1890 January 8 Orkney Herald
ROUSAY – SERVICE OF SONG. – The scholars of Sourin Public School performed the service of song entitled “Moses and the Exodus” so successfully a fortnight ago that they were requested to repeat it again. Friday evening was chosen for the purpose, and the U. P. Church was placed at their disposal. The platform was elaborately and beautifully decorated by several ladies and gentlemen. The children on their arrival were supplied with tea and fruit. General Burroughs, who presided, and Mrs Burroughs, notwithstanding the inclemency of the weather, arrived punctually at the hour. Mr Wilson, teacher, of Sourin, acted as conductor, with Miss Ella Dewes Pirie, one of his scholars, as accompanist on the harmonium. Mr Pirie gave the readings, and the children rendered the various pieces with precision and spirit. The Rev. Robert Bonellie, F.C. and Mrs Bonellie, Mrs Pirie, Messrs Grieve, Learmonth, and Gibson ably assisted the children. At the close of the service Gen. Burroughs proposed a vote of thanks to Mr Wilson, his choir, and their young accompanist, and stated that the highly successful manner in which the children had performed their parts reflected the greatest credit on Mr Wilson’s ability and care as a teacher. Afterwards votes of thanks followed, and a very enjoyable and instructive service was closed with the benediction.
MUSICAL ASSOCIATION. – A feeling having prevailed for some time amongst those who wish to see higher class music promoted in the community, a public meeting was held some time ago in Sourin School, presided over by Mr Pirie. There was a large attendance and the meeting unanimously resolved to form a Musical Association. The Rev. Robert Bonellie was elected president; Mr William Wilson was appointed conductor; Mr Allan Gibson, secretary and treasurer; and Mrs Bonellie, Misses Gibson and Marwick, and Messrs Hugh Sinclair, A. Learmonth, and John Corsie were appointed members of the committee. A large number of names were enrolled, and, we understand, the Association is to hold meetings weekly for the practise of good music.
1890 January 15 Orkney Herald
THE SEASON. – With the exception of the last day or two, which were wet and cold, the weather since the New Year has been mild – our weather wise people say too mild for the month of January; indeed, any month previous to the month of March; and these persons predict much worse weather in March than is experienced at present. Scientific men tell us that winter growth is not to be desired; at any rate, most farmers now think that a check to present vegetation would be desirable. Whether this may apply to grass may not be quite clear, but as to turnips this must be so, as it requires no prescience, and little present discernment, to see that they must be losing their feeding value on account of the rapid growth of the shaws, and if they go on as at present, they will shortly be running into seed. Grass, too, looks wonderfully green; on some fields, indeed, there is more grass just now than there was in the month of August last with a much greener appearance.
ROUSAY – PARISH CHURCH. – At the close of his discourse last Sunday of Job, xxx. 23, the Rev. Mr Spark said: – “Beloved, it is meet that I should make reference to Mr Seatter, for whom we prayed last Lord’s Day, fearing as we did, that he would not see another earthly Sunday. Our fears have been realized; for early yesterday, long ere day dawned, his spirit passed away to God “who gave it.” He was quiet, obliging, industrious, and an excellent neighbour. In my visitations I found him resting firmly in Christ, casting all his sins and all the pains he endured so patiently, at the foot of his Saviour’s cross, and seeking pardon at the fountain of His blood. Some days before he died he expressed a Christian father’s wish that his children would walk in God’s ways, and manifested considerable concern for her whose life had become part and parcel of his own. He is now beyond the river of death. “Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord.” Our sympathies go forth to the home of sorrow, but our poor consolations are overborne by the fact that “one is not.” We commit his body to the grave – “ashes to ashes, dust to dust” – in the sure hope of a blessed resurrection. And now the cold stone stands by the lonely grave; now the tears fall fast, and the hands are lifted up in prayer, and the beloved is there, and we are here, but the words of Christ are for the bereaved: – “Because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your hearts; but I will see you again, and your hearts shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.” Amen.
[Evie-born William Seatter and his wife Jane farmed the 257 acres at Saviskaill at this time.]
THE MUSICAL ASSOCIATION. – In the paragraph of last week, reporting the formation of a musical association, in the Sourin district, for the promotion of higher class music, it should have been stated that the association is under the patronage of General and Mrs Burroughs, and that at the public meeting in Sourin school-room General Burroughs was unanimously elected hon. president.
1890 January 22 Orkney Herald
POOR LAW ARBITRATION – ROUSAY AND EGILSHAY v. FIRTH. – A long-standing dispute between the Parochial Boards of the parish of Rousay and Egilshay on the one side and the parish of Firth on the other was submitted by these Boards to the arbitration of Mr John A. Reid, advocate, the editor of the Poor Law Magazine, and he has now issued his findings, deciding in favour of Rousay and Eglishay. The question at issue was whether one William Leonard, a pauper, who was born in Rousay in 1840, afterwards removing with his deceased father and his mother, first to Firth, afterwards to Harray, and then again to Firth, where he now resides with his mother at Quina, was chargeable to the parish of Rousay or to the parish of Firth. The facts and the questions of law are stated in the case submitted to the arbiter as follows: –
On or about the year 1832, Peter Leonard, a native of and (down to the year 1841, as after explained) residing in the united parish of Rousay and Egilshay, was married to Mrs Helen Bews or Leonard, also a native of that parish. There were nine children born of the marriage, one of whom, William Leonard, was born in Rousay on or about the year 1840. In the year 1841, Peter Leonard removed from the parish of Rousay with his wife and family to Quatquoy, in the parish of Firth, where he and his family resided from that date down to the year 1869. In that year he and his family removed from the parish of Firth to the parish of Harray, where he resided till his death in the year 1870. His widow, with her son, William Leonard, continued to reside in Harray until 1877, when they returned to the parish of Firth, and have since that year lived at Queena in that parish. When William Leonard was in pupillarity (his exact age not being agreed upon between the parties), and being in the parish of Firth – he was out with the people of the house on the peatmoss – he strayed away from them and was not found till after considerable search. Any defect of intellect he now suffers from, has always been referred to as originating at this time, viz., to the fright he received. A claim of relief by Firth was made in 1885 against Rousay as the parish of birth, on the ground that Leonard, being fatuous, could never earn a livelihood for himself nor claim a residential settlement. In April 1887, Mrs Leonard made application to the Parochial Board of Firth for relief on behalf of her son, the said Wm. Leonard. This was refused her by the Inspector of Poor, when she applied to the Sheriff-Substitute. A statement on behalf of the Parochial Board of Firth was lodged in the process, but by interlocutor, dated 10th May 1887, the Sheriff repelled the averments therein set forth, and found the applicant legally entitled to relief. Reference is made to this Sheriff Court process, which is sent herewith. The Inspector of Rousay refused to admit liability on the ground that the father, Peter Leonard, had acquired a residential settlement in Firth, which his son William Leonard inherited. The claim of Firth was again revived by letter of 16th January 1888, the original claim being made on 7th July 1885, and again repudiated. He claims that by law and acquiescence the parish of Firth, and not the parish of Rousay is liable (whether the pauper be fatuous or not) for the support of the pauper, William Leonard, assuming him to be a fit subject of parochial relief. The Parochial Ward of Firth refuse to admit that their wish is, either by law or acquiescence, liable for the support of William Leonard. The inspector of Poor for Rousay proposed that the matters in dispute should be referred to the Editor of the Poor Law Magazine, and his proposal was agreed to by the Parochial Board of Firth at a meeting held on 27th April 1888. Reference is made to the copy of correspondence between the two parishes submitted herewith, and. in particular, reference is made to the letter from Firth of 9th July 1885, and Rousay’s reply of 18th July 1885. The foregoing case is therefore submitted to the Editor of the Poor Law Magazine, and he is requested to state whether, in his opinion, the united parish of Rousay and Egilshay or the parish of Firth is liable for the support of the pauper, William Leonard.
The parties having agreed to bear the expense of the reference equally, the question of expenses will not fall to be dealt with by the arbiter.
Upon this case the arbiter has issued the following findings: –
The arbiter finds (1) that the parish of Firth is the parish of settlement of the pauper William Leonard; and (2) that the Parochial Board of said parish is bound to support him as long as he continues a proper object of Parochial relief.
(Signed) JOHN ALEX. REID.
11 Royal Circus, Edinburgh, 26th Dec. 1889.
Agent for Rousay and Egilshay, Mr W. P. Drever; for Firth, Mr D. J. Robertson.
1890 April 2 Orkney Herald
ROUSAY – MUSICAL CONCERT. – The Sourin Musical Association made its first public appearance on Friday evening in Sourin school-room. Formed only in January, it has scarcely been three months in existence. Its object is the study of music of a better class, and thus to cultivate the public taste. Its recent formation caused that part of the programme sung by the whole association, to be somewhat brief, but it was performed so successfully as to warrant the attempt of something even more difficult by another session. The individual members joined heartily in the preparations for the concert, and rich quartettes, glees, trios, duets, and solos, a very long programme was made out. The Rev. Andrew Pirie occupied the chair, Mr William Wilson, teacher of Sourin Public School conducted, and Miss Ella Dewes Pirie accompanied on the harmonium. Owing to the length of the programme, encores could not be given, although they were repeatedly asked. Mrs Bonellie’s singing of “Children’s Home” is worthy of special mention, also her rendering of “Jessie’s Dream.” As an encore to the latter, she gave “The Spinning Wheel;.” which fairly brought down the house. Mr Wilson rendered “Consider the Lilies” and “Nazareth” with beauty and taste, but he appeared at his best in the “Death of Nelson,” which he sang with great effect. “The Contest,” a piece written for four voices, was also well received, and had to be repeated again. “The Crooked Bawbee” gave great fun. The duet, “O, wert thou in the cauld blast,” was sweetly sung by Misses M. Gibson and M. Harrold – two senior pupils of Sourin School. They deserve great credit for their first public effort. The choruses rendered by the association are well deserving of praise, especially “From Oberon, in Fairy Land.” In all the pieces the members gave great attention to the conductor’s baton, which is an important factor towards successful singing. On the whole the association is to be congratulated on its first appearance, and the highest praise must be bestowed on Mr Wilson for the pains he has taken, giving as he did his service gratuitously. The accompaniments by Miss Pirie, a senior pupil in the Sourin School, were very carefully and exceedingly well played. All endeavoured to make the concert an educational treat…..
1890 April 30 Orkney Herald
ROUSAY – PRESENTATION. – Mr P. L. Muir, who has been headmaster of the Frotoft Public School for a period of more than two years, resigned his situation on Friday 25th curt., and on Thursday was presented with a purse of money by the parents and children in the district. His departure is regretted by a large circle of friends, who wish that success may attend him in the future as it has done in the past.
1890 May 14 Orkney Herald
THE Lizzie Burroughs left last Thursday for Aberdeen to undergo her annual overhaul. In the meantime her place on the passage is being taken by the boat Onward, which calls at Trumland pier only. The steamer is expected to be on passage again on Monday first.
1890 May 21 Orkney Herald
A YEAR OF LIFE-BOAT WORK. – The Royal National Life-Boat Institution has published its annual report. In 1889, 21 new lifeboats of various sizes, possessing all the latest improvements, were sent to the coast, and the boats at 19 other stations were supplied with water-ballast tanks. During the year the Society’s life-boats, of which there are now 295 on the coast, were launched on service 239 times and were instrumental in saving 420 lives and 17 vessels, in addition to which the Committee granted rewards for the saving of 207 lives by shore-boats and other means, thus bringing up the grand total of lives saved for which the institution has granted rewards since its foundation in 1824 to 34,670.
1890 June 13 Peterhead Sentinel & General Advertiser
PRESENTATION TO AN OLD DEER MAN IN ORKNEY. – Mr George Murrison, J.P., some fifteen years factor on the estates of Rousay and Veira, has recently left Orkney, and on the occasion of his departure was presented by General and Mrs Traill Burroughs with a handsome drawing-room clock, bearing the following inscription:- Presented by Lieutenant-General F. Traill Burroughs, C.B., of Rousay and Veira, Orkney, to Mr George Murrison, J.P., as remembrance his able, active, zealous, and faithful services as factor on his estate from 1875 to 1890, and as a token of his sincere regret at parting with him on account of the action of the Crofter Commission having stopped all estate improvements, and having rendered useless the further services of a resident factor.” Mr Murrison is a native of the parish of Old Deer, and his old friends in the district will no doubt be gratified that he has been held in such high esteem in the far north.
1890 June 27 Dundee Advertiser
SEVERE STORM IN THE NORTH. – KIRKWALL. – One of the most severe gales ever experienced in Orkney during the summer mouths raged here early on Wednesday. The skipper of the Fiery Cross, Cullen, was lost twelve miles off Hoy. A boat is reported ashore at Rousay; but it could not be ascertained whether the crew was saved. Another boat went ashore at Shapinshay, but afterwards got off; whilst a third boat, which drifted from its anchor in Kirkwall Bay, was wrecked at Weyland. It is also reported that a boat is ashore at Skaill, and another was seen on the West coast of Orkney floating bottom up. There has been a great loss nets. A South Ronaldshay boat and the Inverness boat Pioneer (437) lost their whole drift, whilst other boats from Thurso and Wick have nearly all lost a few nets.
1890 July 2 Orkney Herald
GREAT STORM IN THE ORKNEYS
DISASTERS TO FISHING FLEET
LOSS OF AN ORKNEY BOAT AND SEVEN MEN
LOSS OF NETS AND DAMAGE TO CROPS
EARLY on Wednesday morning last one of the most severe and destructive storms of recent years broke over Orkney and the West Coast of Scotland generally, although here, unfortunately, it has been attended with the most deplorable results. It is not yet known what the exact loss of life has been, it being variously computed at from thirty to forty. Many boats at first reported missing have since returned safe, but at least four of the Scrabster fleet have been lost – one in the Bay of Skaill and another off Longhope – while two others had each a man overboard. All the Stromness fleet made the land safely, although with enormous difficulty; but unfortunately we have to record the loss of the Walls boat Maggie and her crew of seven in the Westray Firth. On Wednesday morning a large number of East Coast boats ran into Kirkwall harbour and brought such accounts of the weather outside that the utmost anxiety prevailed. One had lost an entire drift of nets, while others had suffered similarly to a lesser extent, not to speak of the loss of their catches. As the day wore on scraps of information and rumour came pouring in, numerous instances being reported where boats had gone ashore on neighbouring islands. A Stroma boat was driven on the sands at Evie, but afterwards got off; the Isabella, of Evie, which was moored off there, broke away and was wrecked at Rousay; while another boat was stated to be ashore at Eday or Pharay, and yet another at Westray. There were numerous other rumours flying about, and we give below such details from our correspondents as have reached us. At present the damage to nets, etc, cannot be computed, almost every boat having suffered in some degree; but it is certain that it will amount to many hundreds of pounds. At Kirkwall itself the only damage done was to the fishing boat belonging to Mr James Copland, which was driven from the Grain Shore to the Bay of Weyland and wrecked. The steam trawler Alice, regarding which there had been considerable anxiety, arrived here all safe on Friday. The skipper had taken shelter at Papa Westray along with several North Ronaldshay and Shapinsay boats. The Otter had also been on a trip to the North Isles, but was most fortunately safe at her moorings when the storm same on.
The boats which came in close along the Rousay and Rendall land, got up to Kirkwall with little difficulty; but most of those which lay close to Shapinsay were carried down the String broadside on, with the flood tide. One of these, the Seiner, PD. 574, went ashore at Shapinsay. The people at once proceeded to the assistance of the fishermen, and fortunately succeeded in saving the whole crew, by means of ropes, but the boat is reported to be useless. Dr Tiplady was also on the spot to render any assistance that might be required. The men of this boat wish to acknowledge the great kindness which they received from the people at Shapinsay.
Our Stromness correspondent writes: – A most disastrous gale swept over this district on Wednesday morning, bringing with it serious loss of life and property to the fleet of fishing boats. On the previous day the fishing was an exceptionally heavy one, and therefore but few boats left the harbour for the fishing ground on Tuesday. Of these, a few returned without shooting their nets, and it is fortunate they did so. With the fleet at sea the gale came on about 11 o’clock, and increased in violence during the night. The boats fishing here had to run before the wind for the Westray Firth, and the day was well advanced before any tidings of their safety reached us. The Scrabster fleet, however, made for Hoy Sound and the Pentland Firth, and in their efforts to reach a harbour, most of the boats spent their sails, and had to run under bare poles before the wind; between six and seven o’clock, the first of the fleet arrived, coming in Hoy Sound without a stitch of canvas, and with difficulty reached the harbour. A Grimsby fishing smack spent his head sails in the Sound, but made the harbour in safety. During the morning the boats were eagerly watched by those on shore, and enquiries made for the safety of the local boats. In trying to take the harbour one or two of them got ashore on the Outer Holm, but sustained no injury. Boats at anchor in the harbour dragged their anchors, and two of them also got ashore on the Outer Holm, but were got off during the day with the assistance of the life-boat crew. The vessels belonging to the Hudson’s Bay Company, anchored in Cairston roadstead, drove a considerable distance, but they received no injury. Three boats, whose sails were unless, took shelter behind the Holms, and were towed round to the harbour by the steam fishing vessel “Staghound” of Hull. This act of kindness is worthy of recognition as it was unsolicited.
During the afternoon noon intelligence reached here that the Tern, of Stroma, had become a total wreck in the Bay of Skaill, but the crew got safely on shore, and saved a good part of their effects. About 3 p.m. the boat Fiery Cross, BF. 359, of Cullen, arrived here and reported the loss of the skipper, Alexander Findlay (Den). This boat broke away from her drift of nets about 12 miles off the land, north from Hoy Sound. The boat was then put before the wind and the mast set, and the crew were in the act of getting the sail ready when the boat broached to the wind. The skipper put his helm up when a heavy sea struck the boat and carried him overboard. The accident was not observed by the crew until he was some thirty yards to leeward. Lines were then thrown and every effort made to save him, but without success. He was seen swimming a few minutes in the direction of the boat, which could render no assistance, though the crew saw him sink only a short distance away. The accident was also witnessed by a Wick boat alongside, but it was powerless to help. For a time the crew were at a loss what to do for their own safety, as the boat was helpless with water and almost on her beam ends. One of the crew was then lashed to the helm, the boat got before the wind and the water pumped out, after which the smallest sail possible was set to the gale. Several heavy seas were shipped, and at times they thought the boat would sink, but with careful and skilful handling she reached Stromness about 3 p.m. The skipper leaves a wife and seven of a family, two of whom were on board the boat with their father, viz., John Findlay, (Den), aged 20 years; and Alexander Findlay, jr., aged 14 years.
During Wednesday evening news reached here that a Wick boat had been lost at Ramlageo, near the Bay of Skaill, and that all hands had perished. This report was afterwards confirmed, and the boat proved to be the Douglas. WK. 202. A boat which arrived during the afternoon reported passing a boat in a dangerous position near the Black Craig, and a few gossips soon circulated the report that a boat had been lost there. We can now positively assert that a boat was not lost near the Black Craig, and the one seen in a dangerous position there is proved to have been the Moray Lass, INS. 786, James Flett, skipper. This boat was making for Hoy Sound, but seemed afraid of getting in, and lowered the sail to put about, when the yard broke, and threw a man overboard. His name is Main, and he leaves five of a family, all young, his wife having died only two months ago. With great difficulty the boat was got off the land, and run for the Westray Firth, and, accompanied by The Brothers, WK. 954, reached Sanday in safety.
On Thursday all the Iocal boats were reported safe, with the exception of one, and it was supposed she had gone to Westray. The same day Captain G. Baillie, hon. Secretary for the National Lifeboat Institution, engaged the steam fishing vessel Staghound to make a search for any disabled boats. After steaming for several hours she reported finding the stem or apron of a large boat, supposed to be that of the Douglas, WK 202, and a new serge coat, made by John McLeod, clothier, Govan.
On Friday intelligence was received that the boat Maggie, K 234, had been lost in the Westray Firth, and that all hands had perished. This boat was found bottom up, with mast broken, drifting with the tide. She carried a crew of seven hands, all belonging to the island of Walls. Their names are – John Manson, skipper; Malcolm Robertson, married, leaves a wife and six of a family; John Johnston, married, leaves a wife and two of a family; Samuel Stout, unmarried; Alexander Swanson, unmarried; William Robertson, unmarried; and a lad named John Thomson, about 17 years of age. Much sympathy is felt in town for the relatives of the crew, all of whom were known in Stromness.
The gale is described as the most severe ever experienced at this season of the year, and fishermen state that for some time it blew with hurricane force. The loss of life in this neighbourhood is estimated at 27 souls, which includes the crew of the boat Maggie, Douglas, and two crews in the Pentland Firth. The loss of nets is very great, and will represent a total of several hundred pounds.
Our Longhope correspondent writes: – On the morning of Wednesday last a terrific storm broke out here from the South and West, causing much damage to crops. The night previous the wind set in from South-east with heavy rain. Thus it continued more or less up till 4 o’clock in the morning, when the rain ceased, and the wind came in still more fitful gusts, showing every sign of becoming a gale. Towards six o’clock it veered to westward with still increasing fury, and continued up till nearly 9 o’clock with terrible force. Afterwards it wore in more north-westerly, when it moderated slightly. During the time of its full strength, the large sheets of spray could be seen going over the neighbouring islands, forming themselves into frantic semi-circles of sea drift as they left the shores. The crops on the west and south-west sides of all the islands – notably that of Cava and Brims – have suffered serious injury. Looking at them now, after a few days of sunshine, the fields present a pale, white appearance, with but meagre signs of returning growth and colour. The crops in general, are blighted and pale looking. It is feared the harvest will be three weeks later than it otherwise would have been. Potatoes have probably suffered most of any crop. The beautiful fresh sproutings are quite frizzled up. Indeed everywhere around, both in garden and field, one can see symptoms of decay such as the oldest inhabitant in the island has not seen before at this season of the year.
While we are briefly noting the damage done to the prospects of agriculture through the storm, we cannot forget to Iook at a still more disastrous view, namely, its effect upon the fishing. Further news has just reached us confirming the report about the ill-fated boat Maggie, belonging to Longhope. It appears she got under way about 4 o’clock that morning, and bore north from west of Stromness. She rounded Birsay and Rousay in company with some other boat or boats, and was last seen running upon a skerry in Westray Firth, where she became a total wreck, and all hands perished. The names of the ill-fated crew are as follows: – John Manson (skipper), Stoop, Longhope, unmarried; Malcolm Robertson, Myre, leaves a widow and six children; John Johnston, Towerhouse, married, leaves a widow and two children; Samuel Stout, Misbister, unmarried; Alex. Swanson, Burnhouse, unmarried; Wm. Robertson, Myre, unmarried; John Thompson, Bownstown, unmarried. Much sympathy is felt for the bereaved relatives. It has cast a gloom over the whole island.
An act of heroism was performed during the gale on Wednesday by some people belonging to Flotta which deserves to be recorded. Whilst the gale was at its height two Sutherland boats from the parish of Farr were seen driving through the Pentland Firth in the ebb, one not able to carry even its mast, and steering by chains, whilst the other was labouring heavily under the corner of a sail. When the boats got to Switha they cast anchor in a very unsafe place, and threw up signals of distress to the people on the hill of Flotta. The spectators saw that when the tide turned the boats would be in great danger, and gallantly set about organising a crew to go to the rescue. The best boat available was an open yawl, and in this frail craft six men took their places and plunged right round the Cave of Banks, which lies on the edge of the Pentland Firth, and succeeded in boarding one of the unfortunate boats. Thomas Norquoy, who had command of the Flotta boat, urged the strangers to run for Holm Sound but they represented that they were unable to do so without assistance, whereupon Norquoy took command of one of the boats, the Unity, and got it safely into Holm, the other following in its wake. The Unity had lost its iron man, dandy mast, and eight nets. The men reported that they had never been in such a heavy sea, and that the boat was frequently submerged…..
1890 July 9 Orkney Herald
THE RECENT GALE. – It is now known that the summer gale of 25th June has involved the loss of fifty-one lives. Orkney has contributed seven to the death-roll, and the rest of the list is mainly made up from Caithness and Sutherland. It is needless to say that many widows and orphans are now cast on the world, and must be dependent, at least for some time to come, on the benevolence of the public. In Caithness a movement is already on foot to gather a fund for the sufferers, and we believe that in Orkney a similar course will be taken. It is not for us to suggest to philanthropic people how they should dispense their charity, but it may be said that there is a growing public opinion to the effect that a permanent fund should be established in Orkney in order adequately to cope with the calamities which, with a seafaring population, must grimly be reckoned upon. It is unfortunately too true that Shetland has not persuaded the public in favour of such a course, but we think that the experiment might be tried in Orkney in the full confidence of a judicious administration of any fund that might be forthcoming.
1890 July 16 Orkney Herald
SUPPOSED DASTARDLY OUTRAGE IN ORKNEY. – What is believed to be a barbarous outrage on lamb animals, committed in a spirit of revenge, is reported from Rousay. Mr George Swanson, grieve of Trumland farm, reported to General Burroughs on Saturday evening, that on visiting the Holm of Scockness, where he had been to inspect the sheep, he found to his horror that twenty-one Blackfaces had been shut up in a shelter-house, and that four of the number were dead. They had been imprisoned, apparently, for many days without food or water, and the number stated had died of starvation, while the remainder are seriously injured from the same cause. It is believed that the affair is the outcome of a cruel and fiendish joke. The door of the shelter-house was closed, and the sheep could not get in of their own accord. It is supposed that two or three persons with a sheep dog – for Blackfaced sheep are at any time ill to drive – must have had a hand in the matter, and suspicion is already directed to certain quarters. A similar action was once before perpetrated, but the sheep were liberated before any harm was done to them.
1890 August 20 Orkney Herald
SPORT IN ROUSAY. – At Trumland shooting, Rousay, General Burroughs, Cluny Macpherson, and Sir J. F. Lawson, had on Wednesday last in five hours 16 brace of grouse, 1½ couple of snipe, 2 hares, and 6 rabbits. The day was bright and warm, with the wind from the South East. Coveys of 5, 8, and 10 birds were seen. There is of course no disease. There were some barren pairs. Birds were generally strong and very fat, the heaviest grouse weighing 1lb. 10 oz. The following angling record (for one or two rods for a short time on each occasion) may be cited from Rousay: – May 23rd, fish caught 11, weight 5½lbs.; June 2nd, 11, 10lbs.; 11th, 23, 12lbs.; July 2nd, 31, 15½lbs.; 3rd, 29, 8¾lbs.; 14th, 19, 9½lbs.; 17th 10, 6¼lbs.; 19th, 9, 5½lbs.; 26th, 12, 6½lbs.; 31st, 6, 9¼lbs.; August 11th, 5, 3½lbs.
1890 September 3 Orkney Herald
ROUSAY REGATTA. – On Wednesday last the annual regatta of the Rousay and Veira Boat Club took place in Veira Sound. The weather was exceptionally favourable for such an event, and the number of entries was in excess of previous years. General Burroughs’ Sigurd, owing to the numerous party on board and light wind, was unable to sail as well as usual; but under the circumstances did remarkably well. The Daphne (Sheriff Armour) was seen somewhat at a disadvantage by the breaking of the topsail yard, but easily obtained the second prize. In the second race the Julia was hindered greatly by an outside boat tacking on her starboard side part of the way, but easily won second prize. The interest taken in the rowing races was very great, especially in the boys’ race, which was keenly contested. The committee take this opportunity of thanking the numerous friends who contributed so liberally to the funds of the club. The prizes were kindly distributed by Mrs Burroughs. Sheriff Armour congratulated the Rousay and Veira Boat Club on their success, and proposed three cheers for Mrs Burroughs, and for the committee of the club who had conducted the arrangements so well. Annexed is the prize list: –
Sailing Race. For boats 25 feet and under. – 1, Annie, John Logie; 2, Daphne, Sheriff Armour; 3, Walrus, Alfred Leask.
Sailing Race. For boats 16 feet and under. – 1, Mary, William Costie; 2, Julia, William Corsie.
All Comers’ Race For boats 25 feet and under. – 1, Annie, John Logie; 2, Daphne, Sheriff Armour; 3, Walrus, Alfred Leask.
Rowing Race (one man). – 1, Thomas Isbister; 2, John Harrold.
Boys’ Rowing Race. – 1, Craigie and Reid; 2, Harrold and Swanson; 3, Dunbar and Keen; 4, Logie and Reid.
1890 September 24 Orkney Herald
ROUSAY – The friends and well-wishers of Mr Wilson, headmaster in Sourin Public School, Rousay, will be glad to learn that he has received an appointment as headmaster to a large and important school near St Andrews, Fifeshire.
1890 October 1 Orkney Herald
AGRICULTURAL. – The weather during the first half of the past month was fine, and very suitable for the ripening of the crops. Several farmers commenced cutting oats about the middle of the month, but it was not until the beginning of last week that reaping became general. Since Friday last the weather has been very wet and stormy, but until Monday not much damage had been done to the crop, about one-half of which has been cut. The crop is somewhat irregular – short on some fields and heavy on others – but altogether there appears a fairly good average of both oats and straw. Grass has grown well all month, and the pastures, although now getting bare, still look very green. Stock are still out all day, but are getting a supper of green oats at night…..
ORKNEY SCHOOL REPORTS. – Appended are H.M. Inspector’s reports on the undernoted schools:- …..
SOURIN PUBLIC SCHOOL, ROUSAY. – Under the great disadvantage of very irregular and intermittent attendance the school has passed, on the whole, a creditable examination. Reading all over is pretty fluent, but both in this branch and in recitation there is considerable room for improvement in respect of style and natural expression. Penmanship shows some taste in copy books and in the written exercises of the upper standards, but nicety of finish and beauty of formation are wanting in the slate-writing and figuring of the junior classes. Arithmetic of the first and second are very good indeed, but weakness in this branch is too general in the upper standards. Grammar has been very successfully taught, but the higher grant for English cannot be recommended until some taste and style are shown in the recitation exercise. In geography and history the answering should be more general, and not so much confined to a few of the brightest scholars. Singing from note was very successfully done on the whole, but more practice in time tests is desirable. Sewing is very good, and order is excellent. The scholar numbered 49 on the examination schedule is disqualified under B 1 (a). J. Marwick has passed well. Average attendance, 48; grant earned, £47.
WASBISTER PUBLIC SCHOOL, ROUSAY. – Mr Horne has made a very promising beginning in this school. With the exception of the dictation of the third standard, which shows considerable weakness, standard work has been done with complete accuracy, and is on the whole, of very good quality. Reading is fluent, but admits of improvement in respect of grouping of words and phrases and expression. The written exercises executed on the day of inspection are very fairly neat and careful, but copy-writing should be firmer and more uniform in style. The blackboard should be largely used to teach the proper formation of letters. Arithmetic all over is without a failure, and most of the passes are good. The third and fourth standards made a remarkably good appearance in class subjects. In English general intelligence had been very brightly drawn out. The third standard answered exceptionally well in geography. In the fifth the answering in class subjects was good by the few pupils who had been in regular attendance. Very fair work had been done in the specific subjects professed. The lower class showed efficient training. The three pupils in the class corresponding to the second standard were able to do the work of the third. In the first slate-writing should be neater. An effort should be made to teach singing by note. Industrial work receives careful attention. The sewing schedule is creditably worked up to. The higher grant has been recommended for discipline, but the pupils should show greater power of concentration when under examination. D. M. Leonard’s name has been removed from the list of pupil teachers serving in this school. Average attendance, 35; grant earned, (inclusive of £10 under Article 19 D), £49 15s.
FROTOFT PUBLIC SCHOOL, ROUSAY. – The school, as a whole, has made a pretty fair appearance, although the results are somewhat uneven. Spelling is decidedly weak in the fourth standard, and arithmetic in the fifth and sixth. Reading shows considerable improvement since last year, and in the case of the pupils who had been in regular attendance was very fairly fluent and intelligently grouped. Handwriting, both on copy-books and in the exercises worked on the day of visit should be firmer and more even in style. In the class subject of English the work done was not more than fair. Grammar needs considerable bracing up, and repetition must show more taste and expression before the higher grant can be recommended. The answering in geography and history was generally very good. The infants and lower classes had evidently received careful training, but spelling is somewhat weak in the class corresponding to the second standard, and arithmetic should be readier. Abundant drill in adding and subtracting should be given on the blackboard. I should like to see slate-writing and figuring neater and letter formed at this stage. The higher grant has been recommended for singing, but next year a fuller satisfaction of the time and ear tests will be looked for. Industrial work is of very good quality and merits special praise. The meagre and scrappy manuals of geography and history in the hands of the higher standards cannot be accepted as second readers. Rule 6. Section c, of the official regulations regarding registration has not been attended to, and numerous erasures appear in the summations of the daily attendance register. The registration rules must be strictly adhered to in future (Article 32 b.) J. Craigie has passed fairly, but should attend to map-drawing, writing and spelling. No payment can be made under Article 19 (e) for him, as he is not required by Article 32 (c) 1. Average attendance, 42; grant earned, £57 13s (inclusive of £15 under Article 19 D.)
1890 October 8 Orkney Herald
Letters to the Editor
GENERAL BURROUGHS AND HIS CROFTERS.
Sir, – A misleading article on the subject of some correspondence published in its pages, having appeared in The Orcadian of this date, painting me as an oppressor, whereas I consider myself as the oppressed person, will you permit we to state my case in the next issue of your paper?
The article alluded to represents me in the light of a “Pharo,” a moral monster, for refusing to assist certain crofters in Rousay in building new houses. Why, under the circumstances, I ask should I do so? Would Mr A. Thomson, who it would appear by the writer of the article is regarded in the light of a “Moses,” although I fail to see the simile – would he, or would the writer of the article himself do so were they in my place? If they would, there is now a grand opportunity for putting their preaching into practice, for there is plenty of land in Orkney for sale with a crofter population on it, and I would suggest to Mr A. Thomson, and his would-be philanthropic friends, that they should form a syndicate and buy such land, and at their own expense do what they find fault with me for not doing. It might be an appropriate, although probably not a profitable investment for the money Mr A. Thomson has lately netted from the crofters.
My case is this – Some 1900 acres of my land in Rousay have teen forcibly taken from me without compensation, and have been handed over to a class of persons who have no more just right to it than has any reader of this newspaper. These people are called crofters, and my land has been handed over to them and to their heirs and successors for ever, so long as they choose to continue to pay for it a rent below its market value, and fixed by the Crofter Commission – a Commission consisting of three men who, contrary to all law until recently in force in Britain, have been invested with the despotic power of a Czar of Russia, and the infallibility of the Pope of Rome, and against whose unjust decrees there is no appeal! And at the mercy of these three men have been placed the reputation, and the estates of landowners in the so called “Crofting Counties” of Scotland.
Certain so-called Crofters in Rousay came before this Commission, and represented themselves as being in indigent circumstances, and unable to pay the rent they had agreed to pay for their holdings, and which they had paid for years.
One of these, Peter Yorston, rents from me the lands of Oldman and Eastaquoy, in the district of Sourin, in the island of Rousay, measuring according to the Ordinance Survey acres arable, 20.010, and acres pasture, 22.895; in all, 42.905 acres, on which he keeps 5 shorthorn or polled cross cattle, and 4 Leicester crossed sheep. His rent was £10 10s. It was reduced by the Commission to £7 10s, and £4 4s of arrears of rent were forgiven him. The buildings were on the farm in 1848 – 42 years ago, when I succeeded to this estate on the death of my grand uncle, the late Mr G. W. Trail!.
Another of these, John Inkster, rents from me the lands of Swartafield in Sourin, Rousay, measuring acres arable 6.729, and pasture 13.817; in all acres 20.556, on which he keeps 3 shorthorn or polled cross cattle, and 2 Leicester crossed sheep. His rent was £6. It was reduced by the Commission to £4 12s, and £3 of arrears were forgiven. The buildings were on this farm in 1848.
Both are fishers and keep poultry.
These indigent individuals, who, before the Commission, made out that they were too poor to pay their rent, as soon as they have succeeded in getting it reduced, and in obtaining fixity of tenure, their poverty is soon forgotten, and they set about pulling down the existing buildings and erecting new ones on my land without consulting me; and without my permission they take stone from my quarries to do this; and when expostulated with, a grown-up son of John Inkster tells my ground-officer, whom I had sent to him, that he will continue to take as much as he wants. And I am told that a triumphal procession of some ten carts laden with my stone was seen proceeding from the quarry.
Neighbouring proprietors are restrained by law from making free with one another’s property. Are crofters to be placed above all law?
No Government has any just right to set aside the teaching of the Decalogue, which says, “Thou shalt not steal.” Nor has any Government any just right to seize upon the property of its loyal and law-abiding subjects without giving due compensation in return.
My land – for it is still so called, and I have to pay rates and taxes on it, as before said – has been forcibly taken from me and has been made over in perpetuity to others at a rent below its market value. As my tenants, circumstances between us were on a different footing, but being now practically independent of me why should I be called upon still further to contribute to the support of those to whom it has been thus handed over? If compelled to do so by Government I can not resist, but I will not cease to protest against the injustice.
If the front door of any of my would-be philanthropic detractors was to be burst open and stolen from their houses, would they further permit their goods and chattels to be plundered? or would they not rather adopt all legal means for securing the rest of their property? From my knowledge of them I have no doubt but that they would adopt all means in their power for protecting themselves from further loss, and if so why should I be debarred from doing likewise?
If it is considered necessary for the national welfare to revolutionise the present system of land tenure under which British agriculture has attained to its preeminence in the world, and to try the experiment of a peasant proprietary, it should be undertaken at the public cost and not at the cost of one class of the community only. And supposing a peasant proprietary to be established, is no such proprietor to be permitted to buy and sell land as has been done since the world began to be peopled? If so permitted the possessions of some will increase and of others diminish, and matters will ere long revert to their present order. – I am. &c., – F. BURROUGHS. – Rousay, 4th Oct. 1890.
1890 October 15 Orkney Herald
Letters to the Editor
GENERAL BURROUGHS AND HIS CROFTERS
SIR, – The land question is again to the front in your midst, as it seems the laird of Rousay and his tenants are determined to keep up the notoriety they have already attained. The letter which appeared in the Herald of last week from the General shows at once to an outsider the reason of the whole affair, and, really, instead of calling the laird names, his case should rather excite our sympathy. Some scientists tell us that all things relating to man’s physical and mental nature can be explained by the terms heredity and environment. General Burroughs is simply a victim to these. By birth a landlord, and by training a soldier, he has hitherto been unable to rise above the accident of birth, and the surroundings of his education and his profession, so that all his duties and those of his fellowmen are only viewed from these standpoints. The landlord point of view is brought out specially in his letter by the use of the little word my – my land, my quarries, my tenants. Doubtless he would be highly indignant were any person to tell him that he was a law-breaker, but none the less it is true, in his denunciation of the Crofters Commission, for they have not exceeded the powers of the law under which they were appointed, but in his dealings with those who take advantage of its provision, the General has done a good deal In spirit, if not in the letter, to nullify the action of that commission. In this we dare not blame him much, for if he is convinced that the law Is unjust, it is his duty to do all that is in his power legitimately to modify its provisions, and to get it repeated. But unfortunately for the class to which he belongs, and of which he is a “burning and a shining light,” viz., that of landlords, there is an ever increasing number of other classes which look upon the land question from a very different standpoint. They deny, as a matter of the deepest moment, the right of any man to claim the absolute ownership of land as represented by the personal pronoun my. The General quotes the word law very often in his letter, so we presume he has some knowledge of it, he will therefore know that neither English nor Scotch law recognises the ownership of land, in the absolute sense, that it does of other kinds of property. Very likely it is because of the law of entail that the General is the landlord of Rousay. Suppose, for example, that in the exercise of his right as absolute owner, the General took it in his head to break all the chairs in his sitting rooms, no person would say he has not the right of acting thus, although they would doubtless call him a fool for such conduct, but let him take it in his head to clear all the people off his land, and very soon he would be interfered with. It is by losing sight of this difference in ownership of land and other commodities, that landlords, as a class, run their heads against the growing conviction of the community, and even the law of the land. As has so often been pointed out everything that is born into this world must have as a necessity of life, air to breathe, water to drink, and the earth or the land on which to dwell. This being granted, the moment one man or a number of men say this piece of land is mine, the same as they would say of the watches which they may carry in their pockets, then they arrogate to themselves the right of saying to their fellow beings whether they shall live on their land or not. It is the many living by sufferance of the few. There can be no doubt that if landlords will insist on their view of the matter as absolute owners of the land, that they will bring the land question into the region of practical politics, but if they have sense enough to read the signs of the times, and recognise that they have other responsibilities than mere collectors of rents, that their tenants are also human beings like unto themselves in their origin and destiny, and act accordingly, then the land question will not be much disturbed for a long time. It is worse than useless for the General to think and act as if his tenants were a regiment of soldiers, whose duty was obedience to his word of command. Civilisation imbued with the spirit of the Great Teacher, who taught the Fatherhood of God, and therefore the brotherhood of man, is too far advanced for the continuance of such imperialism, where men stand on an equal footing in the sight of heaven, not indeed in mental ability or force of character, but in their essential manhood which pertains to all. – I am. &c., JAMES NICHOLSON – Leith, Oct. 12th, 1890
1890 October 22 Orkney Herald
Letters to the Editor
GENERAL BURROUGHS AND HIS CROFTERS.
SIR, – I am not acquainted with Gen. Burroughs’ grievance against your contemporary, not having seen the issue referred to and finding no statement, “misleading” or otherwise, contradicted by the General in his letter in your last issue. Said letter is, however, such an extravagant exhibition of intolerance and jingoism that it does not deserve to pass unanswered. In the first place he has a sneer at Mr Thomson on account of the money he has “netted from the crofters.” A sufficient comment on this is the fact the crofters were driven to buy legal advice from Mr Thomson and others simply by the exorbitant rack renting of Gen. Burroughs and his class. The doughty warrior next runs a tilt at the Crofters’ Commission, whom he compares for despotic power to the Czar of Russia. The gallant gentleman has an excuse for feeling wroth at the Commissioners and he gives evidence of where he has felt their hand heaviest, viz., in pocket, in power, and in reputation. But for their appointment he would himself have been able to revel in “the despotic power of a Czar of Russia and the infallibility of a Pope of Rome” – as far at least as Rousay was concerned – but “Ichabad” may now be written on his banner; his glory has departed. He talks glibly of “my land,” “my quarries,” &c. Perhaps he will inform us on what grounds he bases so absolute a claim? Did he acquire the land by gift or purchase from the maker thereof, or did he create it for himself? Did he or his ancestors do this or did they even make the land what it is to-day? Did they by the sweat of their brow reclaim it from bog and heath and make it fertile and fruit-bearing? Did they not rather hinder by tax and imposition those who did this good work? Did they not, as every year’s work brought additional fertility, add to the burdensome rent laid on the industrious toiler? Perhaps when the General prates of unjust law he will say whether he considers the law that allowed such oppression a just one? Was it not by mere accident of birth that the land came into the possession of Gen. Burroughs, and had he been born a crofter would he have been contented to toil and moil for an unsympathetic class who “toil not neither do they spin,” and yet expect to reap the fat by the toil of others? Does the gallant General believe that the land was created for what he dignifies with the title of “a class of the community?” Community forsooth! he knoweth not the meaning of the word. Community is opposed to all class. It means people having common rights; a modest claim that can have no attraction for such as Gen. Burroughs. The General forgets that the land was created for the men who were created to live by it, and that it really was intended that it should belong to a community of mankind, and such claims as are based on any other foundation are, like the claim of the General himself, merely based on arrogance and assumption. – Yours, &c., – ST CLAIR OF THE ISLES. Glasgow, 11th Oct. 1890.
SIR, – Referring to the letter by General Burroughs in the Orkney Herald of 8th inst., I have to ask the favour of your allowing me space for a reply thereto. The first two paragraphs I pass over with the single remark that the crofters in question did not ask any help from General Burroughs in rebuilding their humble dwellings; their past experience forbade all hope of such aid. He complains bitterly that his land has been taken from him, and handed over to “these people called crofters” – and to their heirs and successors for ever. Hence his present position. The land being gone, he is determined to stick to the stones. Land, elsewhere than in Rousay, always includes stones, but this is only a minor peculiarity of the rights of property in the island. He refers to the former rents paid by the crofters as rents which they had agreed to pay. That, as regards Rousay, is not an accurate statement. In these “agreements” the crofters had the extensive option of “Hobson’s choice.” The rent was raised arbitrarily by the landlord, and they were told that they must either pay it or go. It was matter for congratulation that even this latter alternative was open to them; and that, too, although in going they suffered confiscation of their improvements.
It is not true that they came before the Crofters Commission representing themselves as being in indigent circumstances. They came before the Commission in the exercise of a legal right, and seeking the protection of an Act of Parliament which had been expressly passed to shackle extortionate landlordism. The financial result of these applications showed that the crofters had been charged a rent 28½ per cent. in excess of what was a fair rent for their holdings, but the financial result was not the only one. The fixity of tenure is the great boon of the Act, and operates in Rousay as an Act of Emancipation.
The crofters, realising that improvements now executed upon their holdings are protected against confiscation, have a stimulus to develop the resources of their crofts and to make their homes more comfortable. To this the General unwillingly bears testimony. He states that, under the fixity of tenure, their poverty is soon forgotten, and that they set about pulling down old buildings and erecting new ones. Manifestly the Act is accomplishing its object even in Rousay. Resolute vigour is inherent in the Norse character, and the crofters of Rousay, who are quick to realise their protection against aggressive landlordism, may be trusted to bring up their crofts to the maximum of fertility and production, both to their own advantage and to the general benefit of their country.
The crofter, Peter Yorston, referred to, expended £60 on buildings, and has since erected a barn entirely at his own charges. He has also drained, reclaimed, and improved his land. He was rewarded for his expense and industry in 1879 by having his rent arbitrarily raised from £5 to £8. He has also lately been threatened with both civil and criminal prosecution if he dares to take stones, either from his own croft or elsewhere on the estate, for the purpose of further draining and improving his land.
Robert Inkster, the other crofter referred to, has occupied the croft for 48 years. He has reclaimed two-thirds of the land, and built the whole buildings on the holding all entirely at his own expense. He has been compensated as follows, viz,: – In 1864 his rent was raised from £1 5s to £3; in 1872 to £5 (an acre of land being added); and in 1879 to £6. The General remarks that he is a fisherman and keeps poultry. I think it right to explain that Inkster, who is evidently expected by the General to earn something by fishing, is only 80 years of age.
General Burroughs falls into one or two errors, probably due to the acumen of his ground-officer. John Inkster has not a grown-up son. He is childless.
The so-called triumphal procession of carts consisted of nine carts – not ten, as alleged – carting from the shore to Swartafield slate or flag, which had been imported from Westray at the expense of the crofter. Strange though it may seem, stones in that island are free.
Rather a good story has been told to me apropos of the General’s veto on the quarrying of stones. Munro, who succeeded the former ground-officer Reid – Sheriff Nicolson’s “Minion of a bloated aristocracy” – seems to be a worthy successor to the said “minion.” Having discovered that a cart had been at the quarry for stones, he concluded it was Inkster’s (Inkster has a mare only). Munro carefully inspected the footprints, but, much to his disgust, could not tell whether they had been made by a horse or a mare. He thus failed in his function of sleuthhound, leaving the laird no resource but to fall back on his old friends the police.
The one feature of the letter is the original tip to thieves. I think I may take it that the autocrat of Rousay is the first man who ever suggested that a thief should break into a house in order to steal the front door – but then of course, he is peculiar.
The “Czar” or “Pope” of Rousay evidently considers that the parchment containing his title to the island carries with it the right to control the whole destinies of the inhabitants. Left behind in the march of progress and civilization, one could have no feeling but that of pity for the victim of such a delusion, did not the rights of other parties intervene. As proprietor he is invested with a certain power, a power which elsewhere is not only balanced by a sense of responsibility and humanity, but is exercised in accordance with law. In his case, unfortunately, considerations of equity and justice are discarded, and a deliberate attempt is made to defeat an enactment of the Legislature. Considering that the General draws a pension from the Legislature, being retained as a sort of first-class policeman to aid in securing observance of the law, he is hardly consistent in drawing his pension and at the same time attempting to defeat the law and revile his pensioners.
Crofters may, however, contemplate the position with satisfaction. Stones will be procured and their houses will be built. The impotency of the laird will be exposed, and the cause of land law reform materially benefited. – I am, &c., X.
1890 October 29 Orkney Herald
Letters to the Editor
GENERAL BURROUGHS AND HIS CROFTERS
SIR, – Your two correspondents, “St Clair of the Isles” and “X,” ought to feel relieved after getting rid of so much “gas.” It might have been as well, however, if they had written – if they must write at all on a subject in which they have only a remote interest – in a more temperate fashion. The proprietor of Rousay may not have been well-advised in the action he took with regard to the matter under discussion; but no one – not even the fiery “St Clair of the Isles” – has ventured to assert that he went beyond his legal right. “St Clair” – he must excuse me for abbreviating his grandiloquent nom de plume – seems very angry because General Burroughs writes of the land as his land; and asks a number of questions, which would be impertinent were it not for his obvious ignorance, as to how the General came by it. Well, sir, to answer the last question first, he came by it, as four-fifths of the owners of land in this country came by their possessions, by inheritance. Then as to the land being his, there cannot be a doubt of that. It is just as much his now as it was before the passing of the Crofters Act. True, he has, owing to the operation of that Act, to a certain extent lost control of certain portions of his estate; but that does not affect his proprietorship. “St Clair” speaks sneeringly of the “accident of birth.” Does he mean to say that if by the “accident of birth” he had owned Rousay he would have been prepared to give the crofters their holdings on their own terms? I think it is a pity that writers on this subject should write so much “at large.” The Crofters Act has undoubtedly imposed great hardship on a number of proprietors, and a little indignation on their part is not unnatural, and ought to be borne with. Time will tone down this feeling, and by and by friction will cease. While I write in this strain I am far from denying that in past times many landlords have looked too much to their rights, and too little to their obligations, in their estate management. The Crofters Act was a necessity – more’s the pity. – Yours, &c., L.
1890 November 5 Orkney Herald
ROUSAY – SOCIAL TEA AND ENTERTAINMENT. – The members of the Scotch Girls’ Friendly Society, resident in Rousay and Viera, were entertained to tea on Friday evening of last week, by Mrs Burroughs, at Trumland House. Although the night was stormy yet the girls were forward in full muster, a large proportion of the girls in Rousay and Viera being members of the Society. The meeting was held in the billiard-room of Trumland House, and Mrs Burroughs, who is president of the Orkney branch, presided, and gave a very appropriate address. Miss Ewbank, of Westness House, an associate of the society, also addressed the girls. Thereafter a happy evening was spent in song, recitation, and an exhibition of pictures by means of a magic lantern. One of the most enjoyable features of the entertainment was the presentation of a marriage brooch, bearing the initial letters of the Society, and a neatly framed card, to one of the members, whilst several members received each a card and florin piece as a reward for three consecutive years’ service in one place. These were gifts from Mrs Burroughs. The Scotch Girls’ Friendly Society has its head-quarters in Edinburgh, with branches all over the country, and Lady Aberdeen is at the head of the organisation. Lodging homes for several girls, and convalescent homes for those who may be sick are maintained in the large cities. These must prove a great boon to servant girls who are members of the Society when they leave Orkney in search of service in the south. Towards the maintenance of these homes each girl contributes sixpence annually.
1890 November 12 Orkney Herald
A LOCAL DISPUTE ABOUT A SEWING MACHINE. – At a sitting of the Orkney Sheriff Court held yesterday at Kirkwall, before Sheriff Armour, an action was brought by the Singer Manufacturing Company against John Gibson, Hurtiso, Sourin, Rousay, for the recovery of £5 17s, the price of a sewing machine got by the defender from the pursuers, and for which payment had not been made. After hearing evidence, the Sheriff gave a verdict in favour of the pursuers, and ordered the sewing machine to be returned. No costs were allowed.
AN UNFORTUNATE ROUSAY CROFTER. – Robert Inkster, crofter, Swartifield, Rousay, with respect to whom a good deal of public interest has recently been excited, in consquence of the correspondence that has been published regarding the dispute between his agent and the proprietor of Rousay (General Burroughs) about stones for a new house – has got his house built and nearly finished, having had to flit into his barn during the building operations. It seems that the old man, who is about 80 years of age, was going in with a cazy of peats, and when he was just entering the door the roof of the barn fell in. The old man was not much hurt. but he got a severe fright. The occupants had to flit back to the new building in its unfinished state. Some of the cooking utensils got smashed up.
1890 December 10 Orkney Herald
SAILINGS FOR DECEMBER
ROUSAY, EVIE AND RENDALL STEAM NAVIGATION COMPANY (LIMITED)
The Steamship LIZZIE BURROUGHS, Built expressly for the Trade, will Sail
as follows, wind, weather and circumstances permitting:-
MONDAYS AND THURSDAYS
Leave Egilshay……….at 8 a.m.
Trumland Pier…………at 9 a.m.
Calling at Weir, Evie, Tingwall, Gairsay,
and Rendall Point. For Kirkwall.
TUESDAYS AND FRIDAYS
From Kirkwall at………..10.30 a.m.
NOTE. – The Company reserve the power to call at
any special Port when necessary.
To and from Kirkwall and the different Places of call:
CABIN……..1s 6d. DECK……1s.
No Return Tickets Issued.
W, COOPER, manager.
1890 December 24 Orkney Herald
DECISION OF ROUSAY CROFTER CASES. – It will be remembered that General Burroughs presented a petition in the Orkney Sheriff Court recently to have certain of the crofters in Rousay interdicted from quarrying stones on the estate of Rousay and Veira. Sheriff Armour has now issued interlocutors in both cases. In the action against Mrs Betty Sinclair or Craigie and William Grieve, he has found for defenders with expenses. In the other, that against the Inksters, he has granted perpetual interdict, and found them liable in expenses.
1890 December 31 Orkney Herald
ROUSAY, EVIE AND RENDALL STEAM NAVIGATION COMPANY (LIMITED). – The twelfth report by the directors to the shareholders, was submitted at a meeting of this company held in Kirkwall yesterday, and was as follows:- The directors regret to have to point out that the balance, as at 30th June 1890, is against the company. The Inspector of the Board of Trade having reported that the steamer Lizzie Burroughs required to be repaired, the vessel was sent to Aberdeen, and was off the passage from 24th May 1890 to 4th June 1890. At Aberdeen it was generally overhauled in the shipbuilding yard of Messrs Hall, Russell, & Co., whose account therefore amounted to some £116. This sum, the directors are glad to be able to announce, has (Dec. 1890) since been paid. The directors are also glad to state that a marked improvement in the affairs of the company has resulted since its seat of management has been transferred to Kirkwall, and the management has been placed in the hands of Mr William Cooper, shipping agent, who, from his knowledge of shipping business, and being on the spot, has been able to put trade in the way of the vessel. The directors have adopted further means for simplifying and economising the business transactions of the company, with regard to the ordering of stores and the collection of fares and freights. Complaints have been made of unpunctuality of the steamer’s arrival at and departure from ports of call, and the length of time passed on the voyage from the beginning to its end. This is occasioned by the many stoppages made by the steamer at places where there are no piers. Stoppages at such places are productive of great loss of time and fuel, and wear and tear of the company’s property; and they also entail much extra work upon the crew. In the best interests of the public, as well as of the shareholder, they should be as few as the public convenience will admit of. The inhabitants of the east coast of the west mainland cannot adequately derive the full benefits of regular steam communication until a pier is erected at the most suitable point on that coast.
ROUSAY – CONCERT. – The annual Christmas concert of the Rousay Mutual Improvement Guild was held in Wasbister Public School on Thursday evening. The president, Mr James Gibson Craigie, occupied the chair. The audience was large and appreciative, and the school-room was tastefully decorated. The programme was large and varied, and several of the items were deservedly encored. The singing was very good, and the choruses were well sustained. The comic element was well represented and the several parts were well performed. Mr John Gibson, Langskaill, delivered a very interesting and edifying speech. Throughout the programme was well received. After the usual votes of thanks were accorded, “God Save the Queen” was sung, and the meeting dispersed.