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Latitude: 56.3079 / 56°18'28"N
Longitude: -2.9969 / 2°59'48"W
OS Eastings: 338415
OS Northings: 713275
OS Grid: NO384132
Mapcode National: GBR 2H.6JNP
Mapcode Global: WH7S2.YQ15
Plus Code: 9C8V8253+56
Entry Name: Drumdryan Quarry Powder Magazine
Listing Name: Drumdryan Quarry Powder Magazine
Listing Date: 17 December 2010
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 400550
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB51660
Building Class: Cultural
Electoral Ward: Cupar
Traditional County: Fife
Tagged with: Architectural structure
Probably before 1852. Rare example of steeply vaulted, Gothic arched, rectangular-plan former gunpowder magazine at Drumdryan Quarry. Dressed ashlar with ashlar roof. Long side elevations battered (to approximately doorhead height) with vaulted roof springing from full width dripstone.
FURTHER DESCRIPTION: gabled entrance elevation to E with remains of metal-framed door at centre and small slit ventilator above with iron grille; similar W elevation without door. Long low side elevations below dripstones, that to S with small indirect ventilator opening close to ground, that to N with large area of broken wall at centre.
INTERIOR: (seen 2010). Rows of small holes (evidence of possible wall-mounted racking) and single small ventilator opening at S wall.
The unusual gunpowder magazine at the disused Drumdryan Quarry is one of very few surviving powder stores. James VI had instructed all Royal burghs to provide powder magazines, and some early military examples have been retained, including the engine and gunpowder house at Fort Augustus, and the former municipal magazine at St Magdalene's Hill, Friarton Quarry in Perth, both of which are listed buildings. However, remarkably few standing domestic or municipal magazines remain. With the invention of nitrogen based explosives in the later 19th century, the use of gunpowder was gradually superseded, and by the mid 20th century gunpowder production in the United Kingdom was being phased out.
Drumdryan Quarry appears on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey Map as a sandstone quarry. It was disused by the time of the 2nd edition and appears to be working again at the start of the 20th century. In 1946 Drumdryan was sold by the Hill of Tarvit Estate as a working quarry. It finally closed circa 1990 at which time the magazine was still in use. Safe storage of volatile substances required complex interior design which is evident in the small ventilation shafts which dog leg out between the interior and exterior. The interior racking would probably have been divided into separate storage cells, and it was usual for anyone entering the building to be required to wear wood or brass clogs to remove the risk of sparking.
The Parish of Cupar is recorded in the 1791-99 Statistical Account as having 'inexhaustible quarries of excellent free-stone', and in the 1834-45 Statistical Account it is noted that. There are four quarries in the parish of excellent white sandstone, and two of greenstone fit for road metal and coarse kinds of building'. Drumdryan Quarry is famous as the home of the 'First Old Red Sandstone fossil fish scale' discovered 'in 1827 by Mr. Spence, a student at St. Andrews University' (St Andrews Museum Virtual Exhibition).
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