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Auchenblae, Mid Blairs Farm, Horsemill, Steading and Bothy

A Category C Listed Building in Fordoun, Aberdeenshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 56.9155 / 56°54'55"N

Longitude: -2.4206 / 2°25'14"W

OS Eastings: 374487

OS Northings: 780540

OS Grid: NO744805

Mapcode National: GBR X7.3Y1R

Mapcode Global: WH8QL.SFHW

Entry Name: Auchenblae, Mid Blairs Farm, Horsemill, Steading and Bothy

Listing Date: 5 November 2004

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 397819

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB50009

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Fordoun

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Mearns

Traditional County: Kincardineshire

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Auchenblae

Description

Probably earlier to mid 19th century, possibly incorporating earlier ranges to N and E; converted to dwelling, 2004. Small gabled courtyard steading with remains of enclosing wall to S and rare retention of polygonal horsemill adjoining at NW. Snecked rubble, some roughly squared, coursed in places with flat slate-like bands; dressed quoins of ashlar and squared rubble.

HORSEMILL: some large boulder-type projecting base stones; broad timber-lintelled openings to alternate faces, grey-slated roof with 4 lower courses of stone-slates retained to some faces, and small cast- iron rooflights to alternate faces. Interior with fine traditional timbered roof (see Notes) and small square drive-shaft opening high up to S wall.

STEADING:

S (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: symmetrical. Gabled outer ranges, that to right with broad segmental-arched cart entrance, diminutive pigeon loft in gablehead with contrasting red sandstone flight-hole comprising small projecting semicircular alighting ledges above and below, giving way to block finial. Left gable with altered opening below hayloft door. Remains of wall (probably later infill screen wall) linking centre and raised to broad M-gable to incorporate enclosed cattle courts.

N ELEVATION: N elevation of slightly lower N range with blocked pedestrian access at outer right, right gable with horsemill abutting and left gable with broad opening and block gablehead finial.

E range with grey slate roof, ashlar-coped skews and flat skewputts. Corrugated-iron roofing to N and W ranges.

BOTHY: slated rectangular-plan rubble bothy to W, with timber door and 12-pane glazing pattern to timber sash and case window.

Statement of Interest

Throughout the 19th century, horsemills were possibly the most popular power source for threshing machines, and continued to be built until the end of the 19th century in eastern Scotland. This fine example at Mid Blairs is a rare survivor of a less common type, in Angus the plan was more usually circular. The interior structure of almost every roof was unique in some respect, with this example being in very good condition. Interestingly, the horsemill went by a variety of names, just some recorded in Angus alone are 'horse house, horse mill, horse gin, horse gang, horse course, round house and gin case', Fenton & Walker p179. Mid Blairs Farm sits on high ground to the north of Auchenblae, in an area described in the New Statistical Account where 'The farm-buildings may be considered as substantial' and where 'The steadings - (are) slated, or partly so; and perhaps in no parish of the same extent, has the comfort and convenience of the tenants been more attended to'.

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