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Gleann A' Cheaird

Township (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Gleann A' Cheaird

Classification Township (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Creag An Chithich Cottages; Creag-an-fhithich

Canmore ID 154447

Site Number NR97SE 44

NGR NR 9565 7278

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish Kilfinan
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Argyll

Archaeology Notes

NR97SE 44 9565 7278

A township, comprising four roofed, two unroofed buildings and one enclosure is depicted on the 1st edition of the OS 6-inch map (Argyllshire and Buteshire 1873, sheet cxciii). Four unroofed buildings and five enclosures are shown on the current edition of the OS 1:10000 map (1981).

Information from RCAHMS (AKK) 7 June 1999.

NR 948 735 to NR 968 719 In October 2000 an assessment was undertaken of the potential impact of the proposed Tighnabruaich raw water main replacement route linking Craignafeoch Dam to the water treatment works at Tighnabruaich. The survey indicated that the impact as a whole would be minimal and that the only archaeology to be affected would be one stone-built field boundary possibly relating to the deserted settlement of Creag-an-fhithich. The township is situated some distance from the proposed line. (GUARD 948).

Sponsor: West of Scotland Water.

A K Maule 2001a


Field Visit (2014 - 2015)

NR 9565 7278 This settlement is spread over a broad area stretching 200m NE to SW below and S of the rocky hill of Craig an Fhithich, at the SW exit of Gleann a’ Cheaird. It is flanked on the E side by a narrow burn running N to S. A preliminary survey, which remained unpublished, was carried out by the late EB Rennie and F Newall in January 1997. After an initial inspection in 2001, we resurveyed the site on two visits in 2014 and 2015.

The site contains 12 structures, labelled 1–12, consisting of two turf foundations 1 and 2, six dry stone houses 4, 5, 6 and 8, 10, 12, and four enclosures 3, 7, 9 and 11 associated with houses. They are described in numerical order. Measurements are external except where otherwise stated.

The OS 6" map (Argyllshire, Sheet CXCIII 1869 (survey 1864) shows enclosures 7 and 11. Houses 5, 8, 10 and 12 are shown roofed and 4 and 6 unroofed. Turf structures 1, 2 and enclosures 8, 9 are not shown. The 1895 revision shows no enclosures, only houses 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, now all unroofed. There is also a sheepfold on higher ground to the N in the fork of the burn which we visited and photographed but otherwise did not record. It is shown on the 1864 map and had been modified by 1895. We note that it contains a brick-built boiler and two iron vats for sheep dipping.

1. At NR 95594 72808 on higher sloping ground to the W of the main settlement is a broad low oval turf bank up to 0.25m high and 1m wide. It is 8.7 x 4.7m, long axis NNW/ SSE (340º) with an entrance in the NE long bank 0.7m wide.

2. On lower ground SSW of 1 at NR 95564 72711 are the remains of an irregular oval turf bank 0.5–0.9m wide and up to 1m high surrounding a deep hollow. There is some stone within. It is on sloping ground, 6.0 x 5.2m, long axis cNW/ SE. Below the S end is a burn and a ditch.

3. The SW end of a large sub-rectangular flat raised area lies 32m NNE of 2. It may be a yard or garden. It is 30m long and 14m wide with long axis at 60º. It is bounded on three sides by a dyke of turfed-over stone 1m wide and c0.9m high. On the fourth, SE, side there is no dyke but an edge where the ground drops sharply. The NE end is bounded by a straight section of dyke 0.6m wide and 0.6m high which turns NE then, after a 1.7m gap, turns towards the N leaving a 3m gap before house 4 described next.

4. NE of 3 at NR 95623 72760 is a long rectangular house 15.1 x 5.6m, long sides cNW/SE (310º). It is divided into two 7.7m long compartments A and B by a substantial cross wall. The SE end of A has the remains of a gable standing up to 2.2m high. There is a 1.3m entrance gap in the NE wall of A. A and B are of different construction. A is more strongly built: the walls including the cross wall are double, 0.6–0.7m wide. B is more roughly constructed with large boulders. An annexe is attached to the SE end of A projecting out 4.5m and c4.1m wide, formed by a partly ruined dry stone wall 0.7m wide and up to 0.6m high.

5. This, the largest house in the settlement, is 37m WNW of 4 at NR 95669 72780. It is 22.1 x 6.1m with long axis at 85º. It is subdivided into W and E compartments A and B respectively by a substantial middle gable. Internally, A is the longer, internally 13m, and B is c7.0m. A gable stands up to 2m high at the W end of A. The walls are 0.7–0.8m wide. There is a 1m wide doorway in the sub-dividing wall near the S end. Adjacent to it in the S wall is a doorway into B. Near the middle of the S wall of A is a 0.9m wide entrance gap. Immediately E of this gap, up against the outside wall, is an unusual stone construction that does not appear to have an interior space and may be a buttress 1.5m wide and projecting out 1.3m from the wall. House 10 has two

similar external structures. Attached to the W end of A are 3 sections of a possible annexe wall extending 1.1m beyond the N wall of the house, 4.8m E/W and 4.5m N/S. There is the trace of an annexe at the E end of B with low walls 0.3m wide, much tumbled, extending c4.3m from the house wall and c3.8m wide.

6. SE of 5 and adjacent to it is a smaller much ruined house 6, 10.0 x 5.4m, long axis 80º. The best surviving W end wall is 0.6m wide; the E part of the S wall is missing and the N wall is low. The remains of the E wall suggest a possible gable. Immediately E of this wall is the narrow N/S burn on the edge of the site.

7. The single structure on the E side of the burn is a near circular enclosure 15m SE of house 6. It is bounded by a low turf and stone bank 0.7m high and 0.7–0.8m wide. It measures externally 16m N/S and 15m E/W.

8. At the N end of the settlement are three houses 8, 10 and 12, and two enclosures 9 and 11. House 8 is farthest W at NR 95660 72830 on higher sloping ground. It measures 7.8 x 6.0m, long axis cNW/SE (310º). There is a gable at the W end surviving up to 2.4m high. The N and E walls are much eroded, the S wall stands up to 1.6m high.

9. A rectangular enclosure is adjacent to house 8 on the SW. It is bounded by a turf dyke 16m long parallel to the SW wall of the house and 13m perpendicular to it.

10. About 25m ENE of house 8 at NR 95691 72841 is a two-compartment house 14.5 x 5.2m, long axis roughly ENE/ SSW (60º). There is a gable up to 3.2m high at the E end. Elsewhere the walls survive up to 1m high and are 0.7m wide. There are the remains of a low cross wall 0.5m wide dividing it into E and W compartments A and B respectively of internal widths 7.1m and 5.3m. There is no obvious doorway in the subdivision. The S long wall of A has a doorway of uncertain width, on each side of which, up against the outside wall, is a square stone construction c1m wide probably buttresses similar to that in house 5. The W end wall of compartment B stands up to 1.5m high and has a central doorway 0.8m wide. A vertical series of semicircular cuts has been made in each inner edge of the doorway to accommodate a post. Along the length of the W wall and at the S corner of the opposite wall, a lower wall or ledge projects out 0.15m below the house wall, suggesting that house 10 was built over the foundations of an earlier structure.

11. Immediately SW of house 10 is a sub-circular enclosure 14 x 12m bounded by a turf and stone bank 0.5m wide and 0.6m high.

12. A very ruinous small house c5.7 x 4.3m lies 5m W of house 10. It is roughly N/S (15º). The S wall is best preserved, standing up to 1m high. Inside is much tumble and only traces of the other walls survived.

David Dorren and Nina Henry

(Source: DES, Volume 16)


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