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The Ross Croft

— the Ross Homestead called Cawdearg,  a Croft —

        A CROFT is the home of Tenant farmer -- usually a very humble dwelling. Cawdearg is located in Kincardine Parish, Ross-shire, Scotland, which is about one hour north of Inverness, Scotland and on the east side of Ross-shire. Crofts on the Hebridian Islands were called Black Houses because they became quite black outside and inside from the smoke..

        Our Croft was added on to in the early 1800s, George MacKay husband of Grace Ross, added the extension to the then single story house. My GGGrandfather, Donald Ross, would climb the ladder to the attic each night to sleep - the only heat was from the fireplace. However the second story is now finished with a couple of bedrooms and a bath. The lower house to the right of the main house was the Weaver's shed. My GGGGrandfather, William Ross, was a Wool Weaver - probably of tartan. He got the green for the tartan from the lichen from the bark of the trees on the property. I am not sure where he got the other colors.

        The smaller lattice work building on the extreme right end is the Happy Hour building where a wee dram is shared each evening. That is a modern day addition. The building on the extreme left is the Bairn -- which contained the only Water Closet during our previous visits.

        The Tenant rents from the Laird . The land the croft sits on is 25 acres in all. The immediate land around where the croft sits is fenced and is usually inhabited by sheep.

        Alastair's father told me that during WW I the U.S. troops were encamped on the hill behind the croft and each day the young girls who lived in the Croft would catch some eels in the Strathcarron River in front of the croft and sell them to the American soldiers for a nickel each.

        Car-Baillie photoAlastair MacIntyre, is the current owner and blood-relative to the original owner, and to my ancestor who came to Canada in 1851. He has put this croft, built orignially in the late 1700s, in excellent shape. It is my pleasure to be in regular Email contact with Alastair and receive pictures like this of Cawdearg and of the other Crofts in the area.

(click photo for enlargement)

— by Earl Ross

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