Blairadam Forest

Rait, Perth and Kinross - Evaluation and Building Recording 

Alder was commissioned by Morgan Homes Scotland Ltd to undertake an Archaeological Evaluation on land to the west of the Smithy, Rait, in advance of development.  Rait has been the location of a church and settlement since the early medieval period (for over 1000 years).  The site was considered to be potentially archaeologically significant as it lies within the core of the historic settlement, approximately 100m to the W of church ruins.  Two trenches were excavated and recorded.  Finds of note included residual medieval pottery, post medieval pottery, modern pottery and early modern wine bottle fragments.  A ditch or trench feature was found in trench 01 which was considered to be either a roadside drainage ditch or a horticultural feature. A ditch feature was also located in trench 02 which was considered to be for drainage or horticulture.

At the same time as the Evaluation, Alder carried out a Historic Building Recording on three neighbouring buildings: Sheiling Cottage, the Smithy and Smithy House. The properties are situated on either side of the main burn which runs through the centre of the village.

Shieling Cottage 

Sheiling Cottage (a listed building) was found to have clay bonded rubble walls and was constructed in two phases, a small structure to the W being later extended to the E. The building was altered several times during the 19th century and the original thatched roof replaced in slate.  A number of elements in this building hinted at a possible original late 18th century date.

The Smithy was found to be a rectangular mortar-bonded rubble building probably built in the first half of the 19th century as part of the central farm of Rait dating to the improvements.


The Smithy

The building's roof, originally covered by ceramic pantiles with vents and glass skylights was replaced and the walls raised in the late 19th century. This appears to have been part of a late 19th century re-organisation of the central farm in Rait.  Smithy House, a large well built house, was constructed as part of this later farm re-development and replaced an earlier range of farm buildings. 

A historic 19th century photograph of the Smithy can be seen on SCRAN: