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

Monday, 23 August 2010

A Study of Turf: Historic Rural Settlements in Scotland and Iceland

This recent study http://www.euppublishing.com/doi/abs/10.3366/E135075240900017X  suggests that the familiar blackhouse wall 'sandwich' of two parallel stone walls infilled with earth and topped with turf was actually developed as a direct result of the 1879 Lewis estate regulations.

The implication is that Turf was the predominant building material in the earliest times, turf being ideally suited for the purpose in this environment, and that centuries of adaptation and innovation involving combinations of turf and stone ensued until the development of the 'traditional' island blackhouse in the late 19thC.

Thus the form appears to have arisen following centuries of continuity and change based upon methods used in the days of the Norse but amended in ways reflecting the unique circumstances pertaining in the isles.

It is a fascinating study and my attempt at this brief synopsis is a poor substitute to reading the account in full.

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