Baltasound, Unst, 16 July 1883 - Archibald Smith

ARCHIBALD SMITH, Crofter and Fisherman, Quoay, Westing, Unst (50)—examined.
(See Appendix A, LI.)

19931. Sheriff Nicolson.
—Have you anything to state to the Commission in regard to the condition of the people in your place?
—I pay 36s. a year for the scathold, and the greater part has been taken off from me—that is the only thing I have to complain of.

19932. When was it taken off?
—When Mr Walker became factor, fourteen years back.

19933. And was there any reduction of rent?
—No, there was no reduction of rent.

19934. What rent do you pay?

19935. What animals do you keep?
—Eight cows, three ponies, and eight sheep.

19936. How many merks of land have you?
—I could not say.

19937. Can you not guess?
—No, I could not, because I came on to my father-in-law's land, and I could not say how many merks of land he had.

19938. How many acres?
—I could not give an account of what it is.

19939. What quantity of corn are you able to raise?
—Fifty threaves.

19940. How much is a threave?
—Twenty-four sheaves.

19941. Is it oats you grow?

19942. Do you raise any other grain than oats?
—No; five or six threaves of bere.

19943. And potatoes?
—Some years we have a few, but some years not many.

19944. How many barrels on an average?
—I could not state.

19945. Do you raise as much as keeps your family in potatoes during the year?
—No; I have not had a potato this year at all unless what I need for seed.

19946. Was there disease in your potatoes'?
—They did not grow, and it was bad seed, by the sea coming over it; the place is exposed to the sea.

19947. Is your land exposed to the sea?
—Yes, I am sea-bound.

19948. Do you raise sufficient grain to support your family for any length of time?
—Some years, about six mouths a year, or a little better, and I must buy for the rest of the year.

19949. How many bolls do you buy?
—I have bought five bolls already this last year.

19950. At what price?

19951. Did you keep a larger stock before the scathold was taken from you?
—Yes; my father-in-law had 30 or 40 head of sheep.

19952. Had he more cows'?

19953. How many?
—Two more.

19954. Were they Shetland cows?

19955. Any horses?

19956. Do you find the pasture you have sufficient for the number of animals you have mentioned?
—No; one-half the year they have to go inside in the town, and I pay for them.

19957. Then they are not sufficiently fed there?

19958. Have you to buy any food for them in addition to that?

19959. Are they, as a rule, in a very poor condition in spring?
—Yes, they are in a very poor condition.

19960. Are the cows ever in such poor condition that they don't calve?
—Sometimes they cannot rise off the ground.

19961. What time of the year is that generally the case?
—In the month of May.

19962. Is that general through the island?
—No, not every year, only in bad seasons.

19963. I suppose it is not the case where they have plenty of grass?
—No, it is not.

19964. Sir Kenneth Mackenzie.
—You said you paid 36s. for the scathold land you lost; how do you make that out?
—It was laid upon the land for the grazing.

19965. And when was this 36s. added to the reut?
—Fourteen years ago.

19966. It was made £12 then?

19967. When did you lose the scathold land?
—When it was enclosed.

19968. How long after the rent was made £12 was it that the scathold was taken from you?
—I could not state that.

19969. Had you the scathold two or three years after paying the £12?
—Weil, it was enclosed at the time the property was enclosed, and a good part of the hill taken off and a small piece left.

19970. Professor MacKinnon.
—Was it during the time of Mr Walker's factorship that the rent was raised and the scathold taken away?

19971. How many years was he factor upon the estate?
—I don't exactly mind that.

19972. Five or six?

19973. This is on Major Cameron's property also?

19974. Mr Fraser-Mackintosh.
—Was this Walker, the factor, a native of the island?

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