- Part 12

1896 August 22 West London Observer


In a letter which appears in “The Parson’s Green Parish Magazine” for this month, the Rev. J. S. Sinclair, Vicar of St Dionis, gives an interesting account of his holiday tour  in  Scotland. He says: - “Can there be a greater contrast between the places where I have been for the past three weeks and Fulham? Both in Orkney and Caithness, while you have been sweltering in tropical heat, we have hardly been able to keep warm indoors  without  fires, and  have  congratulated  ourselves  on our prudence in bringing winter clothes  and  wraps. If anyone wants to escape the heat of the dog-days, I cannot advise a more promising course to pursue than to go to Orkney. The particular island where we were staying is about two hours’ steam from Kirkwall, the capital of the islands, situated on the “mainland,” as the inhabitants call their principal islet. We arrived there from Perth, after a long day’s journey, late night, much later than it should have been, as the Highland train was, as  usual,  late, and the steamer from Thurso, in consequence, lost the tide. But still it was wonderfully light; we could always read ordinary print to midnight, and though, of course, the sun disappeared, still his light was always visible till he rose, after few hours, in the morning. Some of our party played a game of golf round the house on the isle of Rousay at 11 o’clock at night.”



    The Rev. gentleman goes on to describe the journey from Thurso to Kirkwall, and remarks: - “At last, in the midnight twilight, Kirkwall appeared in sight, with its great red and grey cathedral towering over the little town of low-built houses - a wonderful sign of the energy and power of the Church in the middle ages. I could name good many cathedrals in England which are not its equal in size and beauty. We put up for the rest of the night at Dunnet’s comfortable hotel, and in the morning inspected more closely the cathedral and the ruins of the earl’s and bishop’s palaces close by. Communication between the various islands is not very frequent, but, fortunately, a picnic of the Free Church Sunday School was leaving mid-day for Rousay, our destination, so we gladly arranged with their leaders to take us with them. I was interested in watching the children and teachers, who swarmed all about the little steamer “Fawn.” They are like certain that I could name in their liking for sweets of all kinds but I think they are a little more cautious and canny in spending their money, and take their pleasure much more solemnly; in fact, I imagine they would have been a little scandalised at the shouts which lately proceeded from a string of vans between Fulham and Riddlesdown.”


    The Rev. J. S. Sinclair further says: - “The Orcadians, like the Shetlanders and the men of Caithness, are of Scandinavian origin, and have never spoken the broad Scotch of the Lowlands or the Gaelic of the Highlands. They are a very courteous, reserved set of people, of fine physique, in fact, an officer whom I met, and who had been inspecting the local artillery volunteers, told me they were the finest body of men he had ever reviewed. From Rousay we went back to Thurso, where my family have lived for some time, and from there visited John o’ Groats, the furthest inhabited house in Scotland, and the wild  headland  of  Duncansby, the extreme point of our island. Here I found some rare plants, including the Primula Scottica, a tiny pink primrose, and the Bog Pimpernel, specimens of which I despatched to be planted in a well-known Fulham garden.”


    The letter concludes as follows: - “The coast scenery of Caithness is often very grand, but the interior is wild and desolate in the extreme; there are no hedges, only stone or sod dykes; no trees, except those protected by high walls or very close planting, and everywhere are traces of the tremendous gales to which this country is subject. On the other hand the winter is less serious than with us, and in Rousay I saw hedges of fuchsia six feet high, and various other plants that we put under glass flourish there out of doors. Everything, however, has to be protected from the wind, as you will gather when I tell you that the lighthouse-keeper at Dunnet Head told me be occasionally found his cabbages down by a loch half a mile away after a severe gale! On the whole we were glad that our lot was cast in a less severe if less bracing climate.”


1896 September 7 The Globe


Admiral Sir W. J. Hunt-Grubbe arrived at Kirkwall yesterday and proceeded to Westness House, Rousay, where he is to be the guest of Mr and Mrs Middlemore for a few days.


1896 November 30 Aberdeen Press & Journal


FISHING NEWS - KIRKWALL, Saturday. - Fishing this week has been prosecuted with better success. The weather in the first of the week was very fine. The Kirkwall boats proceeded to Westray Firth, and had good takes of haddocks and cod, while one boat at the East Firth had also a fair take of haddocks. Some good shots were landed at Rousay. The boats had good shots of cod daily from Westray Firth. The Scapa boats also had good shots. Landed for the week - 195cwt. haddocks and 103cwt. cod. Prices - Cod, 4s; haddocks, 7s. The lobster boats also fished well.


1896 December 21 Aberdeen Press & Journal


FISHING NEWS - KIRKWALL, Saturday. - The Scapa boats nave done best this week. Holm and Burray boats fished near Hunday, and landed fair shots. Orphir and Scapa boats landed their shots at Scapa. Owing to their long distance from sea. and light winds in first the week, the Kirkwall boats have been only once out for the week. Rousay and Evie boats have done well to the westward, but they cure their own fish. Landed at Kirkwall for the week, 140cwts. haddocks and 70cwts. cod. Prices - Cod, 4s ; haddocks, 7s.


1897 February 24 Dundee Advertiser


SHOOTINGS LET FOR NEXT SEASON. (From The Field.) General Traill Burroughs of Rousay, Orkney, has let his Trumland shootings in that county to Mr Middlemore, who has Westness, also belonging to the same proprietor. General Burroughs retains Trumland House for his own residence. The shootings extend to about 6000 acres.....

1897 April 23 John o’ Groat Journal


FISHERMAN FATALLY INJURED. - The fishing boat Violet of Portknockie, arrived at Kirkwall on Wednesday of last week and reported a serious accident which had occurred on board the previous night. It appears, that, when the boat was off the west side of the island of Rousay, a heavy sea swept on board, throwing one of the crew, named John Perrie, across the thwart with great violence. On Wednesday morning the unfortunate man was conveyed to Balfour Hospital, and late the same night he succumbed to the injuries which he had received. He was about 30 years of age, and leaves a widow and two children.


1897 July 12 Glasgow Herald


THE CROFTERS COMMISSION. – The Crofters Commission held a sitting at Kirkwall on Saturday, when evidence was heard in a number of cases from the estate of General Burroughs, of Rousay, for revaluation of holdings. The crofters generally complained of prohibition against their quarrying stones on the estate, and the expense  they  were  thus  put to by having to procure stones from other properties in order to fulfil the conditions of the Crofters Act as to the maintenance of buildings in proper repair. They asked for revaluation on account of the fall in  the  prices  of  stock  and  produce  since  fair  rents  were  fixed. The holdings will be inspected this week.


1897 August 21 Hartlepool Mail


CURIOSITY CORNER. WHOSE FISH WAS HE.  –  A writer in The Field tells the following:- “I was fishing Wasbister Loch, in the island of Rousay, from a boat, in company with Sheriff Armour, of Kirkwall. A 1lb. trout took in the same rise a Zulu from his cast and a coch-y-bondhu from mine. On removing the flies we found that each had fairly hooked the flesh inside the mouth in a separate place – Zulu in the tongue, coch-y-bondhu in the palate – and neither the hooks nor their gut fastenings were in any way entangled. Can any reader call to mind a similar experience?”


1897 December 11 Glasgow Herald


THE CROFTERS COMMISSION.  - The Commissioners are now in course of issuing orders in a number of applications for revaluations of holdings and otherwise which have formed the subject of inquiry in various parts of the crofting area during the last few months. Among the most important of these were probably the applications from the Island of Rousay, which is for the most part the property of General Burroughs. During the hearing of these applications the applicants complained to the Commission that they had been absolutely debarred by the proprietor from taking stones on their own holdings or from any part of the estate for ordinary building and repairing purposes, and also from cutting or quarrying stones on their holdings in order to the formation of drains or water channels, with the view to the permanent improvement of their holdings. Full inquiry was made into this matter, and thereafter the Commissioners issued an interim order calling upon the proprietor to state whether he would consent to their getting the stones they needed and carrying through operations for the above purposes. The landlord's reply to this order was an absolute refusal to accede to the tenants' desires. In the end the Commissioners have issued an order dealing with the complaints made. The landlord's minute and the order of the Commissioners are in the following terms: -


“Kirkwall, August 9, 1897.




"Minute for the Respondent in Application by Simpson Skethaway, Knarston, Sourin, Rousay, to fix a fair rent."

    "The respondent is not willing, nor will he consent to allow the applicant to obtain stones on the estate of Rousay and Veira for any purposes whatsoever. He refuses this consent as a protest against what he considers to be the arbitrary and unjust decrees of the Crofters Commissioners in the applications by the tenants of the farm of Knarston, and by other crofting tenants on his estate dealt with by them in their former visits to the County of Orkney, against which decrees he has no power to appeal.

    "The respondent further takes this opportunity to protest against the injustice of any Commission depriving loyal and law-abiding subjects of the Crown of their property, and handing it over to others who have no right to it, without allowing those from whom it is taken due compensation.

    “Land in the Orkney Islands as elsewhere in Scotland has under the laws of our country been freely bought and sold for hundreds of years, and under the protection of these laws much money has been laid out in its improvement which otherwise would not have been so expended. The respondent had done all in his power towards the improvement of the estate to which he succeeded in the county of Orkney, and for the welfare of all on it. For some forty years previous to, and up to, the passing of the Crofters Holdings (Scotland) Act in 1886 some £40,000 were expended in Rousay and Veira on estate improvements, in roadmaking, in the building of a pier, and of houses and steadings. in draining and enclosing, &c. By the action of the Crofters Commissioners the respondent now finds himself deprived of all return for his outlay.

    “As long as his property was his own the respondent permitted his tenants and 'crofters' to take stone and roofing flags from his quarries. Since he has been unrighteously deprived of his property by the Crofters Commissioners, and since it has been handed over by them in perpetuity at merely nominal rents to its present 'crofter' occupants, who had hired it from him, and to their heirs, it is unreasonable to expect that he is to continue treating them as if they were his own tenants.

    “The respondent will avail himself of all legal means to regain possession of the property of which he has been unjustly deprived.

                                                                        “DUNCAN J. ROBERTSON,

                                                                            Agent for the Landlord."



“December 8, 1897.


"The Commissioners having heard parties and considered the evidence adduced, find that this application has been lodged for the purpose of obtaining revaluation of the applicant's holding at the close of the first septennial period: Find that in the course of the hearing serious complaint was made by the applicant of the difficulty he had in obtaining stones for the reasonable purposes of his holding: Find that the respondent is proprietor of the whole island of Rousay, except certain small portions held by the parish minister as glebe lands, and by Mr Sinclair and Mr Gibson respectively: Find is stated by the applicant that in order to obtain flags or stones he had to apply to those other proprietors, or to get them from the island of Westray, distant not less than from eight to twelve miles, according to the situation of the various holdings: Find that the respondent, by letter dated 6th September, 1889 (produced and marked A/923), intimated proceedings through his agents against the applicant if he attempted to quarry stones on the respondent’s property, and that he held him liable for the price of the stones already quarried: Find that the Commissioners issued an order herein on 28th July, 1897, ordaining the respondent to lodge a minute stating whether he would then consent to allow the applicant to obtain stones on the estate of Rousay for the said purpose, but subject always to proper regulations for the taking of the same: Find that the respondent in answer to this order lodged the minute dated 9th August, 1897 (marked C/925), wherein he adhered to his contention that he has right absolutely to refuse stones to the applicant for the said purpose: Find that the Act by section 1 (3) renders the tenant liable to removal from his holding should he persistently injure the same by the dilapidation of buildings, and that by section 1 (4) he is enabled without the consent of the landlord in writing to erect a dwelling-house upon his holding in substitution for one already there at the time of the passing of the Act: Find that the course taken by the respondent as aforesaid has the effect of hindering or preventing the applicant from duly fulfilling the statutory obligations imposed upon him by the Act, and also of hindering or preventing him from improving his holding and reconstructing and improving his buildings: Find that the difficulty and increased expense experienced by the applicant in obtaining stones for the reasonable purposes of his holding is a matter which the Commissioners are called on to take into consideration in the revaluation of his holding, and of new fixing a fair rent therefore.

                                        “DAVID BRAND.

                                        "W. HOSSACK.

                                        "P. R. MACINTYRE.


    "Note. - It appears from the evidence that prior to the passing of the Act the respondent made little or no difficulty about allowing the applicant to cut, quarry, or otherwise take stones for all the ordinary purposes of his holding, but in consequence of the Act having been passed, and cases on the respondent's estate having been dealt with under the same, he has elected to assert his rights as a proprietor in an extreme form, and to refuse the applicant the materials necessary, for the permanent improvement, the safe and sanitary occupation of his holding, and for the fulfilment of his obligations in regard thereto under the Act. The position thus taken up by the respondent appears by the Commissioners to be unwarranted and oppressive. By his minute of 9th August, 1897, above referred to, the respondent refuses to allow the applicant to obtain stones "for any purposes whatsoever," and that minute otherwise is in effect an expression of protest against the policy of the Act of 1886. But it does not appear to the Commissioners to be a permissible procedure for the respondent to convert his opposition to this statute into a hostile and at unprecedented course of action against the crofting tenants of an  island  which  is  almost  entirely  his  own property. The Commissioners are satisfied that the respondent's refusal to allow  stones to be obtained for reasonable and ordinary purposes, and the consequent risk and difficulty involved, are matters which the Commissioners  are  bound  to  have  in  view  in re-valuing the holding.

                                          “D. B.

                                          “W. H.

                                          “P. R. M.”

1897 December 21 The Scotsman



December 18, 1897


SIR, - Being away from home and travelling, I missed seeing until this day the paragraph in the “Scotsman” of the 11th inst., in which the Crofter Commissioners take me to account for refusing to allow the crofters on my estate of Rousay in the Orkney Islands to take stone from my quarries for the improvement of their holdings.


    I wonder what Sheriff Brand and his brother Commissioners would do, were they in my place?


    I succeeded to this estate some forty-five years ago (I was then a lieutenant in the 93d Sutherland Highlanders.) Its factor, the late Mr. Robert Scarth of Binscarth, one of the best agriculturists and one of the ablest men in the County of Orkney, pointed out to me that much outlay of capital was required to develop its capabilities. I therefore remained in the army, accompanied my regiment in several campaigns, and devoted the greater part of the rental of my estate to its improvement, and to the benefit of all on it. I did not do this out of pure philanthropy, but whilst benefiting my tenants, I hoped I was also making provision for my own old age and for my successors.


    I found the estate without roads, with few enclosures, and little drainage; with very inferior houses and steadings, and generally in a very backward state. I set to work to complete the improvements commenced by my grand uncle to whom I had succeeded. There are now some twenty miles of good macadamised roads, some thirty miles of stone-wall enclosures, some ten miles of wire fencing; and many modern houses and steadings have been built. A pier has been built, and regular postal and steam communication has been established, and much money has been laid out on the estate. In fact, I have done all that a proprietor, with my means, could do. Old age has now come upon me, and by the act of a fortuitous majority in Parliament I now find myself deprived of all return  for  my  outlay. I thought I rather merited reward for what I had done, than the punishment I am receiving at the hands of the Crofter Commissioners.


    Every tenant on my estate held his land by a lease or a legal agreement, or by "tacit relocation" of such lease or agreement.


    When the Crofters' Holdings (Scotland) Act was passed, and the cry was raised - " The land is the people's," many small farmers, now called “crofters," over-persuaded by agitators, repudiated their agreements, and applied to the Crofter Commissioners for a revaluation of their rents. Sheriff Brand ruled that those who were holding their lands by “tacit relocation” had not leases, and thus came under the Crofter Act, and he commenced upon them his wholesale reductions of rent.


    The inhabitants of the Orkney Islands are not Celts, but of Scandinavian, and Lowland Scots extraction. The county is not over-populated. The people are careful and well-to-do. Want as experienced in towns and cities is unknown amongst them. They are very intelligent, and do not require special Acts of Parliament to help them to take care of themselves.


    As long as the tenants of Rousay were my tenants, I did all I could for them. Since some have dishonestly repudiated the agreements they made with me, and have placed themselves under the management of Sheriff Brand and his Commission, it is unreasonable that I should be expected to treat them as my other tenants, whilst Sheriff Brand is ever ready to pounce upon me by still further reducing their rents, Would Sheriff Brand or his colleagues, in my place, act otherwise? I do not think they would.


    The small farmers, now called "crofters," in the Orkney Islands are by no means in indignant circumstances. The seas surrounding the islands are full of fish. Many of the smallest crofters make £50 and £60 a year by lobster fishing, besides their gains by other fishing. The export of eggs from the county brings into it a sum of money about as large as its total agricultural rental, and this sum also goes principally into the crofters' pockets.


    Of the five indigent crofters on my estate whose rents have just been reduced by the Crofter Commission to the total amount of £8 2s., James Gibson, the tenant of the farm of Curquoy, whose rent has been reduced from £17 16s to £16, when he heard some years ago that I was borrowing money from the Lands Improvement Company for drainage purposes, came to me and said – Why borrow money at 6 to 7 per cent.? I will lend you from £3000 to £4000 at 4 per cent.! So there is no show of indulgence in his case! His son until lately was the largest police constable in London.

    John Gibson and Simpson Skethaway, joint-tenants of the farm of Knarston, for which up to the passing of the Crofters Act they paid me £60 a year, have at this their second application to the Commission had their rent reduced to £30. When their case first came before Sheriff Brand seven years ago, he said to them – The rent of this  farm  is  £60. You are both tenants of it, 60 divided by 2 makes 30 (the crofter limit of rent), so you are both crofters – which I cannot but consider as a most unjustifiable interpretation of the Crofter Act.


    I took the opinion of counsel on this and on other cases on my estate. Counsel’s opinion was that they were very unjust, but as Parliament had given special powers to the Crofter Commission from which there was no appeal, I had no redress.


    Surely no Government has any just right to hand over loyal and law-abiding subjects to be plundered by Parliamentary Commissions as landowners in a so-called “crofter” county are being plundered. We, too, are precluded from submitting our cases to the judgement of the judges of the land, and our reputations, our estates, and our incomes are at the mercy of three casual Commissioners, against whose arbitrary and often unjust decrees no appeal is permitted.


    The landowners in the Orkney Islands pay the same taxes as do landowners all over Scotland, and surely we have an equally inalienable right to be governed by the common law of the land, and to be protected from the tyranny of a Parliamentary Commission which, at great public expense, interferes in every way with the management of our estates, tries to manage them for us, and, as might be expected, in its attempts to do so only produces the greatest confusion. – I am, &c.


                                                                       F. TRAILL BURROUGHS.



1898 April 23 The Scotsman


MEDICAL officer (resident), wanted for Rousay Parish Council, salary, £51 sterling per annum; duties to commence 22d June next. Apply on or before 3d May, to Clerk of Parish Council, who will give particulars. Rousay, Orkney, 14th April 1898.


1898 May 27 Dundee Advertiser


ROUSAY, ORKNEY. – To be Let, for such number of years as maybe agreed on, with entry at Martinmas 1898, the Desirable GRAZING and ARABLE FARM of TRUMLAND, in the ISLAND of ROUSAY, Orkney, as presently occupied by Mr DAVID WOOD, who is not to be an offerer. This farm has recently been in the Proprietor’s own hands, and is in good order. Its extent is about 1180 Imperial Acres, consisting of about 162 Acres Arable and 1018 Acres Good Hill Pasture. Its present Stock is 45 cattle (Shorthorn Crosses) and 6 Score Sheep (Leicester and Cheviot Crosses). Some of the Hill Pasture, although enclosed, is not at present stocked. It could carry a fair stock of Highland Cattle and Blackfaced Sheep or Shetland Ponies. The Farm is about an hour’s steaming from Kirkwall, the County Town, to and from which a local steamer plies two or three times a week. The passage is land locked, and there is a pier with suitable Storehouse, &c., on the Farm Boundary. There is regular steam communication between Kirkwall and Aberdeen, Leith, and Liverpool, and daily mail services to Caithness and the South, a daily mail to and from Rousay, and a Telegraph Station at the Post Office. The climate is so mild that Sheep are never sent  South  for  wintering.  The  population  of  Rousay  is  about  700. Mr ALEXANDER MUNRO, Overseer, Old Schoolhouse, Sourin, Rousay, will show intending Offerers over the Farm on receiving Seven Days’ Notice, and Conditions of Lease may be seen in his hands, or in the hands of Messrs MACKENZIE & KERMACK, W.S., 9 Hill Street, Edinburgh.


1898 July 12 Dundee Evening Telegraph


A DOCTOR'S SERIOUS BICYCLE ACCIDENT. – Dr Russell Stritch, Rousay, Orkney, met with a serious cycling accident last night. He was riding down a steep incline near Trumland Farm, when he lost control of the machine, and it violently collided with large stone at the side the road. Dr Stritch was thrown a distance of 12 yards, and when picked up was insensible from concussion of the brain, and now lies at Balfour Hospital, Kirkwall, in a very serious condition.


1898 November 19 Shetland Times


SMACK-RIGGED BOAT FOR SALE - The Boat LIVELY, of Rousay, 44 feet of keel, in Excellent Order, with or without Nets. Apply William Craigie, Curer, Rousay, Orkney. 12th Nov., 1898.

1899 March 22 The Scotsman






The Instra weighs only 3½ ounces, and will keep hot 3 to 4 hours without recharging.

              Dr A. RAMAGE writes:-

                   “Rousay, Orkney,

                        “4th December 1897.

         “I am charmed with the ‘Instra.’ Yesterday I was out for three or  four  hours  with  it. I had no overcoat on, and just the clothes I wore during summer, yet although the day was bitterly cold, with a keen north-easterly wind and sleety showers, I felt quite comfortable.”

    Agents amongst principal Chemists and Ironmongers throughout the Kingdom.

Further particulars on application.




[The ‘Instra’ was a charcoal-burning hand warmer comprising a decorative metal cylinder with perforations, patented by the Earl of Dundonald in 1896.]


1899 July 29 The Scotsman



To be LET for such number of years as may be agreed upon,

with entry at Martinmas next.

The DESIRABLE GRAZING and ARABLE FARM of WESTNESS, in the ISLAND of ROUSAY, as presently occupied by Mr Hugh Inkster, who will not renew his Tenancy.

    The extent of the Farm is 2904 Acres or thereby, whereof about 281 Acres are first-class Arable Land - the remainder being excellent Pasture.

    The Stock carried may be stated at 55 score of Ewes (Cheviot) and 60 head of Cattle.

    The Farmhouse and BuiIdings are in good order, and situated about 4 miles by a good road from the Rousay Pier, whence a local steamer plies to Kirkwall two or three times a week . There is a daily mail service and a Telegraph Office.

    Mr A. MUNRO, Overseer, Sourin, Rousay, will show the Farm on receiving a week’s notice, and Conditions of Lease may be seen with him or in the hands of the Subscribers, by whom offers will be received up to 26th August 1899.


9 Hill Street, Edinburgh.


1899 August 12 Shetland Times


Orkney and Zetland Association.



“The Share of Orkney and Zetland in the development of the Colonies.”

First - “Ad Valorem” - James P. S. Jamieson, Cruisdale, Sandness;

Second - “A Viking” - Hugh Marwick, Rousay.


Of these essays, Dr Gunn says: -  I have read the two essays sent in with much interest and pleasure. They are evidently the work of writers who are proud of their native isles, and they are well fitted to stir a similar feeling in the reader. Each is written from a point of view somewhat different from the other, and the essays are thus complementary: had the two been combined, it would be hard to suggest a better and fuller treatment of the subject. Of the two, that by “Ad Valorem” is the more comprehensive in out-look and more fluent in style, but the work of “A Viking” is also very good and gives evidence of careful collation of facts.

    Mr Garson writes: - I return the two essays which you left with me They seem to me to be highly creditable productions. I have read them twice, and have come to the conclusion that the one signed “Ad Valorem” is the better of the two. That conclusion was not reached without hesitation, as in some respects “A Viking” excels. His essay shows more evidence of reading, but less power of generalising. I am struck by the command of language both writers exhibit. That is not a common gift of island youths. A  great  power of silence is a more common characteristic.  I  am  amused  by  the  radical  leanings  of “A Viking.” He manages to have a fling at landlords and peers, but with his powers he may adorn both spheres before he goes to the Valhalla of his race.


1899 November 8 Aberdeen Press & Journal


CLIFF ACCIDENT IN ORKNEY. - On Sunday, two boys, 13 and 16 years of age, sons of Mr Samuel Craigie, Breckan, Rousay, Orkney, were down at the crags on the west  side. It was blowing a strong gale from the south-west, and when passing the highest part of the crags the wind came with a sudden gust and carried them off their feet. The youngest [John] fell down near the edge, but the eldest, Hugh,  was  carried  over  into  the  sea. The crags are about 200 feet in height. The youngest boy says he crept to the edge and saw his brother floating in the water.


1900 May 12 Aberdeen People’s Journal


DROWNED ON HIS FIRST VOYAGE. – James Corsie, a native of Rousay, Orkney, fell overboard, and was drowned when 20 miles off Copinshay while on the passage between Kirkwall and Aberdeen with the small trading steamer Cormorant. The vessel cruised in the vicinity, but could find no trace of the body. Corsie only joined the steamer the previous day, and was 22 years of age.

1901 November 20 The Scotsman


TEACHER (CERTIFICATED FEMALE) wanted for FROTOFT PUBLIC SCHOOL, Rousay, Orkney, to enter on duty as soon as possible; salary, £60 stg. per annum, with free house, partly furnished, and garden. Applications, with testimonials, to be forwarded to Clerk of School Board, Rousay, Orkney, immediately.


1902 January 20 The Scotsman


SUSPECTED INCENDIARISM IN THE ORKNEYS. - A fire took place in the stackyard of the farm at Sourin Post Office, Rousay, Orkney, on Friday night. Five stacks of oats and bere and one stack of hay were destroyed. The tenant of the farm is assistant factor to General Burroughs. Since the passing of the Crofters Act relations between the proprietor and the crofters have been strained, and it is supposed that the fire may have been the work of incendiaries. The police are making investigations.


1902 September 24 Aberdeen Press & Journal


THE ORKNEY AND SHETLAND ELECTION. MR WOOD’S MEETINGS. – Mr McKinnon Wood addressed three meetings yesterday. For country meetings they were large notwithstanding the stormy weather. At Sourin, Rousay, General Burroughs was called to the chair, and said that while he and the candidate did not agree in politics, he had the pleasure in occupying the chair for one whose forebears belonged to these islands.

    Mr Wood spoke on political questions in much the same terms as at the previous meetings.

    At the close of the speech General Burroughs asked if Mr Wood was in favour of abrogating the decalogue?

    Mr Wood – No.

 General Burroughs – How do you reconcile the Crofters Act with the eighth commandment?

    Mr Wood was afraid that he did not hold the same view as the chairman about the Crofters Act.

    Mr [Louis] McLeod, teacher, moved, and Mr  [George]  Gibson,  Avelshay,  seconded, a motion that Mr Wood was a fit and proper person to represent the constituency, which was carried.

    At Wasbister, in the same island, Mr Wood dealt chiefly with the conduct of the War Departmental mismanagement and army reform.

    In reply to questions, he said the law against illegal trawling should strike at the owners rather than the masters.

    On the motion of Mr [David] Gibson, Langskaill, seconded by Mr [William]  Inkster, Little Cogar, a vote of confidence was unanimously passed.....


1903 January 13 The Scotsman


SOCIETY OF ANTIQUARIES OF SCOTLAND. - The usual monthly meeting of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland was held in their library at the Museum, Queen Street, last night - Dr. Robert Munro, vice-president, in the chair.

    The first paper was an account by Professor Sir William Turner, K.C.B., D.C.L., LL. D., of a chambered cairn, with cremation cists, at Taversoe Tuick, near Trumland House in the island of Rousay, Orkney, excavated by Lieutenant-General Traill Burroughs, of Rousay and Veira. The mound was circular, with a diameter of about 30 feet, and covered with grass and heather. The excavation, which was begun on the south side, disclosed three cists of small size, containing burnt bones, and placed in close proximity to each other. Under them was a layer of earth about a foot in thickness, and when this was removed the stone roof of the underground chamber was exposed, upwards of 4 feet under the original surface. The roof was formed of massive flags, resting on the slide walls and ends of the chamber, which consisted of a central part facing the opening into the entrance passage, and four recesses, two on the north side and one at either end on the east and west. The entire chamber (including the recesses) was 12 feet long, nearly 5½ feet broad, and 4 feet 8 inches in height, and the recesses were separated from each other by flags projecting from the north wall. The passage which opened on the south side of the chamber diminished gradually in height and width towards the interior of the mound, and had a small recess on one side near the chamber, and a flag projecting from the floor, like a sill, at about 13 feet from the chamber. Towards the interior entrance the passage curved slightly to the east. Three heaps of bones, representing, probably, as many skeletons, lay in the passage between the chamber and the sill-like stone, and immediately to the south of the sill there was found the half of a finely-made hammer of grey granite, a triangular flake of flint, and numerous fragments of urns of a hard black paste, ornamented on the part near the rim by groups of parallel lines arranged in triangles. In the chamber itself several unburnt human skeletons were found, placed in the usual contracted posture on the floor, but from the fragmentary condition of the bones no definite conclusions could be formulated, The incinerated bones in the cists were mixed with a slag, indicating cremation at a very high temperature.....

1904 January 9 Peterhead Sentinel


The Rev Alexander Spark, minister of the united parishes of Rousay and Egilshay, Orkney, formerly of Boddam, and Mrs Spark have just been made the recipients of a handsome marble dining-room timepiece, also of a travelling rug, and a silver brooch for Mrs Spark, to commemorate the semi-jubilee of his ministry, 17th October, 1903, and their silver wedding, 1902.


1904 March 2 Aberdeen Press & Journal


SCOTTISH BANKRUPTS - EXAMINATION. – Walter Muir, lately tenant of the farm of Saviskaill, Island of Rousay, Orkney, presently residing at the Manse, Wasbister, Rousay. To be examined in the Sheriff Courthouse, Kirkwall, on 8th March, at 11 o’clock.


1904 June 18 Shetland Times



TO BE LET on LEASE, entry Martinmas next, WESTNESS FARM, in the Island of Rousay, extending to 2904 acres or thereby, whereof about 280 acres are good Arable Land. The stock carried may be put at 35 score ewes - cheviot cross - and 60 head of cattle. The present Tenant will not be an offerer.

    Mr Munro, ground officer, Rousay, will shew the Farm, and conditions of Lease may seen with him or in the hands of the Subscribers, who will let the Farm as soon as a suitable offer is received.

MACKENZIE & KERMACK, W.S, 9 Hill Street, Edinburgh.


1904 July 12 Aberdeen Press & Journal


THE HONOUR TO GENERAL BURROUGHS. - General Sir Frederick Burroughs was presented with an address by his tenants in Rousay and Veira and other residents in these islands on his return from London, where the King had invested him with the Knight Commandership of the Bath last Tuesday.


1904 October 4 Aberdeen Press & Journal


RATS IN ORKNEY. – “Inquirer,”' writing in "The Scotsman," says – As an occasional visitor to the island of Westray, Orkney, I have been struck by the absence of several of the animals commonly met with on the mainland of Scotland. In most cases it is comparatively easy to account for peculiarities of this kind, but I have never heard a satisfactory explanation of the non-existence of rats in Westray. It is not that they have never been introduced. As fishing vessels of all kinds visit the island, there is every opportunity for these active rodents finding a lodgement on shore. Moreover, I am informed by an eyewitness that some years ago a wreck came ashore on the north-east end of the island, when swarms of rats were seen to escape to the land. For some time after they were seen in the neighbourhood, but apparently they gradually died out, and now as formerly the island remains “ratless." I am told for certain that the island of Rousay also enjoys complete immunity from rats. Perhaps some your readers better acquainted with natural history can supply an explanation.