The Common Of Stranorlar
|Rev. James Steele|
|John Johnston Esq.|
Regarding the numerous names above and the watermark date of 1811 it is probable that many of the tenants were not recorded previously in their lifetimes but only appear on this map artifact. Should that be the case, then the genealogical history of each individual would take time to research. Certainly, this would be worth the end result. For example, one of the surnames inserted is that of William Luke which is slightly unfamiliar for the area. Research has recently shown that the famous blind poetess Frances Brown lived in Stranorlar. Her mother’s maiden surname was Luke. Conjecture might lead us to believe that this William Luke was directly related to her but it is the only rare surname with the connection. Although this seems slightly vague at present, it requires more verification.
Andrew Millar’s name appears in The Common of Stranorlar so could this be the gentleman who sold the main street hotel in the town which now belongs to the present Kee family? A sister of Frances Brown was married to Andrew Millar. The Rev. James Steele, whose name appears in The Common also was a highly respected and influential clergyman in the community and an important figure in the life of the young Frances.
Some time ago I met with a few historians of the district but no one was able to identify accurately the location of The Common of Stranorlar. Some suggestions were put forward but it was still puzzling. There are 12 tenants listed in The Common, no dwellings are inserted implying that the land was occupied for farming. The entire area was excellent farming land. Unfortunately, there is no surveyor’s signature on the artefact but all evidence points to a most mature and methodical survey. Also, the scale is missing which could be the result of some fragmentation and age. However, there are numerous calculations pencilled in which seem to be in acres, perches and roods. Land description for every field is inserted with abbreviated information whilst the map measures 28 by 20 inches(71x51mms). Kilpatrick surname was prevalent then but according to local historian Aubrey Oliver this family name seems to have disappeared in recent times.
In conclusion to the snippets, this rare map has strong connection to the local inhabitants but more especially to the scarce descendants of times present.