• Viking Farmers and Shepherds in Uig

    by  • 6 August 2008 • History, Placenames, Vikings • 1 Comment

    from Donald John Macleod, Enaclete and Aberdeen

    We look upon the Vikings as seafaring rovers who spent their lives raiding and plundering. However, it is evident from place names that some Vikings settled in Uig where they cultivated the land and tended their sheep and cattle. The following Uig placenames are of interest in this respect.

    Ardfenish (ON prob Fe-nes) – sheep promontory
    Bastair (bolstadhar) – where cows and people live
    Cro (kro) – a small sheep pen
    Dirass Beinn (dyr-ass) – deer ridge
    Cruim a Mhiasaoid (mjo-seta) – a ridge where cattle are herded between two lochs
    Gearraidh/Timsgarry (gerdi) – a walled or fenced piece of land or garth. In Lewis this was often pasture land between the shoreland and the moorland.
    Griosamul (grissa-muli) – the hill brow of the ewes
    Fiavig (fjar-vik) – sheep bay
    Fivikgiaras (fjar-vik-gja) – the cattle grazing ridge of the bay with the rift
    Kirraval (kyr-fjall) – a hill where cows graze in summer
    Laimrig na siorraid (sjovar-rett) – sheep landing place of the sea bay fank
    Leumadair (lembd-aer) – where ewes were put ashore
    Lochan an Lumadal (lombadr) – ewes with lambs
    Loch Beinnsvat (bein-vatn) – bones loch
    Loch Bhuinavat (brynna) – watering cattle loch
    Loch Cro-criosdaig (kro-griss-hag) – a crook of land for pig grazing
    Loch na Fairf (fiovi) – possessions, such as sheep or cattle
    Loch Lomhainn (lodhinn) – ewes with unfleeced lambs
    Mol Chuir (kviar) – beach of the fank
    Mol Peitag (beit-hag) – beach of the grazing or heather ridge
    Morsgail (mos-sgali) – moor shieling; Morsgail was used for summer grazing from Viking times.
    Naidaval (nauta-fjall) – cattle hill
    Phutharol (buthar-hol) – both at the hill of the summer grazing
    Rudha Bhugaire (byggar) – headland of the farmer’s house
    Rudha Brataig (brattr-hag) – the point of steep grazing
    Siacanis (sja-kaf-nes) – point where the cattle were led to the sea to swim to an island
    Traigh Foishader (fjori-setr) – shieling above the ebbing sands
    -bost, -shader and -sta (bolstad, setra, sta) – all signify a dwelling, farm or steading

    One Response to Viking Farmers and Shepherds in Uig

    1. 7 August 2008 at 11:51 am

      That is interesting to read. Do you know anything about the genealogy of the branch of the Macleods called the Macleods of Pabbay and Uig ?? My wife descends from :
      Iain (John) Ruaidh Mor Macleod, born 1729, of Scaladale Mhor and Stromos , came to Lochs ca.1760 , was tenant of Loch , Seaforthside in the Pairc district and half of the island of Seaforth. He was one of the chief witnesses in the famous boundary case between Harris and Lewis Estates. He is said to have been Tacksman at several places in Southern Park, such as Stromas, Seaforth and Scalladale where it is said that he was 12 years as Tacksman before coming to Kershader, presumably when Scalladale was cleared and absorbed into the Park Sheep Farm . It is mentioned that in 1766 Seaforth was let to him for £20, increased in 1780 to £31 with the addition of Bagh Reumsabhagh , Scealadal , half of Eilean Siophoirt Briginal and Sromois. Scealadal was part of Colin Crichton’s tack of Cromore until 1780 when it was let to “John Macleod of Seaforth”. Bill Lawson mentions in Vol. 14 that this John Macleod came from Mealista in Uig .(Bill Lawson , Vol.14). He died after 1790 , having married Christina (Christy) MacKay from Linshader ,Uig , daughter of Donald [ Domhnall Ban] Mackay, tenant of Linshader , and N.N. ( Source : Rev. William Matheson in his address about The Macleods of Lewis, page 334 ; Pairc Hist. Soc. )
      Thanks and regards,
      Gerard Lemmens

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