Mearns Probus

Joe Wishart from Logie, near Craigo, was introduced by President Malcolm McCoig at the latest Club meeting.

His topic was the Mud Hut at Logie which over the centuries has been a school, then a Church and recently as Joe’s home.

The building is unique as it is possibly the last known example of its kind in everyday use. Built of Clay and straw, the walls were constructed with these materials in brick form, rather than the Wattle and Daub along parallel lathes used elsewhere. The roof is tiled with slate to keep it watertight whereas earlier examples would have had thatch or straw covered in earth.

Joe informed his audience that a mill on the River North Esk nearby was originally used to grind tobacco into snuff which was in big demand when introduced from the Americas. The mill then changed into a flax mill when flax was extensively grown along this stretch of the East Coast from Auchenblae to Luthermuir and down through Angus.

As the Mill required many workers of all ages, the Owners decided to build a school to educate the children for a few hours a week.

When education became compulsory in the latter part of the 19th Century, a new school was built at Logie Pert, but this time with stone and lime with properly constructed roofs and classrooms. The “Mud Hut” became surplus to requirements and the next use was as a Church where Services were held regularly, although there were two other Churches less than a mile away.

The building was to be demolished and three new houses built, but luckily it was saved and taken over by the National Trust for Scotland. After some negotiation Joe Wishart was given tenancy for six years which will end fairly soon as the Trust intend to sell the building. During those six years Joe has provided cream teas on Sundays during the summer months and special holidays.

Takings from the events have enabled Joe to send many thousands of pounds to the National Trust for Scotland, as all work was done by Joe and his many volunteers.

Club Secretary Ian Bell thanked Joe for an excellent talk on the history behind the Mud House.