Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Napier witnesses: Neil Maclennan

Neil Maclennan gave evidence to Lord Napier at Breasclete, on the eastern shore of Loch Roag, on 5 June 1883. In the written submission, Neil is put forward as the representative for Callanish Park (should be Breasclete Park). Bearing this in mind, he appears in the censuses as follows.

In 1881, he is a shoemaker (aged 45) at "a crofthouse" in the Carloway district. Neil is married to Ann (34) with five children, Donald (7), Malcolm (4), Neil (1), Cathrine (9) and Maggie (3). His nephew Donald Mcleod (20) is there as an apprentice, and another nephew, Donald Mclennan (20) is there in a similar position.

Following the trail back in time, we find confirmation that this is the Neil Maclennan that spoke to Lord Napier in 1883. In 1871, Neil is a shoemaker at Callenish, married to Ann, with her brother Kenneth Mckay (14) also present. A decade earlier, Neil is not yet married, living with his brother John (40) and his wife Jane (24) and their two young children. Cathrine Mclennan (65) is the mother of Neil and John, and of Donald (27), Kenneth (23) and Robert (20).

The 1841 census gives us the first appearance of Neil, confirming his evidence that his folk were moved from Reef. At that time, we find Cathrine Maclennan (46) with her husband Donald (50) and their children John (20), Anne (18), Malcolm (14), Margaret (16), Donald (7), Neil (5), Kenneth (4) and Robert (6 months).

Fifty years later, Neil is a crofter in Breasclete, with his wife Anne. Their children are Catherine (19), Malcolm (15), Maggie (12), Neil (11), Kenneth (8) and John (6). In 1901, Neil (aged 64) remains at 5 Breasclete Park with his children Catherine, Neil and John.

Neil Maclennan passed away on 28 July 1908 at the age of 72, the widower of Ann, who died in 1899 aged 58. He had suffered a cerebral haemorrhage six days before his death, resulting in hemiplegia. His son Neil reported the death to the registrar in Carloway.

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