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New PS13k straw hat for Cruck Cottage PROUD HERITAGE; Free Christmas party to celebrate re-thatching of historic property.

Byline: Sharon Liptrott

A PS13,000 re-thatching of Dumfriesshire's historic Cruck Cottage is to be marked with a free Christmas celebration on Sunday.

Christmas at the Cruck is open to the public from 1pm to 4pm and there will be live music, carol singing, mulled wine and mince pies in the unique building in Torthorald near Dumfries which is the only remaining example of its kind in the area.

All the celebrations will be in front of the peat fire and the cottage has been festooned in decorations for the occasion.

Bill Lawson, chairman of Cruck Cottage Heritage Association volunteers who manage it, said: "We hope people will come along to our special Christmas event to relaunch the Cruck Cottage after its rethatching which took over eight weeks by master thatcher Jonathan Botterell from York.

"The new thatched roof is quite something to see and more than two tonnes of wheat straw used was specially grown and cut in Huddersfield.

"It is a chance to see a completed example of a craft not seen now in our area.

"And there is plenty to see inside as the Cruck Cottage is furnished and well worth a visit.

"We are very grateful to Historic Scotland and SWEAT for finding the funding for the re-thatch, and the continuing support of our local and wider community for the cottage."

Cruck Cottage is one of only three thatched buildings in Dumfries and Galloway - and the only house.

Thatched, limewashed and earth floored, the A listed building is also a great rarity in Scotland. Once commonplace across the region from early times through to the 19th century, it is thought to be the last of its kind.

Three massive oak frames fastened together with oak pegs are the main structure of the cottage and it is these crucks from oak tree trunks left in their natural state (with just the bark removed) which gives the building its name.

Birth rafters covered in a heather turf provide the base for its straw thatch and while originally the walls would have been made of clay, wattle and daub or turf possibly from nearby Lochar Moss, its stone rubble walls of today were introduced in the 19th Century.

By 1960 the cottage had become derelict and unlived in but again became a home again through The Greiner Family's restorative work in the 1970's. However, by 1990 it was derelict again and was given to Solway Heritage by Mr Ian Mills with a PS1,000 donation.

Solway Heritage raised funds to restore the cottage and the group of local residents who make up the Cruck Heritage Association - formed in 2003 - have been caring or it ever since, encouraging access to it by the local and wider community.

They plan to stage more events next year and anyone wanting to visit in the future should contact Bill Lawson at 01387 750202.

Bedtime story A peep into the past at Cruck Cottage After Looking fantastic with its PS13,000 new thatched roof is the Cruck Cottage at Torthorwald Work in progress Roofer lays the turf and straw thatch, and inset, tidying up the eaves

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Inside story Bill Lawson and Bill Meadows in the refurbished cottage

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Publication:Dumfries and Galloway Standard (Dumfriesshire, Scotland)
Date:Dec 8, 2017
Words:535
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