Alisdair FraserThese  items came to light recently following the death of Alasdair Fraser  from Bishopton in December 2015.  Alasdair father Alexander was a Stratherrick man, born in Muirnich one of eleven of the family of Ewen Fraser, who took over  created South Muirnich farm from the township that existed there in 1861. Alasdair who came up every year to Stratherrick for a week in early summer, to visit relations and friends he had made over the years, had a great interest in Stratherrick local history along with his own family connections with the area.

Among the papers were the terms of the general lease conditions for the Estate of Foyers and Gorthleck which Muirnich was in.  The conditions  make interesting reading, leaving in no doubt the penalties  for not adhering to them as they were weighted heavily in the proprietors favour .  Also included here is the  lease for Muirnich which Ewen Fraser took over in 1861 .








1.—All Assignees, whether legal or voluntary, and Sub-Tenants, are excluded, heirs portioners are also excluded. The eldest daughter having right to succeed without division : but Tenants having children shall have power to appoint any one of them, whether son or daughter, to succeed to them in their leases. The Tenants must reside personally with their Families on their Farms, and always have a sufficient Stocking thereon.

2.—The Lands shall be cultivated and managed under a five-course shift or rotation of cropping, and for that purpose the Tenants shall be bound to lay out their farms, where they are not so done already, at the sight and to the satisfaction of the Proprietor, or some person to be appointed by him, in five fields or breaks, within three years, at farthest, after the commencement of their Leases, and whether so laid out or not, the Tenantry shall be bound strictly to adhere to the said shift or mode of cropping during the currency of their respective leases, and leave their farms under the same shift at their removal; and if any of the Tenants shall deviate therefrom, they shall be bound to pay Three Pounds Sterling of additional rent for every acre they shall cultivate in a different manner, not only for the year they make such deviation, but during the whole remaining years and crops of the lease, besides being liable for damages for mis-cropping. And, that no misunderstanding may arise as to what is meant by a five-course shift or rotation, it is hereby declared to be as follows, viz. :—The ground broken up from grass shall be cropped the first year with barley or oats; the second year it shall be fallowed, or cropped with a drilled green crop, being first properly and sufficiently cleaned and dunged; the third year it shall be cropped with barley or oats, along with which shall be sown a sufficient quantity of ryegrass and clover seeds; and the fourth and fifth years the lands shall be in grass, and the first year’s grass only shall be cut for hay.

3.—Whatever the terms of entry may be, the terms of removal at the termination of the lease shall be as follows, viz. :—From the gardens and kail-yards, and the break of land for fallow or green crop, on the first of March; from the houses and second year’s grass, and all other pasture land attached to the farm, at Whiitsunday; from the break of land under hay or first year’s grass, at Lammas; and from the lands under grain crops at the separation of the crop of each field from the ground, so that as each field is cleared the incoming Tenant may enter to it, although the crop may not be separated from the other fields.

4.—The Tenants shall be bound to consume with their cattle on their respective farms the whole straw, turnip, and fodder, that shall grow thereon, except the clover-hay and straw of the waygoing crop, and lay on the ground the whole dung that shall be made upon the same, and upon no account to give away or sell any of the fodder, dung, or turnips; and they shall be obliged to leave the whole dung made upon their farms, after the green crop or fallow land of the former year shall have been sown, carefully gathered together, for the use of the Proprietor or incoming Tenant, to whom the same shall belong on payment of the value thereof, as the same shall be ascertained by persons mutually chosen by the parties; declaring that if Tenants shall sell or give away any of the said fodder or dung, they shall be bound to pay to the Proprietor Five Shillings Sterling for every threave of straw, the like sum for every cart-load of dung so sold or given away; and the outgoing Tenants shall farther be bound to give the break of land which falls to be in fallow or green crop the year of their removal, at least one sufficient ploughlng during the preceding autumn.

5.—Every outgoing Tenant shall be bound to allow the Proprietor or incoming Tenant to sow grass seed along with his last crop, and he shall also be bound to harrow and roll in the same way, but without compensation, he giving notice of the time lie would wish this to be done, so as not to injure his crop, to which the other party shall be bound to attend; and the Proprietor or incoming Tenant shall also have full right and liberty to plough the break of land left by the outgoing Tenant for fallow or green crop as often as either shall please, after the first of March, with the view of preparing it for green crop. It is declared that the Proprietor or incoming Tenant, shall have it in his option to take or hold the outgoing Tenant’s waygoing grain crop at the fiars prices of  that crop the quantity to be ascertained on the ground by the appraisement of arbiters mutually chosen betwixt the 25th day of July and the middle of August, or earlier if the crop is ready for reaping; or, if the arbiters cannot agree as to quantity, the same shall be ascertained by an oversman to be named by them, but if the Proprietor or incoming Tenant shall fail to declare his option in writing as to taking the grain crop at valuation, as aforesaid, on or before the first of July, the outgoing Tenant shall, in that case. be entitled to dispose of it in such way as he may think fit. It is also declared, that the Proprietor or incoming Tenant shall be bound to pay to the out going Tenant for the break of land left by him for fallow or green crop, such rent per acre as is paid by him for the rest of the farm in cultivation, as also to pay for ploughing the same the autumn preceding his removal; and the Proprietor or incoming Tenant shall also he entitled to take from the outgoing Tenant, at valuation, as aforesaid, the whole• of’ the break of first year’s grass on the farm, provided he shall declare his intention in writing so to do on or before the first day in June in the year of the Tenant’s removal; but failing thereof, the outgoing Tenant shall be entitled to cut the grass (but not the aftermath) for hay, or otherwise dispose of it as he may think proper; and the incoming Tenant shall have possession of the field immediately after the hay crop is cut and removed, which the outgoing Tenant shall be bound so to cut and remove before the 1st of August.

6—lt is further hereby declare3, that the whole houses and dykes belong to the Proprietor, and that they shall be held tenantable and sufficient., unless the contrary shall be specially provided in the leases or missives of, particular’ farms, and that they are to be valued over to the Tenants at the commencement of their leases, and that as the Tenants are to pay no meliorations at entry, they shall be bound to keep the houses, dykes, and hedges on their respective farms in good repair during the currency of their tacks, and to leave them in that condition, and of undiminished value, at their removal; or, if deteriorated, to pay for the deterioration; and in case the Tenants shall allow the houses, dykes, or hedges to fall into disrepair during the currency of their tacks, the Proprietor, or those acting for him, shall he entitled to put the same in sufficient repair at their expense; and all march dykes, hedges. and ditches shall be kept. in repair at the joint expense of the Tenants whose farms they divide. The Tenants of the arable farms in the intermediate neighbourhood of any of the plantations on the Estate, the Fences of which are sufficient against cattle, must, if they keep sheep, put the fences in such a state as to prevent the sheep from getting into the plantations and the Landlord is to insure the houses on the respective farms against fire for such sum as he thinks proper; and the Tenants thereof shall be bound to pay one-half the premiums and duty of insurance annually when they pay their Whitsunday half-year’s rent. The Tenants shall on no account be allowed, at the expiry of their leases, or their removal, to injure, destroy, or carry away any part of the houses on their respective farms, on the ground or pretence of such houses having been erected at their own expense, and of their not getting value for the same, or otherwise.

7.—In case it shall be found necessary, or judged proper, to make any alteration on Farms by dividing Commonties, straightening marches, or excambing lands with neighbouring Proprietors or Tenants, the Proprietor shall have power to do so, and the Tenants shall be bound to concur and acquiesce therein, and the variation thereby occasioned in the rents, whether increase or diminution, shall be determined by men mutually chosen by them and the Proprietor, or those acting for him at the time.

8.—The Tenants shall be bound to pay one penny per pound sterling of their rents for statutory road assessment, and the like sum for schoolmaster’s salary, along with their rents, and also to pay all other public and parochial burdens chargeable against the Tenants; and each Tenant shall also at any time when required, with the exception of seed time and harvest, give two days once in the year of all his men-servants, horses, and carts, and other necessary implements, to assist in straightening, cleaning, or repairing the channels of any streams or rivulets on the Estate, and in erecting embankments or bulwarks thereon to prevent damage to the adjoining lands by flood; or, in the option of the Proprietor, in making or repairing such commutation or other roads in their respective neighbourhoods as the ground officer shall point out, and that at any time when required, and under the direction of any person whom the Proprietor, or those acting for him, may appoint; declaring that if any of them fail to attend on the day appointed, or to send others in their place, the Proprietor, or those acting for him, shall he entitled to employ other labourers, with horses and carts, in place of those absenting themselves, for double the time specified, and charge the expense against those who fail to attend, along with their next half—year’s rents.

9—The Tenants shall frequent any mills belonging to the Proprietor to which they may be directed, with all the grain which they may have occasion to grind, and pay the usual mill dues ; but no multures will be exacted, except where the lands are thirled to another Proprietor’s mill, in which case the accustomed miiultmires and mill dues must be paid at such mill, until converted, or otherwise taken off, and then the same shall be paid to the Proprietor of the thirled lands during the lease.

10.—The Tenants shall have liberty of casting, winning, and leading peats for the use of their families and servants residing on their farms, from such moss or mosses, or part thereof, as the Proprietor, or his Factor or Moss Grieve, shall set apart for them from time to time, and with such allotments they shall be obliged to rest satisfied, whatever the former practice or usage may have been ; they shall also be obliged to cast and take home their peats at such period as may be required of them, so as not to disturb the game ; and also to cast them in a regular manner on the allotments So set apart for them, carrying the banks regularly forward without potting, and laying the turf taken off the surface regularly down in the bottom of the peat-hag, with the sward upwards; and to keep their peat-bags free of water, by cutting ditches or channels where necessary, to allow the water run off. Any Tenant who shall sell or gift peats shall be excluded from the moss.

11.—The Proprietor, or those acting for him at the time, shall further have power to divide commonties and make such further arrangements as to any hill or muir ground belonging or attached to the different farms on the Estate, as he or they shall think fit or consider for the advantage of the Estate ; and he or they shall also be entitled to plant any part of such hill or muir ground, or let the same to Tenants for cultivation or tillage, on allowing the Tenants from whose farms such grounds shall be taken such compensation or deduction of rent as shall be fixed by men mutually chosen; but the Proprietor, or those to whom he may let the same, shall be obliged to enclose the ground so taken off for planting or cultivation, to prevent any annoyance to the bestial of the Tenants having right to the adjoining pasture. The Proprietor also reserves power of taking off any portion of the arable ground for the purpose of planting, on payment of the value of such ground to the Tenant as may be fixed by arbitration.

12.—The Tenants are prohibited from cutting up any of the surface of the ground for compost, feal, turf, or divot, except on such parts of their farms as shall be set apart for that purpose by the Proprietor, or those acting for him at the time; and the Tenants of the grazing farms are strictly prohibited from burning heather on their farms, without the permission of the Proprietor, or those acting for him. and if any of them contravene this condition, they shall pay Ten Shillings Sterling per acre of additional rent for every acre they shall so burn, along with the first year’s rent falling due after the discovery thereof; and they are also prohibited from keeping public—houses, or selling beer or spirituous liquors, either with or without a license, without the special written consent of the Proprietor so to do, and which consent, when given, he shall, at any time, be entitled to recall without assigning a reason for so doing.

I 3.—The Proprietor reserves to himself the whole game of every kind on his Estate, and the fish in the lochs, rivers, and burns upon and bounding his property, with right of access thereto, with power and liberty to himself, and others having his leave and permission, to hunt, shoot, fish, and sport thereon at all times and seasons, but so as not to injure the Tenant’s growing crops; and he further reserves all mines and minerals, coals, quarries of stone, limestone, marl, fossils, and wood, of every description within the bounds of his Estate, with liberty to work the same at pleasure, and for that purpose to sink pits, build houses, make roads, and erect, other necessary works on the lands,  the Tenants being always  entitled to such surface damage and abatement of rent on that account as may be determined by men mutually chosen by the parties. The proprietor also reserves power to shut. up or alter roads, or make new roads through any part of the lands, either for the general intercourse of the country or the accommodation of particular farms on the Estate; and to plant hedges and trees in hedgerows or sub-divisions, on the different farms, without making any allowance to the Tenants, and which planting the Tenants shall be bound to preserve, but declaring that, in ascertaining surface damage to be allowed for roads made, the advantages that may accrue therefrom to the Tenants shall be considered.

14.—In the event of any Tenant becoming bankrupt, or divesting himself of his effects, or not having his farm fully stocked with cattle, implements, and effects, bona fide his own property, the tack of such Tenant shall, in the option of the Proprietor, become null and void, and be forfeited, and the Proprietor shall be entitled to apply to the Judge Ordinary of the bounds by summary process of removal, for the immediate removal of such Tenant.



Page One

It is Contracted, Agreed and Ended between the parties following videlicet  Fountaine Walker Esquire of Foyers and Gorthleck heritable proprietor of the lands and others aforementioned of the first part and Ewen Fraser residing at Muirinich of the second part as tenant in manner underwritten That is to say the said parties considering that by a missive of lease dated the fourth day of March eighteen hundred and sixty one the said first party set to the said second party the lands and subjects after mentioned and that upon the terms and conditions and under the obligations underwritten and that it is now reasonable that the said set should be constituted by this formal Lease Therefore the said Fountaine Walker has set and in consideration of the Tack duty and other conditions and obligations aftermentioned hereby sets and in tack and assedation lets to the said Ewen Fraser and to any one of the said Ewen Frasers children whom he may nominate to succeed him on his death in the lease hereby constituted by any holograph or duly tested writing executed by him and failing such writing and nomination then to the said Ewen Frasers heir but expressly secluding assignees voluntary or legal subtenants and heiress portioners the eldest daughter having right to succeed without division All and Whole those parts of the lands of Muirinich and part of the Estate of Foyers lying in the United parish of Boleskine and Abertarff and formerly of Inverness which are presently occupied by the said Ewen Fraser and marked and delineated as numbers three and four on a plan of said lands of Muirinich executed by George Grant Mackay Land Surveyor in Inverness containing twenty eight acres or thereby of arable land and thirty nine acres or thereby of improveable pasture and which plan or a copy thereof was signed by the said Ewen Fraser of the date of the said Missive of Lease as relative thereto  But reserving and Excluding from this set the dwelling house and shop situated on the said lands of Muirinich occupied by William Mackay with one quarter of an acre of land or thereby attached thereto and that for the space of nineteen years from and after the entry of the said tenant to the premises which notwithstanding the date hereof is hereby declared to have been at the term of Whitsunday Eighteen hundred and sixty one as to the houses and at the other terms or periods of the said year specified in the General Articles Conditions and regulations herein after referred to as to the other parts of the said lands and from thenceforth to be peaceably occupied and possessed by the said Ewen Fraser and his foresaids during the whole foresaid space.  In the peaceable possession of which subjects the said Fountaine Walker Binds and obliges himself and his heirs and successors to maintain and defend

Page Second

said Ewen Fraser and his foresaids during the currency of this Tack at all hands and against all deadly (?) as law will  For which causes and on the other part the said Tenant hereby binds and obliges himself and his heirs Executors and Successors whomsoever to make payment to the said Fountaine Walker and his heirs Executors and Successors or to his or their factors or Commissioners of the yearly rent of Thirty eight pounds sterling which rents shall be payable forehand at the terms of Martinmas and Whitsunday half yearly in equal moieties commencing the first terms payment at Whitsunday thereafter for crop and year Eighteen hundred and sixty two and so on thereafter during the currency of the lease with Interest of the said rent at Five pounds per centum per annum from the time the same becomes due until paid:  And whereas the said Fountaine Walker upon the first day of July Eighteen hundred and sixty one executed Certain articles Conditions and Regulations to be observed by the Tenants of the Farms Crofts and possessions of his Estates of Foyers and Gorthleck and caused the same to be registered in the                                                            upon the      ((gaps left in original document))                                    which Articles Conditions and Regulations the said Tenant bound himself to observe by the said Missive of lease of the foresaid lands  Therefore he the said Ewen Fraser obliges himself and his foresaids to adhere to, abide by and faithfully fulfil  the whole said Articles Conditions and Regulations in all the parts and conditions thereof in so far as applicable to the lands hereby leased to him and that in the like manner as if they were herein verbatim inserted and a printed copy of the said Articles Conditions and Regulations is now docqueted and subserved by the said Ewen Fraser with reference hereto  And further the said second party Binds and obliges himself and his foresaids to keep clear all open drains and outfalls of covered drains on the lands hereby let by clearing out the same every autumn and also to maintain in repair the embankments of any rivers or burns that may pass through the said lands by executing timeously all ordinary repairs thereon and failing his doing so the Landlord shall be entitled from time to time to cause what is necessary to be done on said drains and embankments at the expence  of the tenant which expense the tenant shall be bound to pay on demand it being hereby agreed that an account there of certified by the Factor on the Estate for the time shall be full and indisputable evidence of the said expense and the amount thereof  And for the said Ewen Fraser binds and obliges himself to bring into Cultivation all the improveable lands on the subjects hereby let as the same is delineated in red Colour on said plan and that by trenching and thorough draining the same according to a plan to be furnished by the proprietor either with stones or tiles and to apply to the lands not less than Twenty bolls of Lime Shell per acre a receipt for the payment of which lime must be produced to the

Page Third

Said subjects until the whole is finished and under cultivation And further the sais Ewen Fraser Binds and Obliged himself to remove clear and carry away all such stones as are not required for the erection of stone dykes as after   Mentioned in such place or places as may from time to time  be pointed out to him by the factor and in like manner to remove clear and carry away all the old dykes and Cairns of Stones in and around the land now in Cultivation and also all the houses and other buildings now on the lands hereby let and from which the Cotters or Occupants are to be removed,  the  said Ewen Fraser being Bound to improve and Cultivate the lands upon which the houses are now situated as  also the land to be cleared of the old dykes agreed to be removed by him as above provided  And in the event that the said Fountain Walker shall resolve to build or erect Dykes or fences for the purpose of enclosing the lands hereby let to the said Ewen Fraser hereby binds and obliges himself to provide carry and lay down at or near the foundation of such lines of fences as may be pointed out to him all the stones and materials required in erecting the same free of charge and that at such time or times as may be required by the proprietor to collect provide or carry the same  And the said  Fountain Walker agrees hereby to erect for the said Ewen Fraser on the lands hereby let a dwelling house cost or expense of which the is not to exceed one hundred pounds Sterling.   the said Ewen Fraser agrees to perform at his own expense all the carriage of materials required in the erection of the said dwelling house   And the said  Ewen Fraser Binds and obliges himself and his foresaids to build on the said farm in a convenient and suitable position and at his own charge and expense a suitable range of office houses the plan of which must first be approved by the proprietor and that within four years from the said term of Entry   And the said Fountain Walker agrees to give the Timber and Slates which may be necessary for erecting and roofing the same . The said Ewen Fraser hereby agrees to perform the carriage of the said materials in  manner foresaid at his own charge  And the Proprietor reserves the right of way by the present district road leving through the lands until arrangements can be made to have a new access to Glenlia And the said Ewen Fraser hereby obliges himself  and his foresaids to permit  and allow such of the tenants now residing in Muirnich as the said Fountain Walker may desire to remain there for six months from Whitsunday  Eighteen hundred and sixty two with free access to and egress from their possessions for the said

Page Fourth

Tenants and their stock and the said tenant by his acceptance hereof renounces and abandons any claim he may have for meliorations  against the said Fountain Walker And the said parties consent to Registration hereof for preservation  and Execution In witness whereof these present consisting of this and the third preceding pages all written on stamped paper by David Fraser clerk to Charles Fraser Macintosh Solicitor in  Inverness are subscribed by the said parties as follows  visit  by the said Ewen Fraser at Inverness upon the Eighteenth day of December in the year Eighteen hundred and sixty two before these witnesses  the sais David Fraser  and John Fraser also clerk to the said Charles Fraser Macintosh and by the said Fountain Walker at Inverness upon the twenty second day of the said month and year last above mentioned before these said witnesses the said Charles Fraser Macintosh and David Fraser

Fountain Walker

Ewen Fraser


C Fraser Macintosh     Witness

David Fraser    Witness

John David Fraser    Witness

David Fraser    Witness


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.