Tain Museum Image Library

Sutherland Crofters
Tain Museum Image Library
Sutherland Crofters

This picture of a group of Sutherland crofters was taken at the foot of a croft known as Leslie's croft (location unknown), just after they had been released from Dornoch Jail. They had been arrested for resisting eviction orders. The long horns were used by the women to summon the men back to the croft when the Sheriff's men were spotted coming up the glen. They are mainly members of a family called Calder.
Back (L to R) - John Calder, John Matheson, William Calder, Robbie Calder, Walter Chisholm.
Front (L to R) - Neil Calder, Mrs Ross, Massie Mackay, George Munro.
Picture added on 23 February 2004
my grandfather "john leslie" was born at "garbh leathad" above "bonar bridge" in 1884, they were a large family, could this be the "leslie's croft" ???
Added by Martin Leslie on 16 March 2006
I think Neil Calder is my grandfather. The family stories tell of him and his sister being in jail but she is not in this picture. If it is, he came out to Western Australia and farmed in Geraldton.
Added by Gaye Englund on 04 May 2006
I was brought up in garbh-leathad and my mother still runs the croft. If the pic above was taken there it looks like the top of the field that is at the bottom of the croft the dyke is still there.
Added by Morag soszka on 09 November 2010
I have an original copy of this picture in my family papers and think the Calders were cousins. The names were written on the back of the picture by my grandfather . My direct ancestors lived in Rhinamain, Creich, Sutherland at the time of the protest.
Added by Pamela calder on 29 January 2017
Neil, John and William were brothers. Neil was born in 1867 so the date of the photo is incorrect.

According to newspaper reports at the time (ref TBA), the four accused were Neil Calder (my grandfather), Widow Ross, Murdo Ross, her son, and William Calder. They each pleaded not guilty to charges of deforcement, mobbing, rioting and assault. "After evidence had been led, the Sheriff found Neil Calder, Murdo Ross, and Widow Ross guilty of both charges, and sentenced the two young men to six week's imprisonment, and the woman to four weeks. William Calder was sentenced to 21 days imprisonment".

On announcement of my grandfather's release, the newspaper reported that, "Neil Calder and Murdo Ross, the last of the second batch of Airdens 'martyrs' were liberated from Inverness Prison on Saturday forenoon, having undergone 42 days of imprisonment for having obstructed and assaulted a Sheriff officer while attempting to serve charges for payment of arrears of rent at Airdens recently. The arrival of the two men at Bonar Bridge Station by the afternoon mail was made the occasion of the greatest demonstration yet held. A large and enthusiastic crowd of both sexes and all ages marched in procession by Bonar Bridge and escorts the 'martyrs' home to Airdens. The procession, which was headed by a pipe band, marched under numerous banners bearing appropriate mottoes and devices. Effigies of Mr Cameron, trustee on the Airdens estate, and of Sheriff Johnston, were borne in front. From Airdens the procession proceeded to the summit of a conspicuous hill to the north of the township, where huge bonfires were lit, and the effigies consigned to the flames and reduced to ashes amid the hootings and exclamations of the crowd. The fires were visible for many miles".

This information was found under "search.findmypast.co.uk" during a brief period of access a few years ago. Appropriate referencing to the newspapers will be provided when available.

Added by Lisa Clifford on 01 September 2017
My great great grandfather Donald Leslie lived at Garbh-Leathad and was married to a Henrietta Munro during family research I’m told George Munro in the photograph was Henrietta’s brother, would anyone have any further info on the croft George Munro was living on at the time? there was also a sister Jessie Munro. I would grateful for any information thanks.
Added by Mairi Crow on 30 September 2018
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