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Mid Bracco, deserted farmstead

A Scheduled Monument in Airdrie North, North Lanarkshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.8703 / 55°52'12"N

Longitude: -3.866 / 3°51'57"W

OS Eastings: 283333

OS Northings: 665694

OS Grid: NS833656

Mapcode National: GBR 10FK.TJ

Mapcode Global: WH4QD.LQ85

Entry Name: Mid Bracco, deserted farmstead

Scheduled Date: 13 February 2001

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM9661

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: settlement, including deserted, depopulated and townships

Location: Shotts

County: North Lanarkshire

Electoral Ward: Airdrie North

Traditional County: Lanarkshire

Description

The monument comprises a farmstead, a turf-walled building, huts, enclosures and a field system of pre-Improvement date, visible as a series of upstanding banks and other features.

The monuments are situated in rough pasture on the N flank of Black Hill at between 275-230m O.D. The farmstead of 'Middle Bracco' is depicted on the Ordnance Survey First Edition map (1859) annotated as ruinous. The farmstead is situated on a well-drained terrace and comprises what has probably been a byre-house set within an enclosure. The building measures c. 28.3m from ENE to WSW by c. 4.4m transversely within a rubble-faced wall c. 0.7m thick and up to 1.5m high.

Two original entrances, with dressed jambs, provide access to the domestic part of the building (the two westernmost compartments and the byre respectively. There are windows to either side of the entrance into the domestic part of the building and a fireplace in the WSW end. The ENE compartment has a secondary partition inserted at its W end, creating a narrow compartment, within which the SSE and NNW walls have been breached, forming a through-passage.

What may be a midden is situated on the flat ground to the W of the building. It measures c. 4m in diameter and c. 0.4m in height. The enclosure around the building has two distinct phases comprising a turf-and-stone banked enclosure that runs around both sides of the building, which is succeeded by a smaller stone-walled enclosure on the S side of the building.

Some c. 60m to the SE, a number of conjoined earth-and-stone enclosures are also succeeded by a stone-walled enclosure. The stone-walled enclosures are joined by an earth-and-stone wall which extends to the N and E of the building and forms the latest phase of enclosure on the hill.

Two conjoined enclosures are situated on a terrace some c. 80m NE of the farmstead, with a trackway running past on the W and leading into the enclosure on the N side of the building. A hut measuring c. 4.9m by c. 3.2m within a turf bank c. 1.3m in thickness and c. 0.4m in height, is levelled into the side of a ridge to the WSW of the building.

The turf-walled building is levelled in to the side of a shallow gully on the NNE side of a ridge to the SE of the stone-built farmstead. It comprises two compartments and measures c. 11m from ENE-WSW by c. 3.9m transversely within a grass-grown bank c. 1.2m in thickness and c. 0.4m in height. A bank runs off to the N, joining with the southernmost of three conjoined enclosures.

Around this building there are at least fourteen sub-rectangular turf-banked enclosures (some of which are conjoined), a turf-walled building and two huts. Four of the enclosures are cut by an L-shaped turf bank which encloses parts of the hill.

A circular enclosure lies on the W edge of the group. Of the fourteen sub-rectangular enclosures there are two groups of three conjoined enclosures, in both cases with a sequence of construction. Entrances were not visible. Two huts are situated on small ledges along the leading edge of the terrace, the larger of which measures c. 5.8m by c. 3.2m within a turf bank c. 0.9m in thickness and 0.3m in height.

There are fragments of rig along the ridge to the SE of the turf-walled building, together with further fragmentary banks, running across the spine of the ridge. On the ridge to the SE, there are two circular turf-banked enclosures and a sub-rectangular enclosure overlying the rig. A small cairn measuring c. 4m in diameter appears to pre-date the rig. A hut measuring c. 4.2m by 1.9m within a stony bank c. 0.9m in thickness and 0.2m in height is levelled into the N side of the ridge.

Across the un-named burn to the W of the group of enclosures, there are a further three small enclosures, one of which may have a hut attached to its N side. A larger sub-rectangular enclosure, situated towards the SW extent of the cultivation remains, measures c. 65m by 40m and overlies the rig.

At least 12.5m hectares of rig is now visible around Mid Bracco, although pre-afforestation aerial photographs show that rig has been lost in the plantations to E. Two types of rig are visible. The majority is reverse-S shaped on plan, measuring c. 8m to 10m between furrows and extending over as much as 200m in length. In places the broad ridging has been split, forming narrower, straighter rigs.

The narrow, straight rigs (between c. 4m and 6m across) have also been formed on relatively small areas of better drained ground, where there is no evidence of splitting of pre-existing broad sinuous rigs. On the terrace at the NE edge of the site six short, straight rigs are visible, blocking with much longer sinuous rigs, and probably post-dating them. Stratigrapical relationships between the two types of rig and other remains are limited, but parts of both the broad and narrow rig are overlain by turf-banked enclosures.

At least three distinct phases can be identified in the field banks. The most recent phase is represented by a relatively straight earth-and-stone bank, extending to the N and E of the stone-built farmstead and forming the western end of an extensive series of sub-rectangular enclosures. This boundary appears to be related to the stone-built farmstead and cuts across rig and banks belonging to the two earlier phases.

Predating this earth-and-stone bank is a relatively straight turf bank lying to the SE of the stone farmstead. It cuts through some of the turf-banked enclosures around the turf-walled building and also cuts a less regular earth-and-stone bank which may have been part of a network of sub-rectangular fields to the W and S of the stone-built farmstead.

The layout of the fields to the S and W of the stone-built building reflect the slight reverse-S of the earlier phase of broad ridging, with which they may have a general association. An element of these fields running between NS 8311 6557 and NS 8323 6557 is overlain by ridging suggesting a process of expansion in the ridged area after its enclosure.

The area proposed for scheduling comprises the remains described and an area around them within which related material may be expected to be found. It is irregular in shape, with maximum dimensions of 850m N-S by 725m E-W as marked in red on the accompanying map extract.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monuments are of national importance because of their potential to contribute to an understanding of pre-improvement upland settlement and economy. Their importance is enhanced by the preservation and complexity of the remains and by their group value.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS records the monument as NS 86 NW 15.00, 15.01, 15.02, and 15.03.

Aerial photographs used:

RCAHMS 1995 C4106.

RCAHMS 1995 C41071.

RCAHMS 1995 C41073.

RCAHMS 1995 C41075.

Map references:

Ordnance Survey (1859) (Lanarkshire) sheet viii, 6 inches to 1 mile.

Bibliography:

Devine, T. (1994) The Transformation of Rural Scotland: Social Change and the Agrarian Economy 1660-1815, Edinburgh.

RCAHMS (1998) Forts, Farms and Furnaces ' Archaeology in the Central Scotland Forest, 52.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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