Description: Balgray Cottage
Date Listed: 2 December 1980
Historic Scotland Building ID: 49726
OS Grid Coordinates: 237316, 652419
Latitude/Longitude: 55.7378, -4.5927
1767 (dated skewputt) with out-of-character alterations circa 1980. Single storey 3-bay cottage with straight skews and bold, scolled skewputts; out-of-scale continuous box dormers to front and rear, enlarged window openings. Single storey wing to L with enlarged and later openings, blocked door to centre; later doorway to gable, triangular doocot above. Random sandstone rubble; dressed margins; cavetto moulded eaves course.
NW (REAR) ELEVATION: additional lean-tos and enlarged openings.
UPVC glazing replacing timber sash and case 6 and 8-pane windows. Grey slates; harled end stacks; circular clay cans.
INTERIOR: not seen (2003). Apparently nothing original survives.
James Dobie CUNINGHAME TOPOGRAPHIZED BY TIMOTHY PONT 1604-1608 (1876) p199. `Bagraw' marked on Andrew Armstrong's map of 1775 and John Ainslie's map of 1821. `Balgrays' marked on John Thomson's map of 1826. Marked on 1st edition OS map of 1858. Historic Scotland photographs (circa 1980).
The lands of Balgray were originally part of the Hessilhead estate, in the Barony of Giffen, and were owned by the Montgomeries in the 16th century. In the early 18th century the names of John Stevenson and John Muir were connected with these lands. According to map evidence, Balgray Cottage and barn were part of a larger group of farm buildings, probably until the mid 20th century.
The cottage and adjacent barn were listed together in 1980 at Category B and the alterations to the cottage occurred after the initial survey but prior to listing being finalised. These alterations have significantly affected the character of the cottage thus the listing has been downgraded to Category C(S). The barn, which has remained unaffected and is in separate ownership, is now separately listed at Category B. The vernacular character of these two buildings was rightly recognised, through listing, as being of regional importance and it is unfortunate that the original character of the cottage has not been preserved.
Two photographs of circa 1980 show the cottage in its unaltered state. The small windows had timber sash and case 8-pane windows and there were two small skylights to the cottage and one to the adjoining wing. This wing would have been used as storage or to keep a couple of cows; pigeons were kept in the loft above and used as a source of food. The cottage had distinctively small windows reflecting the expense of glass during the 18th century. The cottage was divided into two parts on the ground floor; the room to the left was larger and would have served as the principal living space with a range. The room to the right may have been used as a `good room' with a fireplace. Both may have had box beds. Upstairs there would have been two bedrooms. Although small and apparently humble, the cottage has some smart details that distinguish it from the average rubble-built smallholding. Its prominent skewputts and cavetto eaves course suggest a certain amount of sophistication. The triangular doocot is also a good surviving detail.
Source: Historic Scotland
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.