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Camserney Longhouse and Peat Shed, Camserney, Aberfeldy

A Category A Listed Building in Dull, Perth and Kinross

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Latitude: 56.6202 / 56°37'12"N

Longitude: -3.9297 / 3°55'46"W

OS Eastings: 281688

OS Northings: 749260

OS Grid: NN816492

Mapcode National: GBR JCN6.YFT

Mapcode Global: WH4LP.LVYR

Entry Name: Camserney Longhouse and Peat Shed, Camserney, Aberfeldy

Listing Date: 5 October 1971

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 337220

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB5732

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Dull

County: Perth and Kinross

Civil Parish: Dull

Unitary Authority Ward: Highland

Traditional County: Perthshire

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Mid 18th century or earlier; longhouse probably converted to 2 dwellings c1800; restored 1992 and 1997, James F Stephen Architects, E gable rebuilt. Thatch reinstated by Duncan Matheson 1992. Outstanding rare survival of single storey, 6-bay, cruck-framed longhouse under thatched roof of rye straw and heather divots. Interior with remarkable retention of rare wattle and daub, and lath and plaster hanging lums. Irregular walls of roughly snecked rubble with some huge roughly squared quoins; roof structure of jointed and pegged cruck couples (renewed at E end) standing on large stones built into wall.

FURTHER DESCRIPTION: entrance elevation to S comprising original 4-bay dwelling at left with 2-leaf timber door off-centre right, flanking windows, blocked door at outer left and box chimney. 3 bays to right (probably former byre) also with 2-leaf centre door and flanking windows, conventional gablehead stack at right. Rear N elevation with tiny window and small rectangular outshot, probably later.

4-pane glazing pattern in fixed pane windows. 6 pairs of cruck couples (4 original sets to W roof, 2 sets installed 1992 and 1997 to part of E roof) support thatch of rye straw laid on divots with heather divots to E ridge.

INTERIOR: 6 pairs of cruck couples, space subdivided with stone wall (probably originally partitioned with timber) forming 2 rooms. Room to W with large wattle and daub hanging lum (E and N sides rebuilt 1997) at centre and small outshot with plank seat to N wall. E room with lath and plaster hanging lum (strengthened with horizontal laths), timber salt box with circular opening at centre wall and later fireplace at E wall with large granite lintel.

PEAT SHED: situated to SW of longhouse. Large, open ended, rectangular-plan, rubble peat shed with 3 pairs of crucks and corrugated roof.

Statement of Interest

Formerly listed separately as 'Camserney Farm Longhouse' at category B and 'Camserney Farm Peat Shed' at category C(S).

The longhouse at Nether Camserney is an important and very rare survival of a cruck framed building. Of particular note is the rare survival of the cruck couples, thatch (renewed 1997) and very fine hanging lums. Renewing thatch at regular intervals was common practice owing to the relatively short life of thatching materials. It was, however, put to good use as old thatch makes excellent fertiliser particularly if it is soot-laden. Nether Camserney belongs to a building tradition once found across Scotland and variously named longhouse, blackhouse or byre dwelling. The plan form, combining dwelling and byre under a single roof, became a well established and practical solution rich in local variations of materials and building techniques according to vernacular diversity. Evidence that the E end of Camserney Longhouse formerly housed a byre is seen in the drain beside the door at that end of the building and the cill beam of a former wattle partition. The cruck couples are made up of small timbers, jointed and pegged, to provide continuous roof support. This method of jointing was common in many parts of Scotland.

Last occupied in the 1950s, the longhouse measures 72'6"(22m) x 17'9"(5.2m), and the W room which had been subdivided is now restored as a single space with its impressive large central hanging lum. During the 1990s, renovation work was carried out including removal of corrugated iron from the roof, re-thatching the E end and rebuilding the E gable. The small outshot at the N wall may have been for a bed but now serves as a seat. When converted to two dwellings, a lobby and loft stair were created but these have also been removed restoring the interior to virtually its original plan. The associated peat shed measures approximately 33' x 15' and unlike the longhouses on the 1855-8 map appears as a single rectangle with no division.

The 1855-8 map shows a collection of similar longhouse-type footprints at the ferm toun of Nether Camserney. Such settlements were not uncommon throughout Scotland before the sweeping changes brought about by Highland Clearances and Improvement fever. During the 1700 and 1800s centuries old farming traditions were subsumed in an agrarian revolution as significant for rural landscapes as was the industrial revolution for urban development.

List descriptions merged and category revised to category A 2008. Formerly listed as 'Camserney Farm Longhouse' at category B and 'Camserney Farm Peat Shed' at category C(S). In separate ownership 2008. Also known as Camserney Farm and Nether Camserney.

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