wrote in 1697 that the houses were:
of Stone, and a Cement of dry Earth; they have Couples and Ribs
of Woodcover'd with thin earthen Turff, thatch'd over these with
Straw and the Roof secur'd on each side with double Ropes of Straw
or Heath, pois'd at the end with many Stones: their Beds are commonly
made in the Wallof their Houses….to make room for their Cows which
they take in during the Winter and Spring."
watercolour of the village by George Clayton Atkinson in 1831 shows
a cluster of thatched stone houses down towards the shore. This
might supply clues to the location of mediaeval and later settlement.
Village as we see it today was laid out by the minister, the Reverend
Neil Mackenzie, in the 1830s and consists of a crescent of houses
with associated cultivation plots, all within a head dyke. The houses
built in the 1830s were typical Hebridean black houses, single-roomed,
the cattle being accommodated in them in winter. In the 1860s new
houses were built. These were of a standard Hebridean design with
an entrance lobby, small closet behind, and two main rooms.
Click photo for enlargement
The Village in 1886, showing the roofed 1860s houses with the
thatched 1830s houses now used as barns and byres for the cattle.
Down by the shore are the Store, Church and Manse. At the east end
of the village Is the Factor's House. Storage cleitean are scattered
about, both within and without the head dyke. There are a number
of enclosures for garden crops.
Photograph: George Washington Wilson Collection,
University of Aberdeen
Mrs Gillies sitting outside her house
Photograph: The National Trust for Scotland