66609: Deposition of Murdo Mackenzie (Lewis/Harris boundary dispute) 1805

The testimony of Murdo Mackenzie, Kirkibost at the first hearing of the Lewis/Harris boundary dispute:

Wit. 16
Sept 21, 1805
Murdo M’Kenzie, tenant at Kirkibost, aged 82 years, a married man depones, That he was born in the parish of Lochs; depones, That he removed to the farm of Kirkibost fifty-eight years ago, and that he has been acquainted with the march between Lewis and Harris since that period. Depones, That the marches, as he understands them, commence at the mouth of the water of Veckadale, from thence up that river through Loch Rory to Tomruish, at a small loch, crosses Glenlangadale betwixt Airighaulay and Airighmhoir; from thence by a particular stone at Briadhanfhiachlachan, of a small size, fixed in the earth, naturally, and not put there by the hands of man: That close to it there is another stone, a little smaller, similar to the first, and these stones are generally denominated Chlaichsgoillt; from thence the line runs by the water of Chlairbeg through Lochchrystle, until it falls into the water of Resort, and from thence proceeding along the water of Resort to the sea. Depones, That he has been occasionally in the practice of frequenting the shealling of Arighbruochvriden for these fifty-six years past: That there was generally another tenant of Kirkibost along with him at that shealling; and that when he and his neighbour were not there, two of the other tenants of Kirkibost occupied it, and this was so arranged by agreement among the tenants of that farm from time to time as they saw cause; and that the deponent happened, by these arrangements, to be oftener there than any of the other tenants. Depones, That for these two summers preceding the last, the deponent occupied Arighheidderscuir. Depones, That in the space of time he had been at Kirkibost, it might be ten or twelve years; that he did not occupy Arighbruochvriden as a summer shealling. Being interrogated, If, in the course of his occupancy of said sheallings, he was ever disturbed or molested by the people of Harris? Depones, That they sometimes threw down a divot of his sheall hut: That he was from thirty to forty years of that time undisturbed at Arighbruochvriden. Depones, That the two years he was at Arighheidderscuir, the ceremony of casting off the divot from his shealling was performed by the people of Harris. Depones, That this ceremony was performed by the people of Harris on their sheallings sometimes when they were present, and sometimes when they were herding their cattle; and when the Harris people met them, they asked the Lewis people why they shealled there on Harris ground? To which he and the others answered, that the ground was theirs, and that they had orders from the different factors to maintain their own right; and that they never minded these warnings, but continued to occupy them until they found it convenient to quit them. Being interrogated as to the state of occupancy of Arigh uliscuir by the people of Harris, and how often they occupied it? Depones, That he thought they occupied it too often on account of the trouble it occasioned to himself. This trouble the deponent explains in the following manner: That he and the other tenants of Kirkibost were vexed at the encroachment of the Harris people on their bounds by their building their sheallings at Arigh Uliscuir: That he and the rest of the tenants of Kirkibost made use for two years of the common warning, by throwing off a divot from the sheallings, and ordering them to remove with their cattle; but that the third year having persisted in erecting a shealling, they, the tenants of Kirkibost, were ordered by the chamberlain of Lewis, to break down and demolish the shealling; which they put in execution, by breaking down the shealling, cutting the roof into small pieces, and throwing it over the rivulet of Veckadale. Depones, That the occupier of the shealling had quitted in the second year on turning off the divot, and in consequence of a threat that the strong order of the chamberlain of Lewis would be used against the occupier, if he did not comply; which the deponent explains, was to break the sheall-roof in small pieces, to cut off the leg of the best cow belonging to the occupier of the shealling, to tie it to a piece of the roof, and both together to be thrown over the river of Veckadale. Depones, That this order was issued in the time of George M’Kenzie, chamberlain: and the breaking of the shealling took place when George Gillanders was factor of Lewis. Being interrogated, If the cattle of Kirkibost were disturbed by the people of Harris when pasturing in Glenveckadale? depones, They were not disturbed by the Harris people, as the cattle of both parties were in the practice, according to the usage of the times, of pasturing promiscuously on both sides of the march from Lieud to Langa: That this usage applied only to yield cattle. Depones, That the Kirkibost cattle were not sent to Glenlangadale, but that they sometimes went there of their own accord; and athough a mutual understanding took place in regard to yield cattle, yet the cattle herded were always kept on their own side of the march.

Record Type:
Story, Report or Tradition
21 Sep 1805
Type Of Story Report Tradition:
Testimony Or Evidence
Record Maintained by: