the shetland haa house

west mainland and papa stour


Thumbnail images relate to the Haa they are alongside, please click on these images for a larger view.



Central Mainland & Scalloway
South Mainland
East & North Mainland
Unst & Fetlar
Whalsay, Out Skerries & Bressay
Burra, Trondra, Foula & Fair Isle


West Mainland

Haa of Sand
3 storey, 5 bay grouped 2/1/2. Entrance doorway with shouldered architrave, Armorial Panel above. Shetlands most impressive Haa and the ultimate development of the tall regular form. The principal rooms on the first floor are indicated by their larger windows with small windows serving the second floor bedrooms. Symmetrical single storey wings to the sides (now altered) with ball capped apex. All first and second floors retain their fielded panelling with arcaded panelling in the drawing room. Almost unaltered internally other than the ground floor where the staircase has been turned and the entrance hall enlarged. Built as his summerhouse by Sir Andrew Mitchell of Westshore (Scalloway) who was given leave by the Earl of Morton to remove from Scalloway Castle 'dressed freestones torn from their place to supply door and window jambs and lintels, and corner stones for this mansion.'3 Two complete doorways from the Castle lead into the walled policies.

'...a miniature resemblance of Sand House was built by John Cumming son of one of the ministers of the parish about 1760...'
Nothing remains

Reawick House
from 1730
Earlier 19th c.
2 storey plus garret, 3 bays. A typical Haa.
The ground floor windows have been widened.

Bayhall, Walls
3 storey, 3 bays.
Restored 1978. A good Haa from the period when the Haa reached its most developed form. Larger windows to the first floor principal rooms with smaller windows to the second floor. Residence of the Henrys of Bayhall.
Converted to flats, 1978, by Shetland Islands Council Architects and Richard Gibson.

Lesser Lairds Houses:
The Haa (Watsness?)

Burrastow House
2 storeys and garret on raised basement, 3 bays. A typical Haa with associated outbuildings and grounds. Much altered, particularly internally, at the end of the 19th century and a new wing added in 1995.

The Haa, Vaila
2 storey, 3 bays. Originally plain gables, crowsteps were added when the Hall was built. Armorial Panel dated 1696 over the original main entrance (now within Vaila Hall). Massive additions early 20th c.
This was a fine early Haa and photographs show outbuildings and an arched gateway with leading into a court. The gateway has a moulded surround and an Armorial panel set in a pediment over. Built by James Mitchell of Girlsta, a Scalloway merchant. In 1696 the estate passed to the Scotts of Melby.House

The Haa, Watsness
19th c?
2 storey plus garret, 3 bay. Said to have been built as a manse half way between Walls and Sandness.

Melby House
2 storey plus garret, 3 bays. Additions to the rear. Seat of the Scotts of Melby. John Scott, 2nd son of John Scott of Gibliston (Fife) inherited Melby, Vaila and Foula through his mother Grizel Mitchell in 1736.

North House, Melby
18th c.
2 storey, 3 bay. Moulded skewputts. Probably preceeded Melby as the seat of the Scotts.

The Haa, Aith

Haa, Grobsness
2 storey and garret, 3 bay. A typical merchants Haa sited on an elevated site overlooking what was likely to have been a fishing station. The beach is stony and has a flat area above high water which indicates its use as a fish drying beach. There are other ruinous buildings around the Haa and on the beach.
Walls remain. The roof has collapsed into the building. The Haa was roofed using stone slates which were nailed in place by large iron nails.

Haa of Bixter

The ground floor can still be seen at Lower Bixter. The house was occupied in the 1950's.

Papa Stour

The Haa
A crofthouse illustrated in Alexander Fenton 'The Northern Isles, Orkney and Shetland'

3 The Statistical Account of the Shetland Islands. 1842

Sand Sand
Sand Sand
Bayhall Bayhall
Vaila Vaila
Grobsness Grobsness