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Wester Gaulrig

Building(S) (Period Unassigned), Enclosure(S) (Period Unassigned), Farmstead (Period Unassigned), Kiln Barn (Period Unassigned)(Possible)

Site Name Wester Gaulrig

Classification Building(S) (Period Unassigned), Enclosure(S) (Period Unassigned), Farmstead (Period Unassigned), Kiln Barn (Period Unassigned)(Possible)

Canmore ID 107281

Site Number NJ11SE 7

NGR NJ 1580 1375

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Moray
  • Parish Kirkmichael (Moray)
  • Former Region Grampian
  • Former District Moray
  • Former County Banffshire

Accessing Scotland's Past Project

The decay of a post-medieval farmstead named Wester Gaulrig is clearly shown on maps dating from the late nineteenth century to the present day.

The farmstead is shown as seven roofed buildings and associated enclosures on the 1st edition of the Ordnance Survey map of Banffshire, which was published in 1874. By 1902, when the 2nd edition was published, only five of these structures were shown, and two of these were only partially roofed.

The current edition of the 1:10000 map shows only two of these buildings as roofed, and also indicates that one of these structures, a long, multi-compartmented building, has been damaged by a trackway.

Text prepared by RCAHMS as part of the Accessing Scotland's Past project

Archaeology Notes

NJ11SE 7 1580 1375

The remains of a farmstead, longhouses and enclosures survive on an E-facing slope.

NMRS, MS/711/12.


Field Visit (2008 - 2010)

Measured survey , site description and photographs.

Srp Note (15 September 2011)

This settlement lies at 401m OD in improved pasture some 250m W of the River Avon. A track running through it leads to the deserted townships of Easter Gaulrig (NJ11SE 26), c500m to the NE and Bailechnoic (NJ11SE 8), c400m to the SW.

The site comprises seven buildings, five of which are reduced to grass-covered stone footings (Buildings 1-5) and may represent the remains of a small pre-improvement township. The buildings are terraced slightly into the ground and their walls built of small schistose stones which stand up to three courses high (0.8m) and measure between 0.6m – 0.8m thick. The remaining two buildings are an Improvement period house (Building 7) and barn (Building 6), which are still occupied and were built on the sites of earlier buildings. Lengths of stone dyke may represent the fragmentary remains of enclosures associated with the pre-Improvement township. A detailed description follows below, and this should be read in conjunction with the site plan and photographs which are linked to this site record.

Building 1 is aligned NE-SW and measures c23m x c5m, with a grassy hollow, possibly a midden, outside the NE corner. The building may have been subdivided into two roughly equal sizes compartments, but destruction of the central sections of wall line make this difficult to say with certainty. Two almost parallel stone dykes (Walls A and B) run in a NW direction from the NW and SW corners of the building, taking a slight dog-leg c30m from the building. An old tree is planted on the most westerly dyke at this point.

Building 2 is aligned NW-SE and measures c20m x c5m. An internal wall creates two roughly equal sized compartments and there is a possible entrance in the SW wall of the S compartment (2a).

Building 3, a possible kiln barn, is aligned E-W and measures c11m x c5m. It has two compartments, the E compartment (3b) being smaller and lying approximately 1 m lower than the W compartment (3a). On the N side of the W compartment (3a) there is a level platform defined by an arc of roughly-squared stone blocks. Beyond this platform the ground falls sharply away into a pit which seems to be man-made rather than a natural hollow. This building is similar in dimensions to the kiln barn (Building 4) in Milton township at NJ 138 248.

Building 4 is aligned NW-SE and measures c19m x c5m, with a poorly defined stone terrace, c1m wide, running along the SW and SE walls. It is divided into two compartments of unequal size, that to the NW (4b) being slightly larger than that to the SE (4a). The N and NE walls have been destroyed and there is stone debris lying inside the building. The stones lying in the SE compartment (4a) seem to have been arranged in a semicircular setting, perhaps an old stack stand.

Building 5 is aligned N-S and measures c13m x c6m. A turf-covered footing divides the interior into two compartments. The W wall of the building forms part of the field dyke (Wall A) which runs in a NW direction from Building 1. The dyke continues for a short distance N of Building 5 N as a revetment above an old track.

Building 6 is a gable-ended barn constructed of roughly-squared and mortared granite blocks, and roofed in graded schistose stone tiles. There are two entrances in the NW wall and one in the SE. The building has been truncated by a couple of metres at the SE end and the SE gable reconstructed using smaller stones and a cruder style of masonry.

Building 7 is a 1 ½ storey gable-ended house of the Improvement period, with a front elevation facing W, towards the Avon, and the settlement of Auchnahyle beyond. The walls are constructed of roughly-squared quarried granite blocks with mortar pointing, and the roof is covered with graded schistose stone tiles. The facade is symmetrical, with a central door and two windows on the ground floor and two dormer windows in the upper floor. There is a small extension at the rear beneath a catslide roof. The house was renovated in 2009 when a front porch was added. In the course of these works Building 4 was obliterated.

The township is shown schematically on William Roy’s Military Survey of Scotland, 1747 – 1755, and a Gordon Estate plan of 1762 (NAS, RHP 2488). Buildings 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 are all depicted, with several enclosures not now evident, on a Gordon Castle estate plan of c. 1840 (NAS, RHP 1815). Buildings 1, 2, 3, 4 (as a longer building), 5 and possibly 6 (or a building at its location) are shown roofed on the 1st Edition of the Ordnance Survey 6-inch map (Banff-shire sheet lxiii, surveyed 1869, published 1871). Buildings 1, 3, 4 and 5 are shown roofed on the 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey map, revised 1900. Building 7 is not shown on these two maps and was presumably built during the early decades of the twentieth century.

Information from SRP Strath Avon, August 2011.


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