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Stornoway

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"STORNOWAY, a parish, post town, seaport, and burgh of barony in the island of Lewis, Western Isles, county Ross and Cromarty, Scotland. It contains a post town of its own name, the quoad sacra parish of Knock, and the village of Back. The parish extends in length about 19 miles, and is from 7 to 10 broad, comprising an area of about 160 square miles. It lies in the north-eastern part of Lewis Island, and is bounded by the Minch Channel, and by the parishes of Lochs, Uig, and Barvas. The surface is generally flat, the highest ground being a round hill about 700 feet in height, which serves as a landmark to vessels steering across the Minch. The predominant rocks are gneiss and granite. The shore is in some places sandy, but more frequently bold shelving rocks or precipitous cliffs, worn into caves and fissures, and indented by numerous bays and sea-lochs. Until very recently the only cultivated portion was a narrow belt of land along the shore, the rest being barren moorland and moss; but immense improvements have been effected by the present proprietor, Sir James Matheson, M.P. for Ross-shire. The surface is watered by a number of small freshwater lakes, and by several streams, the largest of which has a course of only 10 miles. Stornoway, which is considered the capital of the Outer Hebrides, is situated on the head of a bay called Loch Stornoway, and has a convenient quay and docks. The town is built round the bay, and the houses are well built. The principal public buildings are the town-house, custom-house, prison, erected in 1845, a branch of the National Bank, savings-bank, assembly rooms, two hotels, Masonic lodge, and a lighthouse and beacon on Arnish Point, at the S. side of the entrance of Loch Stornoway. A little to the W. of the town stands Stornoway Castle, erected by Sir James Matheson, on the site of Seaforth Lodge, the seat of the former proprietors of Lewes. Two steamers ply regularly between Stornoway and Glasgow, and there is a mail packet twice a week, via Poolewe to Dingwall. Many of the inhabitants are e