In Print

Newsprint – 1906

1906 January 3 Orkney Herald

STORM AND DETENTION OF MAILS. – Owing to a heavy south-easterly gale which prevailed on Monday and yesterday, the mail steamer St Ola did not cross the Pentland Firth on either day. The steamer Orcadia, which was to have proceeded to Westray yesterday morning to return to Kirkwall by the other North Isles, was unable to make the passage, and the steamer Fawn, which had been engaged by Mr Wason, M.P., to enable him to visit Rousay and Egilshay, had also to remain in Kirkwall. The steamer St Ninian, from Lerwick, has also been detained.

1906 February 17 The Orcadian

SUDDEN DEATH – On Sunday, John Logie, cattle dealer, Rousay, while on board the steamer Fawn on his way home, suddenly expired. He fell ill on the passage to Rousay, and on the arrival of the steamer there the doctor was summoned. About noon, however, he expired. Death is said to be due to heart failure following apoplexy. Logie was about sixty years of age, and was for many years shepherd on Westness, Rousay.

[John was in fact 55 years of age when he died. The son of Alexander Logie and Barbara Murray, Quoygrinnie, he was born on July 26th 1850. He married Mary Gibson on March 15th 1872, the daughter of John Gibson, Vacquoy, and Barbara Craigie, Grithin, and they raised a family of three children – Mary Gibson, Maggie Ann, and John Gibson Logie, who was to lose his life in WW1.]

1906 February 21 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – PLOUGHING MATCH. – The annual ploughing match of the Rousay Agricultural Society was held on the farm of Avelshay on Friday, the 16th inst., in fields kindly granted for the occasion by Mr George Gibson. There were 3 competitors in the champion section and 15 in the ordinary. The morning was stormy, but the weather improved during the day. Eighteen ploughs turned up for competition, including three champions. The work all over was well done, but especially so in the champion class, where the judges had the greatest difficulty in deciding. Owing to judges from Evie not turning up, local men had to be appointed, and the following were chosen by the ploughmen, viz., Messrs J. Logie and Cutt, Trumland House, for grooming and harness; and Messrs Gibson, Avelshay; Gibson, Myres; and Harrold, Bigland, for ploughing, and their decisions gave entire satisfaction. Annexed is the prize list: –

Ploughing – Champions. – 1, Thomas Gibson, Broland; 2, Malcolm Leonard, Gripps; 3, Thomas Sinclair, Westness. Ordinary. – 1 and Highland Society’s medal, John Corsie, Knarston; 2, Hugh Robertson, Scockness; 3, Hugh Marwick, Westness; 4, Ben. Moodie, Glebe; 5, James Craigie, Falquoy; 6, James W. Grieve, Trumland; 7, John Pearson, Saviskaill; 8, William Craigie, Trumland; 9, John Gibson, Faraclett; 10, John Gibson, Avelshay; 11, John Marwick, Knarston; Youngest ploughman, Alex. Pearson, Saviskaill; Best feering, John Corsie; Best finish, Thomas Gibson; Straightest ploughing, John Marwick; Best ploughed rig on field, Thomas Gibson.

Grooming. – 1, John Seatter, Banks; 2, Alex. Pearson; 3, Hugh Robertson; 4, John Pearson; 5, Hugh Marwick; 6, William Craigie; 7, David Moodie, Avelshay.

Harness. – 1, Malcolm Leonard; 2, Hugh Robertson; 3, John Gibson, Faraclett; 4, John Seatter; 5, John Pearson; 6, Alex. Pearson; 7, Hugh Marwick.

A large number of special prizes were distributed according to the wishes of the donors. In the evening the judges and a number of friends were entertained to an excellent dinner by Mrs and Miss Gibson, Avelshay. The usual loyal and patriotic toasts were given and duly responded to, and a very pleasant evening was spent. The committee take this opportunity of thanking all those who so handsomely subscribed towards the funds of the society, also the donors of the special prizes, and to all who helped to make the ploughing match a success. They are also indebted to Mr James Gibson, Hullion, for visiting the field, and thereby enabling them to obtain the Highland Society’s medal.

1906 February 28 Orkney Herald

CALL TO REV. MR McLEMAN. – A congregational meeting of Methil U.F. Church, Fifeshire, was held on Tuesday evening to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of the Rev. Robert Francis, who has gone to New Zealand. Three names were proposed and seconded, and the voting resulted as follows: – Rev. John McLeman, Rousay, 51; Rev. Roderick McIvor, assistant, St John’s, Glasgow, 30; Rev. Thomas Jeffrey, M.A., Bishopbriggs, 4. As Mr McLeman had a clear majority of the other two candidates, the minority agreed to present a unanimous call to Mr McLeman.


Letters to the Editor


SIR, – Kindly allow me a small space of your valuable paper to draw your readers’ attention to the judges’ decisions at this match. In looking over the report of the match I see that the judges’ decisions gave entire satisfaction. Now this is very far from being the case; either your correspondent must have been wrongly informed or he erred on the side of truth, for it is perfectly well known that there was never more dissatisfaction after a ploughing match in Rousay. The Rousay ploughmen will bear with a good deal, but when it comes to making flesh of one and fish of another they will not have it. Unless other arrangements are made another year the greater part of the ploughmen will stay at home rather than run the risk of being judged by local judges. Your correspondent also remarks that there was great difficulty in deciding the champion class. I do believe it was very difficult to come to a decision like what they gave. It is just possible, had the judges who were appointed from Rendall and Evie been in Rousay it would not have been such a difficult task to them. I think if the judges had reversed their decision it would have given more satisfaction, but instead of that they decided to put “the champion” at the latter end; but he has the consolation of knowing that his work remains to be seen, both ploughing and finish. Now to come to the ordinary ploughing, I do not wish to say anything in regard to the first and second prize winners, but how the judges managed to get the third prize winner where he is, is more than mortal man can tell, except themselves. The general opinion of men who can judge ploughing is that the man who got fifth the prize should have been third. Kindly allow me to make one remark more in regard to the tenth and eleventh prize winners. The ploughing of the man who got the tenth prize was rough all over, and I believe he had the worst finish on the field. It certainly was very strange indeed that the man who only got the eleventh prize had the straightest ploughing on the field. Surely there was something very far wrong in the decision of those two prizes. I understand some of the ploughmen have said that they got higher than what they deserved. Thank you in anticipation for encroaching on your valuable space. – Yours, &c., – A SPECTATOR.

1906 March 7 Orkney Herald

Letters to the Editor


SIR, – I notice in your issue of last week a letter signed “A Spectator,” in which he tries to criticise the judges’ awards and also your correspondent’s report on above-named match.

Before alluding to his ungrounded and uncalled for remarks, kindly allow me to make an explanation regarding the appointment of the judges. The day, as everyone who was present knows, was very rough, and when it became known that the judges appointed could not get up, the Committee decided to allow the ploughmen to appoint local judges for themselves, and the three judges mentioned in your correspondent’s report were chosen to judge the ploughing. Apparently the ploughmen were quite unaware that such an expert judge as “Spectator” was in their midst.

“Spectator” begins his miserable epistle by throwing out a low, mean insult on the judges, and I am not surprised that he seeks to hide his identity under the cover of a nom-de-plume. Next he starts giving his judgement of the champions, and to everybody’s surprise reverses the finding of the judges, but adds that “champion” has the consolation that his work remains to be seen – both ploughing and finish. I wonder if he means to infer that both the other champions’ work has vanished into thin air. Then he goes on to deal with the ordinary work. He passes over the first two prizes, for what reason I don’t know. When he gets to the third he gets very highly exalted and wonders how any mortal man but the judges could give such a decision. However, his superior knowledge is short-lived, and when he arrives at the filth he appears to be in a bit of a dilemma, but says, “The general opinion was that No. 5 should have been third.” Now, poor deluded “Spectator” goes on to the tenth and eleventh prizes and says, “Ten was very rough, and eleven had the straightest on the field,” and adds, “Surely there was something very far wrong in the decision of these two prizes.” Certainly there was something very far wrong, which everybody at the match knew except “Spectator,” who was apparently too thick-headed to take it in. Now, I can forgive him for his remarks on the ploughing as these are too ridiculous for any sensible man to take any notice of; but his remarks regarding the judges I cannot overlook. The judges – at least two of them – have before been called upon to do the same work, and I never heard of them being accused of partiality to any ploughman. However, the reason in this case is, I think, not very far to seek. Had he signed himself “Disappointed Ploughman” instead of “Spectator,” it would have been nearer the mark. Further, I trust that the judges will take no notice of the insults heaped upon them, which are nothing more or less than the outcome of petty spite.

In conclusion, I trust when next the Rousay match comes round, “Spectator” will again be ready for the fray. Might I humbly suggest that when the time comes he will wend his way there with a pair of sturdy oxen, when, I trust the steadiness of the yoke and the cunning of his hand and eye will enable him to carry off the long-coveted prize. Apologizing for taking up so much of your valuable space. – I am, &c., – HUMBUG.


Sir, – In the last issue of your paper I notice an uncalled-for attack by one signing himself “Spectator,” on the judges who acted at our recent ploughing match, also on the writer of the report published by you. As I was the writer of that report and also acted as one the judges, I cannot allow this matter to pass unnoticed. The committee gave the ploughmen the chance to appoint judges for themselves. This they did after due deliberation, and under the distinct understanding that the judges’ decision was final. I have no doubt they selected whom they thought were the best men available, not knowing that such an expert as “Spectator ” was in their midst. In his letter he says there was “never more dissatisfaction after a ploughing match in Rousay.” This dissatisfaction must rest entirely with “Spectator” himself. Although I have been in conversation with many of the ploughmen since, not one of them has expressed the slightest dissatisfaction to me. There are some people who imagine they never get fairplay, and “Spectator” is one of these. He condemns some of our decisions both in the champion and ordinary classes; all I have to say is we acted with honesty of purpose and without regard to outside criticism, and we strictly adhere to our decisions. Perhaps “Spectator” will give his name and address before another year so that our committee, instead of having to look abroad for judges, could apply to him, when, no doubt, his decision alone would give the desired satisfaction. Strange to say, although there, “Spectator” was never thought of as a judge by any of the ploughmen. This gross mistake on their part and his disappointment with the judges’ decisions has so wrought on his feelings that he has taken this unsportsmanlike course of maligning the judges, who, I may say, came to their decisions unanimously. – I am, &c., – A. C. GIBSON Secretary.

1906 March 14 Orkney Herald

Letters to the Editor


SIR, – The decisions of the Sourin judges are apparently above criticism if we are to believe “A.C.G.” and “Humbug’s” full-blown letters. I may say my last letter has served the purpose for which it was written, therefore I treat the first part of “Humbug’s” letter with the contempt which it is due. His remarks that two of the judges have been called upon before to do the same work and have never been accused of using partiality to any ploughman. “Pass the buck with that, please.” Then he thinks I should have signed myself “A Disappointed Ploughman.” If I could have had the pleasure of using the cunning of my hand and eye at that great match it is quite possible I might have been disappointed; and yet who knows? perhaps they might have given me the coveted prize. There does not appear to have been much cunning of hand and eye with “Humbug” when he threw his assegai, but if he thinks he has hit the target it would be a pity for him to change his mind, because he might turn his cunning eye some other way. I don’t quite see his meaning when he refers to the sturdy oxen, but I might just be allowed to return that compliment to some of the sturdy Sourin ploughmen who are in the habit of working those humble animals: they might find them much more steady than some horses I know of. Your correspondent, “A. C. Gibson” remarks at the end of his letter that they came to their decision unanimously. I quite believe it. “Birds of a feather flock together.” – Yours, &c., – A SPECTATOR.

1906 March 19 The Orcadian

THE ROUSAY MANSE CASE. – In this action, Mr MacKinnon, architect, Aberdeen, reported on the condition of the manse, and recommended a new building. Following on the receipt of that report, objections were lodged by both parties. The Sheriff-Substitute has now pronounced the following interlocutor:-

Kirkwall. 5th March, 1906. The Sheriff-Substitute now remits to Mr A. H. L. MacKinnon, architect, Aberdeen, to consider and report on the objections lodged by the parties to his former report (Nos. 77 and 78 of process), and in particular to report what would be the probable cost of future repairs to the present manse if repaired in accordance with his suggestions compared with what would be required for a new building. – (Signed.) W. HARVEY.

NOTE. – The reporter will, of course, only consider and report on the objections so far as falling within the scope of his previous report and involving question of architectural skill. (Intd.) W. H.

1906 March 21 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – SACRED CONCERT. – A sacred concert was given in the Frotoft Public School, on Friday the 16th inst., under the auspices of the Star of Peace Lodge, I.O.G.T. The night was fairly good, and the school-room was packed to the door by an appreciative audience. The lodge choir, under the leadership of Brother Craigie, lodge deputy, rendered a number of pieces out of the Yacht Hymn Book, and Sankey (new part) with much acceptance. Rev. A. I. Pirie occupied the chair, and was supported on the platform by Bro. Rev. McLeman, each of whom gave an interesting and instructive address mainly on the temperance question, which was well received by the audience. Before the close of the programme, Bro. Craigie gave a short address, in the course of which he explained the object of the meeting, namely, an anniversary celebration of the formation of the lodge. He also extended a cordial invitation to others to join the Order. The meeting began at 8 p.m. and continued until nearly 11 p.m. The programme, which was a lengthy one, was well sustained throughout, each performer doing his or her part to the satisfaction of the audience, the temperance dialogue “Saved” being particularly appreciated. The following is the programme: –

Hymn, choir; prayer; chairman’s address; hymn, choir; reading, Sister Craigie; solo. Sister Norquoy; quartette, Sisters Craigie and Craigie, and Bros. Moodie and Craigie; recitation, Brother Low; hymn, choir; solo, Bro. Craigie; duet, Sisters Reid and Craigie; recitation, Bro. Costie; dialogue, Sisters Gibson, Reid. Craigie and Craigie, and Bros. Munro, Marwick, and Moodie; service of fruit and cake; hymn, choir; address, Bro. McLeman; solo, Sister Reid; reading, Bro. Munro; part-song, Sisters Reid, Gibson, and Craigie, and Bros. Munro, Marwick, and Craigie; solo, Sister Craigie; recitation, Sister Norquoy; hymn, choir; duet, Bros. Munro and Marwick; address, Bro. Craigie; solo, Sister Gibson; hymn, choir; benediction.



At Kirkwall yesterday (Tuesday) before Sheriff Harvey, Alexander Munro, Old School, Rousay, appeared for examination on a petition for cessio. [Latin for a surrender of goods by a debtor to his creditors]. There were present – Mr W. P. Drever, solicitor, for bankrupt and for creditors; Mr D. J. Robertson, solicitor, for trustees of late Sir Frederick Burroughs; Mr John Scott, merchant, Kirkwall; Mr James Tait, ironmonger, Kirkwall; and Mr James Scott, cattle dealer, Shapinsay, creditors.

Examined by Mr Drever – I am 63 years of age. I reside at Old School, Rousay. That is a croft. I was formerly land steward to Sir Frederick Burroughs. I came to Rousay about 30 years ago. I was employed by Sir Frederick Burroughs’ late factor, Mr [George] Murrison, to do improving work on the estate. I was then paid by contract or day’s wages. When Mr Murrison ceased to be factor I was appointed land steward at a salary of £12. I did work in addition, for which I was paid extra. My salary was afterwards raised to £25, but then I had no extras. That included work of every kind. I was tenant of the farm of Woo, Rousay, from Martinmas 1900 to Martinmas 1905. I did not apply for the farm. General Burroughs asked me if I would like a farm. I said I would like a farm, but had no money to stock it with. He then said he would write to the factor and see what he would say, and shortly after he told me I would get the farm of Woo. The old rent was £30. I was to get it at that rent, and the proprietor was to lend me some money. He was to become security to the bank for me for £160. I took the farm on that footing. I had a cow and pony of my own, worth about £20. The amount was insufficient, and I got a further accommodation of £40 from General Burroughs. The rent was very stiff for the times. The outgoing tenant told me the farm was worth £26 or £27. I paid interest on the overdraft.

I lost six stacks by a fire, the greater part of my first year’s crop being burned down. It was not insured. General Burroughs accommodated me further to the extent of £40 on that occasion. In all, he accommodated me to the extent of £240. The fire was in 1902. That same year I got a loan of £30 from my daughter Malcolmina. She got that from an aunt. That is not included in my state of affairs. In addition to these losses, I lost a horse in my first year of tenancy worth £29; in the second year I lost two horses worth about £7 each. I lost £26 10s by re-sale of a mare. It was sold at the displenishing sale for £3. I shot another horse last November because the veterinary surgeon said the disease in its legs was incurable. Two years before that I had been offered £26 for it. I lost a foal two years ago worth £6. During the five years of my tenancy the farm was worked by my family. I had other duties. I hoped to be able to work off the debt and keep my family together. I was ground officer at £25; inspector of roads and collector of rates at £10; sub-postmaster, £6, and afterwards £8; but as to the Post, though in my name, the work was done by my wife and daughter, who got the pay.

General Burroughs died in April 1905. I was then still due the bank £240. I had not been able to make any reductions because of these losses and bad seasons, the rent, and the interest on the borrowed money. I had been paying £30 of rent and £15 of interest a year. But for my other appointments and my children working, I could not have kept the farm any time. In my state of affairs the bank overdraft is entered at £193. That is accounted for by valuation payable by incoming tenant, namely £48. The incoming tenant told me he was instructed by the factor, Mr Borthwick, to pay that into the bank. He also wanted all the other assets to be paid to reduce the bank overdraft. I could not do that and do justice to my other creditors, and that forced me into bankruptcy.

The farm of Woo was displenished [divested or stripped of contents and equipment] at Martinmas 1905. Mr Borthwick had stated to me at Whitsunday 1905 that I would have to quit the farm as the trustees were not to continue the security General Burroughs had given to the bank. At that time he threatened to sell me out right away, but ultimately allowed me to remain till Martinmas. I got a letter from the factor dated 19th October 1905 that my services would not be required after 28th November 1905. That was the first intimation I got. My displenish sale did not turn out as well as I expected. The state of affairs lodged by me is a true disclosure excepted that the £30 due by me to my daughter is not included.

By Mr Robertson – I am still sub-postmaster. The salary is not included in my state of affairs. It is paid quarterly, beginning January 1 each year. I am still tenant of Old School. I am not a crofter. I have a claim for compensation for new house at Woo. It is not my state of affairs as I don’t know if I will get it or not. When I took Woo I can’t remember if I told General Burroughs that the rent was too high. My son George worked at Woo for five years. I did not pay him £5 the whole time he was there. He was to get wages after three years, but said he would wait some time longer to try to get ends to meet. I never spoke to him about £24 entered in my state of affairs as due to him. My daughter Mary Ann was in the same position as my son. I never promised to pay her £13 entered in my state of affairs as due her. There was no agreement with them. It was understood that if the farm was successful they would be paid. The loan of £10 from my daughter Agnes was made last November. I can’t account for my insolvency except by the losses I have stated. The price I got for beasts sold every year went to pay for manures, seeds, the blacksmith, etc. I kept 12 or 13 beasts and sold 3 or 4 every year. I kept no books. There were five people kept on the farm, sometimes six. I also had a hand at harvest.

By Mr Drever – As for my claim for compensation, I paid for quarrying and carting all material for the dwelling house erected at Woo. I built a dyke round the garden. My agents had some correspondence with Mr Borthwick for settlement of my claim for compensation. I wish my agent to produce that correspondence. I never agreed with my children that I would not pay them any wages, nor that I would pay them wages.

The statutory oath was then ministered. Mr John White, solicitor, was appointed trustee.

The state of affairs showed – liabilities, £304 2s; assets, £183 13s; the deficiency being £120 9s. [Orkney Herald]


Letters to the Editor


SIR, – I notice by your last issue that “Spectator” makes a feeble attempt at replying to my letter of the 7th inst. As I anticipated, he ignores the subject under discussion, and tries his hand at a little mud-throwing and harmless repartee.

He begins by saying the decisions of the Sourin – mark you, not Rousay – judges are apparently above criticism, if we are to believe “A. G. C.” and “Humbug’s” full-blown letters. Nothing of the kind, Mr “Spectator.” I, for one, hold that the decisions of the most accomplished men in our land are not above criticism. Further, I have no objection to wholesome criticism, but when any individual tries to vindicate his case by resorting to low personalities, he should refrain from airing his supposed injuries through the medium of the public prints.

Then he goes on to say, “My letter has served the purpose for which it was written.” Wrong again, Mr “Spectator.” You tried to foist a downright falsehood on the public, and the consequence is your position has earned you the contempt of every fair-minded man in the island. Regarding my remarks about the judges never having been accused of using partiality to any ploughman, you want the salt passed with that. But, before we swallow some of your accusations and insinuations, we would require to pass the pepper as well as the salt – even a little mustard would fail to make them palatable.

Next he says, “Then he thinks I should have signed myself ‘Disappointed Ploughman.’ If I could have had the pleasure,” etc. I admit I made a slight mistake. I should have said Messrs “Spectator & Co.” Probably that would have been more appropriate. However, you will not be disappointed when you do try the cunning of your hand and eye. I feel certain such talent as yours should not fail to carry off a prize, always provided you had judges made to order, Then he says, “I have lost my cunning when I threw my assegai, and if I think I have hit the mark it would be a pity for me to change my mind, as I might turn my cunning eye some other where.” I beg to be excused, Mr “Spectator.” I have never had the privilege of intermingling with “aborigines” or any of those “dusky southerners” who wield this primitive weapon, consequently I know nothing of the art of assegai throwing. However, ignorant as I am, perhaps my supposed assegai has not sped very wide of the mark.

Then he does not quite see my meaning when I refer to sturdy oxen. I merely made a suggestion. But why not try the oxen, man? If you fail to get a prize for ploughing, I have no doubt you would get a “special” for being the most egotistic, pragmatic, and self-confident man benighted Rousay can produce.

I have now reviewed the main points of your letter, and fail to see any reference to ploughing in any part of it. You certainly attempt to ridicule the judges, but that is a mere detail. When next you try your hand at newspaper correspondence, take my tip – refrain from direct falsehood, and when you raise a discussion of any kind always stick to your guns, and don’t run into side issues.

Cheer up, Rousay judges. You have always acted honourably in the past, and you continue to do so still. As for “Spectator,” I have a strong suspicion he is only the accomplice of a clique who cannot accept defeat in honest competition.

The next Rousay ploughing match is still far off, so in the meantime I would advise Messrs “Spectator” & Co. To try their skill at crab-catching, it would at least be a more honourable occupation than maligning their fellow-islanders.

Rousay ploughmen, when next you have the opportunity of appointing your own judges, do not fail to choose “Spectator.” His decisions will, at least, give satisfaction to one party.

Ta-ta in the meantime, Mr “Spectator.” You turned a bit of a summersault last time. But as I am a sort of a versatile being I will try and meet you either seriously or jocularly, and, who knows, perhaps may go one better next time. – Yours, &c., – HUMBUG

1906 April 4 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – PRESENTATION. – Bros. Rev. J. McLeman and John Sinclair were made the recipients of a presentation by the Star of Peace Lodge, I.O.G.T., on the occasion of their leaving Rousay, the one to become pastor of the U.F. Church, Methil, and the other to prosecute his calling in Canada. The presentation took the form of a Bible to each with suitable inscriptions. In leaving Rousay for their new spheres of labour, they both carry with them the best wishes of the lodge with which they have been associated.


Letters to the Editor


SIR, – People are saying that I am the author of certain letters which have appeared in your columns re Rousay ploughing match, signed “Spectator.” Please allow me to correct that false impression. I am neither the author, writer, nor am I in any way connected with the composition of these letters, as is supposed. Thanking you in anticipation, I am, &c., – WILLIAM GRIEVE.


Sir, – Once more that doughty warrior “Humbug,” has taken the field and is once more trying to lead on his warriors to storm another fort. In your issue of 7th inst., there were two leaders trying to assail one fort, but owing to a thick fog they lost their way and fell into an ambuscade and had to retire ignominiously. Then a counsel of war was held, which took a little time, but by the time it was over the fog had lifted considerably, and they were enabled to pierce the surrounding gloom. Then the order is given to “Humbug” to lead on the forlorn hope, which he did, but, alas! Alas! The latter end of him was worse than the first.

“Humbug” says I have tried to foist a downright falsehood on the public. I beg to differ with you Mr “Humbug.” If I had tried that it would not have been left to “Humbug” alone to champion the cause. Then he says, “The consequence is, your position has earned you the contempt of every fair-minded man in the island.” Very good, sir; when you get all these fair-minded men by your side you will find you have got a very small following. He admits he made a mistake in your issue of 7th inst. He thinks he should have said Messrs “Spectator & Co.” Man, you have a splendid head for solving the mystery. Astronomers say that Mars is inhabited; direct your gaze to it next time, perhaps you may get a tip. Then he says he knows nothing of the art of assegai throwing, but he thinks his assegai has not sped very wide of the mark. Be sure and keep on that mind, Mr “Humbug,” and don’t turn a somersault again. If you are not good at throwing the assegai, try a shot with a camera.

Next he gives me a tap – “Refrain from direct falsehood, and stick to my guns.” I have certainly fought fair and square, and the truth has apparently struck hard. Only poor “Humbug” is too thick-headed to see it, but “where ignorance is bliss, ‘tis folly to be wise.” Then he offers a little sugar-coated plum to the judges. He says, “Cheer up, Rousay judges, you have always acted honourably in the past, and you continue to do so still.” Shake hands, “Humbug,” I will pass on that.

Towards the close of his letter he remarks – “Spectator & Co. should try their hand at crab-catching, etc.” If ever I have the pleasure of meeting a crab I will present it to Mr “Humbug” along with a little salt and pepper and mustard; it will be a toothsome delicacy for him. Good-bye, Mr “Humbug.” Ah! I beg your pardon, I should have said Messrs “Humbug & Co.” It is a pity to waste more paper on such an ignoramus. Allow me to thank you, Mr Editor, for your kindness in granting space for the few remarks which I have made from time to time. – I am, &c., – A SPECTATOR

1906 April 18 Orkney Herald

Letters to the Editor


SIR, – After a fortnight’s inaction “Spectator” has issued another dispatch for the benefit of the public. Old “Humbug,” getting rather impatient at the delay, sent out his trusty scout, “Ignoramus,” to reconnoitre. After the absence of a few days he returned to report as follows: – Taking advantage of the fogs which have been so prevalent of late, I had no difficulty in reaching the fort of “Spectator,” and being an adept at escalading, I easily obtained an entrance. Eluding the sentries, I stealthily wormed my way to the general’s headquarters, and fortunately arrived just in time to hear an animated discussion between the general and his chief-of-staff. “Well,” said the general, “Humbug gave us rather a nasty hit last time over this ploughing match business.” “Och,” said the chief, “it was nothing. Any schoolboy could have done better than that.” “All very well,” replied the general, “but you must bear in mind that we made a very unprovoked attack upon the judges when we openly accused them of going on the field with the sole intention of awarding the prizes to certain of the ploughmen, irrespective of any merit they might show. We have no direct argument to back our accusations, and I am sick of this wobbling and beating about the bush.” “I don’t care a fig,” said the chief. “I, for one, am not satisfied with some of their work, and, apart from this discussion altogether, I have a long standing personal feud with one of their number, and this gives me an opportunity for revenge.” “Well,” said the general, “I would much rather sign off, for you must see we are thoroughly cornered as far as this miserable ploughing business is concerned.” “You must do nothing of the kind,” relied the chief. “I must not be baulked in this matter. I have many a time faced an audience on the public platform, and have always made myself heard there, and to be out-manoeuvred by a microbe such as “Humbug” would be a terrible shock to my dignity. You may swear black is white if you like, but you must rally your forces for a final attack.” “Well, well,” said the general, “I will have one more try. It is useless to refer to the ploughing, but a bit of smart parrying will do no harm.” “You are a good sort,” replied the chief, “and I thought you would see me out about the assegai throwing. You might tell him to try a camera. It would be a good hit in the right direction; and don’t forget the one about gazing at Mars. It is a pretty far-fetched one. You might also add a little about the crab-catching, you can hit it off nicely when you like.”

At this moment “Ignoramus” heard footsteps approaching, and had to beat a hasty retreat. He was greatly disappointed at this interruption, but I consoled him by telling him that he had done a splendid night’s work. I don’t think there will be any need for gazing at Mars for a tip now, Mr “Spectator.” Man, you should start a paper all of your own, and style it the “Quibber.” For a start you might give us an article on Mars. You seem to be possessed of much talent and a powerful stretch of the imagination, and I have no doubt you will be able to give us some idea – perhaps not a very correct one – of the habits and customs of the creatures who inhabit that planet, also if there are any ploughing matches there, and whether the competitors use horses or oxen.

Man, I am awfully sorry I never possessed a camera. However, if you and your chief will step along to the ploughing match field some day and stand on a certain rig – the number of which I will not mention here – I will borrow a camera and try my prentice hand at photography. If it turns out successfully, I will present you with a copy and entitle it “The False Accusers.” If a failure, you will have the consolation of knowing that it is on a par with your criticism. Beg pardon, though, I was forgetting you always fought fair and square.

Send along the crab by all means, Mr “Spectator.” I don’t care very much for them myself, but “Ignoramus” is very fond of them, and I think he deserves some recognition for his valuable services. Well, good-bye Mr “Spectator,” it is a wise idea not to waste more paper on “Ignoramus,” for he played you a nasty trick last time, and it is hard to say what he will be up to next. – I am, &c., – HUMBUG.


(This correspondence must cease. – Ed. O.H.)

1906 May 2 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY. – A deputation from the Norseman’s Home Lodge of Good Templars, Kirkwall, accompanied by members of the other Kirkwall Lodges, visited the Star of Peace Lodge on Thursday 26th ult. The meeting was held in Sourin School, and was open to the public. Rev. A. I. Pirie occupied the chair, and a varied programme was gone through, which was very much appreciated. Votes of thanks were awarded to Miss Marwick, of Sourin School, for her kindness in granting the use of her piano for the evening, to Mr W. R. Tullock, Kirkwall, for the loan of his gramophone, and to Rev. A. I. Pirie for so ably occupying the chair.

1906 May 26 The Orcadian

[Not Rousay, but an insight into the dangerous occupation of fishing the stormy waters surrounding the North Isles].

THE GALE…..LOSS OF LIFE. The gale which sprung up on Wednesday morning last week, causing interruption of mail traffic to the south the following day, has been experienced all over the country. In the south of Scotland and in England the rainfall was abnormal, and in many places serious flooding resulted. The wind further south does not seem to have been so strong as in Orkney…..

TWO FISHERMEN DROWNED. – Last Friday our Stromness correspondent had an interview with David Inglis, senr., the skipper of the boat Jeannie Inglis. He said :-

“I belong to Gourdon, Kincardineshire, and had with me in the boat my [38-year-old] son David, my son-in-law James Moncur [who was 37 years of age], together with Alexander Anderson, John Ritchie, James McBeath, and John Alexander. We left Gourdon a fortnight ago, and had to take shelter in Peterhead on the way, there being a strong gale from the north. The weather moderating we left there on Thursday, the 10th, for Scalloway, where we arrived on Saturday. We shot our nets on the way, but got nothing. On the following Monday, in company with about 100 other boats we sailed for the fishing ground, and shot our nets twenty-five miles north from Foula. We hauled the nets on Tuesday morning, but got nothing. We set them again on Tuesday night. There were only three boats and one or two steam drifters in sight of us. Between 3 and 9 that evening a gale sprang up from the N.E. and it blew hard all night. On the following morning we tried to get in the nets, but, owing to the heavy sea, we could not manage it. We then brought the boat’s stem to the sea and lowered the mast, intending to ride out the gale. The wind increased in force until 4 o’clock on Wednesday afternoon, when it blew a hurricane, and the only thing we could do was to give the boat the whole of her chain, some forty fathoms.

Shortly after that four of the men went into the hold to mend some old nets, my son and son-in-law remaining on deck, while I was in the cabin. All at once we were struck by an enormous sea which literally covered the boat, tons of water pouring into the hold, and half filling the boat from stem to stern. Immediately I put on my sea-boots, and on gaining the deck, which those below had by this time reached, I found that my son and son-in-law had been swept overboard, and that they were then some distance from the boat. My son was floating face downwards as if already dead, but my son-in-law, whose face was streaming with blood, was trying to strike out for the boat. The heavy sea, however, soon carried us far apart, and we saw them no more. We could do nothing to help them. The sea had torn us away from the nets, and we were obliged to run before it. We got the pump started, but it took us sometime to get the boat cleared, although we also used buckets. We ran before the gale until Thursday afternoon, when we sighted Noup Head in Westray. Up to that time we had seen no land, and I think we must have run about 120 miles after we broke away from the nets. We were running twenty-four hours, and all that time we were being swept by seas. We did not attempt to hoist the mast until we had opened out Hoy Sound, and we then got some sail on her for the first time. The steam pump of course had to be kept going until we got into Stromness. I have been many years at sea, but I never before had such an experience on a boat. I intended this fishing to be my last, and to give the boat to my son, who has been lost. He has left a widow and seven of a family, while my son-in-law has left a widow and four of a family. We lost all the nets and gear, valued at about £150; but that is nothing, if only I had my boys back.”

1906 May 30 The Orcadian


There is a spell woven by the restless sea,
A secret charm that haunts our island air,
Holding our hearts and following everywhere
The wandering children of the Orcades:
And still when sleep the prisoned spirit frees,
What dim, void wastes, what strange, dark seas we dare,
Till, where the dear green isles shine low and fair,
We moor in dreams beside familiar quays.

Sons of the Isles! though ye may roam afar,
Still on your lips the salt sea-spray is stinging,
Still in your hearts the winds of youth are singing;
Though in heavens grown familiar to your eyes
The Southern Cross is gleaming, for old skies
Your hearts are fain, and for the Northern Star.

D. J. ROBERTSON in Chambers’s Journal.

[Duncan John Robertson, solicitor, County Clerk of Orkney, poet, folklorist and naturalist, was also the factor of Thomas Middlemore’s Melsetter estate. His name often crops up in newspaper reports of court and other legal proceedings, and later we will read that he was gifted the island of Eynhallow by Mr Middlemore.]

1906 June 2 The Orcadian

A DILAPIDATED MANSE. – At the second day’s sitting of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, last week, the Rousay manse case came up for consideration. The Rev. Alexander Spark, of Rousay and Egilshay, and the Rev. D. C. Kerr, clerk of the Presbytery of the North Isles, petitioned the Assembly for a contribution from the General Purposes Fund towards the expenses incurred by Mr Spark in civil actions raised in connection with the repair of his manse, which was in a dilapidated condition when he was inducted to the united parishes in 1885. The Presbytery had ordered the necessary repairs, but the heritors appealed to the Sheriff, and afterwards to the Court of Session, both actions being decided in favour of the minister. The repairs were afterwards executed, but it was alleged that, owing to bad workmanship and the use of inferior materials, further dilapidation took place, and the heritors raised an action against the minister to ordain him to uphold the manse in a state of good repair, but that action was dismissed as incompetent. The Presbytery last year ordained the heritors to build a new manse, and on appeal to the Civil Court their decision was upheld. Mr Spark, in his petition, set forth that the extra-judicial expenses of these proceedings at the instance of the heritors had been a heavy tax upon him as a minister, having a “smaller living” stipend, and he therefore asked for some financial relief. The Rev. D. C. Kerr, in support of the petition, said Mr Spark was the eldest of four brothers who were ministers of the Church of Scotland, and he was also father of his Presbytery. There had been no fewer than four civil actions raised against him at the instance of the heritors and in every case it had been shown that the judgement of the Presbytery was reasonable. The Rev. Dr. Theodore Marshall, in moving that the prayer of the petition be granted, expressed the hope that there would be a dying away of the ill-feeling which had existed for some time in the parish of Rousay. The Procurator seconded the motion. which was agreed to, and the matter was remitted to the General Purposes Committee. In supporting the motion. Dr. Scott referred, amid laughter, to Mr Kerr, the Presbytery Clerk, as a “watchman on the Tower of Zion.”

1906 June 27 Orkney Herald

CLAIM FOR WAGES. – Yesterday (Tuesday) the deliverance of Mr John White, solicitor, trustee in the sequestrated estate of Alex. Munro, Woo, Rousay, on claims lodged, came before Sheriff Harvey. Objection was taken to the partial rejection by the trustee of the claim for wages made by George Munro and Mary Ann Munro, son and daughter of the bankrupt. They claimed two years’ wages, and the trustee had allowed one year’s wages, the amount stated in bankrupt’s state of affairs. Mr Drever appeared for the claimants. Evidence was led, from which it appeared they agreed to work on the farm for the first three years without getting wages, and that on the termination of that period at Martinmas 1903 they continued to work the farm for a further period of two years, on the understanding that they would be paid wages if the farm was successful, but no sum was fixed in the case of either. After hearing Mr Drever and the trustee his lordship disallowed the claim to more than one year’s wages.

1906 June 30 The Orcadian

UNION OF CHURCHES IN ROUSAY – HARMONIOUS SETTLEMENT. – Revs. David Gillies, George Millar. and Charles Runciman, under appointment of Presbytery, with Rev. Patrick Mackay, D.D., of Wick, deputy from the General Interest Committee, proceeded to Rousay on Wednesday last in the hope of effecting union between the two congregations of the U.F. Church there. They met in turn with the two sessions and congregations, and had the happiness of attaining their object. The parties met the Committee in the best spirit.

While in the Trumland congregation there was some doubt as to the wisdom of the proposed arrangements of church services, they gracefully agreed to enter the union and give the arrangements a fair trial. Ritchie congregation had also questions as to the occupancy of the manse, etc., but they also cordially accepted the basis of union. The Trumland congregation in anticipation of this event had appointed deputies to appear at Ritchie Church. These were now called in and the Trumland and Ritchie congregations were formally declared one, the sessions one, and the body of managers and deacons one.

Rev. A. Irvine Pirie being also now present, was introduced as minister of the United Free Church congregation of Rousay. Revs. David Gillies and George Millar are to be with Mr Pirie on Sabbath to help in the inauguration of the union so happily accomplished. The presence and assistance of Dr. Mackay were felt to be very valuable, both by the people and the Committee.

1906 June 30 The Orcadian


Heritors of Rousay v. Spark.

In this action the question to be determined was, whether it was expedient to erect a new manse or repair the existing building. The pursuers claimed that the manse could and ought to be repaired, even in view of subsequent cost of upkeep, whilst defender argued that a new manse was a necessity. The Court took skilled advice, and the Sheriff-Substitute has now issued the following interlocutor: –

Kirkwall. June 25th, 1906. – The Sheriff-Substitute having visited and inspected the manse of Rousay and Egilshay, and the minister’s offices, on the requisition of the pursuers, and having considered the report by Mr A. H. L. Mackinnon (No. 74 of Process), and heard parties thereon, and having considered the objections to said report stated for the parties (Nos. 77 and 78 of Process), and the additional report on these objections by Mr Mackinnon (No. 79 of Process) finds that the said manse and offices are in a state of disrepair, that there Is no sufficient water supply to the manse, and that the drainage system is defective, finds in the circumstances of this case that the existing manse should be taken down and a new manse erected on the same or an adjacent site; with the accommodation of the existing manse (it not being necessary, however, that the bedrooms in the manse to be erected should be so large as to the existing manse), and in addition (1) a bath, (2) a servant’s water closet, and (3) a wash house; finds that the minister’s offices should be repaired and a small pig sty built; the said new manse to be provided with an adequate water supply and drainage system; continues the case that the heritors may give effect to this order; finds the defender in this petition entitled to expenses to the date hereof. – (Signed) W. HARVEY.

Note. – The principal question in this case, and the question which, under section 7 of the Ecclesiastical Buildings and Glebes Act, 1868, is to be determined primo loco is, whether, according to the law as it at present exists, a new manse should be erected, or whether the existing manse should be repaired. So far as this question depends on matters of fact or skilled opinion, the Court is bound to proceed on the report of the architect appointed by the Court. Mr Mackinnon’s views may be right or wrong – the pursuers dispute their soundness – but so far as this Court is concerned they are final and binding. (Murray v. Presbytery of Glasgow, 1833, 128, 191, 196.) Mr Mackinnon states that the manse is capable of being put into an efficient state of repair as regards stability and comfort so as to be a suitable residence for the Parish Minister. The repairs required are extensive and involve partial reconstruction, and in his opinion, owing to the age and inherent bad qualities of the manse, money expended upon repair would to a large extent be money thrown away. He bases this view on the following considerations –

(1) The large cost of repairs – £506, as compared with £950, the cost of a new building of equal accommodation to the existing manse.

(2) The fact that even by extensive repairs and partial reconstruction the house can never be freed from dampness, or be made thoroughly comfortable and healthy.

(3) The shortness of the life of the existing manse, if repaired, compared with that of a new building. The reporter estimates that in twenty years further extensive repairs and renewal of, inter alia, the joists and flooring, rafters, partitions, lath and plaster, doors and windows, grates and furnishings, will be required; while a new building, if well constructed, would be little the worse at the end of twenty years.

(4) The comparative high cost of upkeep. He estimates £20 as the annual cost of upkeep as contrasted with £5 In the case of a new building.

These being the facts which I am bound to accept as established, it appears to me that a legal obligation rests upon the Heritors to build a new manse. The legal principles applicable to the circumstances are explained in the case of the Heritors of Olrig v. Phin, 1851, 13 D. 1332, particularly in the Judgment of Lord Fullerton. He says, inter alia, “The question always must be whether according to the rules of ordinary prudence the building is one which any reasonable man would think of repairing. And the test commonly adopted is the comparison between the expense of repairs and that of rebuilding.” In this case the ratio of the cost of repairing to that of rebuilding is about ½, while in the case of the Heritors of Olrig it was about ⅔, a distinction in favour of the views pressed upon me by the Heritors in this case. But Lord Fullerton explains that this comparison is not the only consideration. The result of the repair is to be looked at – whether the repair will place the house nearly in the same situation as to comfort and stability as if it was rebuilt. “It must be a repair such as will leave the manse what is called free, and impose on the incumbent the obligation of keeping it up.” According to Mr Mackinnon’s view this manse would not, ever if repaired, be thoroughly comfortable and healthy, and it would only last twenty years before requiring further extensive renewal. I very much doubt whether a manse whose life is estimated at twenty years could be declared a free manse. In the case of the Heritors of Olrig the estimated life of the repaired manse was fifteen years and Lord Fullerton observed “The repair, in the most favourable view of the reports, is one which, so far from leaving the manse free, will only keep it up at the best for fifteen years, and oblige the incumbent in the meantime to bear all the inconveniences and risk of the decay, till the dilapidation is ultimately completed.” The pursuers contention that such would be the fate even of a well-constructed new building in Orkney seems contrary to common observation and experience. On the whole matter I regard the case of the Heritors of Olrig as a definite authority for the view to which I give effect in the above order, assuming, as I must, that the architect’s findings are correct. It will be observed that in the case of the Heritors of Olrig, as well as in this case, the reporter found that the existing manse could be repaired so as to be a suitable residence for the parish minister. The Court in that case ordered a new manse to be built, and it is therefore an authority to show that Heritors may be required to rebuild, although repair is possible. As regards additional accommodation in the manse, the Heritors are willing to provide a wash-house, and I think they are bound, having regard to modern standards of comfort, to provide a bath and servants W.C. As regards additional accommodation in the offices, the Heritors are willing, besides executing repairs, to add a small pig sty to the offices. I do not think their obligation extends beyond this. They are not bound to provide a steading sufficient for a farm of 40 acres which, as explained in the note of objections for the heritors, No. 78 of Process, is the extent of the Glebe in this case. Their obligation is to provide minister’s offices sufficient for the personal requirements of the minister and his family, including in the usual case, accommodation for one or two cows and a horse. The minister having at his own hand thrown the turnip shed into the existing byre, to suit the convenience of his tenant, is not entitled to ask the Heritors to give him a new turnip shed. A peat shed is not usual in Orkney, nor is a water supply to the stable and byre. There is no precedent for a room for a man servant. I am satisfied from my own inspection that the present water supply is insufficient. There is no source of supply other that a pit dug in the hill side with sides formed of loose stones incapable of retaining water. A pipe is laid from this source to the manse, but the pit when I saw it in the month of June was quite empty. There are two other possible sources of supply nearer the manse, one of which at any rate seemed to be adequate in quantity, and was said by persons in the locality never to run dry. – (Intd.) W. H.

Agent for the Heritors – Duncan J. Robertson, solicitor, Kirkwall.
Agent for Rev. A. Spark – Thomas Peace Low, solicitor, Kirkwall.

1906 July 7 The Orcadian

U.F. CHURCHES IN ROUSAY – UNION CONSUMMATED. – As was intimated in our columns last week the United Free Churches in Rousay – the Trumland and Ritchie congregations – had resolved to unite.

Last Sunday special services were conducted and the union happily consummated, the Rev. George Millar of the Paterson U.F. Church, Kirkwall, preaching to a large and enthusiastic congregation in the Ritchie Church…..At the close of the sermon, Mr Millar, on behalf of the Presbytery, read a statement telling the number of elders in the united congregation. Mr Pirie then constituted the session with prayer.

The names of deacons and managers were then read, and those who had been formerly managers of the Trumland Church were ordained to the office of deacons. Mr Pirie closed the service with the benediction.

The weather was all that could be desired, thus permitting the great majority of members and almost all the office-bearers to be present. A feeling of gratitude to God pervaded all, and the utmost satisfaction was expressed at the happy issue of the union negotiations.

1906 July 11 Orkney Herald

AGRICULTURAL N0TES. – The weather during the past spring has been alternately dry and wet, and cold and warm, and owing to the wet weather part of both cereals and turnips were sown early and part late. A cold north-easterly storm about the middle of May blasted the grass and braird, but damp, mild weather followed, and did much to revive the crops. The dry, cold weather of late has checked growth, and the crops are much in need of rain and warmth. Pastures and hay are a fair good crop. Early sown turnips are being singled, but both turnips and oats are scarcely up to an average crop at present.

1906 July 14 The Orcadian

ROUSAY MANSE CASE. – The heritors of Rousay have appealed against the decision of the Sheriff-Substitute in this action to the Court of Tiends.

The steam yacht Snowflake, belonging to Mr Thin, tenant of Trumland House, Rousay, arrived at Kirkwall on Tuesday evening.

On Sunday last the Rev. A. Spark preached in the Parish Church, from St.Matt. xxvi. 6-13. and concluded his discourse as follows: –

Dearly beloved, this world sees many changes, and death is the inevitable end of it all. All must die. It was at this hour last Lord’s day that Mrs Corsie of Knarston (the beloved wife of our respected elder), died after having a few hours previous given birth to her baby-boy. Strange Providence the mother was taken, but the baby left. Of her it may be said: “Blessed are the dead.” for she had the “one thing needful” – faith in Christ. By her the world is left richer. She has left to it a legacy of twelve children, most of whom are young. Last Tuesday we laid her in her last resting place, and the whole parish was overcast with one large cloud of lamentation. Though gone from husband and home, we fondly hope and believe that she is now in that home which is “fairer than day.” What is home without a mother? Here is one such – and home where love bound husband to wife, wife to husband, parents to children, children to parents. Who can estimate the pang of sorrow at the breaking of such a tie? The deceased was indeed a loved and loving wife, a good and careful mother, a kind neighbour, and a Christian whose faith was firmly set upon the “Rock of Ages.” Happy the labouring and the lowly where love dwells. Happy the women who are not lifted by vain titles, by rank or wealth out of the circle of the self-sacrificing tender and touching assiduities which an infant family requires – out of whose hands fashionable etiquette or luxurious indolence has taken what the poet calls the “Delightful task to rear the tender thought, and teach the young idea how to shoot.” Motherhood has a momentous charge, and Mrs Corsie was one whose labours not only never ceased, but whose labours to anticipate this event, were heaped up beforehand with loving, considerate care. As to her hearth and home, she was a “keeper at home,” a dutiful and loving wife and a diligent and loving mother. Here the domestic hearth was happiness itself, for love bound the family together. She herself was the centre, the guide, the counsellor of the household, and she trained the children for God and Eternity. Happy couple whose love death cannot destroy! A beloved wife and a busy mother. What honour higher? “With the fruit of her hand she planteth a vineyard,” yea, “she looketh well to her household and eateth not the bread of idleness.” So diligent was she in arranging the details of all her business beforehand that one would think she anticipated going to that “better country.” Blessed are those who finish the business of time before they begin the business of Eternity. She set all her “house in order” and lay down ripe and ready for Eternity. “Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord.” “O, death, where is thy sting? O, Grave, where is thy victory?” And now a household motherless, and the husband’s heart aching with sorrow ! She is assuredly missed. May God Himself in love now fill the bitter void, and His sweet blessing the blank that is left behind. May Christ Himself in love and pity pour healing balm into the sorrowing hearts of the bereaved. May Heaven at last be their Eternal Home, where parting is unknown. But, withal, the beloved is there, and we are here, and now the tears fall fast and now the eyes of faith are lifted up for pity, and now the cold stone marks the fair resting spot where the beloved one lies, but Christ’s own words are for the bereaved: “A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come; but as soon as she is delivered of the child she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And ye now therefore have sorrow but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.” – Amen.

[Margaret Jane Corsie was the daughter of Simpson Skethaway and Margaret Craigie, Knarston. In 1885 she married John Corsie, Brendale, and they raised a family of 12, seven girls and five boys. The baby who survived that tragic day was christened George Gibson Corsie, and he later joined his older brother Thomas in Canada. George passed away in Thunder Bay, Ontario in his 90th year.]

1906 July 21 The Orcadian

Mr Edward Clouston Thin of Liverpool, who is to occupy Trumland House, Rousay, for the summer arrived with his family at Kirkwall on Wednesday night per s.s. St Nicholas. His yacht the Snowflake arrived in the bay a week ago.

[Edward Clouston Thin (1852–1927), of Birkenhead and Liverpool, was a shipowner, merchant, and chairman of the North Wales Steamship Company].

1906 August 4 The Orcadian

THE ROUSAY REGATTA. – The annual regatta of the Rousay Boat Club took place in Veira Sound on Friday the 27th inst. A strong south-easterly breeze in the early morning prevented a great many of the boats turning up from Kirkwall and the neighbouring islands. The wind lessened towards mid-day, and by one o’clock enough entries were made to start most of the races. The s.s Orcadia called on her way to Stronsay, and landed quite a number of visitors for the day. Mr Thin’s yacht, which was anchored off Trumland Pier, presented a very gay appearance, covered with bunting. The course was the usual triangular one.

The first race to start was for boats 16 ft. waterline and under, for which there were five entries, viz., Alice, Nelly, Ceska, Thistle, and Maggie. All got well off with the starting gun and kept together on the run to Avelshay mark boat. On sighting again the Thistle and Nelly were seen to be leading and ran a neck to neck race till the finish, there being only seven seconds between them. These were followed by Ceska, with Alice and Maggie a good distance behind. The following is the corrected time: –

Thistle (Jas. Johnston) – 1h 22m 35s
Nelly (Jas. Alexander) – 1h 22m 42s
Ceska (Wm. Miller) – 1h 23m 58s
Alice (C. Logie) – 1h 30m 34s
Maggie (R. Mainland) – 1h 31m 45s

The second race was for boats 22 feet waterline and under, for which there were only three entries, viz., Sigurd, Aim, and Sarah Ann. All made a good start, Sigurd taking the lead, followed by Aim and Sarah Ann. They maintained these positions throughout the race, the Sigurd gaining on her opponents all the time and finishing an easy first. The time was as follows: –

Sigurd (David Reid) – 1h 19m 50s
Aim (Peter Finlayson) – 1h 26m 0s
Sarah Ann (Geo Mainland) – 1h 33m 20s

The best race of the day was undoubtedly the All-comers, for which there were nine entries, viz., Hero, Annie, Alice, Sigurd, Ceska, Sarah Ann, Thistle, Press Home and Aim. Most of the boats made a good start, and presented a very pretty appearance running down along the land, followed closely by the Snowflake with Mr Thin and party on board. Most of the smaller boats retired after going round part of the course, leaving the larger ones to finish the race The Hero, on sighting in Egilshay Sound, was seen to be leading, followed closely by the Annie, with the Sigurd and Aim further astern. The Hero kept her lead throughout the race, and, although pressed hard by Annie, was first to cross the line, thus winning the first prize without the need of her time allowance. The finish was as follows: –

Hero (M. Grieve) – 1h 24m 2s
Annie (George Reid) – 1h 24m 30s
Sigurd (D. Reid) – 1h 34m 42s
Aim (Peter Finlayson) – 1h 43m 51s
All the others retired from the race.

The following are the rowing races: –

Ladies’. – 1, Mrs Sutherland and Mrs Hunter; 2, Misses Marwick and Elphinstone; 3, Misses Sinclair; 4, Misses Wards and Gibson.
Boys’. – 1, J. Omond and W. Clark; 2, J. Grieve and James Irvine; 3, Robert, Sinclair and Alex. Wards.
Men’s. – 1, Capt. McBay and D. Reid; 2. J. Rendall and Wm. Kemp; 3, George Reid and J. Gibson; 4, Fred Sinclair and J. Craigie.

At the close of the races, Miss Thin, along with Mr Thin, handed out the prizes to the successful competitors, for which she was awarded a hearty vote of thanks. Hearty cheers were also given for Mr Thin for the special interest he had taken in the regatta. As usual, the club had refreshments during the day for the benefit of visitors. Much credit is due to the ladies who had charge of the tea-room for the efficient way in which they carried out all the arrangements. The young folks had their usual dance, which was kept up with much spirit till twelve o’clock. The Committee take this opportunity of thanking all those who so liberally contributed to their funds, and in any way helped to make the regatta a success.

1906 August 11 The Orcadian

ROUSAY FLOWER SHOW. – The first annual Industrial and Flower Show under the auspices of the Rousay Agricultural Society was on Tuesday favoured with lovely weather, and was opened by Mr Pirie. The show was held in Sourin School, and, considering the shortness of the time for preparation, the exhibits were good and representative of the island. An excellent musical programme was submitted during the course of the day, and the Committee would take this opportunity of tendering their thanks to all who so contributed to the day’s enjoyment, as well as those who subscribed towards the funds. The Judges were: – Flowers, vegetables, etc., Lady Burroughs and Miss Thin; baking and dairy produce, Mr R. Spence, Kirkwall; industrial work, Mrs Pirie, Mrs Gibson, and Miss Walker. Annexed is the prize-list: –

Dairy Section – Fresh Butter – 1, Miss Robertson, Springfield; 2, Miss Reid, Wasdale; 3, Mrs Craigie, sen., Brough. Salt Butter – 1, Mrs Craigie, Brough; 2, Miss Reid; 3, Miss Robertson. Sweet Milk Cheese – 1, Mrs Reid, Tratland; 2, Mrs White, Saviskaill. Skimmed Milk Cheese – 1, Mrs White. Eggs – 1, J. M. Harrold; 2, Mrs Craigie, Brough. Eggs from farms under £20 rent – 1, Mrs Craigie, Brough; 2, Mrs Mowat, Stand Pretty; 3, Mrs Reid.

Baking – Bere Bannocks – 1, Mrs A. Leonard, Cruannie; 2, Mrs Mowat; 3, Mrs Munro, Old School. Oat Cakes – 1, Mrs Craigie, Digro; 4, Miss Scott, Hurtiso; 3, Mrs Hourie, Gripps. Oven Scones – 1, Mrs Harrold, Pier; 2, Mrs Gibson, Hullion. Plain Scones – 1, Miss Inkster, Cogar; 2, Mrs Gibson, Avelshay; 3, Mrs Harrold, Pier. Drop Scones – 1, Mrs Craigie, Digro; 2, Miss Munro; 3, Miss Inkster, Cogar. Short-bread – 1, Mrs Sinclair, Vacquoy; 2, Miss Inkster, Woo. Fruit Cake – 1, Miss J. Gibson, Hullion; 2, Mrs Sinclair, Vacquoy. Iced Cake – 1, Mrs Scott, Lopness. Gingerbread – 1, Mrs J. S. Gibson, Hullion.

Vegetables, etc. – Rhubarb – 1, Mrs D. Johnston, Frotoft. Lettuce – 1, Mr J. S. Gibson; 2, Mr Cutt. Shallots – 1, Mrs Inkster, Swartifield; 2, Miss Logie, Grindlesbreck; 3. Mrs Craigie, Digro. Turnips – 1, Mr J. S. Gibson; 2, Mr Cutt. Potatoes – 1, Mr Low, Westness; 2, Mr J. S. Gibson; 3, Mr Cutt. Cabbage – 1 and 2, Mr Cutt; 3, Mrs Sinclair. Carrots – 1, J. M. Harrold; 2. R. Inkster, Cogar. Cauliflower – J. S. Gibson. Radishes – 1, Mr Cutt. Beet – 1, J. S. Gibson. Peas – 1, J. S. Gibson. Strawberries – 1, Mr Cutt. Gooseberries – 1, Mr Cutt. Black Currants – 1, J. S. Gibson. Apples – 1, J. S. Gibson.

Flowers – Pot Plants (Ornamental) – 1, Miss Marwick (Aurelia); 2, Miss Reid, Wasdale (Asparagus Fern); 3. Miss J. Scott, Hurtiso (Araucaria). Foliage Plants – Pelargonium – 1 and 2, Mrs Inkster, Woo. Geranium – 1, Mrs Wm. Sutherland; 2, Mrs Inkster, Woo; 3, Dr. Gordon. Begonia – 1, Mrs Reid, Wasdale; 2. Mrs Gibson, AveIshay. Cut Garden Flowers – Roses – 1, Mrs Sinclair; 2 and 3, Mr Cutt; v.h.c., J. S. Gibson. Pansies – 1, J. S. Gibson. Stocks – 1, J. S. Gibson; 2, A. Inkster, Cogar. Geranium – 1, 2, and 3. J. S. Gibson. Calceolarias – 1, J. S. Gibson. Shirley Poppies – 1, Miss Marwick. Candytuft – 1. Mr Cutt. Bouquet of Wild Flowers – 1, Miss J. Scott.

Industrial Work – Crazy Quilt – 1, Miss Jeannie Scott; 2, Miss A. Scott. Lace Curtains – Mrs Inkster. Linen Bed Quilt – Miss A. Scott. Bedroom Slippers – Miss Mowat. Crochet Lace – 1. Miss Munro; 2, Miss C. Craigie, Falquoy; 3, Mrs Craigie, Old School. Embroidered Handkerchief – 1, Mrs Reid, Wasdale; 2, Miss Reid, Tratland. Crochet Trimming – 1, Miss Scott, Lopness; 2 and 3, Miss M. Reid, Tratland. Crochet Collar – 1, Mrs Craigie, Old School; 2, Miss C. Craigie; 3, Miss N. Reid, Tratland. Tea Cosy Cover – 1, Miss Gibson, Hullion; 2, Miss Marwick (School); 3, Mrs Craigie, Old School. Tray Cloth – 1, Miss A. Scott; 2, Miss A. Reid, Tratland; 3, Miss C. Craigie, Falquoy. Shawls – Miss Inkster, Brittany; 2, Miss Cooper, Hanover; 3, Mrs Craigie, Old School. Spinning – 1, Miss Inkster, Brittany. Stockings – 1, Miss M. Leonard; 2, Miss Scott, Lopness; 3, Mrs Mainland, Tratland. Knickers – 1 and 3, Miss Inkster, Brittany; 2, Miss Marwick. Homespun Cloth – 1, Mrs Mowat; 2, Mrs Craigie, Braes. Crochet doily – 1, Miss A. Scott, Hurteso; 2, Miss M Reid, Tratland; 3. Miss Jean Scott, Hurteso. Knitted doilies – 1, Miss Leonard; 2, Miss Ellen Craigie, Gorehouse. Tatted doilies – 1 and 2, Miss M. Reid, Tratland.

School Section – For Best Specimen of Sewing – Agnes Johnston, Frotoft. For Best Piece of Drawing done in School this Year – J. Craigie, Triblo. Bouquet Wild Flowers – 1, M. J. Sinclair, Swartifield; 2, A. M. Cooper; 3, Alice Craigie.

Special Prizes – For Bere Bannocks – Miss Leonard. For Best Cut Garden Flowers – J. S. Gibson.


ROUSAY CATTLE SHOW – The annual show of the Rousay Agricultural Society was held on the farm of Banks, Sourin, on Tuesday, in fine weather. The show of stock over all was not so good as last year – the cattle being a poor turnout, whilst that of horses might be described as good. The judges were – Messrs Clouston, Graemeshall, Holm; Mackay, Flaws; and Scarth, Burgar, Evie. Annexed are their decisions: –

Shorthorn Cows. – 1 and 3, John Scott, Hurteso; 2, James Craigie, Trumland; h.c., John Gibson, Faraclett.
Milk Cows (Polled). – John Scott; 2 and h.c., George Gibson, Avelshay; 3, James Craigie; c., Robert Seatter, Banks.
Best Milch Cow in Yard. – John Scott (medal).
Two-year-old Stots (Polled). – 1, 3, and h.c., James Craigie; 2, R. Seatter.
Two-year-old Queys (Polled). – 1, 2, and 3, David Gibson, Langskaill; h.c. and c., John Gibson, Faraclett.
One-year-old Shorthorn Stots. – 1 and 2, John Gibson, Faraclett.
One-year-old Shorthorn Queys. – 1 and 2, John Gibson, Faraclett.
One-year-old Queys (Polled) – 1, John Scott, Hurteso; 2, George Gibson, Avelshay; 3 and c., Robert Seatter, Banks; h.c., David Gibson.
One-year-old Stots (Polled). – 1 and 2, James Inkster, Woo; 3 and c., James Craigie; h.c., Robert Seatter.
Calves. – 1, James Craigie; 2 and h.c., R. Scarth; 3, James Inkster. Woo.
Draught Geldings. – 1, John Gibson; 2, James Craigie; 3, D. Marwick, Essaquoy; h.c., Robert Sinclair, Sketquoy; c., D. Gibson.
Yeld Mares. – 1, James Craigie; 2, Wm. Scott, Hurteso; 3. James Inkster, Woo; h.c., R. Seatter.
Mares with Foal at Foot. – 1, George Gibson, Avelshay; 2. John Craigie, Saviskaill; 3, R. Sinclair, Sketquoy; h.c., H. Craigie, Swandale.
Foals. – 1, George Gibson; 2, R. Sinclair; 3, John Craigie; h.c., H. Craigie, Swandale.Two-year-old Fillies. – 1, John Corsie, Knarston; 2, J. Learmonth, Quoys; 3, George Gibson.
One-year-old Fillies. – 1, John Craigie, Saviskaill; 2 and 3, J. Russell, Brendale.
One-year-old Colts. – 1, John Craigie, Saviskaill. 2, D. Inkster, Furse.
Best Mare in Yard. – George Gibson, Avelshay (medal).
Sheep. – 1 and 2, John Scott, Hurteso.
Poultry. – Chickens – 1, John Harrold, merchant; 2 and 3, Mrs Reid, Tratland.

The Committee afterwards entertained the judges and others to dinner at Banks, where the usual loyal and patriotic toasts were proposed and duly responded to. The Committee wish to tender their thanks to all who subscribed towards the Society’s funds, and to all who have given their services to make the show a success.

1906 September 12 Orkney Herald

TO LET, the right to take Rabbits on Westness, Rousay.
Apply to the tenant, Hugh Inkster.

1906 October 31 Orkney Herald


There will be Sold, by Public Roup, at QUOYS, WASBISTER,
and IMPLEMENTS thereon, comprising: –

STOCK. – Work Mare (13 years old), Work Mare (3 years old), Mare (2 years old),
Foal, 4 Cows in Calf, 1 Quey in calf, 3 One-year-old Cattle, 5 Calves,
3 Sheep, some Poultry, and a Dog.
CROP. – Small Stack of Hay, a few Barrels of Potatoes.

IMPLEMENTS. – 2 Box Carts, Plough, Drill Plough, Set Iron Harrows, Grubber, Scuffler, Roller, Combined Reaper and Mower, Turnip Sower and Scarifier (combined), Wheelbarrow, Field Rake, Barn Fanners, Bushel Measure,
Bruiser, Turnip Cutter, Cart and Plough Harness, 4 Wood Gates,
Fencing Screw, Grindstone, Wap Churn, and a variety of other articles.

Sale to commence at 11 o’clock a.m.
The s.s. Fawn will leave Kirkwall at 8 o’clock, returning in the evening.

Terms – Five months’ credit for sums of £5 and upwards on approved bills
signed by the purchasers and sufficient cautioners, or discount
at the rate of Five per cent. per annum.

T. SMITH PEACE. Auctioneer.


AMONG the list of students who have passed the final examination in medicine at Edinburgh University, we observe the name of Robert Elrick Marwick, who has taken the degree of M.B., Ch.B. Dr Marwick is the only son of the late Rev. Isaac Elrick Marwick, of Bethelfield Church, Kirkcaldy, and grandson of Mr Isaac Marwick, Guidal, Rousay.

1906 November 14 Orkney Herald

AN INGENIOUS ORKNEY CROFTER. – While in one of the more remote of our islands recently (writes a correspondent) I happened to meet a number of crofters carting peats with oxen, and one man’s ox, walking so rapidly – even with a heavy load – that he soon outdistanced all the others, I turned a few steps back with his driver and congratulated the man on the remarkable speed of his animal, the ox being, as everyone knows, a very slow-moving creature. The crofter laughed, and, pointing to the head of his ox, said “It’s a’ my patten (patent) that does it.” I then observed suspended from a couple of prongs which stuck out from the animal’s head a small mirror. “Yes,” continued the carter, “that’s a patten o’ my ain, an’ I’ll tell ye hoo I cam’ tae think o’t. Ye see, when I bocht this beastie, the man I had him frae said he wadna gang a step in a cairt unless anither bullock was in front o’ him, an’ then it was just that he micht fecht wi’ the ither ane. Sae I thocht for a wee, and it flashed on me that there was a way oot o’ the deeficulty, au’ I tauld the man that ‘the faut was a bad ane, but I wad buy the ox if I got twa pund aff the price.’ He allooed me this at aince, for he wanted rid o’ the creatur’, an’ I fixed the ox up the way ye see. Noo he keeps tearin’ ahead for aye – just tae get at the ox in front that he thinks is for ever wantin’ tae fecht wi’ him.” – Weekly News.

1906 November 28 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – SOCIAL MEETING. – The Guild of the United Free Church, Rousay, held its opening social on Friday evening in Ritchie Church. Notwithstanding the inclemency of the weather, there was a large and enthusiastic gathering of old and young. Mr Pirie had with him Mr Kirk, of Evie United Free Church, but owing to the stormy weather and the non-arrival of the steamer, there was much disappointment that the Rev. George Millar and Mr John Flett, of Kirkwall, were unable to be present. Mr Pirie stated, in his opening remarks, that the social had been got up by the guild not only to give a start to its winter work, but also to commemorate the happy and successful union of the two churches. Mr Kirk gave an excellent address on “Marks of an Efficient Church,” illustrating his speech with happy anecdote and sage counsel. A large, well-balanced choir, ably led by Mr James W. Grieve, conductor of music in the guild, contributed greatly to the success and enjoyment of the evening. There was also a number of quartettes, trios, and solos well rendered and highly appreciated. Mr Kirk also sang with high ability and musical precision, “The Holy City” and “Ora pro Nobis.” During an interval tea and cake were served by an energetic band of stewards.

The communion in connection with Rousay United Free Church was dispensed in Trumland Church on Sabbath last. Mr Pirie was ably assisted by Mr Kirk, of Evie, at the preparatory service on Friday, and on Sabbath at the communion services.

1906 December 5 Orkney Herald


Sincere and affectionate remembrance of William Inkster, farmer, Cogar, Rousay,
who departed this life on 7th December 1905. Inserted by his widow and family.
– Gone but not forgotten.