Our Blog

 Here’s what we’ve been getting up to…

The Answer to One of Our Most Frequently Asked Questions

Something that we get asked a lot about at Auchindrain is the odd structure between Eddie’s House and Barn, which has a brick base, an iron pot for water, and a chimney. This is the MacCallums’ wash boiler, used to heat water for washing clothes and blankets. It must date to the first
Continue Reading

Exciting wallpaper research at Auchindrain

We are delighted to announce that we have been awarded the Merryl Huxtable Bursary from the Wallpaper History Society, which will allow us to find, sample, conserve, and store wallpaper from across the township. Auchindrain, as the last example of a Scottish joint-tenancy towns
Continue Reading

Auchindrain Seeks to Appoint New Trustees

Bail’ Ach’ an Droighinn/Auchindrain Historic Township is an internationally-significant historic site in Mid Argyll, which has been run as an independent museum since the 1960s.  The site has “sole survivor” status as the last of the thousands of joint tenancy “
Continue Reading

New Textile Acquired From Local Woollen Mill

You may remember that several months ago we posted about the Duke of Argyll’s scheme in 1776 to create a woollen mill at ‘Clunary’ (Claonairigh), a township between Auchindrain and Inveraray. The inte
Continue Reading

What does the writing mean?

This spongeware bowl was found, in pieces, within the garden of Eddie’s House and has been reassembled using conservation-grade glue so that it can be displayed within our visitor centre. The motto on this bowl, “Your e’e is waur to fill than your wame”
Continue Reading

Auchindrain Receives Grant for Bodice Conservation

We’re delighted to announce that we have been awarded a remedial conservation grant from the Association of Independent Museums and the Pilgrim Trust, which will allow us to conserve the bodice that was recently found within the attic of Eddie’s House. Our bodice ha
Continue Reading

More toys found while gardening

There’s always work to do at Auchindrain, especially when it is summer and our kaleyards need to be kept in order. At Auchindrain, gardening invariably means archaeological finds. Last week, whilst turning the kaleyard in front of Eddie’s House, alongside the usual ceramic fragments,
Continue Reading

The Prohibition of Gaelic Names

At a quarter past midnight on 17th June 1934, Bella Munro of Auchindrain gave birth to a baby girl. She and her husband Malcolm “Cally Stoner” Munro had been married just over two years and were sharing the house we know as building H, Stoner’s House, with Cally’s aged fat
Continue Reading

Items From the Children of Auchindrain

Most of the archaeology finds at Auchindrain mainly tell us about the life of the adult members of the population here. But have you ever wondered about the children of Auchindrain? We have far less in the way of evidence of their lives, but there are remnants of a few precious possessions. Among
Continue Reading

What Neenie Kept in Her Pinnie

Today we are going to discuss an item of clothing which is often associated with Gypsy/Traveller women - the Gypsy pinnie, sometimes known as a peenie or pocket.   Before handbags were common, and even later, women from Gypsy/Traveller fami
Continue Reading

WHM: A Look Into the Life of One of Auchidrain's Last Residents

To continue Women’s History Month, this week we’re discussing Peggy MacCallum, the wife of our last tenant Eddie MacCallum, and some of the work she would have undertaken during her daily life living in ‘Eddie’s House’ up until the 1950s. Peggy, bo
Continue Reading

The Women of Auchindrain and the Spinning Controversy, Part 2

When we left our story yesterday, the women of the townships around Inveraray, including Auchindrain, had been instructed by the Duke to each spin six stones of wool a year. To put that in context, that would be a pile of wool around nine feet square and high! This was their response, as recorded
Continue Reading

The Women of Auchindrain and the Spinning Controversy, Part 1

Scotland was a turbulent place in the 1700s. In 1707, the Scottish parliament was dissolved and rule moved to Westminster, where it remained for the next 292 years. There were two Jacobite uprisings, in 1715 and 1745, with the final defeat in 1746 at Culloden. From the 1750s tenants were removed
Continue Reading

WHM: Auchindrain's Women at the Shielings

An annual tradition of the township’s women was their migration to the shielings in May or early June. Auchindrain’s shielings are located around a day’s walk north of the township, and although the men would go first to ensure that the structures were able to be lived in, and t
Continue Reading

The Livingstons

Every ten years, from 1841, a census was undertaken across the UK which gives a snapshot of everyone living within the country on a specific day. To record townships such as Auchindrain the records were taken walking from one end to the other, and as we’ve got the MacCallums with us from 18
Continue Reading

Using fashion to help date old photos

We’ve recently had contact with Emily Taylor, a curator at National Museums Scotland, who’s given us her thoughts on the date of one of our most atmospheric Auchindrain photos. This is of four ladies and a small child doing the washing in front of Building F, which is now a cart shed
Continue Reading

Winter Work

It may be cold outside, but our conservation and maintenance team are still hard at work. Over the last few weeks they’ve been widening the footpaths up to Eddie’s House, and have cleared the concrete foundation of the milkhouse that used to sit at the north end of Eddie’s Barn.
Continue Reading

A Day Out Goes Badly Wrong

When planning a day out with your family or friends, witnessing an explosion at a quarry does not figure high on the list. In 1886 however, a large group of passengers arrived on Loch Fyne by paddle steamer with that very object in mind. Crarae Quarry was the largest in Scotlan
Continue Reading

A Visit From Auchindrain Descendants

Last month we were delighted to host a member of the Munro family here at Auchindrain, a descendant of Duncan and Flora who lived in our building R from 1904. 
Continue Reading

Traces of a Victorian Cast Iron Range

This metal name plate was found within a ditch near our car park, and came from a ‘Beetonette’ portable cooking range made of cast iron by the Carron Company. This company, based in Falkirk, was founded in 1759 and over the years made everything from cannon to postboxes. They were mak
Continue Reading

A Surprising Find During Archaeological Dig

In 2015 a small-scale archaeological dig was undertaken in what are known as W.3, W.4 and W.5, the low ruins just as you enter our carpark. We’ve never known much about them, other than that they stand alongside W.1 and W.2 which are currently our workshop
Continue Reading

When Did That Chimney Come Up?

In 1971 Alexander Fraser wrote a book entitled Lochfyneside, a History of the District in Recent Times, within which he seems to solve one of Auchindrain’s many mysteries.   When first built, Auchindrain’s longhouses would
Continue Reading

The Children of Auchindrain 2020

Back in history as a working farming community, Ach’ an Droighinn produced three things.  From the fields came a crop of stones.  From the hills came cattle and sheep.  And from the spirit of the place came its children, most of whom moved out into the wider world where they
Continue Reading

The Myterious Barrel by the Byre

Last time you were here and looking at Eddie’s House, did you notice the barrel sunken into the ground by the byre door? Although a barrel has been there since at least the 1890s, it remains one of Auchindrain’s many mysteries. &
Continue Reading

Sourcing Peat in Auchindrain

One of the only sources of comfort for the tenants of Auchindrain during the long, wet winter months was their fire, stoked with peats and kept burning all day and night. Historically Auchindrain has had two peat banks or diggings used for peat cutting, one to the north and one to the south. Unti
Continue Reading

When School Attendance Was Not a Priority

Absences from school have always caused disruption for teachers. Nowadays, lessons are much more individually tailored so having a child miss school does not usually cause a problem. In the days when our Auchindrain children attended Furnace Primary School it was a different matter though.
Continue Reading

New Acquisition of Historic Photos

We are delighted to share with you 21 recently donated digitised photographs of Duncan Munro and his family during their time at Auchindrain.   This family moved in to Auchindrain’s Building R in 1902, and were h
Continue Reading

Bones Found Within Barn Walls

In the winter of 2018 building K, The Bull & Wool House, was damaged during a storm and part of the south gable collapsed. Repairs were undertaken during the spring and summer of last year and included taking down the gable wall so that it could be rebuilt back up using the same stones. This
Continue Reading

Travellers' Storytelling and Their Links With Auchindrain

The Traveller community have never been much for possessions. Tradition, memory and a way of life embodying clear values are more important, with storytelling almost an artform. Perhaps the greatest Traveller storyteller ever, Duncan Williamson (1928-2007), came from Mid Argyll, and had strong li
Continue Reading

Bramble Jam for Daddy: A traveller’s childhood memory

In the late 1960s, Kathy Townsley and her family were staying near Markinch in the heart of Fife. This is her story. It was a beautiful summer’s day; I was nine or ten years old.  My older sister Neenie, who had recently got married, took me out to c
Continue Reading

Local History Notes

By Trustee, Prof Niall Logan Several of the buildings at Auchindrain were originally longhouses, or byre-dwellings, where the humans and animals shared the same roof and the same doorway; the cattle would live in the downhill end (for drainage), and the humans in the uphill
Continue Reading

The art of Making Rope

Everyone who works with museum collections has an area of interest that they’re particularly geeky about, and for our Assistant Curator, it’s rope made of natural materials. You can imagine her delight when she discovered that one of our archaeological finds from Auchindrain i
Continue Reading

Traveller's Ingenuity

International Museums Day is a chance to celebrate the fantastic museums and galleries across Scotland, sharing memories about what people love and miss the most within the collections. To celebrate this day, how we thought we’d share one of our most recent acquisitions with you; a Gypsy Tr
Continue Reading

Archeological Find at Eddie's Garden

  We admit it, this pi
Continue Reading

The Impact of the Scarlet Fever Around Auchindrain

We maybe think of this period of self-isolation and schools being shut as something no one has had to cope with before. Yet we know from the Log Books of Furnace School, where the children of Auchindrain were educated, that this is actually nothing new. We read
Continue Reading

Researching Family History

We have been looking into the Stewart, McPhail and MacIntyre families of Auchindrain, which included 100-year-old Margaret Stewart. Thanks to the help of some of you, we’ve been able to confirm that four generations of this extended family lived at Auchindrain, from the 1881 census right up
Continue Reading

Margaret Stewart

Born in April almost 220 years ago was Margaret Stewart, possibly Auchindrain’s longest living resident. Born in 1801, she had already lived a long life before coming here, having married in 1820 and become a widow in 1836. Margaret seems to have outlived not only her husband but also a lot
Continue Reading

The Munro Family

During the 1923 season, the shinty team from Furnace achieved a feat which had never been done before and has only recently been equalled – they won the Camanachd league without losing a goal in any round. Of the 12 players, three were from Auchindrain and these were Duncan Munro, Neil MacC
Continue Reading

Spongeware Pottery

One of the most common archaeological finds here at Auchindrain is spongewear, a type of pottery this is often Scottish in origin and usually dates from between 1835 to 1935. Ranging from plates to bowls to cups, this type of pottery is characterised by its plain background decorated with one or
Continue Reading

Gaelic in Auchindrain

In 2012, part of a much-thumbed Gaelic Bible was found in Eddie’s House at Auchindrain, tucked into a gap in the wall above the kitchen sink along with some sheets of newspaper from 1937. Maybe not the obvious thing to use to stop a draught, but out of respect for Holy Scripture the book co
Continue Reading

The Industrial Past of Auchindrain

This is a fantastic story that pushes our understanding of industrial Auchindrain back into the mid 18th century. In 1745, young Duncan Munro from Auchindrain joined the Argyll Militia commanded by the Duke of Argyll, and fought for the Hanoverian side. He distinguished himself
Continue Reading