This blog is dedicated to exploring the history and archaeology of Dornoch and its neighbouring parishes. It is a collaboration between Historylinks museum and the Centre for History at the University of the Highlands and Islands, co-ordinated by Dr Elizabeth Ritchie. Posts are written either by Elizabeth or by guest contributors. We do not claim to be all-knowing about the history of the area, so if you have a comment, a correction, or an additional point to make, then please do that in the comments section. We welcome discussion as we all explore the past in this region.

Historylinks is Dornoch’s award winning museum. Check it out here: http://www.historylinks.org.uk/

The Centre for History has its base in Dornoch but has undergraduate students all over the Highlands and Islands, Masters students from across the world, and several PhD students. Check it out at http://www.history.uhi.ac.uk/

In the blog we discuss artefacts and documents stored by the museum; museum activities; the history and archaeology that is out and about in the district; research done on the region by Centre for History students; and history-related events happening in the area. We are interested in every time period and in people, places and things within a twenty five mile radius of Dornoch, which incorporates south east Sutherland and north east Ross-shire with occasional forays beyond these artificial boundaries. Come join us as we delve beneath the surface to explore how people used to live in this corner of Scotland’s Highlands and how the place has changed!

10 thoughts on “About

  1. I will be visiting Brora from 19th to 22nd Sept. having last visited in the summer of 1948 as an 8 year old. My father arranged for us to go down the Brora mine and I’d like to know where the mine site was, can you help? I’m visiting from Auckland NZ.

  2. Thanks for the suggestion Elizabeth, I,ll probably call at the Brora Post Office they generally know everything, Just like taxi drivers and hairdressers know about World Affairs. Bill

  3. Hello Elizabeth.
    I have been given a photograph of a lady named Margaret Munro, who was married to Robert Ross Johnstone, who was the chemist in Dornoch in the early 1900s. I was wondering if you or any of your readers have any information about Mr and Mrs Johnstone, or any pictures of Mrs Johnstone in particular. I think my photo may commemorate their wedding, it was taken in a studio in Edinburgh.
    Many thanks,
    Kirsten Fleetwood

  4. I am very interested in the History of Dornoch and its inhabitants. I have an ancestor Jean Leslie (Lesly) who married Alexander Munro. I wonder if she is one of Hugh’s children and also if these Leslies were related to the Stevensons who were the engineers of the Bellrock lighthouse and other lighthouses. So far I am at a loss.

    • Hello there – my apologies for not responding. This must have got lost amongst the craziness of the start of the teaching term. I am afraid I don’t know much about the genealogy of the Leslies, but it might be worthwhile posting the question on the Historylinks facebook site and seeing what members come up with – there’s a lot of knowledge of local families out there. If you want a professional genealogy recommendation then I can make one.

  5. Elizabeth Hi

    We have been in touch before. I have now completed my book about Langwell. I have just noticed the bit on your blog about William Gray marrying Janet Sutherland of Midgarty and their separation. This helps explain the muddle about her in Evans book on Dempster. I wonder where you found the information. She dies at a great age in London and leaves an eighth of her estates in The UK and Jamaica to what I assume is a nephew Robert Sutherland in London.

    Best wishes

    Michael Moss


  6. Hello Elizabeth
    Bishop Pococke’s “pyramid” (your blog of 25th May) is today known as Cadboll Mount and is within a mile of Geanies House. It is a quadrangular mound of earth and clay, mixed with stones and formed in steps like a pyramid. It was clearly a matter of pride, as Bishop Forbes, on a visit to MacLeod of Cadboll in 1762, was also taken to see it. He noted the view of nine counties. On one account MacLeod of Cadboll erected it to look down on the neighbouring estate of MacLeod of Geanies. But the 1872 Ordnance Survey Name Book says that tradition records that Cadboll, “in a State of Animosity against the Laird of Geanies”, was trying to obstruct his view towards the lands of Cadboll. Both versions are plausible, as the MacLeods of Geanies and of Cadboll, though both descended from the bloodthirsty MacLeods of Assynt, were bitter rivals. Geanies seems to have retaliated by planting a belt of trees. 

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