Ancient Monuments

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Garvock, farmstead 825m south east of

A Scheduled Monument in Inverclyde South West, Inverclyde

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Latitude: 55.8981 / 55°53'53"N

Longitude: -4.7797 / 4°46'46"W

OS Eastings: 226298

OS Northings: 670713

OS Grid: NS262707

Mapcode National: GBR 34.1DGG

Mapcode Global: WH2MP.K05R

Entry Name: Garvock, farmstead 825m SE of

Scheduled Date: 25 March 2011

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12839

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: farmstead

Location: Inverkip

County: Inverclyde

Electoral Ward: Inverclyde South West

Traditional County: Renfrewshire


The monument comprises the remains of a farmstead, visible as a rectangular earthwork, dating to the pre-Improvement period. The monument is a single building, showing as turf-covered stone footings. The monument is located on the NE side of Colaouse Hill, around 240m above sea level.

The single building is oriented NW-SE along the line of the slope. The wall footings survive up to a height of 0.4m. The building measures 8m NW-SE by 4m transversely, with a possible entrance located in the middle of the NE side.

The area to be scheduled is rectangular in plan, to include the remains described and an area around them within which evidence relating to their construction, use and abandonment may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

The monument is a small-scale rural settlement, typical of the pre-Improvement period, usually between the 16th and 19th centuries. The building is likely to have been a domestic dwelling, potentially the main farmhouse. Aside from the main building, farmsteads can include associated buildings such as barns, byres, kilns, kiln-barns, bull-sheds, cart-sheds, pig sties and mills as well as structures such as hay stack bases, kailyards and flax pits. Such structures may have been constructed of turf, timber or stone, those of turf being particularly vulnerable to later ploughing. The farmstead may have been in use for a number of generations and domestic dwellings may have been used for other functions as their condition deteriorated and they were replaced, causing the preservation of earlier settlement remains beneath later structures.

The good preservation of the structural elements indicates that land use in the immediate vicinity since the farmstead was abandoned has not significantly impacted on the monument. Potentially associated deposits and artefacts should also survive and these have an inherent potential to inform our knowledge of pre-Improvement rural vernacular architecture and our understanding of domestic living arrangements through time. There is also potential for the survival of archaeologically significant deposits within and around the monument. These deposits have an inherent capacity to further our understanding of contemporary society and its associated material culture and can inform our knowledge of social, religious and economic activities that shaped the daily lives of the inhabitants.

The potential to identify the functions of individual buildings within the farmstead can inform our understanding of the organisation of rural settlement and further our knowledge about how various domestic, agricultural and industrial practices may have been undertaken at such locations.

Contextual characteristics

Rural land use and practice saw a great many changes in Scotland in the 18th and 19th centuries and particularly in this area. A drive towards improving the productivity of land to support a growing population, a growing market for produce and goods and industrial advances led to the landscape physically changing. The improvements meant that areas of open landscape once farmed communally from farms with multiple tenants, were enclosed and intensively farmed by single tenant farms. In a practical sense this saw the abandonment of many small subsistence farms and amalgamation into larger land holdings. In the upland areas the prime 'crop' of choice at this time was sheep. At the same time urban populations were expanding and towns grew, encroaching on former rural fringes. Consequently survival of rural settlement of any scale is rare in rural Inverclyde, Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire. More generally, survival of any domestic dwellings of ordinary people prior to the mid- to late 18th century is unusual.

The monument is located on high ground to the south of Greenock and around 6km south of the Clyde. It is immediately adjacent to a tributary of the Gryffe Water which is situated to the north. There are a number of potentially contemporary and associated monuments recorded in the vicinity. Around 200m to the east a shieling site is recorded in the form of two oval hut foundations. These structures would have seen seasonal use during summer grazing and probably fell out of use in the 18th century. Around 180m to the south a 17/18th-century hill farmstead was noted in 1963. This was not located in 1976 and the similarity of the description with this site may mean it was originally mis-located. Another farmhouse, not located at the time of the scheduling visit, has been recorded at NS 2636 7070 surrounded by dyke walls of in-bye fields. The scheduling site visit noted many turf field banks in the vicinity and peat cuttings which may also be contemporary with the structure. The nature of any relationship between these monuments is uncertain but could imply a larger settlement or length of occupation.

This monument is a significant and rare element in the surviving landscape of pre-Improvement settlement in this area. Recent survey work has identified a number of historic farm sites in the large rural parish of Inverkip. Canmore records 76 farms in Inverclyde with some now under reservoirs, destroyed by forestry planting, beneath modern farms or known from place name evidence alone. When compared and contrasted to these other pre-Improvement settlement remains the monument can inform our knowledge of the nature of rural settlement at this time. This can further our understanding of where settlement was located, how the landscape was organised, used and controlled and how it may have evolved over time, as well as the impact of agricultural improvements on the landscape and rural population.

Associative characteristics

The importance of the monument is enhanced by its associated documentation. Timothy Pont's 16th-century map of the area noted a settlement in the area called Haring B. It is also thought that the monument may be analogous to a farm labelled 'Craigsnout Farm' present on Roy's Military survey of 1747-55 which shows three structures. The farm was advertised for letting in the Greenock Advertiser in 1808, 1814, 1816 and 1819. The farmstead is not depicted on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey, published in 1863. This indicates that the settlement had been abandoned and upstanding structural elements largely 'removed', some time before the mid-19th century but after 1819 and probably due to the changes in agricultural practice originating in the 18th century.

The monument has an inherent potential to inform our understanding of the practical effects of the 'Improvement' in this part of rural Scotland and the mobile nature of settlement as a result. There is a great potential for archaeological evidence held within this site to inform and complement pre-existing knowledge gained through documentary research. Such an association with a well-known historical event increases the significance this monument may have for local people.

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 pre-Improvement rural architecture, domestic arrangements and the settlement pattern, probably over an extended period of time. It is a rare survival and as such has an inherent capacity to contribute to our knowledge of the practical effects that new farming methods had on upland rural landscape and population. The unusually good survival of the farmstead enhances this potential, as much of the artefactual and ecofactual evidence is likely to survive. The loss of this monument would impede our ability to understand better the economic, agricultural and domestic changes in early modern rural Inverclyde, Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire and across Scotland as a result of new farming theory and practice.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



The monument is currently situated in rough grazing.

The RCAHMS database records this monument as Colaouse Hill Farmhouse with the site number NS27SE 103. The West of Scotland Archaeology Service Sites and Monuments Record note this monument as 40318.


Hogg, I 2000, Loch Thom, Inverclyde (Inverkip; Kilmacolm parishes), survey, Discovery and Excavation, Scotland, 2000, 58.

Nisbet, S 2010, unpublished manuscript The Eighteenth Century (1700-1800), Regional Research Framework.

Scotland's Rural Past, Inverclyde Project .

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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