Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland
Report on Lord Blantyre's
Improvements on the Cottages at Abbeymains, Lennoxlove Estate, in 1844 &
By Mr William Goodlet,
The number of cottages
improved on this farm originally consisted of eight, but were reduced by
the improvements to six new ones being erected to supply the deficiency.
Each cottage, as appears from the accompanying plan No. 1, Plate I.,
consisted of only one apartment, 20 feet by 15, divided by the cotter's
beds into a kitchen and pantry. The floors were of clay, the walls
un-plastered; and the rafters, laid over with coarse boarding, supplied
the place of ceiling. On the opposite side of the road, in front of the
cottages, stood a row of ruinous pigsties and dunghills; behind were the
From the ground having a
considerable acclivity behind the cottages, their enlargement could only
be conveniently accomplished either by heightening the walls, and adding
garret-rooms, or by a new subdivision of the range, reducing their number
in order to obtain the dimensions required. The former plan would have
occasioned the removal of the roofs, which could not have been replaced
without considerable expense ; and it was doubtful whether the old walls
would have borne the additional weight thus to be thrown upon them. The
latter plan was therefore adopted. In subdividing the range it was
considered advisable, though at a little increase of expense in the
mason-work, to have a passage between every two cottages, to give ready
access to the offices to be erected behind, and to the gardens. The plan
No. 2 shows how this was accomplished, and the shading indicates the
extent of alteration and cutting necessary on the walls and roof.
Behind the cottages, but
separated from them by a roadway 10 feet wide, the out-houses were
erected, Plate II. They are subdivided in the same way as the cottages,
and so arranged as that each double-set occupies the same space in length
as the double cot-house to which it belongs; thus:
In front of the cottages
flower-plots have been formed and inclosed from the road by rustic paling;
and the old piggeries have been removed from the opposite side of the
road, and the ground dressed up and inclosed with the adjoining field.
In the new offices, each
dwelling is allowed a privy, coal-house, pigsty, and ash-pit.
Besides the alteration
consequent on the enlargement of the cottages, each dwelling is subdivided
by brick partitions into a kitchen, room, and pantry, as shown by plan No.
2, Plate I.; the old windows are replaced by the Society's premium
cast-iron ones for cottages; the room is laid with wooden flooring, and
the other floors with Caithness pavement; the ceilings are lathed and
plastered, and the walls plastered. A fixed bed is put up in the room,
shelving in the pantry, and grates and sweys in the kitchen.
The mason-work was done by contract, and the wright-work by his lordship's
carpenter. Foreign wood was used for the doors and finishings; home wood,
from his lordship's plantations, for the rest. The additional stones
required were taken from a quarry on the farm, and the carriages were
driven by the tenant.
The following is a detailed
statement of the cost, 1st, of improving the cottages; 2d, of erecting the
REPORT by a COMMITTEE of
the HIGHLAND AND AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY on LORD BLANTYRE'S IMPROVED COTTAGES
The convener having had
transmitted to him a plan of the cottages, and report thereon, with a view
to competition, appointed a meeting of committee this day for inspection;
and the committee having visited the cottages, and carefully inspected the
same, have now to report as follows:
1. That the situation of
the cottages (six in number) as respects amenity of climate and aspect, is
every way desirable, being on rising ground, and having a fine southern
exposure. The arrangement of the buildings, too, is well calculated to
secure ventilation and cleanlinessand the drainage seemed complete. The
cottages and out-houses, including garden, may occupy about an acre of
2. The cottages are built
of the ordinary materials used in the district, and are very well adapted
to the climate.
3. The interior
accommodation of the cottages is remarkably good and commodious, and the
arrangement of the offices is highly satisfactory, especially as regards
the privies and ash-pit; and although it appears that the privies have
been about two years in use, they look as clean as if only erected
yesterday, and reflect great credit on the cleanliness of the cottagers.
The committee remarked that doors had been dispensed with in the
court-yard of the pigsties, which appears in practice to answer well, and
to be an improvement worthy of adoption in such erections.
4. The work appeared
extremely well done, and the buildings free from damp, and perfectly dry.
Considering the work done, the committee think the expense very
moderateat the same time, the improvement of each cottage, including the
erection of out-houses in connexion with it, amounts to L.53.
5. The outward appearance
of the cottages is good, without any unnecessary expense incurred on
Upon the whole, the
committee have much pleasure in recommending the judicious improvements
effected on the cottages to the notice of the Society. With the commodious
and neat arrangement of the whole buildings the committee were highly
gratified, and think them well deserving of a premium.
Inspected and reported upon
by us this 23d day of October 1846.
G. Grant Suttie. A. Houstoun. J. Hay.
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