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CLANS OF SHISKINE PAST AND PRESENT
by Mr. Charles Robertson, 1936.

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Arran is Scotland in miniature. The various clans throughout the centuries have been associated with separate locations. For instance, Argyllshire is the home of the Campbells, M'Alisters, M'Larens, Stuarts of Appin. Dumbartonshire-M'Farlanes, M'Gregors. Perthshire-Robertsons, M'Nabs and Murrays. Inverness-Frasers, M'Leods. Banffshire-M'Kinnon, M'Intosh, M'Pherson. Buteshire-Stewarts andBannatynes, and so on. Likewise in Arran the same names have been associated with the same district for centuries. In my own district, including Machrie, we find M'Alisters, Bannatynes, Curries, Robertsons, M'Kenzies and Murchies, and to a lesser extent the M'Masters, M'Gregors, M'Kelvies, etc. In the southend district we get the M'Kinnons, Cooks, Stuarts, M'Donalds, M'Neils. Whiting Bay-Hamiltons, M'Kelvies. Brodick with Davidsons, Fullartons. M'Brides in Lamlash. Corrie-M'Killops and Kelsos, and of course in the north end of the Island, Kerrs. Those are the names that we invariably connect with the districts just named. For instance, you won't find a Robertson or a Bannatyne in any part of the south end of the Island. Likewise, you won't find a M'Neil or Cook in Shiskine at the present day. Many of the Scottish clans never seem to have at any time a representative in Arran, viz., MacLeod, Grant, M'Farlane, M'Dougall,Cameron or M'Lean. My object in compiling this survey is not so much to trace the genealogy of the various clans, but rather to my mind, what is more important, to get the relative positions of different periods, to come up to the present day, and give my opinion of their chance of survival or otherwise. On the east side of the Island, owing to its closer proximity to the mainland, old honoured names are disappearing much more rapidly than with us on the west side. In the beginning of the last century Lamlash had almost one-third of its population M'Brides. What is the position to-day? There is only one male M'Bride under 50 on the eastside of Arran, and that one is a child of nine. Let us hope, in the words of the Scripture, that the little becomes a thousand. The last male Fullerton passed away two years ago. The Davidsons are reduced to a minimum. It makes one sad when reading reports in the public press of the various functions that there is little or no mention of those old names that we so long associated with those districts. I am now coming to the clans of Shiskine. First the M'Alisters, the clan that is no longer associated with Shiskine than any other. They hailed from Kintyre along with the M'Donalds, and for a long time were a thorn in the flesh to the early dwellers in Arran. Many of them may have settled there. Another report says somewhat unkindly that they came to Arran to fill the places left vacant by a great plague that visited to Island in 1666. The writer goes on to say that it was most fitting that such a forerunner should prepare a place for those who were so long a plague in the Island themselves. I do not hold with that theory, for in the Kilmory records we find them all over Shiskine. I was struck with the frequency the christian name Florence appeared in the female section of the clan. We come to a FlorenceM'Alister in Auchincar, one in Torbeg, one in Birchburn, and another in Ballygown. That lovely name has disappeared from the clan. In fact, there isn't a single female of that name in Shiskine to-day, abbreviated Flora. In 1776 we find a M'Alister, a taxman in Kilpatrick; one in Torbeg, one in Feorline, one in Ballygown, and the best known of the mall, Hector M'Alister, taxman of Glaister and Monyquil. This gentleman is credited with being involved in the '45 which ended disastrously at Culloden, and he had to go into hiding for some time. He was one of the two sent by the people of Shiskine to represent their interests at a meeting called by the factor Burrell, to consider steps to be taken to ensure better communication with the mainland. The descendants of the said Hector have been in the glen till about 27 years ago. The last tenant being also a Hector. In the Arran Rent Roll of 1812, James M'Allister, Monyquill, is the only tenant with Esquire to his name .Provost M'Allister, Troon, and Mr Constable, Rothesay, are descended from the same man (Worthie M'Allister). The first M'Allister we have record of is one Ranald M'Allister, who rented a line of farms on the west side of Arran from Lochranza to Machrie Bay. Unhappily those farms were the most exposed to the raiders from Kintyre. When we first come across his name in 1440, he is 3 1/2 years behind with his rent; 1447 repeats the tale, rent held back by Ranald M'Allister. We now come to 1458, when he departed his life. For 15 years he was tenant of nine farms, for four years he was lessee of the whole Island. It would appear that he never paid rent all those years. Yet he died without property, with those words for his epitaph-" He had nothing to distrain." In my boyhood days the M'Alisters were the most numerous clan in Shiskine. They occupied positions of trust in our public bodies. In fact, they ruled us both temporally and spiritually. A M'Alister would take as naturally to a Kirk Session as a Kerr or Kelso from Lochranza, would take to the water. Now, what is the position to-day apart from one family, the prospect of having any M'Alisters in either Shiskine or Machrie in the near future is very remote.

CURRIES.---The name Currie is alleged to be a reduced form of MacMhurrich. Tradition has it that like some of the old Arran families they had charters of the lands of Feorline. This, I am afraid, is unsupported by evidence. Down to the end of the eighteenth century the name Currie does not appear in Feorline at all. In 1796 they came to Feorline. (Tormore Curries.) One was a taxman in Kilpatrick, one in Feorline, another in Clachan. There were several in Tormore at the same period. Arran in all its long history has never thrown up a poet of any standing, though we have a few rhymers. There were one or two of the Curries who made brave attempts. One of them was called "Gobha Beag" (the wee smith). The other was Donald Currie. Poaching in Arran was always looked upon as a heinous crime. The Gobha Beag (first of these Curries) wrote a very pathetic poem of his eviction from Arran for poaching-the following is a translation from Gaelic of four of the verses:-

In the calm summer morn, ere the sun with his rays,
Would waken in beauty our valleys and braes,
With my take in my skiff I so gladly would come,
To the shade of the Castle where nestled my home.
Dear Beallach nam Mean, how my heartstrings were torn,
When banished the spot where my darling was born,
'Tis my fate in the Lowlands to nourish my wrongs,
Since fortune once placed too near to the Longs.
The factor ordained in the pride of his power,
My kin should disown me if e'en for an hour,
They'd shelter or aid me, his ire they would feel,
Be stripped of their farms, and crushed by his heels.
But those who expelled me from Arran shall be
Without sheep on the moorland, or cow on the lea;
While I openhanded shall live in Tormore,
To drink my cup yet, and eat of my store.

There is ample evidence of the survival of the Currie clan.

BANNATYNES. The Bannatynes, more than any of the others, are purely a Shiskine clan. They came to Arran from Bute. In an old record of 1400 we find the names of four Bannatynes acting on a jury in Rothesay. Tradition says that the first Bannatyne came to Arran to settle was a Ronald Bannatyne. He landed at Corrie, the place being still known as Rudha Raonal. In the early days there must have been among them men of scholastic attainments. The Kilmory Session records give in 1701 the Rev. Dugald Bannatyne, minister, and a few years later a Hector Bannatyne, schoolmaster. In 1776 one of the clan was taxman in Feorline. I find in the Estate books an entry regarding the building of a steading at Tighenfraoch, and a grant given by the Estate for thatching with heather. Incidentally, the thatcher's name was John Sloss. The Bannatynes were noted horsemen, good judges, expert in the saddle. One of the clan has started a riding school at Blackwaterfoot. The young generation of Bannatynes keep up the family reputation. It is a pure joy to watch them poise in the saddle. At onetime they had the reputation of being slick in a horse deal. A woman at Lochranza warned her son as he set out for Shiskine Fair to have no dealings with the "Nazaree." Notwithstanding this advice the poor fellow got badly bitten. In those far-off days slick work in a deal was looked upon rather as a virtue that a vice. In not a few cases they got the worse of the bargain. There was an Ebenezer and a Ronald. It is from the issue of the latter that your chairman and I made contact in the past. My great-grandmother was his grandmother's aunt. There is something unique in this family. There was 29 years between the first and the last birth in the family, the same mother. Now, Mr Chairman, with knowledge such as this before us, whatever misgivings we may have regarding the clan, there can be no doubt whatever regarding the fertility of the breed. Like the Curries, their prospects of survival are excellent.

ROBERTSONS. This, as you all know, is my own clan. Nobody seems to know when they came to Arran. At one time they were Clan Duncan. Tradition has them also associated with Robert the Bruce. You can take that for what it is worth. In 1719 I find an ancestor of mine, Wm. M'Rob, severely censured by the Kirk Session for grinding corn on the Fast Day. In the 1830 Rent Roll we get five families in Torbeg, one in Kilpatrick, one in Feorline, and one in Tormore. One of this clan was noted for physical strength, namely Strong Jock. If the reports we hear can be relied on this man's strength in Dominie Sampson's phraseology was "prodigious." Now, you may ask me what the prospects are regarding the survival of this clan. We have at the moment more young men of marriageable age in the district than any of the others. With so many potential progenitors in our midst, the prospect of survival is good.

M'KENZIES. We do not know exactly when the clan came to the Island. There is a Donald M'Kenzie mentioned in the Session records 200 years ago. There was a Patrick M'Kenzie taxman in Shedog in 1776. The first M'Kenzie settled in Tormore in 1796. His christian name is Gilbert. Evidently the first Sym settled there the same year. When I was a boy there were eight families of the name in Machrie alone. In the Free Church records of 1845 we find Peter and Alexander M'Kenzie, grandfather and great-grandfather of your secretary, members of Session. Now, the prospect of survival of this old and honoured nameis less favourable than any of the others I have mentioned. There is only one M'Kenzie under 40 in the whole district. Unless in the near future (I say this in all seriousness) there is a distinct and definite movement among the dry bones of those that remain, that old and honoured clan will have joined the company of the Crawfords, M'Gregors, Cooks, etc., and become only a memory. I trust those blunt and outspoken statements will have the desired effect.

SHAWS. One of Arrans most noteworthy literary men was a member of this clan, namely, the Rev. William Shaw, the author of the first Gaelic Dictionary that was ever written. He was born at Clachaig in 1749, was a graduate of Glasgow University. He went to London, and there met Dr. Johnson, the other literary lights. When he told Johnson of his great scheme for making a collection of Gaelic words, the old Doctor approved. Sir, said he, if you give the world a vocabulary of that language, while this Island stands, your name will be remembered. In 1780 his work appeared in two volumes. Owing to a great controversy raging in the Highlands on the authenticity of Ossian's poems, the author had to go to Ireland to finish his work. He died in England in 1831. Another of that same family and name distinguished himself while in the Navy. For an act of gallantry while in the West Indies with his ship, he was offered to be made a warrant officer on the spot, or get his discharge with a pension and a home in Arran. He chose what is known as Seafield Cottage at Blackwaterfoot, and remained there till he died. The name of William Shaw appears in the Arran Rent Roll of 1830. My maternal grandmother's name was Janet Shaw, a sister of the last named. There are no Shaws in Shiskine to-day. One of the Shiskine Shaws became Piermaster at Lamlash. His son is Captain Donald Shaw, who married a Shiskine lady. I'm very sorry that Captain and Mrs Shawdid not call one of their sons William to perpetuate the memory of those two men who shed luster on the clan, both in scholarship and gallantry. Time won't permit me going into details on the other families in the district, such as the Sillars, Hamiltons, Craigs, M'Kelvies, and those others who have died out, such as Crawfords, M'Gregors, M'Kinnons, etc. It may interest you to know the names that were in the village of Shedog 100 years ago-Wm. Nelson, D. Inglis, John Osborne, John Lee, Solomon Caldwell: another unusual name in the district was Jeremiah M'Bride. Miss M'Bride, in her address from the chair at the Arran Re-Union several years ago, claimed that M'Brides were in Arran since the days of Bruce. The Church was the centre of the people's life. The distance they walked to church on the Sabbath Day was amazing. I remember the people coming across the moor a distance of six to eight miles. In the summer time the young women used to come tripping through the dewy heather, with their bare feet, putting on shoes before entering the church. The service was conducted in Gaelic, and the singing was run-line. This was done to allow all the people to join in, many of them not being able to read, or not having books. At the time I am referring to there were no seats in the churches. So the people brought their own three-legged stools. Jenny Geddes found this type of stool a handy missile when she threw it in St. Giles. The Session had the status of a Civil Court, and the elders the status of Civil Magistrates. They made many of the laws and administered the laws they made and collected the fines. Culprits had to pay their fines graduated according to the heinousness or frequency of the offence. Offenders stood at the repentance stool clad in a cloak of sack cloth, which they might be obliged to buy, or make for themselves. These poor persons went through the ordeal of facing the congregation and receiving rebukes from the minister, and even on Communion Day this terrible ordeal was gone through. Frequent cases occurred when, rather than face this trial, delinquents fled from the place. Offenders of the moral law had to take the oath of purgation before the congregation (when charges could not be proved). The dread of this oath wrung confession from many when nothing else would terrify them into truth. Many of the clans were Baron Lairds in Arran, the Fullartons, Brodick, being the only family to have retained their titles. The Cooks, M'Brides, and M'Kinnons were the others. There was a M'Kinnonwho lived at Brodick who was styled the Baron in my own day. There is no more interesting study than the derivation of family names. I would like to throw out a hint to some of you young men before me to take up this as a subject for an address before the Ceilidh here at no distant date. Surnames only come into use in the twelfth century. Had you lived then you would perhaps be known by some physical deformity, or other characteristic, or by the occupation you followed. One of the early kings of Scotland was known by his big head, Callum Canmore. Hadour Saviour lived at the present day he would have been called in the Gaelic "Mac-an-t'saoir," or in plain English, Jesus M'Intyre. In the 1719 Session records we find three of the SILLARS clan in the Session. First we have Patrick M'Nargid, Patrick Silver, and John M'Nargenach. Those of you who have the Gaelic will see that they all mean one and the same thing, the worker or engraver in silver. (Now, at this stage, I would say to you young men, if you want a most interesting subject for the Ceilidh, take the derivation of Arran names.) The name in the course of its evolution appears as Sellar (Marchioness of Graham), now is a Sillars, whether the evolution has ceased is open to conjecture. This clan was numerous in 1830. We find four families of that name in Banlikan, in Auchincar, one in Glaister, one in Tormore, and one in Torbeg.

THOMSONS. The Thomsons came to Arran from Argyllshire, farmed in Auchincar. There are no Thomsons in the district now. One cannot mention clans without associating certain christian names with those clans, for instance, you could not think of Bannatynes withoutEbenezers and Ronalds; M'Alisters without Hectors and Matthews;M'Kenzies without Gilberts and Angus; Robertsons, Archibalds and Charles; Sillars without Malcolms; and Curries without Johns and Donalds, and M'Brides without Peters. I was very surprised at findings o many Old Testament names among the christian names of the clans of Arran. Now, just listen-Adam, Abraham, Gershom, Moses, Joseph, Samuel, David, Solomon, Ebenezer, Ephraim, Jeremiah and Daniel. I think we find here a solution to what happened to the lost tribes of Israel-they may have found sanctuary in Arran. I will now come to what to some of you at least be more interesting-how these clans moved, lived and had their being in those far-off days. Before doing so I would like to read to you some extracts of the Kilmory Session records that will throw some light on the customs and life of the people. The first entry is dated in 1701. A woman at Whitefarland is inflicted with ex-communication for six fortnights. 1719-Wm. M'Rob, Torbeg (my own ancestor) , severely rebuked before the congregation for grinding corn on the Fast Day. 1719-Donald Shaw,Tormore, takes his wife, Janet Hamilton, before the Session for throwing a pair of shears at him, and wounding him very severely in the arm. Asked why she did so, replied that her husband was bawling and swearing, was told she should have tried more peaceful methods, and was severely censured by the Session, had to stand before the congregation to be rebuked publicly as a warning to other spouses in the district. 1715-Session pays Hector Bannatyne ?2 for teaching poor children at Drumaghiner. Paid Wm. Russell 1/- for herding horses at Communion time. 1724-Alexr. M'Alister, Machray, lost his wife after giving birth to twins, did inform Session that he is unable to support same, prays the Session to allow him to "thig" the Parish. Session views the petition with favour, allows him twelve months to thig the Parish, gives him a line to Kilbride Session. This means going round with a bag collecting handfuls of corn. 1724-Twelve men called before the Session for going out to a ship in the Channel on the Sabbath Day. Said they thought the ship was signalling for a pilot. Asked why it needed twelve men to go out, admitted that they took brandy ashore, confessed their fault, and sin, and were fined 5/- per man. Money to be put in the poor box. 1764-Session instructs that only Schoolmasters be appointed who are able to teach Latin, Gaelic, Navigation, Mathematics, book-keeping, and Church Music. Rev. Angus M'Millan, in his statistical account, says, "The people are generally tall, at least they are above the middle height, athletic and very well made. Their features are open and regular, and they look remarkably well formed. The women are taller, handsomer, and better looking than in most other parts of the country. The remarks apply generally to all parts of the parish." The power of the Church was great and its arm was long. There are instances of it reaching people even as far as Ireland. We may, in these enlightened days, smile at their crude methods, but I'm sure we will all agree they carried out their duties conscientiously according to their lights. I only came across one case of theft before the session, and that was not proven. They dealt very severely with those who strayed from the paths of virtue. Whether this harsh treatment had the desired effect is open to conjecture. I have gone through the Kilmory records very carefully seeking to find some reference to the stirring events that were shaking Scotland to its foundations. Arran seems to have been undisturbed by several of the issues which elsewhere lead to the shedding of blood. We have no knowledge of sufferers for the Covenant in Arran, though there were many in the neighbouring country of Ayrshire who were hunted like deer in the hills and moss hags of their native land. Nor do we find any reference to the '45 which ended so disastrously at Culloden. The Session at Kilmory seems to have been undisturbed to any extent. Now, cast back your minds and picture Shiskine four centuries ago-no hedges, no roads, just bridal tracks, no bridges. The houses were not on their own ground as you see them to-day. They were all clustered into villages or townships, as they were called, something after the style of Auchengallon. Should you with to leave the Island you walked to Brodick, had to ford all the streams on the way across, then cross to Saltcoats by sailing smack, and often storm and calm delayed the vessel, sometimes all night in the Firth. We always went from and came back by Brodick. We look on Brodick as the port of Shiskine. I have already referred to the frequent raids by the clansmen of Kintyre. In the year 1444 to 1447, we have a melancholy record of losses in the Island through devastation by what is termed "those cursed raiders from Kintyre." The country at that time was in such an unsettled state there was no force in being that could be brought into play to prevent them taking place. Arran lay in such close proximity to the Argyllshire coast that it was fairly easy for the M'Alisters and M'Donalds to make frequent incursions that caused so much havoc and loss to the people of Arran. There is a long list of abatement of rents allowed as a result of these raids. The Arran people did not seem to be able to repulse the invaders, nor do we know of any reprisals taken against them. In order to protect their families and property they built forts or Camps which were used in time of danger. The most noteworthy of these is at Drumadoon, splendidly situated on the cliffs some 200 feet above sea level. The cliffs from the bottom to the top are almost perpendicular. The walls round the top were 12 feet thick, enclosing a space of several acres. Its commanding position, and its excellent defenses rendered it almost impregnable, a safe sheltering from the whole district. There were several of those forts serving other districts. None of them were so impressive as the one at Drumadoon. As late as the 15th century we read of the Arran lairds strengthening the defenses on account of the raids of the Kintyre clans. It is unfortunate, owing to the stormy nature of the times and the absence of authentic records the full story cannot be written.

Islands as a rule have a smaller share of the arable land suitable for cultivation in proportion to its size than inland areas. Therefore, the population has never been great in proportion to its area. Normally, in an island community the harvest of the sea supplements the produce of the land. Most of the men were excellent handlers of small craft. Numbers of them went to the fishing in the season. Their system of agriculture according to our modern ways was crude in the extreme. As I have already told you, the district was divided into townships, each township presided over by a taxman or "Fear a Bhaile", as he was called. The farms were let on leases of 19 years duration. The system of farming was run-rig, taken from the Gaelic "roinn," a share. Instead of the farm being divided into equal parts, each field was divided into strips. The benefit they thought would accrue from this system was that each tenant got an equal share of the good and bad ground on the farm. The system has survived to our own day. You may still see it on the Banlikan shore. Much scorn has been poured on this system, and it is difficult for anyone with any farming knowledge to uphold it. The soil never got a chance. The townships were put up for auction at the end of every lease, so each of the tenants took out of the soil as much as they could. There was no compensation for improvements, the results are apparent. In the year 1776 the Duke was a minor, his trustees, with the double object of improving the Island, but principally to insure that they got their rentals, appointed a John Burrell, as factor of the Firth of Forth, to bring this about. They gave him a free hand. He was a very able man, very masterful, and somewhat impatient in his actions. He was shocked at the system of farming, and stormed against the run-rig system. He made up his mind as each lease expired he would have every man on his own, and each man himself responsible for the rent. In this he did not succeed, heroic though his efforts were. The people frustrated his efforts as much as possible. Burrell carried out his commission with the zeal of a crusader, irrespective of tradition, sentiment, or any of those things that meant so much to a Highlander. He was a stranger, and there is no one like a stranger if you want the old landmarks removed. Though we grant his ideas were sound, we must remember it was impossible for him to view things from the native point of view. He stated quite bluntly that there were too many people on the Island, although his employers were his patrons. He grudged giving money to the Church. For long I could not understand their bitter resentment to the change-over, but on making comparisons of the rentals before and after the townships were made into separate lots, I discovered the cause. I will give a few examples:-Kilpatrick £77, after £200; S. Feorline £46, after £168; North Feorline £90, after £172; Torbeg £70, after £168; Tormore £100, after £190. I could give you no end of cases, each giving the same increase in rent. Burrel was a man of exceptional ability in many ways, but his hand was undoubtedly against the natives of the Island. He started several industries, a slate quarry at the Cock of Arran; a tile factory at the Southend, and a lime quarry at Shiskine. Those enterprises came to an untimely end soon after they were started, from one cause or another. The proper test to apply to this gentleman's sojourn on the Island is this, did it or did it not conduce to the comfort, the uplifting, and well-being of the people? Whatever else was accomplished it certainly failed in that. One historian tells us in 1810 that the condition of the people, save a few taxmen, was miserable in the extreme. Their houses were the meanest hovels. The people were clad in the worst garments of home manufacture. The conditions seemed to be worse than they were 50 years previously. Now I come to the most pathetic chapter of the history of the clans of Arran. Burrell's policy was the letting of the Island in large farms, and the restrictions of hill grazings. (He had gone to his account by this time.) The seed he had sown was now bearing fruit. Wholesale evictions were now the order of the day. This state of things was not confined to the Island. The Highland Counties mostly all suffered from this policy of extermination. The menace of Napoleon was shattered, the need for men for the fighting forces had abated. Dr. Donald M'Leod a few years after exclaimed, "Is not man better than a sheep? They who would have shed their blood for the protection of their country are in other lands. If you want men to-day, pipe you ever so loudly, No lads come away with cheeks glowing proudly, You may call on the deer, the grouse and grey wedder, But not on the lads with the bonnet and the feather." Some time ago you heard a very able address from the Rev. Angus Logan, on the Megantic settlers. TheSannox clansmen are perhaps the most notable of this mistaken policy. They were by no means the first. It is stated that over threescore men went to the herring fishing from the township alone. The largest of the clearances, apart from Sannox, was Glenree, which took place in 1826, when five townships were turned out to make one sheep farm. The names of the townships were Glenree, Gargardale, Birican, Corriehim,and Margarioch; dozens of families deprived of a home. You can picture the scene in that solemn glen-the sobbing of women and young children. People are not removed from their ancestral associations without groans. Against those removals the people had an instinctive revulsion. The factor Paterson, in his diary says, "The people opposed those changes in every sort of physical resistance. It was just as well that those injustices were not done to the more fiery Celts across the Irish Sea, or there would have been a different tale to tell. The Shiskine clearances came later. News of those happenings were carried all over the country. In Blackwoods Magazine of 1829 the Ettrick Shepherd, whose centenary has only now been celebrated, writes:--"Well if the gentry lose the land, it will only be the Lord's judgement on them for having dispossessed the people. Ah, wae's me, I hear the Duke of Hamilton's crofters (sic) are gaun awa' frae theIsland o' Arran. Pity on us!" The Government is now trying to undo those grave injustices of the past by settling men on the very farms that were cleared. By a strange irony of fate Bennicarigan, one of the first to be cleared, was one of the first to be broken up into small holdings. You may think I am digressing, but I can assure you there was nothing burned into the soul of our fathers more than the events I have just narrated. Now I come to the very important sideline in which many of the people of Arran indulged, that is smuggling. I am old enough to remember as a boy the old men sitting round the peat fire in our home telling their experiences in this illicit traffic. Their vigils on the mountain streams and the ruses employed in evading the exciseman. I used to think them the greatest heroes imaginable. There was no one in the community hated more than an informer. Those who informed the exciseman where the still was to be found working, and the people involved, no Jew ever hated a tax-gatherer more than an Arran person hated an informer. I remember my grandmother bemoaning a male relative choosing a wife from a family of informers. It is commonly supposed that the illicit distilling of spirits was the only form of smuggling engaged in. The Government imposed a tax on many articles on those days for revenue purposes. Arran, being in the track of shipping, many commodities passed ashore that never passed the Customs at Greenock.The form of exchange was barter. In those days of sailing ships when beating up the Firth in a head wind, or becalmed, it was quite easy slipping alongside to do business. The sailors, many of whom were natives of the Island, were only too pleased (after being for long on salt junk) to barter many kinds of excisable goods for fresh eggs, fowls, or fresh fish, even bread and biscuits were much sought after. Salt was one of the commodities on which a big tax was levied. Ireland was the chief source of supply. This became a profitable sideline for the smuggler. Many a dark stormy night those hardy boys would cross the Irish Sea, all the while keeping a lookout for the Revenue Cutter. On one occasion, owing to a rough sea, there was only one bag of salti ntact that had not melted. Whatever diversity of opinion there may be about this traffic, it will be conceded that it was much better for all concerned when the people settled down to more staid occupations. The illicit distilling of liquor was carried on in Arran till the 'sixties of the last century. Now I come to another industry which no historian ever mentioned and gave employment to a number of Shiskine people. About 100 years ago when the railways started in Scotland, they bolted the rails to the blocks of stones to keep them in position. My maternal grandfather came from Stirling to start a quarry at Kilpatrick. Unfortunately this venture came to an untimely end. The railway people discovered that there was not enough give in the stone blocks as the trains passed over them, and when the train gathered speed it was apt to jump the rails, the upshot being that all the granite blocks had to be taken out, and wooden sleepers put in instead. This involved considerable loss to the promoters of this industry. I have two letters sent to mea few months ago written by my grandfather 100 years ago, which contained many interesting items of that time, one was that letters left Arran twice weekly. In regard to recreations and amusements, we haven't much to goon except the old game of shinty, the great match of the year being on New Year's Day. There was a Cricket Club in Shiskine 80 years ago. Pennant, the historian, says little or no time can be spared for amusement of any sort, the whole time being given to procuring the means to pay the rent, and a scanty pittance of food and clothing. The same writer in the same year notices the contrast in the people of Skye. They sing when cutting down the corn, 40 or 50 in chorus, as the Grecian lassies did of yore. The great event in the lives of those kindly folk was a wedding. People in other parts of the Island when seeking to express the super-excellence of anything said of it, "It was as good as a Shiskine wedding." When a girl got engaged she did not send for a book of the latest Parisian creations, or go to the city to purchase her outfit. Instead, all the girls in the district gathered in her home, helped her to tease the wool, then it was sent to the carding mill to be made into "rowans," when that operation was finished the girls gathered again, each with her own spinning wheel, and spun it into thread, then it was sent to the local weaver to be made into blankets. The next stage was the booking when friends of the contracting parties made arrangements for the marriage. Then a day or two before the event was the "caillachan," when all the older women met at the bride's house loaded with gifts, mostly eatables. I can assure you there was a big shrinkage in the number of poultry after the wedding. Everybody looked on a marriage as a charge on the community. A wife, in those days, was looked upon as a possession. In the realm of education, there being no compulsory system of operation, many of the young people, mainly through poverty of their parents, only got the bare minimum. In 1793 there were only two parochial schools on the west side of the Island. The attendance averaged about 50 in each, which shows that only a small percentage attended those schools. There were in addition, many petty schools serving the outlying districts. In the latter case the schoolmaster got board and lodgings in the homes of his pupils. In the parochial schools the masters were passing rich on £40 a year. This was augmented by fees, the scholars each paying 1/- for reading, 1/6 for writing, 2/6 for arithmetic, 20/-per quarter for navigation and book-keeping, which were luxuries. The schoolmaster generally acted as Sessions Clerk, pay being £6 per annum, with 1/- for every marriage, and 6d for every baptism. The children carried their own fuel, a peat under each arm, not a very nice job on a frosty morning. The buildings used as schools seem to have been in a wretched condition. One of the saddest accidents in the history of Shiskine happened in one of these schools in 1845, not 100 yards from my home. A thaw set in after a sharp frost, the walls suddenly collapsed. The children made a mad rush for the door, when five little girls were crushed and burned to death. The roof was thatch. Among the victims was a Bannatyne, Blackwaterfoot; M'Alister, Millfield; and Henderson, Torbeg. Dominie Currie was settled in Shiskine at the beginning of the last century. He was a well educated person. His grandson is Professor Currie, of the Board of Health. Another grandson was well-known to football fans of an older generation-Donald Sillars, of Queens Park and International fame. After the Disruption the Free Church placed the well-known Dominie Craig at Balmichael. Both those Dominies produced some fine scholars. The young men of those days attended school in winter and worked at various occupations during the summer. The Government seriously tackled education by their 1875 Act, some years later free education became the order of the day, when a good schooling was the birthright of every child, no matter how poor. As regards doctors and surgeons, they were few and far between. In 1713 John Davies was the only one in the Island. The old folks had their own simple remedies. The medicine chest was dried herbs. The practice of bleeding was universal, and was preformed with the utmost regularity in spring and autumn. It was thought to be a preventative against pleurisy. All the dwellers in each township had it done the same day by the same surgeon, each in turn holding out the arm. This was done in the open air. The tenants paid a surgeon's fee along with their rents, amounting to about one penny in the £. When I was a boy the nearest doctor was Brodick. In urgent cases much valuable time was lost in crossing the String on horseback. In not a few instances the first question to the messenger was, "Who is to pay me?"

The care of the poor was the charge of the church, and the aliment given to them was paid out of the poor box. The money was collected at the Church door also by fines imposed on offenders. The sum collected in fines alone from May, 1724, to May, 1725 amounted to £22 16/, other disbursements from the poor box are as follows:--16/- to a poor man to buy a coat, 6/- to Wm. Miller to buy a Latin book for his son. Given to poor strangers £2 14/-. These are but a few specimen entries, but they suffice to exhibit the Session as a sort of earthly providence. In 1793 the number of poor on the Kilmory roll was 40, by 1830 the number had increased to 75. The increase was almost entirely due to the recent evictions, this being the aftermath. Whether this was advance or otherwise it isn't difficult to determine. The Church funds could not cope with this increased drain, begging in some cases was allowed. Shortly after came the Poor Law Act of 1845, which put the care of the poor in other hands. A tax was levied for their support. An entry in the Kilmory records as far back as 1719 shows us that our forbears were not so narrow or insular in their outlook as is sometimes suggested. Take notice of this entry. The minister reports that there has been collected in the Parish for the propagation of the Gospel in the Highlands £24 4/- (Scots), £17 (Scots) for the depressed protestants in Lithuania, and £2 for the Presbytery of Newcastle-first the Highlands, second a Balkan State, and third darker England. This entry gives us a matter for reflection. I have already referred to spinning and weaving. One of the jobs I got when I was a lad was to carry a bag of wool strapped on my back with a plaid four or five miles across the moor to the carding mill at Glenree, on the Slidery Water, to be made into rowans (fluffy things like sausages). I have often gathered crotal off the old stone dykes for dyeing purposes. My mother spun all our stocking thread. The old kitchen used to echo with the hum of the spinning wheel on the long winter evenings. The tailor boarded at the house of those for whom they worked. His price was very modest, making a pair of trousers 1/6. Owing to the introduction of modern methods in spinning and weaving those homely occupations are things of the past. Peat in the old days was the fuel used. Unfortunately the peat mosses are getting exhausted. The use of coal is now general except in a few instances. A writer in the middle of the last century says of Scotland, "In the old days the chief was the father of the clan, and took great interest in the welfare of the people." Now all is changed, the era of commercialism has set in, the highest bidder came and the crofter went. The question asked in the past was, How many men can be mastered on your domain? Now, the question is, How many sheep can it carry? It was once the chief, now it is the landlord. The chiefs spent their time and money in kind hospitality in which the poor and the beggar joined. Now it is spent in the fashionable world, in which only people of quality share. One hundred years ago our forbears were paying more rent per acre than we are at present. How they managed it remains a mystery to me. Almost all of them were in arrears. In 1866, owing to the expensive tastes of the landlord, a further rise in rent took place. Had it not been that the Franco-Prussian War broke out, causing horses and agricultural products to advance in price, quite a number of those poor people would have gone to the wall. In 1885 the Government put on the Statute Book the Crofters Act, setting up a commission of practical men to give the crofters fair rent and security of tenure in the Highlands. Arran, through unsympathetic representation in Parliament, was not included, although 280 tenants in Arran petitioned for it. They saw the immense benefits the brethren in the north enjoyed. Twenty years later the Smallholder' Act was passed embracing all Scotland. At long last the small farmers in Arran realized their hopes, the chief being security of tenure. At long last they could improve without fearing of rise in rent. I have already referred to the state of the roads, or more correctly speaking "bridlepaths." The first modern road was made between Brodick and Lamlash in 1810. In 1817 it was made from Brodick to Blackwaterfoot. They were called Parlimentary roads, one half of the cost was borne by the Government and the other by the landlord. This road must have been a great benefit to the Shiskine people. For the maintenance of the roads the method was statute labour, every tenant and cottar had to give six days work in the year. Fines for breaking estate regulations were levied in work upon the roads. Many bridges were built by the Duke on the same terms (statute labour and fines). Between the Session and the Landlord imposing fines, some of the people had a hard time. Lord Teighnmount in 1836 writes, "The Duke being desirous of preserving game does not encourage strangers." As late as 1874 a Mr Mitchell says of Arran, "The people live in barbarous looking huts, in many cases a but and ben," and goes on to say that the ruling family were responsible for this thing. The small farmers were not allowed to improve their houses. That is quite true, as I can well remember. Common decency could not be preserved under these conditions. I know of a case of where a death and a birth happened in the same house at the same time under these conditions. It is exceedingly difficult to restrain one's language when at the same time the landlord himself had some of the finest mansions in the realm. I have already referred to several industries and sidelines that helped the people to make a living. I now come to the end of the last century when the only two means of livelihood of Arran people was farming and house letting to summer visitors. Another industry that has developed since then is the motor industry. I was very much amused at what was advertised 100 years ago to draw visitors to Arran. The Island had already a standing reputation for goats' milk. A Glasgow journal contains the attractive advertisement, "Good goat milk quarters may be had this season in the Island of Arran." Goats' milk was doing for Arran what mineral waters was doing for other parts (Harrogate). We have travelled far since those days, other attractions have displaced the first with the result that thousands swarm to the Island each summer, resulting in great benefit to themselves, and much profit to the Arran people. A few years ago you had a debate here-"Stands Arran where she did?" By your vote at the end of the meeting you decided that she did not, the implication being that Arran had gone back. One of the statements made was that agriculture was a decadent industry. That one farmer in the past fatted more bullocks than the whole of Arran at the present day. I would like to know where the speaker got his information. For one thing, it was a most serious charge against us who are engaged in the old and honoured occupation of farming. I know, of course, the statement was thoughtlessly uttered. Unfortunately it got into the press and was sent to friends abroad, which made a very bad impression. The statement, of course, was fantastically untrue. The number of bullocks fattened for slaughter in 1935 was 365, 90 percent by the small farmer. A few years ago, 1931 the "Daily Express" offered substantial prizes for the best managed farm in Scotland. Over 700 entered this competition, three entered from Arran. When the results came out two of us were among the first twelve. We were invited to the Grosvenor, where the prizes were awarded. I would just say in this connection to have a care that you do not lower the prestige of Arran by statements such as these. Arran has made more progress since the beginning of this century than in any like time in its long history. No other thing has revolutionised, Arran more than the motor car. Its coming reduced the Island to a much smaller compass. People got to know each other better. When I was a boy quite a number of old people had never been at Whiting Bay. Now it is quite common for young people to congregate at any part of the Island should anything be on. M'Alister, in his address from the chair at the last Arran Re-Union, spoke of the need of games and recreation or young people in the evenings. I am afraid he is about 10 years behind the times. Now the talent of Arran can be pooled and put at the disposal of the respective districts. A Shiskine musical party this winter gave a concert both at Kilmory and Kildonan. Brodick and Lamlash artistes come over to Shiskine and entertain us of an evening. The Women's Rural Institute, that live wire of social enterprise, are continually visiting each other's Institutes, to the mutual benefit of each other. The first motor bus was brought to the Island by the late Colin Currie in 1914. Now we have hundreds of licensed vehicles on the Island. Nowhere has the improvements been more marked than in the roads. Seton Gordon, in the week-end page of the "Glasgow Herald" recently says, "What lovely roads you have in Arran." "How the people of Skye would envy you if they saw them." The houses in Arran have improved beyond recognition; fifty years ago there was not one house with modern conveniences, now there are few without. The standard of living, such as food, clothing, recreations, have risen correspondingly. wish! "Stands Arran where she did?" Certainly not. She has been, and still is going steadily forward to greater developments still. Yet after all, it is in the inner life of a community that its real history is to be found. In the homes, the habits, the labours of the peasantry. What the people believed, and what they practiced. How they farmed and how they traded. How they looked after the poor, and infirm. How they brought up and taught their children. Not in the birth or death of a king, nor in the losing of battles. I will now close with the following:- "Oh Arran, my dear, my native Isle, To whom my warmest wish to heaven be sent; Long may thy hardy sons of rustic toil, Be blest with health, and peace and sweet content. And oh! May Heaven their simple lives prevent From luxury's contagion weak and vile, Then however crowns and cornets be rent, A virtuous populace may rise the while, And stand a wall of fire around our much-beloved Isle-- Arran"

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