Fair Maid's House

Fair Maid's House, Perth

During the recent redevelopment of the Fair Maid's House by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, Alder was employed to undertake an archaeological watching brief. The garden area to the rear of the building was lowered for the construction of an extension to house the collections of the RSGS.

Fair Maid's House

Medieval pottery and animal bones, including the spine of a cow, were recovered from a garden soil that sealed a linear slot cut into the natural, possibly a boundary on a different alignment from the present boundaries; one sherd of medieval pottery was recovered from the fill of the slot. This feature had been previously identified during an evaluation of the site by CFA in 2006. Other interesting features from the garden were a pit lined with a barrel which had been used as a mortar mixer, and under the boundary wall to the N, a stone-lined well.

Fair Maid's House

The barrel lined pit

Fair Maid's House

The well discovered under the boundary wall

The foundations of the north or back wall of the Fair Maid's House (No 23 North Port) were revealed and recorded, as were the foundations of the original back wall of No 21 North Port.  The foundations of two possible former buttresses were recorded: one underneath the present buttress built in 1893/4, the other outside the ground floor window. The present buttress contains two reused stones; a third reused stone was displaced from the buttress during the redevelopment. The insertion of a new access in the 19th-century gable between Nos 21 and 23 North Port uncovered a number of reused stones, none of evidently medieval date.

Fair Maid's House

The demolished rear wall for 21 North Port

The digging of two pits for supports for a new stair inside No 21 North Port revealed that the building had been built over a garden soil, and over a possible gravel path on a similar alignment to the old boundary found outside. Most of the deposits inside the building were post-medieval or recent, including a stone floor, patched with cobbles and bricks. A possible soakaway was cut into a levelling deposit of clay and stones that was of similar composition to the original back wall.