Greysteen was the site of two houses south-west of Deithe, close to the Quandale dyke in Wasbister. John Yorston and his wife Margaret Harrold lived in the original building in the 1730’s. It was spelled Graceton in the Birth Register when their first child William was christened on December 18th 1734. At this time Wasbister was spelt Weybyster, and it was here their second son was christened David on November 9th 1738; and their third child, a daughter, was named Christian, on March 2nd 1744.

Agricultural labourer Henry Craigie and his family were the occupants of Old Greysteen in 1851. Henry’s parents were Hugh and Isabel Craigie of Brough, Westside, and he was born on January 30th 1811. He married 24-year-old Jane Craigie at Innister in 1842 and they had nine children between 1843 and 1862. The three eldest were born when they lived at Mid Quandale; Jane, was born on April 4th 1843; James, on October 20th 1844; and Janet, on December 13th 1847.


At about this time the Craigie family moved to Greysteen, and it was there the other six children were born: Mary, on January 16th 1850, Samuel Seatter, on May 20th 1852, David, on November 12th 1854, Margaret Inkster, on August 24th 1857, Peter, on September 21st 1859, and Neil Patrick Rose on November 23rd 1862.

At New Greysteen, James and Janet Murray were both in their 54th year, and daughter Janet was a 12-year-old scholar. Living with them was Janet’s first daughter Mary Sinclair, who was now an unmarried 25-year-old agricultural labourer - with a one-year-old son James to look after as well. On November 18th 1869 she gave birth to James Robertson, whose father was James Robertson, a servant at Scockness. On October 17th 1872 she had a daughter, Alexina Louttit Sinclair, but who the father was is not on record.


Between 1872/79 James Murray’s rent was 5s. a year. In 1876/77 Henry Craigie paid James’s share of the rent as he was not a fit man. In 1883 James was a pauper and paid no rent. He died in 1885.


In 1883 Mary Sinclair married John Craigie of Blackhammer. They had two daughters, Mary, born on October 26th 1884, and Jemima Janet, born on May 27th 1886.

When she was 32 years old, Alexina Louttit Sinclair had a son James Craigie Inkster Sinclair, born on October 19th 1904, whose father is not on record either. She later married blacksmith David Pearson Inkster and they went to Canada, taking the youngster with them. By that time he was known as James Inkster, but he died in 1915.


Back in the 1870s James Craigie from Greysteen, who was descended from the Craigies of Brough, married Mary Craigie from Mount Pleasant in Frotoft and emigrated to Canada, settling at Goderich in Ontario. In the summer of 2004 several Canadian and American descendants from that marriage travelled to Orkney to visit the places associated with their ancestors. They are pictured below within the ruins of Greystane with the late Robert Craigie Marwick, who was their guide and informant that day.


Ruins 014 Ruins 013 Ruins 015 Ruins 016 Ruins 017 Greystane (1) Greystone (3) July 2004