• Timeline

    Some key dates in the history of Uig and the Isle of Lewis. Further suggestions welcome.

    before 4000BC

    First settlers arrive in small boats and live as hunter-gatherers on the shore.

    c4000 BC

    Neolithic societies:  the first farmers in Lewis erect the ceremonial stone circles at Callanish.

    c2000 BC

    Bronze age societies:  Beaker Folk and a changing society as the weather worsened, sea levels rose, and the individual becomes more important.

    400 BC

    Iron Age people built complex defensive structures:  brochs, wheelhouses and souterrains.

    c563

    Irish monks appear on the Uig coast seeking isolation and build small churches.

    c800

    Viking raiders arrive, settle in and dominate for 450 years.

    c1150

    The Uig Chessmen are made, probably in Norway.

    1266

    The Western Isles are ceded to Scotland.

    c1500

    John Roy Macaulay does battle with the local Macleods.

    1611

    The Macleods era ends and the Seaforth Mackenzies take control, bringing many mainland families to Lewis.  A degree of stability ensues.

    1613

    Neil Macleod, pirate and ally of Domhnall Cam, is captured and executed.

    1645

    At the Battle of Auldearn, 300 Lewismen fight at Seaforth’s behest and all but three are killed.

    1755

    The first Scottish census put the population of Uig at 1312.

    1756-63

    Seven Years War; 140 Lewismen on active service in America.

    1778

    The 78th Regiment of Highlanders is raised, including 200 Lewismen.  Hugh Munro becomes minister at Uig.

    1792

    Old Statistical Account tells of a fairly prosperous community,

    engaged at kelp-making and trading in the Baltic.

    1793

    First Battalion of the 78th is raised:  Saighdearan Mhic Coinnich Bhodhair.  The parish of Uig is advertised for letting as a sheep farm.

    1804

    Second Battalion raised:  Saighdearan Mac a’Mhinisteir.  First Uig clearances as tenants are removed from Kinlochroag, Scaliscro and Cleit a’Thog

    1811

    Lotting of the Island, from runrig to croft, begins.

    1824

    Religious revivals in Uig; Mrs Stewart Mackenzie brings the

    evangelical minister Rev Alexander Macleod to Uig.

    1825-28

    Uig small tenants are deprived of their pastures and wintering islands.

    1826

    Timsgarry cleared to make the Glebe.

    1827-33

    Thousands attend open air services at Baile na Cille

    1829

    The new church at Baile na Cille is built.

    1835

    Strome and Scaliscro are cleared; pier built at Carnish.

    1837

    Villages around Traigh Uig are cleared to create Ardroil and Timsgarry farms; many go to Ness, and some to Canada.

    1838

    Mealista is cleared; many emigrate to the Eastern Townships of Quebec.

    1841

    The Island of Vuia Mhor is cleared; inhabitants move to Geshader, Balallan and Cape Breton.

    1843

    The Disruption, and Rev Macleod leads his congregation to the Free Church, but himself leaves Uig soon afterwards.

    1844

    The Mackenzie dynasty ends in bankruptcy and Lewis is sold to James Matheson.

    1845-7

    Potato crop failure leads to destitution; relief meal is given by the Proprietor, but added to the accounts of the inhabitants, and wages paid on work schemes were reclaimed as rent.

    1846

    The Free Church and Manse at Ceannlangabhat are built.

    1848

    Reef is cleared of 32 families; evictions from Valtos and Kneep.  Some move to Deanston, an experimental crofting township which fails by 1851.

    1851

    The Chamberlain tours the district to settle on who is to emigrate,

    willingly or not.  Hundreds are given assisted passage to Canada on the Barlow and the Marquis of Stafford. Miavaig and Gisla cleared to create small farms.

    1850-60s

    Relative prosperity, from fishing including for lobster, working away (in Glasgow or on the East Coast) and trades.

    1872

    The Education Act makes provision for public schools in all districts; they begin to appear in Uig in 1879.

    1872

    Mangersta cleared, at the request of the inhabitants.

    1874

    The Bernera Riot

    1883

    Problem of landlessness continues and the Napier Commission sets out to investigate and rectify the issues throughout Scotland.

    1884-5

    Valtos crofters appropriate Pabbay for grazing; agitation ensue and the marines are called in; eight men imprisoned.  The following year six Valtos women remove the tacksman’s cattle from Pabbay and are later fined.

    1886

    The Crofter’s Act promises security of tenure and fair rents, but the land is still occupied by large farms and townships become increasingly congested.  The Deer Forest Commission and the Congested Districts Board are established to effect improvements.

    1900

    The Free Church congregation joins the United Free Church.

    1908

    Cottars from overcrowded Brenish meet in the school to demand the break up of Mangersta, Mealista and Hamnaway.

    1911

    Mangersta Farm broken up for crofts.

    1912

    Dewar Commission investigates the state of health care in the Islands, leading to a forerunner of the National Health System.

    1913

    Reef Raiders, frustrated at undelivered promises of land, raid the farm and drive the farmer’s stock away.  They are tried in Edinburgh and jailed but a public outcry ensues and they return home as heroes

    1914

    In August, virtually the entire able-bodied male population of Lewis joins up.  Some three hundred Uigeachs fight in the Great War and 58 are killed.

    1918

    Leverhulme buys the Isle of Lewis; he is opposed to crofting and resists land reform.

    1919

    1 January:  the blackest day in the history of Lewis, as 200 men returning from war are lost within sight of Stornoway as the Iolaire founders.  Ten from Uig are drowned.

    1920

    Raids on Carnish.

    1921

    All the Uig farms are finally broken up for crofts.  Leverhulme’s schemes end throughout Lewis and he offers the island to its inhabitants.

    1924

    Hundreds emigrate to Canada on the Metagama, and to other destinations around this time.

    1929

    United Free Church unites with the Church of Scotland; Free Presbyterian Church created

    1929

    18 June:  An Là TB.  TB Macaulay visits Uig.

    1939-45

    World War Two brought fewer shortages that were experienced in other places, but 15 young men were lost to the community, and the way of life changed forever.

    1950s

    Electricity! and transition from the last of the blackhouses to modern crofthouses.

    1954

    RAF Aird Uig is established.

    1959-61

    Gisla Hydro Scheme is built.

    1964

    RAF Aird Uig is closed.

    1970s

    Roads upgraded; Uig School opens to replace the smaller district schools.  Some diversification of the economy, but population decline continues.

    1993

    Gaelic-medium education is re-introduced.

    1998

    Community buyout puts the Valtos peninsula in the hands of the crofters.  Community Centre is built in Timsgarry.

    2003

    Community Shop is established.

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