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Meall Darroch, settlement, 90m SSW of Windy View

A Scheduled Monument in Kintyre and the Islands, Argyll and Bute

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.8606 / 55°51'38"N

Longitude: -5.3909 / 5°23'27"W

OS Eastings: 187891

OS Northings: 668243

OS Grid: NR878682

Mapcode National: GBR FF27.1FG

Mapcode Global: WH1L8.5Y4L

Entry Name: Meall Darroch, settlement, 90m SSW of Windy View

Scheduled Date: 19 January 1992

Last Amended: 7 February 2013

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM5523

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: Kilcalmonell

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Kintyre and the Islands

Traditional County: Argyllshire

Description

The monument comprises the remains of a deserted rural settlement, which was occupied in the 18th to 19th century and abandoned in 1843. The settlement is situated E of Tarbert and immediately SW of a modern housing development, in rough ground on a rocky terrace at about 100m above sea level. The monument was first scheduled in 1992, but the documentation does not meet modern standards and does not take account of adjacent modern development: the present rescheduling rectifies this.

The settlement consists of the remains of a row of 12 structures or houses, a kiln, a well, a small enclosure and traces of field banks. The main component of the settlement is a 'street' of eight abutting but separate structures, which run NE-SW in a line approximately 5m wide and are built into the rocky terrace. All of the buildings, except for the southernmost, open ESE onto this street. Two further structures and a well stand on the western side of the street. A low arc of walling, which extends from one of the buildings across the street, may relate to drainage. To the S are two further buildings each comprising two units, and a three-unit building which backs onto the hillside. The small enclosure and a number of field banks are situated at the SW end of the street. At the extreme S of the complex are the remains of a corn-drying kiln.

The area to be scheduled is irregular in shape. It includes the settlement and associated remains, and an area around them within which traces of related activities may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. On the NE edge, the scheduled area extends 1m beyond the visible remains, but specifically excludes the above-ground modern garden features and hard standings to allow for their maintenance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

Despite dense vegetation cover, the monument is generally in good condition and the layout of this small settlement is clearly visible on the ground. All of the walls are stone-built with clay bonding; on average they stand up to 1m high and are 0.7m thick. The gable of the northernmost unit survives to a height of 2.7m. In some cases, the lower levels of the windows and door openings are clearly visible. The interiors are rubble-filled, which obscures the internal features, but architectural and archaeological features and deposits, including artefacts, are highly likely to survive as the site has not been altered or disturbed since it was abandoned. Study of the fabric and form of the structures could enhance our understanding of rural domestic architecture of the post-medieval period. Overall the site has good potential for the survival of archaeological evidence that could add to our understanding of the settlement's development sequence, use and abandonment, and the nature of 18th- and 19th-century rural society, settlement and economy in general.

There is a high likelihood that buried deposits will survive in the form of middens, drains, yards, field banks and, possibly, earlier building foundations. The enclosure and field banks are also of interest as they are likely to contain soil deposits and buried ground surfaces that can tell us much about the organisation of the settlement and surrounding land and contemporary agricultural practices. The kiln is also likely to retain significant archaeological evidence for its construction and use. This material evidence can contribute to a much better understanding of the nature and development of rural settlement and land-use.

Contextual characteristics

This site is unusual in that it was relatively short-lived and has lain undisturbed since its abandonment in c 1843. It is therefore a 'time-capsule' and can provide a snapshot of rural settlement and society in the early 19th century. It is also of particular interest because its linear form is rare in Argyll; this type of settlement is more typically found in central and lowland Scotland.

Comparison of this small settlement with other abandoned townships in this area, and with historic rural settlement sites in other parts of Scotland, could enhance our understanding of regional variations in rural settlement in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Associative characteristics

The settlement appears on Roy's map (c.1750) as 'Beldarick'. It is subsequently recorded on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map (c.1851) as 'Mealdarroch', by when all of the structures are shown as unroofed.

Mealdarroch was still occupied at the time of the 1841 Census (named 'Bealdarroch') and is recorded then as having had a population of 35 people spread between five households, most of whom worked as fishermen, farmers or servants. This suggests that the settlement included a number of people whose work and skills were tied into the operations of the Tarbert Estate. The settlement was abandoned around 1843 following an outbreak of cholera.

The settlement retains good aesthetic qualities despite being overgrown. The lower courses of the houses survive well and clearly define the remains of the street of buildings. The adjacent modern housing development respects the linear arrangement of the abandoned settlement and runs along the terrace on the same alignment.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance as a good example of a small linear township, abandoned in 1843 after a relatively short period of occupation. Unlike other settlements of similar date in the area, the cottages were arranged along one side of a linear street, with outbuildings located at right angles. This arrangement is rare in Argyll and western Scotland, and more typical of lowland Scotland. The relatively short period of occupation of the site suggests there is high potential for the survival of archaeological and environmental evidence that would enhance our understanding of the daily lives of the inhabitants and how they related to other communities in the Tarbert area. The loss of the monument would significantly affect our ability to understand 18th- and 19th-century rural society, settlement and land-use.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS records the monument as NR86NE 20. West of Scotland Archaeology Service records the site as WOSASPIN 12392.

References

Association of Certificated Field Archaeologists, 1993, 'Beldarroch: field survey', The Kist, Vol. 46, pp. 13-18.

Macdonald, J 1993, 'Meall Darroch (Kilcalmonell parish): deserted settlement', Discovery and Excavation in Scotland, Edinburgh, p. 73, fig.32.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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