Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Raasay weeps

A harrowing tale of evictions from the island of Raasay, as I continue to copy, paste and clean up the findings of the Napier Commission, now sitting at Torran in Raasay. Raasay is the longish island off the east coast of Skye. Donald Mcleod, a 78-year old former fisherman from Rona, just north of Raasay, tells of the evictions of fourteen townships. Chairman Lord Napier is asking about this.

7837. We want to find out if you know about the evictions in former times. The first one began in the time of M'Leod himself about forty years ago. Do you recollect that?
—I don't remember the first removing, but I remember Mr Rainy about thirty years ago clearing fourteen townships, and he made them into a sheep farm which he had in his own hands.

7838. What became of the people?
—They went to other kingdoms—some to America, some to Australia, and other places that they could think of. Mr Rainy enacted a rule that no one should marry in the island. There was one man there who married in spite of him, and because he did so, he put him out of his father's house, and that man went to a bothy—to a sheep cot. Mr Rainy then came and demolished the sheep cot upon him, and extinguished his fire, and neither friend nor any one else dared give him a night's shelter. He was not allowed entrance into any house.

7839. What was his name?
—John MLeod.

7840. What is the name of the town were his father was?

7841. Will you give us a rough estimate of the population of the fourteen townships?
—I cannot; there were a great number of people.

7842. Were they hundreds?
—Yes, hundreds, young and old. I am sure there were about one hundred in each of two townships.

7843. Will you name the towns?
—Castle, Screpidale, two Hallaigs, Ceancnock, Leachd, two Fearns, Eyre, Suisinish, Doirredomhain, Mainish.

7858. Did the people out of these fourteen townships that Rainy cleared go of their own accord?
—No, not at all. The people were very sorry to leave at that time. They were weeping and wailing and lamenting. They were taking handfuls of grass that was growing over the graves of their families in the churchyard, as remembrances of their kindred.

7859. Mr Cameron.
—Might that not occur even though the people left of their own free-will, if they were much attached to their kindred?
—No, they were sent away against their will, in spite of them.

No comments:

Post a Comment