Laro was a farmhouse on the east side of the Burn of Hullion in Frotoft, and in the 17th century a quarter-penny of udal land was attached to it.

In the 1851 census the property was spelt Larow and it was occupied by three of the children of William Craigie and Isabel Marwick of Nears. Head of the household was William Craigie, born on January 17th 1821, who earned a living as a shoemaker. His elder sister Margaret, born on September 28th 1816, made fishing nets, and the youngest, Janet, born on March 2nd 1819, was a knitter of stockings. Living under the same roof was a lodger, 16-year-old William Wood, who taught at the Frotoft school.

In 1853 William Craigie married Martha Mainland, daughter of Leslie and Jean Mainland of Avalshay. Between 1855 and 1865 they had five children: William, born on November 13th 1855; Anne, born on January 15th 1857; Mary, on December 3rd 1859; another Mary, born on August 5th 1862; and finally John, who was born on February 2nd 1865. Martha died of vascular heart disease in 1866 at the age of 35, and husband Wlliam went to live in Westray.

On July 15th 1887 the above mentioned John Craigie married 19-year-old Elizabeth Reid, daughter of Peter Reid and Janet Kirkness of Grain. They had five children: Lizzie Reid, born on April 10th 1888; Martha Jessie Mainland Kirkness, born at 05.45am on May 30th 1890; John William Cutt, born on June 30th 1892; Ann Gibson, born on November 13th 1894; and David James Gibson, who was born on July 23rd 1899.

John Craigie and his wife Elizabeth Reid, and two of their children:
Ann Gibson Craigie and John William Cutt Craigie.

[Courtesy of the Tommy Gibson Collection]

When the 1901 census was carried out on April 6th head of the household at Laro was John, described as a Master Mariner-Home Trade. Wife Elizabeth looked after the children, all of whom at that time were at school, except for David who was still a babe in arms.

Captain Craigie [tallest gentleman in the front row] and the crew of the Orcadia. Others in the back row include Hugh Corsie [extreme left], and George Sandison. George Rendall is seated; the bowler-hatted gent is Donald Bertram, shipping company boss, and beside him is Hugh Johnston, chief engineer

[Picture courtesy of Tom King, Kirkwall]

Captain John Craigie, as he later became, was skipper of the Orcadia which served the North Isles of Orkney for many years. Daughter Ann married Captain John Bremner of the ss Earl Sigurd, and later of the ss Hoy Head.

A Tom Kent photograph of the Orcadia – packed to the gunwales

[Orkney Library & Archive]

Captain John and his wife Elizabeth in their latter years – and son, John William Cutt Craigie,
who later moved to Westray. The lady with him is unidentified unfortunately.

[Photos courtesy of the Tommy Gibson Collection]