A little more local history

Loaneckheim to Boblainy

What’s in a name?

I’ve recently been attending a series of local history talks run by a group who are undertaking an archaeological project in the local woods. Their research will cover everything from exploring ‘lumps and bumps’ ie evidence of early history settlements (stone huts, etc), through 18th century land use (farming and crofting) up to the WW2 forestry operations.

I’ve never really studied much local history before am finding this interesting.

As a wee aside from the forest project, I thought I’d look up information about our house. The house is at least 150 years old and was originally a croft. It was owned by Lord Lovat as part of his large estate and had tenant farmers.

One of the main problems tracing any local history is the people were very poor and largely illiterate. This leads to many variations in spellings of place names (and even family names). The township (cluster of crofts) we live in is called Loaneckheim, but over the years has been listed in records as Lonvickime. Lonvichime, Lounickime, Loanvickheim, Lonich-Keim. Incidentally this is said to mean ‘Marsh of the son of Simon’ or ‘Macshimmy’s marsh’, referring to the Fraser chieftain, Simon Fraser (Lord Lovat).

The earliest record I’ve seen so far for Loaneckheim refers to a a court judgement in 1798 when a sentence of “Life Banishment from Scotland” was passed against Ewan Cameron of Loanvichen (sic). He was accused of murder.

Records from the nineteenth century refer to payment to several labourers for work on Lovat Estate. Considering there are only about 20 houses in Loaneckheim greater than 50 years old, it’s possible one the labourers mentioned in 1805 lived here – making our house 200 years old.

One definite record I found gave the following:

xx (our house number) Loaneckheim
Malcolm MacBean of xx Loaneckheim applied to the Crofter Commission on 20 December 1887 for his rent to be determined. It was reported that the land was owned by Lord Lovat and that he paid a present rent of £4 10s for his 4 acres 2 roods of arable land and 5 acres 1 rood of outrun. The Commission determined a fair rent of £2 15s.

The neighbouring crofters had their rent cut by similar amounts. It looks like Lord Lovat was similar to many other rich land owners and was charging his poor tenants higher rent than was considered appropriate by the newly established Crofters Commission.

By the electoral roll of 1918, the family name has changed to the spelling McBain, but by 1936 we find “Macbain, Robert. Macbain, Mrs Isabella and Macbean, Miss, Mary”.

All the other townships in the parish suffer for a similar variation in spellings of names. Even in different names in some instances due to the use of different forms of Gaelic with different words.

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7 comments on “A little more local history

  1. I’ll be interesting to trace the MacBain family tree sometime to see if there were several generation of the family who lived in the house, The estate records simply state the labourers names and township, eg “Robert Macbain, Loaneckheim” but no house number. There are several references to a Evan MacBain, Loaneckheim from as early as 1829. He may be an ancestor of the Malcolm MacBain mentioned living in our house in 1887.

    One other aspect to this is it has answered a question I had about the forest. We know there were acres of Lovat Estate covered in mature pines during WW1 – hence the Canadian Forestry Corps being here. But pollen evidence suggest this land was not part of the extensive native Caledonian Pinewoods with covered large parts of Scotland. Instead it was a mixture of rough grazing and native deciduous woodlands. The estate records show labourers from here were employed in planting trees from 1908 onwards. In 1829 90 labourers were employed in planting trees. These trees would have been a good size by 1914 and suitable for harvesting for use in the war.

  2. Very interesting! I find history much more fascinating now that I am older than I ever did when I was in school!

    Years ago, I did some geneological research into my birth family tree (I was adopted as an infant). I didn’t get any further back than the American Civil War, but American census records had similar variations in spelling, and some of them were quite hard to read. I wish they had made census takers pass penmanship tests back in the days before typewriters!

    By the way, my ancestors were German and Scottish. My grandmother’s maiden name was Cameron.

    • Hi Claire, yes I assume he is the same person. It would be interesting to know when the house was built and whether several generations of the MacBain families were tenants.

  3. Malcolm was living at No 14 in 1851. In 1871 he was living in Camault Muir. His father James was born in 1816 at Beaufort Farm, Kiltarlity, and in 1841 was living at No 14. The people you mention living at No 14 in 1936 were Robert (Malcolm’s son) Isabella (his wife) and Mary (their daughter). Malcolm’s daughter (my grandmother) was born in 1887 28 Camault Muir and in 1901 living at No 14. Camault Muir and Lonvichume, one and the same!
    Claire

  4. William &Catherine Fraser and ten children lived Kilmorack in 1841, then 1851 census of Kiltarlity parish they were living at Lonvichime. Came to Pictou County, Nova Scotia around 1852 -1855. Wonder on what barque?and what port would they have left from? Why then? Donald, my great grandfather was the oldest born in 1831. Youngest was triplets of which Simon dies before leaving Scotland. Triplets born in 1846. We, I understand, belong to the Frasers of Lovat. Any photos, stories, ideas would be greatly appreciated. Have been on this search for many years. Slowly getting there.

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