ANDREW ROSS First house on the east. (My reference 2848)
Lot: No.5 of plan 1828. Then 2.1.9½ arable, meadow 2.1.7, green 0.3.21, in all 5.2.7½. Since then he has taken in the whole meadow, part of the green and two gardens and a considerable patch of ground from the commonty. He has likewise dyked off a portion of the commonty in the late Mr Horsburgh’s time, including the old castle which the ground officer says he had no authority for doing. Rent £3.17.3 given in the shape of an annuity.
House: a new tenantry one, slated, one end lofted and garret room fitted up, divided.
Family: tenant 86 and frail (Andrew Ross 1755-1855, widower of Elizabeth Mackay), has three daughters married (Lexy, Hughina and Grace). In the house with him, a son about 52 (William Ross abt.1792-1877 m. Williamina Mackay) and an unmarried daughter of 49 (Mary Ross 1793-1863). The son has a wife and six children: three sons of 16, 14 and 9 (Donald, Andrew and Sutherland), three daughters of 18, 11 and 7 (Catherine, Mary and Elizabeth). The second son confined to bed for the last three months by a sore leg. The old man’s son a blacksmith. Stock: 5 cows, 10 sheep, 1 pony.
ANGUS MACKAY (My reference 3723) Second house on the east, nearly right west from Ross’s house.
Lot: No.4 of plan 1828. Then 3.0.0 arable, 2.0.8½ meadow, 15 green, in all 5.-.23½. Has now taken in all the meadow, and a garden (not at present in crop), in front of the house, from the commonty. Rent £5 3s. 3d. A great part of the land much exposed to the western gales and frequently blasted. Dear
House: a new tenantry one, slated, divided and lofted, also one room made above.
Family: tenant about 55 years of age and not very strong, an Elder of the Secession and for a short time a Gaelic teacher in Tongue. Has a wife about 48 long sickly. Has five sons and three daughters. Sons 25, 20, 15, 13 and 8 (Adam, George Hugh, William, James and Angus), daughters 18, 9 and 4 (Janet, Barbara and Henrietta). All the children healthy. The eldest son still attending school (strange - he was 25). The second son, Hugh, a good labourer.
Stock: 4 cows, 1 stirk, 15 sheep, 2 ponies.
Gave Angus Mackay permission to shift his byre from the back to the east end of the house, it having been found impossible to get quit of water that rises up in it.
Family gravestone in Tongue Churchyard
PETER CLARKE Third tenant’s house from east end. (My reference 2719)
Lot: No.3 of plan 1828. then 3.1.26 arable, 1.0.11½ meadow and 1.1.19 green. Taken in the whole of the meadow and gardens both at the back and in front of the house. in all probably not less than two acres. Rent £5 5s. 7d.
House: said to be in Melioration Book but is thatched and has merely Highland couples - chimnies in each end (divided and room lathed in ceiling).
Family: tenant unmarried and 37 years of age (Peter Clarke m. Mary Manson 7th Feb. 1845). In the house, his brother George, 33 (George Clarke 1810-1903), George’s wife 24 (Robertina Manson 1814-1883), and three children, viz. two girls, 4 and 1, and a boy 2 years (Ann, Peter and Jane) . Two sisters of the tenant, aged 34 and 28, both unmarried (Christina 1806-1897 never married; and Janet 1823-1894, m. 1845 George Matheson in Coldbackie), and an aunt upwards of 50 years and always sickly (as yet unidentified). Likewise a boy of 14, the son of John Mackay, Strathmore Skerray, who has been in the house since his infancy. In all, 11 people.
Stock; 1 cow, 5 stirk, 18 sheep, 2 ponies.
Family gravestone in Tongue churchyard
WILLIAM SUTHERLAND Fourth tenant’s house from the east end. (My Reference 3059)
Lot: No.1 of plan 1828. Then 1.-.38 of Muir, 3.0.39 arable, 1.-.11½ meadow, 1.0.22 green, in all 0.2.30½. Has taken in since that time all the meadow and probably 26 falls in addition cairns of stones must be removed. Rent £4 13s 10d. Garden.
House: a new tenantry one, divided by clay partitions, joisted throughout but not lofted.
Family: tenant about 50 and a good labourer (William Sutherland 1794-abt.1855), wife about 46 (Ann Mackay 1794-1883), has one son of 14 living with his grandmother in Reay (John Sutherland 1828-aft.1844). At home, four girls, 17 (Jane Sutherland 1826 m. Andrew Sutherland, settled in Wick), 14 (Janet Sutherland 1830-aft.1844), 9 (Mary Sutherland 1833-1939 m. Donald Munro, Rhitongue) and 6 (Robertina Sutherland 1836-1925 never married). Stock: 4 cows, 2 stirks, 16 sheep, 2 ponies.
HECTOR MACKAY Fifth tenant’s house from east end. (My Reference 3721)
Lot: No.2 of plan 1828. Then 4 acres arable, 1.0.33 meadow, 0.2.16 green, in all 5.3.9. Taken in since that time all the meadow, a garden in front, and 25 falls above the bank and an old castle or cairn of stones covering somewhere about 17 falls – in all, taken in since 1829 probably about 1½ acres. Rent £5 14s. 1d.
House: something of the form of a tenantry one, tho’ not so high in the walls. slated, belongs to His Grace, divided and lofted over closet and room.
Family: tenant ground officer, aged 56, has a wife aged 55 (Hector Mackay 1789-1865 m. Janet Mackay, dates unknown). Eldest son 28, a daughter 22, and second son, 20, settled in the South (Angus 1814, Catherine 1822 and George 1824, I have no more info.), and a daughter, 26, married to John Macintosh, Dalcharn (Nancy Mackay 1816-1900). At home, two sons and two daughters, sons, 17 and 16 , daughters, 25 (Marion 1819-1898 m. Sutherland Mackay) and 13 (Janet 1831-1920 m. Hugh Matheson - gravestone).
Stock: 4 cows, 2 stirks, 21 sheep, 2 ponies.
JAMES DUNCAN Sixth tenant’s house from east end.
Lot: none, but has now got a garden. Rent £10.10s. Interest upon Outlay on garden walls falls now to be added to the £10 10s. House and wall built by the landlord.
Family: tenant, now or lately fishery officer, age about 50, his sister about 45, and a servant girl, Mary Macpherson, about 30.
Stock: none. Servant girl however said to have 4 sheep.
NEIL WATT, tailor (My Reference 2566)
House and garden to the east of Angus Mackay and Andrew Ross’s Lots. Built some 14 or 15 years ago by Hugh Mackay, who kept a shop in it. Bought by Watt for money, that is to say found £12 for the wood other fixtures, as is said by sanction of the late Factor
Family: Watt 40 years old, wife 34 (Neil Watt 1804-1872 m. Catherine Sutherland 1811-1858), has three children, two boys 4 (Donald William Watt 1839-aft.1851) and 2 (William Watt 1841-aft.1851), and a daughter 6 years old (Henrietta Watt 1837-1916 m. Andrew Ross). Has in the house two apprentices, viz. George Sutherland aged 18 from West Strathen (b.1826 son of Hugh Sutherland & Catherine Macdonald, Melness) and John Macpherson, 19, from Braetongue (1825, son of Donald Macpherson and Mary Henderson; in 1881 he was lodging with Andrew Ross in Coldbackie). Also John MACKENZIE, 30 (b.1809 to Donald Mackenzie & Janet Sutherland, died 1881 Tubeg), a journeyman, from Slatel [on the hill between Scullomie and Skerray].
Three apartments in the house, which is rather a good one.
CHRISTY and MARY MACKAY, in a house on William Sutherland’s lot, both unmarried. Christy 56 (died unmarried 1873) and Mary 36 (died unmarried 1881), sisters of Sutherland’s wife. Their mother (Mary Innes widow of John Mackay) formerly occupied the house and had a third of William’s lot, the proportion of rent having been handed over to her as an annuity. No division of the lot, however, sanctioned, and any arrangement with the old woman now of course at an end.
The tenants have a small commonty to the east of the plantation entirely to themselves. A desirable addition might easily be made to the arable or grass lands by throwing back the southern portion of the ring fence to the back of Peter Clarke’s garden - arranged that this should be done in Autumn, that the ground should be cut for hay and the produce equally divided between Peter Clarke, William Sutherland and Hector Mackay.