Associated People: Barr, Mr Thomas, Balephetrish (1844 - 1918)

1999.129.4

Thomas Barr, tenant of Balephetrish Farm 1864-1912

Photograph of Thomas Barr, tenant of Balephetrish Farm 1864-1912.

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Courtesy of Mr Angus Munn

In the mid-19th century, the 8th Duke of Argyll was keen to modernise Tiree’s agriculture and introduce dairy farming which he thought admirably suited to island’s pasturage. In 1864 he signed a 19-year lease for £400 a year with Robert Barr, a farmer from Dalry in Ayrshire.

So keen was the Duke for his new tenant to be successful he amalgamated the farms of Vaul, Balephetrish, the Reef, Kenovay and Crossapol to make a sizeable holding of over 3,000 acres. He also repaired the farmhouse and erected byres, stables, cart sheds and other outhouses.

Robert Barr sent his son Thomas to the island to establish the farm. Some cheese was made, but Tom Barr soon found that breeding beef cattle and horses was more lucrative. He introduced the first Clydesdale stallions to Tiree and also introduced the first mechanised hay rake.

Black and white photograph of Thomas Barr of Balephetrish Farm.

Thomas Barr who farmed in Balephetrish from 1864 to 1912.

2002.188.2.1

Three handwritten letters about the burning of a shepherd`s cottage on the Reef, 1899

Copies of three letters: (1) from the factor Hugh MacDiarmid dated 31/3/1899 about the burning of a shepherd`s cottage on the Reef, Tom Barr`s involvement and the decoration of the Lodge, (2) private postscript attached to letter from factor Hugh MacDiarmid dated 31/3/1899 about Tom Barr whom he finds `a violent tempered man`, (3) from solicitors Lindsay Howe & Co of Edinburgh dated 14/3/1899 re the burning of a shepherd`s cottage on the Reef and who is responsible for its restoration.

1997.233.5

Audio cassette recording of Duncan MacPhee talking to Reg Knapman.

Duncan MacPhee talks to Reg Knapman about the Cornaigbeg and Scarinish MacLeans, Ciorstaidh Mhor, his grandparents, Scarinish farms, his father and old stories, Balephetrish houses and Tom Barr, his early working days, the building trade, his wife, crimes, boarded-outs. Mary Ann Munn of Crossapol also recorded.