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

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Big, Mid and Little Borve, Harris

I have attempted a purely statistical exercise for the population of 'The Three Borves' as recorded in the censuses:

1839 – Borve Cleared - Duncan Shaw, Factor's, evidence to Parliament

1841 – No records for Borve

1847 – Borve Resettled

1851 – 138 people in 22 households - 6.3ppr (people per roof) (in 'Bowes')

1853 – Borve Cleared

1861 - 74 people in 14 households – 5.3ppr

Big Borve – 10 people in 2 households – 5.0ppr
Mid Borve – 20 people in 4 households – 5.0ppr
Little Borve – 44 people in 8 households – 5.5ppr

1871 Borve does not appear in its own right, hence it would take a lot of 'untangling' to identify possible residents by reconciliation with the residents of 1861 and 1881.

1881 - 61 people in 12 households – 5.1ppr

Big Borve – 31 people in 7 households – 4.4ppr
Borve 1 – 5 people in 1 household – 5.0ppr
Little Borve – 25 people in 4 households – 6.3ppr

In 20 years, big Borve has tripled in size, Mid Borve all-but disappeared as an entity and Little Borve has been halved.

1891 - 58 people in 14 households – 4.1ppr

Big Borve – 13 people in 5 households – 2.6ppr
Hamlets Little Borve – 45 people in 9 households – 5.0ppr

A decade later we see an almost complete reversal of the process noted previously. The distribution is almost as it was in 1861, albeit with the continued complete absence of Mid Borve.

1901 - 57 people in 15 households – 3.8ppr

Big Borve – 19 people in 6 households – 3.2ppr
Little Borve – 38 people in 9 households - 4.2ppr

Our final snapshot shows a slight move towards Big Borve who's share of the (apparently stable) population has increased from approximately one-quarter to one-third.

However, the population remains a mere 40% of what it had been only half a century ago.

Population Size and
Household Density

1851 138 @ 6.3ppr
1861 074 @ 5.3ppr
1871 No Data
1881 061 @ 5.1ppr
1891 058 @ 4.1ppr
1901 057 @ 3.8ppr

What strikes me the most from this little table is the trend towards ever-smaller households, particularly between 1881 and 190 which was a period when the population appears to have otherwise been stable.

It points towards a closer examination of the people of Borve in the closing decades of the 19thC but that will have to wait for now.

Note: I have 'invented' the ratio 'person per roof' purely as an echo of the importance of roof timbers.

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