Update 7 - Tom Murison's First
Tom is a professional
Sat, 29 Mar 2008
Good afternoon gentlemen
of the croft.
Peter and I went to the site this morning at 9:00 am. We walked down to
the bridge first and had a good look at this very unusual and well
constructed traditional stone bridge.
It has a simple
semi-circular vault of dressed voussoirs (tapered stone blocks) which
are held together by gravity in the manner of true arches. The mortar
has deteriorated and should probably be repointed, but this is not,
probably, a structural issue, but is a weathering issue. Open joints
allow frost which can cause gradual spalling of stone and deterioration
of the critical shape of the blocks. We noted the very fine, smooth
steps formed as the creek tumbles rapidly down the hillside, eroding the
limestone bedrock. This is very attractive, and must have been a
wonderful place for kids to play in the summer.
We walked upstream from
the bridge, and noted that there may have been a spillway on the east
side of the creek but I could see no obvious sign of a masonry or
earthen dam. However, having seen similar spillways, and noted in this
location the rapid fall, which would produce something like 20 plus feet
of drop by the time the water came across the roadway, it would have
easily driven an overshot wheel just below the bridge on the inside of
the bend in the road.
I suspect that the
original dam may have been a simple timber crib filled with earth and
stone, and that this dam stood just below the millrace in order to
deflect the water this way. This could probably be confirmed with a
visit by an archaeologist.
When I looked at the log
in the house wall, it strongly suggested that it had been sawn. Coupled
with the circumstantial evidence of a mill at the bridge, the hypothesis
that I would start working with, is that a sawmill was constructed
first, so that the heavy timbers could be sawn to size for use in the
We also noted the large
field on relatively level ground, and placement of house on the
hillside, not typical of early Canadian settlement, but probably very
similar to highland siting, and the presence of a very large and old
beech tree on the south side of the road, south of the field. One tree
does not a village make, but I would be very interested to know the
probable location of the native village that you referred to.
Must run, as my wife and I are going out this evening.
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