Statement of Special Interest
Mornington Cottage and former stable and byre are a good survival of pre-1840 traditionally constructed buildings. Located at the centre of Abernethy, they group well with other traditional buildings. The cottage and stables were service buildings for Mornington House and they help us understand the social history of this small rural burgh in the early 19th century. Mornington Cottage has some interesting decorative features, such as the carved skewputts and the lintel with an inscription over the pedestrian gateway. The former stable has had a greater degree alteration following its conversion to a museum but its former use still remains visible.
Age and Rarity
Mornington cottage and stable is likely to date to the late 18th or early 19th century. They were built to serve Mornington House, which lies to the northeast of the cottage and stable. The properties are described in the Ordnance Survey name book of 1859-1862 as 'a large self-contained house with extensive stables out offices and gardens attached, adjoining the north side of the graveyard… and is occupied by the proprietor Dr. [Doctor] Guthrie'. Doctor Robert Guthrie was a surgeon in the Royal Navy.
The cottage is built in whinstone and the stables is built in random rubble. This would suggest that the cottage and stables may have been built at different times. On stylistic evidence, the architecture of Mornington cottage, with evenly spaced openings and first floor windows set close to the eaves, indicates the building likely dates to around the early 19th century and likely before 1840. There is, however, a date of 1757 in the lintel of the pedestrian gateway adjoining the cottage. This suggests that the cottage may have fabric from the mid 18th century. Charing can be seen on some of the walls of the cottage which may have been damaged by fire and was possibly rebuilt.
Mornington cottage and stable are shown on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map (surveyed 1860). The 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey Map (surveyed 1898) shows that the single storey outshot at the rear of Mornington Cottage has been added by this date, and with the exception of the stairtower, which was added as part of the museum works, the footprint of the cottage and former stable is largely unchanged from that shown on this map.
Abernethy is a historic settlement. Known to have been occupied since Pictish times, it was made a burgh of barony in 1459. By the early 19th century it was a weaving and salmon-fishing centre. On late 18th century and early 19th century maps (such as those by Stobie, Thomson and Knox) the village of Abernethy is shown as a main street with a church to the north. The early 19th century maps also show the triangular cross from which School Wynd (previously Steeple Wynd) extends. Many of the buildings at the centre of this village date to the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
In the late 20th century the former stable and byre was converted to the museum of Abernethy. As well as the addition of some new openings and a new stair tower at the rear, the windows and doors and the dressings have all been replaced.
While there have been some alterations, Mornington cottage and former stable and byre are a good survival of simple traditional buildings which group well with others.
Architectural or Historic Interest
The interior of the cottage has been comprehensively altered and no traditional fixtures and fittings were seen at the visit (2016).
The former stable retains some traditional features, such as the internal stone walls and an area of cobbled floor. There is also a fireplace in the north gable of Mornington cottage at attic level, and this indicates that this part of the building was likely to have been the accommodation for a coachman, as it is above the cart arch opening. The survival of these features indicate the former use of the building and are of some interest.
With the exception of the stairtower, the footprint of the building is largely unchanged from that shown on the 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey. Some internal walls have been retained in the museum, however later partitions and a new attic floor has been added and the plan form is not considered to be typical for a building of this date and type.
Technological excellence or innovation, material or design quality
The street elevation of the cottage retains its classical proportions and an intact roofline including both of its end chimney stacks. The windows have been replaced but those to the street elevation follow a traditional glazing pattern. The decorative skew ends and the inscribed lintel are of particular interest.
The former stable has had a greater degree of exterior alterations and new fabric. However the former function of the building continues to be seen in the small attic windows and the arched opening for carts.
Mornington cottage and former stable are located close to the centre of this rural burgh. Mornington House (which is not listed) survives to the northwest and can be seen from the rear of these buildings, continuing to show the historical relationship between them.
In the late 20th century some houses have been constructed on School Wynd but overall the setting of Mornington cottage and stables remains largely as that shown on the 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey Map (surveyed 1898).
The building is located in a conservation area.
There are no known regional variations.
Close Historical Associations
There are no known associations with a person or event of national importance at present (2017).
Statutory address and listed building record updated in 2017. Previously listed as 'School Wynd, Mornington Cottage and Museum Of Abernethy'.
Canmore: http://canmore.org.uk/ CANMORE ID 161026
Stobie, J (1805) The counties of Perth and Clackmannan. Perth : J. Morrison
Thomson, J. and Johnson, W. (1827) Perthshire with Clackmannan. Edinburgh : J. Thomson and Co.
Knox, J. (1850) Map of the Basin of the Tay, including the greater part of Perth Shire, Strathmore and the Braes of Angus or Forfar. Edinburgh : W. & A. K. Johnston.
Ordnance Survey (surveyed 1860, published 1866) Perth and Clackmannan Sheet CX.8 (Abernethy). 25 inches to one mile. 1st Edition. Southampton: Ordnance Survey.
Ordnance Survey (surveyed 1898, published 1901) Perth and Clackmannanshire 110.08 (includes: Abernethy). 25 inches to one mile. 2nd Edition. Southampton: Ordnance Survey.
Gifford, J. (2007) The Buildings of Scotland: Perth and Kinross. London: Yale University Press. p.144.
Haynes, N. (2000) Perth and Kinross: an illustrated architectural guide. Edinburgh: The Rutland Press. p.210.
Museum of Abernethy at http://www.museumofabernethy.co.uk/index.html (accessed 01/02/2017).
Ordnance Survey Name Books (1859-1862) Perthshire volume 03, OS1/25/3/34 at http://www.scotlandsplaces.gov.uk/digital-volumes/ordnance-survey-name-books/perthshire-os-name-books-1859-1862/perthshire-volume-03/31#zoom=2&lat=727.5&lon=1067.5&layers=B (accessed 01/02/2017).
Further information courtesy of owner (2016 and 2017).