>Glasgow International Exhibition 1888

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‘The Glasgow Exhibition was yesterday visited by upwards of 66,000 persons.’
The total number of visitors to the Exhibition exceeded five-and-a-half million (slightly more than visited the London Exhibition) and amongst the exhibits available to them, in the Women’s Industries Section, was a section from the Home Arts and Industries Association:
‘An interesting and important part of the society’s work at present is the developing and improving of the wool-spinning and weaving industries in the Western Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Nearly 2000 women are employed under one class holder, Mrs Thomas, in spinning, dyeing and weaving; and in this exhibit is shown how the heavy woollen fabrics woven by them may be used for curtains, portieres, etc. Specimens of cloth and also of knitted socks, etc, are shown in a wall case outside the stand.’
This is tantalising for I have only come across one ‘Mrs Thomas’ involved with ‘heavy woollen fabrics’ and ‘knitted socks’ in the region. We know that in 1883 Fanny Thomas had still been taking boat trips to Taransay in connection with her work on the islands , that in 1897 she had endowed the Manish Victoria Cottage Hospital and that she appears to have maintained her interest until her death in Edinburgh in 1902 . The figure of ‘nearly 2000 women’ is astounding but, if this obituary is accurate, then at one time she had 400 stocking knitters on Harris alone!
‘Mrs Muir, of Lerwick, has brought with her three workers, who may be seen carding, spinning and knitting Shetland wool at her stand. This lady shows also a quantity of work knitted in the Fair Isles which is entirely different to the ordinary Shetland work, being bright and gay in colouring, and some of it very intricate in pattern. This kind of work is said to have been introduced into the islands by some of the Spaniards who were wrecked there at the time of the Spanish Armada. Not far from Mrs Muir’s stand is that of the Harris weaver, who, upon a very primitive loom, occasionally illustrates the weaving of the now famous and fashionable Harris tweeds. This loom was sent by Lady Scott, who takes great interest in the “homespun” industry of the Hebrides; and to the exertions of this lady and several others these textile industries owe their revival and recent development.’
I have included the Fair Isle section because, whilst straying outside my usual territory, it includes the story of wrecked sailors from the Armada and other similar tales are heard on the Western Isles.
The ‘Lady Scott’ referred to in regard to the loom upon which the (sadly un-named) Harris weaveress was working was Emilie, widow of Sir Edward Henry Scott and who, coincidently, had become a widow in 1883 which was the same year that Fanny Thomas’s husband Captain FWL Thomas had also died. This is the first direct reference I have found to the work of Lady Scott and it is entirely in keeping with the high regard with which the Scott family are held as proprietors of the North Harris Estate.
Finally, the use of the phrase ‘their revival and recent development‘ with reference to the ‘homespun’ textile industries of the Hebrides fits the pattern seen in the census data on Harris Weavers. .
Source: Glasgow Herald 10th November 1888 page 4
Note: The Home Arts & Industries Association, founded in 1884 by Eglantyne Louisa Jebb, was yet another organisation associated with the burgeoning arts & crafts movement in Britain and was functioning alongside others such as the Scottish Home Industries Association.

>South Harris Estate – The Final Dunmore Years & A Review of 1834-1919

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You may recall that, in 1868, Charles Adolphus Murray, the 7th Earl of Dunmore, had relinquished ownership of the North Harris Estate to his bankers, in particular the Scott family.

Thus for the next forty years, until his death on the 27th of August 1907, the Earl’s interest in the island was confined to his South Harris Estate.

He was succeeded by his son, Alexander Edward Murray, but this 8th Earl of Dunmore was to finally sell the estate in 1919 marking the end of his family’s involvement in the island some 85 years after his great grandfather had initially bought Harris. (As an aside, the purchaser in 1919 was Lord Leverhulme who paid £20,000 for the Estate. Following his death only six years later it was sold at auction for £900.)

In fact, the 8th Earl was a soldier and it was really only the in years 1908-1914 that he was able to devote time to his Harris estate for he played an active and distinguished role in the First World War prior to lord Leverhulme’s purchase a year after the end of that bloody and, for the islands, especially debilitating conflict.

Thus ended the Murray family’s ownership that may be conveniently divided into seven eras:

The 5th Earl
1834 – 5th March, George Murray, 5th Earl of Dunmore buys Harris for £60,000
1834 – Duncan Shaw replaces Donald Stewart as Factor

The 6th Earl
1836 – Alexander Murray, 6th Earl of Dunmore, inherits Harris
1836/7 – Poor harvests, particularly of Potatoes
1838/9 – Seilibost, Big Borve, Middle Borve and Little Borve cleared
184? – Raa on Tarasaigh Cleared for John Macdonald, tacksman
1843 – Church of Scotland fragments in Disruption – islanders join Free Church of Scotland
1843 – 6th Earl of Dunmore considers a harbour at W Loch Tarbert, with a link to the E Loch
1844 – John Robson Macdonald becomes Factor of Harris

The Dowager Countess
1845 – Alexander, 6th Earl, dies and Catherine, his wife, is ‘Tutor’ for her son, 7th Earl of Dunmore
1846 – Potato Famines begin
1847 – Borve, Harris resettled.
1849 – Countess of Dunmore establishes the Embroidery School at An-t-Ob
1851 – Crofts at Direcleit and Ceann Dibig bisected to provide homes for people cleared from Borve on Berneray
1851 – Potatoes Famines end.
1852 – Highland and Islands Emigration Society(HIES) formed – 742 leave Harris for Australia
1853 – Borve, Harris cleared again
1853 – Manish Free Church built
1854 – Road from Stornoway to Tarbert completed

The 7th Earl’s Limited Period*
1857 – 24th March – 7th Earl of Dunmore’s 16th Birthday
1857 – Lady Dunmore and Mrs Thomas start Stocking-Knitting industry
1858 – ‘In 1858 Lady Dunmore was a mother to her people in Harris.’ – Duchess of Sutherland writing of ‘The Revival of Home Industries’ in ‘The Land Magazine’, Vol 3, 1899.
1860s – Direcleit and Ceann Dibig cleared

*This marks the period during which, although he was still five years away from being of ‘Full Age’, the Earl would have had enjoyed enhanced rights regarding his property under Scottish law.

The 7th Earl
1862 – 24th March – 7th Earl of Dunmore’s 21st Birthday
1863 – Ardvourlie Castle built as Hunting Lodge for North Harris Estate
1865 – Harris Hotel built by Earl of Dunmore and originally called Tarbert Hotel
1866 – Marriage of 7th Earl to Lady Gertrude Coke
1867 – Abhainnsuidhe Castle built by Earl of Dunmore
1867 – North Harris Estate sold to Sir Ernest Scott for £155,000 (over two-and-a-half times what the 5th Earl of Dunmore had paid for the whole of Harris 33 years earlier!)
1871 – Alexander Edward Murray (8th Earl) born

The 7th Earl – South Harris Estate
1873 – Dunmore’s restore St Clement’s church
1882 – Nov/Dec –Thomas Brydone becomes Lord Dunmore’s Factor
1884 – Direcleit and Ceann Dibig recrofted
1886 – Catherine, Countess of Dunmore (7th Earl’s mother) dies in February
1886 – Telegraph Cable from Port Esgein, Harris to North Uist laid
1888 – Assisted emigration to Canada established
1897 – Golden Road linking Tarbert and Rodel through the Bays is completed
1897 – Manish Victoria Cottage Hospital built & endowed by Mrs Frances Thomas

The 8th Earl
1907 – Death of Charles Adolphus Murray, 7th Earl of Dunmore
1919 – South Harris Estate sold for £60,000.

The first point that I need to make is that, as a result of the estate(s) being owned by four successive Earls punctuated by the Dowager Countess’s period as ‘Tutor’, there is a degree of confusion to be found in some writing about Harris (Yes, including my own!) and I hope that the selected extract from my Timeline shown above helps to clarify things.

(A similar problem exists with the previous dynasty of owners where we have, in turn, Captain Alexander Macleod, Alexander Hume Macleod & then Alexander Norman Macleod owning the island from 1779-1790, 1790-1811 & 1811-1834 respectively!)

Secondly, it is really the role of two generations, those of the 6th & 7th Earls from 1836-1845 and 1845-1907 respectively, upon which we should focus:

1836-1845
Alexander Murray, 6th Earl of Dunmore, inherits the island and with it the first hint of the food crises that would, coincidentally, start the season after his death and dominate the early years of his widow’s control of the estate. He appears to do the islanders a favour in replacing the hated Factor Donald Stewart with Duncan Shaw Factor but the series of Clearances that Shaw oversaw suggests otherwise. The one good thing that the 6th Earl did consider doing was a revival of Captain Alexander Macleod’s plan to link East & West Loch Tarbert but he, just like the good Captain before him, died soon after having had this notion.

1862-1907
No, this is not an error but I want to look at these years before returning to what I believe to be the defining decades of the Dunmore dynasty.

The first five years see the finally fully fledged 7th Earl embark on an overambitious building program, gain a wife and lose an estate. I say ‘lose’ because, although it might appear that having sold North Harris for 250% of the sum his grandfather had paid for the whole island he had done rather well in the deal, it is believed that little or no cash was actually exchanged. The estate was provided in payment of monies that were owing to the Earl’s bankers.

It is worth noting that he wasn’t the first grandson to have to ‘sell’ land on Harris for Alexander Norman Macleod had preceded him in this regard when being forced to sell the whole island. In his case, the purchaser had been…the 5th Earl of Dunmore. It was also this Macleod who had brought Donald Stewart to Harris to act as his Factor.

The consequence of this was that, for the final forty years of his life, the 7th Earl only owned the South Harris Estate and thus could focus his attention upon that part of the island. There is, frankly, scant evidence of him paying the island any attention at all other than as a plaything and virtually none after his mother’s death in 1886. The few developments that did take place can all be ascribed to sources other than him.

1845-1862
As alluded to above, the Dowager Countess was greeted in the year following her husband’s death by the first of the Potato Famines that would last through to 1851 and lead, in part, to 742 people leaving Harris for Australia the following year. Borve on Harris was resettled, and then it & Borve on Berneray were Cleared. In amongst this turmoil the Countess decided to establish her Embroidery School at An-t-Ob which seems to have more in common with a child-labour sweat-shop than a serious attempt at addressing the economic issues facing the islanders.

She met their spiritual needs by finally acceding to demands for a Free Church to be built (although the site at Manish was not their first-choice) having claimed ignorance of all previous requests.

In the year of her son’s sixteenth birthday she and Mrs Thomas started the Stocking Knitting industry which appears to have been more financially robust for the women of the island than the Embroidery School of the previous decade. This event marks our first record of the latter lady’s presence on the isle, a presence that in my opinion was of great significance especially with regard to the early marketing of what was to become known as Harris Tweed.

Finally, in 1860, Direcleit and Ceann Dibig were cleared with a favoured few being allowed to dwell there as cottagers…

Overall what strikes me is not what the four Earls and one Countess are remembered for having done, but rather all that they failed to do and chief amongst these must be their not having established Tarbert as a fishing station with the two lochs linked by canal or rail.
One can only guess at the income it would have generated for the island and its owners and at what it might have cost, but it would certainly have been a wiser investment than the 7th Earl’s castle which was to prove so dear…

Sir TOM Sopwith & Harris

In 1944 Sir TOM Sopwith purchased the North Harris Estate and in his book ‘Discovering Lewis and Harris’, James Shaw Grant writes ‘…whose yacht was crewed almost exclusively by Harrismen.’

It is not clear whether this referred to his yachts Endeavour and Endeavour II with which Sopwith challenged for the America’s Cup in 1934 and 1937, his earlier motor yacht Vita (1927-1929), or the 1937 Philante that was requisitioned during WWII and sold in 1947 to become the Royal Yacht of Norway.

It would be good to discover more about this aspect of an estate owner who, alongside the Scotts before him, James Shaw Grant describes as ‘good proprietors and were highly regarded’.

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…

Harris -1925 Auction Details

I have added notes following the description of each Lot:

SOUTH HARRIS


Lot 1
The Estate and Deer Forest of Borve, with the Farm of Borve, Island of Taransay, Forest of Luskentyre (let on a long lease) and excellent Salmon and Sea Trout Fishing.
12,720 acres

Borve Lodge was Lord Leverhulme’s home on Harris. We see that he had let the Forest of Luskentyre.

Lot 2
The Port of Leverburgh, with Pier and fully equipped with Buildings for a Fishing Station
170 acres

As the focus of the ‘improvements’, and where most of the money had been spent, it is no surprise that ‘Leverburgh’ appears second in this list.

Lot 2a
House Property at Leverburgh
3 acres

I presume these were the ones that had been newly-built to house the workforce.

Lot 3
The Rodil Hotel and Farm and Island of Gilsay, with first-rate Salmon and Sea Trout fishing in the famous Obbe Lochs and Finsbay Lochs
2,226 acres

This is the old Rodel House and Farm but note the inclusion of Gilsay.

Lot 4
Kyles Lodge and Farm, with Salmon and Sea Trout Fishing and joint fishing rights in the Obbe Lochs
750 acres

Kyles Lodge is an 1840s Georgian-style farmhouse and was home to the incoming sheepfarmer Alexander Macrae between 182? and 1874. It is where the early Sound of Harris ferry docked.

Lot 5
Scarastavore Farm
3,244 acres

This is the farm to the South of Borve.

Lot 6
Scarastabeg Farm
1,470 acres

This is the next farm continuing South towards Northton.

Lot 7
Horsaclett House and Garden, with capital Salmon and Sea Trout Fishing
3 acres

Situated in the Bays of Harris, past Direcleit and Ceann Dibig on the right of the A859 a mile past the start of the ‘Golden Road’.

Lot 8
Crofting Land in South Harris, including Berneray Island and smaller islands off North Uist
33,870 acres

Berneray Island is 2,496 of these 33,870 acres. I mention that in order to provide a sense of scale.

Lot 9
The Island of Killegray
425 acres

In 1841 it was home to the six members of shepher Kenneth Macrae’s family plus 62 year-old Dorothy Ross from Inverness.

Lot 10
NORTH HARRIS with Amhuinnsuidhe Castle and Deer Forest, Ardvourlie Forest, Ardvourlie Lodge, Harris Hotel and House Property, and capital Salmon and Sea Trout Fishing
61,850 acres

The whole of North Harris, and nearly 53% of the total area, is in this final Lot. Ardvourlie ‘Castle’ has been ‘downgraded’ in the description and what began life as the ‘Tarbert Hotel’ appears in the name to which it is known to this day.

I make that a total of 116,731 acres, from a total of ‘about 355,000acres’ including Lewis, indicating that Harris is a tad under half the area of Lewis.

Ref: The original document can be seen here:
 http://www.ceuig.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/lewis%20estates%201925.pdf
and I am extremely grateful to http://www.ceuig.com/ for referring me to it.

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:

1851
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.

1861
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.

1871
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.

1881
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.

1891
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.

1901
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:

1871
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

1881
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

1891
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

1901
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.

Some Englishmen (and Women) ‘Abroad’ in Harris

Here are those born in England and caught by the snapshot in time of each census.

I have listed the Householder in brackets to give an indication of each person’s situation but have not included full listings for these households for reasons of brevity.

Each decade is followed by brief observations:

1851
Harriet Black, 30, Assistant’s Wife, Scalpay
(Charles Black, 27, Assistant Lighthouse Keeper, b. Edinburgh)

Mary Maclennan, 40, Chelsea Pensioner’s Wife, Flodabay
(Neil Maclennan, 49, Chelsea Pensioner, b. Harris)

John Henry Short, 34, Inland Revenue Officer, Kentulavick
Sarah Short, 29, Inland Revenue Officer’s Wife

Richard H Watson, 32, Fish Merchant, Rodel
Henry G Watson, 12, Errand Boy, Nephew

Only half-a-dozen English-born but illuminating all the same: the Lighthouse Keeper’s Wife in Scalpay and that of a Chelsea Pensioner (who’s Military Record may be explored) in Flodabay, the Tax Man and family on the Sound of Harris and the fish Merchant just a couple of miles down the coast…

1861
Joseph Allan, 36, Butler, Little Borve
Ann Allan, 36, Butler’s Wife
Elizabeth, 14, Daughter
Susan, 10, Daughter
Mary, 5, Daughter

Alexander Bain, 44, Ship Agent, East Tarbert
(John Morrison, 21, Hotel Keeper, b. Harris)

George B Williamson, 34, Master Mariner Merchant Service, Finsbay
Sophia Lauren Williamson, 24, Wife
William Hudson Williamson, 1, Son
William Lambert, 18, Apprentice Seaman
John William Jefferson, 16, Apprentice Seaman

Mary Maclennan, 34, Wife, Flodabay
Jane, 20, Daughter
Catherine, 17, Daughter
William, 16, Son
(Neil Maclennan, 56, Cottar Pension, b. Harris)

Borve Lodge doesn’t surprise us in employing a Butler, and clearly he brought his family sometime after 1856 but I wonder what his three daughters made of their new surroundings by the beatiful beaches of the West Coast? Mr Bain was passing through and hence is found amongst the throng at the Hotel in Tarbert but what of the maritime Williamson’s of Finsbay – did they stay long or was this a fleeting visit? Nice to see our Chelsea Pensioner Neil still surviving in Flodabay but where in England was he, with his wife, when his children were born?

1871
Anne Braden, 47, House Maid, Avensrudh Castle
Mary E Eliot, 16, Visitor, Niece, Avensrudh Castle

Mary Maclennan, 60
Catherine, 25, Domestic Servant, Daughter
William, 23, Fisherman, Son

Jane Maclennan, 27, Wool Weaveress

The castles I have touched-upon before but the transcriptions are confusing and somewhat unhelpful. Sadly, Neil appears to have passed away but his family remain, presumably in Flodabay?
.
1881
Elizabeth Covell, 32, General Servant, Castle North Harris

Lucy Macaulay, 32, (Unemployed) Gamekeeper’s Wife, North Harris
Robert G Macaulay, 4 months, Son
(Murdo Macaulay, 66, Gamekeeper, b Harris – Lucy’s Father-in-Law)

John Stewart, 5, Son, Kentulavick
(James Stewart, 22, Physician and Surgeon, b Fortingal, Perthshire

A contrast appears here between those serving the North Harris Estate and one providing an altogether different kind of service to the people. Little Robert G Macaulay was born when his Father was working in England, where he probably met his wife Lucy, but now the baby is at his grandparents home in Harris. I wonder whether he followed in his forebears footsteps and also became a Gamekeeper? Down South, little John Stewart’s father, whose age is probably 32?, is a Physician and Surgeon but where, I wonder, did he carry out his observations and operations?

1891
Christina Macaulay, 16, Schoolmaster’s Daughter, Obb
(Peter Macaulay, 55, Schoolmaster, b. Perthshire)

Margaret Mckellar, 23, Hotel Keeper’s Daughter, No 2 East Tarbert
(Daniel Mckellar, 53, Hotel Keeper, b. Inverary, Argyll

John Stewart, 15, Scholar, No 15 West Tarbert
(James Stewart, 40, Physician and Surgeon, b. Aberfeldy, Perthshire

Sir John Carstairs McNeill, 60, Major-General Equerry to the Queen, aboard the Dunara Castle

Mr Macaulay who taught in Obb clearly travelled during his pedagogic career and I wonder whereabouts in England he was teaching in 1875 when Christina was born? Which hostelry did Daniel Mckellar serve when Margaret appeared in 1868? And where were James Stewart’s patients when John was born in 1876?

I have received information (for which I am extremely grateful), from a gentleman who is researching the history of Borve Lodge, telling me that Daniel Mackellar ‘was the proprietor of the Harris Hotel immediately prior to Tommy Cameron.’ It would appear, anecdotally, that Mr Mackellar was perhaps a precursor of the ‘Basil Fawlty’ school of hotel management.

These snapshots raise so many such questions, which is why I enjoy exploring them so much!

1901
Milne Lothian, 12, Scholar, Nephew, Obbe
(Jessie Macleod, 48, Nurse and Midwife, b. Harris)

Christina Mackenzie, 25, Housekeeper, Daughter
(Peter Macaulay, 66, Retired Teacher, b. Killin, Perth)

We met Jessie Macleod when I investigated the Midwives of Harris but her Nephew’s name intrigues me.
I may pursue him later.

We end with the Retired Schoolmaster Peter Macaulay, remaining in Harris with his married daughter keeping house for him, the final image from these little windows on the world of the English-born in Harris…

SS Dunara Castle 1901 – Port Tarbert, Harris, Sunday 31st March

List of souls on board:

John McDougall, 48, Master, b. Jura
George Macdonald, 36, Mate, b. Coll
William Anderson, 59, Chief Engineer, Cathcart, Lanarkshire
Daniel Currie, 32, Assistant Engineer, b. Glasgow
John Maclean, 30, Boatswain, b. Coll

Duncan Turney, 42, Able Seaman, Kilmoran, Argyll
Neil Mackenzie, 23, Able Seaman, b. Harris
Kenneth Macaulay, 35, Able Seaman, b. Harris
Alexander Campbell, 48, Able Seaman, b. Durnish, Inverness
William McCormack, 26, Able Seaman, Ross of Mull
Dougal Mckinnon, 31, Able Seaman, b. Tiree

Archibald Campbell, 44, Steam Winch Driver, b. Tiree

Henry Cunningham, 25, Fireman, b. Glasgow
Edwin McPhee, 46, Fireman, b. Glasgow
John Hartley, 28, Fireman, b. Glasgow

Donald Mcfarlane, 39, Steward, Waternish, Inverness
Kenneth Campbell, 21, Steward, b. Harris
Jessie MacGregor, 35, Stewardess, b. Kilmorrock, Inverness
John Graham, 32, Cook, b. Glasgow

William Donald, 58, Super Cargo, b. Dalrymple, Ayr

Neil McKay, 50, Crofter and Fisherman, Passenger, b. Harris
Margaret Macleod, 26, Domestic Servant, Passenger, b. North West, Inverness

The final instalment in my tracking of the SS Dunara Castle may lack the notable passengers of previous voyages but Alex Campbell, Able Seaman, remains with us.

Two of his fellows are from Harris, as is one of the Stewards, and the only passengers are a pair of Hearachs too.

I have searched in vain for any missing passengers, for the ship had room for forty-four, but it would appear that there are none.

We now leave the 25 year-old SS Dunara Castle, safely at harbour in Tarbert, in the knowledge that 29 years hence she will be carrying the last inhabitants of St Kilda on their final journey away from home…

SS Dunara Casle – 1891

I mentioned earlier that this vessel appeared thrice in the censuses and have pleasure in presenting the second tidbit for your delectation:

Charles Mckinnon, 45, Master, b. Coll, Argyll
Donald Maclean, 36, Mate, b. Iona, Argyll
Peter Mcgilip, 48, Boatswain, b. Crinan, Argyll

Alex Campbell, 37, Able Seaman, b. Mull, Argyll
Neil Mcinnis, 43, Able Seaman, b. Skye
John Mcdougall, 24, Able Seaman, b. Mull, Argyll
George Macdonald, 25, Able Seaman, b. Coll, Argyll
Archibald Macdonald, 48, Able Seaman, b. Islay, Argyll

Murdo Mcneill, 50, Donkey Engine Driver, b. Barra
John Maclean, 21, Ordinary Seaman, b. Skye
William Donald, 48, Shipping Clerk, b. Dalrymple, Ayr

John Marshall, 33, Chief Engineer, b. Glasgow
Donald Cameron, 34, 2nd Engineer, b. Glasgow
Charles Hume, 30, Fireman, b. Glasgow
Alex Mcalman, 35, Fireman, b. Mull, Argyll
Bernard Mcnamee, 36, Fireman, b. Tyrone, Ireland
John McConnel, 17, Trimmer, b. Glasgow

Alex Kay, 52, Chief Steward, b. Paisley
Charles Macintosh, 29, Steward’s Assistant, b. Portree, Skye
William Allan, 21, Steward’s Assistant, b. Glasgow
John Macintyre, 31, Cook, b. Oban

An McPhie, 26, Domestic Servant, Passenger
John Maclean, 15,
Sir John Carstairs McNeil, 60, Major-General, Equerry to the Queen, Passenger, b. Colonsay
Malcolm McNeil, 51, Visiting Officer Board of Supervision, Passenger
Neil Archibald McNeil, 13, Scholar, Passenger
Susan Carruthers McNeil, 45, Passenger
Ena Erskine McNeil, 16, Scholar, Passenger
Amy Sophia Chancellor, 14, Scholar, Passenger

The avid reader of this blog (should one exist!) will recognise several of the crewmen from 1881.

Although the address is only given as ‘North Harris’ the 1891 Enumerator was rather lacking in precision and we can be sure that the vessel was docked at Tarbert on Sunday 5th April 1891.

Two of the passengers are of particular interest:

Sir John Carstairs McNeil was a holder of the Victoria Cross and his story can be read here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Carstairs_McNeill

Malcolm McNeil played a pivotal role in the treatment of poverty in the Highlands and Islands including writing this paper on St Kilda:

‘Alleged destitution in the island of St. Kilda in October 1885. Report of Malcolm McNeill, Inspecting Officer of the Board of Supervision.

He also inspected conditions on Lewis as a result of the Park Deer Raid of 1887, the full story of which event can be found in the Angus Macleod Archive.

His presence on the SS Dunara Castle (the very vessel that would evacuate the last inhabitants of St Kilda nearly 40 years later) at the time of the 1891 census is another of those serendipitous events that makes perusing the past so pleasant.

Some other references to Malcolm McNeil that may be of interest:

http://gdl.cdlr.strath.ac.uk/haynin/haynin1403.htm

http://gdl.cdlr.strath.ac.uk/haynin/haynin1401.htm

http://www.jstor.org/pss/25530487