MHG55340 - Site of farmstead, North Kinrara


The site of a farmstead that is believed to be the location of the Duchess of Gordon's old farmhouse, described by Elizabeth Grant of Rothiemuchus in "Memoirs of a Highland Lady".

Type and Period (3)

  • FARMSTEAD (Occupied, 17th Century to 19th Century - 1601 AD? to 1804 AD)
  • HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION (18th Century to 19th Century - 1789 AD to 1804 AD)
  • CULTURAL ASSOCIATION (19th Century - 1804 AD to 1806 AD)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

This farmstead was surveyed by the North of Scotland Archaeological Society in 2006 and is described as follows (letters refer to survey plan in the report):

"The settlement is situated 1km to the SW of Kinrara House on a close cropped grassy knoll, above and to the north of the River Spey. It is on a south facing slope and has extensive views towards the Cairngorm Mountains. The settlement comprises 5 buildings and an enclosure spread over an area of roughly 100m x 80m. The remains of the largest buildings, A and B, are on the summit of the knoll, the other buildings appear as platforms and it is assumed that they were probably of timber construction. The enclosure has substantial turf banks surrounding it and a curious circular recess in its NW corner. The rotting stumps of several mature deciduous trees are seen throughout the site and local information has it that these were wych elm trees, a variety of tree that is not indigenous to these parts; they are thought to have succumbed to Dutch elm disease.

Building A – NN 86767 07604 The remains of a rectangular building which has a commanding position on the summit of the knoll. The substantial turf footings are aligned NE-SW. It has internal dimensions of 10.8m x 3.1m with the turf footings generally 0.2m in height and having a spread of 1 to 1.5m. There is an entranceof 0.9m width roughly halfway along the SE wall. Building B lies just 3m to the east and there are other manmade features of unknown purpose in the vicinity

Building B – NN 86780 07608 A rectangular platform recessed into the slope with the recessed faces on the north, east and west generally 0.6m in height. The platform is built up at the front/south and probably held a wooden structure. The structure measures 9.5m x 4.1m overall with internal measurements of 7.2m x 3.1m. Adjacent and to the east is a further small area recessed into a knoll, it has similar earthbanks and may have been an integral part of the structure.

Platform C – NN 86752 07577 A level platform on a NE-SW alignment. It is 3m in width but its extent to the west is not possible to determine, however the two eastern corners are obvious and recessed into the slope. Again it is most likely a platform for a wooden building.

Platform D – NN 86747 07558 A platform which appears as a rectangular depression measuring 7m x 3m. It is roughly 0.1m deep and aligned NW-SE. Probably a platform for a wooden building

Platform E – NN 86760 07546 A rectangular recessed platform aligned NE-SW. It measures 10m x 3m internally, a low turf wall comprise the remains of the SE wall. To the NE there is a further platform 3.8m x 3.9m which may have been a part of the structure.

Enclosure F – centred on NN 86785 07515 This enclosure is situated on the lower part of the slope below and to the south of the buildings. It measures 42m (N-S) x 48m (E-W) and slopes gently to the south. It is bounded by a turf wall, 0.5m height, on its west and south sides but recessed into the slope on its east and north side where the face is between 1m and 1.5m in height. A circular depression, pit G, enclosed by a substantial earthbank is situated in the NW corner – its purpose is unknown.

Recess H – NN 86765 07507 A stone lined recess 3m in diameter may have been a well"

The NOSAS survey report, linked to this record, contains more detailed background information including an account of why this is believed to be the site of the old farmhouse occupied by Jane Maxwell, estranged wife of Alexander, 4th Duke of Gordon, who lived at Kinrara following the break-up of her marriage in 1789 until the present Kinrara House was built in 1804. Elizabeth Grant describes Jane and the farmhouse at Kinrara in "Memoirs of a Highland Lady" (1804-1806). An account of the farmstead and an etching also appears in Sir John Stoddarts book "Remarks on local scenery in Scotland during 1799 and 1800" (1801). <1>

Sources/Archives (1)



Grid reference Centred NH 8677 0758 (110m by 120m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH80NE
Civil Parish ALVIE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

External Links (1)

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