Revelations from hidden Tain

Posted by Caroline - 22:25 on 20 November 2011

Apple scrumping, two storey cellars, bee boles in walls and hangman’s rigs - there’s been a few surprises coming out of Tain recently.

 Hidden Tain gathering
ARCH is working with the Tain Civic Trust and John Wood of Highland Archaeology Services on a scoping project, funded by the European Community Highland LEADER 2007-2013 Programme, to look at the potential for further historical and archaeological investigations of the Burgh of Tain.
Crucial to this work is the knowledge of people who live in Tain and the surrounding area. There has been an introductory meeting and one oral heritage session so far, ably led by Cait MacCullagh (pictured lef), and with a fascinating array of knowledge from the participants in the evening.
Many of the houses in central Tain have cellars, and there were accounts from participants of some of these being two-storey, with a hatchway to the lower floor. Some people remembered at least one of these cellars being kitted out for trade - with shoes and cobbling tools.  There were other fascinating glimpses into past livelihoods, with one person talking of letters that a 19th century relative wrote to Canada about his struggles to reclaim land from the sea, others talked of the ‘Hangman’s Rig’, thought to have been a strip of rigs given by the burghers to the hangman to cultivate. And in more recent history, there were several cheery recollections of apple scrumping in walled orchards - but orchards with old apple trees - a tentative link to the medieval monastic sites?
If all this is wetting your tastebuds it would be great to see you at the next couple of oral heritage sessions - the next one will be on Monday 21 November when we’ll be discussing the Burgh beneath our feet, cellars and other subterranean features. On the following Monday - 28 November - we’ll be discussing the Links and the Shore - water route-ways and possible harbours, as well as a likely earlier Church foundation. Meetings are held at  7:30pm in Tain Parish Church Hall
. . . the teas and coffees are to be recommended too!

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Archaeology for Communities in the Highlands (ARCH), The Goods Shed, The Old Station, Strathpeffer, Ross-Shire, Scotland IV14 9DH
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