1905 June 14 The Scotsman




There will be Exposed for SALE by Public Roup, within Dowell’s Rooms, 18 George Street, Edinburgh, on Wednesday the 16th day of August next, 1905, at 2 o'clock Afternoon unless previously disposed of by private bargain.

Entry at Martinmas 1905,


in the united PARISH of ROUSAY and EGILSHAY, ORKNEY. Extent, about 12,000 Acres. The Gross Rental is about £2700, and the Annual Burdens about £500. The Property consists of the Islands of Rousay, Veira, and Scockness.

    Rousay is about 20 miles in circumference. There is an excellent Mansion-house on the island, and also a beautifully-situated Shooting Lodge.

    The Shootings are first-class, comprising Grouse and many kinds of Wild Fowl, also Hares and Rabbits, with splendid Loch and Sea Trout Fishing, and Sea Fishing.      The Estate affords continuous and varied sport throughout the season. There is excellent Yacht Anchorage.

For further particulars and Cards to view the Estate, application may be made

to the Subscribers, in whose hands are the Title-Deeds and Articles of Sale.

MACKENZIE & KERMACK, W.S. Edinburgh, 9 Hill Street, June 1905.




1905 November 25 Peterhead Sentinel & General Advertiser for Buchan


MUSICAL ADVENTURE. – From the Musical Herald of London for November we cull the following regarding a former minister of Boddam who has secured a prize offered by that publication:- “The prize was offered for the best paper not exceeding 400 words, giving a musical adventure, musical anecdote, or musical experience of any kind. Such a large number of anecdotes have been received, and their quality has been so high that we found it difficult to decide upon the best. The experience of the Rev. Alexander Spark, of Rousay, Orkney, is certainly the most adventurous and musical, and we therefore award him the prize.”



Who has not heard of the Orcades? These islands lie in the restless rush of the Gulph stream, “where roars the Pentland with its whirling seas.” The most inaccessible and northernmost of the group is North Ronaldshay, being 60 miles north by sea distant from Kirkwall, and 3 from the neighbouring  island  of  Sanday. In 1893, I agreed on a fortnight’s music mission to Ultima Thule. If it was a miracle how got there, it was as great a miracle how I ever got out of it! Leaving Rousay on Monday 13th February I reached Sanday on Wednesday, where I was storm-stayed for 10 days. At last on the 11th day the post-boat - a boat with 10 feet of keel - arrived with mails from North Ronaldshay, but the two boatmen expressed a doubt if they could venture back that night! But, as “night walked in beauty o’er the peaceful sea,” we set sail 4 p.m. The boat was literally filled with bags of maize, meal, and the mails, so we had scarce room to move. We hugged the shores of Sanday 1½ hour, but, wind failing, the boatmen proposed drawing her up a rocky “geo” for the night. Fortunately this was not to be, for a breeze sprang up, and we made across those three miles of swirling tides, the water oft mounting above the gunwale! It was “touch and go” a thousand times, but reached, with gladness, our “desired haven.” Classes held every week night in the Parish Church were opened and attended by 80 persons, some of whom took the Elementary Certificate.  We  used  Curwen’s Charts and “Song Primer," and made progress. My  fortnight’s  engagement  ended, I prepared for leaving, but, as no boat could venture o'er swirling tides, I was imprisoned here another fortnight, the only letter from home during all my six week’s absence having accompanied me thither. At last the boatmen agreed to venture, but such a heavy land sea was breaking on shore, that, freighted with  men  and  mails, a dozen men actually lilted the boat over the surge into the sea, which otherwise might in a moment have made her matchwood. I reached Kirkwall on 25th March, hired boat to take me home in the dead of night over miles of sea, and found myself scrambling up the Rousay Rocks on Sunday morning.”


1906 February 13 The Scotsman


SUDDEN DEATH IN ORKNEY. - On Sunday, John Logie, cattle dealer, Rousay, Orkney, while on board the steamer Fawn on his way home, suddenly expired. Death is supposed to have been the result of heart disease. Logie was about sixty years of age, and was tor many years shepherd on Westness, Rousay.


1906 July 3 Banffshire Journal


Rev. John McLennan, of Ritchie U.P. Church, Rousay, Orkney, was recently appointed to Methil, and on Wednesday, a deputation of the U.P. Presbytery of Orkney visited Rousay, with the view of affecting a union of the Trumbland and Ritchie congregations. The two bodies agreed to unite, and Rev. A. I. Pirie, of the Trumbland congregation, accepted the office of pastor of the united congregation.


1907 November 23 The Scotsman


BOATING ACCIDENT AT ROUSAY.- Information has been received in Kirkwall of a boating mishap off Rousay, one of the north isles of Orkney. On Wednesday evening, Robert Kemp, farmer, Langskaill, Gairsay, left Rousay in a small boat with the intention of landing at the adjacent island of Egilshay. Yesterday it was learned that he had not reached his destination, and on a search being made a pair of oars thought to belong to the boat and a walking stick such as Mr Kemp carried were found on the Holm, Rousay. No trace of Mr Kemp could be found. A severe southerly gale was experienced in Orkney yesterday, with interruption of steamer services.


1908 January 14 The Scotsman


SOCIETY OF ANTIQUARIES OF SCOTLAND. - .....The usual monthly meeting of this Society was held in their library at the Museum, Queen Street, Edinburgh, last night – Dr George Macdonald in the chair.....

    A TRIANGULAR DAGGER. - Mr J. W. Cursiter, Kirkwall, exhibited and described a very rare example of the thin triangular dagger characteristic of the early part of the Bronze Age, which was found in 1905 in a peat moss in the island of Rousay. The peculiarity of this example is that it still retains its hilt of ox-horn affixed to the broad butt end of the blade by three rivets of bronze, and is the only Scottish specimen which preserves its handle. The pommel of the horn handle is wanting, but the short projecting tang on which it was fixed still retains the wooden pins by which it was fastened.....


1908 August 1 Aberdeen Press & Journal


THE CROFTERS' COMMISSION IN ORKNEY. – The Crofters Commission have issued decisions in some of the cases which came before them at the recent sittings in Orkney. An appeal by the trustees of Colonel and Mrs Horwood, Westowe, against a former decision of the Commission, awarding Oliver Garriock, Stangasetter, Sanday, £76, as compensation for improvements, was dismissed, with £3 3s modified expenses. In an application by William David Gibson, Curquoy, Rousay, on the estate of the late Sir Frederick Burroughs, for £114 as compensation for improvement, £69 was granted.....


1908 December 19 Aberdeen Press & Journal


SOCIETY AND PERSONAL. - .....Lieutenant-General Sir Frederick William Traill-Burroughs, K.C.B., of Trumland House, Rousay, Orkney, and Veira, some time colonel of the Warwickshire Regiment, and who saw service with the 93rd Sutherland Highlanders in the Crimea, also during the Indian Mutiny and in the Umbala Campaign of 1863, and who died on April 9, 1905, aged 74 years, left personal estate valued at £1750 19s 10d, in addition to which he had real estate apparently worth more than £2000 per annum, the amount of rents due to him at his decease amounting to more than £900.....


1909 May 22 The Scotsman


THE ORKNEYS. – To be LET for season 1909 or on lease, the FIRST-CLASS SHOOTINGS and FISHINGS of ROUSAY, in either one or two beats, with Excellent Well-Furnished Houses. The Trout Fishings can be rented separately, with one of the Houses, for June and July, which are the best months. For farther particulars apply to Messrs MACKENZIE & KERMACK, W.S., 9 Hill Street, Edinburgh.


1911 July 3 Aberdeen Press & Journal


The crew of the steamer Orcadia, belonging to the Orkney Steam Navigation Company, and trading between Kirkwall and the North Isles of Orkney, made a request Thursday night for an increase of wages. On Saturday morning they refused to proceed with the steamer unless the request was granted, and were ordered ashore. After some hours delay one two hands were got, and the steamer proceeded. On the steamer Fawn, belonging the same company, arriving at Kirkwall from Rousay on Saturday, a similar request was made, but an arrangement was made, and the steamer sailed in the afternoon as usual.


1911 August 26 The Orcadian


BOATING ACCIDENT AT ROUSAY. – A serious boating accident occurred off Sourin, Rousay, on Tuesday. From information to hand it appears that a son of Sir Victor Horsley was fishing from a small boat in this vicinity, when he fell into the sea. A lady, who was the only other occupant of the boat at the time, in the excitement of the moment, lost both oars, and was rendered powerless to offer assistance. Fortunately the accident was observed from the shore, and a rescue party set off. By this time, however, the young man had sunk, and it was only after some difficulty that he was picked up from the bottom. He was of course, now in a serious condition, and animation, our informant states, was only restored after great difficulty. It is gratifying to learn that he is now recovering.


1912 January 15 The Scotsman


LORD HUNTER, in the Court of Session, decided that Lady Sinclair, residuary legatee and executrix of the late Lady Burroughs of Rousay, Orkney, was entitled to £1422 in respect of an annuity due to Lady Burroughs from the estate of her deceased husband, Lieutenant-General Sir Frederick W. T. Burroughs, of Rousay and Veira, K.C.B.


1912 April 6 The Scotsman


Lord and Lady Pentland, accompanied by Sir John Sinclair, arrived at Kirkwall early yesterday morning per mail steamer. They went to the Island of Rousay, where it is understood they are to remain over the week-end. The Island of Rousay is almost entirely a crofting district. The estate belongs to the trustees of the late Sir Frederick Traill Burroughs, K.C.B., and has been on the market for some time.


1912 December 12 The Scotsman



( Before the Lord Justice-Clerk and Lords DUNDAS, SALVESEN, AND GUTHRIE.)




This was a reclaiming note for the defenders in the action by Lady Sinclair, 46 Norfolk Square, Hyde Park, London, wife of Sir John R. G. Sinclair of Dunbeath, Bart., Barrock House, Wick, residuary legatee and executrix of the late Lady Burroughs, of Rousay, Orkney, widow of the late Lieutenant-General Sir Frederick W. T. Burroughs of Rousay and Veira, K.C.B., against L. G. Dunbar, of the Bank of Bengal, Calcutta, and others, trustees of the late Sir Frederick W. T. Burroughs, for payment of £1422, the amount of an annuity due to Lady Burroughs before her death.

    In the Outer House Lord Hunter granted decree for the sum sued for, with expenses. His Lordship said that the obligation of the defenders to pay the annuity, which rested on a marriage contract, and interest was not disputed. The only defence offered was that the action was unnecessary, or at all events premature, in respect of a minute dated in January 1906 by which Lady Burroughs postponed her claim to her annuity for a time until certain debt was reduced. The contention of the defenders was that upon a sound construction of the arrangement neither Lady Burroughs nor others coming in her stead had any claim to payment of the annuity until the estate was sold. They maintained that an absolute discretion was given to them to retain the property until they procured a fair price. In order to maintain an action the pursuer must aver that the estate had been sold, or that the defenders were in fault in not selling. His Lordship could not accept that interpretation of the minute. Nothing in the minute amounted to an extinction of Lady Burroughs' annuity. Had Lady Burroughs lived, she might have had to wait until the defenders realised the estate, but she was not prevented from insisting on a sale. On her death the defenders became liable to pay her executor the arrears of the annuity, and, if- necessary, were under an obligation to realise the heritable estate.

    The Division adhered to the Lord Ordinary’s interlocutor, with expenses.

Counsel for the Pursuer - The Hon. Wm. Watson. Agents – J. & J. Turnbull. W.S.

Counsel for the Defenders - Mr Fleming, K.C., and Mr Crurie Steuart.

Agents - Mackenzie & Kermack. W.S.

1914 March 16 Dundee Evening Telegraph


PASSENGER STEAMER BECOMES TOTAL WRECK. – A Kirkwall telegram states that the steamer Fawn, of Kirkwall, while on passage from Kirkwall to the Island of Rousay, with passengers and general cargo, was driven by the tide onto the Holm of Boray and has become a total wreck. Crew and passengers were landed at Gairsay, and afterwards taken to Rousay.


1916 October 6 Aberdeen Evening Express


The Rev. Mr Spark who, after long pastorate in Rousay, Orkney, has come to spend the evening his days in Cults [a suburb on the western edge of Aberdeen], will officiate in the Parish Church on Sunday evening. On bidding farewell to Rousay a few weeks ago Mr and Mrs Spark received a handsome gift as a practical expression of the esteem and affection of a devoted congregation.


1917 January 6 Fifeshire Advertiser


PRESENTATION TO THE REV. J. DEAS LOGIE. - On Thursday evening two office-bearers, along with a number of friends in town, called at Clandeboye, Beveridge Road, Kirkcaldy, and presented, on behalf of his many friends and well-wishers, the Rev. J. Deas Logie, late minister Kirkcaldy Free Church, and at present the parish minister of Rousay, with a purse of Treasury notes. Mrs Deas Logie was also presented with a handsome hand-bag. Mr and Mrs Deas Logie were congratulated on the prospects of their new sphere of labour, and expressions of goodwill and good wishes were made by the representatives. Mr Deas Logie suitably replied, and referred to the goodwill of so many friends in the town and the friendships formed, which he would always remember and cherish. The Rev. J. Deas Logie, who leaves for the north on Monday, carries with him the best wishes of many friends in Kirkcaldy.


1917 May 23 The Orcadian


MILITARY FUNERAL. – On Thursday last the remains of Pte. Harry Reid, of the Seaforth Highlanders, son of Mr Alex. Reid, gardener, Melsetter, Longhope, was brought to the island by patrol boat and interred in Westside Churchyard. The bearing and firing parties were of the O.R.G.A. Territorials, and they accompanied the remains from Kirkwall. There were present also a number of relations and friends from Longhope. They were met at Westness by a large number of the inhabitants, who followed the cortege to the graveyard. The service, which was most impressive, was conducted by the Rev. Duncan McLaren, of Evie, who kindly officiated in the absence of the Rev. J. Deas Logie, who is now attending the Assembly. The greatest sympathy is felt for Mr Reid, father of the deceased, which was evidenced by the number of mourners who accompanied the remains to the churchyard. Mr. Reid’s other son joined the colours in Canada, and is now serving with the Canadians.


1918 March 9 Fifeshire Advertiser


DEAS LOGIE. - At the Manse of Rousay, on the 10th February, 1918, Frances Glen Mitchell Deas Logie, beloved wife of the Rev. John Deas Logie, minister of Rousay and Egilsay; much loved and deeply regretted. Her remains were conveyed to Kirkwall, where they lay in St Magnus Cathedral, February 12th-13th, and were laid to rest in Orquil New Cemetery, Kirkwall, I3th February, 1918. “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.”


1919 March 15 The Scotsman


ORKNEY - TRUMLAND HOUSE (FURNISHED) IS TO LET for the coming season, along with the SHOOTINGS and FISHINGS of the ISLAND OF ROUSAY; probable bag, 300 brace grouse and large number of snipe and other wild fowl. The trout fishing (both brown and sea trout ) is a feature; June and July are the best months for brown trout fishing in the lochs, and, if desired, these months can be made the subject of a separate let. Apply to Messrs MACKENZIE & KERMACK, W.S., 9 Hill Street, Edinburgh.


1920 February 28 The Scotsman


RESIDENT MEDICAL OFFICER and PUBLIC VACCINATOR wanted for PARISH OF ROUSAY AND EGILSHAY, ORKNEY; to enter on duty as soon as possible; free house, stable, and garden; parish and panel practice; total salary from all sources, £300 per annum. For further particulars apply to Clerk of Parish Council, Rousay, Orkney.


1920 May 29 The Scotsman


ORKNEY AND SHETLAND. THE ORKNEYS – The highly attractive sporting and residential estate of Rousay is for sale. The Estate comprises the ISLANDS of ROUSAY, VEIRA, and the HOLM OF SCOCKNESS, and extends in all to about 12,000 Acres. The Gross Rental, including the Assessed Rentals of Mansion-House and sporting rights, is about £2200. The annual burdens may be stated at £700. The Island of Rousay is about 18 miles in circumference. It forms one of the best sporting estates in the Orkneys, including excellent grouse and wildfowl shooting, very fine sea trout and brown trout fishing, and good sea fishing. There are also splendid yachting facilities. There is a commodious and well-built Mansion-House, and a beautifully situated Shooting Lodge. The Furnishings in these Houses can be taken over by a purchaser. Applications for further particulars, &c., may be made to the Subscribers. MACKENZIE & KERMACK, W.S., 9 Hill Street, Edinburgh.


1922 January 2 The Scotsman



A shipping disaster occurred off the Orkney coast yesterday morning resulting in the total loss of the Grimsby trawler Fressia, GY 633, and nine lives. Only two members of the crew, W. Saxby, mate, and J. E. Dartnell, third hand, were saved. The Fressia, at 7a.m., struck a point off the west coast of the Orkneys known as Skippigeo, where a few weeks ago the Aberdeen liner Keith Hall was wrecked and one life lost. The night was dark, with almost a gale from the north-west. After the ship struck she floated off, and was driven along the coast towards Costa Head. She was so badly damaged, however, that she foundered. The disaster had been witnessed from the shore, and steps were promptly taken to call out the lifeboat and the rocket apparatus from Stromness. The lifeboat crew picked up the two survivors, who were clinging to the wreckage, near Costa Head, and landed them at Evie.

    From an interview with the two survivors our Kirkwall correspondent obtained particulars of the wreck and how the nine members of the crew perished. The Fressia was homeward bound from Faroe fishing grounds. After the vessel struck she slumped five times, and the skipper ordered the engines full speed astern. The vessel was badly holed forward and in the engine-room, and it was recognised that the ship could not be saved. The crew prepared a raft of planks and liver jars, on which nine men, including the skipper, put off. Just as the trawler was on the point of foundering the mate and third hand, furnished with life-belts, dived off the ship. The raft was drawn under water by the suction and all its occupants drowned. The other two men escaped and succeeded in reaching the raft.

    Their distress signals were observed from the shore, and three fishing yawls put off from Rousay and Evie, but owing to the tremendous sea in Eynhallow Sound found it impossible to reach them. The lifeboat arrived on the scene about one o'clock, and picked up the survivors, in a very exhausted condition.

    The skipper's name is not known, but he is believed to belong to Faroe. The chief engineer, Fred Lewis, belongs to Grimsby; Wm. Taylor, trimmer, also belongs to Grimsby. There are three Yarmouth men. One man belonged to Peterhead, but resided in Grimsby, and two others belong to Grimsby. Quite near the scene of the disaster is Marwick Head, off which the Hampshire conveying Lord Kitchener was lost.

    On the stretch of coast between Noup Head in the Orkneys and Dunnet Head in Caithness there is no lighthouse to guide the mariner. All fishing craft are said to take this course coming from the northern fishing grounds.

1924 August 27 Aberdeen Press & Journal





The members of the Orkney Antiquarian Society, if not numerous, are keenly enthusiastic. They compile records of much antiquarian and historical interest relating to parishes or islands, trace place-names to their primitive source, collect and sift traditions, explore and describe pre-historic or little-known antiquities, and collect relics of the by-gone past. Thus are valuable additions made to what is already known of these romantic northern isles.

    Volume II of the Society's Proceedings contains a number of fascinating papers. The late Venerable Archdeacon Craven, who was president the society, writes on some superstitions associated with the Bible. On one occasion he found a copy of the Scriptures in an otherwise empty house in Orkney, and was informed that it was placed there to keep the house from the devil. He also recalls that in his youth old people kept their few treasured papers inside the big Bible.

    One woman in Kirkwall I heard of had some £20 in her Bible, thinking it safe in such a repository. Alas! faith being now dimmer, it is said a near relation heard of it and stole it. It is also said that the same man hid his money somewhere. It has never been found, as, after all, the precaution was thought to have brought down disaster on the thief.

    Mr J. Storer CIouston deals informatively with ancient Orkney houses, remarking that the subject of early Scottish houses, other than castles, has never been dealt with save in the most fragmentary way. He alludes to, among other dwellings, structure which he believes to be probably the oldest two-storey house in Orkney. It situated in the deserted district of Quendale, in Rousay, and was “abandoned in the year 1846 to the plover and the rabbits.” Further antiquarian notes on Rousay are contributed by Hugh Marwick, while Mr John Fraser is equally illuminating on the antiquities of Sandwick parish. Almost every interesting spot in the parish, he observes, is now easily accessible, as road-making has been most extensively carried out.

    A paper by Mr Duncan J. Robertson will greatly interest the student of folklore. Of considerable historic and archaeological value is a series of extracts, some of them rather quaint, from an unpublished manuscript of the Rev. George Low, minister of Birsay, descriptive of Orkney, and written in 1773. This MS. was apparently designed as a sort of introduction to a "History of Orkney" from the earliest times. One extract reads:-

    The Orkney people had a vast antipathy at mares; they would keep none, were affronted if they rode one, and the names they gave them were those of contempt.

In these days, when the average length of life has been extended, and the question of “What shall we do with our grandfathers?" threatens to claim popular attention, it is interesting to note that many Orcadians 150 years ago lived to a good old age. Discussing longevity, Mr Low writes:-

    I have observed many instances of great age even in our times, when luxury prevails more than formerly.....Numbers here live to an advanced age. I have known several, both men and women, above a hundred, the most of these, like Dean Swift [Stulbrugs], had lost their memory, and with it the particular number of their years, and with him we were obliged to compute them by what they remembered.

    The writer also points out that the Orcadians then differed much in their manners, their genius, and the bent of their inclinations from their neighbours on the mainland of Scotland. Their dress, as well as their language, was different, “more resembling those of the Danes and Norwegians, in whose power they were for a long time, than those of the Highlanders of Scotland."

    Other features of this volume are "The People and Surnames of Orkney," "The Orkney Lands," "The Orkney Baillie Courts," and "Life and Work in Moorland Orcadia in Days of Old."


1925 February 27 Aberdeen Press & Journal




An Orkney Appeal.


Sir, - We are aware that many Orcadians and others interested in our picturesque isles are readers of your valuable paper, and it is them especially that we address this appeal.

    The Island of Rousay has long felt the need of a hall, and, having procured a very suitable site, the local branch of the British Legion, at a recent meeting, decided that a hall should be built whenever the necessary funds were obtained. A strong effort is being made locally, but this will not be sufficient for our needs, so we appeal our friends to help us. Subscriptions will be very gratefully received and acknowledged by the secretary, John Craigie, Cruar, Rousay, Orkney. -

              Yours, etc.,

                                                  (Rev.) Roderick Fraser, President.

    John Craigie, Secretary.

           Feb. 25, 1925.


1927 August 30 The Scotsman


ORKNEY MINISTER'S DEATH. - The death occurred in Edinburgh yesterday of the Rev. Alexander Irvine Pirie, senior minister of Rousay United Free Church, Orkney, in his 83rd year. Mr Pirie was ordained in 1873 in Kirkwall, and was called in 1883 to Rousay, where he spent the remainder of his active ministry. He carried through the difficult negotiations which led to the union of the two churches on the island, and it was a tribute to his popularity that he was chosen minister of the united charge. He retired in 1914, when a junior colleague was appointed. Mr Pirie identified himself with all the public work of the parish, and at the celebration of his jubilee four years ago expression was made by his congregation and by the Orkney Presbytery of the high esteem in which he was held. He is survived by Mrs Pirie, a daughter, and four sons . All his sons are graduates of Aberdeen University, one of them being the Rev. Alex. Irvine Pirie, minister of the Barclay U.F. Church, Edinburgh.


1928 June 20 Aberdeen Press & Journal




Relic of Bishop Adam Bothwell's Time. - Some interesting features have been disclosed by the excavations being carried out on the structure on the island of Rousay, Orkney, traditionally known as the “Work," situated near the old Kirk and the derelict House of Skaill.

    Operations have already disclosed the ground floor of a square tower, with walls seven to eight feet thick, enclosing a small chamber. From one corner of this chamber an underground passage has been traced.

    A block of red freestone has been discovered bearing the arms, initials and mitre of Bishop Adam Bothwell. The stone can be dated with certainty as between 1560 and 1568.

    The whole find will throw light on a hitherto obscure period of Orkney's history.

1929 May 29 The Scotsman


ORKNEY. - To let, June, July, and September, at the seaside, with use of boat, three or four bedrooms and sitting-room, with use of kitchen. Miss Craigie, Veira Lodge, Rousay.'


1930 January 21 Aberdeen Press & Journal



Sensation Orkney Court.

(From Our Own Correspondent.)

KIRKWALL, Tuesday.

A sensation was caused in Orkney Sheriff Court to-day during the hearing of a charge of reckless discharge of firearms against two men from the island of Rousay. A witness for the prosecution was handed a letter which purported to be written by him, and denying that he knew anything about it, he tore up the production and put the fragments in his pocket.

    On being asked by the Sheriff why he tore up the letter, the witness replied that it had not been written by him. The accused were Albert Edward Munro, labourer, residing at Sourin Post Office, Rousay, Orkney, and James Sinclair Russell, farmer, Brendale, Rousay, Orkney. After a lengthy proof, the Sheriff found the charge not proven.


1930 October 31 Dundee Evening Telegraph



Crew Taken Off in Safety. - The Aberdeen steam trawler, Strathmartine, belonging to the Strath Steam Trawling and Fishing Co. Ltd., is ashore at Rousay Sound, Rousay Island, off the west coast the Orkneys. From a telegraph message received by the owners it is learned that the vessel is on a soft bottom and is not leaking. The crew has been taken off and all are safe. The Strathmartine was built in 1914 and a vessel of 210 tons gross.


1931 November 10 The Scotsman


AN ORKNEY MEDICAL OFFICER MARRIED. - Islanders on Rousay, Orkney, yesterday welcomed the bride of Dr Ernest J. M. Michie, D.P.H., Medical Officer of Health on the island, formerly Nurse Elizabeth Goodbrand, of 10 Allan Street, Aberdeen. Mrs Michie was a nurse in Dundee in the hospital to which her husband was attached as resident. Their wedding took place in St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall. It was an all-medico marriage. Dr Bannerman, County Medical Officer of Health for Orkney, gave the bride away, and the best man was Mr Ian H. McCIure, surgeon at the Balfour Hospital, Kirkwall, whose wife signed the register as witness, there being no bridesmaid. Great secrecy had been maintained regarding the hour of the wedding, but, nothwithstanding, a large crowd gathered outside the Cathedral, and when the ceremony was over the few guests battered the happy couple with confetti before they were out of the porch, with the result that waiting photographers secured only pictures of a rushing bride and a pursuing husband.


1932 January 12 The Scotsman


NEW J. P.s FOR ORKNEY. - The Lord Chancellor, on the recommendation of Mr Alfred Baikie, of Tankerness, Lord-Lieutenant of the County of Orkney and Shetland, has appointed the following to be Justices of the Peace for the County of Orkney:.....Mr Frederick Inkster, Greenfield, Trumland, Rousay.....Mr Mark Mackay Kirkness, Quoyostray, Wasbister, Rousay.....


1932 December 13 The Scotsman


PREHISTORIC REMAINS – NOTABLE SCOTTISH COLLECTIONS – SOCIETY OF ANTIQUARIES. - .....ORKNEY EXCAVATION. – Mr Walter G. Grant, F.S.A. Scot., in describing “The Excavation of a Denuded Cairn containing Fragments of Steatite Urns and Cremated Human Remains in Rousay, Orkney," which he had undertaken last summer, Dr J. Graham Callander, of the National Museum, being present, stated that this monument lay on the farm of Nears, at an elevation of 75 feet above the Sound of Wyre, and about 700 yards west-south-west of Trumland House. Nearly all the stones which formed the body of the cairn had been removed. It had had a diameter of about 25 feet. Two roughly concentric circles of slabs, set on edge, remained in position, having originally been covered by the mound. Within the inner of these two circles were the remains of a small stone cist, 1 foot 9 inches in length and 1 foot 3 inches in breadth. The end stones were set on end, but the sides had been built of small flat slabs. The cover-stone was gone.

    Amongst the small stones with which the cist was filled were portions of one, if not two urns, made of steatite or soap-stone, and a few comminuted burnt human bones. No other relics were found.

    This discovery added another example to the considerable list of short stone cists containing steatite urns and burnt human remains which had been recorded in Orkney. It did not, however, add anything to our knowledge as to the period of these graves. From the fact that the graves to a certain extent resembled some short cists of the Bronze Age, and because they contained cremated remains, some archaeologists would assign them to that period. There was, however, a record of a cist containing a steatite urn which was found on the top of the mound which covered the ruined broch of Okstrow [at Boardhouse, Birsay], which, if reliable, indicated a very much later period for this example.

1933 April 13 The Scotsman






On the southern shore of the Island of Rousay are no less than six ruined brochs which are situated within a distance of four miles as the crow flies. On the mainland of Orkney, on the opposite side of Eynhallow Sound, are five more. The three most westerly of these Rousay brochs, grouped within a line less than 500 yards long, lie on the farm of Westness, belonging to Mr Walter G. Grant, F.S.A.Scot., of Trumland, who during the last four years, with the assistance of practically only one man, has nearly completed the excavation of Mid Howe, the central one of the group.

    Mid Howe broch occupies the full breadth of the inner end of a rocky promontory which falls down in natural flagstone steps to the sea, and which is bounded on either side by a geo (a narrow ravine admitting the sea.) The base of the broch is about 24 feet above Ordnance Datum. The broch has an outer defence in the form of a well-built wall with a slight batter on the outside, measuring 7 feet high on the outside and from 15 feet to 25 feet thick, which stretches a distance of about 40 yards right across the base of the promontory. Near its south-east end an entrance passage, nearly 4 feet wide, pierces the wall, and widens out thereafter into a long trailed passage running tangentially towards the southern part of the main circular building.

    Where the passage widens there is a check on either side, probably to keep a door-slab in position. The continuation of this passage, which was the main access to the broch, is obscured by fallen material and later structures. Near the inner end of this passage are steps cut in the rock leading down to near the edge of the narrow, perpendicularly-sided geo which defends the broch on the south.    The whole area between the main building and the outer defence, which at its narrowest part is about 20 feet in width and at the ends about twice as much, is occupied with numerous small cells and chambers, mostly with curvilinear walls, and showing no regularity in size or plan. To the northwest of the broch are further buildings, the outer sections of which have disappeared through sea erosion.

    The Main Building. The main building of the broch is, as usual, almost circular, its internal diameter averaging about 30 feet. Facing slightly to the north of west is the lintelled entrance through the wall, which on the north side is 14 feet in thickness and on the south rather less. About 9 feet in are checks for a stone door, one on each side, the outer part of the passage being 3 feet 6 inches in width and 6 feet 6 inches in height. On the right is a low, narrow opening leading into a domed cell, between which and the passage is a small square opening suggestive of a bar-hole, but there is no corresponding cavity in the opposite wall. On the left is another low opening, which gives access to another domed chamber. From its inner end stretches a narrow gallery within the thickness of the wall, but it has been deliberately blocked up by later occupants of the broch. Beyond this obstruction the continuation of the gallery can be traced, on the ground level, at different places round nearly three-quarters of the building.

    In the inside of the broch the wall maintains a height of from 9 feet to 13 feet 6 inches, but originally it must have been very much higher, as the whole of the inner court was quite filled with fallen stones. There is a scarcement at a height of 11 feet measuring in places 18 inches in breadth, but dying out on the south-western arc.

    On the north-east, 5 feet 9 inches above the floor, is a doorway that leads into a small cell on the left, and to a staircase which curves round to the right. The stair, of which fifteen steps rising 5 feet remain in position, presumably gave access to a higher gallery within the wall. Traces of this are to be seen on the south-east and south sections of the building, but whether these sections were a continuation of the gallery from the stair is in doubt, as it is blocked by a rectangular chamber in the wall, with an entrance from the inside of the broch at the scarcement level. Above the inner part of the main entrance is a narrow chamber opening into the inner court, but owing to the destruction of the wall at this place it is impossible to say whether it was entered from an upper gallery. It may be suggested that it had been constructed to allow of the defence of the main doorway being strengthened from above, as there is a wide slit in one part of the lintelled floor.

    Later Additions. The most striking features of the broch as now excavated are the secondary structures erected by the successors of the original builders in the central court. Large flagstones were extensively used, and the way in which they were incorporated with ordinary building shows the amazing control that the broch dwellers had over their material. The central court is roughly divided into two semicircular areas by a series of tall, broad slabs set on end, and maintained in position by narrow slabs of equal height placed between them at right angles. In places this division had been heightened by ordinary building actually perched on the tops of the flags!

    At the inner end of the main entrance passage is what might be termed a lobby, formed of slabs set on end, with a door on each side giving access to the two large semicircular areas. The socket-stone of the door on the north side still remains in position. In both of these chambers is a rectangular slab-lined water tank sunk into the floor, and beside each tank are two hearths belonging to two different periods of occupation, the upper being superimposed on the lower one. Near the centre of the northern compartment is a cistern, 8 feet deep, hewn out of the rocky floor, which is closed by a large shaped slab. On the southern side of the court is a drain covered with flags, but the outlet has not been traced. Round the wall of both compartments there has been a series of small box-like cubicles, entirely formed of slabs and resembling houses of cards.

    Dexterity of the Builders. The most interesting piece of structure built during the later occupation of the broch is a casing wall and its adjuncts, erected against the inner wall on the northern half and extending from the north side of the entrance as far as the doorway of the staircase. Half-way along is a small alcove with a corbelled roof about 12 feet high. On the south side of this structure the wall consists of a big slab, 7 feet 6 inches in height, with 5 feet of regular building set up on the top. The east end is a more wonderful piece of masonry, as it consists of three slabs set on end above each other, with a few inches of building between and a larger thickness above all. One can hardly imagine how the flagstones were kept in position while the domed roof was being constructed. The ingenuity and dexterity of the builders of this work is beyond all praise, and shows that this early people were far removed from a state of savagery.

    In the out-buildings much use was made of slabs in strengthening the walls, and in forming trough-like structures and small cubicles. Small recesses or aumries appear in many of the chambers. In one of these there were found the remains of a furnace and fragments of crucibles, showing that the casting of metals had been one of the industries carried on here.

    There was no scarcity of good building stone in the immediate neighbourhood of Mid Howe, as for a long distance to the east and west the rocky shore consists of flagstone which could be easily levered off. One can see still where the slabs had been skinned off the rocks.

    Relics Found. A considerable number of typical broch relics were discovered during the excavations, both in the main and in the subsidiary buildings. Bones were numerous, and included those of the horse, ox, sheep, red deer, wild cat, fox, Orkney vole, whale, grey seal, common fowl, goose, duck, gannet, shag, heron, oyster-catcher, and fish. Perhaps the most important was part of the skull and horn-cores of an ox believed to be bos frontosus. This seems to be the first record of this animal from Great Britain.

    Amongst the other relics were long-handled weaving combs, chisel-ended implements, awls or borers and pins of bone, dressed or cut red deer antlers, whorls, polishers, whetstones, hammer-stones, pot lids, mortars, rotary querns, and fragments of saddle querns, of stone; pins, a ring, and part of a brooch of bronze; a piece of polished hematite and some very decayed iron, part of a shale armlet, several pieces of Roman pottery, and a Roman patella (cooking-pan) of bronze, crushed into fragments. A lot of shards of hand-made native ware, from which it was possible to restore three different pots, were also found.

    The Date of the Brochs. This excavation did not reveal any information regarding the date when the fully-developed broch was first erected. The presence of relics of Roman origin showed that the broch dwellers were in touch with the civilisation of that people, but that was all. Nothing was discovered to support the new theory that the brochs were suddenly invented as defences against Roman slave-raiding expeditions, and that hundreds of them, in the north and west, might have been built within a very short space of time. Than the broch, no finer defence erected by a primitive people is known, and it is reasonable to believe that its evolution must have lasted over a considerable period. Seeing that in one of the southern brochs – Torwoodlee, in Gala Water [near Galashields in the Scottish Borders] – which must be much later than many of those in the far north, Roman pottery dating to the first century A.D. was found, it follows that many in the north must have been built long before Julius Caesar landed on the south coast of England in 55 B.C.

    It is many years since an excavation on such a large scale as this has been attempted on a prehistoric site in Scotland by a private individual, and so Mr Grant has earned the cordial thanks of all interested in Scottish archaeology. He and his assistant, Mr James Yorston, are to be heartily congratulated on their patience and skill displayed in their work, and on their having cleared away such a mass of fallen material without bringing about the collapse of so much precarious structure.