Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Golspie Main Street

Would you like to walk along Main Street, Golspie?

Well you can.  With the help of the members of this website's mailing list we have detailed the history of this long street.  
This project is in three parts - these pages are a good place to begin, they include the full listing of the old houses of Golspie Main Street.  While reading you will come across links which will take you to further information on some of the families who lived in the houses and also to Allan Lannon's and Sheila Mackay's great memories of living in this street as children.  Finally you will be directed to our Golspie Main Street Album where you will see the stunning work carried out by Shirley Sutherland, a member of the team here, who lives in Golspie.  We hope you will enjoy this project. 
So would you like to walk along Main Street?  Read our full introduction, look at all the names listed on the following pages then sit back and view our album as a slide show and it will feel as though you are there.  


It was in 1805 that the first plans were laid for Golspie village (Main Street). It was to be based on “the street of the Fishertown of Golspy” and was to consist of houses 50 feet by 20, each with a croft of ¾ acre – this later altered to three acres. The people were to build their house themselves. In addition to the individual crofts, it was intended to provide a common cow pasture.

The ‘stances’ on which the people were to build their houses were let from the Sutherland Estate at an annual rent of five shillings. The rules for the new houses stated that they must be built of stone and to make the fronts flush with the roadway.

The remaining land between these stances and the main Parliamentary Road (now Back Road) at the back were divided into “gardens” of three acres each and were let out quite independently of the houses. The house stance had 19 year leases but the large ‘garden’ plots were kept on a year to year basis.

The Factor’s Record Book of 1850 together with the information already showing on our Golspie Village 1860 has provided a great deal of information on who lived in and who built the houses of Main Street.  Put together with census information, history of families already researched, help from people who lived there, descendants and this is the end result. 
Below are two maps taken from the original plans.  Unfortunately these have been scanned so often by different people that quality is now poor.  However they are still very useful.  Copy of each is now included in our Main Street Album.  

Above shows the east end of Main Street and below is the other half going west.

Please note that if these maps are difficult to read here see them LARGER HERE & HERE

House number 1 was built on the land side of the street (east end) and the numbers from then until 54 go towards the West End. The numbers then crossed the road with number 55 being on the shore side then continue up Main Street until number 140 in the east end.
Parts of Golspie Main Street have hardly changed and others are quite different. Watson's Temperance Hotel was on the Main Street at the foot of Fountain Road. This is now the car park area at the foot of Fountain Road. The following picture, poor quality unfortunately, shows the Temperance Hotel on the right and further along was Jim Fraser's shop. On the left is the Caberfeidh Hotel and Grants Butchers which may have been Cameron's Butchers at the time of the picture. Now it is used by an optician.

We have tried to be precise but the very nature of the task makes that difficult. Please therefore read this list as a very good indication of who lived where in Main Street. 

Where we say a house was built on more than one stance it may be that more than one house was built – the other being let or sold or as we now know in some instances incorporated into creating larger houses.

In order to eventually create a meaningful index all surnames with Mc and Mac are shown as Mac.

Each of the following references begins with a number e.g. G004 – that is my reference. If you wish to comment please use that number.

You can print this document out before visiting our photograph album. Each reference here has the same number in the album. If there is no photograph there is no house there today. Many of the houses listed here do not seem to exist today or have been incorporated into other houses. 

Sources: Sutherland Estates - 1850 Estate Plan
“Birth of a Village”, Margaret Wilson Grant
“Sketch of the houses in Golspie, with the names of the occupants, September, 1860” prepared for this website by Shirley Sutherland, Golspie
Details of listed properties in Main Street researched by Margaret Wilson Grant 1985
National Census Records
Families of Sutherland: C Stokes & S M Mackay

Plus lots of help from the members of the old County Sutherland Mailing List – without their help and enthusiasm this project would not be here. A very special thank you goes to Shirley Sutherland, Golspie who took most of the photographs in our album. Her local knowledge has been invaluable. Thanks Shirley.  Allan Lannon, a former resident for all his memories and photographs; Neil North, Australia, whose descendants come from the street and supplied lots of information; Isabella McGregor, Fife, who gave lots of information on the families of the street and to everyone else who has helped - thank you all.  

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