1889 January 16 Orkney Herald
ORKNEY SHERIFF COURT.
GENERAL BURROUGHS’ CROFTERS.
THE NEW RENTS.
At the instance of Major-General Burroughs, William Work, Breval, and seven other crofters in Rousay, were summoned for rent and instalments of arrears due at Martinmas last as from the preceding Whitsunday. The point in dispute was whether the fair rents fixed by the Crofters Commissioners, or the old rents, should obtain during the period mentioned. The form of account attached to the summons served on Work was: – “To rent of croft for half-year to Martinmas, 1888, £3 10s; to first instalment of arrears of rent payable in terms of the order by the Crofters Commission, dated 28th September, £2 10s – total £6.” The other defenders, who had presented to them a similar summons were, Mrs Craigie or Grieve, Clumpy; John Marwick, Midgarth; James Grieve, Standcroon; Mrs Isabella Marwick, Grain; William Louttit, Digro; Craigie Marwick, Breck; and Mary Ann Craigie, Myres. The summons only against Work was taken up, it being agreed to regard it as a test case. Mr Robertson appeared for the pursuer, and Mr Thomson was for the defence.
At the opening of the case, the SHERIFF asked how it was proposed to prove that the Commissioners’ order had been recorded.
Mr ROBERTSON said he could bring a certified copy of the order.
The SHERIFF thought the best way was to obtain a certificate under the hand of the Sheriff-Clerk.
Mr THOMSON thought the record itself might be produced. He supposed all the decisions of the Commissioners in Orkney had been recorded.
The SHERIFF said that the 28th section of the Crofters Holdings Act empowered a sheriff to pronounce decree when satisfied that an order had been made conform to the provisions thereof, and had been duly recorded.
It having transpired, however, that the orders in question had not, for want of time, been recorded, his lordship made a note of the fact, and the case proceeded.
The SHERIFF asked whether there was any defence in regard to the second item in the account – that of arrears.
Mr THOMSON replied that payment had been tendered, but had not been accepted. The sum sued for, he went on to say, was the half year’s rent of the croft due at Martinmas last, and in that connection he would refer his lordship to the decision of the Crofters Commission fixing the fair rent as at the term of Whitsunday last at £4 10s, making the sum really due £2 5s, not £3 10s in respect of rent. Mr Thomson having read the order of the Commissioners fixing the fair rent of Work’s croft, and ordering the payment of £10 of arrears in four instalments.
The SHERIFF observed that the order said nothing as to when the rent was to be paid.
Mr THOMSON admitted that that was so; and pointed out that, in his opinion, the question fell to be determined by reference to section 6 of the Crofters Holdings Act, sub-sections 2 and 3. Unfortunately, these sub-sections were in direct confict. Sub-section 2 provided, among other things, that the rent fixed by the Commissioners should be deemed to be the rent payable as from the first term of Whitsunday or Martinmas next succeeding the order. Under that section the contention of the pursuer would be welI founded; but sub-section 3 provided that “where the Crofter Commission shall fix a rent which shall be less in amount than the present rent, the crofter shall be entitled, at the next payment of rent, to deduct from the amount of the fixed rent such sum or sums as he may have paid over and above the amount of the fixed rent in respect of the period between the date of the notice of application to fix the fair rent; (and the first term of Whitsunday or Martinmas next following) the date when such rent was fixed.” He might fairly have argued, in face of this sub-section, that the fair rent ran from the date of the notice of application to the Commissioners, which in the case under review went far back beyond the term of Whitsunday. Again, in terms of the Amendment Act of 1887 there fell to be added under sub-section 3, the addition of the “first term of Whitsunday or Martinmas following the decision of the Commission.”
The SHERIFF gathered that the points upon which attention must be fixed were the date of the application, the date of the fixing of fair rent, and the next term after that. His point was this. The 3rd sub-section only enabled a crofter to deduct such as he might already have paid. Here, however, there had been no payment. When this new element was introduced into it, the question became more complicated. It seemed to him, indeed, that the 3rd sub-section was almost unintelligible.
Mr Thomson admitted that that was so, and said that he would take a common sense view of the matter. Looking, therefore, to the fact that the present case would form an important precedent, he had to ask his lordship to remit it to the ordinary roll in order that such evidence might be got as would enable it to be dealt with by a superior court. He was quite willing to go direct to the Supreme Court, and it would be in the interests of economy if the pursuer met him at that point.
Mr ROBERTSON argued that there was no necessity for such a step. It was merely a question of the payment of rent due under the Act. In his opinion sub-section 3 had only been put in in order to place those tenants who had been honest and paid their rents on the same footing with those who were in arrears. Mr Thomson’s argument that the fair rent might well be dated from the day of application was absurd, because there had been no rent paid from which to make any reduction.
The SHERIFF asked whether he could reconcile the two sub sections.
Mr ROBERTSON – Not as they stand. (Laughter.) Continuing his argument, he held that the old rent was that which was payable at Martinmas last.
The SHERIFF said there was one very serious argument against the motion, that parties could not possibly go to the Court of Session, because the amount sued for was under the statutory limit of £25.
Mr THOMSON remarked that if the pursuer would agree, he would submit a joint case to the Court of Session.
Mr ROBERTSON could not agree to this step. He simply held that the rents sued for were now payable.
The SHERIFF said the case raised a question of some difficulty, and he should imagine, of some importance. For that reason he could quite understand that the defender might be desirous of having the decision of a Supreme Court. Had it been possible to take it to a Supreme Court, he should certainly have been willing to comply with the defender’s demand, but it was quite obvious that the case could not be so dealt with, no matter whether he ordered written pleadings, or in other words, send it to the ordinary roll or not. That being so, it was better to decide the case in the Small Debt Court, and allow his decision to go for what it was worth. That was really the only course he could adopt.
Mr ROBERTSON then addressed his lordship on the merits of the case. He said that the whole question rested upon the two sub-sections of section 6 which had been already dwelt upon. Sub-section 2, however, he held to be the ruling one, and sub-section 3 did not affect it so far as those tenants who were in arrear were concerned. The first-named section, he maintained, laid down quite plainly that the rent should be as from the first term of Whitsunday or Martinmas next succeeding the Commissioners’ decision. The fact that the 3rd sub-section was so confused and contradictory could not affect the first one. The 3rd sub-section apparently meant to deal with those crofters simply who had paid up their rents after the date of application. In that case no doubt they were entitled to get repayment of the sums paid in excess of the fair rent, but when no sum in respect of rent had been paid, they could not expect to get any reduction.
The SHERIFF – Is it the fact that the defender here has made no payment towards his rent since the notice of application?
Mr ROBERTSON – Yes.
Mr THOMSON – No; he has paid some sums through myself personally.
Mr ROBERTSON replied that he had paid nothing in excess of the fixed fair rent, and was still in arrears at Whitsunday.
Mr THOMSON took his stand upon sub-section 3 in its entirety. He held that not only were the crofters entitled to the benefit of a fair rent for the half-year ending Martinmas last, but in the present case that the crofter was entitled to go back to 22nd February 1887.
The SHERIFF – You say that fair rent runs from the date of the notice of application. The defender in this case has not paid during the whole of that time his full rent; how then can he benefit by this sub-section?
Mr THOMSON – Because the sub-section makes no distinction between those who are in arrears and those who are not.
The SHERIFF thought that Mr Robertson took a fair view – that in order to avail himself of this sub-section the crofter must pay his full rent.
Mr THOMSON – That has been cancelled by the Commissioners.
The SHERIFF observed that in that case defender’s argument fell to the ground.
After further argument, in which Mr Thomson brought into prominence the fact that the rent sued for had already been declared by the Commission to be a rack rent, the SHERIFF took the case to avizandum. [Scots law: a judge’s or court’s decision to consider a case privately before giving judgment].
On Wednesday, in Sourin Public School, Mr John Gibson, Langskaill, and Mr Samuel Gibson, Bigland, were unanimously re-elected ratepayers’ representatives on Rousay Parochial Board.
1889 January 23 Orkney Herald
THE GALE. – Fortunately, so far as Orkney was concerned, the sudden gale of Friday did no particular damage that we have heard of. One or two undecked smacks and fishing boats, it is reported, had to run for shelter to the nearest islands; but it is not said that any casualties are to be reckoned of. It is said, however, that seven men have been lost by the foundering of a fishing boat from Thurso. The storm in Shetland was terrific.
GENERAL BURROUGHS AND CROFTERS – THE MARTINMAS RENTS. – In Orkney Sheriff Court yesterday, Sheriff Armour delivered jusgement in the actions brought by Major-General Burroughs against William Work, Breval, and six other crofters on his Rousay estate, for rent and instalments of arrears due at Martinmas last.
….. One of the objects of the Crofters Act of 1886 being to fix a statutory rent which should remain unchanged for a period of seven years, it was necessary to fix a date from which the seven years should run. For that purpose sub-section 2 of section 6 was obviously introduced, and it lays down a general rule in perfectly unambiguous terms: namely, that the last payment of the old rent shall take place at the term of Whitsunday or Martinmas following the Commissioners’ decision, and that from that term the fair rent shall commence to run. Such is the general rule, and I take it that without express words in the Act introducing an exception to that rule it must be applied uniformly to every case, whether the rents are raised or lowered. The defender, of course, points to sub-section 3 as introducing an exception in his favour. But it is obvious on the face of that sub-section for what purpose it was introduced. The Crofter Commissioners are invested with very large powers to deal with arrears of rent under the statute: and there would, of course, be a very natural tendency on the part of those who had applied to the Commission to allow their arrears to accumulate after the date of this application, in the hope that more would be struck off. To counteract this tendency, and to induce those to pay rent who could pay, by holding out this incentive that they should at least be in no worse position than their neighbours, was clearly the primary object of the sub-section. This object is attained by allowing the crofter to deduct all over-payments he may have made in excess of the fair rent since the date of his notice of application; in other words, the fair rent is made in effect to draw back to that date…..The Act does, in a roundabout and indirect way, provide for the reduction, drawing back in the case of those crofters who have paid their original rents continuously up to the date of the decision. But it stops there; and in all other cases, as I read the statute, the rule applicable is that laid down by sub-section 2 – namely, that after the first term of Whitsunday or Martinmas after the decision of the Commissioners the old rent shall be payable. From that date the new, or statutory, rent fixed shall commence to run, and shall not be altered for seven years. In this case, and in each of the other six cases regulated by the present decision, I therefore discern in favour of the pursuer for the full sum sued for.
1889 January 30 Orkney Herald
THE SEASON. – There have recently been some indications of frost, but the weather has been so changeable that the promise of the morning is generally falsified by the meteorological events of the day. Farmers being so well advanced with ploughing, a period of frost would not be unacceptable, especially as it would operate to check the premature growth which is now so apparent, and would tend as well towards that pulverization of the soil which is so desirable at this season of the year. Fodder is now coming in very handy. There is no general scarcity of straw, mainly because of the fact that it has been carefully husbanded in most cases. The lateness of the past harvest, however, certainly reduced the supplies for stall-feeding all over, and all that is to be had will be needed. The turnip crop has been most unequal; on some farms it has turned out excellently well, in others indifferently, and in some cases it is poor indeed. But, “taking one consideration with another,” the outlook for the farmer at present is not altogether cheerless. The prices for stock are still ruling low.
1889 February 13 Orkney Herald
ROUSAY PLOUGHING MATCH. – The ploughing match in connection with the Rousay and Veira Agricultural Society came off on Thursday last on a field kindly granted by Mr William Mainland, Banks, Sourin. The day, unfortunately, was bitterly cold, and the ground frozen so hard as to put fancy ploughing altogether out of the question. However, by ten o’clock twenty-four ploughs were on the ground – three champions and twenty-one ordinary ploughmen. All started work shortly after ten o’clock, and stuck bravely to their care-hardened task. Most of them completed their work with daylight, but a few finished in the dark; and owing to the extreme hardness of the frost, a good many of both men and horses were pretty well done up. The turn-out of horses and harness was very fine, many of the teams being tastefully decorated. The judges were Messrs Groundwater, Soulisquoy, and Mainland, Carness, whose decisions gave great satisfaction, notwithstanding the difficulty of their task. The prize list is as follows: –
Champions. – 1, Charles Corsie, Brendale; 2, George Gibson, Langskaill; 3, Allan Gibson, Scockness.
Ordinary Ploughmen. – 1, Malcolm Leonard, Grips (who also takes the Highland Society’s medal); 2, J. Marwick, Bigland; 3. Charles Johnstone, Trumland; 4, W. Sabiston, Westness; 5, J. Cutt, Trumland; 6, Alex Craigie, Falquoy; 7, Alexander Learmonth, Faraclett; 8, W. Learmonth, do.; 9, Peter Swanson, Avelshay.
Harness. – 1, Peter Swanson, Avelshay; 2, Charles Corsie, Brendale; 3, James Marwick, Trumland; 4, Charles Johnstone, Trumland.
Grooming. – 1, Charles Johnstone, Trumland; 2, Allan Gibson, Scockness; 3, Peter Swanson, Avelshay; 4, John Cutt, Trumland.
Best Decorations. – Charles Corsie, Brendale.
Best Fearing. – Allan Gibson, Scockness.
A great number of special prizes were also given by the kindness of the young ladies of the district, and also by merchants and others in Kirkwall, but too numerous to be detailed here, as they amounted to nearly forty. Many of them were very beautiful, and the whole of them were very useful. The Secretary would take this opportunity of returning thanks to the friends in Kirkwall who so kindly assisted in the matter of the special prizes; and would particularly thank his numerous lady friends in the district for the very generous way in which they responded to his appeal for help is the same direction. Also, he would thank those who sent the valuable piece of crockery and the medicine chest, and regrets they could not be awarded this year on account of the difficulty of finding out the proper parties entitled to receive them.
1889 February 20 Orkney Herald
THE CROFTER’S HEN. – Anything that tends to throw light on the ingoings and outcomings of this mysterious fowl must be welcomed by all who are interested in the prosperity of the Orkney crofter. The question in dispute may not be settled by argument, but simply by the production of facts; and without reviewing the controversy ab ovo, we beg to submit, for the information of parties interested, the following statistics relative to the productive capacity of the hen. They are founded upon the researches of a distinguished German naturalist. He says that the ovary of a hen contains about 600 embryo eggs, of which not more than 20 are matured in the first year. The second year produces 120; the third 135; the fourth 114; and in the succeeding four years the number decreases by 20 yearly. In the ninth year only 10 are to be expected. If we are to take this as approximately correct, then there should be little difficulty in setting against the 600 eggs the cost of keep during nine years, and so arriving at a basis for the production of a profit and loss account. In addition, a hen census could be easily arranged, and in this way would be settled, once and for ever, the profound mystery of the Crofter’s Hen.
ROUSAY ENTERTAINMENT. – An entertainment, under the auspices of the Rousay Mutual Improvement Guild, was given in the Wasbister Public School on the evening of Friday last – the Rev. A. J. Pirie in the chair. The choir, under the able leadership of Mr George Gibson, rendered the various pieces in excellent style. At the close of the programme, a sumptuous tea was handed round to the assembled company, after which votes of thanks were given to the Chairman and others taking part in the entertainment. About fifty couples then engaged in dancing for several hours. Supper was then served, and the singing of the National Anthem brought to a close one of the most successful meetings of this kind ever given in the island, the company dispersing at midnight. The programme was as follows:-
Glee, “Awake, Æolian Lyre,” choir; Chairman’s address; song, Mr George Gibson; reading, “How to Get a Poultry Dinner,” Mr H. Inkster; trio, “Boatmen of the Forth,” Misses Inkster, Gibson, and Mr K. Sinclair; part song, “Busy, Curious, Thirsty Fly,” choir; duet, “Lottie Lane,” Messrs Kirkness and Clouston; song, “Fifty Years Ago,” Mr John Gibson; reading, “The Provost’s Visit to London,” Mr George Gibson; sailors’ chorus, “We Rock Away on the Billows Gay,” choir; duet, “All’s Well,” Messrs Inkster and Gibson; reading, Mr J. Gibson; quartette, “Pro Phundo Basso,” Misses Gibson and Messrs Inkster and Gibson; glee, “In the Lonely Vale of Streams,” choir; dialogue, Leonard and Craigie; song, H. Inkster; glee, “Through the Wood.”
1889 February 27 Orkney Herald
GENERAL BURROUGHS AND HIS CROFTERS. – In the Orkney Sheriff Court yesterday, Frederick Burroughs Kirkness, Quoyostray, Rousay, was summoned at the instance of Major-General Burroughs for arrears of rent amounting to £30. Sheriff Armour, there being no defence, gave decree. Mr Thomson – “An application has been made to the Crofters Commission for assist.” His lordship – “I have nothing to do with that.”
1889 March 20 Orkney Herald
ROUSAY – KINDERSPIEL CONCERT. – The annual rehearsal by the pupils of Wasbister Public School, of their winter’s musical and elocutionary studies, in view of H.M. Inspector’s visit, was given in the school on Friday evening. An enthusiastic audience, from the surrounding districts, crowded the building to overflowing – “the oldest inhabitant” testifying that never were so many people packed into the school. The Rev. A. Irvine Pirie having been called to the chair, presided in his well-known racy style. He was supported by the Rev. Robert Bonett, of Glasgow; Miss Monmuir, Veira Public School, &c. Mr Archibald Merrilees, the schoolmaster, conducted; and Mrs Merrilees played the harmonium accompaniments throughout the programme. which was as follows: –
(1) Chant, “The Lord’s Prayer,” Wasbister Public School choir; Kinderspiel – “The Alphabet,” characters “A to Z,” by the choir, aged 5 to 14; Little Lady Examiner, Isa. Kirkness; Little Gentleman Inspector, Fred. Kirkness. A substantial service of cake and fruit was, on the suggestion of the juvenile inspector, awarded to the Kinderspiel Choir “as a prize won.”
(2) Boy’s Parliament – Debate on “Home Rule Bill,” by the local M.P.’s, aged 9 to 14 – Masters David M. Leonard, Robert Inkster, Hugh Craigie, Jas. Logie, Mark and Fred. Kirkness, John Craigie, Hugh and William Pearson, David James Inkster.
(3) Solo, “There’s nae Luck,” Mary Ann Inkster; dialogue, “Dolly’s Doctor,” Clara Craigie and Hugh Sinclair; solo, “Rosalie,” Isa. Kirkness; recitation, “Boys’ Rights,” Hugh Craigie; solo, “Lass of Richmond Hill,” James Logie; recitation, “I wouldn’t! Would you?” D. M. Leonard; action duet, “All’s Well,” Robert Inkster and James Logie.
This programme was wholly sustained by the efforts of the juveniles, who discarded the book, and sang and acted their parts with great freedom. The Kinderspiel describes musically a school inspection by a little lady and gentleman examiner. The children, tastefully arrayed, wore suitable alphabetic emblems, and accompanied their singing and recitation with spirited gesture – all these effects combined forming a picturesque scene. By special desire, Mrs Merrilees warbled two airs, “Bird in Hand” and “Angus Macdonald,” which were well received. The chairman addressed the children in words of high compliment and encouragement. He said that in their respective characters, as actors, singers, doctors, inspectors, and M.P.’s, they had acted their parts as to the manner born. He then called upon Mr Bonett, who, in a capital speech, gave his testimony, as a stranger from the south, to the high excellence of the entertainment, and of its being abreast of the times. He moved a vote of thanks to the performers and conductors, which was heartily awarded with encores. The latter gentleman having pronounced a benediction, the people dispersed, unanimous in their testimony that their long programme was all too short.
– St Stephen’s, Friday evening. – The Speaker (Mr Archibald Merrilees) took the chair punctually at 19.30 o’clock. In anticipation of the debate on Home Rule (Women’s) Bill, there was a full house. The Conservative Government crowded a rather rickety bench, symbolic of their political position. The Liberal Opposition were in strong force on the left. The various galleries throughout the house were thronged with spectators, apparently labouring under the suppressed excitement of the crisis of affairs. The question hour was fully taken advantage of, and some amusing, though pertinent, allusions made to such burning questions as “the fashions in ladies’ bonnets,” “the marriage laws in the Fair Isle,” “the tax on latch keys,” “the cabin accommodation of the ss “Lizzie Burroughs,” and the “high grants to Wasbister Public School.” Notices of question and motion having been disposed of, several petitions were presented for and against the “Home Rule Bill.” One of these, from the inhabitants of the Scilly Isles, was nearly two yards long and contained 50,000 signatures. The hon. member for Rousay (Mark Kirkness) declared that there were not 50,000 silly people in the Scilly Isles, which innovation was treated with “right hon. contempt” by the member (Alfred Gibson). An amusing incident occurred later on, when the hon. member for Caithness (David M. Leonard), with much Highland pride, and consequently strong Gaelic accent, demanded the Government to grant a “Crimes Commission” to enquire into the alleged breach of privilege by the publishers of a nursery rhyme, that insinuated dishonesty on the part of ” TonaId” in general. The Clerk having announced that the next business was the “Home Rule Bill,” a lively debate followed. The hon. member for Rousay advocated that women should have offices as consuls and plenipotentiaries, so that “his wife” might be sent to “Pentland, or any other land that was a long way off,” and then appealed to the reporters not to put these remarks down, for obvious reasons. The respective members contributed characteristic speeches. The hon. member for an adjacent Emerald Isle (Hugh Pearson), speaking in favour of the measure, with a rich Irish brogue, enlisted much sympathy. He was backed by the hon. member for the Muckle Water (John Craigie), who, in broad Doric, supported the “bill, the hale bill, and naething but the bill.” The Government, however, led by the “peerie” Prime Minister (Robert Inkster) and the Home Secretary (James Logie, M.P. for Trumland), were immovable, and “would do nothing unless compelled to do something if there were nothing else to do.” On the vote being taken, the House came to a “deadlock,” as the “ayes” and “noes,” both for the amendment and the second reading, were equal. The Speaker, however, gave his casting vote for the bill, which decided the downfall of the Conservative Government. The house rose, with much excited gesture, at 20.19 o’clock.
1889 April 15 Glasgow Herald
SCHOOL BOARDS. ROUSAY AND EGILSHAY. – The School Board of Rousay and Egilshay met and considered, and disposed of a considerable amount of routine business. Thereafter a letter was read from the Rev. A. McCallum, chairman of the Board, in which he intimated that, as he was leaving the parish from ill-health, he regretted to have to resign his office as chairman and also his seat as a member of the Board. The Board resolved, in accepting the resignation, to record their profound sympathy with Mr McCallum in the circumstances, especially regarding his health, and also their deep regret at parting with one who had done so much to relieve the schools of the parish of a burdensome debt, and who had as chairman put educational matters on a solid, economical, and satisfactory footing. The clerk was instructed to furnish Mr McCallum with an excerpt of the Board’s minute. It was then moved and seconded that the Rev. A. Spark, Established Church, Rousay, be elected as chairman in succession to Mr McCallum. It was also moved and seconded that the Rev. A. J. Pirie, United Presbyterian Church, Rousay, be elected. By the casting vote of Mr Marwick, Guidall, chairman pro tem, the Rev. A. J. Pirie was elected.
1889 April 17 Orkney Herald
NORTH ISLES PRESBYTERY. – ….. With reference to the injunctions laid upon him in December last to reside in his parish, Mr Spark, of Rousay, explained that he could find no suitable residence in Rousay, but had obtained lodgings from Saturday to Monday, that he had discharged his duties as faithfully as possible, and that he expected to re-occupy his manse early next month, when he was informed it would be ready. The Presbytery expressed their satisfaction in the circumstances, with the statements he had made and particularly with the announcement that he was so soon to get possession of his manse. A petition from the inhabitants of Wasbister, Rousay, signed by 101 persons of all denominations, was laid before the Presbytery praying for the services of a missionary in that district which was so far from any church. The Presbytery, while cordially receiving the petition and sympathizing with the people in that secluded portion of Rousay, regretted that the funds available for church extension are in the meantime insufficient for such a purpose…..
1889 April 30 John o’ Groat Journal
ORKNEY FREE PRESBYTERY. – At meeting held at Rousay on Wednesday, the Presbytery granted moderation in a call in favour of Mr Bonellie, preacher, Glasgow, to be minister of Rousay Free Church. The call was harmonious, and a letter was read from Mr Bonellie intimating his intention of accepting.
1889 May 22 Orkney Herald
PROPOSED SALE OF ROUSAY AND VEIRA. – We understand that the estate of Rousay and Veira will be exposed for sale at the Mart, Tokenhouse Yard, London, on Thursday, 27th June. The extent of the estate is given at 12,000 acres, of which about 3,148 are arable, 8,828 pasture, and 25 plantation. It is said also to contain veins of lead and copper as well as pavement flagstone, and a sort of curly shale. The rental is given at £3,305 6s 3d, and the public burdens at £625 5s 7d, leaving a clear rental of £2,680, not including Trumland House and shootings in the proprietor’s occupation valued at about £625.
1889 May 29 Orkney Herald
ORKNEY SHERIFF COURT. – The usual sitting of this court was held yesterday – Sheriff Armour on the bench…..THE ROUSAY MANSE DISPUTE. – This action was brought by General Burroughs and others, heritors of Rousay and Egilshay, against the Rev. Alex. Spark, minister of the united parishes, for the purpose of staying proceedings before the Presbytery of North Isles under the petition presented by the defender to the said rev. court praying for a new manse, and to dispose of said petition.
Mr ROBERTSON said that the architect having reported that the necessary works had been carried out, he had to move, in terms of the 12th section of the Ecclesiastical Buildings (Scotland) Act, that the manse declared free.
The SHERIFF said that he must be satisfied that the manse was in a thorough state of repair. The usual procedure was to remit to a man of skill. Had the architect lodged a formal report?
Mr ROBERTSON believed that that had not been done.
The SHERIFF considered that it would be better to have a formal report lodged. The manse had been inspected both by the architect and parties’ agents, and so there would be no difficulty in the matter.
Mr THOMSON had no objection to the course suggested, and his lordship pronounced an order for the lodging of the formal report…..
ROUSAY – ORDINATION. – On Wednesday last the Rev. R. Bonellie, late of Glasgow, was inducted to the charge of the Free Church congregation here. The Rev. J. Roy, M.A., Evie, presided at the moderation; and thereafter preached an eloquent discourse from 1 Timothy iii. 15, to a large audience. The Rev. J. R. Anderson, M.A., Harray, having delivered the charge to the newly-ordained minister and people, the Rev. D. Gillies. Orphir, gave a telling discourse on Church principles. In the evening a soiree was held, at which the speakers were: – Messrs Roy, Anderson, Gillies, Robb, and Pirie (U.P.), with Mr D. S. Macdonald, from the Barony Free Church, Glasgow. In the course of the evening, Mr Roy presented the congregation, through Mr Bonellie, with a handsome pulpit Bible, the gift of Mr Isdale; while Mr Archibald Merrilees, in name of the ladies, presented Mr Bonellie with a valuable marble timepiece. Lastly Mr James Leonard presented Mr Roy with a field-glass from the congregation as a token of their respect for his services as interim moderator. On Sunday, at noon, Mr Bonellie was introduced to the congregation by his former minister, the Rev. Mr Macdonald, Barony Free Church, Glasgow, and in the afternoon the new pastor preached to a large congregation.
1889 May 29 Morning Post
ROUSAY IN ORKNEY
VALUABLE RESIDENTIAL ESTATE FOR SALE.
MESSRS. J. WATSON LYALL and CO., Land Agents, 15, Pall-mall, London,
are instructed to SELL, by AUCTION, at the Mart, Tokenhouse-yard,
Bank of England, London, on THURSDAY, June 27,
at two o’clock precisely.
The extensive and attractive ESTATE of ROUSAY and VIERA, in the county of Orkney. The extent of the estate is about 12,000 acres, of which about 3,148 acres are arable, 8,827 acres pasture, and about 25 acres plantation. The climate is most salubrious, with little frost or snow in winter, and the whole district is most picturesque. The estate is about 10 miles from Kirkwall, the chief town of the Orkney Islands. The route is by rail to Thurso, thence by steamer to Kirkwall and Rousay; also by steamer from Leith or Aberdeen to Kirkwall: or from Liverpool or Glasgow to Stromness (Orkney). There is a post-office about 2½ miles distant, and a pillar letter-box at the lodge gate. Telegraph-office at Kirkwall, 10 miles dlstant. The estate is surrounded and intersected by good roads. There are two residences, namely, the Mansion-house of Trumland and Westness House. Trumland House occupies a beautiful position surrounded by 50 acres of policies, pleasure grounds, gardens, &c. The mansion was built in 1875 from designs by the well-known architect, Mr. D. Bryce, R.S.A., and is a very handsome characteristic Scotch house, with large accommodation. Westness House (shooting lodge) is nicely situated, and has also accommodation for a large party. There is a good stock of game on the estate, including grouse, snipe, plover, wild duck, hares, rabbits, &c. A great variety of wildfowl, including wild swans, visit the island in winter, and there are seals in summer. It is, in fact, an excellent all-the-year-round shooting. There is excellent Loch trout fishing, and good sea-trout fishing – exclusive right to both. The whole district is picturesque and interesting, and the views from the Mansion-house very fine. There are veins of lead, copper, and a sort of curly shale, and also pavement flagstones. Secure anchorage for yachts in the Sound close to Trumland House all the year round, and secure summer anchorage at Westness. The rental of the estate is £3,365 6s. 3d., and the public burdens amount to £625 5s. 7d., leaving a clear rental of £2,680, not including Trumland House and shootings in proprietor’s occupation, valued at about £625.
Printed particulars of sale may be had from Messrs. J. Watson Lyall and Co.,
land agents, 15, Pall-mall, London.
1889 June 5 Orkney Herald
HEAVY THUNDERSTORM IN ORKNEY. – On Sunday afternoon, between three and four o’clock, a thunderstorm of almost unprecedented severity broke over Orkney, but fortunately was of brief continuance, and occasioned no damage that we have yet heard of. The earlier part of the day had been sultry, and large premonitory drops of rain fell in the forenoon, but it was not till about a quarter to four o’clock that the storm burst. The rain, which at times was interspersed with hail, then came down for about a quarter of an hour in sheets, and those returning from church had either to submit to a thorough soaking or seek friendly shelter. The thunder rolled for a time almost continuously, while the lightning, if not blinding, was remarkably vivid. Shortly after four o’clock the storm passed away to the westward.
1889 June 12 Orkney Herald
ORKNEY SHERIFF COURT. – The weekly sitting of this Court was held yesterday – Sheriff Armour on the bench.
THE ROUSAY MANSE CASE. – In the action Burroughs v. Spark, Mr Robertson (for the pursuer) moved that the manse of Rousay be declared free. The case, he said, had been adjourned from last court day in order to allow the defender’s agent (Mr Thomson) ascertaining whether the water supply was right.
The SHERIFF asked whether any objection was made to the motion.
Mr ROBERTSON replied that none at least had been intimated.
Mr COWPER (in the absence of Mr Thomson, in Shetland) remarked that he had received a letter from the Rev. Mr Spark stating that he was willing the manse should be declared free in so far as it was in a fresh and sound state and free from decay, but pointing out that there were still portions left which were wholly unsound and worm-eaten. Of those, specimens were forwarded. Mr Spark had on three occasions signified his objection to living in the manse in that condition. It may be in a state of quasi sufficient repairs, but the Act directed, in order to its being declared free, that it should be so in toto.
The SHERIFF said that as no objections had been lodged, of course he could not take that communication into account. He thought there had been specimens of wood sent before, but that had been dealt with by the architect.
Mr ROBERTSON said that was so.
The SHERIFF, in respect that no objections were sustained to the architect’s report, pronounced an order finding the manse free…..
1889 July 17 Orkney Herald
ORKNEY SHERRIF COURT. – A sitting of this Court was held yesterday – Sheriff Armour on the bench…..
SCHOOL BOARD PROSECUTIONS. – Several summonses were heard against ratepayers in Rousay for recovery of arrears of school fees dating back from 1883. Mr Thomson appeared for the School Board of Rousay.
A discussion having arisen as to the tardiness of the Board in instituting proceedings, Mr THOMSON remarked that it would be very hard indeed if the School Board were to be punished for its leniency.
The SHERIFF said there was a middle course that might have been taken. A duty rested with the School Board just as much as with the parent. The parent had to pay the fees if he were able, and it rested with the School Board to secure these within a reasonable time. They ought not to allow fees to accumulate for six years.
Mr THOMSON said that in the cases under review poverty was pleaded. He did not wish to have the cases unduly pushed, nor did he think the School Board would act in that direction.
The SHERIFF – What I am pointing to is this, that if, on the one hand, the parent does not pay, and, on the other hand, the School Board neither asks for fees nor interferes by legal process to enforce their right, then all evidence is lost as to what the exact pecuniary position of the parent was, say in 1883.
Mr THOMSON admitted it was a long time to have these arrears accumulating.
The SHERIFF said he would give decree in the several cases, not for the arrears sued for, but only as from February, 1888.
1889 August 7 Orkney Herald
ROUSAY – CATTLE SHOW. – The cattle show In connection with the Rousay and Veira Agricultural Society was held on the farm of Banks, Sourin, on Wednesday last. The day was all that could be desired, and there was a good turnout of cattle and horses. Sheep were conspicuous by their absence. A large number of spectators visited the show ground during the day, among whom were General and Mrs Burroughs and party from Trumland House, who took a lively interest in the proceedings. The judges were Messrs MacGregor, Warrenfield, Kirkwall; and Sutherland, Quanterness, whose decisions seemed to give general satisfaction, and who awarded the prizes as follows: –
CATTLE. Bulls – 1 and Highland Society’s medal, General Burroughs, Trumland.
Cross Cows – 1, General Burroughs, Trumland; 2, John Gibson, Langskaill; 3, G. Gibson, Avelshay.
Two-Year-Old Heifers – 1, John Gibson, Langskaill; 2, William Mainland, Banks; 3. J Mainland, Ervadale; commended, John Gibson, Langskaill.
Two-Year-Old Steers (one entry) – William Corsie, Brendale.
One-Year-Old Heifers – 1, George Gibson, Avelshay; 2, General Burroughs; 3, Samuel Gibson, Bigland.
One-Year-Old Steers – 1, Geo. Gibson, Avelshay; 2, General Burroughs; 3, W. Learmonth, Faraclett.
HORSES. Mares with Foal at Foot – 1 and Highland Society’s medal, John Gibson, Langskaill; 2, Samuel Gibson, Bigland; 3, George Stevenson, Scockness.
Yeld Mares – 1, William Corsie, Brendale; 2, G. Gibson, Avelshay; 3, David Inkster, Innister.
Two-Year-Old Fillies – 1, John Gibson, Hurtiso; 2, David Inkster, lnnister.
Two-Year-Old Colts – 1, George Gibson, Avelshay; 2, Samuel Gibson, Bigland; 3, George Learmonth, Westness.
One-Year-Old Fillies – 1, William Inkster, Cogar; 2, William Learmonth, Faraclett; 3, Geo. Stevenson, Scockness.
Ponies under 12 Hands – 1, Robert Learmonth, Faraclett; 2, General Burroughs.
POULTRY. Best Cock and Hen – Mrs Murrison, Veira Lodge. Chickens – 1, Mrs Burroughs; 2, Mrs Gibson, Langskaill.
FANCY BIRDS. Golden Pencil Cock and Hen – Miss Learmonth, Faraclett.
Silver Pencil Cock and Hen – Miss Learmonth, Faraclett. Duck and Drake – Miss Learmonth, Faraclett.
After the show the judges, committee, and a few other friends sat down to dinner in the Sourin Schoolroom. The Rev. A. Spark, minister of the parish, occupied the chair, while Mr John Gibson, Langskaill, discharged the duties of croupier in a very effective manner. The usual loyal and patriotic toasts were proposed and responded to. Much regret was expressed at the unavoidable absence of General Burroughs, to whose kindness and liberality the success of the show was largely due. His health, however, together with that of Mrs Burroughs, was proposed and most heartily responded to with cheers.
1889 August 14 Orkney Herald
THE TWELFTH. – In the phrase of those who regard sporting as a pastime, the 12th August was not a brilliant success – so far as the weather was concerned. Sport was in some respects disappointing. The birds were strong on the wing, but nevertheless they were scarce. On St Andrews, Mr Gold shot on Monday morning, 2 brace of grouse and 3 snipes. Sheriff Armour and Mr Buchanan had, in the afternoon, on Barryhill, 4 brace grouse, 4 couple snipe, 2 plover, and 1 wild duck. On the Westness portion of General Burroughs’ estate, General Macdonald bagged 9½ brace of grouse, 1 snipe, and 1 hare. Other estates in the county were shot over, but owing to the want of telegraphic communication we have no record – except that of rumour – to hand.
ROUSAY – PICNIC. – On Friday the 9th inst., the children of the Frotoft School started from the school, and marched to Skey Field, which was kindly granted by Mr Learmonth, and spent a most enjoyable day. The weather was good though rather breezy. After a service of bread and milk, games were heartily engaged in – running, jumping, &c. There was a good turn out of spectators, among whom were General Burroughs, Colonel McDonald, Mrs McDonald, and party from Westness House, Rev. Alex. Spark and Mrs Spark, Rev. A. I. Pirie and Mrs Pirie, Mr and Mrs Murrison, Miss McKay, Veira Lodge, and Mr Agnew. By the kind consent of Colonel McDonald the children were allowed to march through the gardens of Westness House, and also to view a little cottage most beautifully and artistically trimmed up by Miss Tewbank, Westness House. After singing a few songs and the awarding of prizes, the children were again served with milk, bread, and sweets, which was liberally supplied by the children’s parents. The company, being much pleased with their day’s enjoyment, broke up.
1889 August 21 Orkney Herald
THE SEASON. – The bright outlook of the last week or two has been to some extent dispelled by the gale of yesterday. The rain, though coming very late, has done much good to turnips, and even grass. Since Sunday, however, blasts of wind and heavy rain have in many instances laid the crop. The cutting of bere has necessarily been interfered with to a considerable extent. Fortunately, oat crops are not quite ready for the sickle, and thus they have escaped what we hope will be a temporary access of bad weather.
1889 September 11 Orkney Herald
MR ARCHIBALD MERRILEES, schoolmaster, Rogart [between Lairg and Golspie], late Rousay, has already been promoted to the mastership of a public school in Northumberland, at a rising salary. He left the Orkneys with the best wishes of all who knew him.
ROUSAY – PRESENTATION. – The children of the Wasbister Public School assembled in the school on the evening of Friday last to present their much respected teacher, Mr James R. McKay (Stromness), with a handsome pocket Bible and silver pocket case on the occasion of his leaving the district. Mr Gordon presided, and, with a few happy remarks, introduced Mr Agnew, Larbert, who, in a neat speech, made the presentation. In the course of his speech, Mr Agnew recalled the fact that the first known presentation was when Eve was presented to Adam in the garden of Eden. He said that these presents were from the old people as well as the young, and that it spoke exceedingly well for Mr McKay that during the time he has been in Wasbister he had thus gained the esteem and affection of the community, and made himself a general favourite in the district. Mr McKay, returning thanks, stated that this was the third time he had been called on to return thanks for presents, viz.:- 1st, in Abernethy, for a present from his scholars; 2nd, in Stromness from his Bible class; and now here from his scholars. He recalled the many happy days he had spent here, and urged the scholars to be attentive to their studies, and achieve the same greatness that former scholars of the school had attained in the medical and commercial worlds. A juvenile choir rendered some excellent songs, and Mr Agnew gave two recitations which greatly enhanced the enjoyment of the meeting, which was brought to a close by the usual vote of thanks.
1889 September 25 Orkney Herald
ROUSAY – DEATH OF MR ALEXANDER MARWICK. – On Monday last Mr Marwick of Corse, our oldest inhabitant, passed away from our midst. He had reached the mature age of eighty-nine years, but maintained his strong mental powers to the last. On Thursday his body was laid to rest in the quaint old churchyard on the west side of Rousay. On Sabbath, in the U.P. Church, Mr Pirie, preaching from the text – “Then Abraham gave up the ghost and died in a good old age – an old man and full of years, and was gathered to his people” (Genesis xxv. 8) – made the following reference to the deceased: – We this day mourn the loss by death of Mr Alexander Marwick, our senior elder. He was one of the few remaining links between the past and present generations. Born with the century, he has been permitted to see more than the usual number of years allotted to man. Wasbister was Mr Marwick’s birthplace, and his parents were both eminent in piety and good works. His father is still remembered as a man remarkably proficient in Bible knowledge, Christian character, and in efforts to instruct both young and old in the word of truth. When about the age of twelve years, Mr Marwick sustained his first great loss in the death of his mother. That bereavement was the starting point in his spiritual history. By the time he had reached his twentieth year a religious movement had begun in Rousay and in all the surrounding islands. The chief agent in this awakening of spiritual interns was the Secession Church in Kirkwall. That church, after the comparatively brief but brilliant ministry of Mr Broadfoot, had just began to enjoy the ministrations of a singularly able and devoted pastor. The Kirkwall church, under the late Dr Paterson, from the very commencement of his ministry, became the centre of religious life and gospel privileges to the whole of Orkney. Large numbers, thirsting for the truth, flocked from all parts to hear him; and Mr Marwick, full of intellectual life and religious fervour, early joined the band of pilgrims that left this island weekly to worship in Kirkwall. Starting from his home in Wasbister about three o’clock on the Sabbath morning, he and his companions crossed the Rousay hills to Hullion, took boat to Evie, and then travelled to Kirkwall, returning by the same route at night. Thus at a time when there were no roads and many parts of the country well-nigh impassable, these earnest, self-denying men travelled fully forty miles to find gospel ordinances and to bring gospel blessings to their homes. This continued for a period of fifteen years, but during these years Mr Marwick was too earnest and enthusiastic to remain satisfied with merely securing spiritual profit for himself. Along with his father, and under the guidance of Dr Paterson, Sabbath-school work – a new form in that day of Christian labour – was zealously prosecuted. Prayer meetings for young men were started, and a Foreign Mission Society was organised. His crowning work, however, was the formation of this congregation. In the year 1834, three men – Alexander Marwick, John Craigie of Hullion, and Alexander Grieve of Howe, in Egilshay, met, and consulted together. They were all three members of the church in Kirkwall, and they took their proposals to Dr Paterson who gave them every encouragement, and promised substantial help. Mr Marwick appeared before the presbytery with a petition for a supply of gospel preaching in Rousay. The Presbytery cordially granted the petition, and appointed Dr Paterson to organise a congregation, and to take the necessary steps for the election of elders. Those three men – who will ever be affectionately remembered by this church – were unanimously elected to be the first elders. The church and manse were erected, and opened free of debt, and Dr Paterson, having preached the opening sermon, presided at the first communion service. Two of this first little band of elders, after lengthened service, entered into their rest years ago, and now the third and only survivor has been taken to his reward. Mr Marwick was in many respects a remarkable man. Possessed of a keen faculty of observation, a retentive memory, a robust, active mind, and conversational powers above the average, his fellowship was always interesting and profitable. His polite manner, his high-toned moral character, made those who came in contact with him feel, as one said on his funeral day, that “he was one of Nature’s gentlemen.” But his nobility was greater than nature could produce. A life of faith, of Bible reading, of communion with heavenly verities, of inwrought grace, had made him great in those qualities and virtues that adorn the Christian man. Strongly attached to the principles of this Church, and deeply interested in the spiritual prosperity of the people, this just man, humbly and quietly, within a narrow, circumscribed sphere, lived and laboured; and although his memory may be cherished by only a few, yet his record is on high, and his Master, who overlooks no service, has taken him to Himself, that He may crown him with honour and dignity and a glorious immortality.
[Alexander Marwick was born on July 11th 1801 at Negar, a house on the land of Falquoy in Wasbister. His parents were William Marwick, originally of Heatherhall, Wasbister, and Elizabeth Marwick. In 1827 Alexander married 25-year-old Isabella Gibson, daughter of David Gibson, Langskaill, and his second wife Jean Marwick, and between 1829 and 1844 they raised a family of six children.]
1889 October 16 Orkney Herald
AN ORCADIAN EX-CROFTER DEFORCED. – On Wednesday Mr James Leonard, sheriff-officer, Oban, proceeded to Ardnamurchan for the purpose of selling some cattle belonging to Donald MacDermid, crofter Glendryan, under a warrant from the Sheriff at Oban, following upon a Court of Session decree for arrears of rent due to Mr James Dalgleish. The officer was accompanied by the ground officer and an assistant, and states that on going to MacDermid’s croft he was prevented by a sister of the crofter, and some other woman belonging to the township, from taking possession of the poinded cattle. Fearing a disturbance he declared himself deforced, and returned to Oban without carrying the sale into effect. It is stated that MacDermid had applied to the Crofters Commission to deal with his arrears, but that Mr Dalgleish took decree against him for the same before the Commissioners had given their order in the application for a sist [Scots law: stay] of the proceedings. Leonard, it may be remembered, was recently a crofter in Rousay, and was evicted shortly after his appearance as a witness before the Crofters Commission.
[Deforce is a legal term, meaning to unlawfully withhold land from its true owner or from any other person who has a right to the possession of it, after one has lawfully entered and taken possession of it.]
1889 October 23 Orkney Herald
ROUSAY – THE Rev. Alexander Spark, M. A , parish minister, after sermon on Sunday (13th inst.), read the pastoral letter on non-church going, housing of the poor, and intemperance, as enjoined by the Act of General Assembly of date 31st May last, and announced that Friday, 25th Oct., will be held as a fast-day; Sunday, 27th, as communion; and Wednesday, 30th, as harvest thanksgiving. The Rev. John Spark, M.A., minister of church and parish of Clyne, Sutherlandshire, will preach on fast-day and harvest thanksgiving, and assist at the communion. Since his return to Rousay, the parish minister has visited his people, distributing all the communion tokens, and has taken the names of all the congregation in 3 divisions: – 1, all 13 years and under; 2, all above 13 non-communicants; 3, all communicants. He finished his regular monthly service at Wasbister, which he has conducted now for three years, on Sunday night last, has commenced a children’s church, and, in obedience to the recommendation of the General Assembly, has adopted the schedule system of collection.
1889 October 30 Orkney Herald
ROUSAY – SCHOLASTIC. – The various schools in this parish were re-opened on Monday last. As education has been made altogether free, it is to be hoped that parents and others will do their utmost in assisting the School Board to secure regular attendance.
1889 November 16 The Orcadian
ROUSAY FREE CONCERT. – On the evening of Friday, 8th November, a free concert was given by the ladies of Westness House in the Frotoft Public School. Rev A. Pirie occupied the chair, and General and Mrs Burroughs were present on the platform. The inhabitants of Rousay should feel deeply indebted to the ladies of Westness for providing them with such a treat as was afforded on Friday evening. The services of Misses McDonald and Ewbank toward the success of the concert cannot be over-rated; and the accompaniments played by Mrs McDonald left nothing to be desired. The songs sung by Mr Hugh Inkster did not fail to tickle the comic faculties of every individual in the audience. Several solos were exquisitely rendered by Miss McDonald on the banjo. Master D. Learmonth’s rendering of “Duck Foot Sue” was excellent, and loudly applauded. Mr Marwick’s contributions to the programme do him great credit. The recitations were well rendered. The plantation songs reflect great praise both on the conductor and the chorus. The school children performed their part well under the able superintendence of Mr Muir.
Programme. – Plantation song, ‘Clitter Clatter’, chorus; song, ‘Powder Monkey Jim’, Mr Hugh Inkster; recitation, ‘Boys’ Rights’, Mr John Craigie; song, ‘Just as well’, Miss Ewbank, Violin; ‘Scotch Airs’, Mr N. Mainland; song, ‘Ballyhooly’, Mr Marwick; duet, ‘Down where the Blue Bells grow’, Mr Craigie and Mr D. Learmonth; song, ‘The Fishers’, Mrs Pirie; recitation, ‘Hodge and the Vicar’, Mr Muir; song, ‘Sailing’, Mr W. Learmonth; plantation song, ‘Dinah’s Wedding’, chorus; violin and song, ‘Serenade’, Miss Ewbank and Miss McDonald; song, ‘Razors in the Air’, Mr Hugh Inkster; banjo solo, ‘Darling Clementine’, Miss McDonald; duet, ‘A.B.C.’, Miss Low and Mr Mainland; song, ‘The Three Dreamers’, Mr W. Learmonth; song, ‘Duckfoot Sue’, Mr D. Learmonth; chorus, ‘Silverlake’, school children; melodeon, ‘Scotch Airs’, Mr R. Flett; song, ‘No Sir’, Miss S. Ewbank; piano, ‘Dance Music’, Miss Pirie; recitation, ‘ Modern Music’, Mr James Craigie; banjo solo, ‘Peptia’, Miss McDonald; plantation song, ‘Goodnight’, chorus.
General Burroughs in a neat speech proposed a hearty vote of thanks to the ladies from Westness House for getting up the concert, and also to the performers who had taken part. A vote of thanks was given to the Rev A. Pirie for his conduct in the chair. After singing ‘God Save the Queen,’ a very enjoyable evening was brought to a close.
1889 November 27 Orkney Herald
ROUSAY – THE LATE ROBERT MAINLAND. – At the close of a sermon on Job xxxiii. 24, last Sunday, the Rev. Mr Spark said: – Last week we laid a Christian brother and neighbour into the grave. He had passed the three-score years and ten. The suddenness and unexpectedness of his decease, Saturday week past, accentuate the feeling of sadness. While his fidelity to things divine – conducting, as he did, the family devotions even within a few hours of his departure hence – enhances the glory of the Christian life. We cannot forget the anxiety and tender care he manifested for a brother who has been so long grievously afflicted and, even one at least, nigh unto death. His last words which were scarcely audible by human ear- “God be merciful,” or “Into thy hands I commit my spirit” – indicate to us how firm and sweet was his repose upon the “Rock of Ages.” It is now winter, and all is bleak; but spring comes again with gladdening flowers and joyous songs of birds, and season succeeds season, but we fade away. Ah! how speeds the flight of time! We pass at railway speed, spring, summer, autumn, and soon reach winter of man’s age. But if the faith of the dying thief be ours, and if the hope of eternity enriches the home of our soul, we may, even justly, bid winter welcome, if it comes to usher us into the glorious grandeur of the summer of eternity. “Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord.” Amen.
[Robert Mainland was the son of Thomas Mainland and Janet Mowat and was born on July 22nd 1817. On April 21st 1843 he married Julia (Giles) Mainland, daughter of Alexander Mainland and Margaret Grieve, Banks, Frotoft. They lived at Classiquoy and raised a family of three children.]
1889 November 28 Glasgow Herald
COURT OF SESSION. – First Division – Wednesday, November 27. (Before the Lord-President, Lords Shand, Adam, and McLaren.)
COMMERCIAL BANK v. SINCLAIR’S EXECUTORS, &c. – Robert Sinclair, senr., sometime farmer at Swandale, Rousay, Orkney, died at Swandale on 24th February, 1884, survived by his wife, Mrs Christian Inkster or Sinclair. At the time of his death he had a sum of over £800 in deposit-receipt with the Commercial Bank. After the death of Mrs Sinclair in 1887 questions arose as to the right of the relatives to the fund, which was held to have been the property of the husband. The Commercial Bank accordingly raised this action to settle the claims of parties. Samuel Sinclair, 22 Dean Park Street, Edinburgh, and Betsy Sinclair or Craigie, farmer, widow of the late John Craigie, farmer, Falldown, Rousay, claimed the fund as executors dative of the late Robert Sinclair for the purpose of administration. By the late Robert Sinclair’s settlement, he bequeathed his property to his widow in liferent, and to four of his six children in fee equally among them, declaring that in respect two of his sons, Thomas and Hugh, had been set up and furnished by him in their farms at a cost equal to any share of his estate that they, or either of them, could by law or otherwise claim, they should receive no part of his estate at the time of the death of his wife. Both, however, claimed on the estate, Thomas for £103 5s 2d and Hugh for £51 11s 4d.
Lord Trayner repelled the claims of the two sons, and preferred the claim of the executors to the fund. The two sons were found liable in expenses. Counsel for Executors – Mr Wilson. Agent – T. M. Morris, S.S.C. Counsel for Thomas and Hugh Sinclair – Mr Galbraith Millar. Agent – James Gibson, S.S.C.
1889 December 18 Orkney Herald
THE HEROINE OF A DEFORCEMENT CASE. – Mrs Smith, the old woman of 78 years of age, who was sentenced by Sheriff Maclachlan and a jury to ten days in Oban prison, for deforcing the Sheriff officer, James Leonard, the evicted Rousay crofter, at Ardnamurchan some weeks ago, was liberated on Saturday morning. On her exit from the precincts of the “lock-up,” the old woman was met by a crowd of sympathisers who greeted her warmly, and forming a procession, headed by two pipers playing loud and lustily, they escorted her along George Street to McLaren’s restaurant, where a substantial breakfast had been got ready for the old lady. In the coffee-room of the restaurant, Bailie McCowan presented Mrs Smith, in name of a large number of subscribers in Oban and the district, with a purse containing a sum of £9. Later is the day a deputation of ladies from Taynuilt arrived by train and made Mrs Smith a further presentation of £2 8s 6d. About half the population of Oban turned out to see the old woman off by the midday Pioneer, on her way home, and gave her a hearty cheer as the steamer moved off.