Blacksmiths of Harris


This is another preliminary investigation into an occupational group on the Isle of Harris.

I have an interest in this particular craft due to my mother being descended from several generations of blacksmiths & ironmongers in South London & Kent.

I have listed Harris-born smiths working elsewhere in the Western Isles.

The majority of those working in Harris were Hearachs.

1841
Neil Morrison, Nishishee(!), 35
Neil Macaskill, Borve, 35
Kenneth Morrison, Geocrab, 60
John Morrison, Obb, 45
Malcolm Morrison, Tarbert, 45

John Morrison (1790-1852) was a Gaelic poet and this song-smith is buried in St Clement’s Church, Rodel.

1851
Angus Morrison, Obb, 26, Blacksmith & Miller (Son of John Morrison above)
Malcolm Morrison, Tarbert, 50, Master Blacksmith
John Macleod, Kyles Scalpay, 35

Harris-born Blacksmiths:
Neil Macaskill, Bernera, 46
Neil Morrison, Breanish, Uig, 40
Norman Macleod, Enaclete, Stornoway, 44
William Macaskill, Stornoway, 24
Murdo Maclennan, North Uist, 54

(John Morrison, 55, Free Church Catechist, Leac a Li, b. Harris – The Blacksmith/Hymn-Writer)

1861
Malcolm Morrison, East Tarbert, 56
Ewen Morrison, East Tarbert, 39 (Eldest Son of John Morrison)

Donald Maclennan, North Uist, 20

1871
Ewen Morrison, 49, Black Smith, Smithey Tarbert, b. Harris (Son of John Morrison)

Harris-born Blacksmiths:
John Morrison, Stornoway, 22
Norman Macleod, Stornoway, 66
John Macaskill, Stornoway, 21, Apprentice Blacksmith

1881
Donald Morrison, Gardener’s House, North Harris, 29
Ewen Morrison, East Tarbert, 57 (Son of John Morrison)
Alexander Morrison, East Tarbert, 23
John Morrison, East Tarbert,10, Apprentice Blacksmith
Norman Macleod, Finsbay, 27
Angus Morrison, Obb, 54

Harris-born Blacksmiths:
Neil Morrison, Breanish, Uig, 75, Master Blacksmith
John Macaskill, Stornoway, 30
Norman Macleod, Stornoway, 75

1891
Donald Morrison, North Harris, 39
Norman Macleod, North Harris, 38
John Morrison, East Tarbert, 39
Donald Morrison, Obb, 27

(Ewen Morrison, 68, Retired Black Smith, No 29 East Tarbert, b. Harris – John Morrison’s Son)

Harris-born Blacksmiths:
John Macaskill, Stornoway, 38

1901
Norman Macleod, North Harris, 41
Donald Morrison, North Harris, 49
John Angus Morrison, North Harris, 16, Apprentice Blacksmith (Donald’s Son)
Murdo Morrison, North Harris, 16, Apprentice Blacksmith (Donald’s Son)
John Morrison, North Harris, 35
Donald Morrison, Obb, 38

(Ewen Morrison, 80, Retired Blacksmith, No45, North Harris, b. Harris – John Morrison’s Son)

Harris-born Blacksmiths:
John Macaskill, Stornoway, 49
Donald Macmillan, Bernera, 30

It is clear that this specialised occupation was restricted to a very few families with those bearing the name Morrison dominating the field.

It would be interesting to investigate this further…

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