Cases visited in Tiree during the Poor Law Inquiry of 1843
Transcription of an extract from the Minutes of Evidence of the Poor Law Inquiry in 1843 with notes of cases visited on Tiree.
Two Commissioners from the Poor Law Inquiry visited Tiree in 1843, one of whom was shown round a sample of thirty poor families across the island by a Mr MacLean of Hynish. Half of the cases visited were on the Poor Roll and received four to six shillings a year from the Parish.
By 1841 the population of Tiree had swelled to 4,961, double what it had been fifty years previously and more than the island could comfortably support. Nearly half the inhabitants were estimated to be living in deep poverty.
Widows with children and elderly spinsters were particularly vulnerable as were landless cottars without a trade. The able-bodied poor had no legal right to assistance and were expected to find employment on the mainland.