BUTTERGASK

The hamlet of Buttergask or Bithergirse as it was originally known lies about 2 miles south west of Blackford and for many years was a weaving village.  The most recent survey located the remains of 17 dwellings and a mill.

A book written by John Monteath in 1835 describes how there was neither a road to it or from it.  It also says there was not a right angle in the whole village and it would appear that the dwellings at that time were very primitive indeed.  It describes how turfs were cut for winter fuel and that the children were sent out to collect cow dung, which was dried for the same purpose.  The inhabitants at that time kept themselves very much to themselves, their use of words even different from their neighbours, the Tykes of Ogilvie.  They were supposedly descended from a band of tinkers who settled on the Muir of Bithergirse and were granted title to it provided they supplied a horn spoon with a bowl of kaily brose every time the King passed their way.  They had their own Reverends and Right Reverends and their own Teachers.

The inhabitants of Bithergirse were completely self-supporting growing crops of barley and flax and grazing their cattle and sheep on the Muir.

Three houses were inhabited until 1947 and one, which still has a roof, was used as a holiday cottage until the 1960s.

The story is told and referred to in Monteath’s book about the Muckle Wife O’Bithergirse who was of immense stature and no one knew where she came from or from whom she was descended but she settled in Bithergirse as a shopkeeper around 1790.  She died in 1815 and is interred in Blackford Churchyard.  Her name was Mary Carr and a headstone was erected to her by her legatees to whom she bequeathed 200 pounds each, a considerable sum in those days.

The dyeworks for the woven cloth from this and other weaving hamlets around was situated further down the Buttergask burn beside the A9 where Buttergask House now stands.

This was one of the few villages which was not burned in 1715 as the highlanders kept to the high ground in case of attack probably following the line of the present Sherrifmuir Road.

RCAHMS Archaeology Notes

NN80NE 22.00 centred 8717 0784 Buttergask
A township, which comprises thirteen roofed buildings, one partially roofed building and four unroofed buildings (as well as a farmstead and mill which are described under NN80NE 22.01 and 22.02 respectively), is depicted on the W of the Buttergask Burn on the 1st edition of the OS 6-inch map (Perthshire 1866, sheet cxvii). The ONB notes that Buttergask applies to a few scattered houses including the steading of Middlehill (ONB 1866). Excluding the farmstead, only one roofed building and fragmentary traces of the surrounding field-system are shown on the current edition of the OS 1:10000 map (1978).
Information from R CAHMS (PM) 10 September 1996
ONB 1866

NN80NE 22.01 8718 0794 Middlehill Farmstead
A farmstead, which comprises five roofed and two unroofed buildings is depicted on the 1st edition of the OS 6-inch map (Perthshire 1866, sheet cxvii). Only one roofless building is shown on the current edition of the OS 1:10000 map (1978).
Information from RCAHMS (PM) 10 September 1996

NN80NE 22.02 8725 0788 Buttergask Corn mill
A corn mill, which comprises one roofed building immediately NE of a mill pond, is depicted on the 1st edition of the OS 6-inch map (Perthshire 1866, sheet cxvii). The ONB notes that the mill comprised 'a dwelling house, one storey and slated, and an old corn mill, the machinery of which was removed some years ago and the building converted into a threshing mill' (ONB 1866). It is not shown on the current edition of the OS 1:10000 map (1978).
Information from RCAHMS (PM) 10 September 1996
ONB 1866

One of our members, Margaret Beith, has produced a booklet on Buttergask.  If you are interested in purchasing a copy, please contact the Secretary on info@blackfordhistoricalsociety.org.uk or go to our shop.

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