Fàilte! (Welcome!)

Fàilte! (Welcome!)
This blog is the result of my ongoing research into the people, places and events that have shaped the Western Isles of Scotland and, in particular, the 'Siamese-twins' of Harris and Lewis.
My interest stems from the fact that my Grandfather was a Stornowegian and, until about four years ago, that was the sum total of my knowledge, both of him and of the land of his birth.
I cannot guarantee the accuracy of everything that I have written (not least because parts are, perhaps, pioneering) but I have done my best to check for any errors.
My family mainly lived along the shore of the Sound of Harris, from An-t-Ob and Srannda to Roghadal, but one family 'moved' to Direcleit in the Baighs...

©Copyright 2011 Peter Kerr All rights reserved

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

A Lewis Lighthouse Keeper

In 1871, the Butt of Lewis lighthouse's two-storey house was home to its 53 year-old keeper, George Edgar with his wife Grace and four of their children.

George had been born in Portpatrick, Kincardineshire in about 1818 and his lightkeeping days can be traced by the exploring the birthplace of his 8 children and the censuses:

1843 James, Portpatrick, Wigtownshire

1847 Elizabeth, Dunnet Head, Caithness-shire

1848 Alexander, Girdleness, Aberdeenshire
1850 George, Girdleness, Aberdeenshire

1851 Ardnamurchan Point Lighthouse
1853 Archibald, Ardnamurchan, Argyll

1856 William & John, Sanday, Orkney

1858 Isabella, Barvas, Lewis This is particularly significant as the light at Ness wasn't completed until 1862 and suggests that George possibly played a part in the construction process.

1861 Start Point Lighthouse, Orkney

1871 Butt of Lewis Lighthouse

1881 1 Europie – Principal Lighthouse Keeper, Butt of Lewis

1891 73 year-old Retired Lighthouse Keeper George is back in his hometown of Portpatrick with his unmarried daughter Isabella Beattie. Son James, 48, is Keeper at the lighthouse in Killkorran, Argyll whilst his younger brother John is one of three keepers on Scotland's most Northerly light, that on the island of Muckle Hugga in the Shetlands.

1901 – George and his daughter are still enjoying his retirement in Portpatrick but son John is Principal Light Keeper at Whalesay Skerries, Shetland whilst his eldest brother James is the keeping the light at Holy Isle, Bute.

The Edgar family, led by father George, shone lights to sea for over half a century, during which time they served the Stevenson family,the Northern Lighthouse Board and countless sailors in aiding the process of safer seafaring.

Note: The bold locations indicate lighthouses served by the Edgar family.

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