Isle Ornsay, Skye, 17 May 1883 - Allan Campbell

ALLAN CAMPBELL, Crofter and Labourer, Teangue (55)—examined.

5207. The Chairman.
—Have you been freely elected by the people of Teangue ?

5208. Were there a number of the people present ?
—All but two.

5209. The statement submitted for the people of Teangue is as follows:
—' The case of Teangue was first taken up, and the people present from that township were asked to state their opinions as to their circumstances generally. The great complaint seems to be the smallness of their holdings, one man stating that he remembers when eight families resided on the same ground where there are now seventeen. That the gross rent, moreover, is now considerably more than it was when the families held it. That would be about thirty years ago. At present only two tenants hold entire lots, and these two only have the full complement of stock, the others having less, and some one cow, and others none at all About twelve years ago an increase of rent of lis. on some of the lots was imposed. On one particular lot there were no fewer than four tenants and one cottar. It will be apparent, from these facts, that, as is actually the case, the men have to seek employment in the south and elsewhere. It was proposed and agreed to that Mr Allan Campbell and Alexander Buchanan be appointed delegates from Teangue.'
Have you any statement to make on behalf of the people of Teangue in addition to this ?
—Only the poverty of the people and the scantiness of their land.

5210. Professor Mackinnon.
—Are you able to state what is the amount of stock held upon a lot I
—Six cows and a horse was what was in use to be the case.

5211. And sheep?
—Eight sheep.

5212. And there are only two men who hold a single lot and these are the only two who have the proper stock I

5213. Is the croft quite able to support that amount of stock ?

5214. How much stock could they keep?
—I have half a lot, and it gives me enough to do to feed two cows upon it

5215. You have no horse ?
—Yes, a horse and four sheep.

5216. The Chairman.
—Why did. you say you were a labourer?
—I am a labourer too. I have bean a labourer for the past thirty-four years.

5217. Professor Mackinnon.
—How much could the whole croft keep well I
—It would be enough to do to feed four cows and a horse and eight sheep.

5218. What is the rent of the full croft ?
—-The rents vary.

5219. There are only two full crofts altogether. What are the rents of these two?
—-£7, 10s.

5220. Without taxes ?

5221. Do you consider that croft reasonably big enough?
—It is small enough.

5222. There are seventeen families, but there are only eight lots. If you were to remove the other nine, how would you propose to deal with them ?
—Give them land somewhere else.

5223. Where is there such land to suit them?
—Plenty through the island.

5224. Is there land in this parish and on this estate ?
—Yes, plenty.

5225. Where?
—All up and down about here.

5226. Would you name the farms?
—Knock, Ord, Armadale, Ostaig, Tormore, Gillen; plenty land there under big sheep.

5227. Who occupies Knock?
—Mr Kennedy.

5228. If that place were to let, would the people be willing to take it ?
—They would take a share of it.

5229. Would they be prepared to pay a reasonable rent for it?
—If they would get it in a way they could live on it.

5230. Would they be able to stock it?
—If they would get enough land that they would take their living out of it, they could stock it in time.

5231. It is stated here that there are some of them that have not stockfor the small places they have?
—They cannot feed them.

5232. That is the reason. It is not because they cannot buy the stock, but because the place cannot keep the stock ?
—Yes, the place is so small when there are four families on a lot that they cannot keep stock.

5233. But you think if they got a larger place they would be able to put stock upon it ?
—Yes, if they would get it at a reasonable rent.

5234. And they would be quite able to pay a reasonable rent for it1?
— Yes.

5235. What do you mean by a reasonable rent ?
—Rent that we could pay, and for land out of which we could extract a living.

5236. Your complaint is rather that the crofts are too small, not that the present rents are too high
—We have not much to say about the rent.

5237. It seems reasonable
—It seems reasonable, if the ground were in the way we could make a living out of it.

5238. Mr Fraser-Macintosh.
—Are you well acquainted with this parish of Sleat ?

5239. Are you aware that a great deal of land that was once occupied by crofters is now in possession of tacksmen ?

5240. Supposing that all the crofters in Sleat were to receive the enlarged crofts you desiderate, would there be- still sufficient land remaining for a good-sized tack ?
—I think so.

5241. Can you mention the number of large tacksmen there are in Sleat ?
—Yes: Mr Macdonald, Ord; Mr Macdonald, Tormore,—he has Ostaig; Duncan M'Innes, Gillen; Mr Kennedy, Knock. Ferrindonald I may include in the number of tacks; it is in the hands of Mr Macpherson.

5242. Are these all the big tacks? There is Kinloch
—Kinloch is not in this parish.

5243. You have mentioned a Mr Kennedy as a tenant of Kinloch. Is he the man who keeps the shop here

5244. Have you any complaint to make, or is there any dissatisfaction in the country about there being no other place where you could get articles to buy except at this one shop ?
—It is the only shop in the district. Doubtless, if there were four or five or six other shops in the district, it would be easier for people to get goods, and cheaper.

5245. Can you read writing ?

5246. Do you occasionally come down to Isle Ornsay ?

5247. Did you ever see or hear of a written document connected with a penalty for going to provision shops, which was put up at the inn here ?
—No, I did not hear.

5248. Or any other place ?
—No, it might be without my knowing it; should I see it, I could not read it.

5249. Did you hear of such a thing?
—No, I never heard anything about it.

5250. Mr Cameron.
—How did the seventeen families get on to the land where there were only nine crofts ?
—There is one lot which is subdivided into four shares—these being subdivided to the sons of the family.

5251. Do you think, if the crofters got larger crofts upon these lands you have mentioned, their holdings would likely be subdivided in the course of years, as those places have been ?
—Possibly they might come to be subdivided in time.

5252. Are the people very poor in your township ?
—Yes, very poor.

5253. Have they any money in the bank?
—Some of them have.

5254. And some of them have not ?
—Some of them have not. Very few have money in the bank.

5255. How would they be able to purchase the stock to take these larger holdings?
— Earning it by working for others.

5256. But to make a start
—If we would get the land we would be trying to stock it.

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