Croftmartaig 'Martin's croft'
Croftmartaig is on the western edge of Acharn on the southern shore of Loch Tay. It is now part of the Remony estate.
The 1683 list of posessors recorded Easgers in Easter Croftmartaig. It is likely that our ancestors were related to these Fishers.
John McArthur's survey of 1769 (right) shows Wester and Easter Croftmartaig outlined in red and yellow. The small island in the loch is Croftmartaig Crannog. All the buildings recorded by McArthur are now mere ruins. The only houses on the farms now occupied were probably built after 1845.
Croftmartaig was in the officiary of Taymouth. In his report McArthur stated; 'You'll no doubt be surprised that there are 5 acres to a sume in this officiarry and not in any of the rest of the officiaries, but it is on account of the quallitty of the grass as it is not in any respect to be compared with a great dale of the grass in any of the rest of the officiarries, two are amongst the worst grass in the country'.
MacArthur allowed each Croftmartaig 36 soums of livestock. Most of the other farms in the officiary had around twice that number. The poor quality of its land and its lower acreage of moor probably explained why the tenants of Croftmartaig were only permitted to keep small numbers of livestock.
Possessors in 1769;
In the 1790s there were two weavers living on Croftmartaig; John Fisher and John McKenzie. Was this because they were unable to support their families solely by farming its land so forced to diversify or were tenants for this farm selected because they had an alternative source of income?
John McKenzie and one of his sons were weavers of linen.
Recruiting for the Breadalbane Fencibles
Documents in the Breadalbane muniments suggest that no-one in Croftmartaig gave up a son for the Breadalbane Fencibles in April 1793. Almost certainly as a direct result, the months and years that followed brought a flurry of petitions to Breadalbane as Croftmartaig tenants tried to justify not giving up a son and pleaded to retain their holdings while others scrambled to acquire them;
- 2 Nov 1793: Memorial and petition by Duncan Anderson, eldest son of John Anderson, tenant in Aleckach, for croft or pendicle in Easter Croftmartag, occupied by John McKenzie, 'a sufficient weaver, who has three sons come to manhood, one of them dumb from his birth, but the other two fit to serve in your lordship's corps, altho he absolutely refused to give any of them to your lordship and since makes it his boast, that he sits at ease and as secure in his possession as those who gave sons and soldiers'(GD112/11/3/3/17)
- 3 Dec 1793: Representation and petition of John MacKenzie, weaver in Easter Croftmartaig near Kenmore, of unfitness of his sons to enlist, the eldest 'was a dumby, that the second who was only sixteen was a weakly delicate tender boy and the only one in the whole family that understood his brother best, and acted as interpreter for him, and that his third son was only twelve'; his second son bred to the loom, for making fine linens, damasks etc., and cannot spare him to enlist though asked again to do so (GD112/11/2/5/41)
- 27 Dec 1796: Petition of John Clark, tenant in Wester Croftmartaig, Taymouth district, expressing penitence for not having supplied a recruit; wishes to remain in the farm and offers as the youngest and stoutest of the tenants, to remove to the upper division and to improve it. (GD112/11/4/3/56)
- 27 Apr 1798: Petition of Donald Dewar, crofter in Easter Croftmartaig in Taymouth district, for possession of John Mackenzie, weaver there, as promised. (GD112/11/6/3/67)
- 2 Jan 1797: Petition of John Stewart, tenant in Easter Croftmartaig, to be continued (GD112/11/5/3/16)
- 31 January 1797: Representation and petition of John Fisher, weaver, crofter in Wester Croftmartaig for three of six acres to let there. With certificate in his favour (GD112/11/6/2/71).
- 21 Mar 1798: Letter from John McEwen, Aberdeen Barracks, sergeant, 1st bat. 4th fencible regt, to Lord Breadalbane.
On behalf of John Mackenzie, tenant in Croftmartaig. (GD112/11/6/3/41)
The McKenzies had been at Rovucky, next to William Murray's mill, when McArthur surveyed the area in 1769. John's son William married a Catherine Fisher in 1805 and their children were born in Croftmartaig so the family seemed to survive the onslaught and hold on to their possession but in 1835 they emigrated to Beckwith Township, near Perth in Ontario, where William continued to work as a weaver.
Close to the crannog is a ruined lime kiln. A brick printed 1853 suggests it was built on or after that date. It is shown on the 1862 25" OS map with its pier and ramp but it was out of use by the 2nd edition OS maps.
The Breadalbane Community Library contains a two-volume type written book put together by Dr ND Mackay in 1918. In chapter 14 he describes the road along the south side of Loch Tay to Killin.;
'Beyond Acharn on the left is Gavine cottage, the residence of some of the local poor. Just beyond, below the road, are the remains of what was one of the largest lime kilns in the district. The limestone was towed down the Loch, from Lawers outcrops on the north side, in barges. The remains of the jetty at which it was discharged are still visible, as is also the artificial slope west of the kiln up which it was pulled in trucks, the power being supplied by a water wheel. This kiln ceased to be used about 1866-67 and many of the stones used in its construction were removed for the erection of another in a more convenient situation on the other side of Loch Tay'.
Next to the township of Wester Croftmartaig, in an area which McArthur labelled 'meadow', is a pond first shown on the 1862 OS map .
It is a man-made clay lined pond (see photo above) but it is not certain why it was dug. It may have been for retting flax or a curling pond but Dr Mackay's description of a water wheel pulling trucks to the Limekiln makes it almost certain that this pond was built to power that wheel.
The 1862 6" OS map shows that three burns supplied the channel dug to bring water to the pond.
On the south side of the road, nearly opposite the lime kiln, is a house which has had various names; Poorhouse, Almshouse, Gavine Cottage and now Tighnaldon.
The Breadalbane Muniments contain 'Legal correspondence concerning the feu charter of Croftmartaig poorhouse, 1893-6' which is presumably when it was set up. In 1935, at a meeting of Perthshire Highland District Council in Logierait, it was reported that Gavine cottage had been vacant for a few months and had only one resident for the last 4 to 5 years. Under the feu charter the house could be used only for the accommodation of poor people belonging to, or native of, the parish of Kenmore, and in the event of its ceasing to be so used, it it would revert to the superior under compensation by mutual arbitration. It was agreed to recommend that the almshouse revert to the superior (Remony Estate) in terms of the feu charter.
Page last updated - 5/1/16