Whitemeadows is the name of a croft in Wasbister, high up on the western slope of Kierfea Hill, close to the Loch o’ Wheethamo. The Old Norse word hvíti-mór means ‘white moor, or heath’. White cotton grass used to grow in abundance here, hence the name of the croft – Whitemeadows.
According to the census of 1841 it was occupied by George Sabiston, a 70-year-old pauper, his wife Margaret, who was 50 years of age, and their young son George. Between 1841 and 1862 the annual rent was 15 shillings.
By 1861 young George, then 31 years of age and employed as an agricultural labourer, was head of the household at Whitemeadows. He was married to Barbara Harrold, the daughter of William Harrold and Elizabeth Grieve of Hammermugly (now known as Blossom), who was born on November 7th 1824. They had six children; Margaret, born on September 1st 1854; Mary on February 26th 1855; James on September 29th 1856; John on March 22nd 1858; William on November 24th 1859 and Alexander, who was born on April 22nd 1863. William and Alexander died during an outbreak of diphtheria in 1867. George was later classed as a pauper and the family lived at Whitemeadows rent-free.
Fisherman Hugh Marwick, his wife Mary Inkster and their four children moved up to Whitemeadows from Quoys. Between June 1869 and October 1880, Mary gave birth to another six children there. James Mowat was born on June 3rd 1869; William on July 10th 1871; Thomas on June 23rd 1873; John on November 26th 1875; Alexander on December 10th 1878, and Magnus, who was born on October 14th 1880.
Both Hugh and his wife Mary died in 1882, within a month of each other. He was aged 54 and she was 46. Seven of the children were younger than 18 when they were orphaned.
The following is the inscription on their gravestone in the Wester kirkyard:-
Erected by their family in loving memory of Hugh Marwick,
who died 22nd March 1882, aged 53 years,
and Mary Inkster his wife,
who died 17th April 1882, aged 46 years.
“Weep not for us our children dear,
because we died and left you here.
Our heavenly Father thought it best,
to call us home and give us rest.”