23089: North Tolsta, Lewis

In 1851, the township of South Tolsta (Tolastadh bho Dheas) was relotted on completely different lines, with croft numbers in the new township bearing no relation to previous croft numbers. Later extensions were made to this new township to accommodate tenants displaced from the original settlement of North Tolsta, and others for the increasing number of cottars in the township. Crofts 56 to 67 (‘New Street’) were created in 1857. In more recent years, many feus and allotments have been created as well.

Although known at the outset as South Tolsta, the new township changed its name over time to North Tolsta (Tolastadh bho Thuath), following the clearance of the original township of North Tolsta (referred to on this website as ‘Old North Tolsta’). Croft numbers stayed the same, however. The change was a gradual one, and while on the one hand letters were being addressed to ‘North Tolsta’ around the time of the First World War, crofters were still receiving notifications directed to ‘South Tolsta’ as late as the 1960s. Even today, some people still refer to North Tolsta as Tolastadh bho Dheas (South Tolsta) when speaking Gaelic.

Not surprisingly, the change of name has generated some confusion. Furthermore, the three present-day locations of North Tolsta, New Tolsta and Glen Tolsta are often referred to colloquially as North Tolsta or simply Tolsta. The last sometimes leads to confusion with Tolsta Chaolais on the west coast of Lewis.

Some publications refer to crofts in the present-day North Tolsta as ‘1 Tolsta’, ‘2 Tolsta’ and so on. For the purposes of this website we have decided to use the offical postal address, North Tolsta. However, website users should be aware that a croft known today as ‘3 North Tolsta’ would at one time have been ‘3 South Tolsta’, and should not be confused with the croft of the same number in the original pre-1851 township of South Tolsta, referred to on this website as ‘Old South Tolsta’.


Record Location

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Also Known As:
Tolsta; South Tolsta; Tolastadh bho Dheas
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