A new dance is devised on the Isle of Skye in the eighteenth century. An exhilarating dance. A dance, one visitor reports, that ‘the emigration from Skye has occasioned’. The visitor asks for the dance’s name. ‘They call it America,’ he is told.
Now James Hunter, one of Scotland’s leading historians, provides the first comprehensive account of what happened to the thousands of people who, over the last 300 years, left Skye and other parts of the Scottish Highlands to make new lives in the United States and Canada.
The product both of painstaking research and extensive travels in North America, this is the definitive story of the Highland impact on the New World, the story of how soldiers, explorers, guerrilla fighters, fur traders, lumberjacks and pioneer settlers from the north of Scotland found, on the other side of the Atlantic, freedoms and opportunities denied to them at home.
This is the first fully documented study for many years of one of Scotland’s most emotive subjects. It traces the origins of the Clearances from the eighteenth century to their culmination in the crofting legislation of the 1880s, showing how the process of clearance was part of a wider European movement of rural depopulation. Eric Richards describes the appalling conditions and treatment suffered by the Highland people, yet at the same time illustrates how difficult the choices were that faced even the most benevolent landlords in the face of rapid economic change.
The Clearances were the most rugged and painful of many attempted ‘solutions’ to the problem of those who maintain a population on marginal and infertile land. In drawing attention away from the mythology or the hard facts of what actually happened, this book offers a balanced analysis of events which created a terrible scar on the Highland and Gaelic imagination, the historical legacy of which still lies unresolved in the twenty-first century.
The loss of the Iolaire remains the worst peacetime British disaster at sea since the sinking of the Titanic. Yet, beyond the Western Isles, few have ever heard of what is not only one of the cruelest events in our history but an extraordinary maritime mystery – a tale not only of bureaucrats in a hurry, unfathomable Naval incompetence and abiding, official contempt for the lives of Highlanders, but of individual heroism, astonishing escapes, heart-rending anecdote and the resilience and faith of a remarkable people.
“At 1.55am on 1st January 1919, a naval yacht carrying sailors home on leave ran aground on rocks near the village of Holm, a mere 20 yards from the shore of the Isle of Lewis and less than a mile from the safe harbour of Stornoway. HMY Iolaire was crowded with 280 men, mostly naval reservists returning to the safety and comfort of their homes after the horrors of the Great War.”
Malcolm Macdonald and Donald John MacLeod’s painstaking research has taken decades and draws on an exceptional range of sources. The Darkest Dawn, is a significant and enduring testament to all those aboard the Iolaire on the night of New Year 1919
This book, dealing with the historical background to various items of interest connected with St. Kilda and its Church, is the third in a series looking at various historical sites in the Western Isles.
ISBN: 1 872598 13 7
By Francis Thompson. The essential guide for the discerning tourist and island devotee, the “Pevensey Island Guide: Lewis & Harris” describes everything the visitor needs to know about the islands’ heritage, landscape, climate, flora and fauna. It contains fascinating information on all the key places of interest, from areas of outstanding beauty such as the mountains, freshwater lochs and moorland to historical landmarks such as the Callanish stone circle. It is illustrated with over 100 superb colour photographs showing every aspect of the island and its people.
This book, dealing with the historical background to various items of interest connected with the Churches at Howmore, South Uist.
The group of ruins around the graveyard of Howmore are a testimony to the power and wealth of the Church in that area in their day. Little remains of the original two churches, but that little is still enough to impress visitors with the sheer scale and ornate nature of the buildings. Nothing is known of the early history of the site. Was it one of the early, pre-Norse, centres of the Celtic Church, or did it rise with the victory of the Gaelic culture over the Norse in the thirteenth century? John MacDonald, VIII of Clanranald, was buried there in 1584, and it is clear that the churches had been long established by that date.
ISBN: 1 872598 31 5
This is the story of the communities and people of Harris in history and legend. One of the largest and most famous of all the islands of Scotland, astonishingly little has been written about the varied and eventful life of Harris, perhaps because the island has been so self contained. Including much material on the now deserted islands around Harris, including new information on St Kilda, Bill Lawson’s book is the first modern account of Harris and those who have shaped its history over thousands of years.
ISBN: 978 1 84158 523 9
The Isle of Lewis, the largest and the most northerly of the islands of the Outer Hebrides, has had an eventful story from prehistoric times through to the present. Evidence of human occupation stretches back to 3000 BC, explicit in the iconic silhouettes of the Standing Stones at Callanish. After the Vikings left in the ninth century, the clans of West Scotland quickly moved in, and Lewis was the site of many feuds between the Morrisons, the MacAulays and the MacLeods. The island operated largely independently until it was purchased by the MacKenzies in 1600 and was finally drawn into Scotland
BILL LAWSON’S 60TH BOOK
The Isle of Lewis, the largest and most populous of the islands of the Outer Hebrides, has had an eventful history which stretches back thousands of years. In this eagerly awaited second volume of Lewis in History and Legend, Bill Lawson deals with the townships of the east coast of the island, from Tolsta in the north to the boundary with Harris in the south, and with Stornoway, the commercial and administrative capital of the island.
In his own inimitable style, he traces the story of the island from earliest times to the present day, describing the landscape and the physical remains of the past. More importantly, however, he excels in charting the history of the people themselves, weaving his way through the centuries with stories drawn from documented sources, oral tradition, Gaelic song and from his own experiences of many years travelling around the island and researching the history of its families.
The result is a unique insight in to the way of life and history of an island.
Bill Lawson founded the genealogy centre Co Leis Thus? and is genealogical consultant to Northton Heritage Trust, which now runs this research service. He has written sixty books on the genealogies and history of the western Isles. He regularly researches and lectures in North America and Australia. He lives in Northton, Harris.
ISBN: 9781841583693 Imprint: Birlinn
This book, the second of a series on different parishes in the Western Isles, is suitable for those with a specific interest in genealogy, and also those with a more general interest in the history of these interesting and beautiful islands off the Atlantic coast of Scotland.
ISBN: 1 872598 47 1
This book, the third of a series on different parishes in Lewis, is suitable for those with a specific interest in genealogy, and also those with a more general interest in the history of these interesting and beautiful islands off the Atlantic coast of Scotland. Read the rest of this entry »
History of the church and the parish with individual records of residents that emigrated and those who didn’t. The island was cleared in 1846, with many going to Cape Breton and Australia
ISBN: 1 872598 18 8
The first edition of ‘Harris Families and How to Trace Them’ was published in 1990, and major advances in research and in availability of source materials since then have made a new edition necessary, both for those with a specific interest in genealogy, and also those with a more general interest in the history of these interesting and beautiful islands off the Atlantic coast of Scotland.
ISBN: 1 872598 04 8
A Register of Emigrant Families from the Western Isles of Scotland to the Prairie Provinces of Canada
Includes information on emigrants to Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba including the Killarney, Saltcoats, Wapella and Clandonald settlements from Lewis, Harris the Uists, Benbecula and Barra. Read the rest of this entry »
This book, dealing with the historical background to various items of interest connected with the Churches at Northton and Scarista, is the fourth in a series looking at various historical sites in the Western Isles.
ISBN: 1 872598 15 3
The latest in the Lewis Croft History series. Illustrated and giving a history of the area and a detailed history of the families.
Detailed account of the crofts and the people of these villages from pre-crofting
to the present. Maps and Old Rentals.
Paul Murton has spent half a lifetime exploring some of the most beautiful islands in the world – the Hebrides. He has travelled the length and breadth of Scotland’s rugged west coast and sailed to over eighty islands.
From the lush shores of Gigha to the towering cliffs of St Kilda, he explores the islands’ breathtaking scenery and and introduces their colourful history, culture, myths and legends. He also meets some of the people who live there and make the Hebrides tick, from crofters, fisherman, tweed waulkers and clan chiefs to peat cutters, gin distillers, black pudding makers and even a parrot rescuer.
This volume covers the Croft History of the villages of Acha Mor (Achmore) and Loch a’ Ghainmhich (Lochganvich). 123 pages.
ISBN: 978 0 9560848 3 5
Listed by destination. This volume gives details of over 300 emigrant families whose destination has been discovered, in addition to over 100 other families who are known to have left Harris, but whose destination is as yet unknown. 87 pages.
ISBN: 1 872598 10 2
Illustrated detailed history of this Lewis village and the people.
ISBN: 978 0 9560848 2 8
This is the second part of the Croft History on Tolsta, Isle of Lewis. This volume covers Tolastadh (Tolsta) Part 2 and Am Baile Ur (Newholdings). 132 pages.
ISBN: 978 0 9560848 0 4
In 1918, as the First World War was drawing to a close, the eminent liberal industrial Lord Leverhulme bought – lock, stock and barrel – the Hebridean island of Lewis. His intention was to revolutionise the lives and environments of its 30,000 people, and those of neighbouring Harris, which he shortly added to his estate. For the next five years a state of conflict reigned in the Hebrides. Island seamen and servicemen returned from the war to discover a new landlord whose declared aim was to uproot their identity as independent crofter/fishermen and turn them into tenured wage-owners. They fought back, and this is the story of that fight. The confrontation resulted in riot and land seizure and imprisonment for the islanders and the ultimate defeat for one of the most powerful men of his day. The Soap Man paints a beguiling portrait of the driven figure of Lord Leverhulme, but also looks for the first time at the infantry of his opposition: the men and women of Lewis and Harris who for long hard years fought the law, their landowner, local business opinion and the entire media, to preserve the settled crofting population of their islands.
This is the first of two parts on the Croft History of Tolsta, Isle of Lewis. This volume covers Gleann Tholastaidh (Glen Tolsta) and Tolastadh (Tolsta) Part 1. 160 pages.
ISBN: 1 872598 54 4
A Description of the Western Islands of Scotland Circa 1695 and a Late Voyage to St Kilda: Description of the Occidental i.e. Western Islands of Scotland
One of the greatest travellers in Scotland, Martin Martin was also a native Gaelic speaker. This text offers his narrative of his journey around the Western Isles, and a mine of information on custom, tradition and life. Martin Martin’s wrote before the Jacobite rebellions changed the way of life of the Highlander irrevocably. The volume includes the earliest account of St Kilda, first published in 1697 and Sir Donald Monro, High Dean of the Isles, account written in 1549 which presents a record of a pastoral visit to islands still coping with the aftermath of the fall of the Lords of the Isles.
In this book, the fifth of a series on different parishes in the Western Isles, Bill Lawson is making much of this information available for the first time to the general public, both those with a specific interest in genealogy, and also those with a more general interest in the history of these interesting and beautiful islands off the Atlantic coast of Scotland.
This volume contains the Croft History for the villages of Leumrabhagh (Lemreway), Orasaigh (Orinsay), Stiomrabhagh (Stimerway), Isgein (Eishken), Am Pairc (Park) and Ath Linne (Aline). 178 pages.
ISBN: 1 872598 52 8
This book celebrates the land buyout by Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn. The volume covers the Croft History of the villages of Borgh Mheadhanach (Mid Borve), Am Baile Ard (High Borve), Mealabost Bhuirgh (Melbost Borve), Gabhsann bho Dheas (South Galson) and Gabhsann bho Thuath (North Galson). 152 pages.
ISBN: 1 872598 51 X
This is the Croft History for Liurbost (Leurbost), Isle of Lewis, covering the villages of Liurbost (Leurbost), Am Baile Ur (Newholdings) and Crothaigearraidh (Croigarry). 174 pages.
ISBN: 1 872598 49 8
The Truth about St Kilda is a unique record of the isolated way of life on St Kilda in the early part of the twentieth century, based on seven handwritten notebooks written by the Rev. Donald Gillies, containing reminiscences of his childhood on the island of Hirta. It provides a first-hand account of the living conditions, social structure and economy of the community in the early 1900s, before the evacuation of the remaining residents in 1930.
This is Part 2 of the Croft History for Coll, Isle of Lewis. This volume covers Coll 53-88 and Upper Coll. 107 pages.
ISBN: 1 872598 45 5
This book, dealing with the historical background to various items of interest connected with the offshore island of Taransay. 44 pages.
ISBN: 1 872598 27 7
St Kilda is the most romanticised group of islands in Europe. Soaring out of the North Atlantic Ocean like Atlantis come back to life, the islands have captured the imagination of the outside world for hundreds of years. Their inhabitants were long considered to be the Noble Savages of the British Isles, living in a state of natural grace.
This book explores the life of the St Kildans from the Stone Age to 1930, when the remaining 36 islanders were evacuated to the Scottish mainland. Bestselling author Roger Hutchinson digs deep into the archives to paint a vivid picture of the life and death, work and play of a small, proud and self-sufficient people in the first modern book to chart the history of the most remote islands in Britain.
History of the villages of Coll and Upper Coll – scene of land-raiding after the First World War. 247 pages.
(Volumes also available separately)
Volume 10 covers Coll 1-52 and Volume 11 covers Coll 53-88 and Upper Coll.
ISBN (Volume 10): 1 872598 44 7 ISBN (Volume 11): 1 872598 45 5
This is the first part of two volumes on the Croft History of Coll, Isle of Lewis. This volume covers Coll 1-52. 140 pages.
ISBN: 1 872598 44 7
The Church of the MacLeods of Harris and Skye. History, gravestone inscriptions, listing of 22 tenant farmers in 1680 as well as short histories of individuals back to 1547. 44 pages.
ISBN: 1 872598 05 6
The Croft History for Barabhas Uarach (Upper Barvas) and Bru (Brue), Isle of Lewis. 131 pages.
ISBN: 1 872598 41 2
Sea Room describes – and relives – a love affair with three tiny islands in the Hebrides which the author has owned for the last twenty years. The Shiants (the name means the holy or enchanted islands) are a wild and dramatic place, with 500 foot high cliffs of black columnar basalt, surrounded by tide rips, filled in the summer with hundreds of thousands of seabirds and with a long and haunting history of hermits, shipwreckers, famine and eviction. Adam Nicolson’s father, Nigel, bought them as an Oxford undergraduate in 1937 for £1,400 and gave them to his son on his 21st birthday. They became the most important thing in his life, not only an escape but as the source of a deep engagement with the natural world in some of its most beautiful, alarming and all-encompassing forms.
The Croft History for Mealabost (Melbost) and Braigh na h-Uidhe (Branahuie), Isle of Lewis. 153 pages.
ISBN: 1 872598 39 0
The Croft History for Griomsiadar (Grimshader), Isle of Lewis. 69 pages.
ISBN: 1 872598 36 6
On 29 August 1930 the remaining 36 inhabitants of this bleak but spectacular island off Scotland’s western coast took ship for the mainland. A community that had survived alone for centuries finally succumbed to the ravages that resulted from mainland contact. What their lives had been like century after century, why they left, and what happened to them afterwards is the subject of this fascinating book. It is the story of a way of life unlike any other, told here in words and pictures, and of how the impact of twentieth-century civilisation led to its death.
This 297 page paperback by Tom Steel is one of the most popular books about St Kilda and is a highly recommended read. It contains numerous old photos.
The Croft History for Ranais (Ranish), Isle of Lewis. 125 pages.
ISBN: 1 872598 32 3
An account of a life at sea and as a family doctor in the Isle of Harris. Proceeds from the book go to Crossroads Care Attendant Scheme in Harris.
The Croft History for Tolastadh a’ Chaolais (Tolstachulish) and Dun Charlabhaigh (Doune Carloway) in Carloway, Isle of Lewis. 138 pages wirebound.
ISBN: 1 872598 24 2
The Croft History for Crosbost (Crossbost) on the Isle of Lewis. 90 pages.
ISBN: 1 872598 20 X
The Croft History for Cuisidar (Cuishader), Sgiogarstaidh (Skigersta), Eorodal (Eoradale) and Am Port (Port of Ness) in Ness, Isle of Lewis. 136 pages.
ISBN: 1 872598 16 1
The story of Marion Campbell, a Harris weaver. Sixty years after she first started weaving Marion was still making tweeds in the manner of her youth. During the summer months especially, there was a constant stream of visitors to her loom shed in Plocropool. They came from all over the world.
Includes Pabail – a word picture, croft histories of Pabail Uarach (Upper Bayble), Pabail larach (Lower Bayble), Cnoc na h-lolaire (Eagleton) and a guide to photographs. 171 pages.
ISBN: 1 872598 12 9
Includes Sheshader – a word picture, crofting pattern, croft histories and a guide to photographs. 87 pages.
ISBN: 1 872598 00 5
Bill Lawson’s latest book in the Historic Sites series deals with the Isle of
Scalpay and it charts the history of the island from early times to the present.
Illustrated with photographs taken by Bill Lawson over many years.
Based on a childhood in Harris – wonderful story-telling from the well-known broadcaster, Finlay J MacDonald.
Tales and Traditions of the Lews is a marvellous pot pourri of local history, myth and legend from prehistoric times to the present day.
This volume covers the villages of Scarasta and Northon and the Island of Pabbay in the Sound of Harris. Detailed genealogies of all the families as well as the older history of the areas.
This volume contains the Croft History for the villages of Greosabhagh (Grosebay), Cliuthair (Cluer), Caolas Stocinis (Kyles Stockinish), Leac a Li (Leaclee) and Aird Mhighe (Ardvey) on the Isle of Harris. Illustrated, 167 pages.
ISBN: 978 0 9560848 1 1
This volume contains the Croft History for the villages of Cuidhtinis (Cuidinish), Aird Mhighe (Ardvey), Fionnsbhagh (Finsbay), Borsam and Lingreabhagh (Lingerbay) on the Isle of Harris. 141 pages.
ISBN: 1 872598 40 4
Croft History of the villages of Urgha, Carraigrich (Carragrich) and Caolas Scalpaigh (Kyles Scalpay). 155 pages, genealogies and local history.
ISBN: 1 872598 28 5
For this first volume of the Croft Histories of Harris, we have started on the Bays of Harris, beginning in the village of Liceasto (Likisto) and moving south through Geocrab, Aird Sleimhe (Ardslave) and Manais (Manish) to Fleoideabhagh (Flodabay), so covering the whole of the old Manais School area. All of these villages date from the 1790s, the period when Captain Alexander MacLeod of Bearnaraigh encouraged people to settle in the Bays as a part of his scheme for the development of fisheries on the island. The author has tried to cover the history of each croft from that time to the present day, though it has not always been possible to identify the earliest tenants with complete accuracy. Spiral Bound, 144 pages.
The Church of the MacLeods of Lewis. History of the church, stories of individual residents of the parish going back to 1498 and gravestone inscriptions. 44 pages.
ISBN: 1 872598 06 4
The Croft History for the villages of Baile Raghaill (Balranald), Paiblisgearraidh (Paiblesgarry), Cnoc an Torran (Knockintorran) and Baile Mor (Balemore) on the Isle of North Uist. 175 pages.
ISBN: 1 872598 53 6
This volume contains the Croft History for Orasaigh (Orinsay), Ath Mhor (Ahmore), Trumaisgearraidh (Trumisgarry), Bhalacuidh (Vallaquie), Reumaisgearraidh (Reumisgarry), Clachan Shannda (Clachan Sands), Goulabaidh (Goulaby), Baile Mhic Coinein (Newton (part)), Baile Mhic Phail (Newton (part)), Port nan Long (Newton Ferry), Caolas Bhearnaraigh (Kyles Berneray) and Boirearaigh (Boreray) on the Isle of North Uist. 157 pages.
ISBN: 1 872598 43 9
This volume contains the Croft History for Griomasaigh (Grimsay) and Ronaigh (Ronay) in North Uist. 145 pages.
ISBN: 1 872598 35 8
Contains the Croft History for Malacleit (Malaclete), Ceathramh Meadhanach (Middlequarter), Dunsgealair (Dunskellor), Solas (Sollas) and Greinetobht (Grenitote) on the Isle of North Uist. 230 pages.
ISBN: 1 872598 23 4
Vallay to Hougharry croft histories and lots of photos. Includes the villages of Bhalaigh (Vallay), Griminis (Griminish), Scolpaig, Baile Loin (Balelone), Baile Mhartainn (Balmartin), Baile Locha (Baleloch), Hosta, Taigh Ghearraidh (Tigharry), Hoghaigearraidh (Hougharry) and Gobhlair (Goular). 144 pages.
ISBN: 1 872598 08 0
Cille Pheadair (Kilpheder) is one of the oldest townships in South Uist. This volume contains the Croft History for this township. 116 pages.
ISBN: 1 872598 42 0
Boisdale area, north & south and South Lochboisdale. Includes Baghasdal (Boisdale), Leth Mheadanach (South Boisdale), Taobh a Deas Loch Baghasdail (South Lochboisdale), Gleann Dail a Tuath (North Glendale) and Bagh Thartabhagh (Bahartivagh). 168 pages, with maps and local history.
ISBN: 1 872598 29 3
General history, croft histories, photos and maps of Iochdar (Eochar) on the Isle of South Uist. 136 pages.
ISBN: 1 872598 07 2
The Croft History for the villages of Cille Bhrighde (West Kilbride), Taobh a’ Chaolais (East Kilbride), Gleann Dail a Deas (South Glendale), Smercleit (Smerclete), Gearraidh na Monadh (Garrynamonie) and Trosairidh (Trossary) on the Isle of South Uist. 111 pages.
ISBN: 1 872598 03 X
The Croft History for Borgh (Borve) on the Isle of Berneray.
ISBN: 1 872598 34 X
The Croft History for Ruisigearraidh (Rusigarry) on the Isle of Berneray.
ISBN: 1 872598 46 3
The Guga Hunters tells the story of the men who voyage to Sulasgeir each year and the district they hail from, bringing out the full colour of their lives, the humour and drama of their exploits. They speak of the laughter that seasons their time together on Sulasgeir, of the risks and dangers they have faced. It also provides a fascinating insight into the social history of Ness, the culture and way-of-life that lies behind the world of the Guga Hunters, the timeless nature of the hunt, and reveals the hunt’s connections to the traditions of other North Atlantic countries. Told in his district’s poetry and prose, English and – occasionally – Gaelic, Donald S. Murray shows how the spirit of a community is preserved in this most unique of exploits.
ISBN: 9781841586847 Imprint: Birlinn