Comann Eachdraichd Uig

Finds in 1915

A letter to the Gazette on 15 October 1917, by “DJM”, Donald J Macleod, Inspector of Schools (not DJ Maciver as previously indicated.)

‘Neiseach’ [from a previous correspondence] maintains there are no pre-Norse Celtic remains in our island. That is not so, I may be able, in a limited way to illustrate at first hand. In 1915, I was fortunate enough, with the aid of a friend, to recover certain articles of antiquarian interest from a Viking grave at Valtos, Uig. These included two large oval Scandinavian brooches of brass, a connecting chain of the same metal, an amber bead, a fairly large heavy circular bronze ornament with raised centre and surface decorated with incised looped cords characteristically Celtic, a Celtic penannular brooch of bronze, a buckle and belt mounting also of bronze, with what Mr Curle, of the Scottish Museum, to which they were sent for expert examination, termed “double interlaced knotwork typical of the Celtic manuscripts of the best period. Also an iron knife and socket spear-head much corroded. A full description, with figured plates, will be found in the last volume of the Transactions of the Scottish Antiquities Society. It will be noted that all (and only) the bronze articles are indubitably Celtic. Mr Curle places the state of the burial about 850, and the fashioning of the ornaments at a very much earlier date. Of course, if may be suggested that they were the spoils of a Viking raid in Ireland, but the much more probably explanation is that these ornaments were secured from some Lewis source, probably a native family of distinction. In any case they are remains of an early age, found in Lewis, and as Celtic as any ever discovered from Cape Clear to the Butt.

The Origins of the Macaulays of Uig

From Rev William Matheson, Mac Gille Chaluim, in his Families of Lewis series in the Stornoway Gazette:

Most West Highland clans have to go back some seven hundred years to find their eponymous ancestor.  If the Macaulays of Lewis conform to this pattern, we should look for the original Olafr or Aulay about the beginning of the thirteenth century, when the Hebrides were still under Norse domination; and it is a fact, as we know from the Chronicle of Man, that one so called had close connections with Lewis at that time – no less a person than Olaf the Black, who in later years was to become King of Man and the Isles.  It is not therefore surprising that Dr George Mackenzie who was doubtless acquainted with the Chronicle of Man as abridged by Camden, makes Olaf the ancestor of the clan.

It is possible that Olaf the Black left descendants in Lewis, but there is no real evidence on the point.  There was a tradition among the Macaulays in Uig that they were descended from Magnus, King of Norway, while in Lord Macaulay’s [Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1800-1859, historian and politician] family a similar tradition gave the name as “Olaus Magnus, King of Norway”.  The occurrence of the name Magnus may be of significance, for Olaf the Black did, in fact, have a son so called.