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Auchtavan, Threshing Mill and Granary

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

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.0437 / 57°2'37"N

Longitude: -3.3141 / 3°18'50"W

OS Eastings: 320363

OS Northings: 795503

OS Grid: NO203955

Mapcode National: GBR W3.BC0G

Mapcode Global: WH6MB.2741

Entry Name: Auchtavan, Threshing Mill and Granary

Listing Date: 10 February 2005

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 397925

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB50076

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Crathie and Braemar

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

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Braemar

Description

Probably mid 19th century. 2-bay, rectangular-plan threshing mill and granary with uncovered horse walk, on ground falling steeply to S. Large blocks of pink and grey squared granite with small pieces of snecking almost as cherry caulking in places.

E (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: paired, timber-lintelled, square-headed cart-arch entrance in bay to left giving way to small square opening at left and granary/hayloft door breaking eaves at right; bay to right with centre door flanked by arrowslit openings.

W ELEVATION: raised area for horse walk at left with doorway at centre flanked by arrowslits, that to right above large stone slab blocking shaft opening for millwheel gearing (see Interior and Notes); bay to right with 2 small square openings close to eaves over steeply falling ground. N AND S ELEVATIONS: blank gabled elevations.

Corrugated-iron roofing with ashlar skews and shaped skewputts.

INTERIOR: arrowslit opening to W elevation (S of door) over small square opening off-set to right, this almost at floor level and incorporating parts of bearing pillow block for wheel gearing. Low wall to approximate centre forming N edge of hayloft floor.

Statement of Interest

Group with 'Cottage' and 'Queen Mothers Cottage'. This finely built threshing mill with its adjacent horse walk would have constituted an important functional element in the daily life of the clachan during the mid 19th century, and possibly earlier when threshing would have been carried out by means of manual labour. Fenton and Walker note that "By the 1840s there was hardly a farm over 50 acres that did not have a threshing mill" and the adoption of cast-iron gearing from about 1840-50 reduced the cost of the threshing mill, so that it spread to small farms, pendicles and crofts". They continue "The circular, uncovered walk alongside the barn still marks the use of horse-power, with cast-iron gearing on crofts and small farms in the crofting counties, North-East and Borders of Scotland". From the evidence of standing ruins it would appear that the clachan would have constituted at least six dwellings, providing a work force for growing and harvesting the grain for milling. Although no evidence of arable farming remains, the area was recognised as unusually fertile during the 18th century, when Pennant noted the sudden change upon reaching Braemar from 'dreary wastes [to] a rich vale, plenteous in corn and grass', an indication of climactic changes favouring periods when fertile conditions prevailed. The area was also rich in lime, with a number of kilns nearby perhaps providing supplementary occupation for residents of the clachan.

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