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Dunbarney House Policies, Old Windmill

Windmill (17th Century)

Site Name Dunbarney House Policies, Old Windmill

Classification Windmill (17th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Dunbarney Windmill; Dunbarney House Policies

Canmore ID 28013

Site Number NO11NW 97.03

NGR NO 10734 18383

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Perth And Kinross
  • Parish Dunbarney
  • Former Region Tayside
  • Former District Perth And Kinross
  • Former County Perthshire

Archaeology Notes

NO11NW 97.03 10734 18383.

(NO 1072 1838) Old Windmill (NAT)

OS 6" map, Perthshire, 2nd ed., (1902)

The tower, all that remains of the windmill, is about 19 feet high, with walls 3-4 feet thick. On the south side the arch of an underground structure - the receiving and dispatching room - joined the tower. This building has long been removed, only the arch in the tower remaining to indicate its position.

On the lintels of the two doorways of the tower are roughly incised emblems, which may be talismanic (Information from J S Richardson)

There is no date on the tower, but its masonry matches that of the dovecot (NO 1100 1863) (NO11NW 17) which bears the date '1697'.

T M'Laren 1946.

Generally as described and illustrated the windmill is 6.0m in diameter. On the SSE is a hollow up to 2.0m deep and 12.0m wide that presumably represents the site of the underground room.

Earthworks surveyed at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (R D L) 11 June 1966.

(Location cited as NO 110 187, and name as Dunbarney Windmill). 17th to 18th century. The stump of a tapering vaulted tower.

J R Hume 1977.

The shell of a windmill is situated in a small wood 480m SW of Dunbarney House (NO11NW 97.00). It is circular on plan and measures 6m in overall diameter at the base by about 5m in height, and the walls are 1m thick.

The windmill is constructed of random sandstone rubble but the opposed doorways on the E and W sides respectively are furbished with dressed sandstone jambs and lintels. Two steps descend from each entrance into the interior, to the level of a scarcement, some 0.4m wide, set about 1m above the level of the floor of the basement. The latter lies at least 1.5m below the external ground surface and is set into the N end of a rock-cut feature that has the appearance of a narrow quarry, but is almost certainly the site of a vaulted cellar. Access from this cellar into the basement of the tower has been provided by a wide arch, its ragged edge indicating the profile of the vault that extended southwards.

Visited by RCAHMS (JRS), 25 November 1996.

J W and R E Seath 1991.


Publication Account (1987)

Dunbarney windmill is one of the few surviving ruins of the vaulted tower-mills once common in this region. It is sited on a low rise above. the alluvial plain of the River Earn, and the ruin comprises a tapered circular roofless tower over a vaulted undercroft. The tower stands 5.8m high and reduces in diameter from 6.8m at ground level to 5.2m at the top. The wall of the tower is 0.9m thick at ground level and rises vertically on the inside face to a corbel course about 1.2m above the floor level. This allows the wall to return to its original thickness and continue with parallel faces to the top.

This vertical face and corbel course would give the miller maximum use of the whole of the ground floor. There are two doorways at ground level, one to the east, the other to the west, from which stone steps in the thickness of the wall led down to the main floor of the mill where the grinding stones were located. This floor was carried on a stone scarcement.

There are small emblems, cut in a casual manner and sloping to the right, on the lintels of the doorways to the tower. The meaning of these emblems is difficult to explain but may be talismanic.

On the south side of the tower is evidence for an arched underground chamber which formerly acted as the receiving and dispatching room. This room opened into the basement of the tower under the main floor. Its vault was covered with soil to the level of the ground at the doorways, forming a terrace in front of the tower from which the sails could be adjusted. The drawing by Paul Sandby entitled Distant View of Perth shows a similar windmill and underground chamber.

Evidence from old records suggests an erection date in the middle or latter part of the 17th century, but it is likely that there was considerable rebuilding in the 18th century.

Traditionally landowners had the sole right to build corn-mills and bind their tenants to have their corn ground at a particular mill, on payment of duties known as 'multures'. In Scotland such thirlage only applied to watermills and tenants were not legally bound to a laird's windmill. This law was not always observed and the tenants of Dunbarney, including the village of Kintillo, remained thirled to the mill well into the 19th century.

Information from ‘Exploring Scotland’s Heritage: Fife and Tayside’, (1987).


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