Historic Scotland and the Scottish listing process

The protection and listing of historic buildings in Scotland, and the listing awarded to Nether Ardgrain


Historic Scotland

Certain buildings are protected in Scotland because they represent a key part of Scotland’s heritage. As well as providing a link to Scotland's past, historic buildings help to generate tourism and promote Scotland's culture and identity. The organisation which oversees the protection of all listed buildings in Scotland is called Historic Scotland, which is an agency within the Scottish Government.

Historic Scotland is directly responsible to Scottish Ministers for safeguarding the nation's historic environment, and promoting its understanding and enjoyment. All functions performed by Historic Scotland are carried out on behalf of Scottish Ministers.

Listed Buildings

Certain historic buildings, which represent either special architectural or historic interest can be designated as Listed Buildings.

All listed buildings in Scotland receive equal legal protection and protection applies equally to interior and exterior of all listed buildings.  Historic Scotland assigns each listed building to one of three categories to reflect their degree of interest.

  • Category A: Buildings of national or international importance, either architectural or historic, or fine little-altered examples of some particular period, style or building type.
  • Category B: Buildings of regional or more than local importance, or major examples of some particular period, style or building type which may have been altered.
  • Category C: Buildings of local importance, lesser examples of any period, style or building type, as originally constructed or altered.

Nether Ardgrain

In 1971 Nether Ardgrain was listed as Grade A by Historic Scotland. This listing includes the curtilage, or adjacent surroundings, to the main house, encompassing the outbuildings, bothy, track and drystone walls. Within the listing Nether Ardgrain was described as:

One of the crispest, sparest and most truly Scots houses in the north-east.
Two storeys and attic, harled with skewputs, thin jambs and a central, slightly projecting, one-window gable which is the pleasing focus. Steeply battered walls (including the centre gable), roll-moulded doorpiece and chamfered jambs to all front windows are 17th-century work. The doorpiece is crowned with an arched panel inscribed HOW HAPPY WOVLD THE HVSBANDMAN BE IF HE KNEW / HIS OWN GOOD (VIRGIL) LET IMPROVEMENTS AND LIBERTY FLOVRISH which could stand as a text for the whole Improving Movement, and there is a sundial over. The interior woodwork is all 1751.

Of all buildings listed by Historic Scotland, only 8% are Grade A listed. Within Aberdeenshire there is only a single farm complex which is Grade A listed - Nether Ardgrain.

Popular Ardgrain history articles:

Tower Houses in Scotland

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A Scottish Tower House is a stone structure built for both living and defensive purposes. The design of a Tower House evolved from earlier castle types such as Celtic Fortresses and Motte and Bailey Castles.

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Service on Ardgrain (1677)

Text abridged from Libri Actorum Curiae Vicecomitatus de Aberdeen MS.

Taken from Antiquities of the Shires of Aberdeen and Banff (Vol III) 1857 - Page 37.  Read more » 

Ardgrain - A Scottish Feudal Barony

What makes a site a Barony, and why did this make Ardgrain so important?

An introduction to the mediaeval feudal system, where warrior nobility ruled Scotland.   Read more »