The Bull and Wool HouseIn the early 20th century, half of this building was the byre for the township’s bull. The other half was used to store big hessian sacks of clipped fleeces before they were sold. This is where the name ‘the Bull & Wool House’ comes from.
You have to duck to enter through a small door. It has a low roof, heavy rafters and uneven flooring. Little light gets in, and there are signs of its former use: cabinets, cattle standings, fleece in the rafters.
The building was also the gathering place for the young people of the township and their friends. The sacks of fleeces stored here would have made the Bull & Wool House quite warm and comfortable. Its location, away from anyone’s house, and the fact that it was a communal building rather than a home or barn made it a popular choice as a meeting place for the township’s young people and their friends. Their names and initials are scrawled across the roof timbers and the walls, sometimes with dates – you look up, you should be able to see them.[caption id="attachment_22882" align="alignnone" width="800"] Graffiti from some of the past ‘children of Auchindrain’.[/caption]
Some of the writers, such as John McCallum, can be identified, but many cannot. The choice of material for the graffiti is also interesting. Instead of pencil, ink, chalk or paint, the township’s young people used ‘keel’, the sticky coloured paste used to mark the fleeces of sheep.
By the mid-1950s Eddie MacCallum was using the building as a byre for young cattle, and Willie Weir remembers it as “The Calf House”.
To find out more about the earlier ‘kiln barn’ on the site of the Bull and Wool House, click here.
To learn more about sheep and sheep clipping, click here.
Outside at the south end of the building, you will see the excavated remains of the corn kiln. To read more about the corn kiln, click here.