Achdn D


Building D was been called the McNicol house by the Museum until 2010.
The census records prove this was a Munro house for the best part of 100 years.

A census enumerator records the dwellings in a place in order as he walks.
Building M is a very useful structure in creating a demarcation for the middle of the township, and the break between the upper and lower sections.
From this it is very easy to see that the McNicol family never lived in the upper part of the community.
There is no evidence that McNicol was one of the tenants, he is consistently described as a weaver throughout the 1800's.
Therefore, it is unlikely that he would have warrented one of the best houses of the township.

From 1841 it is clear that Building D is the second Munro house.

It might be a suggestion to explore that the originals of these two buildings were built in the late 1700's when the Munro's moved into the township.
There is a crescent of small buildings on the Langlands map of 1789 where these are now sited.
Where these existing houses built from these as the "new" community became more established (was the threat of clearance lifted? - there was more happening all around until the later parts of the 1800's)

Maybe the introduction of the considerable Munro family was part of the equation of why Auchindrain was not cleared or improved according to the Langland plan.
Maybe the Duke just did not like the plan - are there any other similar structural impositions on Dukes land in late 1700's to compare with?

from info on door in 2007
MacNicol's House
MacNicol's House is thought to be the oldest surviving building at Auchindrain. It was built around 1800. The house is a fine example of a traditional longhouse with random stone walls and a cruck-frame.
For the first half of its life MacNicol's house had a thatched roof, the remains of which can still be seen under the corrugated iron.
In the late 19th Century, corrugated iron became commonly used as a roof covering in the area around Auchindrain and the inhabitants of hte house at the time the Munro family simply fixed the corrugated iron roof on top of the old thatched roff.
This saved the family a lot of work and expense and and contributed to preseving the original thatched roof.

The first records of Munro in ACHDN is in 1765 with a court case, there are 4 distinct Munro families in 1779 plus another individual, by 1801 there were 9 Munro men between 18 - 60 from the lists of military men. The other men of the township were 3 Sinclairs and the last of the Campbells, who emigrates soon after. This is a significant work force for any farm, and could have had a major force in the survival of the community.

In 1841 this is the second building from the road that is being used as a dwelling with Duncan Munro junior, age 30, as head of household and Tenant.
He is sharing the house with Christian Munro, age 15
and a young 12 year old Duncan McNicol is living there as a male servant, and a 3 year old Alexander Campbell as a lodger.
This is a somewhat unusual household, but wee Alexander is the son of Peter Campbell and Agnes Munro, who are living in Gellier Close, Inveraray at this time with a couple of other young children. Peter is a fisherman. By 1851 it seems that Peter and Agnes may have emigrated as Alexander is living with his Campbell grandparents in Kenmore, with a younger sister Margaret who was born in Liverpool.
It is likely that Agnes is a cousin, as have not found a record of her birth/baptism with father Duncan.

(1841 does seem a rather haphazard period in ACHDN with people and children scattered about - it was a period of great stress throughout the area)

Duncan is the eldest son of Duncan and Catherine Munro who are living in Building H. and Christian is their eldest daughter, who is probably looking after the house, as well as wee Alexander, for her brother, with the help of young McNicol.
It seems that being a farmer was not Duncan's cup of tea as he moves out to Inveraray in the next decade to set up as a grocer.
It might be possible to suggest that the Munro's had the wherewithall to set him up; in such a harsh time of potato famine and starvation, most communities were struggling to feed themselves, needing to find work and succour from others, let alone set up new businesses and look after other people's children.
There are lots of records to look for that might help us explore these ideas.

Duncan McNicol who is working in the house is the middle son of Duncan McNicol the weaver, living, probably, in AA with his wife Catherine, and other children.

Donald Munro, with his wife Mary, have moved into the house.
In the previous decade he was living in Building M as a Tenant.

Donald's parents are Malcolm Munro, and Catherine McKellar.
(this MAY be our connection between this Munro family and Isabella McCallum, whose mother was Mary McKellar, but have yet to prove this)

In 1861 the house has 2 rooms with windows and 3 children in education Malcolm (14) Betsey (12), Duncan (9)
Donald's allotment of land is 10 acres.

in the next decade the building construction is changed to add another room with a window.

In 1871 we learn that the house has 3 rooms with windows, and there are 2 children in education, Martin (12) and Catherine(8).
The rest of the household are Malcolm (24), Betsy (22), Donald (16) - none of which have trades or occupations attributed to them.

Malcolm becomes a mason, and marries Mary McCallum in 1876, when he moves with her in ACHDN-A
They move out to Black Land in Inverary where sadly Mary dies in 1883 a month after her last child.
Malcolm returns to Auchindrain, and moves his three young children back home to building D with his brother Martin and his mother Mary.

In 1881 the land ascribed to Donald Munro is 20 acres.
His son Duncan (28) has also become a Mason, and is still living at home with his younger brother Martin (23)
There is also a young child, Betsy McNeill who is described as a grand-daughter, but have not identified her parents.
The house still has 3 rooms with windows in.

Donald, elder, remains in the house, farming the land, until his death from congestion of the lungs in July 1885.

In 1891 Martin is described as the head, although he is younger than his widowed brother.
Probably because he is the tenant, and has remained there all his life.
Martin is still unmarried.
A Betsy Martin of Goatfield is employed as general servant to care for the household

In 1901 mother Mary seems to have taken charge of the census form, as she is described as head, with her sons following in age order.
Malcolm is described as Mason, worker - so was he, in fact, working at Craigens Quarry?
Martin is described as farmer and employer - with Malcolm's daughter Isabella working as general servant, and son Edward as general herd.

In 1902 Martin agrees to another 15 year lease, on behalf of the rest of the Auchindrain tenants.

By 1917 the tenancy seems to be in thirds, and with Duncan Munro, junior taking over Martin Munro's third??
the names on the tenancy are

  • Duncan Munro, junior
    • Malcolm Archibald Munro, son
  • Duncan Munro, senior
    • Alastair Munro, son
  • Edward Mccallum
    • John McCallum, son

The building is known in the 1900s as Martins's house, which is what is has now been called

Malcolm Munro dies in Black Land, Inverary in 1923
Martin Munro dies in Colintraive, in 1928, his death certificate suggests he was married at some time

Donald Munro son of Malcolm Munro dies 11th Feb 1958 aged 77yrs ( ref A71)
Donald's wife Elizabeth Lawson dies 8th feb 1958 aged 78yrs