I did write a piece on this earlier but thought that I’d return and include all the settlements along the Sound of Harris that are East of Northton. There are a couple of reasons for considering these five as a group.
Firstly, the boundaries were clearly somewhat imprecise (the 1851list providing us with a glimpse that it was not just geographic situation but also tenancy of the land that led to the enumerator’s sub-divisions) and by no means consistent over time.
Secondly, these settlements are spread along the coast from the harbour at Rodel to the old ferry landing point at Kyles Lodge giving them a prime position at a time when the sea was the highway.
1841 – Kindiping 83, Obb 148, Strond 332, Rodel 81
1851 – Kentulavick 68, Obe 166, Strond 40, Port Esgein 150, Port Esgein Farm of Strond 89, Rodel 38
1861 – Kenduling 54, Oab 138, Strond 179, Borrisdale 14, Rodel 32
1871 – Keudebig 23, Obe 77, Strond 206, Borrisdale 8, Rodel 48
1881 – Kentulivig 17, Obbe 147, Strond 241, Rodel 36
1891 – Kendulavig 47, Obbe 181, Strond 213, Rodel 48
1901 – Kintulivag 69, Obbe 169, Strond 169, Rodel 48
The huge decline from 1841 to 1871 (approaching 44%) is remarkable but to what extent it reflects factors such as famine, disease and emigration I do not know. There was certainly a resurgence in numbers between 1871 and 1891 (followed by another decline during the next decade) but even that failed to return the population to pre-famine levels and is largely explained by the population increase in Harris as a whole.
I think that the growth of the importance of Tarbert, which is amply reflected in the growth and nature of the mercantile settlement there, and developments in the North Harris Estate during the Scott family’s ownership meant that these five places along the Sound wouldn’t see any significant resurgence until the days of Lord Leverhulme over 20 years later.