NORMAN MORRISON, Crofter, Knock, Carloway (51)—examined.
14928. The Chairman.
—This is your statement:
—At a meeting of the crofters of Knock, Carloway, on the 21st May last, it was agreed to submit through their delegates the following statement of their grievances to the Royal Commission. Our chief grievance is the curtailment of our holdings by the withdrawal and formation into new crofts of a portion of our common or pasture land, without corresponding reduction in our rent. In 1850 there were only sixteen crofters in our township, paying a rental of £ 50; whereas there are at present twenty-nine crofters, paying a rental of about £68. There are besides seven families that have no lands. Since 1850 nine new crofts paying a rent of £ 12 have been formed out of our common. Other two pieces of good ground belonging to us, of the value of £7, have been annexed to the townships on each side of us. Our pasture land has been thus considerably reduced. Our rent, however, has not been reduced in the least on account of these considerable curtailments. Our township is about 1½ mile long and ½ mile wide. Of this area scarcely one fourth part is cultivable land. Our lots being so small, we require to crop the whole of them every year, and in consequence of this incessant cropping, the soil of our crofts is rapidly deteriorating. The yield of grain from our. crofts is always inadequate to support our families. In ordinary years we buy on an average about £ 10 worth of meal. This year we shall require to buy not less than £ 20 worth of meal on an average.
14929. Have you anything further to say?
14930. Where have the crofters come from to make up the number from sixteen to twenty-nine?
—Some of them came from other places, but the most of them have grown up in the township.
14931. What rent do you pay?
14932. What stock do you keep?
—Two cows, two young beasts, and a horse.
14933. Have you any sheep ?
14934. Are there any other of the people there that have horses?
—Four or five in the township have horses.
14935. What are the townships on each side of you to which ground was given that was taken from you ?
—Carloway and Kirvig. That was done in Sir James Matheson's time, but I cannot give the date.
14936. Do you remember when the nine new crofts were made?
—I was not there then.