historic times, a small population - about 180 in 1697 - rented the
land from a distant landlord, latterly the Macleods of Dunvegan in
Skye. They lived in a small settlement in Village Bay with seasonal
dwellings (summer shielings) in Gleann Bay.
The landlord rented land to the islanders through a factor who collected
the rents on his annual visit to St Kilda. He was represented by a
Ground Officer, a St Kildan, who dealt with the islanders on a day-to-day
basis. Until the late 19-th century, rents were mainly paid in kind.
The factor sold the produce, and supplied the islanders with imported