73842: Borve Farm, Berneray

In 1854 the area of Borve on Berneray was cleared of its 22 crofters by the factor in order to create a new farm. Borve Farm’s first owner was William MacNeil who made several changes, including the rerouting of the river to flow south across the machair and the building of a dyke to separate Borve Farm from the township of Ruisgarry. Following William’s death in 1863 the farm passed to his brother-in-law John MacDonald and in 1888 to John’s cousin, Dr Murdo MacKenzie. 

The crofting families were understandably keen to regain their use of the land, particularly following the Crofting Act of 1886, which was supposed to give crofters security of tenure. By 1893, when the tack of Borve Farm was given to Roderick Campbell, the frustrations of the islanders spilled over into direct action, resulting in the waylaying of his cattleboat in the Reef Incident. Two enclosures Buaile a’ Chàil and Buaile nan Gamhna were used for Roderick Campbell’s cattle when he held the Farm.

Finally, in 1900, the Congested Districts Board for Scotland persuaded the South Harris Estate to make Borve once again into a crofting community, and it was divided into the existing crofts. The Centennial Memorial commemorates those first 23 crofters.



Record Type:
Croft or Residence
Date Built:
Type Of Residence:
Farm / Tack
Record Maintained by: