Ancient Monuments

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Relaquheim, farmstead 480m south east of, Glen Ernan

A Scheduled Monument in Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside, Aberdeenshire

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Latitude: 57.1966 / 57°11'47"N

Longitude: -3.1304 / 3°7'49"W

OS Eastings: 331791

OS Northings: 812325

OS Grid: NJ317123

Mapcode National: GBR WB.0P7X

Mapcode Global: WH6LM.WCHV

Entry Name: Relaquheim, farmstead 480m SE of, Glen Ernan

Scheduled Date: 20 March 2007

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11501

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: farmstead

Location: Strathdon

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire


The monument comprises the remains of Deleva, a farmstead of the mid-18th century or earlier, visible as a series of upstanding banks and other features. It lies on a broad terrace at the foot of Carn Mor, on either side of the modern track, on the S bank of the Ernan Water, 480 m SE of Relaquheim.

General Roy's map of 1747-55 shows the site as Dalvache, a group of five buildings with associated fields of rig and furrow. Several 18th and 19th century documents mention Deleva, but the Ordnance Survey (OS) recorded it as a group of four ruined, unroofed buildings on their First Edition 6'' map of 1869. The OS Second Edition 6" map does not depict it.

The visible, upstanding remains comprise nine buildings, including a kiln-barn. There are six buildings to the SW of the track. The easternmost has a single compartment and measures 14 m by 5.8 m over drystone walls 0.65 m thick. Attached to this is a parterre garden. To the NW is a two-compartment building, measuring 12.7 m by 5.8 m over drystone walls 0.7 m thick. There are traces of a third building at right angles to its WNW end; a yard or midden fronts this. A rectangular platform 19 m by 6.8 m may represent the remains of a fourth building. The last two buildings are heavily robbed; one measures 17.4 m by 4.3 m, while the other measures 10.5 m by 4.5 m. To the N of the track, there are three buildings, including a kiln-barn measuring 12 m by 5 m over 0.8 m thick drystone walls. The kiln-bowl is 1.6 m in diameter and the flue is well preserved. SE of the kiln-barn are a yard and a building measuring 14.5 m by 4.7 m. NW of the kiln-barn is a two-compartment building, measuring 21 m by 5.4 m over walls, 0.9 m thick. Attached to it is an enclosure.

The area to be scheduled consists of three discrete areas (two irregular, one rectangular), to include the remains described and an area around them within which evidence for the construction and use may survive, as marked in red on the accompanying map. Specifically excluded from the scheduling to allow for its maintenance is the modern track running WNW to ESE through the monument.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

The monument's archaeological and historic significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics: The monument is a well-preserved example of a pre-Improvement farmstead with upstanding remains dating from the 18th and 19th centuries. Despite some extensive stone robbing, this monument retains well-constructed drystone walls and diagnostic architectural features. It includes a relatively well-preserved kiln-barn, a common feature of pre-Improvement farmsteads, and a parterre garden, a very unusual feature. Given the site's current use as pastureland, it is likely that archaeologically significant deposits relating to the construction, use and abandonment of the structures remain in situ, despite the fact that a modern track has cut through the site.

The monument has considerable potential to enhance understanding of pre-Improvement farmsteads and the daily lives of the people who occupied them. Deleva is a remnant of a short-lived phase of expansion in settlement in Glen Ernan during the 18th century and therefore has the potential to provide information relating to a relatively well-defined chronological period.

Contextual characteristics: The monument is a good representative of a once numerous class; Glen Ernan contains the most complete pre-Improvement agricultural landscape in Strath Don. Deleva and Balnabreck were deliberately cleared between 1841 and 1851, apparently in order to enhance the viability of nearby Torrandhul. Together with Lynmore and Bressachoil, the remains of Auchnahaich retain the potential to provide information on the process of Improvement in Glen Ernan. The survival of rental and other documents relating to these farmsteads at Aberdeen University and elsewhere, and census returns for the period in which they were occupied, enhance this potential. Comparison of the local vernacular architectural features in this area with those on other Scottish historic rural settlement sites may enhance our understanding of regional variation in rural settlement between the medieval period and the 19th century.

Associative characteristics: The monument is the product of pre-Improvement agricultural practices and a significant historical event (the Clearances). It appears to have been built in the second quarter of the 18th century, when several new farmsteads were established in Glen Ernan. The first record of it is in a document of 1740, which names the occupant as William Anderson. The 1841 census is the last record of occupation, listing two women and three children living there. Like Auchnahaich, Deleva was cleared between the censuses of 1841 and 1851. It is recorded as part of Torrandhul by 1846 and as Deleva (in ruins), unroofed on the 1869 OS map. It would appear that the associated rig and furrow depicted on Roy's map has been obliterated by modern ploughing, although the land is now pasture.

The Clearances remain a prominent part of Scotland's national consciousness and that of countries to which those who had to leave there homes migrated, notably Canada, USA and Australia. The quality of the surviving documentary evidence means that it is possible for living descendants to identify the farmstead as where their ancestors lived. The sites in Glen Ernan therefore have potential in terms of genealogical tourism as well as academic research and education for schoolchildren and students in the UK.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to the understanding of the past, in particular the pre-Improvement period and the Clearances. Its relatively good preservation and the survival of extensive historical records directly related to the monument's occupation enhances this potential. The loss of this example would impede any future ability to understand these issues and the history of Glen Ernan in particular. The monument also has a place in the national consciousness, given the strong continued interest in the UK and abroad in the Clearances of the 18th and 19th centuries.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records this monument as NJ31SW103. Aberdeenshire SMR records it as NJ31SW0045.

Aerial photographs:

NJ31SW103 1997 Deleva, Glen Ernan, farmstead D20482.

NJ31SW103 1997 Deleva, Glen Ernan, farmstead D20483.




Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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