Re: Valuation Rolls

Glynn Currie

Thanks John,
While not answering my question quite the way I would have liked, you have certainly provided some excellent information. I truly appreciate that.

Sent from my Galaxy

-------- Original message --------
From: "John Kemplen via" <john.kemplen@...>
Date: 2021-01-11 02:15 (GMT-08:00)
Subject: Re: [Islay] Valuation Rolls

Hi Glynn

I can't answer your question about valuation rolls.  All I can say is that I haven't come across anything like them for the towns and villages, though there are lists that hint at some sort of valuation for farm tenancies.  There is a book of tenancies that includes the towns and villages as well as the farms for 1828 called the Black Book of Islay which you can find with a simple web search, but that is very vague on locations, certainly not giving street numbers.

Even today, street numbering on Islay can be very haphazard, with evidence of two or even three attempts at numbering systems overlaid on each other.  The earliest system was based on feu numbers.  I think that is feu as in feudal, though I have seen one suggestion that feu is related to fee.  You could try this reference, but it left me more confused than enlightened:

Feu numbers are still very much in evidence in street numbering in Port Charlotte, and I suspect that may also be the case in Port Ellen and Bowmore.  The system usually involved numbers going up one side of a street then back down the other side, then going round the corner into another street, up one side of it and back down the other side, then turning the corner of the first street and carrying on until the next street and so on.  This is particularly evident in Port Charlotte and to some extent in Port Ellen where numbers on Frederick Crescent dive off up Lennox Street then back down the other side before continuing along the next stretch of Frederick Crescent.

I suspect, though I don't know for sure, that the same thing may have happened in Bowmore, with feu numbers starting in the Square, then going out and back on Shore Street, then up one block on the east side of Main Street, then out and back on Jamieson Street, then up the next block of Main Street to the top, then back along the west side to Flora Street, out and back along that street then possibly carrying on along the west side of Main Street.  I am deducing that from very fragmentary indications, and I suspect that when a stretch of numbers fell out of use and a number was required for another property, a number may have been brought into use based on other numbers nearby with no regard for any specific logical numbering scheme.

Even today, street numbers on Shore Street are erratic and fragmentary.  In the Royal Mail online postcode finder, only six numbers are given for properties on Shore Sreet (10, 17, 20, 23, 24 and 26), and all other properties are referenced by name.  A few more appear on the most detailed map I can find (attached), (12, 18 and 25A), and in some cases it is possible to fill in the blanks, but some look pretty random, like 23 being opposite 24, 25A and 26.

I have it in mind to try to piece the feu numbering system together from documents in the Islay Estate Papers in the Mitchell Library, Glasgow, but that is not going to happen until I have completed other projects.

Good luck!


On 11/01/2021 03:51, Glynn Currie wrote:
There don't seem to be any Valuation Rolls published for Islay. Is this correct?
My grandmother, Flora McDiarmid, was born on Shore Street in Bowmore, Islay, Argyle, in 1883. Of course there are no house numbers given for that time period.
Her father, Archibald McDiarmid, is listed as living on Shore Street, Bowmore, in the period census. It seems likely this would refer to the same house.
I would like to identify the building if I can. That way I could use Google Earth to get a look at it. I wonder if anyone can suggest an approach to identifying this building.


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