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, 21 January 2012

Borve Mission House, Isle of Harris

In the course of a piece of research, I came upon a wedding in 1904 that took place at the Borve Mission House, Harris.

The certificate records that the ceremony was performed ‘According to the Forms of the United Free Church of Scotland.’ The Minister was one Farquhar Kennedy from Lochalsh who in 1901 was boarding at Manish Cottage with the Davidson family of the late Free Church Minister, Alexander Davidson.

Not having previously heard of Borve Mission House, I endeavoured to learn more about it. A search on RCAHMS  produced the Mission House in the old school building on Scarp and a Mission Hall in Seilibost Seilibost . A more general search returned the Finsbay Mission House which is now an art studio but certainly was performing its earlier function according to the records of the 1901 Census when the family of the 44 year-old Missionary Ronald MacSween were living there.

That same Census also provides us with a United Free Church Missionary at Little Borve. He was 56 year-old Donald MacDonald with his wife and two daughters, the younger of whom having been born in North Uist some 18 years earlier unlike her sister and parents who were all born in Harris. Their home is not referred to as 'Borve Mission House' but whether that is significant or not I cannot tell.
(Incidentally, in the previous Census of 1891 there was a Missionary along the coast at Big Borve, Lachlan Munro, but this was prior to the formation of the United Free Church)

Turning to the United Free Church for possible assistance, I found this interesting and useful brief history but the only archives I can locate do not appear to include those of missionaries working in Scotland?

Finally, I have been unable to find Borve Mission House on any maps so if anyone can provide some more details about this building I would be delighted to hear from you!


  1. Interesting...could it maybe be the house marked on the 1901 OS map online via NLS at: http://maps.nls.uk/os/6inch-2nd-and-later/view/?sid=75990555

    I think I see a mission house marked just outside 'Borvemore' on the map, but no indication if this is the UF one that you are looking for...

    This might be the wrong one, but I thought I'd mention it just in case.

  2. Many thanks, Kirsteen, I somehow missed that one!

    It's certainly in the right place and the date of the map (revised in 1901) is perfect.

    Thanks again,