When the necessities
of the Macleod family compelled sales, Harris, their first
possession, was purchased by a clansman. Since, it has more than
once changed hands, and as the Southern portion, including Rodil,
the ancient place of sepulture, is now in the market, it would be
agreeable to Highlanders of the present Macleod, who has lately
succeeded under favourable conditions, should re-acquire the duchus
of his most ancient house.
In 1805 the then
proprietor of Harris had become pinched, and sold St. Kilda to a
clansman who had worthily maintained the reputation of the clan in
India. This was Colonel Donald Macleod, who had either bought or
succeeded to the small estate of Auchagoyle, in the county of
Argyll, and was intimately associated with and appointed one of his
trustees by Colonel John Baillie, father of the last Baillie of
St. Kilda in 1805 was
tenanted in chief, by William Macneill in Pabbay of Harris, with
numerous sub-tenants. He lived at Pabbay, and was summoned to remove
by Colonel Donald Macleod as at Whitsunday 1805. For some reason
Macneill was unwilling to go and fought the case pertinaciously.
When there was no dispensation, or the fixing of a messuage whereat
to take sasine, formerly it was necessary for the Notary to go to
the grounds. Unless a proprietor were infeft, he could not remove
tenants if they were there prior to his becoming owner. It was quite
recently Colonel Macleod had become owner, and at that early period
of the year it was unlikely a Notary could visit St. Kilda. Even to
this day the Islanders see no stranger for months yearly. The
summons of removal was dated on the 2nd of March 1805 and called in
Court forty days before the term. After decree was extracted the
whole proceedings were opened up anew, when it appeared that Colonel
Macleod had been able to get a Notary to visit the island and take
infeftnient as early as the 19th of March, which infeftment was
registered on the 3rd of April, and then Colonel Macleod's title
was complete. New objections were however proponed, one being that
the Notary, an elderly retired writer, was not certificated, having
ceased practising or not taken out the licence without which,
involving an annual payment, it was argued the Notary was
exauctorate and disqualified to act. But all the defences were
repelled and decree granted.
son, John, was the distinguished East Indian official, afterwards
Sir John Macpherson Macleod, who did a great deal for the comfort
and better housing of the Islanders. By request of the late Norman
Macleod of Macleod, Sir John agreed to re-convey the island, and it
now and for some years past, is the property of Macleod.
Sir John also
purchased the one half of Glendale in Skye, which has turned out an
unpleasant investment for his representatives.
The description of St
Kilda from the older titles ran— "the 2 lands of Hargiebost, and
island of St. Kilda," afterwards—"the Island of St. Kilda, being
part of the estate of Harris and the small islands, contiguous
thereto, viz., Borera, Soa and Duvin, with the insulated rocks
adjacent, all lying within the Parish of Kilbride, now Harris, and
shire of Inverness." The name of St. Kilda in Gaelic is Hirst," or "
While all must wish
the interesting Islanders well, the future outlook, particularly as
regards fuel, must shortly be regarded as serious to all concerned.