The Lost Houses

Records suggest that in the early 1700s there ware no less than forty cottages and houses in the area. Certainly by 1886 William MacDonald refers to the ruins of twenty five houses in Breakachy. We have found the names of some and we know the local of a few such as Yellowbrook and Milcroft but many are a mystery. We are listing some of the names here and maybe, with help, we will be able to put them on a map. Those days were of great poverty in Scotland which explains why many left to try their luck ‘oer the water. The Chisolms of Erchless were not good landlords and many that were at Breakachy had been moved from the main estate to make room for Sheep then Deer.

Mary Chisholm, a daughter of the Chisholm, campaigned against the clearances, but to no avail. In 1801, William Chisholm, the twenty-fourth chief of the clan, burned his family’s supporters out of their homes in order to clear the way for Cheviot sheep. Nearly 50 percent of the clan tenants were evicted. The emigrant ship Sarah, which sailed from Fort William to Pictou in Nova Scotia, was crammed with 700 of them in its hold (of whom some fifty died of smallpox on the voyage). The Dove and Nova, which sailed to Nova Scotia in the same year, contained more tenant emigrants.

After William’s death, his wife and son continued with the evictions. Between 1801 and 1809, over 5,600 Strathglass clansmen were evicted or emigrated. It was said that only one tenant on the Chisholm lands was left. On her father’s death, Mary Chisholm inherited some townships which for the next 33 years were protected from the excesses others endured. Maybe Breakachy had been one such township. The History of the Chisholms





Small house by The Big Drain

Small cottage at The Garabel

Small cottage at the boundary twixt Cruinassie and Culour 

Heights above Ardachy(ardochy)

Mul-na-geape (over the other side of the river?)

The Lhea-da-ghrur






3 thoughts on “The Lost Houses

  1. Hi there,My great grandfather (Allan) was born at Breakachy, and my great great grandparents lived and died there (John Chisholm, Abigail Forbes). This was all in the era before William McDonald, Abigail dying in 1869. The census cites Leatagrewer as the location, an anglicised version of Llea da Ghrur. Would you have indication as to the location of the Lleadagruhr? I certainly would be intersted in the 1873 map if you can send it?. Other items of historical interst which you might consider.. the Erchless pendant found in Breakachy, quite likely around Dunmore.
    Also, harvest time back in th 1700’s claimed the life of a Chisholm chief, probably AlexXVII, references I think may be found in master frasers Wardlaw manuscript

  2. Hi Robert,

    I’m so excited to find your post (albeit some years after posting!)

    I’m a descendant of John and Abigail Chisholm too, although through their son Roderick (my great-great-great-great Grandfather).

    I’d love to share any info you’ve got on either John Chisholme and/or Abigail Forbes, as I’m struggling to go much beyond their lineage with any confidence.

    Looking forward to hearing from you,

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