Kirkwall, Orkney, 23 July 1883 - Alexander Wilson

ALEXANDER WILSON, West Puldrite, Rendall (40)—examined.
See Appendix A, LV.

25104. The Chairman.
—You have a personal grievance to state?

25105. Will you make your statement?
—I was born and brought up in the Linehouse in the parish of Walls, and I was there only two years
when my house was set to another person and I was turned out after I had put about £200 of improvements on a piece of common on the ground. I asked the laird for compensation, but got no answer.

25106. Mr Fraser-Mackintosh:
—Who was the laird?
—Mr Heddle. I had to leave there and there was nothing done, and I came away to Rendall and got a small place there, and I am staying there now.

25107. Is that the grievance you had?

25108. Had you any lease or any promise that you would get value for your buddings?
—None. Of course I had a promise from the factor but he was not long there; he was turned out too. I put up a new house and the laird was to spend the one-half and I the other. Of course he charged me interest for his one-half, and I paid the other. He charged five per cent, and he turned me out after I put £30 on the house.

25109. How many years were you paying rent?
—I am not rightly sure. First when I commenced to work on the croft I made my living by fishing, and when I was not fishing I worked on land, and as soon as I got a cow's keep there was thirty shillings put upon me. I went to the factor about it and he said he would put no more rent on in his time; but his time, poor man, was not long. The old house was not worth this, and I went to the laird and he consented to do one-half in erecting a new house. I had to go to work as a cottar for little or no wages or to bind myself down as a slave, or else walk.

25110. What was the amount of the last rent you paid?
—About fifty shillings.

25111. Do you know what the person who got your place is paying?
—I don't know. It was a widow woman who was put into it, with a lot of small children, and of course she was supported off the board.

25112. Has she got the croft you had?
—-She was not long in it; she died a year after.

25113. What is the present occupant paying?
—It is the orphans who are in it just now. I don't know what they pay. I think about fifteen crofts were made into a big farm, and I think my rent was to be £ 1 , and I was to get a shilling a day for working.

25114. What was the name of the place upon Mr Heddle's estate?

25115. The Chairman.
—I understand you to say you expended some money on improvements of the ground?
—Of course I did.

25116. How much money?
—I think about £200. I think the property is valued at £175, and I took it in from the hill when it was worth nothing.

25117. When you say you expended £175, do you include the value of your own labour?

25118. It is a calculation of the day's labour you put upon it?

25119. How much do you think you expended in money?
—I was always expending; but what I did was value for that money I think.

25120. Did you build the house?

25121. What money did you spend in wages or in purchases?
—The house cost me £50 and I got £20 from the laird. The house was erected at a cost of £30 to me.

25122. You actually paid out £ 30 in money?

25123. For the purchase of what?
—For the building of the houses.

25124. The purchase of windows and doors and so on?

25125. What did the proprietor do? did he pay for the roof?
—He paid for the roof and slate and putting it on.

25126. And you paid for the walls?
—Yes and the other work.

25127. And when you left you got no compensation?
—None whatever.

25128. You left the £30 there behind you?
—-Yes; and I put up a new byre two or three years before that, which cost me £10.

25129. How long did you keep after this expenditure?
—I was only about two years in the new house.

25130. Why did you not ask for some written acknowledgement from the proprietor before you did that?
—I did not think it was of much use; I thought he would not give it; there were no leases of small places given.

25131. But you hoped to be allowed to remain?
—I did.

25132. Did you give any cause of offence by your conduct in any way?
—None that I know of. Of course, there were causes of offence, but I think my case was good. If there was any offence there was a Sheriff Court here which could decide the matter.

25133. What was the nature of the complaint made against you?
—It was concerning my neighbours.

25134. Do you wish to state what the nature of the complaint was? I don't want you to incriminate yourself?
—I can state plenty of truth, but it would be hard to prove the case.

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