Crusday, Upper, Mid, and Nether, were dwellings situated on the hill slope above the public school at Frotoft.

David Mainland was one of three brothers who were born in Frotoft, in 1770 or thereabouts but whose parents are not on record, the other brothers being William and Alexander, and they lived at Tratland. William featured in the recent page regarding his ‘Trafalgar Medal.’

Mid Crusday – as it looked through the lens of Tommy Gibson’s camera in 1994

David married Margaret Sinclair and between 1795 and 1808 they had eight children; William, who was born in January 1795; Mary, in June 1796; Robert, born in May 1798; Barbara was born in December 1799; James, in June 1802; Ann, in November 1804; Jean, who was born in October 1806; and finally David, born in May 1808. It is evident David’s wife Margaret passed away at the time of, or soon after the birth of the youngest child.

In 1811 David married Marion Mainland of Cotafea and between 1812 and 1821 they had four children; Alexander, born in September 1812; Hugh, in January 1814; John, who was born in March 1819; and lastly Betty, in April 1821. Alexander, and either Robert or James, his older step-brothers, were drowned off Scabra Head with James Sinclair of Newhouse in 1825. It was James’ son, also called James, who drowned when the Rousay post-boat capsized in Eynhallow sound in 1893.

The census of 1841 records David Mainland as a retired 70-year-old farmer. He had moved from Tratland, and was living at Upper Crusday with wife Marion and their 35-year-old son John, who was employed as a carpenter.

David Mainland’s younger brother Alexander and his family lived at Lower Crusday in 1841. Alexander was a 55-year-old farmer, and was married to Janet Kirkness, daughter of James Kirkness and Ann Harrold of Wyre, who was born in 1810. A daughter Janet was born on October 13th 1836, and on February 23rd 1839 they became the proud parents of triplets, James, Margaret, and John. Another son William was born on July 30th 1841.

Alexander Corsie and his family were the occupants of Nether Crusday. In 1851 Alexander was a 32-year-old carpenter. He was married to Ann Sinclair, daughter of John Sinclair and Magdalene Craigie of Tratland, born on February 20th 1817, and they had three children, Isabel, John, and William.

Come the census of 1861 we find David and Marion Mainland’s son John living at Upper Crusday. By this time 42-year-old boat builder John was married to Lydia Mowat of Scowan, daughter of John Mowat and Isabel Yorston, who was born in 1829. They had nine children; Hugh, born in February1854; John, in September 1855; Mary, in October 1857; Jane Hughina, in March 1860; Janet, born in October 1862; Duncan, in May 1865; Betsy Craigie, in February 1867; Isabella, in August 1869; and lastly Lydia Ann, who was born in June 1873.

Janet Mainland, born 1862…..
…..and her sisters Lydia Ann, and Isabella

Living at Mid Crusday at this time was another John Mainland, with his widowed mother Janet [wife of the late Alexander Mainland], and his sister Janet who earned her living as a dressmaker. In 1865 John married Margaret Craigie, daughter of  Magnus and Christie Craigie of House-finzie, Sourin, and they had two children, Mary and John Corsie. John married again – this time to Mary, the daughter of Hugh Gibson and Margaret Harcus, who was born in December 1835 when they were living at Geo, Westness. They had no offspring, and were living at Ervadale in 1891.

The 1891 census tells us Alexander Corsie, and his wife and son, were still living at ‘Crusdy’. Farmer/wheelwright and U.P. church officer Alexander was 73 years of age at that time; his wife Ann was 74, and their son William was a 34-year-old joiner. William later married Margaret Low, Irso, who was born in 1857, and they are pictured below.

Living at Mid-Crusdy was James Harrold, a 71-year-old mason and shoemaker, and his 52-year-old wife Margaret. James was the son of Alexander and Marabell Harrold of Wyre, later Boray, Gairsay. His first wife was Bella Gibson, daughter of Hugh Gibson of Burness and Janet Marwick of Cogar, and she was born in August 1821 when they were living at Newark. Bella and James had four children; Ann, Margaret, John, and James. Then James married Margaret Mainland of Crusday [one of the triplets].

Ten years on [1901] and James and Margaret had grandson James living with them. At that time he was a 19-year-old joiner apprentice. New folk at Crusday though. Rural postrunner, 38-year-old Donald Baillie Mackay from ‘Gairsay, Evie & Rendall’ was in residence with his new wife Mary Reid Mainland, then 28 years of age. She was the daughter of John Mainland, Cotafea, and Mary Reid, Wasdale. In his latter years John lived with Mary and Donald at Crusday. Donald, or Danny as he was known, was a postman in Rousay for many years, passing away in October 1943 and interred in the Brinian kirkyard.

Mary Reid Mainland
Danny Mackay
Danny, about to set off on his delivery round
Making a delivery at the Sourin Manse in the 1920s
Mary and Danny, relaxing in the garden at Crusday
Mary sees Danny off from the doorway of Crusday as he sets off on another delivery

[All the above photos are from the Tommy Gibson collection]

This ornate clock was given to Danny Mackay on his retirement as postman. The inscription reads:

In recognition of his long and faithful services as Postman.
30th March1923.

[Photo courtesy of Graham Lyon, Sandwick]