August 2021 Update

Hard to believe but it’s almost two years since our last meeting at Marydale! With the easing of covid restrictions we now look to the future and attempt to return to some form of normality. Given that the virus is still very much with us and some restrictions will be in place for a while yet there are no formal meetings planned for the remainder of 2021. However there are some activities that we hope will go ahead.

HIGHLAND ARCHAEOLOGY FESTIVAL

As in past years SHA has agreed to contribute several guided walks/visits to the program:

Saturday 2nd October – Guided Walk to Comar Wood Dun – Meet Marydale Hall 2pm followed by tea & biscuits.

Friday 8th October – Marydale Church & the Davoch of Clachan – Meet Marydale Hall 2pm followed by tea & biscuits.

Tuesday 12th October – Guided Walk to Comar Wood Dun – Meet Marydale Hall 2pm followed by tea & biscuits.

No need to book in advance but prior notice does give us an idea of numbers. For the Dun walks email info@strathglass-heritage.co.uk or call Marjorie on 01456 415457. For Marydale/Clachan visit email as above or call Jim on 01456 415366.

Details of all the HAF events are online at https://www.highlandarchaeologyfestival.org/

Clearances Exhibition

Originally scheduled for 2020 we intend to hold the exhibition in August 2022 – dates to be confirmed. Much will depend on arrangements at the Highland Archive Centre which is still on limited access. Details at https://www.highlifehighland.com/archives-service/covid-19-archive-updates/

ARCH

Archaeology for Communities in the Highlands (ARCH) was set up in January 2009 to provide a range of exciting and innovative community archaeology projects. It provides opportunities to encourage people with diverse interests and abilities in the Highlands to learn about, record and participate in celebrating and increasing knowledge of their local heritage. ARCH does this in a number of ways including classroom learning, practical outdoor sessions, group project work, or via a virtual community. A monthly newsletter is produced and the latest issue can be found here.

Clearances Exhibition Cancelled

Due to the corona virus pandemic and the uncertainty as to when current restrictions will be lifted we have decided to cancel our exhibition on The Clearances planned for August.  All being well it will now take place in August 2021.

Although online and printed material is still being researched we have lost access to the old estate records and documents at Highland Archives, Inverness Library and the NLS in Edinburgh that would contribute to a large part of the exhibition content.

Hopefully those researching at present will continue with a view to making Exhibition 2021 a major success.

Finds near Marydale

On the final day of our 2019 Exhibition local farmer Ian McCallum brought in part of a rotary quern he had uncovered while ploughing a field at the rear of Marydale.

The quern originally would have consisted of two circular stones with the top mobile stone (the handstone), rotating over the bottom stationary stone (the quern) between them grinding any grain that was fed in through a central hopper.

Querns are difficult to date due to their being in use from the Bronze Age through to the 19th century.

Coincidentally the former corn mill in Cannich, built around the last quarter of the 18th century, is located only a couple of hundred yards from where the quern was found.

There was a legal requirement in Scotland for tenants to pay for use of the landowner’s mill. Early leases of mills gave millers the legal right to break quern-stones which were being used in defiance of this arrangement only formally abolished in  2004 by the Abolition of Feudal Tenure etc. (Scotland) Act 2000.   Perhaps the clean break in the stone was the work of the local miller!

Ian McCallum with the quern - well a bit of it!
The quern

Following on from the above our attention was drawn to the remains of what appears to be at least two buildings some 30 metres apart located between the Old Mill and the River Cannich (NH 343 318).  Just before the bad weather arrived we had a look last week.  Nothing is shown on the OS map from 1876, see below, with an X marking the approximate position.  One ruin sits at right angles to the river and is roughly 10m x 5m, the second at right angles to the first is some 8m x 3m.   We can only speculate at present as to whether they were dwellings or in the case of the larger building given its proximity to the river perhaps it was an earlier mill.  Strathglass of old was prone to flooding so living so close to the river might have been precarious to say the least.

Larger of the two buildings
OS Map 1876