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Deposition of John Roy Buchanan (Lewis/Harris boundary dispute) 1805

Deposition of John Roy Buchanan (Lewis/Harris boundary dispute) 1805

John Roy Buchanan's testimony at the first hearing of the Lewis/Harris Boundary dispute.


Sept. 23, 1805

John Roy Buchanan, tenant in Kirkibost, aged 70 years, a married man depones, That he has resided in Kirkibost, in the Island of Berneray in Lewis, since he was a year old: That he has rented lands in Kirkibost for these forty-five years, and that his father preceded him as a tenant in Kirkibost since the deponent came to that place. Depones, That he knows the line of march which he himself and his father observed, as the boundary betwixt Lewis and Harris: That this line commences at the mouth of the water of Veckadale, proceeds up the water of Veckadale, through Lochrory to Tomrush, from thence to the water of Langadale: That his knowledge of the line of march extends no further to the west. Depones, That in the course of the said 45 years he has occasionally, in his turn, occupied the shealling of Arighbruochvriden; and that it is not twenty years since he first began to sheall there. Depones, That from his earliest remembrance until he was 15 or 16 years of age, his father was in the practice of shealling annually at Arighbruochvriden. Depones, That for these last two summers, he had occupied the shealling of Arighheidderscuir. Depones, That he never heard of his father being molested by the Harris people while at Arighbruochvriden: and, for his own period of occupancy of that shealling, the Harris people did not molest him by turning off the divot from his shealling or otherwise. Depones, That he only occupied Arighbruochvriden for five or six years in whole, and of these four summers' occupancy were in immediate succession of each other. Depones that the last summer he was at Arighheidderscuir, the people of Harris went through the ceremony of turning a divot from off his shealling while his family inhabited it. Depones, That he was in the habit, when occupying these shealings, of driving his cattle to pasture in Glenveckadale, and that the Harris people did not molest them; and that he in return never molested the Harris cattle when they came to the Lewis march, and crossed to the Lewis side. Depones, That his cattle were often pasturing in the Harris hills over the line of the march, as far as the hill of Langa; but he knows that he had no right to allow his cattle to transgress so far; and, on the other hand, that the Harris people had no right to send their cattle to the Lewis side of the march. Depones, That he never sent his horses or sheep to pasture in Glenlangadale; that they strayed there sometimes of their own accord, contrary to his wish. Being interrogated, If he knows that a party of Lewis people broke down the sheilling of Arigh Uliscuir when occupied by the Harris people, and how often they did so? Depones, That about fifty years ago, George M'Aulay, ground-officer in Lewis, with a party consisting of twenty people, of which the deponent was one, came to that shealling when occupied by John M'Jan ie Iver, from Ardvoorlich, and broke the roof of the shealling into small pieces and threw it over the water of Veckadale: That about twenty years ago, Donald M'Aulay, son of the said George M'Aulay, headed a party of about twenty in number, in which the deponent's wife was included, she having acted for him on the occasion, that went to the same shealling when occupied by Angus Oig M'Donald, tenant at Ardvoorlich, and broke it down. Being interrogated, If he knows that a quantity of kelp manufactured by the Harris people on the shore near to, and on the north side of the water of Veckadale, was destroyed by a party of the Lewis people? Depones, that he was one of a party who did so, and that this was done at the distance of thirty-nine years anterior to summer last, by order of Kenneth Bane M'Kenzie, then ground officer in Lewis: That when they went to the spot where the kelp was a making by a tenant from Harris, Kenneth M'Kenzie, who headed the party, desired the Harris man to extinguish his kelp kiln then burning, which the Harris man at first refused to do; but the kiln having been put out, each of the party, consisting of five, took a piece of kelp out of the kiln, and threw it into the sea: That thereafter Kenneth M'Kenzie and his party went to Island Seaforth, and divided the kelp shores thereof into lots or divisions, distinguishing each division by a piece of wood, which he stuck into the ground; he adds that these divisions, as he believes, are observed by the Lewis and Harris people to this day. Being interrogated, If the people of Lewis ever made kelp on the shore lying between Molna Herradh and Avonveckadale? Depones, That they manufactured the ware of the shore lying betwixt these two places the third season after destroying the Harris kelp as above, but that the Lewis people never made kelp there before that time. Depones, That he never heard till of late that the Harris people claimed as their march the line running from Gilamhoil to the top of Lieud. Depones, That the line of march described to him has been insisted on by the people of Lewis as their march since ever he remembers. Being interrogated for the pursuer, if he has seen the cattle belonging to the tacksman of Scalpa pasturing on the Lewis side of Arighbruochvriden? Depones, That he has seen them going there of their own accord, but not attended by a herd. Depones, That the milk cattle of Scalpa were every summer during his remembrance pastured at the shealling of Arighmhoir in Glenlangadale with out being disturbed by any person. Depones, That it was the custom of the Kirkibost people to occupy the Lewis muirs from shealling to shealling, from the 20th of May to the 1st of August, first occupying the sheallings nearest their dwellings, then proceeding to those farthest off, near the line of march, where, after residing some time, they were in the practice of retiring to, and re-occupying, the sheallings on which they had settled the earliest part of the season.


Title: Deposition of John Roy Buchanan (Lewis/Harris boundary dispute) 1805
Record Type: Stories, Reports and Traditions
Record Maintained By: CEBL
Subject Id: 66601