A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY
Fair Isle Studio is situated within Lower Leogh, one of 30 houses on the island. Lower Leogh Croft came into our keeping in 1998, assigned to Clare at that time by Jerome (Jerry) Stout. With around 4 hectares, the land provided for sheep and haylage, has a range of outbuildings, the croft house and garden ground; then family home of Jerry and his late wife Aggie.
Many of the isles place names originate from Norse Settlement times in the ninth century. The earliest written information about habitation on the isle dates from 1747 when four distinct tunships (old Norse for ‘townships’ ) were recorded, Leogh being one of those. As families grew, small clusters of houses were built around the original family home and agricultural land. The 1851 census identified that there were 281 inhabitants living in 41 houses on the isle. 3 houses were in the township of Leogh; Nether Leogh, Leogh and Upper Leogh. With population change, this had risen to a fourth house at Leogh township, when at the time of the 1861 census, 380 people were living in 53 houses, some having no land at all. Exodus followed with 137 people departing to North America in one year alone (1862). With ongoing population decline, houses fell into disuse. Valuable materials in the form of stone were repurposed resulting in the present houses at Lower Leogh, built in 1891 and Upper Leogh in 1883. In more modern history, during the second world war, the isles shop was situated in what is now the bedroom.
Lower Leogh holds a long history as a working croft on the isle and continues to be set in agricultural land.
Renovation of Lower Leogh started in earnest in 2009 following de-crofting of the house and garden site. The extensive programme of work within the original building has brought modern comforts into the traditional croft house space. This renovation was possible thanks to huge family efforts over nearly a decade of work. We are thankful for the generous contributions from family and friends on the isle of advice, knowledge, beds and food.