Norman Macleod was one of the main characters in my book Faith in a Crisis. Now the house he lived in, which was part of his story, is on the market. The lady who lived there was a friend of my parents and I remember visiting as a child, but the shiver down the spine comes when I think of Norman and Julia descending those stairs, walking through those rooms …. and leaving the house with their ‘young and helpless family’ when they were evicted by the factor in 1843.
Extract from Faith in a Crisis (Islands Book Trust, 2012):
Norman, by quitting his church at Trumisgarry, was no longer entitled to his house. He wrote to Lord Macdonald, offering to pay the same rent as any other and observing, ‘I trust your Lordship does not really intend to drive me with my young and helpless family out of my present dwelling house.’ The factor, Seumas Ruadh of Balranald, himself an Established Church elder, replied in these terms:
It is not [his Lordship’s] intention either to grant you a site or to give you any lands …. I am sorry for you and your family, you will be much put about, but you have brought it all on yourself. …. Kind compliments to Mrs McLeod.
Within a few years, of course, many of Norman’s congregation would also have been evicted from their homes and land, with fewer resources to survive and far more drastic consequences.
Seumas Ruadh was the father of Jessie of Balranald, whose story I told here. It was recently fictionalised in the novel The False Men by Mhairead Macleod.
These stories just keep coming back.
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