Police report on the theft of peats
Transcription of a police report on the theft of peats from the Tiree peat moss in the Ross of Mull in 1860.
Courtesy of Argyll & Bute Archives
In 1801 the 5th Duke of Argyll instructed his chamberlain of Tiree: ‘No peats to be allowed to crofters from the mosses in the island, which are nearly exhausted, but coals must be imported…They can be allowed to take peats from Ross in Mull if they chuse.’
In the previous century the people of Tiree had frequently resorted to the peat mosses in the Ross of Mull for their fuel, a practice that continued, some say, until the beginning of the 20th century. The men and boys would sail over to the Ross in the spring to cut and stack the peats, returning later in the year to ferry the dried peats back to Tiree.
In 1860 Effy MacKinnon of Ardtun appeared before Sheriff Robertson in Tobermory charged with stealing peats belonging to Gilbert MacDonald of Balemartine. She was found guilty and sentenced to six days imprisonment.