hill Chambered Cairn Cuween Hill, front external view, 2012 March.jpg Finstown Orkney 3000 BC Tomb Excavated in 1901, when it was found to contain the bones of men, dogs and oxen.[23][24]
Quoyness cairn Quoyness Chambered Cairn - geograph.org.uk - 86230.jpg Sanday Orkney 2900 BC Tomb An arc of Bronze Age mounds surrounds this cairn.[25]
Maeshowe Maes Howe 1861.jpg Stenness Orkney 2800 BC Tomb The entrance passage is 36 feet (11 m) long and leads to the central chamber measuring about 15 feet (4.6 m) on each side.[26][27]
Crantit cairn Kirkwall Orkney 2130 BC Tomb Discovered in 1998 near Kirkwall.[28][29]
Rubha an Dùnain passage grave Chambered Cairn at Rubh' an Dunain - geograph.org.uk - 180698.jpg Skye Highland 2000 BC or older Tomb On a now uninhabited peninsula to the south of the Cuillin hills.[30][31][32]
Corrimony chambered cairn Corrimony Chambered Cairn - 3 - 29042008.JPG Drumnadrochit Highland 2000 BC or older Tomb A Clava-type passage grave surrounded by a circle of 11 standing stones.[33][34]
Balnuaran of Clava Clava Cairns - geograph.org.uk - 476673.jpg Nairn Highland 2000 BC Tomb The largest of three is the north-east cairn, which was partially reconstructed in the 19th century. The central cairn may have been used as a funeral pyre.[32][35][36]
Vinquoy cairn Vinquoy chambered tomb - geograph.org.uk - 190143.jpg Eday Orkney 2000 BC Tomb At an elevated location on the north end of the island.[37]
Glebe cairn Glebe Cairn.jpg Kilmartin Glen Argyll and Bute 1700 BC Tomb An early Bronze Age structure with two stone cists.[38][39]

Iron Age[edit]

Building Image Location Council area First built Use Notes
Dun Ringill Dun Ringill Doorway.jpg Strathaird, Skye Highland 1st millennium BC Semi-broch Known to have been occupied in the medieval period by Clan Mackinnon the ground floor living space is only 47 m2.[40][41]
Old Scatness Old scatness 2.jpg Sumburgh Shetland 400-200 BC Broch and wheelhouse Like Jarlshof the site was occupied by Iron Age peoples, Picts, and Vikings.[42]
Dun Troddan Scotland Glenelg broch.jpg Glenelg Highland 4th century BC to 1st century AD Broch One of the best-preserved brochs, the dry-stone walls surviving to over 7 m in height in places.[43][44]
Dun Telve Dun Telve 20080428 01.jpg Glenelg Highland 4th century BC to 1st century AD Broch The best preserved mainland broch, with walls surviving to 10 m, located only 500 metres from Dun Troddan.[43][44]
Jarlshof Jarlshof (2).jpg Sumburgh Shetland 200 BC Various A complex of preserved wheelhouses, amongst the remains of a variety of much older and more recent buildings.[45][46]
Yarrows broch Yarrows broch 05.jpg Wick Highland 200 BC Broch Situated on the edge of a loch, underwater stonework may indicate a docking area.[47][48]
Dun Vulan Dun Vulan 20090609 04.jpg Bornais Na h-Eileanan Siar 150 BC Broch Originally 10 metres (33 ft) in height, now reduced to walls of 1.52 metres (5.0 ft). A Pictish house was later built within the walls.[49][50]
Dun Ardtreck Dun Ardtreck - geograph.org.uk - 250463.jpg Minginish, Skye Highland 115 BC Semi-broch Initial occupation appears to have been brief and to have "ended in violence and destruction".[51] [Note 1]
Broch of Mousa Mousa broch.jpg Mousa Shetland 100 BC Broch Amongst the best-preserved prehistoric buildings in Europe.[52][53]
Ness of Burgi fort Ness of Burgi 20080821 - eastern entrances.jpg Sumburgh Shetland 100 BC Blockhouse fort Surviving to only 1.5 m in height, the blockhouse was once 22m long, but has suffered from cliff erosion.[54][55]
Midhowe Broch Midhowe Broch.jpg Rousay Orkney 1st century BC or older Settlement Lies opposite the Broch of Gurness overlooking Eynhallow Sound.[56]
Broch of Burrian Burrian Broch, North Ronaldsay - geograph.org.uk - 33811.jpg North Ronaldsay Orkney 1st century BC Broch May have had three distinct phases of occupation.[57][58]
Dun Beag Dun Beag Broch - geograph.org.uk - 961829.jpg Bracadale, Skye Highland Late 1st millennium BC Broch Visited by Boswell and Johnson in the 18th century.[59][60]
Mine Howe Mine Howe - geograph.org.uk - 54212.jpg Tankerness Orkney 100BC - 110AD Souterrain Once thought to be a broch, it was used for metal working and may have had a religious purpose.[61]
Broch of Gurness Broch of Gurness2.jpg Evie Orkney 60 AD or older Settlement Oldest confirmed dates are Roman pottery from 60 AD and radiocarbon dates for the late first century.[62][63]
Dun Mor Vaul Broch,near Vaul, Tiree - geograph.org.uk - 8004.jpg Tiree Argyll and Bute 60 AD Dun The original structure dates to c. 445 BC. A fragment of a Roman glass bowl made in the Rhineland between AD 160 and 250 was discovered in the interior.[64][Note 2]
Broch of West Burrafirth Broch of West Burrafirth - geograph.org.uk - 438680.jpg East of Sandness Shetland 100 AD or older Broch The stone stands eight or nine courses high for much of the circumference.[65][66]
Dun Fiadhairt Dun Fiadhairt - geograph.org.uk - 759494.jpg Duirinish, Skye Highland 200 AD or older Broch A clay model of a bale of wool, believed to be Roman, may reflect trade between the two cultures although a Roman fleet is known to have circumnavigated Scotland in the 1st century AD.[67][68]
Edin's Hall Broch EdinsHallBroch.jpg Abbey St Bathans Berwickshire 100-140AD Broch Broch believed to have been constructed between the two Roman occupations of southern Scotland, on the site of a much earlier fort.[69]
Borwick Broch Broch of Borwick - geograph.org.uk - 490037.jpg Yesnaby Orkney 200 AD? Broch On a cliff promontory, the seaward wall is badly eroded.[70][71]
Tappoch Broch Tappoch Broch - southern side - geograph.org.uk - 1024967.jpg Torwood Falkirk 3rd century AD? Broch Dating evidence is sparse, with no finds to link the broch to Roman occupation of nearby Antonine Wall resulting in the suggestion the broch either pre- or post- dates Roman occupation.[72][73]
Dun Cuier Dun Cuier 04.jpg Barra Na h-Eileanan Siar 4th century AD Galleried dun A complex and controversial site, with two periods of occupation in the 4th and 7th centuries.[74]

Early Historic period[edit]

Building Image Location Council area First built Use Notes
St Columba's Monastery Eileach an Naoimh Monk's cell.jpg Eileach an Naoimh Argyll and Bute 6th century? Monastic cells The monastic site was founded in 542. The oldest remains include a double beehive cell and a grave associated with the mother of Columba. These are the oldest extant church buildings in Scotland and possibly Britain.[75][76][77][78]
Dun Carloway Dun Carloway.jpg Carloway Na h-Eileanan Siar 650 and earlier Broch Radiocarbon date is for a late period of occupation likely to be centuries after the building was completed.[79]
Brough of Birsay Viking Remains, Brough of Birsay - geograph.org.uk - 488680.jpg Birsay Orkney 800 Settlement Pictish remains date from the 5th century and the Norse period provides building work from 800-1200.[80][81]
St Oran's Chapel Iona Abbey - St Oran's Chapel.jpg Iona Argyll and Bute 9th or 10th century Chapel Partly rebuilt and restored.[82] Possibly built by Somerled c. 1164.[83]
Brechin Cathedral Round Tower Brechin, Cathedral and Round Tower.jpg Brechin Angus 1012 Round Tower The tower probably predates the cathedral itself.[84][85]
Abernethy Round Tower Abernethy Tower.jpg Abernethy Perth and Kinross 1100 Round Tower The tower is 22 metres (72 ft) high.[1][86]

12th century[edit]

Building Image Location Council area First built Use Notes
St Rule's Tower St Rule's Tower, St Andrews.jpg St Andrews Fife 1123 Priory Constructed by the Culdees prior to the granting of the church to the Augustinian order.[87]
Inchcolm Abbey Inchcolm Abbey, Inchcolm, Firth of Forth, Scotland-9April2011.jpg Inchcolm Fife Founded 1123 Abbey The substantial ruins date "from the 12th century" onwards.[88]
Holyrood Abbey Holyrood Abbey 09.jpg Holyrood Palace Edinburgh c. 1130 Abbey Founded in 1128 by David I but all that remains above ground of the original structure is the ruined nave. The rest of the building was replaced by the mid 13th century.[89][90]
St Margaret's Chapel Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh - geograph.org.uk - 504269.jpg Edinburgh Castle Edinburgh 1130 Chapel The oldest building in Edinburgh.[91]
Cubbie Roo's Castle Cubby Roo's Castle.jpg Wyre Orkney c. 1145 Castle The ruins include a small square keep still extant to 2.4 metres (8 ft) in height.[92]
Castle Sween Castle Sween - geograph.org.uk - 220264.jpg Knapdale Argyll and Bute c. 1150 Castle The main structure is a mid-12th-century quadrangle with later towers.[93]
St Serf's Inch Priory St Serf's Island, Loch Leven - geograph.org.uk - 866690.jpg St Serf's Inch Perth and Kinross Post 1150 Priory The remaining oblong structure dates from 12th century.[94]
Jedburgh Abbey Ruins of Jedburgh Abbey.jpg Jedburgh Scottish Borders Post 1150 Abbey The choir dates to the second quarter of the 12th century and the church was complete by the middle of the 13th century.[95]
St. Magnus Cathedral St. Magnus Cathedral 10.jpg Kirkwall Orkney Commenced 1167 Cathedral The building was raised in honour of Magnus Erlendsson, Earl of Orkney by Earl Rögnvald Kali.[96]
Bishop's Palace, Kirkwall Bishops palace orkney.jpg Kirkwall Orkney c. 1167 Residence Built for William the Old, Bishop of Orkney, Haakon IV of Norway died here in 1263.[97]
Kilwinning Abbey Adam & Eve.JPG Kilwinning North Ayrshire 1190 Abbey An arch has a Norman style capital bearing two carved figures.[98]
St Magnus's Church St. Magnus Church, Egilsay - geograph.org.uk - 1434978.jpg Egilsay Orkney Late 12th century Church A church existed here in 1116, but the current building, with its distinctive round tower, may date from later that century.[99]
Kildalton Chapel Kildalton Cross - geograph.org.uk - 860780.jpg Islay Argyll and Bute Late 12th century Church The churchyard has a collection of grave slabs and contains the 8th-century Kildalton Cross.[100]
St Blane's Church, Kingarth St Blane's Church - outside.JPG Kingarth Argyll and Bute 12th century Church A "12th-century Romanesque building consisting of a nave and chancel", the enclosing wall and parts of the church may be pre-Norse.[101]

13th century[edit]

Castles[edit]

Building Image Location Council Area First Built Use Notes
Aberdour Castle Aberdour Castle ruins.JPG Aberdour Fife 1200 Castle Base of a late-12th- or early-13th-century hall house incorporated into later buildings.[102]
Dirleton Castle Dirleton W2.jpg Dirleton East Lothian 1240 Castle The de Vaux towers are the oldest extant structures.[103][104]
Kildrummy Castle Kildrummy castle 2.jpg Kildrummy Aberdeenshire c. 1250 Castle Built mid 13th century, possibly by Gilbert de Moravia and fell under siege in 1306 during the Wars of Independence.[105][106]
Dunstaffnage Castle Dunstaffnage Castle - geograph.org.uk - 966873.jpg Oban Argyll and Bute pre 1275 Castle Built by Clan MacDougall on an older site.[107][108]
Duart Castle Duart Castle - geograph.org.uk - 466419.jpg Craignure, Mull Argyll and Bute Late 13th century Castle Part of a chain of castles that line the Sound of Mull.[109][110]
Lauriston Castle Lauriston Castle Aberdeenshire 1.JPG St Cyrus Aberdeenshire Late 13th century Castle The charter dates from c. 1243, and some of the 13th-century structure is incorporated in later building works. Captured by Edward III of England in 1336.[104][111]
Goblin Ha' The 'windows' of Goblin Ha' - geograph.org.uk - 873888.jpg Gifford East Lothian 13th century Undercroft Part of Yester Castle built by Sir Hugo de Gifford, reputedly a "wizard".[112][113]

Religious buildings[edit]

Building Image Location Council Area First Built Use Notes
Iona Nunnery Iona Nunnery - church detail.jpg Iona Argyll and Bute Founded 1207 Nunnery "The remains, substantial and, at least in part, original were repaired in 1923".[114]
Iona Abbey Iona Abbey 12.jpg Iona Argyll and Bute 1200-1220 Monastery The north transept "is the only part of this early church to survive reasonably intact".[115]
Pluscarden Abbey A door to Pluscarden Abbey - geograph.org.uk - 1529551.jpg Elgin Moray Founded 1230 Monastery Originally Valliscaulian, now a Benedictine House.[116]
Ardchattan Priory Ardchattan Priory 20080428 choir.jpg Ardchattan Argyll and Bute Founded 1230 Monastery Also Valliscaulian, and dedicated to St May and St John the Baptist. Now ruined.[117]
Fortrose Cathedral FortroseCathedral.PNG Fortrose Highland 1235 Undercroft The undercroft of the chapter house is only structure remaining from this date.[118]
Inchmahome Priory Inchmahome Priory - 2 - 06052008.jpg Inchmahome Stirling Founded 1238 Priory "Much of the 13th-century building remains."[119]
Nave Island Chapel Nave Island, Islay - geograph.org.uk - 340976.jpg Islay Argyll and Bute Pre 1250 Church The site is within an enclosure that is likely to be several centuries older, The chimney is an 18th-century addition made by kelp harvesters.[120]
Kelso Abbey Kelso Abbey 2.jpg Kelso Scottish Borders Completed 1248 Abbey Suffered significant damage during "The Rough Wooing".[121]
Arbroath Abbey Arbroath Abbey - geograph.org.uk - 3180.jpg Arbroath Angus Completed mid-13th century Abbey The tower dates from the 13th century.[122]
Crossraguel Abbey Crossraguel01.jpg Maybole South Ayrshire Completed c. 1265 Abbey [123]
Beauly Priory Scotland Beauly Priory 2.jpg Beauly Highland Completed 1272 Monastery Described by the monks as Prioratus de Bello Loco in 1230.[124]
Sweetheart Abbey Sweetheart Abbey1.jpg New Abbey Dumfries and Galloway Founded 1273 Abbey A Cistercian monastery founded in 1275 by Dervorguilla of Galloway.[125]
Dunstaffnage Chapel DunstaffnageChapel.jpg Oban Argyll and Bute pre 1275 Chapel Adjacent to Dunstaffnage Castle.[107][108]
Balmerino Abbey Balmerino Abbey Remains.jpg Balmerino Fife Completed c. 1286 Abbey Founded in 1231, badly damaged in the 16th century.[126]
Culross Abbey Culross Abbey 20080505 - refectory lay brothers.jpg Culross Fife Late 13th century Abbey Founded before 1217, parts of the nave are early-13th-century, but most of the original structures are c. 1300.[127]

By council area[edit]

Scotland Administrative Map 2009.png

The following are amongst the oldest buildings in each council area of Scotland.

Building Image Council area Location First Built Use Notes
St Machar's Cathedral St. Machar's Cathedral tower, Aberdeen.jpg Old Aberdeen Aberdeen City 1440 Church The nave and its two western towers were built between 1422 and 1440.[128][Note 3]
Kildrummy Castle Kildrummy castle 2.jpg Kildrummy Aberdeenshire c. 1250 Castle Built mid 13th century, possibly by Gilbert de Moravia and fell under siege in 1306 during the Wars of Independence.[105][106]
Brechin Cathedral Round Tower Brechin, Cathedral and Round Tower.jpg Brechin Angus 1012 Round Tower The tower probably predates the cathedral itself.[84][85]
Glebe cairn Glebe Cairn.jpg Kilmartin Glen Argyll and Bute 1700 BC Tomb An early Bronze Age structure with two stone cists.[38][39]
Clackmannan Tower Clackmannan Tower 20080505 01.jpg Clackmannan Clackmannanshire Late 14th century Tower house L-plan tower house extended in the 15th century.[131][Note 4]
Sweetheart Abbey Sweetheart Abbey1.jpg New Abbey Dumfries and Galloway Founded 1273 Abbey A Cistercian monastery founded in 1275 by Dervorguilla of Galloway.[125]
St Mary's Tower St. Mary's Tower, Dundee - geograph.org.uk - 1204975.jpg Nethergate Dundee City 1495 Church Also known as "The Old Steeple"[135] and described as "the oldest surviving building in Dundee".[136]
Mauchline Castle Mauchline Castle 1790 - Ayrshire.jpg Mauchline East Ayrshire 1450 Former grange Built by Andrew Hunter, abbot of Melrose Abbey.[137][138]
Bardowie Castle Annan12.jpg Milngavie East Dunbartonshire 1566 Castle 16th-century tower with later additions.[139]
Dirleton Castle Dirleton W2.jpg Dirleton East Lothian 1240 Castle The de Vaux towers are the oldest extant structures.[103][104]
Mearns Castle Mearns Castle.jpg Newton Mearns East Renfrewshire Post 1449 Tower house Restored and now used by a local church.[140]
St Margaret's Chapel Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh - geograph.org.uk - 504269.jpg Edinburgh Castle City of Edinburgh 1130 Chapel The oldest building in Edinburgh.[91]
Tappoch Broch Tappoch Broch - southern side - geograph.org.uk - 1024967.jpg Torwood Falkirk 3rd century Broch Likely post dates Roman occupation of nearby Antonine Wall.[72][73]
St Rule's Tower St Rule's Tower, St Andrews.jpg St Andrews Fife 1123 Priory Constructed by the Culdees prior to the granting of the church to the Augustinian order.[87]
Provan Hall Provan Hall - geograph.org.uk - 1262001.jpg Easterhouse Glasgow City 1460 Mansion house Possibly the best-preserved medieval fortified country house in Scotland.[141][142]
Grey Cairns of Camster Camster Round Cairn 20090613.jpg Upper Camster Highland 3000 BC or older Tomb A group of three cairns.[16][17]
Newark Castle Newark Castle from se.jpg Port Glasgow Inverclyde 1478 Castle The original castle had a tower house within a barmkin entered through a large gatehouse.[143]
Crichton Castle Crichton Castle, near Pathhead, Midlothian.jpg Crichton Midlothian Late 14th century Tower house The tower is the oldest section, with later additions.[144][145]
Pluscarden Abbey A door to Pluscarden Abbey - geograph.org.uk - 1529551.jpg Elgin Moray Founded 1230 Monastery Originally Valliscaulian, now a Benedictine House.[116]
Barpa Langass Entrance to Barpa Langass Chambered Cairn - geograph.org.uk - 1523313.jpg North Uist Na h-Eileanan Siar 3000 BC Tomb The best preserved chambered cairn in the Hebrides.[21][22]
Kilwinning Abbey Adam & Eve.JPG Kilwinning North Ayrshire 1190 Abbey An arch has a Norman style capital bearing two carved figures.[98]
Dalzell House Dalzell House.JPG Motherwell North Lanarkshire Early 16th century Tower house Substantial later additions.[146]
Knap of Howar Knapofhowarinsun.jpg Papa Westray Orkney 3700 BC House Oldest preserved stone house in north west Europe.[3][4][5]
Abernethy Round Tower Abernethy Tower.jpg Abernethy Perth and Kinross Late 11th century Tower The tower is 22 metres (72 ft) high.[1][86]
Paisley Abbey Paisley Abbey - geograph.org.uk - 359563.jpg Paisley Renfrewshire Mid 15th century Abbey The main structure is a restoration of an earlier building destroyed in 1307, although a late-12th-century and a 13th-century doorway remain.[147]
Jedburgh Abbey Ruins of Jedburgh Abbey.jpg Jedburgh Scottish Borders Post 1150 Abbey The choir dates to the second quarter of the 12th century and the church was complete by the middle of the 13th century.[95]
Old Scatness Old scatness 2.jpg Sumburgh Shetland 400-200 BC Broch and wheelhouse Like Jarlshof the site was occupied by Iron Age peoples, Picts, and Vikings.[42]
Crossraguel Abbey Crossraguel01.jpg Maybole South Ayrshire c. 1265 Abbey [123]
St Brides Collegiate Church The Parish Church of Bothwell - geograph.org.uk - 106381.jpg Bothwell South Lanarkshire Founded 1398 Church The oldest visible structure is the choir, which dates from the 14th century.[148]
Inchmahome Priory Inchmahome Priory - 2 - 06052008.jpg Inchmahome Stirling Founded 1238 Priory "Much of the 13th-century building remains."[119]
Glencairn House Glencairn's Greit House - geograph.org.uk - 1068140.jpg Greenock West Dunbartonshire 1755 Tenement Built for the Earl of Glencairn, now owned by the Council and described as "oldest building in West Dunbartonshire".[149][150]
Torphichen Preceptory Torphichen Preceptory.jpg Torphichen West Lothian 13th century Church The only house of the Knights Hospitallers of St John of Jerusalem in Scotland.[151][152][Note 5]

Other structures[edit]

Undated buildings[edit]

The following are very old buildings that meet the qualifying criteria but for which no reliable date of construction has emerged.

Building Image Location Council Area First Built Use Notes
Calf of Eday cairns Sheep and lambs at Calfsound, Eday - geograph.org.uk - 226922.jpg Calf of Eday Orkney Neolithic and built in two phases. Tomb There are two preserved chambered tombs close together on this Orkney islet and a third in a ruinous state.
Huntersquoy cairn Huntersquoy chambered cairn, Eday - geograph.org.uk - 224640.jpg Eday Orkney Neolithic Tomb A Bookan type cairn with an upper and lower storey.[154]
Broch of Culswick Broch of culswick 1.jpg Sandsting Shetland Iron Age Broch Until the 18th century this was Shetland's second most complete broch, after Mousa.[155][156]
Burra Ness Broch Burra Ness broch - geograph.org.uk - 550683.jpg Yell Shetland Iron Age Broch The wall still stands 14' high in places.[157]
Burroughston Broch Burroughston Broch.jpg Shapinsay Orkney Iron Age Settlement Likely to "have been seen by seafaring Romans about two millennia ago."[158]
Carn Liath Scotland Carn Liath Broch 2.jpg Golspie Highland Iron Age Broch [159]
Clachtoll broch Clachtoll Broch 20090612 02.jpg Stoer Highland Iron Age Broch [160]
Dun Dornaigil Dun Dornagail.JPG South of Ben Hope Highland Iron Age Broch [161]
Dun Hallin Dun Hallin - geograph.org.uk - 414645.jpg Waternish, Skye Highland Iron Age Broch [162]
Dun Grugaig Dun Grugaig - geograph.org.uk - 487759.jpg Glenelg Highland Iron Age Semi-broch [163][164]
Kintradwell broch Cinn trolla broch 02.jpg Brora Highland Iron Age Broch [165]
Sallachy broch Sallachy Broch - geograph.org.uk - 1050622.jpg Lairg Highland Iron Age Broch [166]
Stairhaven Stairhaven broch - intramural stairs - geograph.org.uk - 590703.jpg Luce Bay Dumfries and Galloway Probable Iron Age Possible broch Also known as Crow's Neith and Broken Castle.[167]
Tirefour Castle Tirefour Broch 20100929 from northwest.jpg Lismore Argyll and Bute Iron Age Broch The walls have an average thickness of 4.5 metres (15 ft) enclosing a court about 12.2 metres (40 ft) in diameter. The wall still stands 3 metres (9.8 ft) high.[168]
Burghead Well Burghead well approach.jpg Burghead Moray Dark Age? Baptistery? This underground structure is unique in a Scottish context and is probably of Dark Age origin, although it may be older.[169]
Restenneth Priory 013755 c30ad8bc-by-Karen-Vernon.jpg Forfar Angus 13th century? Monastery Probably built on a much earlier site and the date of the extant structures is not clear.[170][171]

Other prehistoric constructions[edit]

The following are very old human constructions that do not fit the above criteria for a building.

Building Image Location Council area First built Use Notes
Funzie Girt Coastline east of Hamars Ness, Fetlar - geograph.org.uk - 1028202.jpg Fetlar Shetland Possibly Neolithic Wall The wall ran for over 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) and once divided the island in two. "Its date and precise purpose are unknown, but a considerable degree of antiquity is suggested."[172]
Dwarfie Stane Dwarfie stane by Bruce McAdam.jpg Hoy Orkney 3rd millennium BC Tomb A megalithic chambered tomb carved out of a titanic block of Devonian Old Red Sandstone.[173][174]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The excavator, Euan MacKie, identified two successive visits to the site by a Roman fleet during Governor Agricola's campaigns in the AD 80s. The first resulted in presents for the chief but the second in the burning and destruction of the site. The fort guards the entrance of Loch Harport which may be the Roman harbour Portus Trucculensis mentioned by Tacitus.
  2. ^ This broch was excavated in 1962-64 by Euan MacKie. It was the first to be radiocarbon-dated, the first to revealed deposits dating from its construction and the first to reveal evidence for deliberate demolition. New C14 dates may shortly be available.
  3. ^ Brig o' Balgownie was originally constructed in the 14th-century by Richard Cementarius but was "largely rebuilt" in the early 17th century.[129] Provost Skene's House in Broad Street dates from 1545 and is probably the oldest house in the city.[130]
  4. ^ Tullibody Old Bridge, which dates from the early 16th century[132][133] has been described as "the oldest structure in Clackmannanshire" by Clackmannanshire Council.[134]
  5. ^ According to RCAHMS, Abercorn church dates "from the later 11th century and has been much altered" and "the only feature certainly of that date is the blocked S door".[153]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Abernethy Round Tower". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
  2. ^ Armit (2003) p. 16
  3. ^ a b "Knap of Howar" Historic Scotland. Retrieved 23 Sept 2011.
  4. ^ a b "The Knap o' Howar, Papay". Orkneyjar. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
  5. ^ a b Wickham-Jones (2007) p. 40.
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References[edit]

  • Armit, Ian (1996) The archaeology of Skye and the Western Isles. Edinburgh University Press/Historic Scotland.
  • Armit, I. (2003) Towers in the North: The Brochs of Scotland. Stroud. Tempus. ISBN 0-7524-1932-3
  • Coventry, Martin (2008) Castles of the Clans. Musselburgh. Goblinshead. ISBN 9781899874361
  • McDonald, R. Andrew (2007) The Kingdom of the Isles: Scotland's Western Seaboard c. 1100 – c. 1336. East Linton. Tuckwell Press. ISBN 1-898410-85-2
  • Miers, Mary (2008) The Western Seaboard: An Illustrated Architectural Guide. Rutland Press. ISBN 9781873190296
  • Omand, Donald (ed.) (2003) The Orkney Book. Edinburgh. Birlinn. ISBN 1-84158-254-9
  • Wickham-Jones, Caroline (2007) Orkney: A Historical Guide. Edinburgh. Birlinn. ISBN 1841585963