Dalmore Daytime

Dalmore Daytime
Sandy Beach

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Dalmore. A Very Old Place.

Dalmore(and its little sister Dalbeg)has been a particularly desirable place to occupy throughout hundreds of years.Two of the most prominent owners of Lewis were the Macleods(for hundreds of years until 1610),and the Mackenzies(1610-1844),also known as the Earls of Seaforth,after their elevation to the British peerage.Through financial necessity,Stewart Mackenzie sold the island to Sir James Mathieson for £190,000(population of Lewis 17,037 in 1841).Mathieson of Jardine-Mathieson Hong Kong fame made his fortune selling opium to the Chinese.Later Lord Leverhume tried his hand at modernising Lewis.The feudal superiors would rent out large areas of the island to favoured clansmen,or indeed anyone willing to pay the rents of these "tacks",as these land parcels were called.Those who rented these areas were referred to as "tacksmen"(not to be confused with the Revenue men).Here are some early references to Dalmore.
1615. The Macleods around the Carloway area are descended from Tormod Uigeach(an illegitimate son).Tormod(Norman)held the"farm at Dalmore".He was given the Dalmore tack by Rory Mor,his father.Murdo,another bastard son of Rory,by the sister of Uisdean(Hugh)the Brieve was given the tack of Shawbost.It has to be said that these two bastards did all right for themselves.
1780. Murdo Macdonald held the Dalmore/Dalbeg tack from the Seaforths for a rent of £23.13.o(ie sterling,£/s/d)
1766. John Maciver held the tack of Dalmore(rent £9.10.0)
!823. "Dalmore - A list of people who cannot come to work at the kelp gathering". Norman Macdonald,Widow of Angus Macdonald,Widow of Donald Macleod,John Macleod.After this last name was written"make him pay his arrears".
Kelp - large brown seaweed,mainly wracks,of which there was and still is an abundance around the shores of Lewis.When the demand for wool declined after the Napoleonic Wars,the landowners turned to kelp which commanded high prices.The kelp was burned and from this soda and iodine were extracted.At this time the ordinary tenants gathered kelp to put towards the rents owed to the tacksman.
Dalmore would have been continuously occupied as a particularly desirable place for growing crops or for rich pasture land. 4500 years ago, a highly developed people must have found the place to their liking to stay there.These were the same people who helped erect the giant megaliths at Calanais.They worshipped at Calanais,but stayed at Dalmore.I'll explain the Dalmore/Calanais connection in a later blog.

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