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Auchtavan Cottage

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

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Latitude: 57.0439 / 57°2'37"N

Longitude: -3.3143 / 3°18'51"W

OS Eastings: 320350

OS Northings: 795523

OS Grid: NO203955

Mapcode National: GBR W3.BBZ0

Mapcode Global: WH6MB.260X

Plus Code: 9C9R2MVP+H7

Entry Name: Auchtavan Cottage

Listing 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

Parish: Crathie And Braemar

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

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Probably late 18th to early 19th century, possibly extended. Single storey, 3-bay traditional cruck-framed (pegged and jointed) 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.

South (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.

West Elevation: small window opening in gablehead.

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 purlins and cabers. East 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 east of door. Boarded loft floor on centre pillar at west end.

Statement of Interest

Group with Queen Mother's Cottage (see LB50075) and Threshing Mill (see LB50076). The clachan at Auchtavan consists of a number of ruins and enclosure walls which probably constituted a group 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. The Queen Mother's Cottage and associated Threshing Mill are of later date but nevertheless form important elements of the clachan development.

The Cottage at Auchtavan has is a rare and important survival of the 'Open hearth tradition' when domestic fires were used for cooking, drying, disposing of rubbish and any other immediate purposes, and of traditional thatching techniques.

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 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. Wyness gives an illustration of what he calls a 'black house' at Auchtavan showing exposed cruck timbers and a rounded gable end, probably part of the ruins situated to the south.

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, and can be seen at Auchtavan (see Emerton, p.12).

The cottage is among a relatively small number of traditional buildings with a surviving thatched roof found across Scotland. A Survey of Thatched Buildings in Scotland, published in 2016 by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB), found there were only around 200 buildings of this type remaining, most of which are found in small rural communities.

Listed building record revised in 2021 as part of the Thatched Buildings Listing Review.

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