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

Friday, 19 March 2010

Crofters Commission Report 1895 P86 and 87

a) Township of Strond, South Harris
b) Township of Obbe, South Harris

The committees appointed under the Grazings Act by the crofters in the above townships on the Estate of South Harris, the property of the Trustees of the Earl of Dunmore, submitted the following rules to the Commissioners, which were approved by the latter:

1) The sourning of each croft shall be one horse, four cows and twenty sheep. The grazing of stock shall be calculated on the footing of one cow being equivalent to eight sheep, and one horse to two cows or sixteen sheep.

d) Townships of Dieraclate and Ceann-Debaig

Similar rules were issued for the foresaid townships on the same Estate, the sourning for each croft being four cows and twenty sheep, one cow being equivalent to eight sheep.

This brief excerpt contains a few items of interest:

If we take Strond and Obbe first, we see that 'one horse, four cows and twenty sheep' are equivalent in grazing terms to (1x16) + (4x8) + (20x1) = 68 sheep grazing units. That is the maximum grazing that each croft will support.

So, a single horse will consume 16/68 = 8/34 = 4/17, nearly a complete quarter of the grazing.

Similarly, four cows will consume 32/68 = 16/34 = 8/17, nearly half of that available.

The twenty sheep will consume 20/68 = 10/34 = 5/17, nearly a third of the total.

No croft was allowed to exceed their allocation of stock, but they could rent out any surplus based upon these calculations.

Turning to Dieraclate and Ceann-Debaig, we see that the sourning was much less:

'four cows and twenty sheep' equate to (4x8) + (20x1) = 52 sheep grazing units.

52/68 = 26/34 = 13/17, a mere two-thirds of that allowed in the richer, more fertile, South.

And finally, almost as an afterthought:

7) The committee shall have power to make a proper division of sea-ware among the crofters of the township.


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