Farmhouse makes way for new houses

Birghamhaugh farm house in the village of Birgham is due to be demolished.
Birghamhaugh farm house in the village of Birgham is due to be demolished.

The demolition of Birghamhaugh farmhouse at Birgham was scheduled to start this week to make way for five new houses to be built.

The Birgham Community Development Trust Facebook page notes: “Hudson Hirsel will soon be starting the Birgham East development which will commence with the demolition of the old farmhouse.”

A number of posts on the Facebook page regret the loss of the farmhouse which stands at the east side of the village, and has done so since the mid 19th century.

When the planning application to demolish the farmhouse and build five houses on the site was made, Scottish Borders Council’s archaeologist said: “Birghamhaugh house is a traditional farmhouse that was likely built between 1846 and 1858.

“While not listed, it is of local historical significance as a building with a long-standing connection with the village. Its loss through demolition should be avoided if possible.

“I recommend negotiation with the developer to seek the retention and redevelopment of the farmhouse through a redesign of the scheme. However, ultimately if the farmhouse is demolished it will require recording by a suitably qualified buildings archaeologist to mitigate its loss by record.

“If the council is minded to approve this application I recommend the following: The applicant should clearly justify the demolition of Birghamhaugh farmhouse, a locally significant historic building. The preference should be retaining the building in situ, and perhaps renovating it.”

Once the house is demolished a detailed archeological survey will be made of the site as it is believed that the remains of a medieval nunnery lie partially in the grounds of Birgham House.

SBC’s archaeologist added: “The archaeology appears to coincide with early medieval phases of activity and settlement in Birgham which was only hinted at in the adjacent development to the south-east. This is significant in terms of adding to our understanding of Birgham’s, and other settlements along the Tweed.

“The best course of action given the nature of the discovery is a strip, map and recording of the development site following the demolition.”