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Caithness Field Club

Caithness Field Club Bulletin
1977 - October

D. Omand

Although it is well attested that the establishment of Lybster village dates from 1802, it seems quite clear from a feu disposition of 1833* that only a part of the present settlement could have been built in the early years of the 19th century.

An extract from this feu reads:
"I have begun and intend to carry on a new village ... called the New Village of Lybster, and to have streets and lanes therein upon which houses have to be built, all according to a particular plan."

The house referred to forms part of the substantial square in the heart of the village. A gap site in this square indicates that not all of the feus were taken up.

The feu disposition directs James Sutherland to "build and erect a substantial stone house and to cover the same with blue slates".

The street in front of the house "is to be 50 feet in width, whereof 24 feet are to be laid with the common materials of a high road and 6 feet reserved on each side for a foot pathway ... to be flagged with stone".

Both road and pathway were to be constructed "at the sole expense of the feuars", the cost depending on the length of the house frontage. In addition to the feu duty of 10/- (50p.), a sum of 3/- (15p.) per annum had to be paid to keep the road and street in good repair.

A proportion of the expense of "making the spring or rivulet necessary for the new buildings" had to be met by the feuar who must not permit outstairs, dunghills and other nuisances to encroach on the street.

*from Temple Frederick Sinclair (landowner, residing at The Ha', Lybster) to Mr. James Sutherland (fishcurer) 5 Grey's Place, Lybster.

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