Tiree Food Producers Sent To Prison
Transcription of a Highland Land League publication of 1918 titled ‘Tiree Food Producers Sent To Prison’.
Courtesy of Mr Hugh MacLeod
During World War I, the Government encouraged people to cultivate unused land. It also instructed the Board of Agriculture for Scotland in 1914 to break up large farms for returning servicemen. The Board decided to take over the lease of 137 acres of Balephetrish farm for small holdings.
However, Thomas Barr, the tenant of Balephetrish farm, claimed £1,243 in compensation which the Board refused to pay although it allocated the land to a number of applicants. By 1918, eight Tiree cottars could wait no longer and ploughed 30 acres of Balephetrish farm and planted potatoes and other crops.
They were arrested and taken to Oban where they were welcomed like heroes by the local branch of the Highland Land League. At the subsequent court hearing they were found guilty and sentenced to ten days in prison with the recommendation that ‘they be treated to the privileges of political prisoners’.