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Airigh Shamhraidh,house,enclosures and field system

A Scheduled Monument in Fort William and Ardnamurchan, Highland

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Coordinates

Latitude: 56.5864 / 56°35'10"N

Longitude: -5.5161 / 5°30'57"W

OS Eastings: 184185

OS Northings: 749358

OS Grid: NM841493

Mapcode National: GBR DCR9.Q40

Mapcode Global: WH0FL.7QJ6

Entry Name: Airigh Shamhraidh,house,enclosures and field system

Scheduled Date: 4 May 1993

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM5679

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: house

Location: Ardgour

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Fort William and Ardnamurchan

Traditional County: Argyllshire

Description

The monument consists of the remains of an 18th-century laird's house with ancillary buildings, enclosures and remains of cultivation. The name, Airigh Shamhraidh (the summer shieling) suggests use of the site before the house was established, and remains of summer shielings may underlie the later structures. Documentary references suggest a permanent settlement was in place by AD 1500.

The laird's house itself, now ruined, was constructed around 1738 as the main dwelling on the Kingairloch estate. After the estate changed hands in 1800 a new residence was built at Corry, and Airigh Shamhraidh became a subsidiary farm. The main buildings were used as targets for gunnery practice by the Royal Navy during the Second World War.

The rectangular two-storey house measures externally some 13m SW-NE by 6.6m. The gables stand to full height, but the front and rear walls are badly ruined. The stair was central, with the stairway forming a central division on both the ground and the first floor level.

A second building, also of two storey construction, lies 1.4m to the S of the S corner of the laird's house, oriented at right angles to it. This is 15.2m by 6.3m, of three bays with a central doorway in the NE wall, and probably provided improved kitchen and ancillary accommodation. Both buildings are of random rubble, lime mortar bonded and were externally harled.

To the E lies a large rectangular tree-lined enclosure. SW of the main buildings, across a small stream, are the footings of two corn-drying kilns, the larger being a combined kiln-barn. 100m W of the main buildings is a ruinous building, 13.4m by 4.9m, showing the slots for a vanished cruck roof and a small outhouse, both situated on a small knoll. In and around the tree-lined enclosure are extensive traces of cultivation in the form of rig and furrow, and this extends well to the NE and SW of the buildings.

The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan, elongated NE-SW along the shoreline and extending inland from 200 to 350m. It has a maximum NE-SW length of 1370m. This includes all the building remains described and a substantial sample of the best-preserved rig and furrow. The area is shown in red on the accompanying map. The overhead electricity line and its supports are excluded from the scheduling.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as a settlement site with continuity of use, showing conversion from summer shieling to permanent farmstead, then to laird's house and farm and back, via subsidiary farm status, to being uninhabited. It offers evidence and has the potential to offer much more evidence, through archaeological investigation, for the process of settlement and abandonment of land in the coastal areas of Highland Scotland from late medieval to early modern times, and for contemporary agricultural, economic and social organisation. Of particular importance is the existence of dates and documentary evidence relating to the various changes of status, which would enhance the results of field study.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

Reference:

RCAHMS, 1980, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Argyll: an inventory of the monuments volume 3: Mull, Tiree, Coll and Northern Argyll (excluding the early medieval and later monuments of Iona), Edinburgh, No. 348.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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