ousay

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emembered

STOURMEADOW

Stourmeadow was the name applied to a house and large park of rough pasture on the upper side of the public road in Quandale, just beyond the Quandale dyke from Wasbister. A Rousay Birth Register entry of 1822 records the house being spelled Staurameirie. As you can see from the photos, there is little evidence of the house left.

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In the census of 1841, the house was called Stourmary and it was where 25-year-old shoemaker George Leonard lived with his wife Margaret Clouston. The annual rent on the property at this time was £1.0.0. George was the son of John Leonard and Isabella Inkster of Grain and he was born in 1816. Wife Margaret was the daughter of Magnus Clouston and Ann Flaws of Tou, and she was born on January 24th 1822 at Windbreck, Westside.

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From the hill slopes above Stourmeadow one is able to see an old 'feelie' dyke. These dykes were made of spade-cut sods of earth, the foundation sods cut large, about 18x12x9 inches and laid in double tiers. Stones were also added, and wooden stakes were driven in to hold the sods together. The day of the turf dyke came to an end with the agricultural improvements. The scalping of the ground for turf and sods conflicted too sharply with grazing requirements, and dykes of stone and fences of stob and wire were the successors.

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Although the croft was very small, originally with only one acre arable, George had been able to keep a cow and had grazed a number of sheep on the common grazing land. During the 1845 evictions he still managed to pay his rent, supplementing his income with fishing, shoemaking, and any other work he could find. Despite paying his rent, he too was evicted in 1855, and had to make his way through the hills with his few belongings and an infant in his arms to Treblo, on a bare and uncultivated hillside in Sourin where he had permission to settle.

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