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

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Rodel House Occupants

Presented here are the occupants of Rodel House at the time of 19th Century censuses.

I have placed my comments beneath each decade's list:

John Lindsay, 40, Estate Officer
John Lindsay, 8
Alex Lindsay, 7
Archibald Lindsay, 5
Christian Lindsay, 30
Christina Lindsay, 3
Grace Lindsay, 1
Marion Kerr, 20
Margaret Maclean, 15
Annabella Maciver, 20

John R Macdonald, 30, Farmer
Mary Macdonald, 30
Jane Macdonald, 4
Anne Mary Macdonald, 15
Elizabeth F Ando, 11
Dessie C Ando, 11
Isabella Irvine, 20

The 1841 census is not specific about addresses and I am assuming that the Estate Officer resided there. Farmer Macdonald became Factor Macdonald and is recorded as residing at Rodel house during his tenure of that role.

John R Macdonald, 44, Land Factor & JP
Mary Macdonald, 49
Jane C Macdonald, 14
Christina Macdonald, 14
Isabella Macrae, 50, Minister's Wife, Sister
Donald Macrae, 25, Farmer of 200 acres employing 8 men & JP, Nephew
Annabella Macrae, 18, Farmer's Wife, Niece
Neil(?) Landler, Governess
Kenneth Macdonald, 30, Factor's Clerk
Isabella Glaser, 20, Housemaid
Ann Macdonald, 40, Cook Maid
Catherine Maclean, 25, Laundry Maid
Mary Ross, 26, Dairy Maid
Angus Kerr, 20, Farm Servant
Norman McCuish, 16, Shepherd
Alexander Macleod, 60, Barn Man
Laclan Maclean, 17, Groom
John Smith, 42, Visitor

This large household is extremely interesting because, in addition to the expected house servants, it includes several members of the agricultural workforce. It is also worth noting that the Factor's young nephew, who appears to be the son of a Minister, occupies a position of substantial power and responsibility.

John Robertson Macdonald, 54, Factor of Harris Estate
Mary Macdonald, 49
Jane Caroline Macdonald, 24
Elizabeth Ann Macdonald, 71, Spinster
Angus Kerr, 33, Ploughman
Archibald Ferguson, 22, Ag Lab
Ewen Macleod, 20, Ag Lab
Lexy Morrison, 26, Housemaid
Kate Stewart, 30, Cook
Janet Maclennan, 30, Dairy Maid
Christy Macleod, 19, Chamber Maid
Mary Ross, 40, General Servant
Donald Ferguson, 20, Ag Lab

The household has reduced by about a third but the mixture of domestic and agrarian employees remains a feature.

John R Macdonald, 64, Factor
Mary Macdonald, 69
Jane C Macdonald, 34
Alexandria C Compite(?), Sister
Hugh Ross, 28, Shepherd
Archibald Ferguson, 30, Farm Servant
Kate Stewart, 40, Cookmaid
Christy Mackennon, 26, Housemaid
Mary Morrison, 25, Chambermaid
Mary Macleod, 24, Dairymaid

Again, the household is slightly smaller and we can see that the only land-labourer remaining resident is the shepherd.

A separate household lists Angus Kerr, 40, Farm Grieve plus his wife Lexy Kerr, 27, (MS Morrison, ex-Housemaid). I mention this partly because of my personal connection but more significantly because after 1871 there are no census returns recording the occupants of Rodel House.

Indeed, after 1871 there is no census recording a Factor residing in South Harris and the 'highest' position found is that of Farm Manager:

Angus Kerr, 48, Farm Manager
Lexy Kerr, 40
Marion Kerr, 8
Flora Morrison, 23, niece
Christy Gillies, 4 months, Boarder!

I am unsure of the precise factors at work here, but changes in the economy of Harris and Lewis, improved roads and the 'pull' towards Tarbert all played their part in the demise of this demesne.
Note: A description of historical events is given here (PDF):

Rodel Hotel History (pdf)

Current site: http://www.rodelhotel.co.uk/

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