Have Scottish Archaeologists Found Rob Roy's Home?

By Graham Spicer | 10 April 2007
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photo of several people working on an archaeological dig in a wood

The large boulders may be part of the foundations for a 18th century turf-built longhouse. Photo NTS

Archaeologists are excavating a house they think may have belonged to legendary Scottish outlaw Rob Roy.

The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) dig is examining the lower slopes of Ben Lomond at Ardess, where Rob Roy is known to have lived in early 18th century.

“Documentary evidence records that Rob Roy owned land at Ardess in 1710-11 and the Duke of Montrose became his feudal superior,” said Derek Alexander, NTS archaeologist.

“However, facing bankruptcy he secretly signed the lease over to his nephew James Graham of Glengyle and John Hamilton of Bardowie in order that it was protected from the claims of his creditors.”

The archaeologists have uncovered the large boulders forming the foundations of a possible turf-built longhouse, located in the oak woods beside the Rowchnock burn and close to the 19th house of Tigh an Eas along the Ardess Hidden History Trail.

“The large boulder wall suggests the building is earlier in date than the 19th century,” said Derek. “We are hopeful that artefacts such as pottery, glass and tobacco pipes will be able to date the site back into the early 18th century, when Rob Roy would have been here.”

Rob Roy McGregor became renowned as an outlaw who clashed with the Duke of Monmouthshire after defaulting on a loan. His exploits were romanticised in his own lifetime through Daniel Defoe’s fictional account of his life, Highland Rogue, published in 1723.

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