Barvas - Extract from National Gazetteer, 1868


"BARVAS, a parish in the Island of Lewis (the largest and most northern of the Western Isles), in the county of Ross, Scotland. It lies at the Butt, or north end of Lewis, and is about 50 miles from Loch Ewe and the coast of Ross. It was formerly of larger extent than it is at present, including that part of the island now forming the parish of Cross. The district is level and mostly uncultivated, with a rocky and dangerous coast. There are no trees, and hardly any shrubs. Several small streams run from lakes in the moors to the ocean. The inhabitants speak the Gaelic language only, and are employed in agriculture or in fishing. The village of Barvas stands at the north side of the mouth of the river Barvas. The living, value £158, is in the presbytery of Lewis, and in the gift of the crown. There is a Free church at Barvas, and also one at Cross, or Ness, the northern district, which has also a government church under the patronage of the crown. The parish contains the ruins of several Danish forts, and in many villages are remains of ancient Romish chapels. The parish extends about 18 miles in length and 6 miles in breadth."

"CROSS, (or Ness), a quoad sacra parish in the parish of Barvas, near the Butt of Lewis, one of the Western Isles, in the county of Ross and Cromarty, Scotland, 50 miles N. W. of Loch Ewe. It is chiefly inhabited by fishermen, who speak Gaelic."

"NESS, (or Crossness), a quoad sacra parish in the parish of Barvas, Island of Lewis, Western Isles, in the county of Ross, coast of Scotland, 2 miles S. of the Butt of Lewis. It includes Rona Lewis."

"RONA, (or Ronay), a small island in the parish of Barvas, Outer Hebrides, in the county of Ross, Scotland. It is situated 38 miles N.W. of the Butt of Lewis. It is about a mile in length by half a mile in breadth, consisting of two hills, with an altitude varying from 350 to 360 feet, and is the most north-westerly land in Europe. The chief part of the land is arable, with a fertile soil. There are some ruinous huts, one of which appears to have originally been a church, dedicated to St. Ronan, from whom the island takes its name. Some years ago this island was offered gratuitously to the government for a new penal settlement by Sir James Mathe son, the proprietor. About four leagues to the eastward is the rock Sulisker, only a quarter of a mile in circumference, but abounding with a great variety of sea fowls."

Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003