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Dundee, 70, 71 High Street, Gardyne's Land

Merchants House (16th Century)

Site Name Dundee, 70, 71 High Street, Gardyne's Land

Classification Merchants House (16th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Gray's Close; Gardyne's House

Canmore ID 186050

Site Number NO43SW 394

NGR NO 40335 30292

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/186050

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2018.

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Dundee, City Of
  • Parish Dundee (Dundee, City Of)
  • Former Region Tayside
  • Former District City Of Dundee
  • Former County Angus

Listed Buildings Area Survey (15 February 2012)

Remarkable survivor in the centre of the city. At the core of what is now a complex of buildings is a C16th merchant's house. The C17th frontage onto the High Street was probably altered in the C18th, but the building had little further alteration until the major restoration of 2005-7 (after a long period of discussion) when the building was at risk of falling into a ruinous state. The rear games room was at one stage a billiard hall and a cafe belonging to Keillors (the jam and marmalade company) who owned the site at one stage in the late C19th.

Converted into a youth hostel by the Tayside Buildings Preservation Trust with Simpson and Brown Architects, original elements such as fireplaces and doorways have been sensitively restored and re-used.

The clock (1932), surmounted by a model of the 1731 Dundee Town House designed by William Adam, now hangs above the main entrance.

RCAHMS (CAJS) 2012.

Activities

Trial Trench (1995)

Trial trenching was undertaken by SUAT Ltd. In 1995 in the pend and courtyard at this house. In the former was found a cultivation soil apparently pre-dating this 16th-century town house, while in the latter were found medieval occuaption layers dating back to thje 12th century, and a drystone well dating to the 12th-13th century.

The results from Test Pit B show that despite extensive service trenches, medieval garden soils, evidence of cultivation in the burgage plots, or backlands, have survived. These deposits may however be confined to the eastern side of the pend, against the face of the west wall of Gardyne's Land. The rest of the pend appears to be severely disturbed by services, though small pockets of archaeological deposits will be preserved in places.

Test Pit A shows a long archaeological sequence, perhaps stretching back to the 12th century. The level of the foundation plinth of the standing building suggests that the contemporary ground level was approximately the same as the present day flagstone courtyard. The rubble layer… which seals the well, almost certainly predates the construction of Gardyne's Land. Layer 17, which contained significant quantities of roof slates, may also predate the house. The source of this building debris may be the merchant's booths or ale cellars mentioned in the documentary records, which would have been demolished before Gardyne's Land was built. The earliest features identified, the well and the layers truncated by it, appear to date from the thirteenth century.

Overview

The two small areas examined as part of this assemblage have shown that substantial archaeological deposits have survived in this part of the medieval town, protected by the standing buildings around them. The pottery assemblage is extremely important and shows a range of imported wares coming into Dundee, one of the busiest ports in medieval Scotland. Because of extensive redevelopment in recent decades, particularly the 1960's, comparable sites elsewhere in Dundee were largely lost without any archaeological record. This site would, therefore, offer a rare opportunity to investigate the development of a small area of medieval Dundee from the earliest settlement to the present day.

Information from SUAT

Coleman and Stronach, R and S. 1995. Archaeological Evaluation at John Gardyne's Land, Dundee

Watching Brief (October 2000)

NO 403 303 A watching brief was conducted in October 2000 on the replacement of two lengths of drainage pipe in the area surrounding the late medieval building known as John Gardyne's Land (NMRS NO 43 SW 394). No deposits or features of archaeological interest were identified.

Full report lodged with the NMRS.

Sponsor: Tayside Building Preservation Trust.

B Glendinning 2001

A watching brief by SUAT Ltd in 2000 on a service trench outside Gardyne's Land revealed only previously disturbed services.

SUAT Ltd were commissioned by the Tayside Building Preservation Trust to undertake an archaeological watching brief at John Gardyne's Land, 70-75 High Street, Dundee. The work was required during a programme of drain replacement external to the structure itself.

Initially three lengths of drain were to be replaced, however a video inspection of one of the lengths of drain proved it to be in serviceable condition.

SUAT representatives were on site for two half days to record the pipe trench sections.

Nothing of archaeological interest was noted.

SUAT recommend that any further groundworks in the pend to the south-east of the site and the small courtyard, are monitored with the minimum response being a watching brief.

The results from Test Pit B show that despite extensive service trenches, medieval garden soils, evidence of cultivation in the burgage plots, or backlands, have survived. These deposits may however be confined to the eastern side of the pend, against the face of the west wall of Gardyne's Land. The rest of the pend appears to be severely disturbed by services, though small pockets of archaeological deposits will be preserved in places.

Information from SUAT, 2000

Archaeological Watching Brief at John Gardyne's Land.

Photographic Survey (15 February 2012)

Photographed by the Listed Building Area Survey, Dundee upgrade.

RCAHMS (CAJS) 2011.

References

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