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Resettlement after the Clearances

As you walk round our museum you will discover much about The Highland Clearances which were, and are, particularly relevant to our area’s history.

In the aftermath of the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion the Government set out to ruthlessly destroy the feudal way of life in the Highlands. Clans were disarmed and forbidden to wear the kilt or tartan, symbols of clan individuality and loyalty. Most significantly, clan chiefs were stripped of their hereditary right to administer justice, almost certainly their most effective weapon of control, and the reins of jurisdiction were taken over by the Crown.

Clansmen no longer compelled to obey him were of little use to a chief but his land, rented for a pittance, was invaluable. The south of Scotland had already lived through its Agrarian Revolution and farmers had discovered the value of sheep. Highland land was particularly suitable for the hardy and profitable Cheviot breed and southern landowners were ready to pay for it. Land had become more profitable than people so the people had to go.

In many areas evictions were carried out with a considerable degree of consideration for tenants; in others, as in Strathnaver, with such ruthless cruelty that local feelings remain angry and bitter to this day.

Museum Displays

For our 2011 displays we have researched these two very similar coastal clearance villages of Poulouriscaig (near Armadale) and Sletell (near Skerray). We have researched their history and people and have amassed a collection of photos. Why not pay us a visit and see it for yourself. Also the villages, though both now deserted, are well worth a visit as they hold a magical atmosphere of serenity and calm.