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

Saturday, 19 February 2011

My Five-Penny Worth

On April 14th 1884 the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland included a contribution called 'What is a Pennyland? Or Ancient Valuation of Land in the Scottish Isles'
by Captain FWL Thomas RN, FSA Scot.

The first part of his conclusion reads:

'At a very early period, probably from the time of the invasion of Harold Fairhair, the arable lands of the uthalmen...were for the support of the Earl's government, assessed for skatt or tax.

The divisions of the arable lands of the former Celtic inhabitants, each called a dabach, were assessed to pay a Norwegian ounce of silver; from which circumstance each division so paying was called an Ounceland.

Each ounceland was, for the purpose of assessment, divided into eighteen parts, each paying 1/18th of an ounce of Norwegian silver, which was equal in weight to one English penny, from which each subdivision was called a Pennyland.

Neither ounce nor penny land was a measure of surface, but of produce.'

Which is how the townships of Fivepenny in Ness and Fivepenny Borve in Barvas came to be so-called.

Today, 'Fivepenny Park' 'Fivepenny Park' is the home of Ness Football Club, but whether their current collection of silverware would be sufficient to pay the tax or not, I couldn't possibly say!

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