and Harray V14, 311
& Burness V7, 450
Andrews V20, 258
& Rendall V20, 247
& Stenness V14, 125
& Burray V15, 298
& Eday V15, 387
& Paplay V5, 406
& Eagleshay V7, 336
& Flotta V17, 312
& Graemsay V16, 245
Observations on the County of Orkney
The opportunity afforded by Google
Books to quote extracts from books on their site
has been taken here, so that the text below is that
of the actual accounts. In one or two places the text
is summarised in italics. The NSA accounts can be accessed
on Google Books here;
the volumes in which the OSA accounts appear are given
above under each parish and can be accessed here.
Additional information about parishes
can be found on the Vision
of Britain site and on Scotland's
In dealing with the Orkney Islands it is useful to remember
how large they are. If superimposed further south on
the map of Scotland they would stretch north from Dumfries
to Hamilton and from Glasgow east to Edinburgh.
were first built in the Orkneys in the 1760's and funded
by contributions, road money and statute labour. The
last was not commuted and the work done grudgingly.
At the time of the OSA there was a road south from Kirkwall
to Holm - the post road; another to the harbour of Deersound
that lay to the east of Kirkwall; and a road to Stromness.
This road was repaired every second year but like the
others was generally in bad condition. Other roads are
mentioned for Kirkwall and Sandwick parishes. There
were a few basic wooden bridges and a more substantial
one at the loch of Stenness of planks laid on pillars
and spanning a gap of 100 yards or so.
the time of the NSA the roads were generally good and
gigs and phaetons were running in Kirkwall parish; a
stage-coach service ran to Stromness. As well as Kirkwall
and Stromness parishes, roads are mentioned for Sandwick,
St Andrews and Orphir. The Westray entry says there
were no highways - it does talk about "roads"
and how bad these were - but from the context there
were probably tracks.
were quite a few carts, even at the time of the OSA,
in contrast to Shetland. In some places, sea-weed and
manure continued to be carried in creels or on people's
backs. There were several fairs and markets at different
places throughout the islands and a trade in horses
with Caithness and Strathnaver is mentioned. The difficulty
in obtaining peat is mentioned in several accounts.
Except on the post-road, ferries were not regulated
and there are a couple of complaints about the prices
charged. The postal service had improved greatly by
the time of the NSA.
to the highlands and islands of Scotland, including
Orkney and Zetland, George & Peter Anderson, 1851.
This links to the 1859 Report of the Commissioners for
Inquiring into Matters relating to Public Roads in Scotland
and gives an overview of roads in Orkney at that time.
the same time, it is far from large boroughs, and must
labour under a great disadvantage, by carrying its commodities
to the towns of Kirkwall and Stromness, which are the
greatest markets in this country.
Hints for Improvement, and Miscellaneous Observations.—There
is only one bridge worth notice, consisting of 2 small
arches, and is in great disrepair ; we have no made roads,
nor any turnpikes. There is such a payment as road and
rogue money ; but how taken up, or how applied, I am not
There are no settled inns in this parish, but plenty of
ale houses, as there are no gaugers.
Parochial Economy. There are few or no
made roads in the parish.
are no less than six public-houses in the parish.
are three annual fairs in the parish for the sale of
cattle and horses.
are in great abundance in this parish, and of the very
best quality, and all that they cost the inhabitants,
is the digging, drying, and driving home.
In general, Harray is flat and rather swampy, and intersected
by a great number of burns, which, from want of bridges,
interrupt the progress of the traveller.
are three fairs held annually in this parish, at which
only cattle and horses are sold.
It will appear there are a great number of horses,
which must be kept for the purpose of carrying the sea-ware,
which they do by two wooden creels, which are square and
ribbed, and one placed on each side of the horse, the
bottom of which opens, so as to let the ware upon the
ground it is intended to manure. Oxen are used only for
carts, and few or none for ploughing.
There are no waggons in these islands.—The number of carts
is as follows;
Carts. In Crosskirk parish in the isle of Sanday, 14
In Burness parish in the isle of Sanday, united to Crosskirk,
In Ladykirk parish in the isle of Sanday, which is vacant,
Total number of carts in the isle of Sanday, in both ministers
In the island of North Ronaldshay, which is united to
the charge of Crosskirk, 1
Total number of carts in both islands of Sanday and North
Advantages and Disadvantages.—The advantages
of these islands are, 1, That as they are dry and level,
the roads are never obstructed, even by the greatest rains...
are no mosses in these islands from which to cut peats,
so that the inhabitants are obliged to go over to the
island of Eday, and cut them there, which occasions
them great trouble and expence. Those few who can afford
it partly use coals from Newcastle, which, by reason
of the duty are dear, and therefore they justly consider
the duty as a great hardship, since it subjects the
poor inhabitants of the extremity of the empire to the
same expence in this, as the rich inhabitants of the
south, and to pay to government, while those of the
rich counties of Lothian and Fife are exempted.
are no ferrymen appointed, which is a great inconvenience
in going to and from these, and many other islands in
are no public or regular markets at which the farmers
can sell the produce of their farms, or supply themselves
with what they want to buy.
Alehouses and Inns.—About 15 or 20 years
ago, there were a dozen or more alehouses in the isle
of Sanday. At present there are in Ladykirk parish,
3; In Crosskirk parish, 2; In Burness parish, - none.
In the isle of North Ronaldshay, - none. .....There
are no established inns in either of these islands,
although one might be necessary in the isle of Sanday,
for the accommodation of strangers. The want of them,
however, is not felt by strangers, as the gentlemen
and principal farmers are very hospitable, and people
on business or boatmen are well lodged at their houses,
and pay nothing.
Fuel.—There are no peat-mosses in the Island
of Sanday, and the inhabitants of Cross and Burness
are consequently ill supplied with fuel. Each family
endeavours to procure a boat or more of peats from the
neighbouring Island of Eday, to which the cottar adds
prepared cow and horse dung, and the larger tenants
coals from the Frith of Forth or Newcastle.
The number of horses in these parishes is fully 500,
worth from L. 4 to L. 10 Sterling. This is perhaps double
the number necessary, owing principally to custom and
the smallness of the farms; very few of them are bred
in these parishes, but are bought when year-olds from
dealers, who bring them over from Caithness and Sutherland,
and are sold again to the fame dealers, from four year
old and upwards, very few of them dying in the parish.
...............no encouragement is given to inclosing;
and the people seem averse to a mode that would impede
what they think the natural liberty of themselves and
their cattle, to traverse every field at pleasure during
the greatest part of the year.
No mention of roads.
The vicinity of Kirkwall and Stenness gives a ready
market for every article the farmers have to dispose of.
At the latter place, those in the neighbourhood often
get far higher prices than the above, when there is much
shipping in its harbour.
A very few farmers derive some considerable profit, by
selling peats to the towns of Kirkwall and Stromness :
Others are obliged to spend most of the summer in cutting,
winnowing, and leading peats to their landlords.
Miscellaneous Observations.—-There are 4
trysts in the year for horses and cattle, to the great
convenience of this side of the country, held in the parish
of Firth. There is like wise a slate quarry, but not much
wrought at present, and excellent flag, very serviceable
to these, and part of the neighbouring parishes, for roofing
their houses. They are laid on loose, covered with a little
thatch, and the whole kept tight by heath ropes.
road from Kirkwall to Stromness, runs through these
parishes; which, though repaired every other summer,
where most needful, is, notwithstanding, very bad in
winter. There are two burns crossing this road, which
stand greatly in need of bridges: The other burns crossing
it have bridges of strong planks of wood, properly fixed
together. There is a bridge at the strait, which joins
the loch of Stenness with the sea, of large and strong
logs of wood laid across the openings between the stone
pillars. It has never been properly finished; and, having
no railing at the sides, young children and weakly people
run no small risk of being blown over, and drowned.
For 2 miles above this bridge, to a strait where there
is a causeway, the loch is brackish.
No mention of roads.
At Holme Sound Bay the post between Kirkwall and Edinburgh
crosses, to the distance of about half a league.
Manure is carried in straw baskets on horses backs, to
the more distant fields, and to those nigher, upon men
and womens backs. A few carts in miniature are beginning
to be used, drawn by an ox in the shafts.
No mention of roads
to parish account 1842
There has been, for some time past, a daily post from
Edinburgh, which, during the summer, generally reaches
Kirkwall within the third day. The mail is dispatched
from Kirkwall by a foot-post to the ferry of Holme,
where a boat with four men crosses over to Burray. He
then proceeds across Burray to the small ferry of Water
Sound, by which he crosses over in a boat with two men
to the village of St Margaret's Hope, in South Ronaldsay,
where there is a sub-post-office. From that, he proceeds
through South Ronaldsay, a distance of about eight miles
to Burwick, on the Pentland Frith,—from which the mail
is conveyed in a boat with four men, across the Frith,
a breadth of twelve miles, to Huna in Caithness; from
which a gig post takes it to Wick, a distance of eighteen
or twenty miles.
Fuel.—The principal disadvantage, notwithstanding
the great and high mountains we have in this parish, is
the scarcity of fuel, many of the inhabitants being obliged
to go a great way out of the parish among these hills,
to cut, win, and carry their peats down to the sea-shores,
where next they are obliged to carry them in their boats
by water to a very great distance. The present incumbent
has been obliged to carry his peats by water during all
the years of his incumbency for 5 or 6 miles, which is
attended with a great expence upon so small a stipend.
Fuel.—The principal disadvantage under
which this parish labours, is the scarcity of fuel.
The common people burn turf or peat, which they are
obliged to carry from Hoy and other places.
No mention of roads.
It is washed on one side by the sea, which forms the
Road of Kirkwall; on the other, by a pleasant inlet of
the sea, which flows by the back of the gardens at high
water: It is near an English mile in length; its breadth
is very inconsiderable, and it has only one street, stretching
from end to end, very inconvenient from its narrowness,
as well as from the badness of its pavement; and, towards
this street, the ends or gables of the houses are generally
placed, which gives the town rather an awkward appearance.
Details are given of the very considerable trade carried
on through the town.
Miscellaneous Observations—There is only
one mineral spring, so far as has been discovered, in
the parish, and that is about a mile and an half from
Kirkwall, on the postroad to Holm.
The fuel that is most commonly made use of is peat and
and turf, which are procured from mosses at about 2 or
3 miles distance. Every cart-load of peats, and the carts
are very small, costs 9d., the horse-load a penny; and,
to furnish this article to an ordinary family, whose income
may be about 50L. per annum, it will require fully 5L.
Sterling. As this necessary of life, as well as almost
every other, has increased very much of late, some people
have begun to use coal, carried from the Clyde, from the
Forth, and from Tyne ; and, though there be imposed on
it a pretty high duty, the most absurd and impolitic that
ever the legislature thought of, they find it to be cheaper,
as well as better firing.
Roads - The state of the roads is very indifferent
at present. They were made about 30 years ago, through
the exertions of the gentlemen of the place, partly by
contribution, partly by road-money, and partly by statute
labour. One of these roads leads to the excellent and
much frequented harbour of Deersound, on the east side
of the main land; a second to Holm, which is the post
road; and a third to Stromness, about 13 miles west of
us, which is the principal resort of the shipping, These
three, together with some few more of less note, are the
only roads that have yet been formed. They are now fallen,
in a great measure, into decay ; and this has been owing
to, a defect in their original formation. Instead of drawing
a ditch at some distance from the road, to carry off the
water, which they ought to have done, they have dug one
close by the side of it, in which the water, running with
rapidity, has, in some places, undermined and carried
away the road itself. From time to time, these roads have
been repaired by means of the statute labour, which is
performed here with as much reluctance, and as imperfectly,
as any where, and had much better be converted into money.
No turnpikes have as yet been erected; and, considering
the poverty of the country people, and the vast number
of horses which they never fail to use on almost all occasions,
it is probable they would feel the expence of them burdensome.
Since they began to use carts, however, which they have
now done for some considerable time past, roads, they
are abundantly sensible, afford them several signal advantages.
Even in the town the people labour under several inconveniences.
All the intelligence of any importance which they have,
must come from the south, and it is often very slow in
reaching them. This, indeed, happens partly from the boisterous
friths which the post must unavoidably cross in his way
to Kirkwall. But notwithstanding this circumstance, were
the post to go out on Friday instead of Sunday; were he
to ride through Caithness and Sutherland where he now
walks; were he to come straight from Wick to Houna, or
should he still continue to come by Thurso; were he to
cross the Pentland Frith from Scarfscarry to Walls, in
place of coming by South Ronaldshay, they might have the
return of a letter in one third less time than it now
takes to come to to them from Edinburgh. Were these changes
brought about, and they certainly could be done with no
great expence to government, the business of this place
would reap from them evident advantages. But this inconveniency
of the want of quick and regular returns of the post,
is trifling compared to those the inhabitants sustain
from the want of regular markets.
The town consists principally of one street, in many
parts very narrow, running the whole length; parallel
to which, however, a new street, called King Street,
has been commenced within the last twenty years, and
contains several neat and commodious houses.
The shopkeepers are very numerous, almost every alternate
house, in most parts of the town, containing a shop.
The principal shops are well stocked with goods of every
description, imported from Edinburgh, London, and other
markets; and which are sold on very moderate profits,
considering the distance of the markets and the great
expense of carriage.
Navigation.—The town is provided with
a safe and commodious harbour, constructed thirty years
ago, and well frequented both by coasting and other
vessels, including some from Norway and the Baltic.
Means of Communication.—Kirkwall was formerly
entitled to only three mails per week; but about a year
ago (1839), through the exertions of the county and
burgh Members, a daily post was established; in other
words, the mail-boat is bound, on every lawful day,
when weather permits, to cross the Pentland Frith.
good sailing vessel, for conveyance of goods and passengers,
plies all the year between this town and Leith; and
within the last few years, the place has obtained the
great advantage of a weekly visit from an excellent
and powerful steamer, which accomplishes the voyage
to Leith, including several long stoppages, in from
34 to 40 hours.
roads through the parish have of late years been greatly
improved, which has led to the introduction of gigs
and phaetons for hire.
Inns.—Of these there are several, but
one only adapted for the accommodation of respectable
Fairs.—There is one fair, commencing on the
first Tuesday after the 11th August, and continuing
Fuel.—The principal fuel is English coal;
but peats procured in this and the adjacent parishes
are much used by the poor.
See Cross & Burness
The number of carts in Lady parish is 118. It is a remarkable
fact, that, at the date of the old Statistical Account
of Sanday, the whole island contained only 36 carts
; there are now, therefore, 82 more carts in Lady parish
than were, at that period, in all the three parishes
which composed our island.
The eastern district is interspersed with rising grounds,
covered with heath, and large peat-mosses, which furnish
the inhabitants with fuel, and enable them to supply the
neighbouring town of Kirkwall.
When there is an extraordinary demand for black-cattle,
from sixty to seventy head are sold, early in the summer,
chiefly to farmers from Caithness, at a price from L.2,
10s. to L.3. A few horses are sold at the Lammas market
at Kirkwall, commonly to Caithness people, at from L.8
to L, 10; and some, in rare cases, bring double this
Means of Communication.—The post
crosses from Huna, in Caithness, to South Ronaldsay,
where there is a post-office, and proceeds by a runner
to Kirkwall and Stromness. There was no public road,
by which a cart could pass, until about twenty years
ago. Since that period, the statute labour has been
employed in forming a public road; and this has for
some time past been formed, and the greater part kept
in a good state of repair. There is only one harbour,
and it is situated in the Bay of Houton, where sloops
and larger vessels lie in safety, and are protected
by the Holm from south and south-east gales.
are three licensed inns, two of which retail ale only,
and the other ale and whisky. The last is sufficient
for the accommodation of travellers.
The forming of the public road has been a great improvement,
so that carts are now in general use; whereas, formerly,
loads were carried on the backs of horses.
The small horses, generally brought to these parishes
from Caithness, and Strathnaver, only one year old, are
bought at from 2L. to 5L. Sterling and they are begun
to work when two years old. After eight years of age,
or more, they are generally sold again at nearly the same
prices to the inhabitants of the countries from whence
Miscellaneous Remarks—There is one sloop
belonging to South Ronaldsay, which each spring carries
salt beef, pork, hides, tallow, yarn, butter, geese, value
about 60 L. Sterling, to Leith, the produce of these parishes,
and brings back merchant goods. During the summer she
is freighted with kelp to Dundee, Leith, New Castle, Hull,
&c. There are 3 or 4 merchants at the village of St. Margarets
Hope, in South Ronaldsay.
Means by which the Situation of the People could
be elmiorated.- A good road for the post, through
the middle of the islands of Burray and South Ronaldsay.
Inns—There are sixteen public-houses in the
united parishes, though seven would be sufficient.
Fuel is fast wearing out in the three united parishes.
There is a great quantity of kelp made annually in
this parish from May to July. The people employ themselves
at this work. There is a little woollen stuff made, and
some linen, but to no amount. These they trade with to
Shetland, and sell at the great annual market at Kirkwall.
No mention of roads.
OSA (Sandwick & Stromness)
Carts.—There were no carts here 50 years
ago. They are now getting into use. They are sometimes
drawn by a single horse, but more frequently by oxen.
The number of carts is, Parish of Sandwick 11; Parish
of Stromness 12. Total, 23.
Fuel. — As there are no peat-mosses in the
parish of Sandwick, the inhabitants of that parish bring
their peats from the mosses of the neighbouring parish
of Harray, distant 5 or 6 miles. This employs them and
their horses the greater part of the summer, when, otherwise,
they might be employed in cleaning their lands, and preparing
manure, so that this distance from fuel is consequently
a great bar to improvement, either in the way of inclosing,
fallowing, or raising green crops. The small mosses in
the parish of Stromness at present supply the parish ;
but it is probable that, in 30 or 40 years hence, these
mosses will either be exhausted, or covered with water,
so as to be inaccessible. The inhabitants of the village
of Stromness cut part of their peats in the parish-mosses;
but the greater part of this village is supplied with
peats brought by sea,from other parishes, the distance
of 5 or 6 miles. The duty being now taken off coals, the
inhabitants of this village will probably use peats for
their kitchen-fires, and coals for other fires.
are no made roads through these parishes but one of
two miles in length, which leads from the village of
Stromness towards the road that leads to the borough
of Kirkwall. The roads through the parish of Sandwick
are naturally good, as the ground is dry. The roads
through the parish of Stromness are, for the most part,
bad in winter, as the grounds are wet. In one or two
places the roads are scarcely passable on horseback;
and although the inhabitants of two or three parishes
must pass by these bad roads, in carrying the produce
of their farms to sale at the village of Strommess,
yet it has never been attempted to make these roads
better; although this might be done at no great expence
is only one bridge, and that in the parish of Stromness,
at the entrance to the loch of Stenness, where it communicates
with the sea. This bridge may be about 100 or 150 yards;
it has no arches, but instead of these, logs of wood
are laid across 3 or 4 openings, through which the sea
Parochial Economy. There is
no town or village in the parish, but the centre is
only about five miles from Stromness, and about fifteen
from Kirkwall. Our letters pass through the Stromness
post-office; and the length of made-road from the centre
of this, to join that in Stromness parish, is two miles.
Inns, and Fuel.— There is one cattle fair held
near the east boundary in June. There are four alehouses,
which are too many, and have very bad effects on the
morals of the people, inducing habits of intemperance.
Sandwick is worse provided with fuel, than any other
parish in this neighbourhood, having no good moss from
which coal-peats can be procured. By use and wont, however,
the people have access to extensive mosses in Harray;
but as these are six miles from the centre of this parish,
the labour and expense of carting them home are very
No mention of roads.
No mention of roads.
Till within these seven years, there were no carts
in these parishes but what belonged to the the minister,
one heritor, and two farmers. Now there are about 40 in
St Andrews alone. Most of them are drawn by an ox, yoked
in the same way as a horse.
There are few horses bred in these parishes, or in
any part of Orkney, most of them being brought from Caithness
and Strathnaver, when a year old, and are then called
staigs. A staig costs from five to twelve guineas, and
after being employed in the farm, and kept at a considerable
expence for four or five years, is sold again to Caithness,
at nearly the same price he was bought at.
As soon as any one tenant cuts and brings in his corn,
the whole country becomes at once a common, and all his
neighbours must follow his example, or leave their crops,
ripe and unripe, to be trodden down and destroyed.
Parochial Economy. There is no
town or village in the parish. The nearest town is the
burgh of Kirkwall, which is seven miles distant from
the remotest, and two and a half from the nearest, part
of the parish. The road to it is one of the best in
the country, though not a turnpike, and has hitherto
been kept in repair by means of statute labour.
Cattle markets are held at two places in the parish,
Knockhall and Occlester, three times a year; at Candlemas,
Midsummer, and Martinmas.
Alehouses, Etc.—There is only one licensed alehouse.
It is situated at the side of the road leading to a
neighbouring parish, and at one of the places where
a cattle-market is held. It seems to be established
for a useful purpose, is orderly kept, and is not known
to produce any bad effect upon the morals of the people.
general description of fuel, and indeed all that is
used here, except a small quantity of coals, brought
either from Newcastle or the ports on the Frith of Forth,
is peat, which is obtained at the distance of a quarter
of a mile, or at most two miles, from each house. But
as each family undertakes the labour of cutting, drying,
and carting home as much as will suffice for its own
consumption,—little can be said satisfactorily of the
expense of this sort of fuel. The carting alone occupies
three weeks, or a month of constant labour.
See Sandwick above.
Quarries.—There is a slate quarry on the west side of
the parish, from which, it is observed, in the former
Account, that from 30,000 to 40,000 slates were annually
is composed chiefly of one street, which extends three-quarters
of a mile on the side of the harbour; but the houses
have been erected without any regular plan....Till very
lately, the street was not sufficiently wide to admit
of a passage for carts and other vehicles.
of Communication.—There is regular communication
between this parish and Kirkwall three times a-week,
by a gig which conveys the mail. Last June, a mail-coach
commenced running, daily, in place of the gig. It was
an interesting as well as a novel scene, to see a regular
mail-coach in ultima Thule. It is, however, a matter
of regret, that such encouragement was not given as
to enable the proprietors to continue running the coach
distance betwixt Stromness and Kirkwall, the only towns
in the county, is about 15 miles; and of late the road
has been considerably improved.
is a post-office in town, and a south mail via Kirkwall
arrive Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, when not detained
at the Pentland Frith, which is often the case, especially
town, there are 4 inns, kept by respectable persons,
in which good accommodation will be found, and every
is the fuel most generally used, and is procured from
a moss in the parish. The inhabitants of the town are
supplied in a great measure from the islands, where
the peats are of a superior quality. The more wealthy
and respectable families use coals, which are brought
from Newcastle and Sunderland.
Since the former Statistical Account was published,
many improvements have taken place; for instance, the
increase of carts from 12 to 140......
Fuel, Servants Wages, &c.—The inhabitants of
these parishes have used peats only, as their firing,
for time immemorial ; in which necessary of life: they
have been greatly restrictcd by the proprietors of mosses
in both parishes, as to quantity, during the last period
of seven years.
The horses in this district, and through Orkney in general,
are of a hardy nature and small size, the largest are
seldom above 14 hands high; great numbers of them, when
only one year old, are brought from the neighbouring neighbouring
county of Caithness, to the annual fair at Kirkwall in
Orkney, in the month of August, which lasts about ten
days : To this fair, not only horses from Caithness, but
cattle, and all other saleable commodities, are brought
from the different islands in Orkney, the annual business
of all ranks is settled, horses, and such other articles,
as country people require, are purchased and carried home
with them to the islands of their respective habitations.
The ferries in this district, and through all Orkney,
except on the post road from Caithness to Kirkwall, are
not under proper regulations. There are no stated ferry-men,
the freights are accordingly imposed at the pleasure of
the boatmen who cross over with passengers, which renders
the expence and trouble of travelling through these islands
very great, and difficult to be ascertained. There are
ale-houses in almost all the islands, but no inns, except
in Kirkwall and Stromness, the only towns in Orkney; which
circumstance makes it inconvenient for strangers to pass
through this country, this defect, however, is well supplied
by the most respectable people in each of the islands,
who receive and accommodate travellers with great hospitality
The writer refers to the Picts' houses in Stronsay
and says that at one near Lambhead there is a much decayed
structure that might be an ancient pier. It appears
as a mound of stones some 90 feet wide and about 800
feet long (thought to be a natural feature -see Canmore
greatest part of Eday being covered with moss, presents
a great obstacle to agricultural improvement, though
it is to be allowed that this is of the greatest benefit
to the inhabitants for fuel, and contributes a considerable
share of the same important commodity to the inhabitants
of several of the adjacent islands, and some cargoes
have been sent to the Frith of Forth within the last
Alehouses, Etc.—There are seven alehouses or
inns in these parishes, and the bad effects of these
houses are the same here as in other parts of the country.
writer notes that Eday has good peats which supply both
Eday and neighbouring islands. He refers to a court
case when the proprietor of Rothesholm stopped locals
from digging peats on his lands - the case was decided
in his favour.
No mention of roads.
The post is conveyed by a boat, which crosses from St
Margaret's Hope, in South Ronaldshay, once a week. This
conveyance was established, some years ago, for the
convenience of the numerous shipping resorting to the
well-known harbour of Longhope.
Churches, &c.—There are three churches or places
of worship in this parish, two in the island of Westray,
one of which is called St Mary's, and the other Cross
Kirk...... The minister preaches in these different parts
of worship by rotation, at least when the weather permits
him to pass the ferry to Papa Westray.
Fuel.—The writer notes that peats are
impossible to obtain as the person who owns the only peat
moss has restricted it to his tenants only, as have the
proprietors on neighbouring islands. He notes the distress
this has caused and that people may not be able to continue
to subsist unless coal is imported.
Parochial Economy. The nearest market-town
is Kirkwall, twenty miles distant.The only semblance
to a village in this parish is Picrowall, consisting
of ten or twelve houses situated along the sea shore.
of Communication.—The means of communication
enjoyed by the parish are very defective, by reason
of there being as yet no stated or regular conveyance
between this and the post-town. There are as yet no
highways in the parish; and no harbours, though one
is much wanted at the bay of Tookquoy.
The district of Rapness is at least five miles from
the parochial school, and, for the greater part of the
year, the road in that quarter is almost impassable,
by reason of an immense tract of peat moss intervening.
The south-west part of the island is distant from the
parochial school three miles, and the road in winter
very bad. The north extremity is also distant from it
about three miles.
is the only fuel used in the parish by the poorer classes.
This island was wont to supply itself and the other
island with this most necessary domestic comfort. But
since the mosses in this island have failed, the inhabitants
have been necessitated to go to the Island of Eday,
where peat moss abounds. There they are supplied at
considerable expense, the ground being, per square fathom,
Observations on the County of Orkney (NSA, page 215)
The two principal
towns are, Kirkwall, which is a royal burgh, and Stromness,
which is a burgh of barony. A steamer goes once a-week
to Lerwick on one side, and to Leith on the other, touching
at intermediate ports during the summer; and all the
year, sailing packets go, about once a month, between
Leith and each of the two towns. We have now a daily
post to the south, and a post-gig daily travels between
Kirkwall and Stromness, which carries passengers; other
vehicles also go occasionally. The public road between
these two places is about fifteen miles long, and pretty
good ; and there is a considerable extent of as good
road in other parts of the Mamland. The principal harbours,
and the most frequented by shipping, are those of Stromness
and Long Hope, but there are many bays besides, in which
vessels frequently take shelter ; and at the former
of these places, there is a patent slip for repairing