Balmacara, 2 August 1883 - Duncan Macrae

DUNCAN MACRAE, Cottar and Contractor, Upper Ardelve (67) —examined.

31128. The Chairman.
—Have you any written statement to make?
—Statement by three Cottars residing in Upper Ardelve. The land which our forefather's had was taken from them, and was added to the crofts of the other crofters to make their holdings larger. This happened about thirty years ago, and we could not get any land since except small bits (for potatoes) which some of the crofters are pleased to give. We wish to have as much land as would keep us comfortable, a few acres, and pasture for two cows.
—DUNCAN MACRAE, delegate.

31129. There are three cottars in your place ?

31130. What township are they living in?

31131. How did they get there?
—I was born in Kirkton, and was only a year old when I was taken to Ardelve.

31132. How did your father get right to settle in Ardelve?
—Lots were made in Ardelve, and my father got a share there.

31133. How did he come to lose his lot ?
—When lots were enlarged, so many were deprived of those they had.

31134. Do the other two families belong to the place, or did they come in from the outside ?
—One of them had land at one time, and was deprived of it when the crofts were enlarged. The other one had no land himself, but his mother-in-law had.

31135. How do they gain their living now?
—One by working and the other by fishing.

31136. Do you gain your living, by work or fishing?
—I am a road contractor myself and my brother.

31137. Do you make good wages?

31138. Have you not made a pretty good living ?
—No; we have not a good living. I have been accustomed to work hard for forty-eight years, first on railways, and since at every hard shovel and spade work.

31139. Did you get good wages when you were young?
—I was getting the best pay going.

31140. Were you able to make a little saving?
—I married young, and my family was increasing.

31141. Do your sons not assist you now?
—The best one for assisting me died.

31142. How do you expect to get land? The crofters would not like to give up the land to you in the place ?
—There is plenty of land near us.

31143. Where?
—The next farm of Kirkton.

31144. Do you pay any rent for your house ?
—Nothing. I have nothing to say against the proprietor or factor on that account.

31145. And you don't pay rent to the crofters'
—No, because I keep no beast.

31146. Do they make you work a little to them sometimes?
—They are not heavy on me in that way.

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