"... the Clearance of Glencalvie
in 1845, a tragic event that is recorded in messages scratched on its east window"
Church of Scotland
of Croick parish at the time that the Church was built was made up, as in many other parts
of the Highlands, of small tenants who practised subsistence farming on patches of arable
land in the straths and from shielings on the hill grazings. By the end of the 18 th
century commercial sheep farming was being introduced into the Highlands in general, and
into Ross-shire in particular by Sir John Lockhart Ross of Balnagown.
As it became progressively adopted by the landlords it
brought with it a complete change in the lives of the tenants. The changes, known as The
Clearances, did not reach Croick Parish until 1842 when James Gillanders, factor to the
Robertsons of Kindeace, attempted to evict the tenants of their Glencalvie property in order
to make way for sheep. His efforts were at first strongly and successfully rebutted but he
eventually succeeded on 24th May 1845 when 18 families some 90 people
were cleared from their homes in Glencalvie in which they had lived for
generations. Prior to their departure many took shelter in impoverished booths erected in
the Croick churchyard and their wretched plight is recorded in messages scratched on the
outside of the east window of the Church.
It so happened that a correspondent from the Times
newspaper witnessed these sad events and a facsimile of his graphic despatch to his editor
in London reporting them has been placed within the Church. A reproduction of the
scribbled message can be seen.
A further clearance, from Greenyards in Strathcarron in
March 1854 which came to be known as The Massacre of the Rosses, is also recorded in a
message on the window.
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