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Balallan, Lewis

Balallan, Lewis

A straggling crofting township of around 80 crofts, which lies at the head of Loch Erisort on the road from Stornoway to Tarbert.

According to D Maciver in Place-names of Lewis and Harris:

Balallain: some say this name is Old Norse, but it favours more of Gaelic than Norse. The name Allan is common in Lewis. 'Allan's village'.

JM Macleod, Balallan thinks that the correct Gaelic spelling of Balallan should be Bailailean, not Baile Ailein and says

After the Battle of Culloden (1746), the Redcoats in 1753 were still in pursuit of Jacobites. In that year, an Officer with a detachment of soldiers was sent to Lewis and Harris in search of firearms and kilts. He wrote a letter to his CO giving a report of his itinerary which mentioned that on the way to Harris he left a Corporal and four men in Kios and a Sergeant and ten men in Bail-laland. I later learned that could mean - from Gaelic and Norse "the village sloping down to the sea" and that is exactly what Bailailean is.

In 1840, eighteen families from Seaforth, Eishken, Cleitir and Shildenish were evicted from their homes. Most of them were put to Balallan where the number of crofters was increased from 26 to 40. The township was then rearranged.

In 1846 Balallan was further sub-divided into 63 holdings. From the Balallan grazings, four crofts were measured off at Arivruach and four tenants were placed there under the pretext of running a ferry service between Lewis and Harris. Sir James Matheson, on one occasion, was the only person to use this service.

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Title: Balallan, Lewis
Record Type: Locations
Gaelic Name: Baile Ailein
Type: Village/Township
Grid Ref Easting: 128575
Grid Ref Northing: 920705
Record Maintained By: CECL
Subject Id: 4974