10.5 The Precinct

Apart from the immediate church and claustral buildings, the friary complex would have housed a number of other ancillary and incidental buildings, including barns and storage sheds, and would have been bounded with a wall, with access from the north through a gateway. Certainly the friars' garden was large and in all probability they cultivated a range of vegetables and possibly grains there. The Carmelites also had some crofts dotted around the town but it remains possible that they cultivated some of the land within the friary. Foggie notes that the Dominicans in Aberdeen cultivated oats on their site in Schoolhill (Foggie 2003, 90). Unfortunately there is no evidence for what crops the Carmelites cultivated , although Foggie notes that most of the Scottish Dominican houses had fruit trees (Foggie 2003, 91). Wyness cites the rouping of a large tree in the Green in 1731, although he suggests that it may have been part of the Trinitarians' orchard (Wyness 1971, 43) and without any documentary evidence. There is evidence for the 'freers kiln' as having survived the Reformation and it is possible that it was used to dry corn. The various excavations around the Green area since 1976 have in the main produced extensive depths of garden soil and very little in the way of structural evidence. The only exception was at 45-59 Green, where some late 12th and early 13th century cobbled surfaces and post-holes were discovered. However the overall degree of disturbance of this area through development since the 18th century should be borne in mind. The main friary buildings owed their survival below ground partly to their substantial nature and partly to their coincidental burial below a series of 'uncellared' structures from the 19th century onwards following a long post-Reformation period within the long-standing 'Carmelite friars' garden'.


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