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Auchtavan, Cottage

A Category A Listed Building in Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside, Aberdeenshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.0446 / 57°2'40"N

Longitude: -3.3102 / 3°18'36"W

OS Eastings: 320600

OS Northings: 795600

OS Grid: NO206956

Mapcode National: GBR W3.BCVG

Mapcode Global: WH6MB.36ZC

Entry Name: Auchtavan, Cottage

Listing Date: 10 February 2005

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 397710

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB50074

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Crathie and Braemar

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

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Description

Probably late 18th to early 19th century, possibly extended. Single storey, 3-bay traditional cruck-framed cottage with heather thatched roof under corrugated iron and rare 'hinging lum', remains of loft floor and wall cupboard. Alternating broad and narrow rubble courses with large squared rubble quoins.

S (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: doorway in bay to right of centre with small window opening to right and further doorway to left. Remains of timber lum to roof ridge at outer right.

W ELEVATION: small window opening in gablehead.

E ELEVATION: blank gabled elevation.

Corrugated-iron roof covering thick insulating heather and turf thatch/soding.

INTERIOR: jointed and pegged crucks (set into walls and ending above ground) with overlaying of purlines and cabbers. E gable with open hearth below fine timber 'hinging lum' constructed of vertical boards at front and sides and contained at back by stone wall. Small boarded timber cupboard set into wall immediately to E of SW door. Boarded loft floor on centre pillar at W end.

Statement of Interest

Group with 'Queen Mother's Cottage' and 'Threshing Mill', the clachan at Auchtavan also consists of a number of ruins and enclosure walls which probably constituted a group, together with this cottage, of dwellings for lime burners and agricultural workers. A small limekiln nearby, and further examples in the surrounding area (13 are mentioned in the Third Statistical Account) indicate the likelihood of this use for at least some of the structures in the group. The Queen Mother's Cottage and associated Threshing Mill are of later date but nevertheless form important elements of the clachan development.

Early details at the Cottage at Auchtavan are rare and important survivals of the "Open hearth tradition which characterised Scotland, when the domestic fires were used for cooking, drying, disposing of rubbish and any other immediate purposes" (Fenton, p5), and of traditional thatching which 'in most regions of Scotland' have almost ceased to exist' Walker, McGregor and Stark, p10). Fenton continues "The earliest reference to the term 'hinging lum' was for Angus in 1746. "Further north, in Banffshire, an observation was made around 1825 that 'Hanging Chumlies' had followed in time the arrangement with only a smoke opening in the roof. It seems that hanging chimneys, as forward steps in the of civilisation, were spreading in east central and northeast Scotland in the second half of the 18th century. They reached the more northerly parts, including Shetland, in the late 18th and early 19th centuries', p18. The thick heather thatch which may be described by the term 'soding' was widespread in the Highlands in 1794 when W Marshall detailed this traditional roofing method which matches the construction technique employed at Auchtavan (see Emerton, p12). Although the cottage is not constructed of large curved timbers, the term 'cruck-framed' is nevertheless accurate as "In many parts of Scotland crucks are made up of smaller timbers jointed and pegged to provide a continuous support" (Walker, McGregor and Little, p126). Wyness gives an illustration of what he calls a 'black house' at Auchtavan showing exposed cruck timbers and rounded gable end, probably part of the ruins situated to the south.

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