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Cottown, School House

Schoolhouse (18th Century)

Site Name Cottown, School House

Classification Schoolhouse (18th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Cottown, The Old School House

Canmore ID 82580

Site Number NO22SW 70

NGR NO 20575 21023

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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

Archaeology Notes

NO22SW 70 20575 21023.

The renovation of the Old Schoolhouse, Cottown - a rare survival of a clay-built structure in the Carse of Gowrie - has necessitated the insertion of an electricity cable trench through the garden area. The trench was dug by NTS Conservation Volunteers, but for the most part did not penetrate beyond a buried soil. This soil had been sealed by a thick layer of imported garden soil in which numerous fragments of mainly 19th and 20th-century pottery were found. Two fragments of coarse medieval pottery were also found. An attempt was made to locate the well shown on the 2nd edition OS map (1898): while a vertically-sided pit was located in the approximate location of the well, too little of the feature was uncovered to be absolutely certain of its function. Further work will continue as the restoration proceeds.

Sponsor: NTS.

R Turner 1994

NO 2058 2102 SUAT undertook two phases of work in November and December 1995. Internal walling and deposits below modern cement flooring were examined in this mud/clay constructed schoolhouse, built c 1745. A partition wall was examined by removing a portion of the mud fabric and it was found that the framework of wooden upright stakes was not strengthened by horizontal supports. Small excavations made through the present cement floors in two rooms examined underlying deposits and wall foundations. The floors had been built on a foundation of relatively modern bricks and the remains of earlier flooring had been removed, although evidence suggested that in one room the former floor may have been of beaten earth. Examination of main wall foundations did not provide conclusive evidence of building sequence. Some artefacts, including clay pipe fragments (late 18th century), pottery and glass, were recovered.

Sponsor: National Trust for Scotland.

R Cachart 1996

NO 2058 2102 A narrow trench was excavated around three sides of the house for drainage purposes, with a soakaway pit cut into the lawn to the S of the 18th-century building. In the course of the excavation the remains of two probable walls were found, one to the NW and one to the SE of the building. The wall on the SE side appears to have been constructed in the early 19th century, while that on the NW probably belongs to the middle to latter part of that century.

As well as pottery and other finds of 19th and 20th-century date, a single sherd of medieval pottery was found under the wall fragment to the SE of the house.

Sponsor: National Trust Scotland

S A Wallace 1997.

NO 2057 2102 (centre) A derelict late 18th-century stone outbuilding to the NW of the Old Schoolhouse (NO22SW 70; DES 1996, 86) was recorded in May and June 2004, and trenches were excavated in the W and central rooms. The excavation in the W room revealed a patched clay floor surface with evidence of occasional workshop use. In the central room, a brick floor surface was revealed overlying a remnant of a sandstone slabbed floor. Finds include ceramics, glass and a long-handled bladed tool.

A mid-20th-century pigsty to the SW of the Old Schoolhouse was also surveyed. The survey and excavations helped to illuminate the sequence of construction and alteration of the surviving outbuildings. The project also provided experience for several locally based volunteers.

Archive to be deposited in the NMRS.

Sponsors: Perth & Kinross Heritage Trust, NTS.

A Cox 2004

Site Management (26 August 1991)

18th century, former school. Single-storey clay walled and thatched. School room was part on E. (Historic Scotland). A rare survival of a clay built structure in the Carse of Gowrie (RCAHMS)


Standing Building Recording (18 January 2011 - 29 March 2011)

The National Trust for Scotland commissioned Alder Archaeology Ltd to undertake a CAD survey of the Old Schoolhouse at Cottown, Perth and Kinross. The aim of the survey was to achieve a more refined understanding of the structure and to enhance the drawn record produced by the RCAHMS in 1993. The survey was carried out in two phases; the exterior was surveyed between the 18th and 20th of January and the interior on the 29th March 2011. The hiatus in the work was due to heavy rain causing flooding problems when the south-western end of the building interior ended up under water. All external vertical surfaces and internal elevations containing window and door features were surveyed using a Leica Reflectorless Total Station. The electronic survey was then rendered in a CAD package and a plan and elevations produced. The files were then exported in Autocad format (.dwg). The site code for this project was CT06.

Alder Archaeology Ltd. (T. Barton) OASIS ID: alderarc1-99857

Standing Building Recording (18 March 2011 - 29 March 2011)

NO 2057 2102 (centred on) A survey was undertaken 18–29 March 2011. The aim of the survey was to refine and enhance the drawn record of the structure produced by the RCAHMS in 1993. All external vertical surfaces and internal elevations containing window and door features were surveyed using a Leica Reflectorless Total Station. The survey was then rendered in a CAD package and a plan and elevations produced.

Archive: RCAHMS

Funder: The National Trust for Scotland

Alder Archaeology Ltd, 2011

Field Visit (15 August 2014)

NO 20575 21019 18th century clay walled former school building, listed as having a thatched roof. The building has been on the Buildings at Risk (BAR) Register since 1991 (BAR reference number 312) at which time it was recorded that the ‘thatch requires attention’ and that the building was occupied until 1985. In 1994, BAR recorded that the building had been acquired by the National Trust for Scotland and a restoration project was in progress in partnership with Historic Environment Scotland and Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust. In early 2011 the building was heavily flooded and it was recorded by BAR that the roof is ‘in need of extensive repair and there are dense growths of brambles’. The roof is currently in much of the same condition and has a large amount of mossy vegetation growth across the surface of the thatch, as well as vegetation growth in the turf ridge. The thatch has been left uncovered and is boxed in at the skews with timber. The thatch is also supported underneath the eaves with timber.

Visited by Zoe Herbert (SPAB) 15 August 2014, survey no.174


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