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