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Little Banchor, depopulated settlement 1130m WSW of Banchor

A Scheduled Monument in Nairn and Cawdor, Highland

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.4384 / 57°26'18"N

Longitude: -3.8305 / 3°49'49"W

OS Eastings: 290212

OS Northings: 840153

OS Grid: NH902401

Mapcode National: GBR J9X2.22F

Mapcode Global: WH5J0.496H

Entry Name: Little Banchor, depopulated settlement 1130m WSW of Banchor

Scheduled Date: 15 October 2007

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11818

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: Ardclach

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Nairn and Cawdor

Traditional County: Nairnshire

Description

The monument comprises the ruins of a farmstead and associated buildings and structures, including a kiln and large enclosure, situated on a terrace next to the River Findhorn, 1140m WSW of Banchor. The settlement is named as Little Banchor on the Ordnance Survey (OS) First and Second Edition maps. Its name reflects the older, larger settlement of Banchor 1140m to the E.

The settlement consists of an enclosed area surrounded by three buildings, a kiln with enclosure and a length of walling, and a fourth building to the NW separated from the others by a modern road.

The three buildings to the S of the enclosure are marked on the OS First and Second Edition maps. Of this group, the easternmost building is split into three compartments, with the pair to the W being separated only by a narrow passage. A possible trackway runs NNW from the W end of the easternmost building to join up with the line of the modern road, crossing in front of the pair of buildings and alongside the W edge of the enclosure.

To the E of the enclosure lie the ruins of a kiln, approximately 2m high, with an associated enclosure. This kiln enclosure measures 14m by 21m, and is aligned NE-SW, with an entranceway on its SE side. The OS First and Second Edition maps appear to indicate the enclosure wall curving around to join a section of straight walling that runs NE-SW along the SE boundary of the farmstead.

The fourth building lies to the N of the kiln, on the N side of what is now a modern road, but may in the past have been a trackway or drove road. This building stands one course high (0.3m), with walls indicated by a spread of rubble approximately 0.75m wide. It measures 18m from E to W and 5m transversely, with three internal compartments - the W one being 7.5m long, the central one 5.5m long, and the E one 6m long.

A fence running NE to SW along the line of what could be an old stream leading down to the river forms the SE boundary of the farmstead. To the S of the farmstead a small eroding cliff-face drops down to the River Findhorn.

The area to be scheduled is a pair of irregular polygons, separated by the modern road, to include the remains described and an area around in which associated evidence may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics: The farmstead buildings and associated structures survive in good condition, indicating that this monument dates from the late 18th or early 19th century; the layout here next to the river, with buildings organised around a central enclosure and an associated kiln, is typical of low-lying farmsteads of the post-medieval period. The kiln and its enclosure is an interesting feature, in that there is no evidence of burning. This suggests that it was not a limekiln (as labelled on the OS First Edition map) but perhaps a hop kiln; comparable examples are found elsewhere. Differences in build quality may indicate a developmental sequence between the isolated building to the N, the kiln and enclosure to the E, and the three buildings to the SW. Potential exists for this monument to add a great deal of information to our understanding of post-medieval farmsteads, in particular their structure and association with the landscape around them.

Contextual characteristics: A complete kiln and associated enclosure ensure that this well-preserved farmstead is a valuable representation of its class of monument. Possible complexities in type of building suggest some element of longevity at the site. Analysis of the surrounding landscape may enhance our understanding of settlement location and economy, in particular the relationship between this site and nearby contemporary post-medieval settlements. The farmstead's location, on reasonable agricultural land adjacent to a steady water source and upland pasture, helps us to identify the economical and practical concerns that would have been considered prior to the settlement being constructed.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it is a well-preserved example of a late 18th- or early 19th-century farmstead with associated kiln and enclosure. It has the potential to contribute towards our understanding of post-medieval settlement patterns, structures, and economy. The unusual kiln has the ability to provide important information about resource processing. The capacity exists for this monument to form part of an integrated landscape study, and so its loss would harm our ability to understand the distribution of post-medieval farmsteads and their structure, as well as our understanding of early 19th century environmental constraints upon agriculture.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS record the site as NH94SW 13.

References:

RCAHMS 1978, THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES AND MONUMENTS OF NAIRN DISTRICT, HIGHLAND REGION, The archaeological sites and monuments of Scotland series No. 5, 21, No. 175, Edinburgh, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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