The Battle of Culrain

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On the 2nd of March, 1820, attempts to serve the tenants of Culrain with notices of removal broke out into violence. Although obviously biased this letter ‘from a correspondent in Tain’ gives us some details of the incident.


“On the 1st instant, 22 of the staff, provided with ball cartridges, and accompanied by the Sheriff-Depute (Macleod of Geanies), his Substitute, a number of country gentlemen, and a posse of special constables, proceeded to the west, and were met at the march between Invercarron and Culrain by at least 200 women, who were collected by the sound of horns placed on different eminences to give the alarm, and ordered the Sheriff's party to return, as they were determined at all hazards, to prevent their going farther; but this being declined, the women let fly several showers of stones, which did some injury.

The skull of one of the staff was nearly fractured, and several others were seriously hurt; the Sheriff-Depute received several stones on the breast. The women rushed on the bayonets, and a few slug-shots being fired, several men (some of them from Sutherland,) made their appearance to support the women, and so desperately determined were they, that it was with difficulty, and at the risk of their lives, the party escaped, closely pursued by the rabble.

Too much praise cannot be given to Geanies for his conduct on this occasion; he headed, the staff, and though his life was in the greatest danger, he could not be got to retire, until he was actually forced from the ground by two of his party; his carriage, and two others, were almost literally dashed to pieces by the mob. I do not hear that any lives were lost. The mob was quite infuriated, and determined, at the risk of their lives, to maintain their post.”

The Inverness Courier reported, on the 30th of March that, 17-year-old Isobel Mathison had died from wounds “she received from the slug shot fired by the Militia, on the 2d March.”