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.