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Field Visit

Date July 1974

Event ID 1082608

Category Recording

Type Field Visit


Early views and photographs show that at the end of the 19th century the small fishing village of Gallanach comprised three rows of two or three thatched cottages, and a few detached buildings (en.1*). Most of these survive in a greatly altered form, and during renovation of a semi-detached cottage (number 6 Gallanach) S of the Post Office in 1974, it was discovered that much of its thatched roof was preserved below a corrugated metal covering (en.2). The property now incorporates the adjacent cottage to the E, which is set at a lower ground-level but shares a mutual gable with it and appears to be of slightly earlier date.

The building, which contained four cruck-bays, originally measured about 12.5m from E to W by 5.5m over 0.8m walls, but it was reduced in length by 1.5m in 1974 to provide an external garden-access, although the outline of the former W gable remains visible in the wall of the adjacent house. The E side-wall contains a doorway in the second bay, flanked by two windows with secondary dressed surrounds, and an additional opening has been inserted. A watercolour of 1894 shows this building with a low thatched chimney or smoke-hole towards its E gable, resembling those shown on adjacent cottages. This was replaced by a stone-built chimney, while netting found in the thatch of one of the central bays may have been associated with an earlier smoke-hole. The cottage preserves three intermediate scarf-jointed cruck-couples and the E end-couple. The lower members are encased, but the upper parts are visible above the modern ceiling. They vary in detail but each has a lower collar at a height of from 2.1m to 2.5m and an upper collar or yoke about 0.4m higher, which in two couples supported an extra member wedged into position to carry the former ridge-purlins. The apex of the E end-couple has been displaced about 0.8m and the junction of the blades altered, probably to allow the insertion of a canopied flue associated with the former smoke-hole. The collars are lap-jointed into the cruck-blades and secured by long octagonal wooden pegs. The multiple purlins, of slight dimensions, were interwoven with hazel rods providing a base for the roofing materials, which comprised two layers of turf supporting a thick layer of heather, and thinner coverings of bracken and rushes. The thatch was secured by wooden pins pushed into the turf, and by a network of ropes weighted down with grooved stones. Although it could not be preserved in situ, samples of the materials are deposited at Auchindrain Museum of Country Life. The adjacent cottage to the E has sawn-off cruckmembers concealed behind the wall-covering.

RCAHMS 1992, visited July 1974

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