Lady Grange was the wife of James Erskine, a lawyer who sympathized with Lord Grange, Jacobite, who arranged for the abduction of his wife on January 22, 1732, two years after the breakup of their marriage.
Using her husband’s network of companions, Lady Grange was transported to various locations, before she reached Monach Islands off the North East and then to St. Cilda, where she arrived in 1734.
She remained in Herta for the next seven years – miserable, lonely and unable to understand the island’s Gaelic speakers. The house in which she lived is thought to have been destroyed, possibly a two-room cottage, with a cleft in the mid-19th century – a small round stone structure with a unique St. Cilden turf roof. Was, which was later built on the site.
The cleft, known as Lady Grange House, collapsed during repair work during the recent storms to allow an in-depth survey of the structure.
Susan Bean, National Trust’s Western Isles Manager for Scotland, said: “This is an interesting structure, with a really interesting history and now we have a unique opportunity to discover a lot more about it. In, we will not only investigate the cause of the collapse, but we will also be able to analyze the technique and materials of the building.
“We will also be able to take a closer look at the roof and take soil samples, which will help us understand how St. Cilden’s built these unique buildings.
“We also hope to find out if there are any elements of the earlier structure, where Lady Grange spent her time on Herta and was included in this cleat.”
According to archaeologists, one of the most difficult tasks the trust has faced over more than half a century of conservation work on St. Kilda’s is to repair the damage to the Lady’s Grange House.
Lady Grange was sent to St. Kilda because her husband feared she would show sympathy to the British government with Lord Lott, who was later found guilty of serious treason for her role in the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion. Gaya and executed in 1747, allegedly involved in his deportation. .
While living in St. Cilda’s, Lady Grange wrote a series of letters to her lawyer in Edinburgh.
A piece of correspondence from the University of Edinburgh describes how he was beaten and taken from his home by several men, including Roderick McLeod, the author of the signat
ure, and several of Lord Lowe’s servants.
Lady Grange claimed that her hair and teeth were “torn” by the mob.
In another letter, she described Herta as a “stinking, filthy (sic), stinking poor island” where she was unable to communicate with the locals.
Later, she was transferred to Skye, where she died in 1745 at the age of 64.
NTS is raising funds to repair the damage caused by the storm on St. Kilda, a school and a mans house, along with a collection of more than 1,200 cleats and blackhouses and cottages. The highest wind speed recorded on the island is 144 miles per hour.