View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Why did John Mcleod lose his lands?

Wednesday, June 13th, 1883. The Napier Commission is sitting in Tarbert, the main village in Harris and is interrogating 62-year old John Mcleod, a crofter and fisherman from Ardhasaig, a few miles west of Tarbert. Commissioner Sheriff Nicolson asked him how he lost his land thirty years ago.

Thereby hangs a tale. There was a lady in Uist and a gentleman in Skye, and my brother had a vessel, and he came in the vessel with Donald Macdonald from Monkstadt [Isle of Skye], and he went to Balranald [North Uist] in order to remove from thence the young lady, whose parents were not willing that she should marry the young gentleman in the ordinary way. They wished her to marry the man who was at the time factor upon the estate; but this man took her away. The factor, Macdonald, had his revenge upon me and my two brothers for this act, though we were quite innocent of it. One of my brothers was at the time in Borv, and another in Scalpa, and I had a sister in West Tarbert. The four of us had lands at the time, and he deprived us of them all. One of my brothers went to Australia, where he is still. That is how I lost my land—the sole cause. I did not get lands since.


  1. Yikes, in my reader I read that as hands....

  2. Wow, I read it as hands, too! That is very sad. I would imagine that whole document makes for some very sad reading.