Friday photo; Paying the rent

Last week, Donna and David gave a talk at Ness Historical Society about archive records held by the Comhairle and the Barvas rent ledgers held in Stornoway library were of great interest.

The ledgers list every croft within the parish of Barvas parish stretching from Shawbot to the Butt of Lewis and give a running commentary on their rent and croft ownership.  The clerk who maintained these ledgers also liked to add in other bits of information about  the tenants which can be wonderful for those interested in family and croft history.

In 1882, 46 Habost was tenanted by Angus Murray at a rent of £2 6s a year.  The ledger shows that while he was paying some rent, his arrears were starting to mount somewhat.  On 14 December 1882, the ledger records “Killed in quarry at Creed 14 December 1882.”

Angus Murray is recorded as having been killed in a quarry accident on 14 December 1882

In 1899, the widows arrears are written off by the estate and the rent has decreased to £1 6s, although this doesn’t stop Christy from appearing before the Crofters Committee as you can see from this entry here – much to the annoyance it seems of the Factor!

Widow Christy Neil takes over the croft and her rent is reduced. However, she still appears before the Crofters Committee.

The rent stays constant until the 1920s and she appears to be meeting the rental payments each year.  In April 1910, Christy dies and in simple style the ledger records: “W[i]d[ow] died April 1910, no well. Eldest son Angus in separate house.  Son John married in home. 1912 Angus claims croft.”

In 1910, Christy dies and her sons take over the croft

About David Powell

Project Manager and Archivist with Tasglann nan Eilean Siar
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