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Statistical Accounts of Scotland

Orkney
Old and New Statistical Accounts

Ronaldshay and BurrayWalls and FlottaHoy and GraemsayStromnessOrphirHolme and PaplaySt AndrewsKirkwallFirth and StennessSandwickBirsay and HarrayEvie and RendallRousay and EagleshayShapinshayStronsay and EdayCross and BurnessLadyWestray
Birsay and Harray V14, 311 Kirkwall V7, 529 Shapinshay V17, 224
Cross & Burness V7, 450 Lady V7, 450 St Andrews V20, 258
Evie & Rendall V20, 247 Orphir V19, 394 Stromness V16, 409
Firth & Stenness V14, 125 Ronaldshay & Burray V15, 298 Stronsay & Eday V15, 387
Holme & Paplay V5, 406 Rousay & Eagleshay V7, 336 Walls & Flotta V17, 312
Hoy & Graemsay V16, 245 Sandwick V16, 409 Westray V16, 251
General 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 Places.

Overview
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.

Roads 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.

By 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.

There 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.

Other sources
Guide to the highlands and islands of Scotland, including Orkney and Zetland, George & Peter Anderson, 1851.
Roads in 1859
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.


Birsay and Harray
OSA
At 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.
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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 well informed.
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There are no settled inns in this parish, but plenty of ale houses, as there are no gaugers.

NSA
Birsay

Parochial Economy. There are few or no made roads in the parish.

Inns.There are no less than six public-houses in the parish.

Fairs.There are three annual fairs in the parish for the sale of cattle and horses.

Fuel.Peats 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.

Harray
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.

Fairs.There are three fairs held annually in this parish, at which only cattle and horses are sold.


Cross & Burness
OSA
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.
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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, 8
In Ladykirk parish in the isle of Sanday, which is vacant, 15
Total number of carts in the isle of Sanday, in both ministers charges, 37
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 Ronaldshay, 38
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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...

There 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.

There are no ferrymen appointed, which is a great inconvenience in going to and from these, and many other islands in this county.

There 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.
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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.

NSA
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.


Evie & Rendall
OSA
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.
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...............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.
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NSA
No mention of roads.


Firth & Stenness
OSA
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.
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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.
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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.

A 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.

NSA
No mention of roads.


Holme & Paplay
OSA
At Holme Sound Bay the post between Kirkwall and Edinburgh crosses, to the distance of about half a league.
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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.

NSA
No mention of roads

Additions 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.


Hoy & Graemsay
OSA
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.

Graemsay
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.

NSA
No mention of roads.


Kirkwall
OSA
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.
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Details are given of the very considerable trade carried on through the town.
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Miscellaneous ObservationsThere 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.
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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.
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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.
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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.

NSA
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.
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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.
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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.
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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.

A 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.

The roads through the parish have of late years been greatly improved, which has led to the introduction of gigs and phaetons for hire.
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Inns.—Of these there are several, but one only adapted for the accommodation of respectable travellers.
Fairs.
—There is one fair, commencing on the first Tuesday after the 11th August, and continuing a fortnight.
Fuel.
—The principal fuel is English coal; but peats procured in this and the adjacent parishes are much used by the poor.

June 1841


Lady
OSA
See Cross & Burness

NSA
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.


Orphir
OSA
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.

NSA
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 price.
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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.

Inns.There 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.
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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.


Ronaldshay & Burray
OSA
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 they came.
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Miscellaneous RemarksThere 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.
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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.

NSA
Inns
There are sixteen public-houses in the united parishes, though seven would be sufficient.

FuelFuel is fast wearing out in the three united parishes.


Rousay & Eagleshay
OSA
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.

NSA
No mention of roads.


Sandwick
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.
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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.

Roads.There 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 of labour.

Bridges.There 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 passes.

NSA
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.

Fairs, 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 great.


Shapinshay
OSA
No mention of roads.

NSA
No mention of roads.


St Andrews
OSA
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.
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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.
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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.

NSA
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.

Fairs.Cattle markets are held at two places in the parish, Knockhall and Occlester, three times a year; at Candlemas, Midsummer, and Martinmas.

Inns, 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.

Fuel.The 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.

Revised August 1841.


Stromness
OSA
See Sandwick above.

NSA
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 sold.

(Stromness) 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.

Means 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 during winter.

The distance betwixt Stromness and Kirkwall, the only towns in the county, is about 15 miles; and of late the road has been considerably improved.

There 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 in winter.

Inns.In town, there are 4 inns, kept by respectable persons, in which good accommodation will be found, and every attention paid.

Fuel.Peat 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.
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Since the former Statistical Account was published, many improvements have taken place; for instance, the increase of carts from 12 to 140......


Stronsay & Eday
OSA
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.
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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.
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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 and kindness.

NSA
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 record).
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The 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 two years

Inns, 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.

Fuel.The 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.


Walls & Flotta
OSA
No mention of roads.

NSA
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.


Westray
OSA
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.
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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.

NSA
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.

Means 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.
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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.

Fuel.Peat 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, 2s. 6d.

Revised 1841


General 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 them.

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