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

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Rodel Households

These are the 60 'Head of Households' as recorded in the 1841-1901 censuses.
Please bear in mind that these are listed merely to show the number of individual households and the range of occupations of those heading them. They do not provide detailed information on the overall economic activity that was being undertaken in Rodel during this time.

1841 (81 people in 13 households)
John Lindsay, 40, Estate Officer
John R Macdonald, 30, Farmer
Kenneth McDyer, 40, Shepherd
Angus McKay, 20, Shepherd
Angus Macleod, 60, Ag Lab
John Mckenzie, 50, Ag Lab
Donald Macmillan, 35, Ag Lab
Angus Ferguson, 30, Ag Lab

Donald Murray, 40, Parish Schoolmaster
Donald Macdonald, 40, Tailor

Allan McKinnon, 82, ?
Catherina McKay, 60, ?
Ann McKay, 40, ?

The 1841 census is not specific about addresses but I assume that the Estate Officer resided at Rodel House because the Farmer Macdonald who became Factor Macdonald is recorded as residing at Rodel House during his time as Factor.

1851 (38 people in 8 households)
John R Macdonald, 44, Land Factor & JP
Murdoch Macleod, 23, Shepherd
Donald Macmillan, 40, Farm Labourer

Angus McDermid, 35, Fish Curer
Richard H Watson, 32, Fish Merchant

Catherine Macleod, 50, Weaveress

Ann MacKinnon, 60, Formerly House Servant
Mary Macaulay, 60, Formerly Weaveress

I wonder if the Fish Curer occupied the listed building that is called the 'Factors House' but which most certainly was not occupied by John R Macdonald's extensive household? The presence of the retired House Servant now having her own home to live in, is a feature of later households too.

1861 (32 people in 5 households)
John Robertson Macdonald, 54, Factor of Harris Estate, Rodel House
Alex Macdonald 64, Farmer's Shepherd, Rodel Hill House
Donald Mclennan, 35, Farmer's Shepherd, Rodel Hill House
Roderick Macleod, 32, Farmer's Shepherd, Rodel
Donald Macmillan, 55, Ag Lab, Rodel

I do not know precisely where the two 'Rodel Hill Houses' were located but this census explicitly locates the Factor within the walls of Rodel House.

1871 (44 people in 6 households)
John R Macdonald, 64, Factor
John Cunningham, 32, Estate Factor's Clerk
Angus Kerr, 40, Farm Grieve
Roderick Macleod, 40, Shepherd
Norman Macdonald, 32, Shepherd

Donald Macmillan, 70, Cottar

Where the homes occupied by the Clerk & the Grieve were is unknown but I assume that they were close to the Factor in Rodel House (which was where Angus had been living in the previous two censuses).

1881 (38 people in 8 households)
Angus Kerr, 48, Farm Manager, Rodel Farm
Neil Macleod, 72, Shepherd, Rodel Farm
Norman Macdonald, 42, Shepherd, Rodel Farm
Norman Macmillan, 40, Farm Servant, Rodel Farm
Neil Macdonald, 46, Fisherman, Rodel Farm
Mary Maclean, 68, Laundry Maid, Rodel Farm

Catherine MacKinnon, 50, Cottar, Rodel Farm
Flora Macmillan, 60, Pauper, Rodel Farm

I doubt that any of these households were in Rodel House itself which, according to Kenneth Macdonald Kenneth Macdonald's evidence to the Napier Commission was being made ready for the Earl in 1883.

1891 (48 people in 10 households)
Norman Macdonald, 52, Shepherd, Rodel
Norman Macmillan, 52, Cowherd, Rodel
John Finlayson, 41, Gamekeeper, Rodel

Ewan Macleod, 50, Gardener, Rodel
Euphemia Mackinnon, 62, House Keeper, Rodel

Niel Macdonald, 54, Fisherman, Rodel
Roderick Macaulay, 60, House Carpenter, Rodel

Angus Kerr, 64, Retired Groom, Rodel
Mary Maclean, 80, Retired Washerwoman, Rodel
Anne Macmillan, 80, Retired Tailoress, Rodel

It is interesting to see a Gardener appearing again, his predecessor having become the Post Master at An-t-Ob sometime between 1871 and 1881. At least two retired employees are now present but I have no idea at what time between 1881 and 1891 my cousin was the Groom/Coachman.

1901 (48 people in 10 households)
Roderick Campbell, 70, Farmer, Rodel
Alexander Morrison, 48, Shepherd, Rodel
John Finlayson, 51, Gamekeeper, Rodel
Norman Macmillan, 50, Carter, Rodel

Ewan Macleod, 59, Gardener, Hamlet Rodel

Norman Macdonald, 60, Mason, Rodel
Niel Macdonald, 69, Fisherman, Rodel
Roderick Macaulay, 68, Joiner, Rodel

Angus Kerr, 75, Retired Coachman, Rodel
Effie McKinnon, 60, Retired House Maid, Rodel

The House appears unoccupied and the only interesting feature is the location of the Gardener in another specified, but unknown, location, 'Hamlet Rodel'.

Overall, I think we can see that during the second-half of the 19thC Rodel was tied to meeting the demands of Rodel House and the 'Home Farm' and it did so with an average of a mere 8 separate households.

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