MHG45419 - Knockbreck House & Gatepiers & earlier Castle


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Type and Period (1)

  • GATE PIER (Undated)

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Full Description

Site visit 7/2004: It is extemely likely that this house incorporates earlier features. The "Basement" level is below the current ground surface all around the house, thus creating a "well" that is part stone buiilt, part concrete lined. This may be the original ground floor of the earliest building. There are also 3 cellars with arched stone roofs at the rear of the building, long end on to the modern house. To the rear of the house there is a decorative wrought iron fence surrounding a well - the one marked as "pump" on 1st ed OS. The other buildings marked on OS are gone, although the garage may lay on site of one. There are a number of reused pieces within side and rear walls of the house. Some are larger lintel pieces. But there is one distinctly different finer lintel also visible. The basement floor has large slabs. It is these that when raised apparently revealed a thicker wall underneath and a reported "mason mark" (now relaid). Bones underneath also apparently included a child's rib bone. The spiral stairs in the house start at this floor. The lower phases are built over what appear to be one early (but repaired) earlier timber and one later replacement. Another is built into the wall - could be suitable for dendro dating.
A small (original) window has recently be opened in the upper floor for a bathroom. This shows the wall to be c27" thick in this place.

The finds reported by MD are from the garden close to the front drive. One is a billhook, with part of a wooden handle surviving. The other is part of an iron vessel, circular, but thickness of the material suggests a cauldron type, rather than a smaller vessel. The area of the latter had been dug out revealing a large worked stone. On checking this had another rough stone at the drive end , but nothing further associated. The soil around looked like deep (over 18") flower bedding or soil dump, with odd pieces of stone and gravel - ie not the sandy sub soil reported from elsewhere. However the semi circular turning apron in front of the house is raised. Another worked stone lies beyond this. It is not clear whether these have been used to mark the edge of the drive, or whether they could be old foundations for early garden features now gone.
Circular features creating cropmarks in the lawn lie just beyond the edge of where this drops to the regular ground surface level. There were signals from the MD in this area, but it was not checked out. Mrs S reports dark soil/ash from these areas when checked. HAW 7/2004

Pont shows a large castle designated Baleknock in this area - is this the same site? . Knockbreck House (prop ?) is marked on a late C18 road map.
Not mentioned in the 1st statistical account, but the second refers to the owner, Ross, as one of the parish with an income of over £50, but not usually resident. - HAW 7/2004

Although the listed building desc describes this house as c1820 the owner believes that this is incorrect. The 1820 dating is probably based on the dating of the front window sashes. But Mrs Stone suggests that this is a new front to the house completed c1790. In addition this house is believed to lie on a much earlier site. Mrs Stone reports the discovery of older thicker wall c30" in the basement during alterations. Plus earlier doorway/window. Plus supposed to be a lot of earlier material rebuilt into the rear of the house.Earlier house on maps and apparently used to store weapons in the 1715 rising.
Phone call to SMR 23/07/2004 regarding finds from the garden - HAW 7/2004

See also: NH78SE0086 Garden
JHooper, 27/11/2002

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Grid reference Centred NH 7856 8115 (10m by 15m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH78SE
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY
Civil Parish TAIN

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Related Monuments/Buildings (3)

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