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Pole Farmhouse

A Category C Listed Building in Cowal, Argyll and Bute

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Latitude: 56.1971 / 56°11'49"N

Longitude: -4.9165 / 4°54'59"W

OS Eastings: 219156

OS Northings: 704332

OS Grid: NN191043

Mapcode National: GBR 05.FKJ7

Mapcode Global: WH2L2.GH1K

Plus Code: 9C8Q53WM+VC

Entry Name: Pole Farmhouse

Listing Name: Pole Farmhouse and Steading

Listing Date: 4 May 2006

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 398347

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB50360

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Lochgoilhead and Kilmorich

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Cowal

Parish: Lochgoilhead And Kilmorich

Traditional County: Argyllshire

Tagged with: Architectural structure Farmstead

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Pole Farm is a traditional T-plan 2-storey and attic farm-house with a courtyard steading situated immediately to the rear, located on an area of flat land beside the river Goil. It is a little altered example of a later 18th century farm complex, with some 19th century alterations, and also because the steading buildings have several unusual surviving features, including a threshing barn and smearing shed.


Pole Farmhouse has a 3-bay, 2-storey and attic front (S) elevation with a lean-to single storey section to the left; the ground floor has a central flat roofed entrance porch flanked by canted bay windows, all of which are likely to be 19th century alterations. The two piend-roofed dormers may also have been added at this time. The rear wing is 2-storey, dropping down to single storey on the W elevation; the difference of window style (no raised margins) between this and the front part of the house suggests that the rear wing is a later addition.

The N and S ranges of the courtyard are single storey; the E and Wt ranges are higher, of sufficient height to allow the insertion of an upper floor, which exists in the S end of the W range. This W range also has large segmental-arched doorways set opposite each other; the presence of these, combined with the height of the roof, suggest that this part of the steading may have been used as a threshing barn. Entry to the courtyard is gained at the south east corner, the south range being shorter than the others.

The gable end of the S range bears an unusual plaque with a painted relief carving of a black-headed sheep's head, and the Gaelic inscription 'Tigh na smiorach' ('house of smearing'); above the plaque is a stone ledge and blocked flight opening. The prominence given to the entrance to the smearing shed indicates the importance of sheep on the farm at the time of construction; during the later 18th century, sheep farming grew rapidly in the area, and the steading and farmhouse are likely to have been substantially or completely rebuilt to accommodate this agricultural change (see Notes).

The S wall of the N range has several triangular ventilation holes, and also a small rectangular aperture (possibly a flight hole), with a ledge below, and crude classical style incised margin of 18th century appearance, with faint lettering (possibly reading 'HBN ' IB') on the lintel.

Just to the south west of the courtyard is a small roofless rectangular plan building built into an incline, enabling it to have entrances on both the ground and upper storey.


Admission not gained at time of resurvey (2004)


Predominantly random rubble with whitewash or thin lime render to house and farm; harl and raised dressed margins to front section of the farmhouse; mostly rough rubble quoins and margins to remainder. Mix of timber 2-pane sash and case and plastic windows to farmhouse; predominantly timber doors and windows to steading. Pitched roofs with graded slates. 3 coped rubble gable-head stacks with circular cans to house. Mix of cast-iron and plastic rainwater goods.

Statement of Interest

Pole Farm, or Polchorckan as it was also known until the 20th century, has been the site of a steading for several centuries; an account of the depredations acted on the Clan Campbell and its followers by the Duke of Gordon in 1685 and 1686 reports that substantial numbers of horses, cows and sheep, along which fishing equipment and corn, were taken from the 'tennents of Polchorchan' (Various, 11).

Until the mid 18th century, cattle farming was dominant in the parish. In the 1760's farmers from Ayrshire began to introduce sheep to the area, and despite initial reluctance from the locals, sheep farming soon grew in popularity, as sheep were much better suited to the rough local terrain. One of the major breeds of sheep introduced was the black faced sheep, as depicted on the plaque. Before sheep dipping became popular in the 19th century, sheep were protected from vermin and the cold by smearing them with a mixture of butter and tar, and this would have taken place in the smearing shed.

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