In the 1851 census there were 18 people, in 3 households, in ‘Limera, Hamlet of Limera, Lochs’.
Lemreway, or, Leamrabhaigh, apparently used to be known as Leumra and later Leumrava.
The expansion of the Park Sheep Farm, centred at Valamus in South Park, resulted in the Clearance, in 1843, of Lemreway and Orinsay.
In 1841 these two townships had been home to 179 and 147 people respectively.
In 1851 the 18 people listed here were the only inhabitants of Lemreway and not a soul was to be found living in Orinsay.
Lochs Community site: http://www.lochslewis.org/content/view/96/36/ and Hebridean Connections: http://www.hebrideanconnections.com/Details.aspx?subjectid=1017 both have more information.
Robert Linton, 26, Shepherd, b. Roberton, Roxburgh
Helen, 24, Wife, b. Ashkirk, Selkirk
John, 2, Son, b. Contin, Lochs
Adam, 6 months, b. Lochs
Margaret Lillico, 6, Niece, b. Lochs
Catherine Lillico, 5, Niece, b. Lochs
Johanna Lillico, 2, Niece, b. Lochs
Marion Kerr, 23, b. General Servant, b. Harris
Donald Macdonald, 48, Fisher, b. Lochs
Malcolm, 14, Fisher, Son, b. Lochs
Morgus, 35, Fisher, Brother, b. Lochs
Angus Martin, 16, Fisher, Relationship Unknown, b. Lochs
Angus Mackenzie, 20, Fisher, Nk Viz Note Margin, b. Lochs
Roderick Mackenzie, 24, Fisher, Nk, b. Lochs
John Mackenzie, 19, Fisher, Nk, b. Lochs
Donald Macdonald, 21, Fisher, Nk, b. Lochs
Catherine Mackenzie, 75, Pauper (General Servant), b. Lochs
Catherine Mackenzie, 60, Visitor, b. Lochs
Today Lemreway, together with neighbouring Orinsay, are isolated-enough places, but 160 years ago these 18 folk must have felt themselves even more cut-off from their fellows. The sea was their prime means of movement, for there were no roads and the tracks would have been almost impassable at times, yet the nearest settlement was perhaps 6 or 7 nautical miles away.
Let us look at these three households:
The first is that of a Shepherd from the Mainland, not only with his wife and two very young children but also with three equally young nieces. Were they visitors or, as seems more likely, orphans? Whatever the circumstances, it is not surprising that they called-upon the assistance of a General Servant, of whom more later.
Secondly, we have the 8 men, each a ‘Fisher’, and ranging in age from 14 to 48. Whether this was their ‘permanent’ abode or they were merely making-use of the facilities whilst fishing the local waters I do not know. I do know that a group of, largely, such young men cannot have chosen to be living together in such circumstances if there were a more companionable alternative available.
Finally, we have the two elderly ladies, but look, one of these is a visitor so the elder Catherine Mackenzie, a Pauper, normally lives alone, presumably preferring to see out her days in the land she has lived in rather than moving to strange, but perhaps more convivial, surroundings.
18 where once there had been ten times that number.
1 man shepherding sheep on land that had sustained perhaps two or three-dozen families.
2 children, or 5 if we allow the nieces too, where over 100 would have given shrill-sign of laughter and of hope.
8 men, huddled together in their barrack.
And one women, clinging to her land, her memories and her dignity…
Lastly, what of the ‘General Servant’?
Well, it so happens that her sister-in-law was one of those 147 souls torn from Orinsay some 8 years earlier which makes it all the stranger that she should be found here, apparently assisting a family whose very presence symbolises the forces that drove another young women to Stornoway and, in 1848, into the arms of her brother.
I do wonder how my ‘2nd great grandaunt’ came to be in the Hamlet of Limera in 1851.
Map Note: The OS 10,560 map of 1854 has all the roofless houses, marked ‘Ruins’, and one that appears to be intact, adjacent to the ‘L’ of ‘Leamrabhagh’ – It is the sole indicator of human habitation…
The 1851 census records James Lillico, 30, Manager of Sheep Farm (Employing 10 Shepherds and 2 Boatmen) residing at ‘Valamis House’, Park Farm Kenmore, Lochs. There are 9 other people at Kenmore, including his wife, so we may safely conjecture that the Lillico Nieces at Limera were his daughters.
A record of the Farmstead can be read here:http://www.scotlandsplaces.gov.uk/search_item/index.php?service=RCAHMS&id=133887