107898: Old South Tolsta Tack, Lewis

At the time of its existence this area was known as South Tolsta Tack, but it is referred to as Old South Tolsta Tack on this website. This is to avoid confusion with the name changes that later occurred with (Old) South Tolsta becoming North Tolsta, and (Old) North Tolsta becoming New Tolsta. More info on these changes can be found on the main Tolsta page.

Few records exist prior to 1716; in 1715 Lord Seaforth had backed the Jacobite rebellion and due to this his estate was forfeit to the government for a time. The Forfeited Estate Papers of 1716 still exist and give us information on the Tacksmen of Tolsta, from that date, until the croft lottings of 1830.

In 1715 “Alexander MacEiver” tenanted Old North Tolsta and “Rory MacEiver” (his son) tenanted Old South Tolsta. This situation was repeated in the 1726 papers. The tacksman’s house at Old South Tolsta Tack was located near where 2 North Tolsta is today.

In the 1740 Papers the tenant of both Old South Tolsta Tack and Old North Tolsta Tack was “Roderick MacEiver“.

In the Judicial Rental of the Tolsta Tacks, on the 20th of August 1754, Roderick states that he does not sub-let Old North Tolsta Tack due to sand drift. Old South Tolsta Tack was said to consist of six pennylands: a pennyland was enough land to support seven cows, two horses and raise eight bolts of black oats and four bolls of barley. Roderick used half a pennyland of Old South Tolsta Tack himself and paid one pound, ten shillings and six pennies and 2/3 of a penny a year. The rent for the entire tack was £18.6.9 a year. In addition to rent his sixteen sub- tenants gave him a days work a week, and a cock and hen, a quarter of a bushel of meal and a coil of heather rope annually.     

By 1768 Tolsta Tacks were let together to joint tenants “Widow MacEiver and son“: the son was Donald Maciver.

By 1776 the Tolsta Tacks were let together to “John MacEiver Junior“, by 1780 he is signing his name as “John MacEiver Junior, Shipmaster in Stornoway”.

In 1791 the tenancy has passed to John Maciver’s widow: Annabella Mackenzie. Also in 1791 there are a set of accounts for four men working on the Tolsta Road: Gillespic Macaskill, Alexander Maclean (who was a cottar in Old South Tolsta in 1830), Kenneth Macleod (who obtained 28 Old South Tolsta in 1830) and John Macleod.

By 1807 the Tolsta Tacks were let together to joint tenants Kenneth and Donald Maciver. It is not known who Donald Maciver was.

In 1814 Kenneth Maciver is the Tacksman of both Tolsta Tacks. Kenneth was to be the last Tacksman of the Tolsta Tacks and it is, in November 1820, during his tenancy that The Seaforth Papers list the 25 subtenants of Old South Tolsta Tack.

In 1830, the Tolsta Tacks were broken up, at the instigation of the Earl of Seaforth, and made into two separate crofting settlements, Old North Tolsta and Old South Tolsta.

The 1820 sub-tenants list is reproduced below, along with the croft it is thought these people were allocated during the 1830 croft lottings (however as we only have names to go on its not completely certain these are the same people).

  • Murdo Maciver (senior): 25 Old South Tolsta
  • Murdo Maciver (junior) his widow obtained: 22 Old South Tolsta
  • Torquil Macleod: 24 Old South Tolsta (from Barvas)
  • Alexander Macdonald: cottar at Old South Tolsta
  • Roderick Murray: 18 Old South Tolsta
  • John Macdonald: NONE n/b Some records list a John Macdonald at 1 Old North Tolsta but this is disputed by the local Historic Society who believe that it was the son of a John Macdonald who first rented that croft. There is not thought to be a family link to this John Macdonald.
  • Alexander Maclean: cottar at Old South Tolsta
  • Donald Macleod (bard): 10 Old South Tolsta
  • Donald Macleod (pensioner): 20 Old South Tolsta
  • John Morrison: in 1830 two John Morrison’s obtained crofts in Tolsta: 7 Old South Tolsta and 11 Old South Tolsta (from Ness)
  • Alexander Murray: in 1830 two Alexander Murrays obtained crofts in Tolsta: 6 Old South Tolsta (Gobha) and 9 Old North Tolsta.
  • Evander Maciver: in 1830 he obtained 21 Old South Tolsta and his son (of same name) obtained 3 Old North Tolsta.
  • Kenneth Macdonald: 29 Old South Tolsta.
  • Murdoch Campbell: 4 Old South Tolsta
  • Kenneth Macleod: 28 Old South Tolsta
  • Angus Smith: in 1830 three Angus Smiths obtained crofts in Tolsta: 12 Old South Tolsta, 12 Old North Tolsta (from Uig) and 4 Old North Tolsta (from Ness).
  • Hector Maciver: 19 Old South Tolsta
  • William Murray:  NONE
  • Angus Murray: in 1830 two Angus Murrays obtained crofts in Tolsta: 5 Old South Tolsta (from Knockaird, Point) and 18 Old North Tolsta (from Swainbost).
  • Kenneth Smith: 14 Old South Tolsta (from Eoropie)
  • Alexander Smith : 12 Old North Tolsta (Ness)
  • Kenneth Murray: 15 Old South Tolsta (from Knockaird)
  • John Campbell: in 1830 two John Campbell’s obtained crofts in Tolsta: 17 Old South Tolsta (from North Galson) and 1 Old South Tolsta.
  • John Martin: in 1830 a John Martin obtained 3 Old South Tolsta (and in 1842 a John Martin obtained 33 Old South Tolsta)
  • John Smith: NONE

The following people were allocated crofts in 1830 but are not on the sub-tenants list of 1820:
Crofts in Old South Tolsta

  • Donald Mackay (Galson): 2 Old South Tolsta
  • John Graham: 8 Old South Tolsta
  • Donald Mackenzie (Skigersta): 9 Old South Tolsta
  • John Murray (North Dell…not the son of sub-tenant William Murray): 13 Old South Tolsta
  • John Nicolson: 16 Old South Tolsta (from South Dell)
  • Alexander Maciver (son of Evander Maciver, of 21 Old South Tolsta): 23 Old South Tolsta
  • Alexander Campbell: 26 Old South Tolsta
  • Donald Macdonald (Ness): 27 Old South Tolsta
  • William Macdonald: cottar
  • Murdo Macleod: cottar
  • Angus Mackenzie: cottar
  • Norman Maciver: cottar

Crofts in Old North Tolsta

  • Donald Macdonald (son of John Macdonald, of Cuilatotair): 1 Old North Tolsta
  • Murdo Murray (Galson): 2 Old North Tolsta.
  • Donald Murray 5/6 Old North Tolsta
  • Murdo Maciver 5 Old North Tolsta
  • Roderick Maciver: 6 Old North Tolsta
  • Kenneth Murray (son of Alex Murray, of 6 Old South Tolsta): 7 Old North Tolsta
  • Alexander Martin (Back): 8 Old North Tolsta
  • John Gunn (Eoropie): 10 Old North Tolsta
  • Roderick Murray (son of Alexander Murray “Ghobha”): 11 Old North Tolsta
  • Donald Martin (Domhnall Sealgair): 13 Old North Tolsta
  • Donald Campbell: 14 Old North Tolsta
  • Donald Murray (Gress, North Dell): 15 Old North Tolsta
  • John Mackay (Galson): 16 Old North Tolsta
  • Norman Morrison (Swainbost): 17 Old North Tolsta
  • Donald Morrison (Back): 19 Old North Tolsta

After 1830 several more crofts were added to both Old South Tolsta and Old North Tolsta. In 1842 five croft were added to Old South Tolsta: 30, 31, 32, 33 and 34. A further croft: 35 was added in 1844.

In 1851, the crofts were relotted; the area of land that was once Old South Tolsta gradually became known as North Tolsta.

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