Classiquoy & Springfield

Classiquoy and Upper Classiquoy were two small crofts on the hill above Avelshay. The earliest known occupant of Classiquoy was Robert Banks – his name appearing in an account book dated 1796.

Come the time of the first official census in 1841, Jessie [Janet] Mainland, the 50-year-old widow of Thomas Mainland of Avelshay, lived there with her two sons, Robert and Thomas, who earned their living as fishermen. Jessie, born in 1790, and Thomas married on March 26th 1813. They raised four children: Robert, born in December 1814; a second Robert, in July 1817; Thomas, in June 1820; and Betty, who was born on July 31st 1823.

Classiquoy c.1910

In 1851 Janet lived at what they then called Nether Classiquoy with son Thomas and his new wife Jane Craigie, the daughter of James and Janet Craigie of Knarston. Other son Robert was now living at Upper Classiquoy with his family. He married Giles (Julia) Mainland, daughter of Alexander Mainland and Margaret Grieve of Banks, Frotoft, who was born in December 1813. The wedding took place on April 21st 1843, and just over two years later their first child was born, Elizabeth, in May 1845. Son Robert was born in July 1847, and his sister Ann was born in May 1849.

Janet’s son Robert farmed the 11 acres of land at Classiquoy until he died in 1889 at the age of 72. In 1891 his widow Julia lived at Classiquoy with her daughter Ann and her husband Samuel Gibson, who by then was a retired farmer. He was the son of Robert Gibson and Christian Hourstane of Bigland and was born on August 30th 1829. Julia Mainland died in 1892 aged 78.

The laird wrote in an account book dated 1894, “Samuel and Mrs Ann Gibson left Classiquoy and bought an estate in Eire! The Crofter’s Commission compelled me to pay them £22 for suggested house improvements!!!”

Classiquoy, photographed in May 2018

The census of 1901 tells of 70-year-old widower James Logie, who had by then retired from farming, living at Classiquoy and paying rent of £2 10s. 0d. He was the son of John Logie, Geo, Westness, and Mary Craigie, Whoam, and he was born in June 1829. He married Betsy Gibson, daughter of Alexander Gibson and Isabel Marwick and was born at Stennisgorn in June 1823. Betsy passed away in 1900, and James died in 1911.

James’ brother Robert then moved into Classiquoy and in 1911 he was then a 77-year-old widower, living on a pension. He’d spent his life as a shepherd at Westness, and was married to Mary Murray, raising a family of seven children. Daughter Harriet married Alexander Reid of Brough and at the time of the 1911 census their son Harry was staying with his grandfather at Classiquoy. He was then a 16-year-old lawyer’s clerk but it was not long before he was called up, joining the ranks of the 3rd (Reserve) Seaforths. Private Harry Reid died of measles and pneumonia on May 14th 1917, at just 22 years of age. Born at Brough on the Westside on November 26th 1894, Harry’s mother died of haemorrhage three hours after his birth. His father later moved to Longhope, Hoy, where he was employed as a gardener at Melsetter House. Harry died in the family home there in 1917, but was buried in Westness Cemetery with full military honours.

Above left is Robert Logie with Sandy Logie c1916. Sandy [Alexander Reid Logie] was the son of Robert’s brother John and his wife Mary Jean inkster, who lived at Myres. On the right is Private Harry Reid, mentioned in the text above.

Upper Classiquoy is what we know today as Springfield, and first mentioned by the latter name in the census of 1881. In 1891, when John Shearer was tenant, he was paying annual rent of £5.0.0. for the 3 acres arable and 13 acres of pasture land there. At the turn of a new century Springfield was occupied by the Robertson sisters; Betsy, a 67-year-old retired cook, and Jane, a 64-year-old retired domestic nurse. Their parents were David Robertson [1806-1899], South Tofts, Egilsay, and Barbara Craigie [d1888]. It was not long before they moved the short distance to Bellona, and Springfield was then the home of Craigie Marwick, the son of James Marwick, Essaquoy, and his second wife Janet Craigie. Ann and Craigie married in February 1869. They had no children, and later moved to Breck.

The Harrold family outside Springfield in the 1920s.

In the early 1920s Springfield was occupied by John Harrold and his wife Margaret. John was the son of John Harrold and Jean Johnston, Kirkha’, and was born in 1870. He married Maggie Ann Sinclair, daughter of Peter Sinclair of Westray and Catherine Bain of Rendall, who was born in 1874. The Sinclairs farmed Bigland, where John was employed as a horseman. He and Maggie Ann married in 1894, and they had two daughters, Annie Jean, born in 1896, and Catherine Agnes Sinclair in 1898.

John and Maggie Harrold, Springfield
Sisters Annie Jean and Cissie Harrold
Cissie with children, Kathleen and Alfred

On December 29th 1916, Catherine, known to one and all as Cissie, was a 19-year-old housemaid when she married John Gibson, then a 29-year-old ploughman, son of George Gibson and Annabella Logie of Avelshay. The ceremony was held at Springfield and ministered by the Rev. James A. Mathieson of the United Free Church of Rousay, and witnessed by Hugh Inkster Gibson, Bigland, and Edith Cecilia Gibson, Avelshay. John and Cissie had three children, Alfred, Kathleen, and Edith. Alfred remained a bachelor; Kathleen married George Taylor, Knapper; and Edith married David Gibson, the merchant of Hullion.

Young sisters Kathleen [second left] and Edith Gibson, with their aunts Annie [left] and Minnie Reid, Tratland. In the centre is John Mainland, Cott.

[All black and white photos courtesy of the Tommy Gibson collection]