Brochs in State Guardianship

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Dun Beag, Skye © David Gill

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]

Gurness_HS

1993 (rev. ed. 2008)

Western Lewis: Dun Carloway

Skye: Dun Beag

Mainland: Glenelg Brochs (Dun Telve, Dun Troddan)

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Glenelg © David Gill

Sutherland: Dun DornaigilCarn Liath

Scottish Borders: Edin’s Hall

 

Kirkwall: guidebook to the palaces

Kirkwall_palace_MPBW

1965 (1969)

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.

Orkney_HS

2012

Leading Visitor Attractions 2016: Historic Environment Scotland

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Iona Abbey © David Gill

The 2016 figures for Leading Visitor Attractions have been published. They include figures for properties in the care of Historic Environment Scotland (Historic Scotland).

The properties are:

  • no. 16: Edinburgh Castle, 1,778,548
  • no. 68: Stirling Castle, 481,970
  • no. 84: Urquhart Castle, 396,397
  • no. 103: Glasgow Cathedral, 296,062
  • no. 177: Skara Brae, 93,375
  • no. 182: Doune Castle, 90,279
  • no. 188: St Andrews Castle, 77,038
  • no. 190: Linlithgow Palace, 74,428
  • no. 194: Iona Abbey, 65,092
  • no. 198: Fort George, 60,924
  • no. 200: Melrose Abbey, 52,073
  • no. 203: Argyll’s Lodgings, 49,197
  • no. 210: St Andrews Cathedral, 46,488
  • no. 212: Tantallon Castle, 42,708
  • no. 215: Caerlaverock Castle, 35,633
  • no. 219: Elgin Cathedral, 30,502
  • no. 220: Blackness Castle, 30,053

Significant rises were seen in the numbers for Edinburgh Castle, Urquhart Castle, Glasgow Cathedral (62%), Doune Castle, Linlithgow Palace, St Andrews Cathedral, Elgin Cathedral and Blackness Castle.

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Linlithgow Palace © David Gill

Guidebooks for Skara Brae

scara_brae_hmso

1983

I have noted before the official guidebook for Skara Brae on Orkney. The original edition by V. Gordon Childe dated to 1933, and the guide was revised in 1983 (D.V. Clarke with [the late] V. Gordon Childe). This 1983 edition was fully illustrated (in black and white), with sections on The site revealed; the best in northern Europe; the village and its inhabitants; a guided tour. This guide was published by HMSO.

scara_brae_hs

2012

David Clarke is the author of the Historic Scotland guide (2012). This is fully illustrated, in colour, and includes plans and reconstructions. There are three main sections: guided tour; life at Skara Brae; understanding Skara Brae. The guide includes a section on the local wildlife.

Brough of Birsay: guidebook

The remains of ancient settlements on the island of Birsay, located just to the north west of Mainland in Orkney, are described in the Historic Scotland guidebook (1986) by Anna Ritchie.

The main sections are:

  • Introduction: ‘Ane litell holme within the sea’
  • History: Picts and Norsemen
  • Tour: an exploration of the island
    • Station 1: The carpark on the Point of Buckquoy
    • Station 2: Pictish symbol stone
    • Station 3: Norse houses
    • Station 4: Norse smithy
    • Station 5: A Norse house
    • Station 6: Norse house and Pictish well
    • Station 7: ‘Grand entrance’
    • Station 8: The church
  • The museum

There is also a short bibliography.

There is a reconstruction of one of the Norse houses by Alan Sorrell.

Like some of the early English Heritage guidebooks there is acknowledgement of the support and sponsorship of Gateway.

Skara Brae

Skara Brae

(1977)

The Edinburgh Castle blog has reflected on the evolution of the guidebooks to the castle and it made me realise that there is little here so far on guidebooks from Scotland. One of the few was the foldout guide to the Antonine Wall (a companion to a similar one for Hadrian’s Wall).

Skara_Brae_MoW

1950

This ‘blue’ guide is the eleventh  edition (1977) of the third edition (1950) written by the prehistorian V. Gordon Childe. The guide was printed in Edinburgh by HMSO (30p) and it follows the standard blue format for sites ‘held in trust for the nation by the Secretary of State for Scotland and cared for on his behalf by the Department of the Environment’. The subtitle, used since 1950 was Ancient dwellings at Skara Brae.

The ‘Preparatory note’ informs us, ‘This guide is intended to simplify a visit to Skara Brae’.

The guide is divided into two separate sections, history and description. The history considers:

  • Discovery and excavation of the site
  • The ‘history’ of the village [and note the use of ‘history’]
  • General character of the ruins

There is a foldout-plan along with sections through the settlement.

Skara Brae

(1976)

The Department of the Environment (DOE) also published an interim report, The Neolithic Village at Skara Brae, Orkney. 1972-73 Excavations (Edinburgh: HMSO) by D.V. Clarke. The landscape format (and size) is identical to the DOE guide to the Saxon Shore.