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TITLE
Balallan Memorial, Isle of Lewis
EXTERNAL ID
PC_BRANLEY_RAIDERS_BALALLAN_1
PLACENAME
Balallan
DISTRICT
Lewis
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
ROSS: Uig
DATE OF IMAGE
21 February 2010
PERIOD
2010s
CREATOR
Stephen Branley
SOURCE
Stephen Branley
ASSET ID
21989
KEYWORDS
memorials
monuments
land wars
crofters wars
Balallan Memorial, Isle of Lewis

The cairn at Balallan was built in 1994 to commemorate the Pairc crofters' rising of November 1887, a protest against injustices inflicted by the landowners - in particular the conversion of 42,000 acres of sheep land into a sporting deer park.

After the rising 16 local men were arrested, 10 were later released but 6 were charged with 'mobbing and rioting'. During the trial in Edinburgh the jury heard that around 150 men had marched from Gravir behind a red flag; how in the crowd there were perhaps fifty firearms (mostly old single barrelled muzzle-loading shotguns and rifles); how the raiders established their camp in the forest, and how they then began the alleged destruction of the deer. The agent for the defence noted that the forest extended to 150 square miles and wondered how 150 men could mob and riot over as many square miles? After only 30 minutes of deliberation, the jury found the 6 defendants not guilty. The event was given national media coverage and became a focus for further protest in the struggle for land reform which would last another 34 years.

Design

The site chosen for the memorial was a rock outcrop above the township of Balallan with view of the landscape of South Lewis. The cairn is a circular structure about 3.5 metres in height and built from reclaimed and beach stones. It has three entrances that align with the three districts involved with the raid - Kinloch, North Lochs & South Lochs.

Internally a circular stairway leads to a viewing platform where three raised marker stones are set into the wall head each pointing to sites where significant events in the narrative of the raid took place; also built into the wall are numbered directional stones taken from the crofts of the raiders.

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Balallan Memorial, Isle of Lewis

ROSS: Uig

2010s

memorials; monuments; land wars; crofters wars

Stephen Branley

Isle of Lewis photographs by Stephen Branley

The cairn at Balallan was built in 1994 to commemorate the Pairc crofters' rising of November 1887, a protest against injustices inflicted by the landowners - in particular the conversion of 42,000 acres of sheep land into a sporting deer park. <br /> <br /> After the rising 16 local men were arrested, 10 were later released but 6 were charged with 'mobbing and rioting'. During the trial in Edinburgh the jury heard that around 150 men had marched from Gravir behind a red flag; how in the crowd there were perhaps fifty firearms (mostly old single barrelled muzzle-loading shotguns and rifles); how the raiders established their camp in the forest, and how they then began the alleged destruction of the deer. The agent for the defence noted that the forest extended to 150 square miles and wondered how 150 men could mob and riot over as many square miles? After only 30 minutes of deliberation, the jury found the 6 defendants not guilty. The event was given national media coverage and became a focus for further protest in the struggle for land reform which would last another 34 years.<br /> <br /> Design<br /> <br /> The site chosen for the memorial was a rock outcrop above the township of Balallan with view of the landscape of South Lewis. The cairn is a circular structure about 3.5 metres in height and built from reclaimed and beach stones. It has three entrances that align with the three districts involved with the raid - Kinloch, North Lochs & South Lochs.<br /> <br /> Internally a circular stairway leads to a viewing platform where three raised marker stones are set into the wall head each pointing to sites where significant events in the narrative of the raid took place; also built into the wall are numbered directional stones taken from the crofts of the raiders.