Tag Archives: crofters and crofting

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2022.32.2

Digitised copy of a letter from D MacInnes to Lord Archibald Campbell, 7 April 1885.

In the letter MacInnes (4 Battery Terrace, Oban) describes a conversation with an unnamed Tiree man who was born and brought up on the farm of ‘Hianous’ (perhaps Heanish). This unnamed man believes that the people of Tiree are better treated than on any other estate, but that only one half of the population can afford a comfortable living. He describes the situation on the farm of Scarinish, and mentions Sandy MacLean. He writes that four of the crofts there each maintain a horse, two cows, and a ‘stirk or two’ for £15 rent, and that the tenants have ‘unrestrained liberty’ to use as much sea ware (seaweed) as they like for manure and kelp making.

From the archives of the Dukes of Argyll at Inveraray Castle, made available through the Written in the Landscape project.

2022.31.6

Digitised copy of a letter from John McKinnon to the Duke of Argyll, dated 30 January 1894. In this letter McKinnon (Moss) complains that he was due to inherit a croft from his cousin, Catherine Sinclair (Moss), but that it was claimed by his cousin Neil Sinclair (cottar, Balephuil) and that the Factor, Mr Wyllie, entered Neil Sinclair’s name on the rent book. McKinnon references the work he did to improve the croft, that he took care of his cousin in her old age, and his current hardships. He was summoned by Mr Sproat (Procurator Fiscal) in Tobermory and failing his appearance was told his cow would be poinded. McKinnon also mentions that Sinclair was one of the first to take up their abode in Moss.

From the archives of the Dukes of Argyll at Inveraray Castle, made available through the Written in the Landscape project.

 

2022.31.5

Digitised copy of a letter from Donald Campbell (Kirkapol) to the Duke of Argyll, addressed from Gott and dated 10 November 1890.

In the letter Campbell explains how he has been ‘reduced to my present unfortunate position’, he refers to his cows ‘shirring’, resulting in death of calves, blames his three sisters for their lack of care towards the cows, problems in paying his rent and accruing ‘considerable’ arrears, his sisters commencing a law-suit against him, advice from Mr Sproat (Procurator Fiscal) in Tobermory to declare himself bankrupt, the sale of his belongings, and his hope that the Duke will allow him to keep his crofts. Campbell writes that his father-in-law Donald MacKinnon (tenant, Kirkapol) is willing to undertake joint payment of the rent. The letter contains a postscript signed by his father-in-law expressing his willingness to join with Donald Campbell in the management of the crofts in Gott and payment of the rent. Campbell also mentions attending the market in Mull to sell horses.

From the archives of the Dukes of Argyll at Inveraray Castle, made available through the Written in the Landscape project.

 

2022.31.4

Digitised copy of a Report of Enquiries made regarding Donald Sinclair, 20 August 1886.

Donald Sinclair was a joiner and Chairman of the Land Law Reform Association and one of the six arrested crofters who were taken to Inveraray. The report details how Sinclair was convicted on charges of theft in October 1877 and was sentenced to 30 days in jail, after breaking into a spirit shop at 55 London Street, Glasgow, and stealing beer or porter, champagne and gin.

Enclosed is a copy of a statement made by Neil MacKinnon (24 Raglan Street, Glasgow), a childhood friend of Sinclair. MacKinnon provides details of Sinclair’s good character, particularly following his time in prison, and claims that Sinclair is now an evangelist, teaches Sunday School and preaches, and that he is a fluent speaker in Gaelic on religious and political subjects. MacKinnon also provides details of Sinclair’s marriage to the daughter of ‘the largest merchant in Tiree’. The following people gave evidence on behalf of Sinclair: Mr McIntyre (publican), Mr McKechnie (the contractor), John McDonald (watchman), Donald McKechnie (contractor’s foreman). Apart from the publican, these were all natives of Tiree.

From the archives of the Dukes of Argyll at Inveraray Castle, made available through the Written in the Landscape project.

 

2022.31.3

Digitised copy of Tiree Estate, Improvements &c done for Crofters, 1878-1885. The list is organised by year and contains details of improvements, repairs to buildings, charity and ‘miscellaneous’ works along with their costs. Works performed include fencing, drainage, ditches, dykes, and roofing. There are records of charitable works, such as supplying seed potatoes to crofters, and providing assistance for replacing a boat, the purchase of livestock, and animals, or for building repairs.

The following names appear in the record, and some names appear more than once:

Lachlan McLean (Cornaigbeg), Malcolm McDougall (removed from Heanish), John McLean (Caoles), Alexander, Neil and Donald McFadyen (Caoles), John McLean (Balephuil), Widow Murdoch Campbell (removed from Balinoe), Widow Catherine McKinnon (Kilmoluaig), Donald McCallum (smith and crofter, possibly Kilmoluaig), Donald McPhee (crofter, Balemartine), Captain William Sinclair (Mannal), Widow Murdoch Brown (Mannal), John McKinnon (Balephuil), Angus McArthur (crofter, Balemartine), John Brown (Mannal), Colin Henderson (Balemartine), Widow Alexander Henderson (Balemartine), Rev John McFarlane (Balinoe), Archibald, Donald and John Campbell (farmers, Balinoe), Neil McKinnon (Moss), John Morrison (son in law of Neil Morrison [deceased], Moss), Donald McDougall (Balephuil), Donald McFarlane (Balemartine), Angus McInnes (Kilmoluaig), Alexander Livingston (Heanish), Rev Duncan McFarlane (Heanish), Hugh McKinnon Junior (crofter and packet man, Heanish), G B Smith & Co (Glasgow), Alexander and John McFadyen (Barrapol), A & J McFadyen (Balemartine), James Brown (Balemartine), Hector McDonald (Caoles & Ardess), Archibald McDonald (Caoles & Ardess),  Widow Neil McKinnon (Heanish), John McDonald (Heanish), Angus Munn (Heanish), Neil Campbell (Balinoe), Archibald McLean (Balemartine), Donald Campbell (Balemartine), Donald McLean, (Balemartine), Widow Mary McLean (Crofter, Vaul), John McPhail (crofter, Cornaigmore), John McLean (crofter, Kilmoluaig), John Cameron (Moss), P & R Fleming & Co (Glasgow), Hector McPhail (Cornaigmore), Hugh McLean Junior (Caoles), Donald Kennedy (Balevulin).

From the archives of the Dukes of Argyll at Inveraray Castle, made available through the Written in the Landscape project.

2022.31.1

Digitised copy of a Report from Heylipol Public School for the winter months, February 1883. The report was written for the Duke of Argyll by J McFarlane and is divided into observations on ‘attendance’, ‘progress’, ‘general’ and ‘state of the island’ and contains remarks on: attendance for December 1882 to February 1883; the affect of weather on attendance; subjects taught and standards; appointment of compulsory officers; comments on parents and their attitudes to education; and teachers. McFarlane also discusses unrest in the island (the ‘wild & extravagant ideas that originally started in Ireland’ and the ‘circulation of pernicious & revolutionary literature’) and refers to a petition signed by crofters in the west end. He recounts a conversation with a man named Donald, a crofter in Balevullin, and also refers to the consequences of inadequate farming techniques.

Click to read a transcript of this item.

From the archives of the Dukes of Argyll at Inveraray Castle, made available through the Written in the Landscape project.

 

2022.30.3

Digitised copy of a record showing dispossessed crofters in Mannal and Scarinish, 1865. Contains a list of crofters’ names and remarks on their situation.
Mannal: Donald McMillan (carpenter), Donald McLean S[enio]r (in Glasgow), Allan McDonald (assisting on his brother’s farm), Donald McLean J[unio]r (fisherman, occasionally employed on the lighthouse tender), John Lamont (works the Lightkeepers Lands), Alex[ande]r Henderson (crofter), Hugh McLean (keeps a small store), Alexander Shaw (‘deals occasionally’), Colin Campbell (shoemaker, occasionally employed at the lighthouse), John McDonald (dyke builder)
Scarinish: Mary MacLean (supported by son), Donald McDougall (dead, widow keeps a small store), Alex[ande]r McDonald (has a vessel, trading for the British Seaweed Company) Allan McFadyen (owns two smacks), Hugh McKinnon (shoemaker), Neil Macdonald (shoemaker), Neil McKinnon (unemployed), Neil McLean (carpenter), Hector McKinnon (employed in manuring potato ground).

From the archives of the Dukes of Argyll at Inveraray Castle, made available through the Written in the Landscape project.

2022.20.3

Digitised copy of a letter from the factor John M M Geekie to the Duke of Argyll, dated 17 September 1864. The letter discusses the enclosure of a list of paupers, offers of the Poor House, Duncan Campbell (crofter, Balevullin), cattle, Falkirk Tryst, weather damage to crops, potato and turnip crops.

Enclosed is a list of ‘paupers’ on Tiree who had been offered a place at the Poor House in Tobermory, dated 1864. The list contains remarks on their age, place of residence and circumstances. The following are named: Mary Carmichael (returned to Strathaven), Christina McKinnon (residing in Glasgow), Catherine McLean (Tiree), Mary McLean (Jun[io]r) (Balemartine), Christina Sinclair (Balephuil), Mary McLean (Cornaigbeg), Mary Campbell and son (Tiree), Donald McKinnon (Kilmoluaig).

From the archives of the Dukes of Argyll at Inveraray Castle, made available through the Written in the Landscape project.

2022.20.2

Digitised copy of Return of Crofters in Arrears, Tyree Estate, Crop 1862, with Remarks, dated April 1864. Contains residence, name of crofter, annual rent, amount in arrears at Whitsunday 1863 and remarks. The return includes the following crofters: Neil Macdonald (Balemartine), Donald Macfarlane (Balemartine), Niel MacLean (Balemartine), Malcolm MacArthur (Balephuil), John Campbell (Balephuil), Archibald Brown (Balephuil), Hector Lamont (Balevullin); Ann MacLean (Barrapol), Angus MacArthur (Barrapol), Niel Clark (Caoles), Alexander McKinnon (Gott), John Macdonald (Gott), Lachlan Macphaden (Hianish); Alexander Kennedy (Kilkenneth), Niel Mackinnon (Kilkenneth), John MacInnes (Kilmoluaig), Donald McMillan (Mannal), Arch[ibal]d McNeill (Mannal), Murdoch Brown (Mannal), Donald MacLean Jun[io]r (Mannal), John Macdonald (Mannal), Archibald McArthur (Sandaig), Niel MacKinnon Jun[io]r (Kilmoluaig).

Click to read a transcript of this item.

From the archives of the Dukes of Argyll at Inveraray Castle, made available through the Written in the Landscape project.

 

2022.26.1

Photocopy of an article titled ‘The crofters and the kelp’ by Roger Butler and published in Scottish Island Explorer magazine, Feb-Mar 2022. It gives an account of the kelp industry in the  western islands of Scotland, including Tiree, in the early 19th century, and of the people who worked at it.

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