The Kiln Barn
The first building on this site was a ‘kiln barn’, a type of structure going back many centuries. Particularly in the damp West of Scotland, newly-threshed grain only lasts for about two weeks before it goes mouldy. Corn was stored here and was threshed when needed. It was also ‘parched’, or partially dried out, once it had been threshed.
The barn had a threshing floor where the grain could be separated from the straw. It also had a ‘corn kiln’ at one end, where the grain was dried in the hot air rising from a small fire. The building itself would have had cruck frames, turf walls, and a thatch roof.
The existing building is shown on the 1871 map, and the 1890s photograph. We think that at some point in the years before then, the people of the township decided they needed an additional building. Instead of taking land for growing crops out of use, they re-used the site of the abandoned kiln barn. This was a common pattern: new buildings replaced old ones in the same locations, because once land had been used for a building it would have been a lot of work to restore it for agricultural use. It is very likely that the new building incorporated materials from its predecessor, particularly stone.
We do not know what the new building was originally for, but a letter from the people of the township to the Duke’s Head Factor in the early years of the 20th century calls it ‘our Bull & Wool House’. The letter had its desired outcome, which was a gift of the materials needed to re-roof the building in corrugated steel. The existing roof structure dates from this period.