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North Uist, Vallay, Old Vallay House

Tacksmans House (18th Century)

Site Name North Uist, Vallay, Old Vallay House

Classification Tacksmans House (18th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Vallay House; Tacksman's House

Canmore ID 277972

Site Number NF77NE 43

NGR NF 77438 76005

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Western Isles
  • Parish North Uist
  • Former Region Western Isles Islands Area
  • Former District Western Isles
  • Former County Inverness-shire

Recording Your Heritage Online

Old Vallay House, c.1727 The only surviving example in the Uists of a tacksman's house with crowstepped gables, built for Ewen Macdonald, whose marriage to Mary Maclean (daughter of the minister of Coll) is commemorated by an inscribed (and now badly weathered) lintel: EMD & MML, 1742 . The entrance front has been reversed at some later date and a forestair contemporary with the Edwardian house added to the east front. Here, other alterations are evident, including the possible removal of an earlier projecting stair tower. By 1794 the house was 'in ruinous condition'(OSA), although it later housed servants. It was used within the last century as a laundry, with school above, but this had ceased operation by 1940.

The farm house at right angles must be the 'chamberlain's house' credited to James Gillespie Graham, 1797-9, and as such his earliest Hebridean work for the Macdonalds of Sleat. In 1816, the Rev. Finlay MacRae, minister of Bayhead Church, received Vallay farm in lieu of a stipend and lived here until the 1870s; the length of his sermons depended on the state of the tide. Singlestorey farm workers' cottages and improved farm square, early 19th century and later.

Taken from "Western Seaboard: An Illustrated Architectural Guide", by Mary Miers, 2008. Published by the Rutland Press


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