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Melbost

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 1 month ago

 Melbost

 

Galson Estate Trust

Isle of Lewis

 

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Melbost is bordered to the north by South Galson and to the south by Borve.   

 

 

 

Melbost ( Mel’s farm) ,  Melbost Galson (legal address) and Melbost Borve (postal address), was  known in times way, way back as Mel-Ulsta S’r  (meaning Links farm).   In Gaelic the name is Mealabost, Bhuirgh.

 The village has a chequered history  even from the mid 19th century when it was made to change from a crofting village to being a part of Galson sheep farm and then back again to being a crofting village.  The village has 15 crofts, numbered 1 – 15, with 16 being the first croft number in its neighbouring village of Galson.   It also has 11 other homes not attached to crofts.

 As happened in other parts of the Highlands and Islands, the people were evicted from their homes around the 1850’s.    Some went to Canada and some went to the surrounding villages like Shader where, turning the wheel full circle, a man, who remembered being moved from his family home when he was so young he could only carry a poker, returned to Melbost from Shader along with his family in the 1920’s when he was over 80 years of age.   When Melbost was a farm it included the “Bailemeanach” which is now part of Mid Borve and a rough road connected both villages.    When Galson Farm owned the land it had a shepherd’s house at what is now number 10.  

The village was re-populated after WW1 with families from  surrounding areas   - North and South Dell, Borve and High Borve, Lower Shader, Shawbost and Carloway.   The crofts were allocated, as promised by the Government, to soldiers returning from the war.   A few did not personally want them and gave them over to near relatives who were in need of a croft.    It was only through great struggle that the village was populated again as the farmer in Galson was far from amenable to losing his farm.

As the village of Melbost did not exist in the time of WWI,  a world war only affected it in WW2 when it lost three of it's servicemen - John Campbell No. 13 (Iain Fhionnlaigh), John Morrison No. 6 (Iain Iain Bhig) and Malcolm MacLeod No. 5 (Calum Parry).  three servicemen in a village of this size is quite a large loss, relatively speaking.  Another serviceman (Kenneth MacLeod No. 9) was caught by the Germans and was in a POW camp until after the war was over.

Less than half-a-mile away from the village is the remains of Dùn Bhùirgh, (5 B.C. - 5 A.D). It is built on a high elevation and marauders would be seen approaching from the sea or from all points of the land.   This ancient broch was 30 ft. in inside diameter and  had hollow walls of 11 ft.   In 1781 records show it had fallen into ruin and was just a big heap of large stones.    These stones came from a now unknown source and do not match the stone available locally.    

In the broch’s vicinity there are signs that a run-rig system of cultivation existed pre 18th century.    These were probably cultivated by monks who lived in cells nearby.

At the other end of the village there is the remains of what is known locally as “Cladh Bhrighid” (Brigid’s burial ground) with the ruins of a tiny chapel barely visible among the grass now.   There is also a well  known as “Tobar Bhrighid   (Brigid’s Well).   Martin Martin mentions it in his book as the chapel of “St Brigid in Barove”  and in an OS survey it is noted as “Teampull Bhrighid” (Brigid’s chapel).   St. Brigid was a goddess in ancient Celtic history.

It is not known whether this is the burial place of the bodies of the Norse sailors found in the nearby “Linne Mharbhinn” (pool of the dead) but it is quite possible this is where they were buried.   A Norse king is also reputed as being buried in this ancient burial ground.

 

The bard "Murdo Sheumais" belonged to Melbost and wrote some songs about the village.     Anybody motoring past the village would certainly agree with him when he described the view of the village as "Mealabost gorm an fheoir",  (Melbost of the blue or green grass), in one of his songs, as it is a very scenic village.

Now that here is a loop pathway/coastal track going through Melbost and then through High Borve, the coastal views right up to Uig can be enjoyed, whether in the beautiful days of summer or when the wild waves crash on the shingle beach.

 

 

 

 

Panoramic of the coast at Melbost

Click here for Photo's of the Area 

Click Here for Maps of the Area

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