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The Chaumer

"The Chaumer"

The unmarried farm workers of North Scotland lived in the bothy (or more accurately, in this area, the chaumer). Normally they took the job on a six monthly basis seeking new employment at the Spring or Autumn “Feeing Market” — unless they were asked to bide. It was in bothies like this that the bothy ballad originated, expressing the feelings on their living conditions, the tyranny of the “Heid Man” or the virtue of the local lassies.

Living conditions were rough, each man’s clothes being hung on his section of the wall, his valued possessions were locked in a kist while he slept in a wooden box bed with a “chaff” mattress for comfort. The term “bothy” originates from the Angus area where it was common for the workers to cook their own meals. In the Buchan area it was more common for the men to be fed in the farm kitchen and they only slept in the “chaumer”.

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