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between 12:00 Friday 15th December and 12:00 Monday 18th December



Bank (Earthwork)(S) (Period Unassigned), Bastle (Medieval), Building(S) (Period Unassigned), Enclosure(S) (Period Unassigned), Lazy Beds (Post Medieval)

Site Name Wintercleuch

Classification Bank (Earthwork)(S) (Period Unassigned), Bastle (Medieval), Building(S) (Period Unassigned), Enclosure(S) (Period Unassigned), Lazy Beds (Post Medieval)

Canmore ID 47334

Site Number NS91SE 7

NGR NS 9800 1142

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2023.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council South Lanarkshire
  • Parish Crawford
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Clydesdale
  • Former County Lanarkshire

Archaeology Notes

NS91SE 7 980 114.

Preliminary investigation of this site suggests it may fit the category of bastle house. The ruin is seen as the turf covered remains of a rectangular building of mortared stone, the walls about 1m thick. A sherd of green glaze and a piece of sheet copper were found on the site. A piece of dressed sandstone from a doorway is noted in a nearby sheepfold.

T Ward 1985

Excavation of this building has now confirmed its interpretation as a bastle house. It measures 10.4m by 6.2m in total. The lime mortared walls are 1m thick. A commodious internal stone stair, 1m wide with 5 steps in situ survives in the NE corner. This is interesting as it wheels up in a clockwise direction. The steps and quoins of the house are made from the local greywacke rock and the walls are built in the random rubble fashion. Large boulders in the basal courses of the walls form a plinth on the outside. On the W side of the ground floor entrance there are two door jamb stones in situ, made from dressed red sandstone. Those on the other side have been removed before the entrance has been carefully blocked up using stone taken from the building. The drystone blocking has been done with care to maintain the external wall face of the house. A drain through the S wall would keep the cobbled floor of the basement clear of effluents. Evidence for a vaulted chamber is seen in the form of the collapsed masonry which chokes the interior to a height of 2m. The house has been subject to a serious fire as a layer of carbonised timber is noted sandwiched within the collapsed mortar and stone. Lumps of carbonised straw and heather stalks found outside the walls suggest the roof was covered in this material, before it came to an untimely end. Finds such as iron nails, horse shoes, pottery, glass and whorls are being retrieved. Early 17th century clay pipe bowls indicate an earlier date for thew abandonment than is usually found in the Clydesdale bastles. Work continues, the fabric of the building will be consolidated.

Sponsors: Lanark and District Archaeology Society, Biggar Museum Trust. T Ward 1991.

Excavation of the bastle is now complete. Further features revealed were a byre drain which runs along the centre of the ground floor and discharges through the W gable. This drain has been blocked on the outside by the construction of the paved floor of a subsequent building. Another structure had been added to the E end of the bastle. Both of these later buildings had been used and abandoned in the early 18th century. A roughly made cobbled area outside the main entrance was also exposed. Footings of other rectangular buildings, turf bank enclosures, buchts an d a patch of lazy beds have also been surveyed on the site. Sponsors: Lanark & District Archaeology Society, Biggar Museum Trust.

T Ward 1992.

Recorded in draft of forthcoming report, History of the Daer Valley, South Lanarkshire.

Biggar Museum Trust, T Ward 2002; NMRS MS 1774, 24-25

Some 160m downstream from the bastle and on the S side of the burn, there is the faint outline of a long building which appears to form two chambers lying at a slight angle to one another. The chamber on the E side is about 11m long and 3m wide internally,the other room is about 9 x 3m. The building is formed by poorly preserved turf banks and it is lying on an elevated area above the flood channel of theburn. Immediately on the W side of the building is an irregular shaped turf bank enclosure, 9 x 5m internally.

On the W side of the modern sheep pens are ambiguous shaped banks and scarps, some of which are natural. Lying on the S side of the bastle house is a turf bank enclosure, 28 x 10m. On the E side of the bastle house there was an extension building. It was seen in part in the burn section, but has now been blocked by a revetment to preserve the remains.

To the NW of the bastle house and upstream are the intermittent remains of turf banks. Lying above these are undeveloped lazy beds which are up to 2m wide by 0.25m high. The rigs have been covered at their upper ends by road spoil, but they do not appear to have extended above the road.

(NS 96 07) Work continues on the project (DES 2002, 110-11). The remains of the bastle house of Wintercleuch have been consolidated. Limited excavation of the site interpreted as an enclosed cremation cemetery has produced a further crudely made cist which contained a single abraded sherd of pottery. A deposit of charcoal was found lying immediately below a slumped kerbstone although no bone was evident. Trenches have been cut through buildings in the valley interpreted as sheep-milking buchts, but no positive results have so far been achieved. Other buildings are also proving difficult to interpret due to the small scale of the excavations, but evidence of 17th/18th-century activity has been found.

Interim reports lodged with the NMRS.

Sponsors: HS, Biggar Museum Trust, Dalrymple/Donaldson Fund.

T Ward 2003


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