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, 29 April 2011

'...and as many more in the adjacent Isles...'

The stimulus for this piece came from the 'Parliamentary Abstracts; Containing The Substance Of All Important Papers Laid Before The Two Houses Of Parliament During The Session of 1825'.

In a table introduced by the sentence; 'The following list shews the places at which churches have been directed to be built; most of them absolutely, a few provisionally:' , I noticed that in the Parish of Harris on 'Berneray Isle' a church was to be built for the population of 500:
'And as many more in the adjacent Isles of Pabbay and Killigray.'

Reading that, in 1825, the population of these three islands in the Sound of Harris was estimated to be 1000 souls I wanted to investigate further. Although a decennial census had been introduced in 1801, the first four of these only provide a figure for the population of the whole Parish.
For Harris, these figures were:
1801 2996
1811 3569
1821 3909
1831 3900

Our year, 1825, lies neatly between two censuses in which the population, despite all the displacements that were occurring, remained remarkably stable at circa 3900 people.
Thus the 1000 estimated to be living on our three islands were about one-quarter of the parish's people reminding us that 'Prior to the nineteenth century, the majority of the population of Harris lived on the machair of the west coast and on Pabaigh and its neighbouring islands (Berneray/Beàrnaraigh, Ensay/Easaigh and Killegray/Ceileagraigh)' http://www.paparproject.org.uk/hebrides2.html

As an aside, we have this communication from the 18th of July 1832 which I think is illuminating.

The later censuses do provide figures for each island in the Parish of Harris and those for the years 1841-1871 are given below. I have shown the number of males and females and computed the average 'people per hearth' for each island with the trio of isles that are our focus shown in bold:

1841 - 7th June
Anabich 18 males and 23 females in 7 houses (41/7 = 5.9 people per hearth)
Bernera 335 males and 378 females in 130 houses (713/130 = 5.5pph)
Ensay 7 males and 9 females in 2 houses (16/2 = 8pph)
Hermitray 5 males and 3 females in 1 house (8/1 = 8pph)
Killigray 3 males and 2 females in 2 houses (5/2 = 2.5pph)
Pabbay 179 males and 159 females in 61 houses (338/61 = 5.5pph)
Scalpay 14 males and 17 females in 4 houses (31/4 = 7.8pph)
Scarp 60 males and 69 females in 23 houses (129/23 = 5.6pph)
Tarrinsay 38 males and 50 females in 16 houses (88/16 = 5.5pph)

There were 1056 living on our three islands which was almost 23% of the total of 4646 people in the Parish of Harris.

Five years later the first of the Potato Famines occurred and the response of the Factor can be seen in his letter of the 21st August 1846 to the Countess of Dunmore.

1851 - 31st March
Anabich 63 people in 12 houses (63/12 = 5.3pph)
Bernera 452 people in 89 houses (452/89 = 5.1pph)
Ensay 14 people in 3 houses (14/3 = 4.7pph)
Hermitray Uninhabited
Killigray 7 people in 1 house (7/1 = 7pph)
Pabbay 29 people in 6 houses (29/6 = 4.8pph)
Scalpay 282 people in 48 houses (282/48 = 5.9pph)
Scarp 145 people in 29 houses (145/29 = )
Tarrinsay 55 people in 11 houses (55/11 = 5pph)

Only 488 living on our three islands which was less than 12% of the Parish total of 4254.

Nine out of every ten people from Pabbay and one-in-three of the population of 'Bernera' had gone.
Just four days after the census, on the 4th of April 1851, the Factor John Robertson Macdonald in 'Rodil' was being 'interrogated' by Sir John McNeill and an earlier piece analyses his account.

We should also note the dramatic increase in the population of Scalpay that had occurred, the reasons for which are to be seen in this investigation.

1861 - 8th April
Anabich Not listed
Bernera 130 males and 185 females in 64 houses (315/64 = 4.9pph)
Ensay 10 males and 5 females in 2 houses (15/2 = 7.5pph)
Hermitray Not listed
Killigray 2 males and 3 females in 1 house (5/1 = 5.0pph)
Pabbay 10 males and 11 females in 4 houses (21/4 = 5.3pph)
Scalpay 199 males and 189 females in 71 houses (338/71 = 4.8pph)
Scarp 72 males and 79 females in 27 houses ( 151/27 = 5.6pph)
Tarrinsay 25 males and 30 females in 12 houses (55/12 = 4.6pph)

There were just 341 living on our three islands or about 8% of the 4174 people of Harris.

Once again, almost one third of the remaining people of Bernera had gone leaving just under half the hearths from the 130 of two decades earlier.

1871 - 3rd April
Anabich Not listed
Bernera 169 males and 204 females in 75 houses (373/75 = 5.0pph)
Ensay 4 males and 2 females in 1 house (6/1 = 6pph)
Hermitray Not listed
Killigray 3 males and 6 females in 1 house (9/1 = 9pph)
Pabbay 3 males and 5 females in 2 houses (8/2 = 4pph)
Scalpay 222 males and 199 females in 82 houses (421/82 = 5.1pph
Scarp 78 males and 78 females in 33 houses (156/33 = 4.7pph)
Tarrinsay 35 males and 33 females in 12 houses (68/12 = 5.7pph)

A small increase to 390 living on our three islands but still only just reaching double-figures again at 10% of the the people of the Parish.

Bernera's population had risen by 18% but the island trio would have needed nearly three times as many residents to regain the proportion of the population that had led to the church being built there only four-and-a-half decades earlier...

Note: I have left all spellings as they appear in the original sources, except that those for the census lists are 'standardised' from the 1841 census rather than reflecting the variations that appear in some of the subsequent decades.

Sources:


Thursday, 28 April 2011

THREE MEN DROWNED AT STORNOWAY

'Information has been received at Stornoway of the drowning of three Harris fishermen in the Sound of Harris. John M'Leod, Donald Gillies, and Angus M'Swain, all fishermen from Stroud, South Harris, were returning on Saturday afternoon from the island of Hermetry, in the Sound of Harris, where they had been lobster fishing. Their boat was under sail, and it was blowing a strong gale at the time. The boat was seen to capsize and go down with the crew. M'Leod and Gillies were unmarried, but M'Swain was married, and leaves a widow and family.'
The Dundee Courier and Argus, Monday October 9th 1882
(I have left all the spellings as in the original – 'Stroud' for Strond is a surprisingly common error.)

Looking for these three men in the 1881 Census returns from Strond we find only four fishermen who fit:

John Macleod, 36, son of Janet Macleod, 79, Crofter, and brother of Peggy, 34
John Macleod, 25, son of Mary Macleod, 60, Weaveress, Wool.
Donald Gillis, 38, son of Kenneth Gillis, 60, Crofter
Angus MacSween, 50, husband to Mary, 40 and father of Ann, 13, Marion, 10, John, 1 and Mary Ann, 1 month.

We can exclude the younger John Macleod for he is to be found still fishing and living with his mother in Strond in the census of 1891 whilst Janet Macleod is there with her daughter, Peggy.

Further corroboration comes in the form of these two details:

Angus MacSween's widow, Mary, was the youngest child of Angus Kerr & Marion Mcsween of Strond.
Donald Gillies was the brother-in-law of Flora Morrison, whose mother, Christian Kerr, was the fifth of Angus Kerr and Marion Mcsween of Strond's eight children. Thus these two fishers were linked by family.

Christian would later join her sister Mary in widowhood for, on the 25th of July 1890 her own husband, William Morrison, was lost with two colleagues from the unregistered vessel 'Jessie & Margaret'. Fishing was then, and remains now, a perilous occupation: http://direcleit.blogspot.com/2010/06/drowned-at-sea-by-upsetting-of-boat.html

We may also note that, despite the fact that they had been fishing for lobsters, none of the men who perished in this tragedy were specifically listed as Lobster fishermen in the 1881 census - http://direcleit.blogspot.com/2010/07/lobster-fishermen-of-harris.html

Notes:
1) Some observations regarding 'Hermetry' may be seen in this earlier piece: http://direcleit.blogspot.com/2010/11/john-lanne-buchanan-1768-1828-his.html
2) I will be able to confirm various details by searching the 'Minor Records', Marine Register' section of the Deaths index at ScotlandsPeople but that will have to wait for now.

'A Fashionable Kettledrum' – the Gentlewoman's Self-Help Institute

It is an evening in May1870 and we are in the company of one 'Azamut-Batuk' who is gathering material for his publication, 'A little book about Great Britain', that will appear later in the same year.
In fact we are with Nicolas Leon Thieblin who wrote for the Pall Mall Gazette under the pseudonym of the 'Turk' and his article was first published in that newspaper on Friday the 13th of May under the title 'A Meeting at Stafford House'.

Stafford House was home to the Duke & Duchess of Sutherland and was the most valuable private house in London. We know it today as Lancaster House, home to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, and the change of name occurred when it was bought in 1912 by a son of the county of Lancashire who had made himself a rather large fortune out of soap. His name, by the way, was William Hesketh Lever.

But I digress and we must return to the event that brought our 'Turk' to the 'palace' (as Queen Victoria is alleged to have described it when making a comparison with her own meagre residence in London) which was a meeting of the 'Gentlewoman's Self-Help Institute' attended, as noted by Thieblin, by such men as the Earl of Shaftesbury and Mr Gladstone, the Prime Minister.

The Institute (to which I can find no further reference) had eight Patrons but it is the two who head the list that interest me the most; the Duchess of Sutherland and the Dowager Countess of Dunmore who had been a widow for almost a quater-of-a-century. . At this point I should make it clear that this Duchess of Sutherland was Anne Hay-Mackenzie and wife of the 3rd Duke of Sutherland. It was his Grandfather, the 1st Duke, who, with the encouragement of his wife (Elizabeth, Duchess of Sutherland, who inherited her title at the age of one) had been responsible for the appalling Clearances of Sutherland. The Duchess of Sutherland who wrote on The Revival Of Home Industries for The Land Magazine in 1899 was Millicent, the 3rd Duke and Anne's daughter-in-law, whose husband the 4th Duke had inherited the title in 1892.

The aim of the Institute was to '...seek to place within the reach of educated ladies, widows, and daughters of clergymen, barristers, military and naval officers, and professional men, who may have been reduced from easy circumstances to narrow means, an opportunity of turning their natural or acquired abilities to account.' To this end it had acquired premises at Bessborough Gardens in Pimlico '...for the reception and sale of articles produced by ladies in reduced circumstances. These rooms are now crowded with a great variety of articles of every description — oil paintings, drawings, modelled waxwork, guipure and other lace, wool-work, embroidery, baby-clothes, and plain work of all sorts.' It was an upper-class craft sale!

I say 'upper-class' because 'Any lady wishing to become a working member has to furnish two references as to respectability, certifying to her being a gentlewoman by birth and education, which will be laid before the ladies' committee by the lady superintendent, Mrs. Howard, and, if approved, the lady so applying will be required to procure a nomination from a subscriber to the Institute, when she will become eligible to partake of the benefits of the institution in any way most advantageous to herself.' A 'subscriber' paid a guinea a year (or donated ten guineas for life membership) to secure the right to nominate one of these ladies. They could pay multiples of these amounts and nominate more ladies accordingly.

I mentioned that this was the sole reference to the Institute that I could find however in 'Webster's Royal Red Book, or Court & Fashionable Register, 1897' is listed the 'Gentlewoman's Self-Help Society' at 20-22 Maddox Street, London. Whether or not this was related to the Institute of 1870 I cannot say but it is interesting to note the existence of, and therefore a perceived need for, this similar-sounding organisation some 27 years after that May meeting in palatial Stafford House.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

PSS BRIGADIER 1854-1896 & SS COPELAND 1894 -1917

Should you have been one of the 4 passengers aboard the paddle-steamer 'Brigadier' making her way from Lochmaddy to Portree on the 7th of December 1896 then your journey was about to be rudely cut short just off the coast of Rubha Reinis (Renish Point) at the entrance to Loch Roghadail.

The RCAHMS record of the wreck is both informative and slightly confusing, for there appears to have been a degree of uncertainty as to the location of the accident. However, Captain Otter's 1857 chart of the Sound of Harris clearly shows us the position of  'Duncan Rk' and the dotted-circle surrounding the '¾' figure indicates why this rock, only three-quarters of a fathom (four-and-a-half feet) below the surface of the sea, presented such a danger to shipping.

A description of the ship together with her history, including the final years in the ownership of David MacBrayne, is to be seen here but what interested me most was seeing if I could learn anything more of her Master on that fateful day, one D McPhail.

A search of the censuses for likely candidates produced just one - Dugald Macphail, from Crinan, Argyleshire, who we find in 1891 in Liverpool and in 1901 in Greenock.

The 1891 record has the 21 year-old Dugald as Master of the vessel 'Northward' which also had a Mate & 2nd Mate, an Engineer & 2nd Engineer, two Seamen, two Firemen and a Cook comprising her crew. I was surprised by the (to 21st Century eyes) very young age of the Master but also surprised to see on this census return from Garston Dock, Liverpool in England that there was the familiar column from Scottish censuses that records whether those listed spoke either Gaelic or Gaelic & English. Six of these mariners, including Dugald Macphail, spoke both languages whilst the remaining four recorded nothing in the column, indicating that they only had English.

In 1901, D Macphail aged 32 and hailing from Crinan, is now Master of the 'Copeland' and accompanying him aboard that vessel in Greenock were a Mate & 2nd Mate, a Chief Engineer & 2nd Engineer, a Carpenter, a Donkeyman, eight Able Seamen & seven Firemen, a Cook, a Chief Steward & 2nd Steward, a Stewardess and finally three Passengers. I should perhaps explain that a 'Donkeyman' was responsible for the auxiliary steam engines, known as donkey engines, which were used to power winches and pumps.

This pencil sketch from 1898 of the SS Copeland's Smoking Room was certainly a surprising find!

Finally, although I cannot be absolutely certain that he was indeed the unfortunate Master of the 'Brigadier' in 1896, Captain Dugald Macphail, Master of the 'SS Copeland', was awarded an MBE on the 26th of March, 1920 within the list of 'Civilian Honours Connected With The War At Sea'.

The SS Copeland had been sunk on the 3rd of December, 1917 by the German submarine, U-57 , under the command of Kapitanleutnant Carl-Siegfried Ritter von Georg . Twelve men died when the torpedoing took place in the St George's Channel whilst she was enroute from Glasgow to Cork. .

Thus what began as the tale of an accident in which no lives were recorded as being lost ends, unexpectedly, with the sad story of a deliberate sinking in which twelve brave seamen lost their lives.

Robert Somers - 'Letters from the Highlands; or, the Famine of 1847'

Robert Somers (1822-1891) had only recently joined the 'North British Daily Mail' in Glasgow when he went to the Highlands to investigate the Potato Famines and the results were published in a book the following year. I have only just begun reading the tome but thought that these extracts from 'Letter XXI' on the 'Want of Plantations in Skye – Profits of the Kelp Manufacture – Extravagance of the Highland Chiefs – Its Results' were especially interesting:

'When Dr. Johnson visited the Hebrides, the lairds were only beginning to draw money-rents from their estates. A proprietor of one of the islands declared to him that "he should be very rich if he could set his land at 2½d. an acre." Every one knows how very different it is now.
Since then rents have undergone a fourfold, a six-fold, and even a ten-fold increase, and the Highland proprietors have reaped the benefit of the kelp manufacture, the profits of which far exceeded, in many cases, the rental of the land itself. We have heard of Highland proprietors receiving £10,000, and some £12,000 and £14,000 a-year from kelp alone.'

'There is no more interesting passage in Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations" than that in which he describes how commerce and manufactures gradually broke down the power of the feudal barons, and promoted the improvement and cultivation of the country. In rude times a landed proprietor could find no way of consuming his revenue but by sharing it with a multitude of retainers, who were necessarily always at his command, whether in peace or war. But when commerce and manufactures arose, they spread before his eyes numerous articles of curious workmanship and dazzling material, the enjoyment of which could be lavished entirely upon himself. His vanity was tickled; and for a diamond buckle, or a gilded coach, he bartered the produce which would have maintained 1,000 men for a year.'

'Towards the close of last century, the rise of rents and the profits of kelp brought the Highland chiefs within the reach of the same temptations to which the English and Lowland barons had yielded a century earlier. They introduced them into the splendid warehouses and saloons of London, filled with the richest handiwork and the rarest and costliest luxuries which the ingenuity of man could devise, or the unwearied energies of commerce could collect.
There, too, were the English aristocracy, with their princely equipages and their glittering wealth, to excite emulation and to ruffle pride. The effect was the same as when a hawker of the backwoods spreads out his toys, and trinkets, and fire-waters, before a tribe of Indians. The vanity of the Highland chiefs was intoxicated, and the solid advantages which the new tide in their affairs had opened up to them were bartered for the merest baubles. There is a staircase-window in Lord Macdonald's mansion in Skye which is said to have cost £500. In residences, dress, furniture, equipages, pleasures, and style of living, the Highland chiefs copied the English model; and while they necessarily lost their power by this new way of life, the only resources by which their rugged country and its untutored inhabitants could have been brought into a cultivated and civilised condition, were wasted in the vain attempt to rival the magnificence of an aristocracy who possessed much richer domains and larger revenues.
The decay of the kelp manufacture completed the ruin which personal extravagance had begun; and the men who had long reaped the profits of this lucrative trade passed from the scene, leaving their estates as unimproved as they had found them, a numerous population starving, and rentals reduced far below their nominal amount by the annual charges of their mortgages.

The heirs of this poor inheritance occupy a difficult and painful position. They are entitled to sympathy and indulgence. There is only one way by which they can hope to gain their lost ground, to improve their estates, or even to transmit them, in a state worth possessing, to their children. They must forsake the world, forswear pomp and fashion, retire to their country seats, live penuriously, and spend in the improvement of their properties the last farthing of their rentals which they can spare from the consumption of their families.'

The 'Letters' must have pleased his employers for, the following year, Somers became the paper's Editor (a position he held until 1859) and we may glimpse the 29 year-old in the census of 1851 living at 16 Pollok Street, Govan, Renfrewshire with his wife, Janet, and their three children.
I had some difficulty in discovering further information regarding this address but, as can be seen from the link that follows, that is hardly surprising! - The Hidden Glasgow .
(It was also an anomaly of the period that the part of the Parish of Govan that the Somers' lived in was considered to be in Renfrewshire, unlike the majority of Govan which lies in Lanarkshire.)

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Bald's 1805 Map of Harris – A Summary

I think it sometimes helps readers if I provide a page of links to pieces on a particular theme and in this instance have decided to collate my research regarding this wonderful map, the image of which can be explored on the National Library of Scotland site: http://maps.nls.uk/counties/detail.cfm?id=660

I have put the links into six separate groups but all the pieces are interrelated so, depending upon where you choose to start and which aspects you find interesting , you will find yourself following your own meandering path through them.

Asbestos & William MacGillivray

The Revd. Bethune & other people

Annotations including, perhaps, some by the 7th Earl of Dunmore?

Bald's Map & FWL Thomas's Chart

Togail Tir

Placenames

Note:
The only previous research into this map of which the NLS & I are aware was that performed by James B Caird, published in 1988 in 'Togail Tir'. If any reader happens to be researching the map, and especially if they have knowledge of this copy's whereabouts between its creation sometime in the 19thC and its surfacing in 1988, then please do get in touch.

Friday, 22 April 2011

'...one pound sterling a-head...'

On the 2nd of September, 1841, the Caledonian Mercury reported:

EMIGRATION. - There are three ships at Lochmaddy, North Uist, taking in emigrants from the neighbouring parishes of Harris and South Uist, for Cape Breton. The Earl of Dunmore gives one pound sterling a-head to the most destitute families from his property.

(Sourced from Inverness Reference Library via Am Baile's newspaper archive search facility)

The Scots To Canada Web Site lists three ships, the Banffshire, the George and the Tay, leaving Lochmaddy in August 1841 'taking 1300 emigrants from N Uist to Cape Breton. " of the poorest class".' so I think that we can be reasonably confident that these are the same vessels that appeared in the newspaper's article.

The 6th Earl of Dunmore, Alexander Edward Murray, , had inherited Harris upon the death of his father on the 11th of November 1836 and would in turn be succeeded by his son, Charles Adolphus, following the 6th Earl's death on the 14th of July 1845 . Thus the Earl was about halfway through his proprietorship of the island when he was providing a pound per person for those electing to leave.

But what does that 'one pound sterling a-head' of 1841 represent 170 years later?

To try to discover an answer I will examine three options, starting with the excellent  Measuring Worth site and see what values it provides us with:

In 2009, the relative worth of £1 0s 0d from 1841 is:

£72.10
using the Retail Price Index (RPI)
£105.00
using the GDP Deflator
£766.00
using the Average Earnings
£1,160.00
using the Per-Capita GDP
£2,690.00
using the Share of GDP

Faced by these five options, ranging from mere £72 to a more substantial £2700, it is important that we choose the correct comparison. The RPI is rather narrow and a better indication of the buying power of £1 in 1841 is given by the £105 of the GDP Deflator.
The remaining three indicators, including that of 'Average Earnings' (which might appear particularly attractive) are actually not appropriate in the current context.

Using the the National Archives tool for the same calculation will show you that £1 in 1840 would only buy £44.10 worth of goods today so my choice of the figure of £105 might appear, if anything, slightly over-generous?

Our third option is to look at what the Reverend John Macivor had to say about wages on Harris in The New Statistical Account of 1845*:

'Farm-servants receive from L.3 to L.3, 10s. in the half-year...' so our £1 would represent between perhaps 1/7th & 1/6th (14-17%) of such a man's annual income. We may also wish to note that the annual value of all the Produce of the island is given by the Reverend as 'L. 11,900' and that over 10% of that, 'L. 1300', even as late as 1845, was still coming from Kelp.

So, depending upon how you choose to compare it, the Earl's £1 per person was equivalent to either a miserly £44 in today's money, or even as much as two-months wages for an agricultural labourer of the time!

Perhaps, though, to attempt to place any monetary value upon the Earl's inducement is rather to miss the point:

People were being 'required' to leave because so many had been forced to live crowded-together upon the meanest of land to make way for the ever-expanding sheep farms which, the Reverend helpfully informs us, were bringing in a an income of some £2800, or almost a quarter of Harris's total income from Produce at that time.

The population of the Parish of Harris in 1841 was 3,056** according to the census earlier that year.
Even if every person had elected to emigrate, the 'one pound sterling a-head' would only have amounted to three-quarters of one year's income from Kelp & Sheep combined...

(Note: I appreciate that not all of the income from Produce went to the proprietor himself, but consider the comparison to be justified in demonstrating the affordability of his scheme with respect to the economy.)

Sources:
*New Statistical Account of Scotland, Vol XIV, p157

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Enumeration Districts of Harris in 1911

I have previously written of the useful information to be found lurking in the Header pages of Census images that one views on ScotlandsPeople as may be seen in these pieces relating to 1851 and 1871.

The 1911 header pages unfortunately do not appear to have maintained the previous practice of allowing the Minister of the Parish space to make his (often extensive & always interesting) comments.

However, the Headers do include useful Summary pages and continue the practice introduced in 1891 of including data on Gaelic and Gaelic & English speakers.

I am looking at the data from just three of the Enumeration Districts (purely because the people whose records I have had cause to investigate so far all lived in just these three areas).

Enumeration District 2 South Harris – includes Strond

357 people, 156 male, 201 female (43.7% male, 56.3% female)

Gaelic 91, G&E 247

338 speakers (94.7% of population) of whom Gaelic 26.9%, G&E 73.1%

Enumeration District 5 South Harris – includes 'Kylis' & Kintulavig

298 people, 142 male, 156 female (47.7% male, 52.3% female)

Gaelic 81, G&E 188

269 speakers (90.3% of population) of whom Gaelic 30.1%, G&E 69.9%

Enumeration District 4 North Harris – includes 'Kendibeg & Dereclet'

156 people, 80 male, 76 female (51.3% male, 48.7%female)

Gaelic 25, G&E 122

147 speakers (94.2% of population) of whom Gaelic 17.0%, G&E 83.0%

Discussion
I am reluctant to draw strong conclusions from just three samples but the broad similarity for the Gaelic/G&E figures in the two Southern districts certainly contrast with that from their Northern neighbour. Many factors will be at play here including the age distribution (especially the proportion of people of school age pre & post the 1874 Education Act), the location of the schools and the ability for the children to have attended both for financial and physical reasons. The island's teachers from the previous decade are to be seen in this piece from my series on Education in Harris. Also, does the lower proportion of 'speakers' in District 5 as compared to the other two districts indicate a greater proportion of pre-verbal infants there, perhaps?
A complex topic and I hope that this brief incursion into it has been of some interest.

Finally, an illuminating extract from the Description page for District 4 of North Harris:

'A road leads from the foot of the Leachan Road to the little pier at east loch Tarbert in front of the Old Post Office in the March between North Harris and South Harris, the said house being in South Harris though it is in the Registration district of North Harris, the same road leads to the little pier at West Tarbert, it pass in front of the new post office, which is also in South Harris though in the Registration district of North Harris. The Old Post Office and the new Post Office are in South Harris, though in the Registration District of North Harris.'

The Enumerator who wrote that paragraph was Mr Finlay Macleod and we can only guess at the point he was making to his census superiors by including it as his only comment on the roads etc of this District!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

South Harris Estate – The Final Dunmore Years & A Review of 1834-1919

You may recall that, in 1868, Charles Adolphus Murray, the 7th Earl of Dunmore, had relinquished ownership of the North Harris Estate to his bankers, in particular the Scott family.

Thus for the next forty years, until his death on the 27th of August 1907, the Earl's interest in the island was confined to his South Harris Estate.

He was succeeded by his son, Alexander Edward Murray, but this 8th Earl of Dunmore was to finally sell the estate in 1919 marking the end of his family's involvement in the island some 85 years after his great grandfather had initially bought Harris. (As an aside, the purchaser in 1919 was Lord Leverhulme who paid £20,000 for the Estate. Following his death only six years later it was sold at auction for £900.)

In fact, the 8th Earl was a soldier and it was really only the in years 1908-1914 that he was able to devote time to his Harris estate for he played an active and distinguished role in the First World War prior to lord Leverhulme's purchase a year after the end of that bloody and, for the islands, especially debilitating conflict.

Thus ended the Murray family's ownership that may be conveniently divided into seven eras:

The 5th Earl
1834 – 5th March, George Murray, 5th Earl of Dunmore buys Harris for £60,000
1834 – Duncan Shaw replaces Donald Stewart as Factor

The 6th Earl
1836 - Alexander Murray, 6th Earl of Dunmore, inherits Harris
1836/7 - Poor harvests, particularly of Potatoes
1838/9 – Seilibost, Big Borve, Middle Borve and Little Borve cleared
184? - Raa on Tarasaigh Cleared for John Macdonald, tacksman
1843 – Church of Scotland fragments in Disruption – islanders join Free Church of Scotland
1843 - 6th Earl of Dunmore considers a harbour at W Loch Tarbert, with a link to the E Loch
1844 - John Robson Macdonald becomes Factor of Harris

The Dowager Countess
1845 - Alexander, 6th Earl, dies and Catherine, his wife, is 'Tutor' for her son, 7th Earl of Dunmore
1846 – Potato Famines begin
1847 – Borve, Harris resettled.
1849 - Countess of Dunmore establishes the Embroidery School at An-t-Ob
1851 – Crofts at Direcleit and Ceann Dibig bisected to provide homes for people cleared from Borve on Berneray
1851 - Potatoes Famines end.
1852 – Highland and Islands Emigration Society(HIES) formed – 742 leave Harris for Australia
1853 – Borve, Harris cleared again
1853 - Manish Free Church built
1854 – Road from Stornoway to Tarbert completed

The 7th Earl's Limited Period*
1857 - 24th March - 7th Earl of Dunmore's 16th Birthday
1857 – Lady Dunmore and Mrs Thomas start Stocking-Knitting industry
1858 - 'In 1858 Lady Dunmore was a mother to her people in Harris.' - Duchess of Sutherland writing of 'The Revival of Home Industries' in 'The Land Magazine', Vol 3, 1899.
1860s – Direcleit and Ceann Dibig cleared

*This marks the period during which, although he was still five years away from being of 'Full Age', the Earl would have had enjoyed enhanced rights regarding his property under Scottish law.

The 7th Earl
1862 - 24th March - 7th Earl of Dunmore's 21st Birthday
1863 – Ardvourlie Castle built as Hunting Lodge for North Harris Estate
1865 – Harris Hotel built by Earl of Dunmore and originally called Tarbert Hotel
1866 – Marriage of 7th Earl to Lady Gertrude Coke
1867 – Abhainnsuidhe Castle built by Earl of Dunmore
1867 - North Harris Estate sold to Sir Ernest Scott for £155,000 (over two-and-a-half times what the 5th Earl of Dunmore had paid for the whole of Harris 33 years earlier!)
1871 – Alexander Edward Murray (8th Earl) born

The 7th Earl – South Harris Estate
1873 – Dunmore's restore St Clement's church
1882 - Nov/Dec -Thomas Brydone becomes Lord Dunmore's Factor
1884 – Direcleit and Ceann Dibig recrofted
1886 – Catherine, Countess of Dunmore (7th Earl's mother) dies in February
1886 – Telegraph Cable from Port Esgein, Harris to North Uist laid
1888 – Assisted emigration to Canada established
1897 – Golden Road linking Tarbert and Rodel through the Bays is completed
1897 - Manish Victoria Cottage Hospital built & endowed by Mrs Frances Thomas

The 8th Earl
1907 - Death of Charles Adolphus Murray, 7th Earl of Dunmore
1919 – South Harris Estate sold for £60,000.

The first point that I need to make is that, as a result of the estate(s) being owned by four successive Earls punctuated by the Dowager Countess's period as 'Tutor', there is a degree of confusion to be found in some writing about Harris (Yes, including my own!) and I hope that the selected extract from my Timeline shown above helps to clarify things.

(A similar problem exists with the previous dynasty of owners where we have, in turn, Captain Alexander Macleod, Alexander Hume Macleod & then Alexander Norman Macleod owning the island from 1779-1790, 1790-1811 & 1811-1834 respectively!)

Secondly, it is really the role of two generations, those of the 6th & 7th Earls from 1836-1845 and 1845-1907 respectively, upon which we should focus:

1836-1845
Alexander Murray, 6th Earl of Dunmore, inherits the island and with it the first hint of the food crises that would, coincidentally, start the season after his death and dominate the early years of his widow's control of the estate. He appears to do the islanders a favour in replacing the hated Factor Donald Stewart with Duncan Shaw Factor but the series of Clearances that Shaw oversaw suggests otherwise. The one good thing that the 6th Earl did consider doing was a revival of Captain Alexander Macleod's plan to link East & West Loch Tarbert but he, just like the good Captain before him, died soon after having had this notion.

1862-1907
No, this is not an error but I want to look at these years before returning to what I believe to be the defining decades of the Dunmore dynasty.

The first five years see the finally fully fledged 7th Earl embark on an overambitious building program, gain a wife and lose an estate. I say 'lose' because, although it might appear that having sold North Harris for 250% of the sum his grandfather had paid for the whole island he had done rather well in the deal, it is believed that little or no cash was actually exchanged. The estate was provided in payment of monies that were owing to the Earl's bankers.

It is worth noting that he wasn't the first grandson to have to 'sell' land on Harris for Alexander Norman Macleod had preceded him in this regard when being forced to sell the whole island. In his case, the purchaser had been...the 5th Earl of Dunmore. It was also this Macleod who had brought Donald Stewart to Harris to act as his Factor.

The consequence of this was that, for the final forty years of his life, the 7th Earl only owned the South Harris Estate and thus could focus his attention upon that part of the island. There is, frankly, scant evidence of him paying the island any attention at all other than as a plaything and virtually none after his mother's death in 1886. The few developments that did take place can all be ascribed to sources other than him.

1845-1862
As alluded to above, the Dowager Countess was greeted in the year following her husband's death by the first of the Potato Famines that would last through to 1851 and lead, in part, to 742 people leaving Harris for Australia the following year. Borve on Harris was resettled, and then it & Borve on Berneray were Cleared. In amongst this turmoil the Countess decided to establish her Embroidery School at An-t-Ob which seems to have more in common with a child-labour sweat-shop than a serious attempt at addressing the economic issues facing the islanders.

She met their spiritual needs by finally acceding to demands for a Free Church to be built (although the site at Manish was not their first-choice) having claimed ignorance of all previous requests.

In the year of her son's sixteenth birthday she and Mrs Thomas started the Stocking Knitting industry which appears to have been more financially robust for the women of the island than the Embroidery School of the previous decade. This event marks our first record of the latter lady's presence on the isle, a presence that in my opinion was of great significance especially with regard to the early marketing of what was to become known as Harris Tweed.

Finally, in 1860, Direcleit and Ceann Dibig were cleared with a favoured few being allowed to dwell there as cottagers...

Overall what strikes me is not what the four Earls and one Countess are remembered for having done, but rather all that they failed to do and chief amongst these must be their not having established Tarbert as a fishing station with the two lochs linked by canal or rail.
One can only guess at the income it would have generated for the island and its owners and at what it might have cost, but it would certainly have been a wiser investment than the 7th Earl's castle which was to prove so dear...

Monday, 18 April 2011

A Special Set of Links

Although I think I deserve some small credit for having seen the potential in the peculiarities of the Scotland Census transcriptions in allowing one to perform larger-scale genealogical analyses, it is to another blogger that I owe my gratitude for realising that a blog might be a suitable vehicle in which to publish my results.

He is a prolific blogger and, although we frequently include links to each-others work, I thought it entirely appropriate to provide this comprehensive list of his various blogs:

First World War
Faces from the Lewis War Memorial - lists the casualties from the Isle of Lewis
Iolaire Disaster 1919 - lists the casualties and survivors of the sinking of HMY Iolaire
Lewismen in Canadian service - lists all those from the Isle of Lewis known to have served in the CEF
Wargraves in Lewis - shows the wargraves, and war-related private graves in Lewis cemeteries
Isle of Lewis War Memorials - shows the war memorials in Lewis and transcriptions
Roll of Honour - lists all those who served (and died) from Lewis
Lewismen from the 2nd Seaforths - lists those who served with the 2nd Seaforth with transcripts from the war diary of that regiment
Lewismen at HMS Timbertown - islanders interned at Groningen, Holland

Other islands
Harris War Memorial (WW1 and WW2)
Berneray to Vatersay Tribute (WW1 and WW2, Berneray, North Uist, Grimsay, Benbecula, South Uist, Eriskay and Barra)
Lyness Royal Naval Cemetery (pictures and information on all the casualties buried in that cemetery in Orkney)

Second World War
World War II casualties from Lewis

Reports from the Napier Commission
Transcriptions of the 1883 Napier Report
Napier Commission in the Outer Hebrides
Napier Commission in the Isle of Skye
Napier Commission in Orkney
Napier Commission in Shetland
Napier Commission in Sutherland
Napier Commission in Ross-shire [work in progress]

Lewis and Harris witnesses to the Napier Commission


Local history blog
Pentland Road

Personal blog
Atlantic Lines

He also contributes to the Western Isles War Graves (forum) and Western Isles War Memorials (forum)

A Small Boy in Aberdeen

The 1911 Census marks a significant point in my researches because it is the first to include my Dad. There is something slightly strange about seeing one's father listed as a 4 year-old boy and especially so as all my grandparents were already dead by the time I myself was 4 and hence, although I have 'met' them in the censuses, they exist only as shadows in my mind.

I do not intend to dwell upon the details of the household at 56 St Swithin Street (save to say that my dad's two aunts were both Teachers and that the Boarder at his grandmother's house taught Science at Gordon's College), but look instead at the occupations of the neighbours at numbers 52 to 54:

We have an employer in the form of the Manager of a 'Coal & Lime Importers, Oil Refiners & Grain Merchants Limited Company'; another employer who was a House Painter; a third employer who was a 'Motor Car Agent' and whose daughter was a 'Clerk & Typist' in the Motor Trade; and finally a 'Retired Gilder & Picture Framer' whose daughter was a self-employed Piano Teacher and whose two sons were employed as a 'Dentists Mechanic' and a 'House Painter'.

So this was the neighbourhood that my Stornowegian grandfather found himself inhabiting 90 years after his own grandfather had been born in a house on the shore at Direcleit, a house that the sea was known to enter at particularly high tides.

I say 'inhabiting' but in fact he wasn't there on the night of the census and, as the index at ScotlandsPeople does NOT include a field for the place of birth, I am not going to trawl through all the 36 year-old John Kerrs (at £1.17 each) in the hope of chancing upon him!

What is more disappointing is that, had he been there, I am sure that he would have continued his practice from the previous Census and inserted 'G&E' in the otherwise blank column recording Gaelic speakers...

Sunday, 17 April 2011

A Singular Occurrence

In 1911, living on his own in a house at Rodil despite his being married, we find the 60 year-old Gaelic & English speaking Donald MacCrimmon. Deciphering his name initially proved a tad difficult but it was his unusual occupation that both drew my attention and proved the key to identifying him:

Dunvegan-born Donald gives his occupation as 'Formerly: Book binder & Printer' in 'General Publishing'. Armed with his forename, age and the fact that he was born on Skye, I located him in the three previous censuses:

1901
Donald McCrimmon, 47, Book Binder, 144 Stirling Rd, Glasgow, b. Skye, Invernessshire
Mary McCrimmon, 40, Wife, b. Bernad(?), Invernessshire
Duncan McCrimmon, 21, Son, Book Binder, b. Glasgow
William McCrimmon, 19, Son, Goods Checker, b. Glasgow
Elizabeth McCrimmon, 15, Daughter, Envelope Packer, b. Glasgow
Euphemia Mcdonald, 16, Daughter-in-Law, Domestic Servant, b. Barnars(?), Invernessshire

1891
Donald Crimmon, 40, Bookbinder, 85, North Wallace St, Glasgow, b. Dunvegan, Inverness Shire
Duncan Crimmon, 13, Son, Scholar, b. Glasgow
William C Crimmon, 9, Son, Scholar, b. Glasgow

1881
Donald McCrimmon, 30, Bookbinder, 133 Springburn Rd, Glasgow, b. Dunvegan, Invernessshire
Elizabeth McCrimmon, 30, Wife, b. Huntly, Aberdeenshire
Duncan McCrimmon, 2, Son, b. Glasgow
John Caldwell, 25, Brother-in-Law, Iron Turner, b. England
Alexander Caldwell, 19, Brother-in-Law, Iron Turner, b. Dalmellington, Ayrshire
Barbara Stark, 13, Niece, Scholar, b. Glasgow

There are three or four possible candidates for Donald in 1871 but I don't intend pursuing this.

However, these three returns alone have a things to tell us:

Firstly, Donald's first wife appears to have been Elizabeth Caldwell from Huntly and she quite possibly died prior to 1891 which is when we see their son William having 'C', quite probably for 'Caldwell', added to his name. I have found the Caldwell's in 1871 when they were living in Springburn, Lanarkshire and Eliza was employed as a Silk worker. A decade earlier they had been in Sowerby, Yorkshire, which explains her brother John having been born in England. Their father, William Caldwell, was employing 2 men and a boy in his work manufacturing Drainage Pipes.

Secondly, Donald married a second wife, Mary, but was it she who gave him a daughter, Elizabeth, in 1884? I have searched for the girl in 1891 to no avail and have also had no success in finding either wife in that particular year.

However, both Mary, and Donald's 'Daughter-in-Law' Euphemia Macdonald, appear to have been born in Bernera in Inverness-shire which could either be the village of that name on Skye or the island of Berneray itself and if the latter might go some way in explaining why Donald the retired Bookbinder was living 'next door' to Lexy Kerr in Rodil in 1911!

The Two Houses of 'Kylis'

The 1911 Census of Harris records the following:

KYLIS
7 Rooms with Windows
Malcolm Macdonald, 41, G&E, General Merchant, Own Account, b. Obbe, Harris
Catherine Macdonald, 21, Wife, b. Finsbay, Harris
Roderick Macdonald, 3, Son, b. (unreadable), Harris
Sarah Grant Macdonald, 9 months, Daughter, b. Kylis, Harris
Sarah Macdonald, 70, Widow, Mother, G&E, Private Means, b. Grantown, Strathspey
Flora Maclennan, 18, General Servant Domestic, G&E, b. Finsbay, Harris
Malcolm Macleod, 18, Servant, Carter, G&E, b. Ardvia, Harris

13 Rooms with Windows
Norman Robertson, 29, G&E, Estate Factor, b. Portree
Jessie Robertson, 27, Wife, G&E, b. South Uist
Donald Norman Stuart Robertson, 7 months, Son, b. South Uist
Donald Robertson, 66, Married, Father, G&E, Railway Traffic Agent, b. Blair Atholl
Christina Kerr, 21, Domestic Servant, G&E, b. Harris

I'll get my family bit out of the way first:
Christina Kerr was a daughter of Direcleit-born Roderick Kerr Roderick Kerr and a decade earlier her brother Donald had been a Cattle Herd living with the family of Roderick & Sarah Macdonald at the Farm House. Thus she represents the most recent of a line of family members serving the Farmers & Factors of the South.

Returning to the two houses, I am unsure which of them is the 'Kyles Lodge/Kyles House' that was built for the McRa family and now wonder whether I was wrong to suggest that the family of Mrs S Macdonald had ever lived there?

If the smaller house was indeed the McRa residence, then what is the larger property?

My instinct is to suggest that the Macdonald's had indeed lived at the Lodge/Farm from at least the years1881 to 1901 then 'downsized' after Roderick's death and relinquished it to the new Factor, but I'd welcome some assistance in unravelling these residencies!

Now 19 in Harris!

I missed one more household in the earlier list:

STROND
Christina Morrison, 80, Widow, Gaelic, Crofter, b. Harris
Chirsty Morrison, 50, Daughter, Single, Gaelic, Assisting on croft, b. Harris
Marion Morrison, 48, Daughter, Widow, Gaelic, Harris Tweed Spinner, b. Harris
Roderick Morrison, 9, Grandson, G&E, School, b. Harris
Donald Morrison, 8, Grandson, G&E, School, b. Harris
Catherine Morrison, 6, Granddaughter, G&E, School, b. Harris
Effie Kerr, 82, Sister, Single, Gaelic, Formerly: Harris Tweed Spinner (unreadable), Own Account, At Home, b. Harris
Peter Macleod, 21, Boarder, G&E, Commission Agent, b. Harris

Effie Kerr and her sister Christina were both daughters of Angus Kerr (1792-1867), my ancestor John the Tailor of Direcleit's brother. Christina had lost her fisherman husband, William Morrison, on the 26th of June 1890 when he and two others were lost from the 'Jessie & Margaret'.
Effie died the following year on the 14th of January, her death being registered by 'Peter Macleod. Occupier'.

So, now I have 19 Kerr folk on Harris yet my original search only produced 15 results.
Looking at that list, I notice that the 4 missing persons are Christina Kerr of Direcleit and her three children.
The fact that the three other direcleit Kerr folk in their two households were listed makes this even more mysterious!

Therefore, as far as I can tell, there were in fact 19 people called Kerr left on Harris with 15 of them being relatives of mine and all but two of these being of John the Tailor's branch of the family.
Any trace of all but one of the other families that I had  first found listed in 1841 has been lost some seventy years later...

Saturday, 16 April 2011

The Remaining Kerrs of Stornoway in 1911

These two families are those of my great granduncles Alexander John and Malcolm.
They, together with their older sister (my great grandmother Mrs Annie Maciver) were the surviving children of Malcolm Kerr of Direcleit and Mary Macdonald of Orinsay.

51 ½ Bayhead St – 5
Alexander J Kerr, 55, G&E, Dock Labourer, b. Stornoway
Mary, 44, Wife, G&E, b. Stornoway

Married 7 years, both children still living. Of the four children from Alexander John's first marriage to Margaret Macarthur (1858-1902), the eldest, Donald, was in Canada whilst the youngest, Alexander John, can be seen below. The eldest of the two girls, Catherine Isabella, had died of tetanus aged 6 but 18 year-old Mary was also still in Stornoway.

Alexander J, 14, Son, G&E, School, b. Stornoway
Murdo, 6, Son, G&E, School, b. Stornoway
Margaret, 3, Daughter, G&E, b. Stornoway

29 Bayhead St – 6
Malcolm Kerr, 52, G&E, Cooper, Fishcuring Yard, b. Stornoway
Margaret, 41, Wife, G&E, b. Stornoway

Married 3 years with no children, these four being Malcolm's from his first marriage to Marion Macleod (1867-1905):

Mary, 15, G&E, Domestic Servant, b. Stornoway
Malcolm, 13, G&E, School, b. Stornoway
John, 11, G&E, School, b. Stornoway
Duncan, 9, G&E, School, b. Stornoway

One thing that slightly mystifies me is why Alexander John was working as a Dock Labourer at this time for, according to his Obituary in the Stornoway Gazettee , he had owned & sailed the 'Lady Louisa Kerr' following the loss of the 'Crest' in 1903.
I can only assume that, by 1911, the competition from steam ships had already proved too much and that even then 'the picturesque sailing coaster has been almost completely squeezed out of existence.'...

1911 Harris Households containing Kerr folk

In the previous piece I mentioned that there were only 15 people left on Harris bearing the family name Kerr:
There are some 18 people listed here so quite why three of them were missing from my original search is a (somewhat concerning!) indexing mystery...

Please note that all spellings are given as they appear on the census sheets.

I have shown in bold those who are my relatives.

DERECLET – 7, living in 3 consecutively listed households

Catherine, 35, G&E, Hand Loom Weaveress (Home Spun), Own Account, At Home, b. Harris
Married 9 years, 3 children all still alive. Her husband, my cousin John Kerr, was a Salmon Fisher at Chanonry Point in 1901 and died on the 8th of November 1950 in Direcleit. His mother is the Widow Mary Kerr seen below.
Christy, 7, Daughter, G&E, School, b. Harris
Mary, 5, Daughter, G&E, School, b. Harris
Angus, 2, Son, b. Harris

W Mary, 72, Gaelic, Widow, Tweed Making Home Spun (Old Age Pensioner), Own Account, At Home,
Marion, 43, Daughter, Single, G&E, Woollen Weaveress Home Spun, Own Account, At Home, b. Harris
Mary was the wife of Angus Kerr, a Fisherman and the younger brother of my great, great grandfather.

Effie, 80, Single, Gaelic, Tweed Making OA Pensioner, Own Account, At Home, b. Harris
I think this is my great, great grandaunt who was my great, great grandfather's youngest sister and a sister-in-law of her neighbour, the Widow Mary.

KYLIS - 1
Christina Kerr, 21, G&E, Servant, b. Harris
Christina was the eldest daughter of my great grand uncle Roderick of Obbe. She was living in the household of Norman Robertson, 29, Estate Factor, b. Portree.

Their neighbours (in what appears to have been the smaller od the two houses) include the 70 year-old widow Sarah Macdonald, the Mrs Macdonald of Kyles Lodge who wrote an account of the origins of Harris Tweed.

KINTULAVIG - 1
Annie, 17, Niece, G&E, Hand Loom Weaveress Harris Tweed, Own Account, At Home, b. Glasgow
As far as I know, Annie has no connection to the Kerr families of Harris.

OBBE - 5
Roderick, 68, Gaelic, General Labourer, b. Harris
Peggy, 57, Wife, Gaelic, Harris Tweed Spinner, Own Account, At Home, b. Harris
Married 30 years, 8 children of whom 6 still alive.
Angus, 20, Son, Gaelic & English, General Labourer, b. Harris
Kate, 16, Daughter, G&E, b. Harris
John, 9, Son, G&E, At School, b. Harris

Roderick, who was born in Direcleit, was the son of my great, great grandfather Malcolm Kerr and his first wife, Bess Macdonald. He was raised by his grandparents in Direcleit before returning to the family roots along the Sound of Harris. His son, Angus, was wed at Scarista in 1923 and the Minister performing the ceremony was John Kerr, the 'Ayatollah' of Finlay J Macdonald's books.

STROND - 3
Ann Maclean, 44, Gaelic, Single, Harris Tweed Spinner, Own Account, At Home, b. Harris
John Kerr, 15, Son, G&E, b. Harris

Jessie Macleod, 74, Single, Harris Tweed Spinner, Own Account, At Home, b. Greenock
Donald Kerr, 49, Son, Single, Crofter Fisherman, b. Harris
Susan Kerr,, 46, Daughter, Single, Harris Tweed Spinner, Own Account, At Home, b. Harris
Donald Morrison, 19, Grandson, Single, Assisting on croft, b. Harris

This family descend from a Shoemaker, Angus Kerr, and his wife Margaret Mackay. The 15 year-old John Kerr was the son of the unmarried Ann Maclean and Donald Kerr, who in turn was the son of the unmarried John Kerr and Jessie Macleod. Quite why this family shunned wedlock is unknown but it certainly proved challenging when I was mapping all the Kerr families on Harris!

RODIL – 1
Lexy Kerr, 79, Widow, G&E, Private Means, b. Harris

Lexy, whose husband Angus Kerr spent his whole working life serving the South Harris Estate, was living three doors down from the 'Boarding House' ie what began life as Rodel House and is currently the Rodel Hotel.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect is that 1911, the year that the Clo Mor was first stamped with the Orb Mark, displays in the census returns for the first time the words 'Harris Tweed'...

...and I'm very proud to have several female relatives shown to be engaged in spinning & weaving this most famous of Home Spun fabrics!