Valuation Roll search leads to a puzzle

ScotlandsPeople are making searches of the Valuation Rolls free for a limited time. You have to pay 2 credits to view an actual image of a page of the rolls, but it’s free to search and see the search results, which are reasonably detailed. And very useful the Valuation Rolls can be.

But searching the newly released 1925 rolls gave me a surprise. My great grandfather William Fraser was a long-time tenant of Mosside Croft near Hatton in Aberdeenshire – as was his father and grandfather before him. In 1920 the Valuation Roll lists him as a tenant of John Bruce of Yonderton. However, in 1925 William Fraser is listed as the proprietor of the croft and house Moss-side.

Why, when and how did William Fraser become a proprietor instead of a tenant? The owner of Yonderton had changed from John Bruce to Robert Reid between 1920 and 1925, and a search of the records came up with a death for a John Bruce registered in Cruden in 1921. Wills and testaments on ScotlandsPeople go up to 1925, and John’s Bruce’s Inventory was there. His assets included “heritage sold prior to deceased’s death” of House & Farm of Yonderton to Robert Reid for £6,000 plus several purchases of crofts to what were most likely their tenants, including “Wm. Fraser purchase price of house and croft, Upper Mossend £60.” It’s rental value was £6 so William Fraser paid ten years’ rent in order to own the croft outright.

Thus my great grandfather actually owned Mosside Croft from 1925 onwards. I do know that the croft was lived in, at the time of my great-grandfather’s death in 1946, by his step-granddaughter Helen Rennie and her husband Allan Thomson, who had married in 1944. So it looks as if Mosside was passed onto the people who lived with him and looked after him in his old age. Nice to know it went to someone deserving.

4 responses to “Valuation Roll search leads to a puzzle

  1. Derek A D Rennie

    Have you info. Helen Rennie
    We are related through my GGGRANDFATHER David Rennie. 2nd wife Mary Fraser

  2. Hi Derek – thanks for posting and I apologise for taking so long to post a reply. Helen Rennie was the daughter of Chrissie Gray Morgan and John Rennie. Chrissie was the illegitimate daughter of Helen Ann Morgan, who was my great grandfather William Fraser’s second wife. Chrissie died two years after Helen Rennie was born, and her father went to Australia, so Helen was brought up at Mosside Croft by her grandmother and step grandfather. I believe that she and her husband lived on the croft after my great grandfather died in 1946.

    John Rennie was a farm servant and his parents were Alexander Rennie, a farmer. and Mary Jane Rennie. I’ve researched him any further so don;t know whether he was related to the David Rennie who married Mary Fraser. Do the names ring any bells?

    Given that David Rennie had the croft at Hardslacks – which you was just across the fields from Mosside – it’s quite possible there’s a link.


  3. Allan John Rennie Thomson

    Aye Judy, The Helen Rennie from Mosside you refer to was my late mother and my father was Allan Thomson. I remember your great grandfathers sons, Bill, John, and another son whose name escapes me who lived in Newburgh. There was also another brother Arthur who I never met but lived in Florida. Bill’s daughter Irene lived in Mintlaw – she died several years ago and her married namevwas Hewitt.

    Allan J R Thomson

  4. Allan John Rennie Thomson

    Hi again Judith. Been going through some photos that belonged to my lste mother Helen Rennie Thomson. The photos are of your mother, in ATS uniform taken 7th May 1942 the other is undated also in uniform head and shoulders with another older lady, probably her mother. You likely will have a copy of these photos but I can easily send them to you. Did you get my email and photos of mosside croft and grave at Cruden Kirk sent 2 weeks ago?

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