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Way of Life

In 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 goods.

Finlay McQueen and his daughter working in the fields in 1910
Photograph: Neil Ferguson Collection



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