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A Category B Listed Building in North Isles, Orkney Islands

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Latitude: 59.259 / 59°15'32"N

Longitude: -2.8641 / 2°51'50"W

OS Eastings: 350827

OS Northings: 1041707

OS Grid: HY508417

Mapcode National: GBR M498.0PT

Mapcode Global: XH8KQ.0JJQ

Entry Name: Sangar

Listing Date: 30 March 2001

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 395431

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB48010

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Westray

County: Orkney Islands

Electoral Ward: North Isles

Traditional County: Orkney

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Late 18th/early 19th century and mid 19th century. Traditional single storey croft. Original long rectangular-plan range (late 18th/early 19th century) to NW; comprising barn, former house and byre built into sloping ground in 3 separate stages; kiln and substantially intact wind threshing mill (both probably 19th century additions) to barn. Later rectangular-plan house (mid 19th century) containing box beds detached and at right angles to SE. Partially coursed rubble. Gables variously rubble or with concrete or stone slab coping.

ORIGINAL RANGE TO NW: SE (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: near-symmetrical 3-bay house to centre; central entrance (plain timber door) with flanking windows. Byre stepped down at slightly lower level to left; near-central entrance (plain timber door). Barn stepped up at slightly higher level to right; entrance (boarded timber door) to left of centre; flat-topped rectangular-plan breaking-eaves wind threshing mill tower immediately to right; circular-plan hollow timber post protrudes above central rectangular-plan recess with remains of cast-iron drive shafts linked to bevel gearing below; timber sail hub and connected bevel gearing at apex. NW ELEVATION: barn, former house and byre stepped down slope slightly from each other from left to right. Entrance with timber door to right of barn. Slightly tapered circular-plan kiln adjoins to outer left. NE ELEVATION: slightly tapered circular-plan kiln projects to right of gable end of barn. SW ELEVATION: blank gable end of byre.

Single pane fixed timber frame windows (to former house). Underseamed flagstone roofs to barn and byre; corrugated asbestos roof to former house; turf covering to kiln. INTERIOR: only byre inspected (2000), retaining stone slab stall divisions. Threshing machine in barn thought to be intact with drum, spur gearing and brake wheel and lever.

LATER HOUSE TO SE: SW (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: 3-bay; entrance to right of centre. Small window to right. Boarded window to outer left. Later T-plan lean-to with separate entrances adjoins set back to outer right. NE ELEVATION: blank with later lean-to adjoining to outer left. NW ELEVATION: blank gable end. SE ELEVATION: later lean-to to gable end.

4-pane timber top-hung casement window. Underseamed flagstone roof with remains of turf covering. Gablehead stacks with band courses to either side (NW and SE); one round can remaining. INTERIOR: entry into lobby. Timber internal partitions intact, including 3 box beds (one parallel to lobby screen in small room behind it, one in each of flanking rooms to left and right). Gable fireplace to S; inserted fireplace to N. Timber fireplace surrounds and one surviving cast-iron grate.

Statement of Interest

An unusually intact complex, comprising an original croft range of late 18th/early 19th century date (including a kiln and a wind-powered threshing mill, both probably of slightly later date) and a later house of mid 19th century date at right angles to the SE. The intact threshing tower, gearing and machinery constitutes the most complete example of its type (Scottish Windmills Survey). Only its sail arms and sails are missing. It was also the last one in operation on the island, being in use until 1950, when the farmer, Mr Seater, retired (Op. Cit.). Wind-powered threshing mills of this type are thought to have been introduced to Orkney (to which they are peculiar) in the latter part of the 19th century. Kilns were also common on small crofts in the area and were used to dry grain for grinding and sometimes also the grain for the next year's seed (processes particularly relevant in regions with short moist summers). They were also used to dry malt as part of the process of making ale. The practice of building the components of a croft in a straight line into sloping ground (which was common amongst earlier examples) meant that manure could easily be drained away from the lower end of the building (hence the byre occupies the lowest position). The use of timber internal partitions, including box beds, as seen in the later house, was a 19th century development. The stone flag roofs of both buildings are largely intact. That of the later detached house is illustrative of the practice of weatherproofing flagstone roofs with turf (or thatch or a similar material) which was often used prior to the introdution of cement mortar. The kiln retains its traditional turf roof, which is a rare survival. 'Sanquhar' is shown in its present plan-form on the 1881 OS Map.

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