ALVA has released the visitor figures for 2022. The top 10 most visited Historic Environment Scotland sites attracted 2.7 million visitors: the same 1o locations attracted 830,177 visitors in 2021 (though the actual top 10 attracted 855,626). This is still below pre-pandemic numbers: 4.4 million visitors to the same top ten in 2019. Iona Abbey is down from 2019 (63,884 / 55,256), but there is still a gap for major sites: Edinburgh Castle is down to 1.3 million from 2.2 million in 2019.
Sector knowledge: Northern Scotland
Journal Summary: Northern Scotland is a cross-disciplinary publication which addresses historical, cultural, economic, political and geographical themes relating to the Highlands and Islands and the north-east of Scotland.
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
Access: Subscription; some open access
Journal Type: Academic peer reviewed
Heritage tourism on Crete: Spinalonga
The Venetian fortress of Spinalonga is located on an island in the northern part of Mirabéllo Bay, Crete. It was built in 1579 and was taken over by the Ottomans in 1715.
In 1903 it became a colony for those with leprosy; the colony closed in 1955.
The fortress attracts over 400,000 visitors a year, and since 2014 has been on the UNESCO tentative list for World Heritage status.
Yarmouth Castle: information board
Yarmouth Castle on the Isle of Wight retains some of its original Ministry signs including this information board close to the entrance. The blank section at the bottom would have indicated (using similar signs), ‘This monument is in the care of the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works [or Ministry of Works] / It is an offence to injure or deface it’.
Ministry signs on St Mary’s
The ancient monuments on St Mary’s on the Isles of Scilly received Ministry signs. The chambered tomb on Porth Hellick Down is described as ‘the best preserved tomb of all those in the islands’, echoing O’Neil’s guidebook, ‘perhaps the best preserved of all those in the islands’. Again, ‘a few potsherds have been found in the chamber’, follows, ‘a few potsherds have been found in this tomb’.
At Innisidgen the sign starts with the same description as Porth Hellick. The description in the guidebook, ‘Nothing is known to have been found in the chamber’, follows the sign, ‘the chamber has long since been rifled of its contents’.
The sign at Lower Innisidgen echoes the others.
The sign notes, ‘Cremated bones and pieces of pottery were found in the chamber many years ago’, whereas the guidebook states, ‘Four piles of cremated bones were found at the inner end of the chamber many years ago, as well as some pieces of pottery in the passage just outside the entrance to the chamber’.
Near to Bants Carn Burial Chamber is a village. The sign and guidebook place it to the 2nd–3rd centuries AD, describing it as ‘Roman period’ or even ‘Romano-British’. The sign and guidebook talks of ’round or oval huts … built of large, well-laid granite blocks’. The guidebook continues ‘Paths and garden plots or small fields may also be detected’.
A later monument is the artillery fort known as Harry’s Walls.
We are grateful to Patrick Taylor for digitising the images.
Lindisfarne Priory: pantry
The ‘pantry’ is located in the west range of Lindisfarne Priory. The current English Heritage guidebook defines it on the plan as a cellar, and suggests that the three rooms were created in the middle of the 14th century.
Brochs in State Guardianship
Brochs are an important part of the archaeological landscape. Several have been placed in State Guardianship in Scotland.
Shetland: Clickimin Broch; Mousa Broch
Orkney: Broch of Gurness; Midhowe Broch [Guidebook: HES]
Western Lewis: Dun Carloway
Skye: Dun Beag
Mainland: Glenelg Brochs (Dun Telve, Dun Troddan)
Sutherland: Dun Dornaigil; Carn Liath
Scottish Borders: Edin’s Hall
Kirkwall: guidebook to the palaces
The combined guidebook to the Bishop’s Palace and the Earl’s Palace in Kirkwall, Orkney, was prepared by W. Douglas Simpson. Both palaces had been placed in State Guardianship in 1920.
The older Bishop’s Palace was linked to St Magnus’ Cathedral in Orkney. It was constructed in the 12th century. The Earl’s Palace was constructed by Earl Patrick from 1601; he incorporated the remains of the former Bishop’s Palace that had passed to his father, Earl Robert Stewart in 1568.
The guide contains an Introduction, followed by sections on the Bishop’s Palace and the Earl’s Palace (each with a history followed by a description), then a short bibliography and a glossary. A double-sided fold-out plan inside the back cover provides details for both palaces.
Both palaces now feature in the Historic Scotland guide to the monuments of Orkney by Caroline Wickham-Jones.
Warnings at Lindisfarne Priory
A number of the Ministry warning signs are still in evidence at Lindisfarne Priory. One is placed on the exterior wall of the west range facing the (modern) churchyard.
A second is mounted in on one of the ovens in the south range. Similar signs are found at other locations, e.g. Thornton Abbey, Abbey at Bury St Edmunds, Kirkham Priory, Pickering Castle, Hadleigh Castle.
Lindisfarne Priory: brewhouse
The brewhouse at Lindisfarne Priory is located in the south range adjacent to the bakehouse. This part of the priory was constructed in the 1360s. The north-west corner contains a kiln.