3. Distribution and annual value of the land

About five-eighth parts of the surface of Lewis is in the occupation of crofters, or tenants of the crofting class. The remainder consists of deer forests and farms.

According to a statement submitted by the Estate Management to the Royal Commission (Highlands and Islands, 1892) during a sitting at Stornoway in July 1894, the occupancy of the island then was as follows :—
Area of land under crofters, — 258,958 acres

Area of land under farms: — 65,969

Area of land under forests, including the sporting subject of Grimersta, — 75,105 acres
Town lands (including feus and parks at Stornoway, Manor Farm, and Castle grounds), glebes, schools, and the Flannen and Rona Islands, etc., — 4,148 acres

Total —404,180 acres

With the exception of a small portion of the last stated area the Matheson Estate includes the whole island.

In 1894 the total number of land holdings was 3,105. Of these, 29 were above the statutory crofting limit of £30, and yielded a gross yearly rent of £2,279. The remainder, which numbered 3,076, were crofters’ holdings, the annual rent of which amounted to £5,917, making a total land rental of £8,196. The gross annual valuation of the Estate, including land, sporting, fishing, and the Castle grounds, then amounted to £15,031, 10s. 5d. [According to the estate representative whose statement is given at page 1079 of the Deer Forest Commission Evidence, the total rental in 1894 was £15,731 10s. 5d., but the details then furnished only amount to £15,031 10s. 5d. ]The yearly value of subjects in the occupation of other owners was £1,346 9s. 7d., thus bringing out a total rental for the island (exclusive of the town of Stornoway) at the said date of £16,378.

Statistics showing the present rents of the various classes of holdings will be found in Appendix R. Here, it may be observed that as all the croft rents were fixed by us in terms of Section 6 of the Act, or by the Estate Management in terms of Section 5, the rents of holdings under the Act may be regarded as practically unchanged since 1894.

There is, however, a decrease in the gross rental of the island outwith the Burgh of Stornoway as compared with the year stated. According to the current Valuation Roll, the gross rental of Lewis, exclusive of Stornoway, is as follows :—

Matheson Estate
Other proprietors
£4114 4s 3d
£861 18s 0d
£4976 2s 3d
£3054 15s 0d
£327 15s 0d
£3382 10s 0d
£4360 12s 10d
£205 0s 0d
£4565 12s 10d
£2612 3s 0d
£392 0s 0d
£3004 3s 0d
Grand Total
£14141 15s 1d
£1786 13s 0d
£15928 8s 1d

These figures show that the rental of the Matheson Estate in Lewis apart from Stornoway, and mainly on non-crofting subjects, has fallen from £15,031 10s. 5d. in 1894, to £14,141 15s. 1d. in 1901, or a decrease of £889 15s. 4d.; but rents or annual values of subjects in the occupancy of other proprietors (including clergymen in respect of glebe lands, school boards in respect of school buildings and grounds, property belonging to the Northern Lights Commissioners, etc.) have risen in the same period from £1,346 9s. 7d. to £1,786 13s., or an increase of £440 3s. 5d. These figures combined show a net decrease for the rural part of the island of £449 11s. 11d. But while this rental has decreased, the rental of the Burgh of Stornoway has increased. In 1894 it was £15,224 14s. 9d., while now it amounts to £16,840 2s. 5d., showing an increase of £1,615 7s. 8d. Further, it is important to observe that while the gross rental of Lewis apart from Stornoway, with an area of over 400,000 acres, is only £15,928 8s. 1d., the Burgh of Stornoway, covering an area of about 150 acres, is of the annual value of £16,840 2s. 5d., made up thus :—

Matheson Estate (in Burgh of Stornoway), £732 12s 9d
Pier and Harbour Commissioners, £3,081 11s 8d
Other proprietors, £13,025 18s 0d
Total, £16,840 2s 5d

The current rental of the island may be tabulated thus :—
Matheson Estate—
(1) Burgh of Stornoway, £732 12s 9d
(2) Landward, £14,141 15s 1d
TOTAL £14,874 7s 10d

Stornoway Pier and Harbour Commissioners, £3,081 11s 8d

Other Proprietors—
(1) Burgh of Stornoway, — £13,025 18s 0d
(2) Landward, — £1,786 13s 0d
TOTAL £14,812 11s 0d

Total rental of Lewis, £32,768 10s 6d
These ļ¬gures do not include feu-duties payable to the Superior.

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