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