105717: Sheabie, Berneray

Siabaidh is located on the south coast of Berneray. It is an area that has frequently been affected by sand drifts.

During the 17th century the people of Siabaidh, including grieve Gilbride Morrison, tended the stock of Sir Norman MacLeod, who held the ‘fyve penny land of Shebie’ as a tack. They cut their peats on the nearby island of Torogay. Living there as a young child in 1651 was Mary MacLeod, Màiri Thormoid Iain Ghillechaluim. She later remembered the area as corn and pasture land with no part overrun with sand, an area where she helped to herd cattle. Mary also affirmed that Sir Norman’s subtenants had as a perquisite (for their benefit) the island of Grianam,  which was known on Berneray as Grianam Shiabay. There they would gather shellfish to supplement those they could harvest locally.

A shallow arm of the sea separated Siabaidh from Berneray until the great sandstorm of 1697 filled the shallow sea between them. Sir Norman arranged for the subtenants to be accommodated on other farms in the area. Some 70 years later their names were listed by Donald MacKillop Dòmhnall MacPhaic: 

Dòmhnall Mhurchaidh Ghillechriosd, brothers Dòmhnall Iain Thormoid and Ailean Iain Thormoid, Iain Òg MacCusbaig (John MacCusbic), Dòmhnall Dhòmhnaill Thormoid, Dòmhnall Donn and the grieve Gillebrighde Fhionnlaigh Iain (Gilbride Morrison) . 

People returned to live in Siabaidh, where in 1825 Angus Mòr MacAskill was born. Later he was known as Giant MacAskill, the strongest man in the world. A monument exists to mark the ruins of his family home, Tobhta Mhic Asgaill Mhòir.

Siabaidh was cleared in 1854 in order to make way for Borve Farm. Still visible are outlines of disused buildings, and it is also the location of the current burial ground, which was first used in 1954.

Record Location

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Also Known As:
Shebie; Shiabay; Shabie
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