Bell a’Phuill’s House, Auchindrain, Scotland

This evening, I am posting information on Auchindrain Township, a museum near Inveraray in the West of Scotland. (Auchindrain translates from the Gaelic as ‘Field of the Blackthorn Tree’.)

Auchindrain is believed to be the last surviving example of a joint tenancy township, something akin to an agricultural based community co-operative, which was common in rural Scotland until the 1840s.

Auchindrain’s origins may date back to the late 15th century.Until the 1840s the community operated on a joint tenancy basis with land divided into narrow strips, known as ‘rigs’ which were allocated to each tenant by drawing lots thus allowing an equal distribution of land types.Outputs included dairy produce, grain, vegetables and potatoes. Cattle were grazed.

In the 1840s the old system was replaced, principally due  to switch to sheep grazing. At this time community based land management was replaced by small fields allocated to individual farmers.

Most of the extant buildings date from the period 1790-1840. At around this time the building style switched from earthen walls and thatch roofs to stone walls .Corrugated steel roofs were introduced post 1892.

Queen Victoria visited in 1875.

The site contains four types of buildings, viz:

  • Longhouses, which housed people and cattle.
  • Residential houses with no animals.
  • Barns
  • Utility buildings.

This is a fascinating site offering a unique insight into a communal way of life which had ended by the 1950s.

Inside traditional house at Auchindrain Township, Scotland

Martin’s House, Auchindrain Township, Scotland

Eddie’s House, Auchindrain Township, Scotland

Interior of traditional house at Auchindrain Township, Scotland

Landscape view of Auchindrain Township, Argyll, Scotland

Traditional House, Auchindrain Township, Argyll

Vegetable garden at Bell a’Phuill’s House, Auchindrain

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