Parish of Lochs, 1831-1845

This is a literal transcript of the Account for this parish. For the sake of legibility, this has been split up into its six constituent chapters.

Topography and Natural History
Civil History
Parochial Economy
Miscellaneous Observations

Parish of Lochs (1831-1845) - Topography and Natural History


Name.-The parish of Lochs derives its name from the numerous arms of the sea, by which it is intersected, and the many fresh water lakes that intersperse its surface. [Arms of the sea and fresh water lakes are indiscriminately termed Lochs in the Hebrides]

It was the most recently inhabited parish in the Island of Lewis, according to the rapidly expiring traditions of the country; the only source of information on this head to which we can resort. Different parts of it were used by the inhabitants of the parish of Uig, in times long gone by, as shealings, or summer pasturage for their cattle. There is a certain part of it that still retains the name of Ari Dhhoil Chaim" or Donald Caum’s shealing. This Donald Caum was a noted character, who resided in the parish of Uig, in this island, seven generations ago.

Extent.-The extreme length of the parish of Lochs, in a straight line, is 18 computed miles; not including the arms of the sea by which it is intersected. The breadth averages about nine miles. Its length is from north to south; and its breadth of course from east to west.

Boundaries.-The parish of Lochs is bounded on the south by an arm of the sea called Loch Seaforth, which separates it from Harris; on the south-west and west, by the hills of Harris and the parish of Uig, in a line which runs along the interior of the island, a distance of ten miles, over a very moorish tract of ground on the north, by the parish of Stornoway and the river Creed, which falls into Loch Stornoway and on the east, by the channel which separates the island of Lewis from the mainland of Ross-shire.

Figure.-The parish of Lochs being intersected by many arms of the sea, is of a very irregular figure. A great part of it is a peninsula called Park or the Forest of Lewis. This peninsula is called the Forest or Park, from its having been devoted by the first Earl of Seaforth to the exclusive maintenance of red-deer. Park forms the southern extremity of the parish. The arms of the sea by which it is formed into a peninsula are, Loch Seaforth and Loch Erisort. The isthmus that separates these lochs and joins the forest to the rest of the parish, is three quarters of a mile in

When the forest of Lewis was devoted to the maintenance of red-deer, as noticed above, there was a very high dike across the isthmus; but that dike can now be scarcely traced. The forest has been for many years let to tenants.

Mountains.-The only mountains of any note in the parish of Lochs are in the district called Park. Some of these mountains are celebrated in the hunting-songs of Lewis men of bygone years; among others Benn Chrianeg, Ushinish, and Benn Mhore. These mountains are all in the southern division of Park. They are interspersed by valleys that yield good pasture, and are separated from the less mountainous part of Loch Shell. The rest of the parish, especially the interior, is almost all flat, yielding nothing but the coarsest of heath.

Caves and Fissures.-The only cave in the parish of Lochs is in an island named Tauneray, which is situated in the entrance of Loch Erisort. This cave is about twelve by eight feet wide in its entrance its dimensions increase towards its centre, but terminate in a very limited space in its extremity,- which is so dark as to render a minute inspection inconvenient, especially as its entrance is washed at all times of the tide, by the sea. There are many fissures along the coast, which are not of importance to merit any special notice.

Coast.-The coast of Lochs is generally very bold and rocky, especially about the headlands. The more inland parts of the coast are low, and yield a great quantity of sea-ware. The principal headlands are Kilbag-head and Rhu-Rairnish.

Temperature.-The climate is temperate, which is attributable to the insular situation of the country and though very damp, it is nevertheless very healthful, not only to natives, but also to strangers. Rainy weather prevails in Lewis, to a degree that is very prejudicial to the agricultural interest.

Winds.-The prevailing winds are west and south-west, which are generally accompanied with rain. In the beginning of summer, there is a succession of cold parching easterly winds generally, which prove very prejudicial to vegetation, and are otherwise pernicious to cattle.

Distemper:.-The most prevalent distempers are rheumatism, severe colds, and occasional epidemical fevers, which sometimes prove fatal; but that which is most decidedly peculiar to the island, is rheumatism.

Hydrography-Friths-The principal lochs or friths that intersect this parish, are Loch Seaforth, Loch Erisort, Loch Shell, and Loch Grimshadir. Of these, Loch Seaforth has the greatest claim to our notice, from its magnitude and picturesque scenery. It is about twelve miles long, bearing north-west from its entrance. The scenery around it, is truly majestic. Clishern, the highest hill in the Tong island, is close upon its south-west shores, while its north-east side washes the base of the principal hills of Park. It winds around many jutting points that form a variety of bays. Of these, we shall notice Mareg only. Here Loch Seaforth is land-locked, and presents a scene of solitary magnificence unequalled in this neighbourhood. About four miles farther up the loch, is a shoal that is impassable by boats at half-tide, from its rapidity. It runs at the rate of eight miles an hour, and makes a noise with spring tides that can be heard in calm weather, at many miles distance. Loch Seaforth being environed by high land, and narrow throughout, has a very gloomy aspect. The scenery around it, is indeed solitary, and seldom frequented by man. The bleat of the sheep which pasture on the surrounding hills, sometimes breaks upon the car. It is frequented by shipping, but is not a very desirable anchorage, from the narrowness of its entry, and the loftiness of the surrounding land which causes the wind to sweep the loch sometimes in sudden gusts.

Loch Erisort is next to Loch Seaforth, in magnitude. The entrance of this loch furnishes many excellent anchorages for shipping of any burthen. It is much frequented, and is by seafaring men named the Barkin Isles, from a cluster of islands which are situated in its entrance.

Lakes-There are many fresh water lakes in the parish of Lochs, varying in extent from a mile and a half downwards. Of these, we shall only notice Loch Trialivall. The water of this lake is more transparent than that of any other lake in the parish. This lake has a sandy bottom; but almost all the rest are mossy in their bottom, which darkens their water. There are a few mineral
springs interspersed throughout the country.

Rivers.-There is not a river of any magnitude in all the parish of Lochs, excepting the river Creed, which separates the parish of Lochs from the parish of Stornoway. The largest river in the parish is that of Laxay; it runs out of Loch Trialivall, already noticed,-which loch is fed by Loch Adigo, in the parish of Uig. This river is 3 miles long and about 30 feet broad, and is generally about 15 inches deep. The other numerous streams are so trifling as not to merit notice.

Geology.-The parish of Lochs presents a very rocky aspect everywhere, except in the interior, where it is soft and mossy, and where the number of lakes cannot fail to excite the stranger’s astonishment. Indeed, so much fresh water on so small an extent of ground, is not elsewhere to be seen in the British dominions.

SoiI.-The soil is uniformly mossy, reduced in some places, by dint of industry, to a state of indifferent cultivation. It is generally black, composed of decayed vegetable matter, with an occasional mixture of gravel. The depth of the soil varies very much. It is generally thin in the spots reduced to cultivation, which renders it necessary for the agriculturist to gather it together, leaving a wide space of bare stones between every crooked ridge. The moss is ten feet deep in some places, and is rapidly increasing. Its product being the coarsest of heath is not grateful food for cattle; it therefore decays annually, covering the spot from which it springs with a thin stratum, that progressively increases the moss on which it grows.

Zoology.-The Island of Lewis abounds with sheep, black-cattle, horses and red-deer all of which are of a very diminutive size, in consequence of the rough unsubstantial heath which constitutes the chief part of their food. When the Lewis cattle are brought to better pasturage in the south, they improve astonishingly; and, from their hardy nature, they suffer less in driving than any other cattle in the north. The native sheep are very similar to the breed peculiar to North Wales. Their wool is finer; but that breed is nearly extirpated, and the common black-faced and Cheviot breeds have been introduced into the island, by Dr Macaulay of Linshadir and Mr Stewart of Valimas,-the only capitalists who have done much to improve the breed of sheep and cattle in the Lewis. Game is not very abundant in the Lewis. There are no rabbits nor roes. There are a few hares, which are, in common with all the quadrupeds here, diminutive in size. In the feathered tribes game is more abundant, with the exception of partridges and pheasants, of which there are none.

All the insects peculiar to this climate, are abundant in the Lewis. Caterpillars have been, of late years, particularly so,-as is also that noxious insect, the grub-worm.

Every kind of fish which is to be met in the northern seas, frequents the Lewis coast. There were great takings of herring in some lochs in this island, in past years, particularly in Loch Roag; but the herring fishing has not been prosperous, of late years. Herrings frequent the Lewis coast, in great shoals, every September. They seem in perpetual progress towards the east. It is seldom that a few stragglers from the main body visits the lochs in which they formerly so much abounded. The desertion of the Lewis lochs by the herrings, is attributed by some to the constant reaping yearly of the sea-weed or weir along the coast. Whatever truth may be in this opinion, it is certain that the decrease of the quantity of herrings taken in the Lewis has kept pace with the increase of the quantity of kelp manufactured on the island. Cod and ling are taken in considerable abundance. But the quantity of them taken, is not equal to that taken in former years,-notwithstanding of the improvement which has taken place in the fishing materials, and the great increase of fishermen. At present, there are about sixty tons taken annually in the parish of Lochs.

The fresh water lakes of Lewis abound with black trout, all of one kind, but differing in size and quality, in different lakes. Carp are to be met with here, but rarely. The only river in the parish of Lochs, which produces salmon, is the river of Laxay. The fresh water lakes of Lewis abound with black trout, all of one kind, but differing in size and quality, in different lakes. Carp are to be met with here, but rarely. The only river in the parish of Lochs, which produces salmon, is the river of Laxay. The river Creed, which separates the parish of Lochs from the parish of Stornoway, produces a few salmon also; but they are not so abundant, nor so good in quality on the river Creed, as in the river of Laxay. The proper season for fishing this river commences in November, and continues until July. The fish taken in the early part of the season, are always the best. I have been induced to believe, by the testimony of several respectable people in this island, who have had ample opportunities of knowing, that salmon spawn every second year: only. It is perfectly well known here, that while the salmon which spawned are poor and black in the months of November, December, January, February, and March, during these months other salmon come from the sea, fat and fresh; and that the winter is the best season for fishing,-not that salmon is taken in greater abundance during that season of the year, but that what is taken then is much better than
what is taken, during what is called generally the fishing season.

Shell-fish is less abundant on the shores of the parish of Lochs, than on the shores of other parishes in Lewis. There are a few lobsters in their season, about the headlands. Mussels are plentiful in some of the bays, where there are also a few oysters. There is a variety of whelks and other shell-fish of minor importance.

Botany.-The parish of Lochs furnishes but a very stinted field for botanical observation. It is almost all covered with heath. The exceptions are a few spots along the seashore, which were rendered green by cultivation, and are now left in crooked ridges, as not compensating the labours of the husbandman.

There is a stinted scraggy copsewood of birch of small extent, in a point of this parish called Swordle, near the spot on which the first manse in this parish stood. This is the only wood now on the island; but the Lewis was at one time covered with wood of great size and variety, as is evident from the huge roots which are yet abundant in all parts of the island. Tradition says that the woods of Lewis were burnt by the Danes.

Parish of Lochs (1831-1845) - Civil history

Ancient History.-There is no account, either printed or in manuscript, of the ancient history of the parish of Lochs, excepting what may be in the possession of Mr R. Macaulay, preacher of the gospel, Stornoway,.who, I am informed, proposed to collect the traditions of Lewis, with a view to publication.

Traditions.-The traditions of this country present a crude mass of events, which refer more to the occasional exploits of the heroes of the Shenachies, than to the regular history of the Lewis. These traditions are nevertheless very interesting; but there is scarcely any of importance that refers to this particular parish of Lochs. The bards or shenachies of Lewis resided in the parishes of Uig and Barvas or Ness, as did also their favourite heroes.

Land-owner:.-The sole land-owner of this parish, and of all the Island of Lewis, is James Alexander Stewart M‘Kenzie, Esq; M. P., who succeeded to the estate, on his to the Honourable Lady Hood M‘Kenxie, widow of the late Admiral Sir Samuel Hood, and eldest daughter of the last Lord Seaforth.

Parish Registers.-No register was kept in this parish at any time, as far as known, until July 1831, when the present incumbent became parish minister of Lochs.

Antiquities.-The principal antiquity in the parish of Lochs is in that district called Carloway, which is situated on the northwest side of Lewis, separating the parishes of Uig and Barvas. This antiquity is a fortification of circular form. It was and is still covered with turf, and lined with a remarkably strong stone wall, which is, however, suffering decay. The lower part of the interior of this edifice was a place of residence, to which there was a subterraneous passage from an adjacent hill or brae. There was also an interior wall of stone, inclosing the more elevated habitable part of the edifice between which and the outer wall, there was a winding flight of stone steps from the top to the bottom, over which, there was a parapet four feet high. The interior of this fortification or down, (as it is named in Gaelic) is now in a stain of dilapidation. Its height when entire was about twenty feet. It was of that class of buildings well known in Ireland by the name of round towers, of which many were built there by the Danes, who also are said in the traditions of Lewis to have built Dun Charloway. This fortification must have been a place of considerable strength, when the javelin, the bow and arrow were the only implements of war. Tradition says, Dun Charloway was once taken by an individual notorious in the traditions of Lewis, named Donald Caum M‘Cuil, who, by means of two dirks which he constantly carried about with him, one of which he alternately stuck in the turf that covers the outer stone dike of Dun Charloway, raised himself up to the summit of the parapet, from which the inmates were wont to shoot their arrows at the assailing foe. Donald Caum, once in possession of the parapet, made the sleeping inmates easy victims to his resentment, during the darkness of night.

There are several ruins of fortifications of minor magnitude, but of a similar description, throughout this island. The only other in this parish, lies on a rock surrounded by the sea, at the entrance of Loch Erisort.

There is a ruin on the island of St Colin, in the entrance of Loch Erisort, which was once a religious edifice. The ground surrounding this ruin, is the only place of interment in the parish of Lochs. St Colm is the place on which the first factor sent to the Lewis by the M‘Kenzies, then of Kintail, resided. It is the general opinion, that the said ruin on the island of St Colin is the ruin of a place of ‘worship, erected in the’ days of Mac Mhic Mhoruchi, which was the patronymic of the first factor sent to this island by the M‘Kenzies.

Manse, &c.-The manse of Lochs stands on an eminence, on the north side of Loch Erisort. It is a commodious house, but very much exposed to the inclemency of the weather. It was built upwards of thirty years ago, and is, with the exception of the farmhouse of the Valimas, the only house in the parish of Lochs, which is built of stone and lime. There are three dwelling-houses in the parish built of stone and clay, which are occupied by farmers, and are comfortable considering their size,-of which only one is slated, viz. the inn of Lochshell, which is the only inn in the parish; it is a farm house also. The other habitations are wretched. They are built of stones and mess; but mostly of moss. Their walls, if they can be so called, are generally four feet high and from four to five feet thick. They are thatched with barley stubble. They are all built on declivities. Their upper ends are occupied by the families, and their lower ends by their cattle, without any purtition or division between them.

Mills.-The mills in Lewis are probably the greatest curiosity a stranger can meet with on the island. There is scarcely a stream along the coast, on any part of the island, on which a mill is not to be seen. These mills are of very small size, and of a very simple construction. The water passes through their middle, where the wheel, a solid piece of wood generally, eighteen inches in diameter stands perpendicularly. A bar of iron runs through the centre of this wheel. This bar of iron or axle rests on a piece of steel, which is fixed on a plank, the one end of which is fixed in the mill wall, the other in the end of a piece of plank, which stands at right angles with the plank on which the wheel tests. The upper end of the axle fits into a cross bar of iron, which is fitted into the upper millstone, the axle passing through the centre of the lower millstone, which is rested upon wooden beams or long stones. There is a purchase upon the end of the said perpendicular beam or plank, by which the upper millstone can be raised or lowered. There are nine pieces of board, eight inches broad, and a foot and half long, fixed in the wheel, parallel and at equal distances from each other, upon which the water is brought to bear; which, together with a few sticks for roof, and some heather for thatch, constitutes a Lewis mill.

Parish of Lochs (1831-1845) - Population

Population in 1801: 1875
1811: 1927
1821: 2669
1831: 3667

Habits, Language, &c Of the People.- They are generally sober, hospitable, industrious, and capable of enduring much fatigue.

The common food of the people is potatoes, bear meal bannocks, pottage made of black oat-meal, milk and fish occasionally.

The games prevalent here were jumping, putting the stone, the shinty or club; but these are now gone out of use.

Poaching in game is not known here; but there is poaching of a more pernicious kind practised, which, though recently checked, is not quite abolished, viz. catching fresh water fish with a kind of pock-net, in rivulets and rivers, in the spawning season.

The people of Lochs are intelligent considering their opportunities. They are quiet, tractable, and very hospitable, sensible of their ignorance, and eager to be instructed in temporal as well as spiritual matters. It would be desirable, however, that they paid more attention to cleanliness. It cannot be expected, indeed, that a people shut out from intercourse with the civilized world should be so polished as others who have better opportunities of improvement; but their general good behaviour is such as might put many of these more favoured individuals to the blush.

Parish of Lochs (1831-1845) - Industry

Agriculture.-Number of acres, standard imperial measure, in the parish, which
are either cultivated or occasionally in tillage, 2000 to 3000

Number of acres which never have been cultivated, and which remain constantly waste, or in pasture, probably fiom 150,000 to 100,000

[The writer regrets he has not the means of estimating these quantities more precisely.]

Only a few acres are under natural wood.

Manufactures.- The only article manufactured in the parish of Lochs for exportation, is kelp,-of which upwards of 100 tons are exported annually. There are many articles manufactured here,
for home consumption; such as blankets for beds, coarse cloth, various in quality and colour, but chiefly striped, stockings, &c. The poor people generally rear the wool from which they manufacture their scanty store of these necessaries; but there are some of them (the poorest,) who have no sheep, and are therefore compelled to buy wool from their more highly favoured neighbours, which, however, they are in many instances unable to do to the extent their necessities would require.

Mechanics.-The only resident tradesmen in Loch: are, boatbuilders, weavers, and tailors. Almost all the labouring part of the population, male and female, are acquainted with the manufacturing of kelp. All the males fit to endure the fatigue are occasionally accustomed to fishing; and all the females are accustomed to spin yam, principally with the spindle and distaff, and also to make stockings.

There are no lands in the parish of Lochs that can properly be called arable. The plough is not used at all. The people rear their crops on small detached spots, and cultivate the ground with spades. That notorious implement of Scottish Highland husbandry, the crooked spade, is much used in this parish. There is not a sufficiency of food produced in the parish, to support its inhabitants. The wants of the inhabitants in this respect can always be relieved at Stornoway, where stores of every necessary are always kept by the respectable part of the mercantile community. Indeed the soil, but more especially the climate, is not favourable for agriculture; yet, by giving due encouragement to industrious capitalists, in granting them long leases, and the land at a moderate valuation, the country would be greatly improved. The parish would yield a sufficiency of provision for its inhabitants; the money sent out of the island for provisions would be kept at home; and, instead of the people devoting their time indiscriminately to the mixed avocations of husbandry, fishing, kelp-making, grazing, &c. each should have his distinct and separate avocation,-which, I am persuaded, would greatly conduce to the general welfare of the community. The poor people are glad, at present, to have a spot of ground, at whatever price, to ensure some food for the ensuing year; but while their attention is divided, as we already noticed, they can bestow on no part of their avocation that attention which, under other circumstances, would ensure success.

Parish of Lochs (1831-1845) - Parochial economy

Post and Market-Town.-There is no post or market-town in the parish of Lochs: the nearest to it is Stornoway, which is eleven miles from the church of Lochs. The only post-office in the island of Lewis is in Stornoway, from whence there is a mail packet once a week (weather permitting) to Poolewe, on the mainland of Ross-shire.

Roads, &c.- There is not a road of any description in any part of the parish of Lochs. Every communication with the next market-town, must be over the trackless heath or by sea. A line of road was commenced at Stornoway in 1830, which is intended to be extended as far as Harris, passing through the parish of Lochs but that road has not as yet been extended beyond the limits of the parish of Stornoway.

There are many good harbours in the parish of Lochs,the principal of which are, Cromore, which is in the entrance of Loch Erisort, Lochshell, and Marig, in Loch Seaforth. These harbours are sufficient to accommodate shipping of any burthen. Their depth is from fifty feet downwards.

Villages.-The inhabitants of the parish of Lochs reside in detached villages, having a population varying from 40 families downwards. The most of these villages or farms are lotted in different divisions, each tenant having his house on his own lot, and contracting with his landlord separately for his yearly rent, so that the tenants living on the same farm hold their lands independently of each other. Some of them have their tenements placed more promiscuously. These divide their spots of corn land as they are detached upon the farm, giving each other a proportion according to their respective rents; and that each may have his just share of the benefits of the pasture also, they restrict each other to a proportion of cattle corresponding with the amount of their rents thus securing to each other, by mutual consent, a share of the produce of their farm, proportionate to their respective rents.

Church-The parish church is situate on a small peninsula, on the farm of Keose. Its situation is centrical; but-the arms of the sea, by which the parish is intersected, render a regular attendance on divine service impracticable during the winter. There is a part of the parish situated on the north-west side of the island, between the parishes of Uig and Barvas, a distance of eighteen miles from the parish church of Lochs, where the minister of Lochs is bound to preach once every three months. This district is named Carloway, and stands more in need of the labours of a missionary than any other place in the Long-Island.

The inhabitants of Carloway have no opportunity of attending divine service. except when the minister of Lochs preaches there. The population of Carloway is 901. The stipend, converted to money, amounts to L. 150. The manse was lately put in good repair. I cannot state precisely either the extent or value of the glebe. The parish church is a new building, sufficient to accommodate 700 sitters. Public worship is well attended, excepting when the violence of the weather detains such of the parishioners as must have recourse to boating, in coming to church. There is not a Government church, nor any place of public worship in the parish of Lochs, excepting the parish church. There is not a single dissenter from the Established Church in any part of the Lewis Island. Preachers from dissenting Associations have laboured among
the people of Lewis for many years; but they all failed to unite a single individual to their own society. About 530 families attend the Established Church.

Education.-The remoteness of some parts of the parish of Lochs from the parish school, renders it impossible for the greater part of the generation, to avail themselves of the means of a liberal education. To have the means of education disseminated to an extent adequate to the necessities of the people, three other schools are requisite. This is owing principally to the physical character of the parish, the habitable parts of which are separated from each other by arms of the sea, and by extensive tracts of waste ground. The parish schoolmaster’s salary is L. 28, and his fees do not exceed L 1, 10s. a year.

There are only 12 persons in all the parish who can write; but half the inhabitants from twelve to twenty-four years of age can head the Gaelic language, which is the only language spoken generally. A few of the males can speak broken English. It was by the instrumentality of the Gaelic School Society that so many of them were enabled to read Gaelic.

The Gaelic School Society has four schools at present in the parish of Lochs, which are the only schools in it. The parish school has been vacant for many years, from the want of accommodation, which has been much against the inhabitants, who seem to hold the benefits of education in very high estimation; but that grievance has been removed. A commodious school-house has been erected recently, and a teacher appointed.

Poor.-The only charitable contributions in this parish are raised at the church after divine service. The amount of these contributions is generally low, in consequence of the poverty of the people; but the poor of the parish are supported chiefly by their relations. Such of them as are destitute of near relations, find willing friends in their neighbours and acquaintances to administer to their necessities. The number of paupers in the parish has not as yet been actually ascertained.

Jail-AIehouse.-There is no jail in the parish of Lochs. The next to it, is that of Stornoway. There is only one inn, viz. that of Lochshell, which is frequented by seafaring men only.

Fuel.-The fuel used here universally is pests, which are of excellent quality, and in very great abundance. This fuel is not only abundant but convenient also; for the peat banks, or the moss from which they prepare this fuel, is, in many instances, no more than fifty feet from the dwelling houses of the people; though, in a few other instances, it is a full mile distant. The labour of preparing this fuel chiefly devolves on the female part of the population, with the single exception of cutting the peats out of the moss, and spreading them on the ground to dry, which is done by the males.

Parish of Lochs (1831-1845) - Miscellaneous observations

The condition of the people of Lochs differs materially from what it was, when the last Statistical Account was published. Then, very few of them could read; but now, the half of them, from the ages of ten to thirty years, can read the Scriptures in their mother tongue. This happy change has been brought about, by means of the Gaelic School Society. Indeed, the proprietor and proprietress of this island are very energetic in disseminating a knowledge of the oracles of truth among their poor tenants. But, from a change in the times, and other circumstances, the poor people are much reduced in circumstances. The fishing, which formerly constituted a chief part of their support, has not been prosperous of late years; but the mainspring of their prosperity was the price of cattle, which has also failed. This, together with. the warm entreaties of their acquaintances and friends who emigrated to Nova Scotia in former years, seems to have inspired them with the spirit of emigration; and nothing but reluctance to part with their scanty stocks of cattle, at the present very low prices, seems to retard the emigration of a great many of the people of Lochs this year, to British North America.

Parish of Uig (1831-1845)

Literal transcript of the 1831-1845 Statistical Account for the parish of Uig (in Lewis). For the sake of leginibility, the text has been split up into its 6 constituent chapters.

Topography and natural history
Civil history
Parochial economy
Miscellaneous observations

Parish of Uig (1831-1845) - Miscellaneous observations

The failure of the herring fishing in Loch Roag for thirty years back, has contributed to impoverish the people of this parish. The cultivation of the interior parts of the Lewis, wherever practicable, the letting of lands at a very low rent, and giving long leases to the occupiers,-would greatly improve the parish, and ameliorate the condition of the population, now settled everywhere on the seashore. The country also requires some branches of roads to the interior, so as to cart lime from any of the harbours. Establishing a hemp or cotton manufactory in any part of the Lewis would do much for training a people who have so much idle time on hand, to habits of industry, and for ameliorating their condition.

The happiness and comfort of the people would also be promoted were men of capital to engage in the fishing trade. It is a well known fact, that, of late, there were abundance of herring on the whole coast here, which remained for seven or eight weeks; but most of the inhabitants had no nets that could fish, so far out from shore. I am confident, that, had there been a number of boats and vessels here upon the herring fishing, their success and profits would have been considerable.

Parish of Uig (1831-1845) - Parochial Economy

Market-Town.Stornoway is the market-town of the Lewis, and is thirty miles from the manse of Uig. It is also the only place of a post-office in the whole island.

Villages.-All the people dwell in little farm villages, in several of which are from 40 to 50 families.

Harbours.-Loch Roag is the principal harbour in the parish it is covered with islands. One of them, Large Bernera, is about eight miles long, and inhabited. The whole of this curious and interesting arm of the sea abounds with safe places of anchorage, sufficient to hold the whole British Navy.

Ecclesiastical State.-The parish church is situated in the most convenient and eccentrical part of the parish; notwithstanding of which, those inhabiting the north and north-east coasts of Loch Roag, are thirteen miles from church. The church was built in the year 1829, and affords accommodation for 1000 sitters. The manse was repaired with additions (as I have already stated) in 1824. The present incumbent has an arable glebe of no great value, and the amount of stipend is L 150 Sterling per annum. There is one catechist in the parish, appointed and principally supported by the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge. The number of communicants is 60. The parishioners, as circumstances permit, and exigencies demand, make collections for religious and charitable purposes; but the amount of these is small,
from the extreme poverty of the inhabitants. There is not a mission or a Government church in the parish but there is an extensive field for one of these on the north and north-east coasts of Loch Roag. There are no disenters of any description within the bounds of the parish. The people’s appreciation of religious instruction is increasing much and the attendance on the public ordinances of religion here is probably as punctual and full, as in any parish in Scotland.

Education.-There are at present five schools in the parish, all of which, excepting the parochial school, are supported by Societies. Three of said schools are supported by the Edinburgh Gaelic School Society, and the fourth by the Inverness Education Society. There are other two English schools soon to be opened at the districts of Valtos and Callernish. The ordinary branches of education are taught in the English schools, and the parochial teacher has the legal accommodations. His salary is L. 28, and his fees amount to about L. 5 a-year.

Poor and Parochial Funds.-There are 50 persons receiving parochial aid in the parish. The yearly church collections are very inadequate, indeed, for meeting the exigencies of so many paupers, and there is no other fund for their support; but several of them go about, seeking parochial relief; and the whole of them are partly supported by their own relatives.

Inns.-There is one inn in the parish.

Fuel.-Peat moss is the fuel made use of here of which the people have abundance, and at very little expense.

Parish of Uig (1831-1845) - Industry


(areas quoted in Scots acres)
Arable and intersected pasture: 2840 1 11
Fine pasture: 1733 3 30
Moorish pasture: 89885 0 37
Water: 3804 2 17
TOTAL: 98264 0 15

The Common Breeds, &c.-The small country breeds of sheep, horses, and cattle, are still the prevailing breeds of the country. Little or nothing is doing for the improvement of lands,-principally, I believe, for want of capital. Still the capabilities of the Lewis for cultivation are very great. Husbandry is done by the common
and the crooked spade; the ground is turned into lazy beds, but might easily be cultivated with the plough, in many parts of the country.

Fisheries.-Ever since the failure of the herring fishing in Loch Roag, the cod and ling fishing is that to which the inhabitants have turned their attention. In this, they engage with commendable industry, and are frequently very successful. They cure the fish in shore-houses, and sell it at 4d. per cod, and 7d. per ling. About thirty tons of cod and ling are taken annually: and about 100,000 lobsters are annually exported to the London market. They receive no bounty or any other encouragement, except the price.

There are about 80 open boats in the parish, and one decked vessel.

Manufacturers.-Kelp is the only manufacture carried on in the parish: 226 tons are annually manufactured. The people manufacture their home woollen and clothing.

Parish of Uig (1831-1845) - Population

The people of this parish have always been remarked for their hospitality. They are naturally intelligent, and acute and docile in their dispositions; and have of late years improved much, in cleanliness, morals, and religion. The population is on the increase, which may be accounted for by the fact, that the people marry young, are in general much attached to their native island, and not disposed to leave their native country. They live to a great age, and are in general higher in stature, and of a fresher complexion, than the people of the other parishes in this island. The Gaelic language is the mother tongue, and is as generally and purely spoken now, as it was forty years ago. The people have hardly any public games or amusements of any kind. Their improvement, of late years, in religious knowledge, has been very perceptible, and has taught them to be contented with their circumstances and situation in life, and to enjoy and value the invaluable privileges of the Gospel dispensation.

Parish of Uig (1831-1845) - Civil History

Land-owner.-James Alexander Stewart McKenzie, Esq. of Seaforth, is the sole land-owner of this parish. The real rent of the parish is L. 2535, 2s. 6d.

Parochial Registers.-Parochial registers have been kept in this parish only since the year 1826. There are registers of marriages and births.

Antiquities.- On the Flannel Isles called by Buchanan Insulae Sacrae, are still extant the ruins of religious houses. At Mealister and Pabay, are the remains of nunneries; and at Callernish, on the east coast of Loch Roag, there are the very entire remains of a Druidical place of worship some of the stones in which are so very large, that it is inconceivable by what means they could have been brought to the place. They all stand on end, at the distance of five and six yards from each other, and are in a rough natural state, as taken from the shore.

At Carloway, there is a Danish fort or doune, within the bounds of this parish,-with a double wall of dry stone,-the largest and the most entire I have seen anywhere in Scotland. At the base, it is very broad, and towards the top it gradually contracts. The height of the wall is computed to be about thirty feet. The fabric upon the whole is perfectly circular, and finished in a masterly style.

In the year 1831, a considerable number of small ivory sculptures resembling chessmen, and which appeared to be of great antiquity, were found in the sands at the head of the bay of Uig, and have been since transmitted to the Antiquarian Society at Edinburgh.

Modern Buildings.-In the year 1824, the manse of Uig was repaired, and a commodious new wing added to it. A new church was built in 1829, which will accommodate 1000 people; and in this region, where there is so little of what may be called architecture, I may notice that several curing houses for cod and ling were erected on the coast, in the year 1826 and in 1832, Mr and Mrs Stewart McKenzie of Seaforth erected two commodious schoolhouses and dwelling-houses for teachers in the districts of Valtos, and Callernish, for the religious and moral improvement of the people.

Parish of Uig (1831-1845) - Topography and Natural History

Name.- The word Uig is applied to many situations in the Highlands, and signifies a solitary place. It is therefore peculiarly applicable to this parish, which is situated on the west coast of the Island of Lewis. It is bounded by the Harris mountains on the south; by the Atlantic Ocean on the west; and on the north by a district of the parish of Lochs, which runs across the island from east to west.

Extent, &c.-The length of the parish is 24 miles, including the wide entry of Loch Roag, which runs the distance of 12 miles, from west to east. The breadth of the parish is 10 miles, and the circumference along the coast 40 miles.

Topographical Appearances.-The interior is more mountainous than any other part of the Lewis. The hills are intersected by extensive tracts of soft moor and fresh water lakes. The lands, for the most part, along the sea shore are low and the soil sandy. In the interior, the soil is partly clay, but principally messy, and is everywhere capable of producing forced crops, with the assistance of sea weed for manure.

The bay of Uig is the only notable bay in the parish: it is one English mile in breadth. Gallan-head is the most prominent point on the coast. It is situated about two miles north from the mouth of the bay of Uig, which is much exposed to the sounding Atlantic.

There are twelve small islands within the bounds of the parish, exclusive of the Flannel isles, which are seven in number. Of the former, four are inhabited; the other islands are peculiarly adapted for pasturing sheep and black-cattle. The Flannel Islands are about fifteen miles from the mainland of the parish. They are supposed to have been the residence of ecclesiastics in the time of the Druids; and the ruins of their temples in these lonely islands, and in several other places in this parish, are still extant.

The atmosphere is ordinarily warm and healthy; but is generally so moist that even deep falls of snow remain no longer than a few days on the ground. Although the weather is damp and hazy, we have not those torrents of rain and hurricanes of winds, to which so many other parts of the Highlands and islands are subject.

On this coast, the south, south-west, and westerly winds are the most prevailing, and in winter and spring are generally accompanied with rain and storm. Hazy weather in winter prognosticates frost, in spring snow, in summer fair weather, and in autumn rain and it is remarked that, in the stormy months of January and February, the greater number of seafowls disappear from this coast, owing to the exposure of the coast in that season to the storms from the Atlantic. The most prevailing distempers in the parish are rheumatism, colics, and epilepsy among very young infants. If these are not affected with the disease within the ninth or tenth day after their birth, they are not afterwards so subject to it.

Hydrography.-The Frith of Loch Roag runs in a south-east direction through the centre of the parish, the length of twelve miles. In the narrow parts of the channels of this long arm of the sea, the tides run very rapidly, and the water is very salt.

There are a few small perennial springs in the parish, arising out of sandy soil; their water is clear and cooling in all seasons.

The parish abounds with fresh water lakes and lochs, the largest of which do not exceed two miles in length, and one in breadth. They abound with small trout. Their water is of a brownish colour. Flat moor and low hillocks form the scenery of almost all the interior part of the Lewis,

There are four rivulets in this parish, in which salmon is caught, viz. the rivers Grimtsta and Cean Loch, which join the sea at the head of Loch Roag; Resart, which joins the sea at the head of Loch Resart and the Red River, which discharges itself into the bay of Uig.

Zoology.-Black cattle, sheep and horses, all of the small Highland breed, have been the kinds reared in this parish, from time immemorial but of late years, Cheviot and black-faced sheep have been introduced into this parish, with considerable success.

Oysters, lobsters, and every kind of shell-fish are abundant almost on every part of the shores of Loch Roag; and English vessels frequently come here, for several months, to fish lobsters.

Parish of Barvas, 1831-1845

The entry for the parish of Barvas has been split up into its 5 constituent chapters, as outlined below. This is a literal transcript of the Statistical Account for this parish. 

Topography and Natural History
Civil History
Parochial Economy

Parish of Barvas (1831-1845) - Parochial Economy

There are no towns in this parish, nor any market in the country, by which the people may be benefited, but that annually held at Stornoway in July. In severe seasons, the cattle are not, then, in a condition to be disposed of to advantage; and a loss is thus created, which could be remedied, did the markets occur more frequently. The parish bas the benefit of two roads, one along the coast, and another now much out of repair, to Stornoway, the only trading town in the island. The communication thither is sometimes interrupted from want of bridges, when the rivers are impassable during floods.

Ecclesiastical State.-The church occupies a central situation in the village, from which the parish derives its name, and is distant from the inhabited parts of the parish, five miles from one extremity, and seven miles from the other. It was built about forty years ago, and has been lately well repaired. It is a long narrow building without gallery, and affords accomodation for 800 persons, all of whom have their sittings free. The manse was built about sixty years ago, and has been also frequently repaired. The minister possesses a legal grass glebe, designed in 1815, which may, as an accommodation in so remote a situation, be worth L. 20 per annum. The stipend is L. 158, 6s. 8d. Sterling, including L. 8, 6s. 8d. for communion elements, of which L. 119, 16s. is paid by the heritor as parochial teind, and the balance, L. 38, 10s. 8d. is paid from the King's Exchequer. There are no dissenters in the parish, nor any other chapels or churches. About 180 families, and from 400 to 500 individuals, are in the habit of attending public worship, when the weather permits.

Poor and Parochial Funds.-The church collections, including fines for petty delicts, do not exceed L. 3 annually, which are distributed among 30 paupers. Exclusive of this little aid, the maintenance of the poor depends upon the liberality of the tenantry, who are ready to supply them out of their own scanty means. To this may be added the generous aid furnished by the proprietor’s lady, the Honourable Mrs Stewart Mackenzie, who is always benevolent in ministering to their necessities as often as made known, by supplying them with food and clothing. The late Mr Angus Nicolson, merchant in Stornoway, has bequeathed L. 100, of which the interest is to be given to the poorest of those next of kin to himself in the parish, and the principal to remain untouched.

Education.- The schools in the parish are 3 in number; one parochial, and two supported by the Edinburgh Gaelic School Society,-one in Shadir, and the other in Arnal. The parish schoolmaster is qualified to teach Latin, Greek, arithmetic, and the elements of English reading, and receives L. 28 of salary. School fees scarcely exceed L. 1. The Gaelic teachers are re- stricted exclusively to the Gaelic language or the Gaelic Scriptures. Their salary is L. 25.

It is much to be lamented, how little literary knowledge is appreciated by the people in general. The parochial school is thus rendered of less efficiency than it might be, the abilities of an excellent teacher being as little valued as the branches in which he is fitted to give instruction. This apathy may arise from their inability to pay fees, and perhaps in some measure from being apprehensive that their children may become stimulated by the knowledge they acquire, to leave their native country,a disposition highly disapproved of. In a country almost devoid of the slightest prospect of advancement, it certainly is, and might naturally be expected to be, the tendency engendered in an educated and cultivated mind, to go abroad where some field might be found for exertion. This deep-rooted prejudice, formerly a strong barrier to literary attainments, is fast losing ground. Itinerating schools have been occasionally stationed in various parts of the parish, under the patronage of the Gaelic School Society, Edinburgh, and the Inverness Education Society; and so great is the benefit derived from these valuable institutions, that the greatest number of the population have been taught to read the Gaelic Scriptures.

Fuel, &c--There are no charitable institutions, prisons, inns or alehouses in the parish and the fuel, which consists of peats, is perfectly accessible to all the inhabitants, and very abundant.

Parish of Barvas (1831-1845) - Industry

Agriculture and Rural Economy.- The uncultivated portion of the parish, and the extensive moors to the southward, which have not been accurately measured, and cannot well be estimated, exceed the arable land in extent, beyond all proportion. By giving proper encouragement, much waste land might, with a profitable application of capital, and with little difficulty, be reclaimed. At present, there are 1468 acres of land cultivated, or occasionally in tillage; 12,146 in pasture; and 489 in fine pasture. The rental of the whole is L. 1070, being on an average nearly 15s. an acre arable, including the value of the pasture attached to it. Each tenant is entitled to a souming proportional to his rent, at the rate of a cow with her follower till a year old, 8 sheep, and half a horse for every pound rent.

Rate of Wage:.-All the artisans in the parish consist-of 6 blacksmiths, and two self-taught carpenters, the former paid by the quantity of work, and the latter at the rate of 1s. a-day and their victuals, and sometimes paid by contract. When farm-labourers are hired, which is not often the case, they receive 1s. per day in summer, and 8d. in winter, without victuals.

Breeds of Live Stock and Husbandry.-There is not the slightest attention paid by the people, to the improvement of their breed of cattle. They are satisfied if they multiply in proportion to the annual sale. Upwards of 2500 are reared in the parish, and fed in winter principally on ware or sea-weed. The sheep amount to triple that number, and are of a more improved breed than formerly. In husbandry, there is hardly any improvement or deviation from the system which has been followed for centuries. Hitherto, they have not attempted draining or trenching, or to imitate in any respect a better mode of tillage, owing to their indigence, and to the short duration of their leases, which vary from six to twelve years. The minister’s plough is the only one in the parish, except we admit as such three or four machines so called, having but one handle, which the ploughman manages with both hands, standing sideways. A little refinement of taste, more than a sense of its disadvantages, has in some instances abolished the use of the crooked spade, a very indelicate tool for females for which the common spade is now substituted. As there is no produce exported from this parish, its amount cannot easily be valued, but may be conjectured from the fact that in no season is it more than barely sufficient, and sometimes not adequate, to supply the necessities of the tenantry.

Parish of Barvas (1831-1845) - Population

Of the parish of Barvas, as at present constituted, the population cannot be correctly ascertained previous to the year 1821. Every census formerly taken included the district of Cross, now detached. The earliest on record thus taken of Barvas and Cross together was Dr Webster’s in 1755, when the population was 1995; by the former Statistical Account, the number of souls then was 2006. In 1821, it was 2568; and in 1831 it amounted to 3011. The population of Barvas alone, since the disjunction, will in twenty years more, at its present rate of increase, equal that of both parishes, as stated by Dr Webster, or, in other words, in one century will be nearly doubled. This rapid increase arises from a general inclination to marry young from the want of any outlet for the superabundant population by emigration or otherwise, and from the numerous subdivisions of lots consequent on this accumulation.

Population in 1821 of Barvas, as at present constituted: 1481
In 1831, being 811 males and 886 females, 1697
In 1838: 1840

Average number of persons under 15 years of age: 618
betwixt 15 and 30: 462
30 and 50: 347
50 and 70: 283
above 70: 130
TOTAL 1840

Yearly average of birth: for the last seven years: 35
of deaths: 9
of marriages: 18

Number of unmarried men. or bachelors above 60: 1
Widowers above 50: 12
Unmarried women upwards of 45: 15
Families in the parish: 371
Average number of children in each family: 4
Famous persons: 5
Blind: 4

The inhabitants are all agricultural, and of the few that are artisans none devote their time exclusively to their trades.

Character, Language, and Habit of the People. The inhabitants are about the middle size, of a sallow complexion, probably occasioned by the peat smoke in which they are constantly enveloped. The men are well-proportioned, hardy, robust, and healthy, and the women are modest, comely, and many of them good-looking. The Gaelic is the only language, and has been from time immemorial; and it is spoken, in the opinion of competent judges, with grammatical correctness and classical purity. In their habits, much cleanliness can scarcely be expected, considering their poverty and the wretchedness of their habitations, especially while the present system, which has prevailed for ages, continues, of the cattle under the same roof with themselves, entering at the same door, and allowing their manure to accumulate without being removed except once a year. Their mode of living most closely approaches the pastoral; without arts, trade, or manufacture, navigation or literature, their whole round of duty consists in securing fuel, in sowing and reaping their scanty crops, and in rearing their flocks, and tending them at pasture. Yet in these limited circumstances, while supplied with food and clothing of the plainest description, and able to pay their rents, their simple cottages are abodes of happiness and contentment. Blue kelt is almost the only dress worn by the men, and stuffs, variously striped, by the women, with under dresses of plaiding, all home made. In many instances, however, cotton shirts and print gowns are beginning to supersede the use of some of these articles. The formation of the female habits, with their whole appearance, closely resembles that of the Wandering Bavarians,” or Swiss buy a broom” singers, who itinerate through this country. Their ordinary food consists of cat and barley meal, potatoes and milk, variously prepared. Their domestic economy is frugal and moderate beyond conception. The produce of a foreign soil, as tea, coffee, and sugar, and the common conveniences of art, as knives, forks, &c. are to them altogether alien.

They are remarkable for sobriety and hospitality in their own sphere; possess vivacity of intellect, acuteness and sagacity, and are tainted with few vices except such as poverty in similar circumstances begets. They are, in general, tolerably well-versed in the Scriptures, and afford several examples of uprightness and piety.

Parish of Barvas (1831-1845) - Civil History

Parochial registers.--The only parochial register extent in this parish, dates its earliest entry from the year 1810 ; since which time, baptisms, marriages, and distribution of poor funds have been regularly registered.

Antiquities.- Almost every populous village in the parish had formerly a small Popish Chapel attached to it, and adjoining there to, burying-grounds, which still serve their original purpose. They are all now crumbling into ruins, and one of them has already disappeared in the sand. The names applied to them were, St Bridget in Borve, St Peter’s in Lower Shadir, St Mary’s in Barvas, and St John’s in Bragar; but these appellations are now obsolete. Southward of Bragar, on the border of a loch, are the ruins of a circular tower (dùn) or Danish fort, well adapted for defence, built solely of large stones, three stories high, tapering towards the summit, with a double wall, bound by large flags,which at the same time form a winding staircase in the interior of the wall, by which one may go round the building. Three more similar ruins are to be seen between Shadir and Borve, two of them situated on small islands, in the centre of lochs, and causeways leading to each, or rather stepping-stones, so artfully arranged, that an enemy who ventured to attack them or advance to their fortress, must, from the zigzag direction, and the deep pits made purposely to intervene, have proceeded with the greatest caution, or been precipitated into one of those gulfs, and, should a band have been observed attempting to cross over, hardly any so exposed, during the delay thus occasioned, would escape the deadly arrows of the besieged. The third ruin stands at some little distance from the shore, with which it was supposed to have a subterraneous communication,-an opinion resting on no other authority than tradition. In a plain of moss between Barvas and Shadir, there is an immense stone 18 feet high, and nearly the same in circumference, standing almost perpendicular, and no other stone nearer than the shore, which is half a-mile distant. Unless it was placed there by some mechanical power; there can be no better proof that there were giants in those days. In either case, it was an effort infinitely surpassing the present stage of mechanical skill in this island. Some suppose it was erected in memory of a native chief who fell there. The tradition of a bloody battle between the native tribes having been fought in its immediate vicinity might seem to countenance this opinion. In those lawless times, when might was right, it is said that the inhabitants of the south end of the island, taking advantage of the absence of the chief warriors among their enemies, had made a ravaging incursion into their territories, and by night carried off considerable numbers of their cattle; but the absent champions the same night, hastily collected their forces, pursued the plunderers, and overtook them with their booty in the abovementioned plain, where they were all slaughtered without mercy, by the superior numbers of their foes; and, accordingly, there is a small eminence at a little distance called Druim nan Cairnan, or the hill of tumuli, where the remains of the slain are supposed to be interred. But as there is no other specimen of such monuments in the island, it is more probable that the stone was erected (as the foreign sounding name Clach an Trushial may impart, to commemorate the fall of one of those famous invaders, who were wont to commit depredations on this island; perhaps some mighty Dane, or one of those sons of Lochlin, of whom the Bard of other times delighted to sing, particularly when laid low by the hand of his father, the mighty Fingal.

Parish of Barvas (1831-1845) - Topography and Natural History



The parish of Barvas is situated in the northern extremity of the Island of Lewis, extending from south-west to north-east, along the shore of the Atlantic, about 22 miles in length, and from the shore southward towards the interior of the island, about 7 miles in breadth. It originally embraced a district called Ness, at the eastern extremity, where there is a Government church, and which has been erected into a separate parish called Cross. Barvas, as now constituted, after the disjunction, is only 12 miles long, and 7 miles broad, making in all 84 square miles. The district of Cross, now formed into a separate parish quod sacra, in so far as the present account of Barvas does not apply to it, will be noticed hereafter.

Name.-Its name is thought to be Norwegian, in common with that of many other places in the Hebrides; but its signification is not known.

Boundaries--It is bounded on the west, by the parish of Lochs on the south, by the parishes of Stornoway and Lochs; on the east, by the parish of Cross and on the north, by the Atlantic ocean. Its figure is an irregular parallelogram, having the side to the north in nearly a straight line along the sea coast, indented by a few confined hays.

Topographical Appearances.-There are no hills or mountains that can be so called, the whole parish being almost one continued flat of mossy muir, with the exception of the cultivated inhabited part along the shore, which, upon an average, is not one mile in breadth. The vallies or glens, where the streams flow, are consequently of very inconsiderable depth. The coast being bold and rocky, there are some caves or fissures but none worthy of notice. The extent of the coast may be about 14 miles, all extremely rugged and inaccessible, except four small bays or creeks, where small boats can sometimes land; but no vessel can venture to anchor, on account of the surf, which is generally high, and with a north, north-west, and north-east wind rises most tremendously. The bays of Bragar and Barvas, having each a headland of short projection attached, are low and partly sandy; but the bay of Shadir, though low, is very difficult of access.

Meteorology.-There being no hilly ranges higher than gentle eminences, the country is the more exposed to the destructive violence of sea winds, which frequently carry, in their sweeping blasts, disappointment to the husbandman. The sea coast, the only arable portion of the parish, lies completely open to the north, west, and south winds; and when they come, in harvest, impregnated with the noxious vapours of the Atlantic, and often accompanied by heavy falls of rain, the crops, particularly the potato, suffer much injury. The air is temperately cold, moist, and salubrious, to natives; but the atmosphere is always densely charged with humid exhalations from the surrounding ocean, and from the mossy bogs, lochs, lakes, and water in every shape, with which the marshes are plentifully interspersed. From this cause, frost is seldom intense, and snow generally of short continuance. Dense fogs rarely occur. The luminous meteors, rainbow, halo, and Aurora Borealis or polar lights, are very frequent and brilliant. The glare of the latter sometimes may afford light for reading, and their warlike motions are often interesting. As they advance, at their first appearance, slowly and majestically, the fertile imagination may fancy the cool and stately motion of two mighty hosts approaching to the onset, then the hurry and confusion of the thickening fight, then the rout, the fugitive and pursuer emerging in one another, until a third party shoots forth as from ambuscade, ending the battle, and resigning the firmament to the stars and ancient night.

The prevailing winds are the south and south-west, and are always followed by rain, if of more than two days duration.

The common complaints are, colds, asthmas, and rheumatisms, incident to this, in common with all rainy climates; but a more uncommon ailment, for which no remedy has yet been discovered, is the five or seven nights sickness, a disease very fatal to infants, and so called from its attacking them on the fifth or seventh night.

Hydrography.--Perennial springs of excellent water are very numerous here, issuing for the most part from sand or gravel, several of them of a chalybeate nature. The moors abound in small shallow fresh water lakes and lochs, without surrounding scenery or beauty. The rivers take their origin from lochs and springs, generally at the distance of six or seven miles from the Atlantic, into which they fall. They are five in number, the Arnal, Glen,Torra, Shadir, and Borve, all which flow with uninterrupted smoothness, without cascade or cataract, to the ocean.

Geology--Along the whole arable ground, the most striking feature in the surface, as well as the composition of the soil, is the multitude of stones with which it is overrun, rendering it equally
injurious to vegetation as unfavourable for culture. The soil is of various kinds; but as the cultivated portion is no more than a narrow fringe, which outskirts the moor, the greatest proportion is mossy, varying from 2 to 12 feet deep, and resting on a hard stratum of clay. The inhabited portion consists either of black earth, gravel, or sand of the latter, there are banks between the manse and the shore, near 20 feet high, which are making gradual encroachments into the interior, from the constant action of the westerly winds, to which they lie exposed. The bank retains its depth as it advances, while it leaves behind a level expanse of sand, probably of greater depth than itself, and having its surface overspread with a vast variety of whelks, limpets, and the remains of shell-fish similar to those commonly found at present on the sea shore.

Zoology.--The more numerous species of animals in this parish, are the most common throughout Scotland, and to all appearance have undergone no change through the lapse of ages in increase or diminution. In the moors, are considerable flocks of red mountain deer (Cervus elaphus) otters (Lutra mustela,) in the rivers: and hares (L. timidus,) and rats (M. decumanus,) in the meadows.

Birds.-The land fowl are hawks (Falco,) ravens (C. corax) and carrion crows (C. corcone,) with the numerous smaller birds which abound in the western islands, such as the lark (Alauda arvemis,) land-rail (RalIus crex) lapwing (Tringa vanellus,) plover (Charadrius,) pigeon (Columba AEnas,) moorfowl (Tetrao Scoticus,) snipe (Scolopax gallinago,) curlew (S. arquata,) thrush (Turdus musicus,) starling (Sturnus vulg.) robin-red- breast (Motacilla rubecuIa,) Wren (M. Troglodytes,) wagtail (M. alba.) sparrow (Fringilla domestica,) swallow (Hirundo,) sand martin (H. riparia.) The waterfowl are the swan (Anas cygnus,) graygoose (A. anser,) teal (A. crecca,) duck (A. boschas,) raingoose, cormorant (Pelecanus carbo,) soland-goose (P. Bassanus,) gull (Larus canus, and marinus,) crane (Ardea grus.)

The domestic animals reared are, horses, black-cattle, and sheep, all of a very diminutive breed. The horses are well-shaped, hardy, and mettlesome, well adapted for carrying burdens of peat and ware through broken rugged ground, in creels suspended by the crook-saddle. The beef and mutton are of a superior quality.

The rivers contain well-flavoured trout in considerable numbers. Good salmon are caught, annually, on the Barvas river. They come up in June when access is open to them spawn towards the latter end of September, and return to the sea in the beginning of winter. Ling, cod, and dog-fish are sometimes fished. These, together with herring and every other variety of fish caught on the south side of the island, frequent this coast in great numbers; but the inhabitants are unable to benefit by them, without perilling their lives in the tempestuous ocean which surrounds them. With the exception of a very few days in summer and harvest, terrific surges, crested with foam, may be seen rolling to the shore, with unremitting violence.

The horse-fly and the common house-fly abound in their season; but the insect best known, from the torture it often inflicts, is a species of gnat commonly called the midge, which, without some safeguard covering on the face, will interrupt any out-door occupation. In such seasons of scarcity as the present, a great part of the sustenance of many of the natives for some weeks is the com- mon whelk, limpet, and crab,-the only shell-fish to be found on the coast.

Botany.-The botanist has here but little scope for his pursuits. Not a vestige of wood, or tree, and scarcely of a shrub except the wild heath, is visible on the surface of the earth. This gives the country a barren stunted appearance. Yet the deficiency cannot be altogether imputed to the poverty of the soil; for roots and trunks of fir, oak and hazel, with hazel-nuts, are frequently found imbedded in a great depth of moss, confirming the current opinion, that these northern countries, at some remote period, have undergone some sweeping and desolating revolution. Gardens, when properly cultivated, produce good culinary vegetables, and are capable of bringing fruit-bushes to maturity.

Parish of Stornoway, 1831-1845

The 1831-1845 Statistical Account for the Parish of Stornoway has been literally transcribed, and (for ease of reading) has been split up into its five main chapters.

Parish of Stornoway (1831-1845) - Parochial Economy

Market-Towns.-Stornoway is the only market-town in the parish; the other towns or hamlets consist of tenants‘ houses built at the head of their lots.

Stornoway Proper is a burgh of barony, and contains a population of 1000 souls. Bay-head, Guirshadir, and Laxdale adjoining, contain nearly 900; on the north side of the town, Inailite, Sandwich, and Holm, quite contiguous, contain as many; Stenish, Culnagrein, and Cross Street contain a population of 130, which makes a total of almost 3000 in the immediate vicinity of the town, at no greater distance from the burgh than one mile.

Stornoway is the chief town in the Northern Hebrides. It has gradually increased from a paltry hamlet of a dozen houses, to the size and importance of a considerable town, containing several streets within the barony, namely, South Beach, North Beach, Point Street, Kenneth Street, Cromwell Street, Church Street, Kieth Street, and Francis Street, Bay-head, &c.

Sheriff and Commissary Courts, Bailie, Excise, and Justice of Peace Courts are here held regularly.

Means of Commmunication.-The nearest market-town is Dingwall, which is 120 miles from Stornoway. The means of communication are by vessels, and the weekly packet between Poolewe and Stornoway. There is one post-office. The average income of the post-office is L. 380. Government pays L. 150 per annum. The yearly proceeds would afford a better packet than the one

There are no turnpike roads. In the last Statistical Account, I find that road-making commenced in I791 and in 1796 four miles of the Barvas road were made. Though at that period the making of a road betwixt Stornoway and Uig, was supposed to require the labour of many ages," there is now a tolerable road made from sea. to sea, the distance of twenty miles and since that time, there are nearly 200 miles of road made by statute labour. Moss is found to be an excellent elastic foundation for a road, when covered with gravel and red clay till. They are in a shocking state of repair. A layer of nine inches of such road metal as is to be found here, is absolutely necessary to make them comfortable. There is not a stone bridge across a river in the island to my knowledge, though the waters are often dangerous, and lives are lost by the impetuous torrents. The principal harbour is Loch Stornoway, where there is safe anchorage for an indefinite number of vessels. There are several good quays along the North Beach. Ship-carpenters are daily employed; and each shipowner has his dock.

Ecclesiastical State.-The parish church is situate on Kirkhill, in the town of Stornoway. It is only convenient for the population in and near the town. From the farm of Tolsta, which contains 250 souls, the church is twelve miles distant; and six miles of a pathless moor are very rugged. Tong, where the manse is built, is by the new road four miles from church, and between the manse and Tolsta, there is a population of 1200 without a seat in church, and destitute of any place of worship, viz. Drum-bheag and Aird of Tong, containing 200 souls, Garra-Ghuism, 50, Upper and Nether Coll, 222, Vateikis and Back, 399, Gress, 122, and Tolsta 250, in all 1253 souls. The present church was built in 1794. It is mentioned in the last Statistical Account, thus: A very elegant church was lately built at Stornoway. The internal economy is very nearly finished.” Three years ago, the people of the parish became alarmed about the insufficiency of the front wall, and the weight of the roof,-when partial repair was given to it; but this did not remove the alarm, the front wall was still off the plumb line several inches; the wall receded from the seats in the gallery, and no consideration would make the people enter to attend divine service.

After the present incumbent’s petition was laid before the presbytery, the feuars in Stornoway, conjointly with the ministers, laid the proceedings of presbytery before Messrs Mackenzie and Cockburn, trustees for the Seaforth property. They agreed that all should be assessed, according to their several interests. The repairs there-upon commenced, and are now on the eve of being finished. When these are completed, the church will not be surpassed by any in the Western or Northern Hebrides.

The feuars generously and unanimously voted to the present incumbent, a session-house or Vestry adjoining the back wall of the church,-wherein he can rest, during the interval between the Gaelic and English services.

The original sum expended in building the church was L. 900; the present repair amounts to nearly L. 600,-to which the feuars contribute nearly one-half. The benefactions on record are four: Colonel Mackenzie, formerly mentioned, gave L. 100 Sterling, Miss Mary Mackenzie Cam, his sister, L. .140, Mrs A. Nicolson, L. 100, and Mrs Macaulay, South Carolina, L. 59 Sterling.

There is only accommodation or legal seat-room for 800 persons, though two-thirds of the examinable people between Tolsta and Stornoway amount to 2000. In Stornoway and its immediate vicinity, there are 2000 examinable persons that could attend, if they had room in church. From the manse at Tong to Tolsta, as above-mentioned, there is a population of 1200; two-thirds of the examinable persons amount to 500 entitled to legal accommodation in church,-but there is none for them. The minister used to preach, once a month at Back, a farm belonging to the district of Gress; but the preaching-house there was thrown down, rebuilt, and converted into a school-house, not capable of containing more than 200 persons crammed together. There can be no free sittings in a church, from which more than 2000 persons are excluded for want of room.

The present manse was built twenty-five years ago, during Mr M‘Kenzie’s incumbency the office-houses, during the late Mr Simson Fraser's. The roof of the manse is in an insufficient state; and during a storm, walls and windows admit rain.

The glebe is eight acres arable in extent, with a little rugged wet, deep, mossy moor. In the Statistical Account before me the glebe is valued at L. 5. The present glebe is an excambed one. The former glebe and manse were in Stornoway. That glebe is now feued and farmed;-bringing Mr S. M‘Kenzie annually an amount equal to the minister's stipend. The present glebe at Tong was designed on the 5th day of October 1759. By that designation and excambion, the grass glebe alone should support six cows coupled, and their followers till four years old, with four horses, making at least thirty head of cattle and horses; but the glebe enjoyed by the present incumbent cannot support the one-half of that number.

The amount of stipend paid by the proprietor is L. 99. The other sum is paid by the Barons of Exchequer, which brings the stipend to L. 150 Sterling annually.

There are no chapels of ease here. There is one Government church, built in the district of Ui, four miles from the parish church, at the extremity of the district, in the most inconvenient situation, for 800 out of a population of 1308. There are no missionaries, but one is very much required for the district of Gress. There is one catechist, employed by the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge

There are no dissenters of any denomination. Many have attempted to establish meeting-houses, but were not successful. The people, though fickle, have an attachment to the Established Kirk. There is a local missionary society formed here, not subject to local authority.” The number of communicants at the last sacrament’ did not exceed 40.

The annual amount of church collections for religious and charitable purposes averages L. 30 Sterling.

Education.-The total number of schools is 13 one parochial school; one ‘from the S. P. Christian Knowledge; two from the Gaelic School Society one female school endowed by Mrs M‘Kenzie, and Miss Mary Cam, formerly mentioned. In this school, 60 scholars are taught reading, writing, and sewing, Mrs S. M‘Kenzie having sent the female teacher to Edinburgh, to learn the system taught in the School of Industry there; salary about L. 20, with free lodgings in the seminary.

There are two schools supported by the country people, in Knock and Melbost three supported by Mrs S. M‘Kenzie and the people conjunctly; three are unendowed, or chance schools. There was one upheld by individual subscription, in which the fashionable branches were taught to a limited number of scholars; salary L. 60, including fees. It was discontinued lately.

In the grammar and parochial school, all the branches constituting a classical education are taught. The parochial teachers salary is only L. 32. The amount of school fees does not exceed L. 20, and is seldom so much, as many are taught gratis, and the fees are ill paid. The parochial teacher has not the legal accommodation.

The annual expense for English reading, is from 10s. 6d. to 14s; for Latin and the higher branches L. 1, 4s., for each scholar. The number between six and fifteen years of age, who cannot read, is 586. The number upwards of fifteen who cannot read is 1265.

Literature.-There is one circulating library, established by Seaforth and his lady.

Friendly Societies.-There are two Friendly Societies and a Masons’ Lodge. The lodge existed since 1767, and in four years distributed L. 300. The Trades Society was formed in 1769 the Friendly Society, since 1801. Both give nearly 5s. per-week to each sick member.

The Hon. Mrs S. M‘Kenzie is very charitable to the poor, giving medicine, food, and clothing to the necessitous.

Bank.- There is a branch of the National bank in Stornoway.

Poor and Parochial Funds.-The number of poor receiving parochial aid is 219. The average sum given to each, is 5s. The average amount of collections is L. 30. The interest arising from legacies varies, together with the mulcts levied from delinquents; and out of the combined amount, precentors, beadle, session-clerk, and part of the catechist’s salaries are paid. The whole amount distributed in 1830 was L. 52 Sterling.

Prisons.-There is not one prison for a population of 14,000 in the island of Lewis.

Fairs.-Near Stornoway, there is a square mile of moor inclosed for an annual tryst or cattle-market, where several thousand head of cattle are exposed for sale, and two thousand at least change owners, in two days. The prices and demand depend on the southern markets. From 20 to 30 drovers or cattle-dealers come from the mainland, and some from England. The market or tryst always holds on the second Wednesday of July annually, by advertisement and the packet waits to bring purchasers across the Minch.

Inns-In Stornoway there are 18 houses regularly licensed for the vending of spirituous liquors. This number comprises four respectable inns, namely, the Royal Oak, Crown, Star and New Inn seven are shops, and the remaining seven miscellaneous; but which perhaps would be better distinguished under the appellation of petty public-houses, the pest of the morals of the people. The quantity of spirits imported last quarter, is 802 gallons, and the quantity brought in from the distillery in the neighbouring parish is 328 gallons. The stocks on hand are invariably very inconsiderable. These two quantities added together, and quadrupled, may be fairly estimated as the consumption for the year 1831, which, calculated at the present rate of duty, yields to his Majesty’s Treasury the sum of L. 753, 6s. 8d. The quantity exported per annum is about 300 gallons. Annual consumption 4520 imperial gallons.

Fuel.-The fuel consists of English and Scotch coal, and most excellent black peats. Coals are sold at L. 1, ls. per ton; peats, to those who have no carts to lead them home, are almost as dear as coal. The peat cutting season is one of joy and hilarity. Eggs, butter. cheese. and whisky are brought to the peat bank.

Parish of Stornoway (1831-1845) - Industry

The number of acres in tillage is, - - - - 2700
The number of acres which have never been cultivated. - - 15 782
The number of acres that might with capital be cultivated, - - 10,000
The number of acres in a state of undivided common, none.

One acre would contain all the trees in the parish.

Rent of Land.-The average rent per acre is 15s.; some land near Stornoway brings L. 3 per acre. Grazing for a cow in the year is 15s.; for a full-grown sheep, 3s.

Rate of Wages.- Male farm-servants are hired at from L. 1, 10s. to L. 6 and females, from L. 1, 10s. to L. 2, with perquisites, clothes, and shoes male day-labourers in summer get from ls. to ls. 6d. without victuals; males and females get from 6d. to 10s. with two meals per day. Very little work is carried on during winter,-the day being extremely short.

Prices.- Country cloths, called kelt, sell from 1s. 6d. to 4s. per yard of four feet. Blankets per pair from 10s. 6d. to L. 1, Is. Hides 3d. per 1b.; tallow 6d. per lb. Carpenters, joiners, and masons get from 25. 6d. to 3s. 6d. per day.

Live-stock There are a few black-faced sheep in the parish. The black-cattle are small in general, but of the true Highland stamp, though the breed is low at present. There are 18 Ayrshire cows in the parish. Number of cattle, 8000.

Husbandry.-There are a dozen good farms in the parish. On these, the south country implements of husbandry may be seen, as iron ploughs and barrows; but small tenants and cottars generally till the ground by the Chinese plough, of one stilt or handle, and the cas-chrom, a clumsy instrument like a large club, shod with iron at the point, and a pin at the ancle for tile labourer’s foot. It is a disgrace to see women working with it. This antediluvian implement will soon be superseded by the spade, which has now come into almost general use in this parish.

The most common mode of turning the ground is by teeming, Forming a kind of lazy-beds. At this work two persons are employed, one on each side the ridge, which is seldom in a straight line, collecting the earth and the earth borrowed in this way makes a proper bed for the seed. Hence the scarcity of manure is not so much felt; and this kind of tillage is found to be more productive than any other. The ground being prepared, as soon as the season permits, the seed is sprinkled from the hand in small quantities; the plots of ground being so small, narrow, and crooked, should the seed be cast as in large long fields, much of it would be lost. After sowing the seed, a harrow with a heather brush at the tail of it is used, which men and women drag; after them, by means of a rope across which men and women drag after them, by means of a rope across their breast and shoulders. The women are miserable slaves; they do the work of brutes, carry the manure in creels on their backs from the byre to the field, and use their fingers as a five-pronged grape to fill them.

In harvest, when the crop is ripe, no sickle is used for the barley, among the small tenants. The stalk is plucked, the ground is left bare, and consequently the soil is injured. When no stubble is left, the earth loses its winter clothing, and one-third of the manure. When the sheaves are thoroughly dry, the whole is conveyed to the barn-yard. The sickle is then used to purpose. The sheet is seized by the left hand, the right foot is placed on the black roots of the culm, and the sickle in the right hand is applied to within six inches of the grain or barley ear. After this guillotine operation, all the heads are formed into a little stack, covered with the roots of the sheaf which had been so cut one layer of straw is piled above another like slates on the roof of a house, from the bottom to the top of the stack, which is in shape like a cone. The whole convex surface of the stack is tightly laced round, by heather ropes, and made as tight as a bottle. The residue of the roots is for thatch.

Though this method of husbandry common in the island may appear absurd, laborious, and tedious to strangers, the climate and necessity have hitherto obliged the people to adopt it. If the natives had the means to purchase proper implements of husbandry, and were ordered by those in authority to pursue a different plan of tillage, the island would have, in a few years, a very different aspect; and without doubt the climate would change to the better.

A great deal has been done, during the last ten years, and much more might still be done, in reclaiming waste land, if there were men of capital in the island. There is a large field; and moss mixed with shelly sand and sea-ware, would give a good crop, and be no bad subject to work upon; for were the moss consumed till within nine inches, and the clay subsoil properly mixed with it, in a few years it would make good mould, if well manured.

All the leases in the parish have nearly expired; but they will be renewed. The parish being entailed, leases cannot properly be for more than nineteen years. All the farm-buildings require repairs, except Sandwich, Gress, and Laxdale cottage. The farm houses of Agnish Coll, Goat-hill, Holm shades, and Tolsta, would require a considerable sum to make them habitable and comfortable. Some dikes lately built are very good, and many others somewhat decayed.

Quarries.-The best quarry in the parish is between Garrabost and Port-na-guiran; but the greater part of the stone used in building rubble work in Stornoway, is imported either from the mainland or the parish of Lochs. There is no freestone in the island.

Fisheries.-The fishing of cod, ling and her-rings, is the principal employment of the male population in the country: every farm and hamlet have their boats, except a few on Melbost. The season is divided between fishing, farming, and kelping; and most families have a share of a boat and a lot of land. One hundred and twenty tons of cod and ling are annually caught and cured in the parish, and shipped for Ireland and the Clyde, &c. The average price per ton for cod is L. 12, and for ling L. 15. Herrings have not been abundant for several years. They are on the coast; but the people are not acquainted with the deep sea fishing, and their boats and nets are not fit for the operation.

The Broad-bay flounder is the finest in the world. The laithe far surpasses the whiting, in delicacy and sweetness. Hake is a strong coarse fish, but when salted, in spring is not disagreeable food. Soles, tusk, and conger-eels are caught; whales, grampus, and porpoise run ashore, and are often driven ashore by the fishers, in numbers amounting to 150 or more, and varying from 5 to 30 feet in length. The haddock is the general favourite, and is to be had, at all seasons, in the Broad-bay. There is always a ready sale for it, in Stornoway, in spring, when the salt-beef becomes tough. Haddocks fetch 1s. per dozen; at other seasons, they are sold for halfpence a-piece. The country people smoke them; and putting salt into their eyes, the brine runs down the bone and keeps the fish from corrupting; it gives the fish a peculiar, but no unpleasant taste.-. Cured in this way, they are little inferior to Finnan haddocks. This plan was resorted to, when the salt was scarce and dear, and it is still adhered to. In the harvest season, about the end of October, the natives, in calm weather, repair at night to the shore, with blankets sowed end to end; and at the mouths of the rivers, where the ford is shallow, they cross and drag with them one end of the chain of blankets. They beat the water to frighten the young fry, which are very numerous; and hauling the blankets like a net against the stream, they drive the cuddie fish to the sandy beach. In one night, by two hauls of six blankets, twenty-four barrels of caddies have been caught. Immense quantities come up the friths In one night, by two hauls of six blankets, twenty-four barrels of cuddies have been caught. Immense quantities come up the friths and shallows about the end of harvest. The fish is sweet and fat. From their livers, a great quantity of oil is obtained, which is some- times sold at ls. 3d. per pint when scarce; at present it fetches no more than 7d. When fresh the caddies are sold at 4d. per peck. Very few salmon are caught in this parish. The gentlemen in Stornoway give 5d. and 6d. for each cod and ling to the fishers.

Produce.- The gross amount of raw produce raised in the parish is as follows

Barley or bear. 2000 quarters, at L. 1, - - - L. 2000 0 0
Black oats, 1000 quarters, at 10s. - - - - 500 0 0
White oats, 500 do. 15s. - - 370 0 0
Pntatoes, 20,000 barrels, at 2s. - - - 2000 0. 0
Turnips, 20 acres, at L. 9, -. - 180 0 0
Hay. meadow 20.000 stones, at 6d. - - - ~ 500 0 0
Fish. cod and ling, 120 tons, at L. 13 - - - 1560 0 0
40 do. at L. 3 for manufacturing, - 126 0 0
Pasture, at 15s. per cow per annum. 8000 head, L._6000
do. at 3s. per ewe or sheep, do. 3000 do. L. 455, 10s.
L6455 10 0

Wheat, 20 quarters, at L. l, 10s. - - - - 80 0 0

Total yearly value of raw produce, - - L. 13,721 10 0

Manufactures.-Mrs S. M‘Kenzie attempted to instruct the natives in straw-plaiting; and for that purpose brought two strangers to the island, and gave them a salary, for a considerable time. Several young girls were taught; but the work is discontinued at present. The Craggans, formerly mentioned, are made by the natives. The red clay is kneaded as smooth as glazier’s putty, the vessel is fashioned by one hand inside, the other on the outside, till it is brought to the size and shape required. After hardening in the sun for a time, a peat fire is kindled around it, till it becomes red. Warm milk is then poured into it, and as the milk boils, the outside is bathed with it. This gives ita polish or gloss. If it does not crack, it is considered a good dish; and the boiled milk is drunk by the potters.

Kelp is the principal manufacture in the parish. It is almost impossible to tell how many are employed in the work,-for young and old, male and female, all who are able to carry a creel of ware, or help to fill it, are engaged in manufacturing it at different times, for three months, from the time of -cutting the ware till the solid mass is weighed on board the vessel. The price of kelp varies
from L. l, 10s. to L. 3, 3s. per ton; at L. 3. 3s. per ton, the sum may be as much as the man and wife in one family could earn in three months, by any other work; but the toil in cutting, drying, burning the ware, and watching the pot night and day, till the ware is converted to boiling lava, is terrible, and would require extraordinary wages. This process, if not injurious to health, is ruinous to the eyes. How this manufacture affects their morals, farther experience will disclose.

I add the following remarks upon the kelping system. It is true, that proprietors of land and kelp shores got a good round sum for kelp, when the price was high,-nearly L. 20 clear profit per ton; but they know from experience, that this commodity is very fluctuating in price, especially since barilla has been substituted for kelp. The price of kelp is not now worth the trouble of manufacturing it; but had the ware burned and exported been given to fields in culture, or put upon new tilled land, to stimulate and feed it, the profits though not so large, would be annual, yes perennial, and in the course of a nineteen years lease, the old arable land would retain: its stamina, and the new land would be pulverizing; the rents would then be certain and easily secured. Besides, at the end of the lease, the lots or farms would be worth at least double the former rent. But when thousands are engaged, all the summer season, making kelp, their crofts and lots are neglected, potato fields are overrun with weeds, consequently the return is small, and part of the gain by kelping is lost in their potato crop; their cattle are much neglected; corn fields are destroyed; and the tenants distressed for their rents. Many of the herd boys that should attend the cattle during the summer heats, are kelping; many beasts are lost in mossy veins, and fall from rocks, when they run wild during an excessively hot day,-so that in this way, the gain by kelp becomes a loss. The kelping system is thus a great obstacle to agricultural improvement. It is the opinion of many, that the manufacture of kelp has injured the fishing trade on the Lewis coast, because the smoke is injurious to the fish because the ware from which the kelp is manufactured, is supposed to be a great part of the food of the fish and because the kelp ware is supposed to be a shelter or covert to the tinny fry from their numerous voracious enemies.

Whatever be the cause, it is very evident that herrings and dogfish do not visit the shores of Lewis, in such large bodies, as before the kelping system began for, by dog-fish oil alone, the tenants in Ness, parish of Barvas, paid their rents; and the take of herrings is trifling compared to what had been formerly. In the fifty miles of coast in this parish, 3000 barrels have not been caught and
sent to market, for the last five years. Though the manufacture of kelp should entirely cease, years may elapse before the fish visit the friths and lochs, in such immense bodies as formerly.

Navigation..-The number of vessels belonging to the port is 67, the whole tonnage 3059. The smallest is 15 tons, the largest 142 tons. The number of boats, in the district of the port, registered, amounts to 1500.

A very considerable number of foreign vessels, and British vessels from and to foreign parts, put into the harbour of Stornoway but the number of foreign vessels importing cargoes, does not, on an average, exceed one each year.

In Stornoway, there is a well-regulated custom-house a collector, comptroller, and tide-waiter.