Sir Edward Henry Scott, 5th Baronet of Lytchett Minster (1842-1883)

Sir E Scott is perhaps best known from the school in Tarbert that bears his name. The best source that I have found on the Scott family’s time(s) as owners of the North Harris Estate is to be found here and I heartily recommend reading it in full: Amhuinnsuidhe Castle

The article is extremely informative (for example, explaining the presence of the ‘Dunara Castle’ in Tarbert as discovered in the censuses) and reference is made to Sir Edward and his wife Emily and to their son Sir Samuel and his wife Sophie. It was these snippets of information regarding the names of their wives that allowed me to find out a little more about this particular Scott family.
I have no doubt that more details are recorded elsewhere, but none of the sources that I have accessed contain any.

The Baronetcy of Lytchett Minster was created in 1821 for Sir Claude Scott. Lychett Minster is a small village a mile inland from the sea near Poole in Dorset on the South coast of England. The holders of the title were:

Scott Baronets, of Lytchett Minster (1821)
Sir Claude Scott, 1st Baronet (1742-1830)
Sir Samuel Scott, 2nd Baronet (1772-1849) Member of Parliament for Malmesbury 1802-1806, and Camelford1812-1818
Sir Claude Edward Scott, 3rd Baronet (1804-1874)
Sir Claude Edward Scott, 4th Baronet (1840-1880)
Sir Edward Henry Scott, 5th Baronet of Lytchett Minster (1842-1883)
Sir Samuel Edward Scott, 6th Baronet (1873-1943)
Sir Robert Claude Scott, 7th Baronet (1886-1961)

Although Lytchett Minster was home to the title, the home of the Scott family was Sundridge Park in Bromley, Kent and an informative account of the house and gardens is to be found here: Sandridge

Sir Edward Henry Scott married Emilie Packe in the Summer of 1865 in Mitford, Norfolk and their son, Sir Samuel Edward Scott married Sophie Beatrix Mary Cadogan, a daughter of the 5th Earl of Cadogan, in the Summer of 1896 in Chelsea.

And that’s my brief introduction to the Baronets of Lytchett Minster, twice owners of the North Harris Estate…

Lews Castle 1881

Mary Jane Matheson, 60, Baronet’s Widow and Proprietrix, Lewis Castle, b. Quebec, Spencer Wood
Honourable Florence Murray, 27, Peer’s Daughter, Visitor, b. Darnduff, Peebles-shire
Honourable Blanche Murray, 22, Peer’s Daughter, Visitor, b. Paris

Catherine Mackay, 40, Housekeeper, b. Durness, Sutherlandshire
Mary Cameron, 29, Cook, b. Genhie, Inverness-shire

Mary Ann Cunnignham, 35, Lady’s Maid, b. Essex
Helen Pockberger, 19, Lady’s Maid, b. Pyrmont, Germany

Mary Jane Autchins, 24, Housemaid, b. Sunderland
Mary Macsween, 23, Housemaid, b. Stornoway
Jessie Calder, 20, Housemaid, b. Uig

Margaret Mackay, 52, Laundry Maid, b. Durness, Sutherlandshire
Elizabeth Jarrold, 24, Kitchen Maid, b. Suffolk

Thomas Dickens, 38, Butler, b. Herefordshire
William R J Danley, 18, Footman, b. Kent
John Macleod, 28, Groom, b. Barvas

Sir James Matheson had died less than two-and-a-half years previously and here we catch a glimpse of his widow on the evening of Sunday 3rd April 1881.

Her companions were two daughters of Alexander Oliphant Murray, 9th Lord Elibank, and his wife Emily Maria Montgomery. The Honourable ladies had been orphaned on the death of their mother in 1879. This Murray family later became the Erskine-Murray family.

Supporting the three ladies are an assortment of servants, a dozen in number, half of whom were born in Scotland but only three of these were from Lewis, although they do ‘represent’ 3 of the 4 Parishes!


Gamekeepers of Harris

These are all the Gamekeepers found in the census returns for Harris.
I have separated them into South Harris and then North Harris and added notes for each decade:

Angus Shaw, 42, Geocrab, b. Harris

Finlay Macleod, 30, Visitor, Port Esgein, Farm of Strond, b. Harris

As Finlay Macleod is only visiting Port Esgein and is later found in North Harris he may well have been working on the latter Estate at this time. He and a Miller, John Macaulay, are at the home of the Shoemaking Kerr family with the ‘Paisley Sisters’ also living at Port Esgein at this time.

Angus Shaw, 50, Ardslave, b. Harris

Finlay Macleod, 44, Miavaig, .b Harris

We are awaiting the construction of the two castles of Harris in 1863 and 1867 but nevertheless it is surprising that these two remain the only ‘permanent’ Gamekeepers recorded.

Angus Shaw, 64, Strond, b. Harris

Murdo Macaulay, 57, Ardourlie Castle, b. Harris
Donald John Mackenzie, 45, House at Tarbert, b. Harris
James Robertson, 37, Main Road of Harris, b. Perthsire
Donald Scott, 28, Avensrudh Castle, b. Perthshire

Angus Shaw is still serving the South Harris Estate but we now have a Gamekeeper at each castle plus two more on North Harris.

John Finlayson, 28, South Harris, b. Stirling

Roderick Mackay, 32, Farm House, N Harris, b. Lochbroom
D John Mackenzie, 60, Stavke Loft, N Harris, b. Harris
Finlay Macleod, 63, Miavaig, b. Harris
Angus Macleod, 46, Luachair Keeper’s House, N Harris, b. Harris
Charles Macleod, 23, Bunamhewdara, N Harris, b. Harris
Murdoch Macaulay, 65, Keeper’s House, N Harris, b. Harris
Robert Macaulay, 25, (Unemployed), Son, Keeper’s House, N Harris, b. Harris
Frederick Macaulay, 29, 2 Ardvourlie, b. Lochs
Murdo Macfarland, 48, Assistant GK, 3 Ardvourlie, b. Ness, Ross-shire

John Finlayson has taken over the role at Rodel and we see 8 gamekeepers serving the castles and the North Harris Estate.

John Finlayson, 41, Rodel, b. Stirling
Roderick Macleay(?), 43, Hamlets Little Borve, b. Lochbroom
Donald Macleod, 47, Leaclee, b. Harris
Duncan Shaw, 45, Flodabay, b. Harris

Murdo Macaulay, 78, No 2, N Harris, b. Harris
Finlay Macleod, 75, Tolomochan House, N Harris, b. Harris
Charles Macleod, 32, No 2 N Harris, b. Harris
Frederick Maculay, 48, 2 Ardvourlie, b. Lewis

Borve Lodge, on the West coast, is represented now but the predominance of the North is still in evidence.

John Finlayson, 51, Rodel, b. Stirling
Roderick Macleay, 53, Little Borve, b. Lochbroom
Duncan Shaw, 52, Flodabay, b. Harris

Murdo Macdonald, 86, 2 Gamekeepers House, N Harris, b. Harris
Donald Macdonald, 22, 5 Solomochan cottage, N Harris, b. Kilmonivig, Inverness-shire
John Macinnes, 40, 2 Bunavoneadder, N Harris, b. Harris
Angus Macleod, 66, 1 N Harris, b. Harris

Samuel Morrison, 35, Laxdale(?), b. Harris

The previous pattern is maintained but whether the apparent drop from the 1881 heights is a true reflection of sporting activity or merely an artiface of the peripatetic nature of Gamekeeping is not known.

Anecdotally, one of my English Gamekeeping ancestors appears in one Census in a large group of Gamekeepers staying in a barn! They were clearly engaged in supporting a hunt away from their families at the time.

The other surprise has been to see that throughout the years a Gamekeeper has resided in the Bays of Harris, initially in isolation but then latterly accompanied by a colleague living in Rodel.

I have not yet established a construction date for Borve Lodge, today still in private ownership but now within the area administered by the West Harris Trust which combined the estates of Luskentyre, Borve and Scaristavore.

Castles (in the Air)

Ardvourlie Castle
In 1863, Ardvourlie Castle, on the shores of Loch Seaforth, was built as a hunting lodge for the North Harris Estate which was being run my the widowed Lady Catherine and her Factor. It was let on a tenancy basis to sporting friends.

Amhuinnsuidhe Castle
Charles, 7th Earl of Dunmore, decided that Ardvourlie Castle was too far removed from his sporting activities. In 1867 Fincastle was constructed, Fincastle being the courtesy title (Viscount Fincastle) of the first sons of the Earls of Dunmore, but it later was renamed Amhuinnsuidhe Castle after its location.

Here are the residents of each castle as seen in the censuses of 1871-1901:

Isabella Burns, 22, Domestic Servant, Ardvourlie Castle, b. Stornoway
Arabella Murray, 19, Domestic Servant, .b Ireland
Murdo Morrison, 21, Schoolmaster, Visitor, b. Carloway

Murdo Macaulay, 57, Gamekeeper, Ardvourlie Castle, b. Harris
Elizabeth, 54, Wife, b. Aberfeldy, Perthshire
Robert, 26, Assistant Gamekeeper, Son, b. Athline, Ross-shire
Jessie, 21, Daughter, b. Athline
Emma, 17, Daughter, b. Athline
John Macleod, 5, Grandson, b. Tarbert, Inverness-shire

Anne Braden, 47, Housemaid, Avensrudh Castle, b. England
Mary E Elliot, 16, Visitor, Niece, b. England
Donald Scott, 28, Gamekeeper, b. Perthshire

(Murdo Macleod, 60, Farmer, Scalpay, b. Fincastle, Harris)
This is odd as the castle was only built 4 years ago!

1879 – Ardvourlie Castle burnt down on Tuesday, 4th March
…built about 16 years ago at great cost by Lord Dunmore.’
Glasgow Herald, Thursday, March 6, 1879; Issue 12232

Betsy Macaulay, 32, Housekeeper, 1 Ardvourlie, b. Harris
Margaret Macleod, 26, House Maid, Cousin, b. Harris
Marion Mackay, 16, Visitor, b. Harris
Peter Macaulay Smith, 3, Visitor, b. Peterhead

Frederick Macaulay, 29, Gamekeeper, 2 Ardvourlie, b. Lochs
(Wife and 4 children all b. Harris)
Chirsty Mackenzie, 22, General Servant, b. Lochs

Murdo Macfarland, 48, Assistant Gamekeeper, 3 Ardvoulie, b. Ness, ross-shire

Elizabeth Covell, 32, General Servant (Domestic, Castle, N Harris, b. England
Margaret Macleod, 28, General Servant (Domestic), b. Harris
Euphemia Mackinnon, 32, General Servant (Domestic), b. Harris

Marjory(?) Macdonald, 35, House Maid, 1, Ardvourlie, b. Harris
Bella Mackay, 20, Third House Maid, b. Harris

Frederick Macaulay, 48, Gamekeeper, 2 Ardvourlie, b. Lewis
(Wife and 9 children)

Kate Mackenzie, 29, Housemaid Domestic, Finn Castle, b. Harris
Marion Mackay, 28, Under Housemaid, b. Harris

Ewan Macdonald, 25, Deer Stalker, Gamekeepers House, b. Kilmonivig, Inverness-shire
Flora Finlayson, 34, Housekeeper, b. Portree

(There are also several entries for 1 and 2 Gamekeepers House, N Harris but I intend focussing on those people associated with Gamekeeping in a separate article)

The most obvious feature is that none of the censuses have captured occupants other than employees and their visitors.

Whilst we can be fairly sure that the domestic staff were living in the castles themselves, those supporting the sporting activities appear predominantly to have inhabited associated houses.

Although I am slightly disappointed by the ‘thinness’ of these results, perhaps they demonstrate how small a part these castles played in the everyday lives of the 4000+ people of Harris despite they being the people who paid the highest price in establishing these ‘sporting’ venues on the Highlands and Islands…

…It is only now, with the purchase of the North Harris Estate by the people of Harris that they will begin benefiting directly from the income generated by Amhuinnsuidhe Castle.

From Paupers to Very Poor…

Paupers recorded on censuses taken in Harris

Year       Male       Female       Total

1851       21            52              73

1861       18           49               67

1871        07          21               28

1881       09           20               29

1891       00           03               03

1901       03           11                14

I was about to begin pontificating upon these figures when I came upon a record from 1851:

Kenneth Morrison, 80, a Hearach was living in Widows Row, Stornoway with his wife, Catherine.

Occupation – Very Poor…

Very Poor – What levels of despair and destitution do those two small words define?

There are seven Paupers recorded in Stornoway in 1851 but only Kenneth has his occupation described as ‘Very Poor’.

Perhaps not poor enough to qualify for State Aid and hence become a Pauper (or too proud to do so, or in some other manner denied access?) but sufficiently so for the Enumerator to use the word ‘Very’ to describe his and Mrs Morrison’s plight.

On this very night, elsewhere in Stornoway, John McNeil, Chairman of the Board of Supervison for the Relief of the Poor in Scotland, was in the newly-built Lews Castle on one of his many information-gathering exercises.

His circumstances were certainly not ‘Very Poor’…

Note: I have so far been unable to locate ‘Widows Row’ in Stornoway but in 1901 it appears as ‘Newvalley widows Row’. Since first composing this piece, I have discovered the location of this 1851 Widow’s Row in this very interesting letter:

The Poverty Party – Stornoway Distillery & Lews Castle in 1851

Sir James Matheson had bought Lewis in 1844 and three years later began the construction of Lewis Castle which was completed in 1854 at a cost of £60,000 – a staggering £40Million today!

Slap bang in the middle of this drug-financed construction project (Matheson was knighted for his role in the ‘Opium Wars’ in China) was the 1851 census and it is the evidence of that record that is presented here.

Sir James, a confirmed teetotaller, chose as the site for Lews Castle the only distillery in Stornoway and this explains why the ‘Town’ part of these addresses are ‘Stornoway Distillery’.

Address: Lewis Castle, Stornoway Distillery
John MacNeil, 55,Chairman of the Board of Supervison for the Relief of the Poor in Scotland, Visitor
William A Peterkin, 27, Secretary Clerk Board of Supervision, Visitor
John Fraser, 28, Servant of John MacNeil
Elizabeth Watson, 42, Housekeeper Lewis Castle
Betsy Watson, 11
Ann Macdonald, 25, House Servant
Ann Grant, 27, House Servant
Jane Maclennan, 30, House Servant
Agnes Nelson, 23, House Servant

The Poor Law(Scotland) Act 1845 saw the appointment of a surgeon and diplomat, John MacNeil, to oversea its implementation and he remained Chairman of the Board until 1878.

Colonsay born MacNeil visited no less than 27 of the worst afflicted Parishes during the years of the Potato Famine which explains his presence in Stornoway at this time.

It does not explain the serendipity that finds him residing at the partly constructed castle on the particular night of the 1851 census along with his Secretary, William Arthur Peterkin.

I believe this may be the first time that this particular fact has been noted.

The irony of this poverty party being housed in the owner of the isle’s palatial palace; whilst all over Lewis and Harris displaced and destitute families were scavenging the shores for limpets to cling onto their bare existence, is also noteworthy.

Address: Gardener’s Lodge, Stornoway Distillery
Alexander Macrae, 55, Gardener Lewis Castle
Mary, 46, Wife
James, 14
Alexander, 12
Catherine Ann, 9
John, 7
Catherine Lewis, 5

Address: Distillery, Stornoway Distillery
Alexander Bowie, 36, Farm Overseer (Lewis Castle)
Isabella, 36, Wife
Jessie, 13 ,Scholar
Eliza, 9, Scholar
Ann, 6
Alexander, 2
William Macleod Bowie, 2 months
Peggy Macleod, 23, House Servant
Christina Macleod, 19, Small Tenants Daughter, Visitor
John Macleod, 22, Ag Lab
Roderick Macleod, 20, Ag Lab
Angus Mackenzie, 20, Ag Lab
John Macleod, 20, Ag Lab
Malcolm Maclean, 16, Cow Herd
Marion Maclean, 23, House Servant

William Mackay, 29, Coachman Lewis Castle
Alexanderina, 28, Wife
Malcolm Macdonald, 16, Stable Servant
Mary Macelod, 27, Seamstress, Visitor
Mary Bowie, 4, Scholar, Visitor

George Munro, 27, Joiner Journeyman
Marion Macdonald, 22, House Servant

Peter Stoddart, 26, Gardener Lewis Castle
Ann Stoddart, 16, House Servant, Sister


John MacNeil

William Arthur Peterkin

Lews Castle 1861

It is the evening of Sunday 7th April 1861 and we are observing Sir James Nicolas Sutherland Matheson, 64 and his considerably younger wife, Dame Mary Jane Matheson, through the eyes of their Butler, 28 year-old William Edward Martin.

William has been keeping a close eye on the table-clearing activities of the two Housemaids, Isabella Maciver(19) and Jessie Fraser(28)

He found himself paying particularly close attention to the young Isabella.

Cook Alexandrina Mackay (a somewhat formidable figure approaching her 40th birthday) had already been stood-down for the night but Christina Matheson, the 19 year-old Scullery Maid ,still has several tasks to complete and Christina Macleod is tut-tutting over the state of the napkins that she will be laundering in the morning.

Mary Milne, the matronly mid-forties Dairy Maid, accompanies Cook to their sparse accommodation somewhere in the distant draughty heights of the castle. Simultaneously, but in somewhat more sumptuous surroundings, early-thirties Lady’s Maid Sophia Ann Chatfield is ensuring that her Lady’s boudoir is just as it should be.

Servant Alan John Cerus (a 21 year-old couth-lacking upstart in the mind of William) has just returned from a pointless errand, the point of which was to keep him as far away from Isabella as possible.

William presents the Census form to his master on a silver tray and Sir James, having checked that all his titles and positions are correctly recorded, signs it, sighs slightly and then tells William to deal with ‘That damn man’ (the Enumerator) when he collects it in the morning.

All is good in the world of the Mathesons and the nine people who serve their every whim can take a brief break now that their duties are done.

After all, it is a Sunday on Lewis…

PS I should mention that in nearby Creed Cottage, the Watcher of the Grounds, 73 year-old Malcolm Macdonald, was dozing in his chair whilst his daughter, 23 year-old Isabella, attended to her duties as Teacher of Ayrshire Needle Work.


1)The players in this scene are each as recorded on the 1861 Census return for Lews Castle, the precise details as described, however,  are not…

2) All Scotland’s censuses recorded those present on a Sunday evening and were supposed to be completed on that day, a fact that may not have gone down to well, perhaps?