Stornoway, Lewis, 11 June 1883 - Donald Mcaskill

DONALD M'CASKILL, Crofter and Fisherman, Sheshader (54)—examined.

17248. The Chairman.
—Were you sent by the people of Sheshader?

17249. What is the population of Sheshader?
—There are twenty-eight lots in the township, but there are many of them on which there are more than one family.

17250. Were they all present when you were chosen?

17251. Why did you not come here on Friday?
—We were told the meeting was to be in the Free Church of Garabost.

17252. Who told you that?
—We heard it about a fortnight ago in the town here.

17253. What have you got to say on the part of the people of Sheshader ?
—I remember when the township was under twelve tenants. That is forty years ago. The rent was £42. There are now twenty-eight lots, and the rent is above £100 ; but a dyke was made round the arable land by orders of the proprietor, and a tax of 5s. was made on every lot, of which there were twenty-one at the time —thirty-four years ago. It was erected by the proprietor, and the people were paid for doing the work, but the crofters have had to keep it up ever since. A promise was made at the time that when the dyke was paid for they would be free from any further expense. It cost about £70, and already there has been £ 80 paid for it. Then there was a tax of 5s. put upon every crofter for the roads. The 5s. for the roads was then changed into hill money. Both these taxes are now included in the rent, and if anybody sends a cow to the hill he pays 2s. for the grass for a month or six weeks. When I became a family man, I built a house for myself close to my father's, and I was fined £ 5 by the chamberlain for it. I went to the chamberlain and told him I would rather go back to my father's house than pay that, but he would not let me off without paying the fine. There were other four of my father's family, and when they saw how things were going on under the chamberlain they fled away, with the exception of one. The boundaries of the township are now no larger than they were when they were paying £42. Instead of that, they lost something out of the back of the town.

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