Field Trips 2016-17

HOUSTON VILLAGE,       Date: Saturday, 22nd April, 2017 

The trip will be led by Bill Speirs.

Bill has a wealth of knowledge on the local history and archaeological remains in the village. The walk  round the village will start at Houston and Killellan Church, in what was the original village, and continue up to the later planned village around North Street and  South Street.

Please wear stout walking shoes as the churchyard may be muddy.There are a number of inns and a cafe in the village for coffee or lunch. 

Please meet at  Houston and Killellan Church on Kirk Road, at 11.00am on Saturday, 22nd April.

PLEASE CONTACT Helen Calcluth if you wish to attend.


DALGARVEN MILL MUSEUM of Ayrshire Country Life and Costume

Saturday, 20th May,  2.OOpm          

Arrangements are now in place for a Forum visit to Dalgarven Mill Museum. The mill is beautifully restored with a working waterwheel. The museum has a wide ranging collection of country life artefacts and an excellent costume display. As well as a tour of the museum, Rob Ferguson will also show us his Chinese collection (which is not on public display).

The tour of the museum will start at 2.00pm. Visit is limited to a maximum number of 20. If you need transport on the day, please contact a committee member.  There is an excellent café on site.

Cost of the visit is £ 4.50. Payment required at (or before) the Forum AGM on 11th May.

PLEASE CONTACT Helen Calcluth if you wish to attend.



Lochcraig Reservoir and South Moorhouse Farm   –    led by  Susan Hunter

On Saturday, 2nd May, 2015, our group met at Mearns Kirk Church car park and went by car to South Moorhouse Farm where our walk started. The area has a wealth of archaeological remains, dating from the Bronze & Iron Ages. The weather was fine although the ground was waterlogged in parts. We set off from the farm over paths and moorland.

Susan showed us hut circles and a large enclosure from the Bronze / Iron Ages and more recent deserted farmsteads and long houses. There were also some enigmatic structures which promoted some lively discussion. One was evidence of a structure which appeared to have been built over a now dried-out burn or lade.

Possible Remains of Structure on Lade

Possible Remains of Structure on Lade

Another was a small rectangular building with a curved corner and a possible porch. This was on a lovely spot above the loch where we had our picnic lunch. Unfortunately we did not take many photographs. However, further detailed information on Susan’s research in the area can be found in her report,  South and East Moorhouse Farms, Eaglesham Paper No.50, published by ACFA (2002).

Susan’s latest book “Eaglesham – The Farmlands and the Orry” has recently been published by ACFA (2016). This excellent book is  a comprehensive  survey of the archaeology of the whole area  and will be available for sale at Forum meetings.


FIELD SURVEY, Saturday, 11th April, 2015    

Lurg Moor Romam Fortlet led by Derek Alexander 


Computer data of Survey of Lurg Moor Roman Fortlet

 Lurg Moor Roman Fortlet is situated on moorland above Port Glasgow and is part of the western flank of the Antonine frontier. It probably housed a cavalry patrol and is the only visible Roman remains in Renfrewshire.

After a long uphill climb and negotiating a few barbed wire fences we arrived at the sight of Lurg Moor Roman Fortlet. Evidence of the turf rampart and ditch round the fortlet and the entrance causeway were clearly visible on the ground, but there was no evidence on the ground of the wooden barracks and stables built within the fortlet.

The weather was disappointing, very cold, with a few blinks of sunshine, and with strong winds blowing across the site from the west  –    but we carried on regardless! Out of interest Derek gave us instruction on the use of a Plane Table. We then conducted a Total Station Survey of the site.

Equipment set up for Total Station Survey and Plane Table Survey  

                                                               Instructions in use of Plane Table

Team at work on Total Station Survey


Derek at work on Total Station Survey


Lunch:   Anne, Maimie, Helen, Jean and Bill in remains of north ditch with rampart to rear

KILBARCHAN VILLAGE led by Helen Calcluth

On Saturday, 26th April, 2014, Helen Calcluth led a historic walk round Kilbarchan village starting at the ‘old terminus’ where the trams turned in the early part of the twentieth century. From there the walk continued along the Well Strand, and then up Ewing Street to Steeple Square. Leaving the Square for the Cross we passed the Old Manse (1730), the Weaver’s Cottage (1723), now a museum owned by NTS, to reach the old parish church (1724). The churchyard has a medieval tombstone irreverently built into the wall and the gravestone of Habbie Simpson, the renowned Kilbarchan piper.  From the churchyard we continued down Church Street to the well commemorating Kilbarchan’s weaver-poet, Robert Allan and returned along Merchant’s Close and Yardshead to the centre of the village


Kilbarchan West Kirk Hall

The SteepleBuildings



Susan Hunter, led our first of a new series of field trips on Sunday 12th January 2014. This field trip focussed on the archaeology and history of the Orry in the middle of Eaglesham village.

Twenty members from the Forum, Eaglesham History Society and Mearns History Group attended. Luckily, in this time of seemingly constant rain, it was a dry day! The Orry, an A-shaped green area in the centre of the Eaglesham village covering 15 acres, is bordered on the north by Montgomery Street and on the south by Polnoon Street. It was gifted to the inhabitants of Eaglesham in the late 18th century by the 10th Earl of Eglinton as part of his planned village.

The Orry


Susan started the walk at Glasgow Street at the bottom of the A-shaped Orry , pointing out areas of archaeological and historic interest as we made our way up the length of the Orry – the sites of old lades, tunnels and reservoirs on the Kikton Burn, old field boundaries , Moat Hill which was an early meeting place for judicial and other assemblies, Mid Road Bridge which was rebuilt by the feuers 1835, and sites recently identified by geo-phys surveys where old buildings formerly stood.

However, the highlight of the day was the site and archaeological remains of the New Orry Cotton Mill built in the middle of the Orry, probably in 1791. The mill was the principal employer in Eaglesham for more than seventy years with as many as 200 employees in 1845. The main building was an impressive five storeys high. The mill’s history ended when it was destroyed by fire in 1876.

The walk up the Orry ended at the site of the Earl of Eglinton’s dog kennels. We then visited the site of an of an older cotton mill built in the late eighteenth century at Townhead at the top of the old village. Finally we walked down Montgomery Street to visit the churchyard to see the Covenanter Memorial, commemorating the killing of martyrs Robert Lochkhart and Gabriel Thomson, who were put to death by the Highland Dragoons after attending a conventicle meeting in 1685.

Over a number of years, Susan has surveyed Eaglesham village and all the local farms and their land use.  Her extensive archaeological field survey work is published in ACFA’s Occasional Papers.   A detailed report on her survey of the Orry can be found in ACFA Occasional Paper No. 113 “Eaglesham Orry”, ed. Susan Hunter.

The Forum would like to thank Susan for ably leading the fieldtrip and sharing the results of her extensive surveying, research and knowledge on Eaglesham Orry. Everyone attending the fieldtrip found this a most interesting and enjoyable day. It’s going to be a hard act to follow!!

ORRY photo 1

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