THE VILLAGES / NA BAILTEAN
History and information/Eachdraidh agus fiosrachadh
MELBOST BORVE / MEALABOST BHUIRGH
Melbost (Gaelic: Mealabost Bhuirgh) is bordered to the north by South Galson and to the south by High Borve.
Melbost (meaning Mel's farm), Melbost Galson (legal address) or Melbost Borve (postal address), was known many years ago as Mel-Ulsta S'r (meaning Links farm).
After being cleared in the 1850s, the village was re-populated after WW1 with families from surrounding areas - North and South Dell, Borve and High Borve, Lower Shader, Shawbost and Carloway. The crofts were allocated, as promised by the Government, to soldiers returning from the war. A few did not personally want them and gave them over to near relatives who were in need of a croft. It was only through great struggle that the village was populated again as the farmer in Galson was far from amenable to losing his farm.
Less than half a mile away from the village is the remains of “Dùn Bhuirgh”, (5 B.C. - 5 A.D). It is built on a high elevation and marauders would be seen approaching from the sea or from all points of the land. This ancient broch was 30ft. in inside diameter and had hollow walls of 11ft. In 1781, records show it had fallen into ruin and was merely a heap of large stones. These stones came from a now unknown source and do not match the stone available locally.
In the broch's vicinity, there are signs that a run-rig system of cultivation existed pre-18th century. These were probably cultivated by monks who lived in cells nearby.
At the other end of the village, there are the remains of what is known locally as “Cladh Bhrighid” (Brigid's burial ground) with the ruins of a tiny chapel barely visible among the grass now. There is also a well known as “Tobar Bhrighid” (Brigid's Well).
The bard Murdo Sheumais belonged to Melbost and wrote some songs about the village, describing it once as “Mealabost gorm an fheòir” (Melbost of the blue/green grass), as it is a very scenic village.
Now that there is a loop pathway/coastal track going through Melbost and High Borve, the coastal views right up to Uig can be enjoyed.
Tha Mealabost Bhuirgh ann an crìch ri Gabhsann bho Dheas ris an tuath agus Am Baile Àrd ris an deas.
Bha Mealabost (a’ ciallachadh an tuathanas aig Mel), Mealabost Ghabhsainn (seòladh laghail) no Mealabost Bhuirgh (seòladh puist) aithnichte iomadh bliadhna air ais mar Mel-Ulsta S’r
(a’ ciallachadh tuathanas ‘Links’).
An dèidh dha bhith air fhalamhachadh anns na 1850an, chaidh am baile a lìonadh a-rìthist an- dèidh a’ Chogaidh Mhòir le teaghlaichean bho sgìrean mun cuairt air – Dail bho Thuath agus Dail bho Dheas, Borgh agus Am Baile Àrd, Siadar Iarach, Siabost agus Càrlabhagh. Chaidh na croitean a shònrachadh do shaighdearan a bha a’ tilleadh bhon chogadh, mar a gheall an riaghaltas. Cha robh feadhainn gan iarraidh air an son fhèin agus thug iad air falbh iad do dhlùth-dhàimhean aig an robh feum air croit. Bha e na spàirn mhòr am baile a lìonadh a-rìthist leis nach robh an tuathanach ann an Gabhsann deònach fhearann a leigeil seachad idir.
Nas lugha na leth-mhìle air falbh bhon bhaile, chìthear tobhta Dhùn Bhùirgh, (5 B.C. – 5 A.D.). Tha i air a togail air sealladh bho shuas agus bhiodh daoine lèirsinneach nan robh iad a’ teannadh air tìr bhon mhuir no a’ tighinn bho thaobh sam bith nan cois. Bha trast-thomhas de 30 troigh aig an t-seann-bhrugh seo air an taobh a-staigh agus bha ballachan falamh de fharsaingeachd 11 troigh aice. Tha clàraidhean bho 1781 a’ sealltainn gun robh i na tobhta agus bha i dìreach mar chàrn mòr de chlachan throm. Chan eil brath air a-nis càit’ an d' fhuaireadh na clachan seo oir chan eil iad coltach ris na clachan a tha rim faighinn gu h-ionadail.
Faisg air a’ bhruigh, chìthear comharraidhean a tha a’ sealltainn gun robh an siostam àiteachaidh roinn-ruithe air a chleachdadh ron 18mh linn. ’S dòcha gun robh iad air an àiteachadh le manaich a dh’fhuirich anns na cillean faisg air làimh.
Aig ceann eile a’ bhaile, tha tobhta ann ris a chanar gu h-ionadail “Cladh Bhrighid” le tobhta cille glè bheag nach eil follaiseach idir anns an fheur a-nis. Cuideachd, tha tobar ann air a bheil “Tobar Bhrighid”.
B’ ann à Mealabost a bha am bàrd “Murdo Sheumais” agus sgrìobh e òrain mu dhèidhinn a’ bhaile, ga mhìneachadh aon thuras mar “Mealabost gorm an fheòir”, o chionn ’s gur e baile air leth taitneach a th’ ann.
Leis gu bheil slighe chuairteach/staran cladaich a’ dol tro Mhealabost agus tro Bhorgh a-nis, faodar na seallaidhean gu ruige Ùig a bhith air am mealadh.
MELBOST BORVE - HISTORY / MEALABOST BHUIRGH - EACHDRAIDH
The village has a chequered history even from the mid 19th century when it was made to change from a crofting village to part of Galson sheep farm and then back again to a crofting village.
As happened in other parts of the Highlands and Islands, the people were evicted from their homes around the 1850s. Some went to Canada and some went to the surrounding villages like Shader where, turning the wheel full circle, a man, who remembered being moved from his family home when he was so young he could only carry a poker, returned to Melbost from Shader along with his family in the 1920s when he was over 80 years of age. When Melbost was a farm it included the "Bailemeanach" which is now part of Mid Borve and a rough road connected both villages. When Galson Farm owned the land it had a shepherd's house at what is now number 10.
As the village of Melbost did not exist in the time of WWI, a world war only affected it in WW2 when it lost three of its servicemen - John Campbell No. 13 (Iain Fhionnlaigh), John Morrison No. 6 (Iain Iain Bhig) and Malcolm MacLeod No. 5 (Calum Parry). Three servicemen in a village of this size is quite a large loss, relatively speaking. Another serviceman (Kenneth MacLeod No. 9) was caught by the Germans and was in a POW camp until after the war was over.
Martin Martin mentions these ruins in his book as the chapel of "St. Brigid in Barove" and in an OS survey it is noted as "Teampull Bhrighid" (Brigid's chapel). St. Brigid was a goddess in ancient Celtic history.
It is not known whether Teampull Bhrighid is the burial place of the bodies of the Norse sailors found in the nearby "Linne Mharbhainn" (pool of the dead) but it is quite possible this is where they were buried. A Norse king is also reputed as being buried in this ancient burial ground.