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Relaquheim, limekiln 1060m WSW of, Sron Aonghais

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

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.1964 / 57°11'47"N

Longitude: -3.1524 / 3°9'8"W

OS Eastings: 330461

OS Northings: 812325

OS Grid: NJ304123

Mapcode National: GBR W9.0QFG

Mapcode Global: WH6LM.KC2Z

Entry Name: Relaquheim, limekiln 1060m WSW of, Sron Aonghais

Scheduled Date: 20 March 2007

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11413

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Industrial: kiln, furnace, oven

Location: Strathdon

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

Description

The monument comprises a well-preserved limekiln and its associated terraced trackway and quarry pits. It is situated on the steep, N-facing hillside of Sron Aonghais, on the S side of Glen Ernan.

The limekiln may be earlier than the farm kilns in the vicinity, since it is sited at a quarry. The sophistication of the design and quality of construction suggest that it was built for the Edinglassie Estate, perhaps to provide mortar for Edinglassie House, which was remodelled in the mid-18th century and in 1846.

The limekiln is rectangular and constructed of limestone slabs and lime mortar. It has straight walls and squared edges, with a relief arch above the draw-hole lintel. It measures 7.1 m by 4.6 m and is 2.8 m high. The draw-hole is 0.9 m high and 1.2 m wide, narrowing to about 0.8 m at a depth of 1.8 m. The small circular bowl is 1.6 m in diameter and has partly collapsed. To the immediate front left of the kiln, there is an infilled circular pit, perhaps used for slaking burnt lime, recognisable by a change in vegetation. A terraced trackway extends both E and W from the draw-hole. The associated quarry pits lie to the S of the track.

The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan, to include the limekiln and associated workings and an area around in which evidence relating to their construction and use may survive, as marked in red on the attached map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

The monument's archaeological, architectural and historic significance can be expressed as follows.

Intrinsic Characteristics: The monument is a well-preserved example of a limekiln and an associated immersion pit, quarry pits and trackways, with upstanding remains dating from the 18th or early 19th century. Despite some collapse of the bowl and cracking of two of the lintels in the flat roof of the draw-hole, this monument retains its diagnostic architectural features, such as the relief arch above the draw-hole lintel. It appears to be stable, with no further deterioration since RCAHMS' 1997 visit. Given the site's current use as a grouse moor, it is likely that archaeologically significant deposits relating to the construction, use and abandonment of the structure and its associated workings remain in situ.

The site has considerable potential to enhance understanding of limekilns and quarries and their use.

Contextual Characteristics: The monument is an unusual type of a once common class; there are 106 kilns known in Upper Donside, of which only Sron Aonghais is rectangular. Glen Ernan contains the most complete pre-Improvement agricultural landscape in Strath Don. Together with a nearby farm kiln at Bressachoil, the remains at Sron Aonghais retain the potential to provide information on the development of lime burning for agricultural and domestic purposes, and in particular the process of improvement in Glen Ernan. The putative association between Sron Aonghais and Edinglassie House enhances this potential. Comparison of local vernacular architectural features in this area with those of other limekilns in Scotland may enhance our understanding of regional variation in such monuments.

Associative Characteristics: The monument is the product of late 18th/early 19th-century agricultural practices and/or developments in vernacular architecture, where techniques that required mortar and harling replaced drystone building. The workings and kiln may have provided the lime mortar required for the building of extensions to Edinglassie House in the mid-18th century and in 1846. The people of Strathdon are particularly knowledgeable and proud of their limekilns, which belong to a period (that of the Improvements) that still looms large in the national consciousness.

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 Improvement period. Its relatively good preservation and the retention of structural detail unique to this particular monument enhance this potential. The limekilns of Strathdon together make a large contribution to the historical character of the present-day landscape. They also form an important part of the historical landscape, relating as they do to the process of Improvement in Glen Ernan. The survival of extensive historical records relating to Glen Ernan enhance this significance. 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 social developments of the 18th and 19th centuries.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

The monument is recorded by RCAHMS as NJ31SW 99.

References:

Cruickshank K, Nisbet J and Greig M, THE LIMEKILNS OF UPPER DONSIDE: A FORGOTTEN HERITAGE.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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