Hand Loom Weavers of Harris

1841 is the only year that sees the occupation ‘H L W’ (Hand Loom Weaver) in the Parish of Harris:

Chersty Kerr, 80
William Macleod, 35
Effy Maclennan, 19
Marion Morrison, 61, Rha
Mary Macleod, 41, Rha

Catherine Morrison, 50
Mary Campbell, 30

Mary Macaskill, 50, Rushgarry
Ann Macintyre, 45, Rushgarry
Effy Mackinnon, 35, Rushgarry

At this point it might appear that the term ‘HLW’ was used uniquely by the people on these three islands off the West and South of Harris or ,perhaps, by the aquatic Enumerator dispatched to collect their data.

Let us look a little further afield in the Parish of Harris:

In this same year, there were thirty-one HLWs on South Uist, one on North Uist but none on Harris.

Again in 1841, there were twenty-three Weavers on North Uist and only one on South Uist.

There were only five weavers recorded on Harris:

Marion Kerr, 55, Scarista
Norman Macleod, 50, Scarista

Malcolm Macleod, 40, Kentulavig

Donald Maclennan, 70, Strond
Donald Macleod, 45, Strond

It appears that North Uist and Harris were the islands of Weavers whilst South Uist, Berneray, Pabbay and Taransay were those of the Hand Loom Weavers.

In Ross and Cromarty, the Isle of Lewis in 1841 had eighty-one HLWs but only five Weavers, all the later in Uig which Parish contributed four of the eighty-one HLWs.

I am tending towards the differentiation between these two groups as being no more than an artefact of the way this census was compiled, not least because I appear to have had a relative in each of the two camps!

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