SJ2989 : Tam O'Shanter Cottage, Bidston Hill

taken 13 years ago, 3 km from Prenton, Wirral, Great Britain

Tam O'Shanter Cottage, Bidston Hill
Tam O'Shanter Cottage, Bidston Hill
Tam O'Shanter Cottage, which was probably built about 300 years ago by a heath squatter, is situated at the edge of Bidston Hill near to the rear entrance to Flaybrick Cemetery.
As far as we know it had no particular claim to fame until 1837 when Richard Lea the occupier at that time embellished the building with a carved stone slab depicting Burns poem "Tam O'Shanter" in which Tam pursued by witches sought to reach the bridge in the belief that the witches would not dare to cross running water. Tam indeed escaped but his mare poor Maggie lost her tail.
In Auld Lang Syne, by Harry B. Neilson, printed in 1935, mention is made that the date 1837 can be seen on a stone garden wall of the cottage. It is stated that Richard Leay cut the date on the wall and carved the Tam O'Shanter stone and also the weather vane with its animals heads, lion, dog etc. It is said he made them in his spare time to decorate his cottage. Part of the cottage will be seen in the foreground to be roofed with thick, stone, flags, which in past times was a common method of covering buildings in Bidston, where stone was plentiful.The list of farms which were on the Bidston Hill heathland in the year 1840 includes the Tam 0'Shanter farm and tells us that the size of the farm was 6 acres. We know that in 1841 Richard Lea was a master stonemason. At that time, there was a great deal of building going on in Birkenhead. Hamilton Square, the Town Hall, Cammell Lairds, Bidston Observatory, Bidston Lighthouse and many churches were being built in the 19th century and there would have been plenty of work for Richard Lea in Birkenhead. So we might imagine Richard Lea shaping stone for these buildings, as well as working on the Tam O'Shanter farm, looking after hens, pigs, cows and growing crops. Thus the cottage became known as Tam O'Shanter Cottage and became a favourite subject for artists and visitors alike. (Taken from LinkExternal link
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SJ2989, 37 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Sunday, 13 November, 2005   (more nearby)
Sunday, 13 November, 2005
Houses > Thatched cottages   (more nearby)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SJ 291 893 [100m precision]
WGS84: 53:23.7449N 3:4.0617W
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