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TITLE
Letter to Lord Macdonald Regarding Landholdings, page 2
EXTERNAL ID
Z_GB232_D928_A_II_09A
PLACENAME
Sartle
DISTRICT
Skye
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Kilmuir
DATE OF IMAGE
1814
PERIOD
1810s
SOURCE
Highland Archive Centre
ASSET ID
5509
KEYWORDS
landholdings
crofting
tenantry
law
lawyers
Letter to Lord Macdonald Regarding Landholdings, page 2

This draft letter to 'My Lord' (Lord Macdonald, Lord of the Isles) is unsigned but was probably penned by Soirle Macdonald. It is concerned with land tenancy in Skye. Its contents can be summarised thus:

At the last set of Sartle Farm in 1814, Soirle Macdonald was deprived of one half of the accommodation of John Graham, then Clerk to the Chamberlain. This, together with 'late bad times' reduced Macdonald's circumstances to the worst of his life. Graham almost never looked after the farm and left it to his cottars, making it impossible for Macdonald to carry out any improvements. Graham's attempt to subset his share of the farm upon tenants' was prevented by Macdonald. Graham offered Macdonald other land in exchange but Macdonald, at his advanced age, opposed this. Macdonald asks his Lordship to direct Graham to stay on the farm and to contribute to its running, or else to give up all claims to the farm and let Macdonald live out his days in comfort.

Macdonald goes on to mention the reported clearance of five farms in the district of Fladda, home to 700-800 people. He asks his Lordship to prevent this. He draws attention to 'another great evil that is considerably destructive to the low class of Tenantry' the great number of 'petty lawyers' and the like in Portree who set people against each other and take money that should be used to pay Lord Macdonald's rents. He reports that In Uig there are no less that 17 merchants who use unfair methods of exacting payment, money that should be used to pay rent. He asks for a prompt reply.

Captain Soirle Macdonald emigrated to North Carolina from Skye in 1771 and settled in Anson County. He served as a Loyalist during the American War of Independence after which he settled in Shelburne, Nova Scotia. He returned to Skye c1792 where he lived until he was over 90. He left a young widow who was still living at Feaul, Kilmuir in 1886, when she had reached the age of 100.

The document is part of the JLM Mitchell Archive of the Gaelic Society of Inverness. Sheriff James Lachlan Martin Mitchell (b. 13 June 1929) was a native of Inverness and son of well-known doctor, Lachlan Mitchell. He was appointed full-time sheriff in Edinburgh in 1978 and served there until his retirement in 1995. He died on 26 November 2001


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Letter to Lord Macdonald Regarding Landholdings, page 2

INVERNESS: Kilmuir

1810s

landholdings; crofting; tenantry; law; lawyers

Highland Archive Centre

Sheriff JLM Mitchell (documents)

This draft letter to 'My Lord' (Lord Macdonald, Lord of the Isles) is unsigned but was probably penned by Soirle Macdonald. It is concerned with land tenancy in Skye. Its contents can be summarised thus:<br /> <br /> At the last set of Sartle Farm in 1814, Soirle Macdonald was deprived of one half of the accommodation of John Graham, then Clerk to the Chamberlain. This, together with 'late bad times' reduced Macdonald's circumstances to the worst of his life. Graham almost never looked after the farm and left it to his cottars, making it impossible for Macdonald to carry out any improvements. Graham's attempt to subset his share of the farm upon tenants' was prevented by Macdonald. Graham offered Macdonald other land in exchange but Macdonald, at his advanced age, opposed this. Macdonald asks his Lordship to direct Graham to stay on the farm and to contribute to its running, or else to give up all claims to the farm and let Macdonald live out his days in comfort. <br /> <br /> Macdonald goes on to mention the reported clearance of five farms in the district of Fladda, home to 700-800 people. He asks his Lordship to prevent this. He draws attention to 'another great evil that is considerably destructive to the low class of Tenantry' the great number of 'petty lawyers' and the like in Portree who set people against each other and take money that should be used to pay Lord Macdonald's rents. He reports that In Uig there are no less that 17 merchants who use unfair methods of exacting payment, money that should be used to pay rent. He asks for a prompt reply.<br /> <br /> Captain Soirle Macdonald emigrated to North Carolina from Skye in 1771 and settled in Anson County. He served as a Loyalist during the American War of Independence after which he settled in Shelburne, Nova Scotia. He returned to Skye c1792 where he lived until he was over 90. He left a young widow who was still living at Feaul, Kilmuir in 1886, when she had reached the age of 100.<br /> <br /> The document is part of the JLM Mitchell Archive of the Gaelic Society of Inverness. Sheriff James Lachlan Martin Mitchell (b. 13 June 1929) was a native of Inverness and son of well-known doctor, Lachlan Mitchell. He was appointed full-time sheriff in Edinburgh in 1978 and served there until his retirement in 1995. He died on 26 November 2001 <br /> <br /> <br /> For further information about this item and the collection to which it belongs, please <a href="mailto: archives@highlifehighland.com">email</a> the Highland Archive Service