Achdn G

Used to be named the Cottars house.


The Cottars house - from information on building in 2007
The remains of this building was excavated by Glasgow University in 1979. They cleared away a heap of stones with a large tree growing out of it to reveal a complete floor and enough walling to estimate roughly the original structure of the building.
The building was then reconstructed in order to illustrate the poorer township houses of earlier centuries.
The building would have provided living accommodation for man and beasts. It has drystone walls and a thatched roof, which is supported by a cruck-frame. Usually the cruck uprights were built into the wall rather than standing proud as is the case here.
The roof is currently thatched with bracken. We do not know if the original building would have had such a roof but bracken was certainly used elsewhere in the Township.
The house gets its name from the people who used to live here. Cottars were landless men, who moved around from place to place. In return for working for the tenant farmers at Auchindrain, they were allowed to settle here for a while, grow a few crops and raise a few animals.

current catalogue description 2010
Building G, the Cottar's House is a one-roomed, drystone, thatched house within the Township of Auchindrain that was built to house the landless labourers or cottars who were employed as labourers by the tenant farmers’.
Building G is the only house used by cottars to have been found within the Township of Auchindrain.

This building is at the extreme north east of the township, above the Munro houses, and cartshed.

It is identifiable on the Langlands map, in 1789.

in 1841 it is likely that Jannet Walker is living there, as her place on the census would suggest that the enumerator went to ACHDN G from ACHDN D and then back to ACHDN H.
Jannet is a 64 year old woman, living on her own means.
unfortunately no records for her birth, location in 1851, or her death, have been found as yet.
The scant record for 1841 census means there is no way to know if she is single or a widow.

It would be useful to know where women like she came from and went to, but so far there are no other Walkers connected with people of Auchindrain.

In 1851 it seems most probable that the enumerator took G's position at being at the extreme extent of the township literally, and enumerated it first, before going to achdn-a
If this supposition is true then a family Livingstone occupy this dwelling.
(if it is not so, then we have to identify a completely new dwelling before building A.)

Hugh Livingston is a labourer, age 38, born in Inveraray parish, and lives here with his wife, Mary, born in Kilmichael parish.
They have 3 young children: Margaret (13) Mary (3) Isabella (1), all of whom were born in Kilmichael, which suggests that they had only just arrived into Achindrain
There is another child, Catherine McNaught (9 months) who was born in Inveraray parish.
Unfortunately the Livingston children are not immediately obvious in the registers or records. Nor have the family been found in 1841 yet.

In 1861 the building is either being used for agricultural supplies or has become derelict.
There is no one living in it, and it is not noted by the enumerator as being an uninhabited dwelling.
As the building is used once again in the next decade, it is most likely to be the former.
At this time it might be suggested that there is a lot happening in the township, with plenty of able bodied men, and all buildings would have found a use.

In 1871 a Mary McKellar, unmarried cottar, is living here, she was born in Knapdale.
She shares the house with Catherine McGugan, her niece, 12, who is a scholar, who was born in Kilmichael.
In this census we learn that the building has two rooms, and each has a window.
Catherine is the youngest daughter of Neil and Catherine McGougan living in ACHDN O
Curiously none of their other children are in school, despite all 5 being under 12 years old.
Have yet to unravel the relationships as we have Catherine as being a McArthur, not a McKellar.

In 1881 once again it is being used as an agricultural building or has been left to ruin.
The community has simplified itself considerably by this time.
It may well be that such buildings were superfluous and there was a community decision not to keep them maintained, so saving their resources for essential and useful structures. On a selfish note, if there were not the buildings then there was less likelihood of people who might draw off the community resources wanting to move in.
Building W seems to be the only one left fulfilling the role of more transient occupants with some connection to residents and tenants.

There is no evidence that the building was ever used as a dwelling from sometime between 1871 - 1881 onwards.