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 History and information / Eachdraidh agus fiosrachadh


The place name 'Dell' means valley or glen and therefore the village of South Dell (Gaelic:  Dail bho Dheas) is south of the glen, where the Dell River can be found.  The village North Dell can be found to the north of the Dell River.


As well as the main village of South Dell, Aird Dell and Graham Park also form part of this village. Graham Park is a council scheme of about 20 houses which was named after the former Councillor, Mrs Graham, who served the area in the 1960s.


Around 1950, a crofter named Murdoch MacIver discovered a bronze sword whilst digging in peat on his croft in Aird Dell. Then in February the following year, whilst digging in the same spot, he discovered part of a second sword.  Both swords can now be seen in the National Museum.


Ness Coastguard Rescue Station is in South Dell, as well as the local Scottish Fire Service station, the next closest being Shawbost.


Bronze swords:















Tha an t-ainm-àite “Dell” a’ ciallachadh srath no gleann agus mar sin tha baile Dhail bho Dheas gu deas air a’ ghleann, far am faighear Abhainn Dhail. Tha Dail bho Thuath gu tuath air Abhainn Dhail.


Cho math ris a’ phrìomh bhaile de Dhail bho Dheas, tha Àird Dhail agus Pàirc Ghreumaich nam pàirt den bhaile seo cuideachd. ’S e sgeama-comhairle de mu fhichead taighean a th’ ann am Pàirc Ghreumaich a chaidh ainmeachadh an-dèidh a’ chomhairliche a bha ann roimhe, a’ Bh-ph. Ghreumach, a dh’fhritheil san sgìre anns na trì-ficheadan.


Mu 1950, fhuair croitear ris an canar Murchadh MacÌomhair claidheamh umha nuair a bha e a’ cladhach anns a’ mhòine air a chroit ann an Àird Dhail. An uairsin, anns a’ Ghearran an ath-bhliadhna, fhuair e pàirt de chlaidheamh eile nuair a bha e a’ cladhach san aon àite. Thathar a’ smaointinn gun deach an cleachdadh eadar 950-750BC. Chithear an dà chuid anns an Taigh-tasgaidh Nàiseanta a-nis.


Gheibhear Stèisean Maor-cladaich Nis ann an Dail bho Dheas cho math ris an stèisean-smàlaidh ionadail aig Seirbheis-smàlaidh na h-Alba - chan eil fear sam bith eile ann mus tig sibh gu Siabost.


Claidheamhan umha:


The word “dell” is of course an English word, and one that has only recently been introduced when referring to Scottish place names which have as their real name “dail”. In fact, the use of “dell” as an English translation of “dail” is inconsistent and relatively scarce – e.g. Dail Beag (on the west-side of Lewis) is written in English as “Dalbeg”, not “Delbeg” and Gleann Dail, Skye, is never translated as “GlenDell”. “Dail” is actually closer in meaning to the word “dale” which was integrated into Standard English but is originally from the old Norse words “dal” and “dalr”. The Scandinavians had these islands for 3 undivided centuries. The word “valley” is a topographical term that is already well catered for in Scotland by the words “Glen” – originally from the Gaelic “gleann” – and “Strath”, as in Strathspey, when the “valley” has a broad, flat plateau floor to it. South, North, and Aird “Dell” are collectively still referred to by usually elderly locals as Na Dailean – i.e. the Dales.


Below is a transcript of a still extant letter written in 1917 by the South Dell village to the Sheriff asking for the removal of the Gamekeeper Norman Macdonald who through his threatening behaviour and action was regarded as a terror and danger to the villagers. In one particular instance he had “shot a young lad named William Murray [Uilleam Easainn, father of Aonghas Uilleam Easainn, 27 South Dell] to the danger of his life all for the sake of coming across this poor destitute lad with a rabbit in his procession which the dog he had with him killed accidentally”.



Transcript of letter


Sheriff Substitute Dunbar


Borough Court






My Lord


We the undersigned crofters of South Dell Ness Humbly beg to petition your Lordship a view to ask you to exercised the power conferred upon you to remove from his present position Norman Macdonald gamekeeper Galson Farm who is a source of danger to the lieges your Lordship is already aware that the Said Norman Macdonald Shot a young lad named William Murray [Uilleam Easainn, father of Aonghas Uilleam Easainn, 27 South Dell] from this Township to the danger of his life all for the Sake of coming across this poor destitute lad with having a Rabbit in his procession which the dog he had with him killed accidentally. The unfortunate lad referred to lost two brothers in this war he is also a poor orphan without father or mother and we consider it very hard when So many of our dear ones and best manhood are laying down there lives for King and Country that we as respectable people cant meet this man Macdonald without being in terror of our lives we also beg to draw your Lordships attention to the fact that Since this young lad was Shot the Said gamekeeper met and pointed his gun point blank to another man from this township in the public Road 2 weeks ago and further we have proof that this gamekeeper has threatened people and as your Lordship is aware this man has already been convicted for assaulting a young Boy on the Seashore here we also beg to mention the fact to your Lordship that our very children are afraid of their lives this dangerous individual will meet them when they they are herding the cattle or looking after their sheep on the moor we are further of opinion this man Cant control his temper. is there for not Sane and a danger lieges we therefore beg to approach your Lordship this petition with a view to have this man removed or we Shall feel compelled to take the law into our own hands




We beg to remain


Your Lordships most humble Servants


Signed ————-


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