The Forfeited Estate of Strowan in the 18th century

Copyright © 2007 Iain Kennedy


This article is based on the large bundle of papers reviewed in the Scottish History Society's 1909 book 'Forfeited Estate Papers'. Here are some extracts, many from the 1755 report by Small, the appointed estate Factor.

"The laws prohibiting the use of Highland Dress and the Disarming Acts are completely put in execution on the estate and such parts of the neighbourhood where the troops are. Rannoch, with respect to theft, so universally well known that it is needless to give its full history, so far as the factor could learn, not a single beast has been stolen this year.

The north side of Loch Rannoch belongs to Sir Robert Menzies; the south side to His Majesty.

The most prevailing names on the estate are Cameron and Macgregor (who have assumed other names) and a few MacDonalds, all of whom seem originally to have been refugees, come to Rannoch, not for building of Kirks, this the Camerons are by far the worst.

... when Mr. Small [the factor] was sent to Rannoch three years before, there were 10 outlaws; now, by the diligence of the troops not one.

Nevertheless, amongst the many letters in these papers are a number of complaints and reports about continued cattle stealing which gave Rannoch its reputation; for example a report about cattle lifting from 1746, and the 1757 banishment of one Ewan Cameron and his wife and five children, at pain of execution, for being 'a notorious thief'.