Auchindrain Township | Building S, T and U
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Building S, T and U

Building S, T and U

 The ruin closest to you is building S, and may be the oldest of the six longhouses in the township. We think this because the walls are dry stone, not bonded with lime mortar (as is used in most of the township’s other longhouses). This indicates that it is older than them. 

Originally this was a simple two-room longhouse, with the house to the west and the byre to the east. You can still see the large stone slab in the middle of the floor which was a hearth.  Tradition has it that this building or an earlier form of it was home to the Campbell family, who emigrated to Canada in 1805. Their descendants still consider Auchindrain to be ‘home’, and as with all our families, successive generations continue to visit to see where they came from. For much of the 19th century the building was then occupied by the Sinclair family, who had been in the township since before the Duke’s List of residents was made in 1779.

From the 1880s to the 1920s the building seems to have been used as a barn by the tenants who lived in what later became known as McIntyres’ House: first Colin Stewart, and then one of the many township people called Duncan Munro. The building was abandoned after the Munros moved away in 1925, and by 1946 was a roofless ruin.

This image from the early 20th century shows Building S under thatch.

This image from the early 20th century shows Building S under thatch.

Immediately behind Building S is the ruin of Building T.  We know less about this building than any other in the township.  There may have been a building here in the late 18th century. We don’t know if it was the same building as is here now, which was in ruins by 1921.

Building T’s remains consist of three separate compartments with cobbled floors. These divisions may be the result of alteration, rather than the building’s original form. A 1921 photograph shows the eastern compartment as containing the timber-built dry closet lavatory for the building later known as McIntyres’ House. In 2011, we carried out archaeological investigations that showed that it contained rotted-down deposits typical of lavatory sites.  The 1921 photograph also shows a structure with a lean-to roof within the central compartment. This may have been used as a cart shed.

The ruin of Building U is behind and below building T, on the low ground beside the Allt a’Mhuileinn river.  It is difficult to get close to, but you can see it if you go beyond the west end of building S and look down towards the river. Building U was a one-room house, very much like Bell a’Phuill’s House.  The 1789 plan and 1871 map both show a building here. The census data suggests that in the 1850s and 1860s it was home to a tailor called Duncan McKellar.  He would have been one of the township’s cottars, a skilled craftsman rather than a farmer, who would have been an asset to the community. A small place like Auchindrain would not have kept a tailor busy, and it is likely that he made clothes for people from further afield as well.  The township’s population at its highest point, in the early 1850s, was around 70 people. This was unusual – generally it was home to 35 to 45 people.

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