>> Excavations at Barrhouse, Neilston

National Grid Reference: NS 4797 5529

Following its discovery during the ACFA Survey in December 1994 (Occasional Paper No 11), ahead of planting the East Renfrewshire Community Woodland [DES 1995, 90], several seasons of digging have completed the excavation of the farmhouse currently dated as early 18th Century from documentary evidence.

The plan of the building is shown in the attached drawing. Structural features include one north facing window, a fireplace, and a recess or cupboard in room 6, which opens onto the north end of a corridor with an external door at each end. Room 5 is also entered from the north end of this corridor. This room features both north and south facing windows, a well preserved fireplace, and a recessed cupboard. There are also two enclosures, which could be bed recesses. A doorway in the northwest corner opens into a possible workshop or dairy area [4], where there is evidence around an arc of stones for a small kiln or furnace. Room 3 is the best preserved area and was clearly a byre with a part flagged, part cobbled floor, a stoneware trough, and evidence for supports for stalls. A drain doglegs through the wall to continue into the stony walkway outside.

The main walls are 0.5 m thick, of largely undressed stone and rubble construction bound with lime mortar. The floors of the living quarters are lime mortared and a lime mortar wash was used to plaster the walls. No evidence remains of the roof structure, which was probably straw or reed thatched.

Artifactual evidence includes 18th-19th Century ceramics, iron agricultural tools, horseshoes, and a considerable quantity of square handmade iron nails, 11 lbs of which were found in the northern window recess in room 5. A sandstone knocking stone was found partially blocking the doorway between room 5 and 4 and the remains of a cast iron cooking pot were found outside the building at the same point. A significant quantity of sherds of late medieval and early post-medieval pottery supports the theory that an earlier building was on the site. Further evidence of this structure is provided by the 1m thick foundation course uncovered adjacent to the west of the farmhouse.

Excavation continues on the earlier structure and adjoining features

Submitted by Bruce Henry.
Contact Renfrewshire Local History Forum [RLHF] at http://www.rlhf.info/