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Glenbuchat Heritage

100 Spion Kop - Mains Farm Cottage
The Glenbuchat Image Library
100 Spion Kop - Mains Farm Cottage

Spion Kop

Prominent on the hill above the river Don beside the ruins of Glenbuchat Castle and Glenbuchat Mains Farm stands an isolated, derelict and now crumbling cottage called Spion Kop. Position noted by red circle in 1901 map above.

The cottage has been there for a long time and is marked on 1850 maps. The name must date from the time of the Boer war (see below) after a famous battle at Spion Kop. Possibly a resident of the glen might have been present at the battle. Lt.-Col. James Stewart Forbes of Castle Newe was Honour Lieutenant-Colonel 9th Lancers, Boer War as Commandant 2nd Battalion Imp Yeomanry and WW I Res Regiment of Lancers Aberdeenshire.

The cottages prominent position at the bend of the river with excellent views both up and down the river fully justifies its name as ‘Spy or lookout hill’.

Spioenkop (Spion Kop) is a small hill on the Tugela River, a few miles south-west of Ladysmith, Natal Province, in South Africa. During the Second Boer War (South African War) the hill was the scene of a Boer victory over the British on 24 Jan 1900. In the battle, a column of British troops attempting to relieve Ladysmith under General Sir Redvers Buller was repulsed by a smaller Boer force.

Although the common English name for the battle is Spion Kop throughout the Commonwealth and its historical literature, the official South African English and Afrikaans name for the battle is Spioenkop, which is in common use in South Africa and is the correct English spelling of the borrowed Afrikaans name; spioen means "spy" or "look-out", and kop means "hill" or "outcropping". Another variant that is sometimes found is the combination into Spionkop.

The considerable Liverpool and Lancashire death roll at Spion Kop are commemorated in the Spion Kop stand at Liverpool Football Club that has become famous in its own right.

Archaeological Notes
This cottage is situated at the head of an improved field 190m W of Mains of Glenbuchat farmsteading (NJ31SE 71.01). Stone-built, with a blue slate roof, it measures 10.5m from ENE to WSW by 5.6m transversely overall and has been built on a platform dug into the slope on the NNW to a depth of 2.5m. There is a central entrance with flanking windows in the SSE side, the entrance sheltered by a timber porch clad with what appears to be asbestos sheeting. The WSW end of the cottage is occupied by a kitchen, the ENE end a parlour, and between them, at the rear, there is a bedroom lit with a small window. Except for a scar on the WSW gable, nothing is now visible of the outshot that formerly stood at this end of the cottage.
The cottage is depicted as roofed on both the 1st and 2nd editions of the OS 6-inch map (Aberdeenshire, 1869, sheet lx; 1903, sheet lx).
Visited by RCAHMS (JRS), 11 December 2002.

Planning permission has been granted for the conversion to a three bed room house.

Presumably the cottage was used by people working at the Mains farm. The various census documents don’t separate the people living at the Mains whether they were in the Mains house or the cottage. The residents will therefore be listed under a study of the Mains Farm house.

Picture added on 19 October 2013 at 15:18
This picture is in the following groups
My family stayed in the Mains for a few years until about 1952.
My father was horseman there he was Jimmy Ness.
Added by Jean DiMaio on 07 October 2014
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