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The Gardener's Cottage Revealed
During July a community excavation was organised by our Countryside Ranger, Jennifer Davidson and Murray Cook, Stirling Council's Archaeologist. Together with volunteers they spent four days working on an area of ground where it was known that a cottage had existed and believed to have been demolished in the 1960's. They uncovered most of the foundations which have been left exposed and it is planned to return to the lodge during 2013 to expose the rest of the building and to start to look at other buildings round the estate to recover.
This particular cottage was occupied by the gardener and was one of at least three lodges built about the time Plean Country House was erected in the early 19th century. The lodges controlled access to the estate and demonstrated the power and importance of the owners of the estate. The last two known residents of this cottage known as the North Lodge were Mr J Burns and Mr J Gardner.
The original building comprised two rooms and a single fireplace, built into the entrance wall. The gates to the estate were designed to include the outer walls of the lodge houses and to make them look more impressive from the outside.
At some point in the early 20th century the house was completely remodelled. Probably in an effort to help a problem with damp the floor was raised, the original rooms reoriented, a new fireplace installed and an extension built which doubled the size of the building. At the same time the external yard was lined with bricks.
The excavation also uncovered one of the middens for the main house and a variety of different pottery was uncovered.
One lady who left the village aged twelve but later returned and now walks her dogs in the park every day, recalls visiting the cottage regularly to collect flowers. Her mother would send her up the hill to the gardener's cottage where "bunches of daffodils would normally be available in a pail of water in the lobby." During the walk up she would hope that there would be no flowers left as that meant Mr Gardner the gardener would take her for further supplies to the walled garden which was a wonderful place to visit.