BOOKS BY BILL LAWSON
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Lewis in History and Legend Vol 1 (West Side)
The Isle of Lewis, the largest and the most northerly of the islands of the Outer Hebrides, has had an eventful story from prehistoric times through to the present. Evidence of human occupation stretches back to 3000 BC, explicit in the iconic silhouettes of the Standing Stones at Callanish. After the Vikings left in the ninth century, the clans of West Scotland quickly moved in, and Lewis was the site of many feuds between the Morrisons, the MacAulays and the MacLeods. The island operated largely independently until it was purchased by the MacKenzies in 1600 and was finally drawn into Scotlandís mainland politics. It was then purchased by Sir James Matheson in 1844, and finally by Lord Leverhulme, in the 20th century.
Throughout the centuries the people of Lewis have taken their living from the land and the surrounding seas, and these elements, together with the climate of the island, have determined their history far more than the vicissitudes of its ownership. Bill Lawson charts the history of the people themselves, weaving his way through the centuries with stories drawn from documented sources, oral tradition, Gaelic song, and from his own experiences of many years travelling around the island.
Lewis in History and Legend Vol 2 (East Side)
In this eagerly awaited second volume of Lewis in History and Legend, Bill Lawson deals with the townships of the east coast of the island, from Tolsta in the north to the boundary with Harris in the south, and with Stornoway, the commercial and administrative capital of the island.
In his own inimitable style, he traces the story of the island from earliest times to the present day, describing the landscape and the physical remains of the past. More importantly, however, he excels in charting the history of the people themselves, weaving his way through the centuries with stories drawn from documented sources, oral tradition, Gaelic song and from his own experiences of many years travelling around the island and researching the history of its families.
The result is a unique insight in to the way of life and history of an island.
Published in September 2011.
North Uist in History and Legend
Like all the Hebrides, North Uist has a fascinating history, and a landscape scattered with historic sites, from Neolithic burial chambers and Iron Age forts, though medieval churches and battle-sites, to townships forged in the days of kelp trade, and the subsequent traumas of clearance and emigration. Of all the Western Isles, none has closer links with the turbulent history of Clan Donald than North Uist, and stories of their chiefs and battles are linked with sites all through the island, all set in a landscape which is one of the most varied and beautiful in the Hebrides.
Bill Lawson has woven a tapestry of stories about the island and its people, drawing on formal recorded history and also the rich tradition of story and song in which the informal history of the people was passed down, but also incorporating many of his personal reminiscences of his travels through the island, to give a unique insight into North Uist and the life of its people through the ages.
Harris in History and Legend
This is the story of the communities and people of Harris in history and legend. One of the largest and most famous of all the islands of Scotland, astonishingly little has been written about the varied and eventful life of Harris, perhaps because the island has been so self contained. Including much material on the now deserted islands around Harris, including new information on St Kilda, Bill Lawson's book is the first modern account of Harris and those who have shaped its history over thousands of years.
Simply written little stories, some humurous some serious, of the people and events of the locality, illustrated with old photographs. A selection in Gaelic from each book is available on CD.
Sgeulachdan a Seisiadar (Tales from Sheshader) - Book
Sgeulachdan a Seisiadar (Tales from Sheshader) - CD
HARRIS GAELIC SONGS
Chi Mi 'n Tir (Harris Songs)
Tiugainn do Scalpaigh (Poems of Scalpay, Harris)
HISTORICAL SITES BOOKLETS Each take an outstanding local building and set it in its local and historical context at differents episodes over the centuries.
St Clement's, Rodel, Isle of Harris
The Church of the MacLeods of Harris and Skye. History, gravestone inscriptions, listing of 22 tenant farmers in 1680 as well as short histories of individuals back to 1547.
St Columba's at Uidh, Isle of Lewis
The Church of the MacLeods of Lewis. History of the church, stories of individual residents of the parish going back to 1498 and gravestone inscriptions.
St Kilda and its Church
The Isle of Taransay
This book, dealing with the historical background to various items of interest connected with the offshore island of Taransay.
The Churches at Howmore
This book, dealing with the historical background to various items of interest connected with the Churches at Howmore, South Uist.
The group of ruins around the graveyard of Howmore are a testimony to the power and wealth of the Church in that area in their day. Little remains of the original two churches, but that little is still enough to impress visitors with the sheer scale and ornate nature of the buildings.
Nothing is known of the early history of the site. Was it one of the early, pre-Norse, centres of the Celtic Church, or did it rise with the victory of the Gaelic culture over the Norse in the thirteenth century? John MacDonald, VIII of Clanranald, was buried there in 1584, and it is clear that the churches had been long established by that date.
The Teampull at Northton and the Church at Scarista
The Teampull on the Isle of Pabbay
History of the church and the parish with individual records of residents that emigrated and those who didn't. The island was cleared in 1846, with many going to Cape Breton and Australia.
GENEALOGICAL SOURCEBOOKS Much more than just researchers' tools. All interested in local history find them valuable. Their titles indicate their scope and each draws heavily on hitherto unpublished research by
'Co Leis Thu?'.
Please note that 'A Selection of Source Documents from the Isle of Harris 1688-1830' is no longer available and will not be reprinted.
Harris Families and How to Trace them
Lewis Families and How to Trace them - Part 1 - Ness
Lewis Families and How to Trace them - Part 2 - Lochs
Index to the Marriages (Recorded and Unrecorded) in the Parish of South Uist (including Benbecula) 1820-1855
Isle of Harris - Index of Marriages 1820-1855 (Recorded and Unrecorded)
Lochs Parish, Isle of Lewis - Index of Marriages 1820-1855 (Recorded and Unrecorded)
Index to the Marriages (Recorded and Unrecorded) in the Parish of North Uist 1820-1855
Index to the Marriages (Recorded and Unrecorded) in the Parish of Barvas (including Ness) 1810-1855
Register of Emigrants from the Western Isles of Scotland to the Eastern Townships of Quebec
This was Bill Lawson's first book, published in Canada by the Compton County Museum. It is the first major genealogical listing of 350 families who emigrated from the Hebrides to Quebec.
Register of Emigrant Families from the Western Isle of Scotland to Ontario, Canada PT. 1 - Bruce, Grey and Huron Counties
Anyone who has family originating in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland and immigrating to Bruce Grey, Huron and Kincardine Townships will find this book invaluable in collecting genealogical information on their ancestors. 95 pages.
Register of Emigrants from the Western Isles of Scotland Volume 1 Isle of Harris 1750-1900
Listed by destination. 87 pages.
Register of Emigrants from the Western Isles of Scotland
Volume 2, Part 2, South Uist & Benbecula 1840-1900
Isles of South Uist and Benbecula. Listed by destination. 137 pages.
Register of Emigrants from the Western Isles of Scotland
Register of Emigrants from Barvas Parish (including Ness). Listed by destination.
CROFT HISTORIES The attachment of the people to the land in the Western Isles is something that goes very deep. Generations of Crofters have struggled to make a living out of their inheritance, when it would have been easier for them to give up their lot in favour of a more secure and prosperous future in mainland towns and cities. This is clearly seen in the number of today's cofters who are the direct descendants of the first tenants of their crofts.
Licisto to Flodabay - Isle of Harris Volume 1
For this first volume of the Croft Histories of Harris, we have started on the Bays of Harris, beginning in the village of Liceasto and moving south through Geocrab, Aird Sleimhe and Manais to Fleoideabhagh, so covering the whole of the old Manais School area. All of these villages date from the 1790s, the period when Captain Alexander MacLeod of Bearnaraigh encouraged people to settle in the Bays as a part of his scheme for the development of fisheries on the island. The author has tried to cover the history of each croft from that time to the present day, though it has not always been possible to identify the earliest tenants with complete accuracy. Spiral Bound, 144 pages.
Kyles Scalpay - Isle of Harris Volume 2
Urgha, Carragraich and Kyles Scalpay. 155 pages, genealogies and local history.
Cuidhtinis to Lingreabhagh - Isle of Harris Volume 3
Croft History Isle of Harris Vol 4 Leac a Li to Greosabhagh
Illustrated, 167 pages.
Vallay to Hougharry - North Uist Volume 1
Vallay to Hougharry croft histories and lots of photos. 143 pages.
Sollas area - North Uist Volume 2
Grimsay - North Uist Volume 3
Clachan to Boreray - North Uist Volume 4
Balranald to Balemore - North Uist Volume 5
includes the villages of Balranald, Paiblisgarry, Knockintorran and Balemore
Glendale to Garrynamonie - South Uist Volume 1
Iochdar - South Uist Volume 2
General history, croft histories, photos and maps.
Boisdale - South Uist Volume 3
Boisdale area, north & south and South Loch Boisdale.
168 pages, with maps and local history.
Kilpheder - South Uist Volume 4
Kilpheder is one of the oldest townships in South Uist
Borve - Berneray Volume 1
Berneray (Ruisigearraidh) Volume 2
Pre 1822 families, 1822 census and croft histories. 35 pages
Sheshader - Isle of Lewis Volume 1
Includes Sheshader - a word picture, crofting pattern, croft histories and a guide to photographs. 87 pages.
Bayble - Isle of Lewis Volume 2
Includes Pabail - a word picture, croft histories of Pabail Uarach, Pabail larach, Cnoc na h-lolaire and a guide to photographs. 171 pages.
Ness Part 1 - Isle of Lewis Volume 3
Cuisidar, Sgiogarstaidh, Eorodal, Am Port. 136 pages.
Crossbost - Isle of Lewis Volume 4
Tolsta Chaolais to Doune Carloway - Isle of Lewis Volume 5
138 pages wirebound.
Ranish - Isle of Lewis Volume 6
Grimshader - Isle of Lewis Volume 7
Melbost/Branahuie - Isle of Lewis Volume 8
Barvas and Brue - Isle of Lewis Volume 9
Coll - Isle of Lewis Volumes 10 and 11
History of the villages of Coll and Upper Coll - scene of land-raiding after the First World War.
(Volumes also available separately - see below)
Coll - Isle of Lewis Volume 10
Upper Coll - Isle of Lewis Volume 11
Leurbost, Lochs - Isle of Lewis Volume 12
Galson, High Borve, Mid Borve, Melbost Borve - Isle of Lewis Volume 13
This book celebrates the land buyout by Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn
Leumrabhagh (Lemreway) and Am Pairc - Isle of Lewis Volume 14
Tolsta (Part 1) - Isle of Lewis Volume 15
Tolsta (Part 2) - Isle of Lewis Volume 16
Back (Am Bac) - Isle of Lewis Volume 17
Illustrated detailed history of this Lewis village and the people
Achmore and Lochganvich - Isle of Lewis Volume 18
Siadar Uarach and Baile an Truiseil - Isle of Lewis Volume 19