Auchindrain Township | Eddie’s Byre
21720
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Eddie’s Byre

Eddie’s Byre

When it was new, the interior of this house would have been an open space, with only a timber screen separating the byre end (where animals were kept) from the living space.  The building would have had only one entrance, which was used by both animals and people.

Look at the door on the end of the byre – generations of the township’s children have carved their initials there. The building lies at the edge of the township, which offered a perfect opportunity for children to get up to mischief out of sight of adults.

Sometime after 1850 a stone wall replaced the timber partition in the byre, and separate doorways were made for the house and the byre.

There are standings for four cows, tethered by trapping their heads and horns behind the sliding wooden bars. The pen was for calves, and the large kist inside the door was for animal feed.  Milking would have been done in the byre once or twice a day – milk (drunk as it was, or made into butter or cheese) was an important source of protein for the people of the township.

[caption id="attachment_21723" align="alignnone" width="584"]The byre in Eddie's House in 1963 The byre in Eddie’s House in 1963[/caption]

The cow was tied up in the milking barn, so that it couldn’t escape. Each of the cow’s four was washed to stop any dirt getting into the milk. The milker sat on a small wooden stool opposite the udders, and wrapped their thumbs and forefingers in a circle around the base of two of the cow’s teats.

They gently pulled down whilst squeezing the teats, pushing milk out into a bucket beneath. This continued until each teat was empty, taking about an hour, during which up to 40 litres of milk could be produced. Milking was tiring for the milker, straining hand and forearm muscles. Cows sometimes kicked them, or flicked a tail against their face.

Eddie's House in 1963

Eddie’s House in 1963

Household rubbish was disposed of in a midden at the back of the byre. You can tell where it is because there is an abundance of nettles and a wide range of materials is visible in the ground. Please don’t poke about in it – this is a valuable archaeological resource.

In the same area there was a dry lavatory made of timber and corrugated metal: a 20th century construction of which no structural trace now remains.

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