Howe o’ the Mearns Heritage Club.
The first meeting of the winter session took place last Wednesday in the Burgh Buildings (Library). There was a record attendance of 36 to hear all about the archaeological finds on the site of the new Mearns Academy.
The guest speakers, Hilary and Charlie Murray, are commercial archaeologists from Methlick who focus on performing surveys of building sites to ensure that no valuable historic sites are damaged or destroyed during subsequent development of the land.
The school site, on Conveth Mains, has been “under the plough” for about 1000 years and any traces of a previous existence were expected to have been obliterated by the continuous farming activities. Fortunately they spotted an area where the soil was of different consistency and on further investigation revealed the remains of a moderately sized building with a cobbled floor and “patio” and evidence of clay walls. They were able to identify traces of rushes on the floor and found almost two hundred pottery fragments which dated the site to around the end of the fourteenth century. The occupation of the building lasted only a couple of generations according to the finds and although it is called a manor house we don’t know for sure who occupied it.
There is a charter of that period, which gives the “Manor and Lands of Conveth” to a Humphrey d’Addeville, a Norman gentleman who married into the Barclay family and took their family name. They are the earliest recorded Barclays in Scotland and possibly the predecessors of the Barclays of Johnston, the Kaim of Mathers and the Lairds of Ury- or perhaps not!