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Story about Captain Scott on Isle of Barra and Mingulay, 1867

Identifier: Coll-97/CW114/72

Scope and Contents

Story about Captain [Caroline] Scott probably collected from Roderick MacNeil, aged 88, crofter, Miùghlaigh/Mingulay. Described as 'notorious', the story states how Scott and his soldiers who carried themselves 'most ferociously' hanged a big, strong man named Iain mac Fhearchair ic Mhurachaidh ic Neill with out a trial or a judge. The story tells how the soldiers 'amused them[selves] by flaying the cattle of the people alive and allowing them to run mad about the island.' One man wisely advised others not to touch Iain mac Fhearchair's body in case of reprisals. After the event, the Mingulay people lived in fear of Scott's return once even hiding when a vessel anchored in the bay and the informant quotes a prayer said by an old woman who was unable to keep up with the rest of the people as they fled noting the Mingulay people beat their breasts while they pray. Six hundred soldiers were said to have raided Barraigh/Isleof Barra and Mingulay 'destroy[ing] and tear[ing down] anything. Not a cow nor a sheep not even a hen did they leave All was des[troyed] as if the wing of ravage had swept over these peac[e]ful isles'. He states that some people still 'flee on the ap[proach] of a strange sail' citing an example three or four years previously [c1863] when people on Beàrnaraigh/Berneray had 'fled to the hills with their blank[ets]' except for a man called Duncan Sinclair from Appin [An Apainn], who lived at Githearam [Geàrum Mòr] for a year. He describes features on Geàrum Mòr and how it was also known as Eilean nan Each and that 'At one time only two spots of rock in Bear[neray] were visible. The island was covered with peat to the dep[th] of sev[eral] feet. There is not an inch now. The people bring their peats from Mi[ng]uay.' The informant concludes the story stating that 'The people of Mingulay left their houses early in the Sum[mer] and went to Susabeist then to Greotais.' [possibly Rubha Greòtach]


  • Creation: 1867

Language of Materials

Gaelic English

Conditions Governing Access

This material is unrestricted.


From the Series: 88 folios ; 16.6 x 19.8 cm