In Print

Newsprint – 1910

1910 January 15 The Orcadian

A four days’ storm, followed by snow, broke out in Orkney on Saturday, the wind appearing to reach its height on Sunday night. There were vivid flashes of lightning on Sunday, but fortunately, so far as we can learn, no damage was done. The Pentland Firth passage was maintained without interruption, but owing to a breakdown of the telegraph some inconvenience was caused to business people owing to the delay on the wire through messages having to be transmitted via Lerwick.

1910 January 19 Orkney Herald


CERTIFICATED FEMALE TEACHER Wanted for Wasbister Public School
at a salary of £70 stg. per annum, with free house, partly furnished; or,
provisionally, CERTIFICATED TEACHER, qualified under Art. 71 of the
Code, at a salary of £50 stg. per annum, with free house. To enter on
duty as soon as possible. Apply immediately, with testimonials, to
Clerk of School Board, Rousay, Orkney. 17th January, 1910.

[This position was filled by Martha (Mattie) Wards, who married Mark Mackay Kirkness, Quoyostray, in 1913.]



Mr Alex. Russell, Stromness, contributes to ‘Notes and Queries’
the following superstitions which he has collected in Orkney: –


Fishermen count it unlucky –

1. To meet a flat-footed person or a woman or to see any animal crossing one’s path when leaving for the fishing.
2. To turn the boat the opposite way to the course of the sun.
3. To find a fin in one’s mittens.
4. To mention “minister” or “kirk” by these terms on board the boat.
5. For anyone to throw water on a person going to the fishing.
6. For anyone to look at the bait when it has just been gathered.
7. For anyone to wish them good luck as they are putting out.
8. To catch a ling as their first take.
9. To be asked the number of their catch.
10. To go fishing on Christmas Day.
11. For anyone to cruise in their boat if they are going fishing the same day.
12. To meet a squint-eyed person.
It is unlucky to fix the knife in the mast.


Sailors count it unlucky –

13. To leave port on a Friday.
14. To see a pig on land when about to set sail.
15. To whistle on board ship; it will bring wind.
16. To fight on board ship; the ship will sink within twenty-four hours.


17. A blue flame in the fire foretells bad weather.
18. A cock crowing after he has gone to roost is a sign of rain: – A cock crowing going to bed – He will rise with a watery head.
19. If Saturday is fine, the following week will be bad.
20. If you kill a toad rain will follow.
21. A rainbow with both ends on one island is a sign of death.


It is unlucky –

22. To marry in May or when the moon is waning.
23. For the bride to try on her wedding dress before she is married.
24. When the sun does not shine on your wedding day.
25. To be proclaimed in one year and married in the next.
26. For the bride and bridegroom to lose their gloves.
27. For the newly married couple to go home from church the same road they came.
28. For the bride to lose her ring or to try on another’s ring.
29. If you lick the porridge-stick, you will have a rainy wedding-day.
It is counted the best of luck –
30. To break anything at a wedding.
31. To get two spoons in your tea cup, or to fall going up the stairs: you will be invited to a wedding.


It is unlucky –

32. To have a black cat cross your path, unless you spit.
33. To put a black cat away harshly from the door.
34. To break a mirror: bad luck for seven years.
35. To look in a mirror after the lamp is lit.
36. To see the new moon through glass.
37. To change house on Saturday.
38. To wash on Saturday.
39. To turn back on a journey for anything forgotten.
40. To spill salt.
41. To kill a spider: – If you wish to thrive – Let the spider go alive.
42. To open an umbrella in a house.
43. To put shoes on the table: there will be thunder and lightning, or you will quarrel with someone.
44. To pay back borrowed salt.
45. To put on the left boot first.
46. To tell Friday’s dream on Saturday.
47. To cut your nails on Friday.
48. To baptise girls before boys: the girls will have whiskers.
49. To pick up your umbrella yourself if you let it fall.
50. To put a garment right if you find that you have put it on outside in.
51. To read one’s own cup.
52. To see a black coal fall out of the fire.
53. To start a new piece of work on Friday: “A crow would not carry a straw to her nest on Friday.”
54. To leave a pin or a horseshoe lying on the ground.
55. To rock an empty cradle.
56. To break your shoe-lace.
57. For a dog to cross the path of a funeral party: the relatives of the deceased will never prosper till the dog has been killed.
58. For crows to come near the house.
59. To have a minister first-foot you.
60. To get a present on the first of the month.
61. To pat a cow on the back: it takes away her milk.
62. To see a black lamb as the first of the season.
61. To kill an animal when the moon is waning.
64. For the fire to send out sparks in front of you: you will receive a scolding from someone.

It is lucky –

65. To have something in your hand when you see the new moon.
66. For a spider to crawl on you: it denotes riches.
67. To make a cross with a spittle on your boot when you see a white horse.


68. To let a knife fall means a gentleman visitor, a fork a lady visitor.
69. Little white marks on the finger nails betoken gifts.
70. If the spout of the kettle be turned inward, you are said to be inviting a visitor.
71. To keep a visitor away for a long time, spill salt on the doorstep as he leaves.
72. If at table you have a piece of bread and take another piece and finish it before you notice the first piece, it means that some friend is hungry.
73. If the sole of your foot itches, you will walk on strange land.
74. If your right hand itches, you will shake hands with a stranger.
75. If your left hand itches, you will receive money.
76. If your left ear is hot, some friend is speaking well of you.

1910 February 2 Orkney Herald

THE COUNTY ELECTION. – Next Tuesday and Wednesday the electors of Orkney and Shetland will have an opportunity of recording their votes in the election of a representative to the House of Commons…..

MEETING AT ROUSAY. – A meeting was held in Sourin School, Rousay in the afternoon. The school was well filled. The Rev. Mr Pirie, U.F. Manse, occupied the chair, and in the name of the electors of Rousay, extended a hearty welcome to Mr Wason. The Chairman’s remarks were received with great applause. Mr Wason spoke for over an hour on the principal issues before the electors, and at the close of his address invited questions. Mr John Logie asked if Mr Wason would support a provision for giving grants from imperial funds to small and sparsely populated parishes towards the expense of parish medical officers. Mr Wason expressed himself as favourable to grants being given on the lines suggested by Mr Logie. Questions were also asked regarding an elected Second Chamber and Women’s Suffrage, and were answered by Mr Wason to the evident satisfaction of the meeting. A vote of continued confidence in Mr Wason as moved by Mr William Grieve, Upper Knarston, seconded by Mr George Gibson, Avelshay, and carried unanimously.

In the evening Mr Wason addressed a meeting in Frotoft School. All the afternoon the snow had been drifting and the roads in many parts were impassable. Consequently this meeting was not so large as it would otherwise have been. The chair was occupied by Mr David Gibson, Hullion, who, in his opening remarks, referred to Mr Wason’s past services to the constituency. Mr Wason having dealt with the questions of the House of Lords, the Budget, Tariff Reform, and other matters offered to answer questions electors might wish to put. There being no questions, Mr John Gibson, No. 3 Cottage [Brough], moved and Mr George Reid, Tratland, seconded a vote of continued confidence in Mr Wason which was carried unanimously.

[Mr Cathcart Wason (Liberal) was returned with an increased majority of 3123 votes].

1910 March 9 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – PLOUGHING MATCH. – The annual ploughing match of the Rousay Agricultural Society was held on Friday, 4th inst., on the farm of Banks, Sourin, in a field kindly granted for the occasion by Mr [Robert] Seatter. The weather was dry and cold, and the field in good condition for ploughing. Eighteen ploughs turned up for competition including six champions. The ploughmen were liberally supplied with refreshments during the day. The judges were Messrs John Fraser and William Ritch, jun., Rendall; and John Spence, Urrigar, Costa, whose awards are as follows: –

PLOUGHING. – Champions – 1, silver cup and medal, Thomas Gibson, Broland; 2, James W. Grieve, Faraclett; 3, Hugh Robertson, Scockness; 4, John Corsie, Knarston; 5, Walter Muir, Breckan; 6, Malcolm Leonard, Faraclett. Ordinary – 1 and Highland Society’s Medal, Ben Moodie, Trumland; 2, John Marwick, Knarston; 3, James Craigie, Falquoy; 4, James Smith, Westness; 5, David Moar, Saviskaill; 6, Hugh Craigie, Swandale; 7, Bertie Louttit, Nearhouse; 8, Robert Grieve, Langskaill; 9, Alex. Craigie, Innister; 10, Robert Mainland, Essaquoy; youngest ploughman, Robert Grieve, Langskaill; best feering, James W. Grieve; best ploughed rig, straightest ploughing, and best finish, Thomas Gibson, Broland.

HARNESS. – 1, David Moar; 2, Bertie Louttit; 3 William Robertson, Trumland; 4, James W. Grieve; 5, Hugh Robertson.

GROOMING. – 1, Malcolm Leonard; 2, David Moar; 3, John Seatter, Banks; 4, Ben Moodie, 5, Bertie Louttit.

In the evening the judges, committee, and a number of friends sat down to an excellent dinner prepared by Mrs [Sybella] and Misses [Marion & Sybella] Banks. Mr John Logie acted as chairman, and the duties of croupier were performed by Mr James S. Gibson, Hullion. The usual toasts were given and responded to. The committee take this opportunity of thanking the donors of the special prizes and all those who subscribed to the funds of the Association.

CONCERT. – One of the most successful concerts ever held in Sourin School took place there on the 24th ult. The weather was rather worse even than the usual, and, in consequence, very many were prevented from coming up – especially from the other districts. Notwithstanding all this, there was a very good audience – the sitting accommodation being practically all occupied. The Rev. A. I. Pirie acted as chairman in his usual efficient manner. The children’s items were enthusiastically received, the fan drill being particularly beautiful, but the elders were no less warmly applauded. The choir pieces were all well rendered, and Mr. J. W. Grieve, the conductor, deserves the highest praise for the successful manner in which everything went off. Among the soloists, it is invidious to make distinctions, but two seem to call for special note – Miss Bella Grieve, for her solo, “Camin’ thro’ the Rye, and Mr William Grieve, who was very deservedly encored for his second solo. Rev. Mr Abel proposed a vote of thanks to the performers, and a similar vote of thanks to the chairman, brought a delightful meeting to a close. Annexed is the programme: –

Part song, “Ye Mariners of England,” choir; solo, “I’m the safest o’ the family,” Mr J. W. Grieve; hoop drill, scholars; part song, “Come, gentle May,” choir; recitation, Mr R. Mainland; solo, “Keep on doing it, Sandy,” Mr Wm. Grieve; action song, “Merry song and drill,” children; solo, “Samwel Towson,” Mr J. Harrold; part song, “We rock away,” choir; recitation, “Are boys or girls the best?”, Std. II.; solo, “Comin’ thro` the rye,” Miss Bella Grieve; banner drill, infants; solo, “When I get back again,” Mr John Grieve; interval; part song, “We ride the foaming sea,” choir; recitation, Mr R. Mainland; solo, “The Poacher,” Mr Fred. Grieve; recitation, “A rhyme for little folks,” senior infants; fan drill, girls; solo, “Riding down from Bangor,” Mr J. W. Grieve; part song, “Chime again, beautiful bells,” choir; solo, “Dublin Bay,” Mr H. Munro; dumb-bells, children; quartette, “I had a dream,” Miss Gibson, Mrs Grieve, and Messrs Grieve; violin and piano selections, Miss Marwick and Mr Grieve; solo, Mr William Grieve; part song, “Home-ward bound,” choir.

1910 March 10 The Orcadian

TO CORRESPONDENTS. – Correspondents should note to send in reports as early in the week as possible. We often get reports just as we are going to press, referring to events about a week old. Coming to hand at such a late hour, these reports, as a rule, cannot be used.

1910 March 23 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – SOCIAL. – The United Free Church Guild held its closing meeting for this winter on Thursday evening last week in Ritchie Church. The Rev. A. Irvine Pirie presided, and with him on the platform were the Rev. Mr Abel and the two Guild vice-presidents. These gentlemen during the evening gave interesting and instructive speeches. The singing of a well balanced choir, under the leadership of Mr James W. Grieve, was the feature of the entertainment, and was very much appreciated by the audience. Mr Robert Mainland recited “The Last Shot” in splendid style, Mr J. W. Grieve gave a humorous reading, and Miss Reid and Miss Munro provided an excellent tea.

1910 March 30 Orkney Herald

AURORA BOREALIS. – A fine display of Northern Lights was witnessed at Kirkwall on Sunday evening. The moon had just risen, but was well down in the horizon, where there was somewhat of a haze, but overhead the sky was cloudless. Shortly before nine o’clock the wind fell to a calm, and there was an unusual warmth in the air for the season of the year, when a little to the north-east of the zenith, the lights began to play with magnificent variations. At one time they would appear as if fixed in the sky, like some powerful search-light, and then, when the eye had got at rest upon them, they would suddenly spread out in luminous splendour, and the whole heavens would be lighted up by their brilliancy. The display did not last long. After about an hour’s time, the lights began to lose their brilliancy, and soon there-after faded away into space, and were seen no more. Perhaps they betoken a change for the better in the weather. The first two days of this week have been exceptionally fine, bright sunshine, with a warmth in the air seldom experienced in the month of March.

1910 April 2 The Orcadian

AURORAL DISPLAYS IN ORKNEY. – On the nights of Sunday and Monday last, fine displays of the northern lights were witnessed at Kirkwall. About eight o’clock each evening a large bank of filmy white could gathered above the north and north-west horizon, and following this the atmosphere became exceedingly cold, raw, and damp. About half an hour later “merry dancers” began to pierce this cloud, the streamers jutting up in all directions. On Monday evening the display was specially fine, the aurora borealis rising high above the heavy cloud, bands of streamers reaching the zenith, where an immense circle was formed. Here the aurora opened and contracted somewhat in the shape of a lady’s fan. On each occasion the display lasted less than half an hour.

1910 April 6 Orkney Herald

FISHING NOTES. – The exceptionally fine weather of last week was fully taken advantage of by the Kirkwall boats. From Monday to Saturday they were out regularly. With the exception of two or three boats, the fleet were all engaged fishing for halibut, and some good shots were got. The principal fishing grounds were in Wyre Sound and Rendall Sound, from which some very large fish were taken. The “Try Again” had two halibut which weighed 12 stones each, and the “Speedwell” one of 11 stones. The highest daily shots were got by the “Try Again” and the “Mary Sinclair,” each of them having 3½ cwts. The three best fished boats for the week were the “Try Again,” 8 cwts.; the “Speedwell,” 7 cwts.; and the “Margaret,” 6 cwts.; while the other shots ranged from 1½ to 5 cwts. The total for the week amounted to about two tons. Prices ranged from 5s 6d to 5s 9d per stone, which is a record price for Kirkwall at this season of the year, now that Lent is over. Owing to the high prices obtained, the halibut fishing has proved very remunerative to the fishermen, some of whom have done remarkably well. The amount of round fish landed was a little over a ton. Cod are reported to be scarce on the usual grounds, while there is hardly a haddock to be got at all. A shot of about half-a-ton of cod was landed at Scapa by a South Isles boat, and sold at 8s per cwt. On Monday this week the boats were out, and the quantity of halibut landed exceeded that of any day for the season, the total being about 25 cwts. The “Myra” had a catch of 17 fish, which weighed over 8 cwts., while the “Rose” and the “Norse” had shots of 3 cwts. each. The other catches ranged from half a cwt. up to 2¾ cwts. Prices, 5s per stone. About a ton of cod was landed at Scapa. The local curers are getting ready for their usual supplies of cod from Iceland, which are landed by trawlers at this season and during the next month or two.

1910 May 7 Orkney Herald

Halley’s Comet, at present a morning star, may now, when the atmospheric conditions are favourable, be seen a little north of east from shortly after three o’clock until it is lost in the light of the rising sun.

ORCADIANS ABROAD. IN HAMILT0N, ONTARIO. – On March 8, the Hamilton, Orkney and Shetland Society were delighted to have with them the Rev. John Gibson Inkster, B.A., of London, Ont., who delivered an illustrated lecture on “Orkney, Home of the Vikings,” or “The Land of the Midnight Twilight.” The Rev. gentleman was introduced in a neat and able manner by Mr W. G. Scott, who was the chairman of the evening.

Mr Inkster was well received by the largest and most representative gathering of Orcadians that ever meet in Hamilton, there being upwards of 360 present, and the school room of Knox Church, where the lecture was held was well filled. The various views and remarks of the speaker brought well home to the minds and imaginations of the attentive audience those isles of the ocean,

Where the waves dash on in headlong haste,
By a wide world of waters pres’t.
There ruined hall and nodding tower
Hint darkly at departed power;
Their domeless walls, time worn and grey,
Give dimly back the evening ray,
Like gleams from days long passed away.

Mr Inkster gave a very fine descriptive story of the Cathedral, from the time of St Rognvald up to the present, when there is so much talk of restoration.

St Magnus’ pile of ages fled,
Thou temple of the quick and dead,
While they who raised thy form sublime
Have faded from the things of time;
While hands that reared and heads that planned,
Have passed into the silent land,
Still hath thy mighty fabric stood
Mid sweeping blast and speeted flood.

The native island of the speaker was well and worthily mentioned, and it was fine to hear the Rev. gentleman speak out on behalf of the hard worked and heavily taxed crofters of that isle.

To Rousay’s isle I might refer
Wild nature’s ardent worshipper,
A temple meet he there might find
Mid dells of calm and hills of wind –
Hills of the gloomy brow that make
A night-shade sadden o’er each lake –
Where drooping shrubs weep o’er each stream
That glides away like being’s dream;
And all is still, save on the gale,
When wanders by the plover’s wail.
But from the vale so still and stern,
Climb we the mountains’ crowning cairn,
And round Eynhallow’s walls of rock
See billows dashing into smoke,
Which rises from their thunder crash,
As cannon’s cloud succeed its flash;
Tossed from the hell of their turmoil,
It canopies the isle.
Oh, what can match their whelming roll
Save passions racking o’er the soul.

The Vikings who lived on these islands in the days of long ago had the courage to go to fight and capture such places as Dublin, and to rule the whole of the northern part of Scotland from these islands. These were the men who have given to posterity that spirit of independence, also that love for the homeland which is so dear to the heart of every Orcadian. Several of the industries were also made mention of, such as farming, fishing, etc.

The concluding part of the lecture introduced several splendid views of our coast line – those cliffs, stern and defiant in all their majesty and rugged grandeur. Then followed some views, which to us seemed to be at the top of their class. They were sunset and twilight views, and the calm peacefulness of those contrasting with the turmoil of stormy seas and wild rocks, left an impression on the mind that felt like an inspiration. The lecturer did not show any views of modern Orkney with its motor buses, automobiles, motor boats, motor power threshing machines, etc., neither was any mention made of our up-to-date farming in the Orkneys which compares favourably with other places in Scotland.

However, Mr Linklater proposed a vote of thanks to the speaker, and hoped that we would be favoured with his presence again in the near future. The audience heartily responded, and the meeting was closed by the singing of “God Save the King.”

[John Gibson Inkster was the son of William Inkster, Cogar, and Mary Gibson, Langskaill, and he was born on February 8th 1867. Having emigrated to Canada he married Alice Rowsome, and they raised a family of four daughters: Elizabeth, Mary, Miriam, and Ruth.]

1910 May 21 The Orcadian

ROUSAY. – The Rev A. Spark preached on Sunday last an appropriate sermon regarding the death of King Edward VII from Job xiv, 10, “But man dieth, and wasteth away; yea man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?”

[Edward VII (Albert Edward; 9 November 1841 – 6 May 1910) was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Emperor of India from 22 January 1901 until his death in 1910.

The eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Edward was related to royalty throughout Europe. He was Prince of Wales and heir apparent to the British throne for almost 60 years. During the long reign of his mother, he was largely excluded from political power, and came to personify the fashionable, leisured elite. He travelled throughout Britain performing ceremonial public duties, and represented Britain on visits abroad. His tours of North America in 1860 and the Indian subcontinent in 1875 were popular successes, but despite public approval, his reputation as a playboy prince soured his relationship with his mother.

As king, Edward played a role in the modernisation of the British Home Fleet and the reorganisation of the British Army after the Second Boer War. He reinstituted traditional ceremonies as public displays and broadened the range of people with whom royalty socialised. He fostered good relations between Britain and other European countries, especially France, for which he was popularly called “Peacemaker”, but his relationship with his nephew, the German Emperor Wilhelm II, was poor. The Edwardian era, which covered Edward’s reign and was named after him, coincided with the start of a new century and heralded significant changes in technology and society, including steam turbine propulsion and the rise of socialism. He died in 1910 in the midst of a constitutional crisis that was resolved the following year by the Parliament Act 1911, which restricted the power of the unelected House of Lords.]

1910 May 28 The Orcadian

PRESENTATION TO MISS SINCLAIR, PHOTOGRAPHER. – When it became known in Kirkwall that Miss [Mimie] Sinclair, of the Studio, had resolved to give up business here, and to proceed to New York, a Committee was formed to get up a testimonial for her, so as to show how much the public appreciated her many services to the community. The time at the disposal of the Committee was short, but so heartily was the proposal taken up, that they easily secured the necessary funds for the purpose in view. Accordingly Miss Sinclair was asked to meet with the Committee in the Town Hall, Kirkwall, on Saturday evening. Provost Slater presided, and amongst others present were: Councillors Flett and White, Messrs A. Stewart, M. Heddle, Jas. Sinclair, John Inkster. G. D. Bain. W. K. Mackintosh, P. Brass, James Flett, and W. D. Peace. Provost Slater, in making the presentation, said it had frequently been his lot – and it had always been a great pleasure to him – to preside at meetings like the present. This, however, was entirely different in one respect from any other that he had presided at in that they were on this occasion to present to a lady and not to a gentleman a tangible token of their esteem, goodwill, and good wishes for one who was leaving her home. Miss Sinclair had been for long time – as she was a lady it would be unfair to be precise – (laughter) – in the forefront in furthering all sorts of worthy movements in the community, both of a social and general nature, too many to enumerate, indeed, all kinds of good works, including particularly church work. In some respects Miss Sinclair had been one of the most helpful ladles Kirkwall had had for a long time. She had many accomplishments. In business she could acquit herself well alongside any of the citizens. As an artist in her profession she had been outstanding in producing work of the highest order, which had given the greatest satisfaction to her patrons. Miss Sinclair had helped in so many ways that she would be much missed now that she was leaving. She would not be forgotten by them, however, and in a general way her name would be remembered by Orcadians all over the world when they looked at her pictures of those nearest and dearest to them. He had much pleasure in handing to her that gold watch, one of the most suitable gifts that could be made, for it would remind her daily of her well-wishers in the home of her birth – the City – (applause) – and Royal and ancient Burgh of Kirkwall. (Renewed applause.) In addition to the watch, he had pleasure in presenting a nice bangle. The gifts had been subscribed for by a great many of her friends in Kirkwall. They wished her every success in the new home in the far-off land to which she was going. (Applause.)

The inscription on the watch is: – “Presented to Miss Mimie Sinclair by friends in Kirkwall as a token of esteem on the occasion of her leaving for New York. – 24th May, 1910.”

Miss Sinclair suitably and feelingly replied. Though she had not been in a public position requiring her to make speeches, she wished on that occasion to say that she would never forget Kirkwall. She had tried to do her best for the various objects which she had been asked to assist, and it had been no trouble, but a pleasure to be of some service. She thanked them all very much for their kindness.

Councillor Flett said that after listening to the eloquent periods of the Provost, who performed these things so well, and to the words of thanks of Miss Sinclair, he would just in a word corroborate all the Provost had said of the excellences of their friend and neighbour, Miss Sinclair. He had known her for a long time; he knew what assistance she had given in every movement, artistic and useful, and it was the universal feeling that she should not be allowed to go without some expression of their esteem and regard.

Mr M. Heddle also referred to Miss Sinclair’s services, particularly in regard to church work and the musical part of the services. The meeting closed with a vote of thanks to Provost Slater, proposed by Councillor White.

[Examples of Mimie Sinclair’s studio portraiture photographs are well-known to viewers of Rousay Remembered – courtesy of the Tommy Gibson Collection and Orkney Library and Archive.]

1910 June 15 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY. – We understand that Mrs [Theodosia] Middlemore, of Melsetter, is having the shooting lodge on Eynhallow furnished, and intends spending a brief holiday there for the purpose of studying bird life. She is expected by special steamer on Wednesday, the 15th inst., and should the weather keep good we have no doubt she will spend a most enjoyable holiday, as Eynhallow is one of the beauty spots of Orkney.

1910 June 18 The Orcadian

THE WEATHER. – Seldom of late years have we enjoyed a long spell of lovely weather. During the past few days the hours of sunshine must have been well above the average. Farmers are complaining of drought. The heat of the sun on Wednesday last was phenomenal – 120 degrees being registered [48.88 celsius]. Weather prophets declare that we are to have a return of the old-fashioned weather – warm summers and snowy winters – since Halley’s comet has passed in safety. What criterion there is to guide them, it is difficult to say. Let us hope there is some truth in it all the same.

1910 June 29 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY. – In the Sourin Public School on Saturday, Miss [Elizabeth] Lamond, from Edinburgh, under the auspices of the Orcadian Women’s Suffrage Society, delivered an interesting and cleverly reasoned address in favour of the enfranchisement of women. Much interest was manifested in her arguments. A hearty vote of thanks was awarded Miss Lamond, and a similar vote to the Rev. Mr Pirie who acted as chairman.

1910 August 10 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – Mr Bryans and party arrived at Westness for the shooting season last Wednesday. On Saturday Sir Victor and Lady Horsley and party arrived at Trumland House. We understand trout fishing is very good and game plentiful, so that good sport is anticipated for this season.

Mr Frederick A. Scott, son of Mr John Scott, Hurtiso, Rousay, has successfully passed as second engineer before the British Board of Trade at Singapore. Mr Scott served his apprenticeship with Messrs W. & J. Leslie, engineers, Kirkwall. He served with Barclay Curle & Coy., and Fairfields, Glasgow, and also at Trinity House, London, He is presently in the employment of the British India Company, sailing in the Strait Settlements on the Royal Mail steamship Hongwa.

1910 August 13 The Orcadian

FLOWER AND CATTLE SHOWS AT ROUSAY. – The annual flower and cattle shows were held at Rousay on Tuesday, which was favoured with excellent weather. A number from Kirkwall and Shapinsay visited the island.

The flower show was held in the Sourin School, and the flower section was greatly improved, compared with last year; the baking and dairy section was an average in point of exhibits; but there was unfortunately a marked falling off in the industrial work…..

The turnout of stock at the cattle show was a credit to the island. The number of horses forward was up to the average, but there was a falling off in the cattle sections…..Cup for Best Cow in the Yard, presented by Mr James Gibson, Hullion, finally won by David Inkster, Furse – an animal of exceptional quality…..Medal for Best Mare, presented by Mr William Craigie, Broughtyferry, won by James Craigie, Furse – an animal which was easily first in the yard.

AMUSING SCENE IN ROUSAY. – Friday last was the Birsay holiday, and a good number of parishioners spent the day in Rousay, proceeding thither per s.s. Fawn.

Two lads of the company thought to vary the trip a little by having a sail on their own. Seeing a small boat lying a short distance along the beach from the pier, they shoved off, though subsequent events proved they knew as little about the handling of these small craft as might be expected of those who spent their whole lives in some inland city.

The boat was only a small one, and the combined weight of the two would-be-yachtsmen as they jumped aboard made it lurch dangerously. In a panic they seized hold of the mast, which, of course, only had the effect of toppling the boat further over, and filling it with water. One of the young fellows, however, had the sense to jump out and make for the shore. The other “stuck to the ship” with a look of abject despair on his countenance, whilst the spectators simply rocked with laughter.

Meantime the remaining occupant thought he saw a means of escape. The stern and quarter of the boat were out of the water, and the young man, having extricated his legs from the ropes with which he had become entangled, made a frantic leap aft. But again he was deluded, for the water followed him, and the boat went from under him.

There was really no danger, for the whole scene occurred within two boats’ lengths from the shore, but the great amusement created can be better imagined than described.

1910 August 24 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – RETIREMENT OF EDINBURGH POSTMAN. – Mr Samuel Sinclair, 9 Comely Bank Avenue, Edinburgh, on account of having reached the age limit, has retired after forty years’ active service as a postman. Mr Sinclair has seen many changes at the G.P.O. He was the ninety-sixth postal carrier when he started work – now there are between eight and nine hundred. Of the chief officials who were then at the head of the postmen’s department not a single one remains. On a rough average Mr Sinclair has walked fifteen miles per day, so that during the four decades he has traversed something like 184,800. Mr Sinclair is a keen bowler, being an enthusiastic member of the Dean Bowling Club.

[Samuel was born at Swandale on June 1st 1846. He married Mary Louttit, Faraclett, in 1869. Her uncle, John Louttit was postmaster in Coatbridge and later in Edinburgh, and it was through his influence Samuel obtained work in the Post Office in Edinburgh.]

1910 August 27 The Orcadian

VEIRA – SCHOOL PICNIC. – A most enjoyable picnic was held here on Thursday the 18th inst. The weather in the morning was dull, but the rain held off, and the day was delightful. The children gathered at the school at noon, and marched to Cubbierow Castle, with flags flying. When all the people had assembled, refreshments were served – milk and buns – to which full justice was done. Games were then entered into with zest by the children and young people, and kept up till five o’clock, when all marched back to the school for tea, after which the prizes were distributed. Much of the success of the picnic was due to Sir Victor and Lady Horsley, whose kindness helped very much to make the outing all that could be desired.

1910 September 10 The Orcadian


Where the white waves leap, and the tide sweeps past,
And the lashing spray from the sea is cast
‘Mid the roaring roosts of an angry ocean,
Boiling and eddying in swift commotion,
Beaten by every wind that blows,
Thro’ the summer’s sun and the winter’s snows,
Lashed by the ruthless northern seas,
Lies the ”Holy Isle” of the Orcades.

In the distant past when the Celtic race
In these isles of ours found a dwelling-place,
Long ere the Vikings had plied the oar
To conquer on every Orcadian shore,
Ere History’s pages could yet reveal
Our island’s story of woe and weal.
‘Mid the waves’ mad turmoil and ceaseless play,
The enchanted isle of Eynhallow lay.

In those mystic days of forgotten lore,
Ere mortal had trod on its virgin shore,
Spell-bound where the roosts and the white waves leap,
Eynhallow was held by the mighty deep.
The home of the Finmen of ancient story,
But rarely beheld in its pristine glory,
Save when it rose with mysterious motion
To vanish unknown ‘mid the turbulent ocean.

None knew of its coming; none told of the spell –
It came and it vanished was all they could tell.
Full many a craft has been shattered amain.
Full many a perilous venture in vain,
To ruin the charm of the sea-dwellers’ home,
And bring this lone isle from the depths of the foam;
And many a brave heart has battled the storm,
But the vanishing island retained its charm.

There was a wizard who hied him forth
To capture this vanishing isle of the North;
He controlled the tides with a master hand,
And the mysteries he solved of this phantom land;
With steel in his grasp and with power in his eye,
When Eynhallow rose from the waters high,
Onward he sped on his perilous way,
And the angry roosts where the island lay
Were hushed into peace by his stern decree,
And Eynhallow was won from the depths of the sea.

With a roaring roost upon every side
It was left to stand ‘mid the angry tide.
Yet won, so long since, from the Men of the Sea,
Its enchantment it holds in a lesser degree,
For steel in its mystical soil cannot rest
When the sun disappears on the ocean’s crest;
And death-doomed the rodent that enters the strand
Of this once supernatural, vanishing land.

When the sea fog rolls on the waters grey,
And the western sun lends a farewell ray
To the green mounds marking the resting place
Of a pre-historic Orcadian race,
The scene is majestic, yet weird and strange.
So full of phantasm and mystical change
The remains of another age are there.
And a monastery’s ruins laid waste and bare –
The long-sought remains of an ancient pile
To explain the name of the “Holy Isle.”

J. G. S. F.

1910 September 21 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY. – Mr E. Bryans and party, who have been staying at Westness House for the last six weeks, have now left. Mr Bryans had the Westness shootings last year also. This year his bag has been as follows, viz.: – Grouse 300, rabbits over 500, snipe 88, wild duck 14, hares 4, golden plover 18, rock pigeons 21, trout 303, various 67. Grouse were plentiful, well grown, and strong on the wing by the 12th. Snipe were not so many as last year. Rabbits, golden plover, and rock pigeons were very plentiful. Trout were of a good average weight, and fine baskets were got up to the end of August.

ROUSAY, EGILSHAY, AND VEIRA CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY. – On Tuesday the 13th inst., a very successful public meeting was held in the Schoolhouse at Sourin to commence the co-operative movement in the parish of Rousay. After tea, to which Sir Victor and Lady Horsley had invited the tenants and occupiers throughout the three islands, the meeting, which was very large and representative, began. Sir Victor Horsley, as chairman, in a few opening remarks, urged the national importance of cooperation to all sections of workers throughout the empire and its value not only in increasing material prosperity but also in promoting social fellowship.

He then called upon Mr J. B. Grahame of Eday, who gave a most interesting account of the development of Agriculture Co-operative Societies throughout the world, and in particular the share taken by the Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society in developing the thirteen societies which are doing so much good work in Orkney. Mr Grahame showed how in Eday and elsewhere the evolution of the co-operative societies began with the egg industry (collecting and marketing), and that this was followed by combined purchase of farming materials, especially seeds and fertilisers, while finally the general trading of a co-operative society was superadded as soon as the organisation and staff admitted of this being undertaken successfully. He dwelt especially on the need to all agriculturists of supply of seeds, the purity and germination of which was ascertained with certainty, and of fertilisers, the analysis of which was accurate, and further demonstrated that the only possible way of obtaining these essentials was cooperation. Rousay, with Egilshay and Veira, offered an excellent field for co-operative work, inasmuch as the work of collection and distribution could so readily be focussed. In conclusion, he hoped the society would be formed that day, and he wished the islands all the prosperity which could be confidently anticipated from its organisation.

After Mr Grahame’s address, questions were invited and put through the chair to Mr Grahame, who kindly responded fully on each point. The following resolutions were then put separately and carried unanimously: – (1) That it is desirable to form a Rousay, Egilshay and Veira Co-operative Society. (2) That a provisional committee be appointed to register the society according to the model rules of the Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society, and to prepare a draft scheme for consideration at a subsequent meeting. The meeting then nominated the Provisional Committee as follows: – For Rousay, Messrs Robert Seatter, Fred Inkster, William Grieve, John Logie; for Egilshay, Mr Hugh Robertson; and for Veira, Mr William Craigie. As secretary, Mr James P. Craigie was appointed. On the motion of the Rev. A. I. Pirie, a hearty vote of thanks was accorded to Mr J. B. Grahame for his address, and with thanks to the chair the meeting terminated.

It is intended that the organisation of the new society shall be on a wide basis, so that the members should obtain the fullest possible advantages of trading on the co-operative system. For this purpose it is desirable that every house-holder should be a member and shareholder to secure a speedy development of the scheme, and to this end it is intended that each single share shall be small, though of course it is hoped that those who are interested in the extension of the society’s operations will take up a number of shares so as to provide at once for the necessary staff and administration.

1910 October 1 The Orcadian

A FIREMAN WORTH £1500. – Peter Marwick, at one time fireman on traders between Kirkwall and Rousay and other North Isles, and latterly on board s.s. Express, died in Leith Hospital on Sunday. Deceased belonged to Rousay, but has now no near relatives resident in the island. His estate is said to be over £1500 in value, and goes to a daughter of a sister of his who stays in Leith. Peter, as he was familiarly called, was a man of very peculiar habits, and was of an exceptionally saving disposition. It is related of him that some years ago he was found in a state of starvation, and yet had no less than £800 in his pockets, and his death is understood to be due to a cause similar to this.

[Peter Marwick, born on December 11th 1850, was the son of William Marwick, Clook, Frotoft, and Mary Craigie, Knapknowes, Quandale.]

1910 October 5 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – Sir Victor Horsley, F.R.S., F.R.C.S., and family left Orkney by steamer on 27th Sept. They had Trumland House, Rousay, along with the shooting, last season and this season. Unfortunately Sir Victor, being a busy man, can only allow himself about six weeks’ holiday. His bag for the season has been: – Grouse, 208; golden plover, 55; green plover, 37; rabbits, 261; snipe, 123; rock pigeons, 58; trout, 242; seals, 4. Sir Victor spent a few days in Westray and Papa Westray, where he had good snipe shooting, and visited the various places of interest in the two islands.

1910 October 8 The Orcadian

ROUSAY MANSE CASE. – At the Orkney Sheriff Court on Tuesday, Mr D. J. Robertson for the Heritors of Rousay stated that the whole works in connection with the new manse had now been completed, and asked that the manse be declared free, and a date fixed for the debate on the question of expenses. Mr Low for the minister stated that his client informed him certain repairs on the steading had not been carried out, and the case was continued for a week to allow the questions raised by the minister to be communicated to the heritors’ agent.

1910 October 12 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – LOCAL EXHIBITORS TO THE HOME INDUSTRIES EXHIBITION AT INVERNESS. – At the recent exhibition of Home Industries at Inverness, we are pleased to note our local manufacturer of Orkney stools, Mr John Sinclair, Vacquoy, exhibited five stools of different patterns, which met with a ready sale. Mr Sinclair makes stools in fumed oak, green stained, and plain varnished, with or without rush bottoms, and of various designs, and, for workmanship and finish, they are equal to any that are sent out of the county. This may account for the large and increasing demand Mr Sinclair has had for his Orkney chairs of late. He not only sends them all over England and Scotland, but at a very recent date sent a good consignment to America. We are also pleased to note our local maker of Orkney homespun cloth, Mr Alexander Grieve, Nethermill, Sourin, took second place at the same exhibition for a piece of fine Orkney homespun. We understand it was at the request of Miss Rose, Niggley, Evie, who is much interested in home art, that these exhibits were forwarded to Inverness.

1910 October 15 The Orcadian

ROUSAY MANSE CASE. – The application by the heritors of Rousay to have the Rousay manse declared a free manse again came before Sheriff Harvey in the Orkney Sheriff Court at Kirkwall on Tuesday. Mr D. J. Robertson for the heritors said he had inquired into the objections raised by the minister, and a defect complained of in regard to the water from the byre was in course of being remedied. The garden wall was bulging in several places, and his information was that it would stand for four or five years, and perhaps a considerable time longer; the garden gate was in a state of disrepair because the minister had not kept it up; no defect could be found in the kitchen range; and the only signs of dampness about the windows were the marks of water which had come from flower pots. He held that in view of the Sheriff’s interlocutor it declaring that the manse had been constructed in terms of the plans and specification, the minister was barred from raising objections at this stage. Mr T. P. Low for the minister held that in view of Mr Robertson’s statement in regard to the garden wall his lordship could not declare the manse a free manse. The garden gate was bought from the previous minister, and being of wood it had to be about done. At any rate it was the duty of the heritors to supply a gate. In regard to the range the minister was prepared to take down a representative from the manufacturers, and if his complaint that the range had not been properly built in was wrong, he would pay the whole expense. Mr Robertson would not agree to this. The sheriff made a remit to Mr T. S. Peace, architect, Kirkwall, to report on the state of the garden walls and gate, the kitchen range, and as to the objection that water came in at the staircase window and kitchen door. He reserved consideration of the heritors’ plea that the Court is precluded by the interlocutor of 19th October, 1909, from dealing with the defects, if any.

1910 October 29 The Orcadian

FATHER’S LOAN TO HIS SON. – In the Orkney Sheriff Court on Tuesday, the record was closed in the action at the instance of John Sinclair, Vacquoy. Rousay, executor nominate of the late Hugh Sinclair, Sketquoy. Rousay, against Mrs Jemima Craigie, or Sinclair, widow of David Sinclair, Onziebust, Weir. The pursuer’s claim is for payment of a sum of £83 14s. being the principal sum of £75, and interest thereon from 28th January, 1898 to 1st August, 1910, less a sum of £14 15s paid to account of said interest. The case for the pursuer is that the deceased Hugh Sinclair lent his son, defender’s late husband. the principal sum of £75 sued for, to enable him to stock his farm of Onziebust, and after his death, defender adopted the debt, and granted a receipt therefore. Defender pleads that the receipt was signed under a misunderstanding, and in error. The defender was induced to sign the receipt on representations being made to her to the effect that Hugh Sinclair claimed to have made advances to his son (defender’s deceased husband), that the said Hugh Sinclair was old and in a weak state of health, and that if the defender did not sign the receipt, it might affect his health prejudicially. The defender was assured by the wife of Hugh Sinclair (now deceased), and in his presence, that if she signed the receipt the money would never be asked from her, but that she was asked to sign the receipt merely to satisfy the old man before he died. The defender believes that no advances, by way of loan had been made to her husband (who died 15 years ago) by his father, and that she was induced to sign the receipt by misrepresentation and without having an opportunity of taking advice. The defender without prejudice to her rights offered to pay pursuer £50 in full of his claim, to avoid litigation, and on record makes a similar offer. Proof was fixed for 29th November, but it was stated the parties hoped to come to a settlement out of court. Pursuer’s agent – Mr W. P. Drever; defender’s agent – Mr D. J. Robertson.

1910 November 5 The Orcadian

In the Orkney Sheriff Court at Kirkwall on Tuesday a minute was lodged by Mr D. J. Robertson, offering on behalf of his client, Mrs Jemima Craigie or Sinclair, Onziebust, Weir, to pay £75 and the expenses of the action, in full of the claim of the pursuer (John Sinclair, Vacquoy, Rousay, executor nominate of the late Hugh Sinclair, Sketquoy, Rousay) of £83 14s. The action, as we explained in our last issue, was for payment of a loan said to have been given to defender’s deceased husband by his father, the late Hugh Sinclair.

1910 November 9 Orkney Herald

There will be Sold, by Public Roup, at HUNCLETT, ROUSAY, on WEDNESDAY,
16th November, the FARM STOCK and IMPLEMENTS thereon, consisting of: -STOCK. – 2 Work Mares, 5 cows in calf (one at drop and two early);
Three-year-old Quey in calf (early); 5 One-year-old Cattle, 5 Calves, 4 Sheep.
IMPLEMENTS. – 2 Carts, Plough, Pair Wood Harrows, Set Iron Harrows,
Grubber, Scuffler, Turnip Slicer, Hand Mill, Barn Fanners, Plough-trees,
Harrow-trees, Riddles, Pitch Forks, Forks, Spades, Hooks, Scythes,
Hand Rakes, Hand Barrow, Ladder, Stone Feeding Trough,
Large Tub, Large Pot, Cart and Plough Harness;
some household furniture, a variety of other articles,
also a quantity of potatoes.
Four months’ credit on bills, signed by purchasers and sufficient cautioners,
for sums of £5 and upwards, or discount at the rate of 4d per £ for cash.
Sale to commence at 11 o’clock forenoon. The s.s. “Fawn” will leave
Kirkwall at 8 a.m. on the morning of Sale, returning in the evening.
T. SMITH PEACE, Auctioneer.

1910 November 23 Orkney Herald


LIST OF NOMINATIONS. – …..ROUSAY AND EGILSHAY – Nine nominations for seven seats [for which there will be a poll]: – John Logie, Trumland, Rousay; John Craigie, Triblo, Sourin, Rousay; Robert Seatter, Banks, Sourin, Rousay (2 papers); William Grieve, Upper Knarston, Rousay; Thomas Garson, Grugar, Egilshay; Hugh Robertson, South Tofts, Egilshay; David Inkster, Furse, Rousay; George Gibson, Avelshay, Rousay; David Gibson, Langskaill, Rousay.

ROUSAY – The Rousay United Free Church Guild opened its winter session on Thursday evening with a social in Ritchie Church. The weather being favourable, there was a large congregation, mostly of young people. The Rev. A. Irvine Pirie presided. The feature of the evening was the singing of a large well-balanced choir under the able leadership of Mr James W. Grieve, the guild precentor. Choruses, quartettes, and duets were sung with splendid taste and skill, and were greatly appreciated by the audience. An address by the Rev. James Halliday, presently congregational assistant; readings by Mr William Grieve, and recitations by Mr Robert Mainland, added much to the entertainment. Miss Munro provided an excellent tea, and Miss Reid, with willing assistants, made the necessary arrangements for serving it. Votes of thanks concluded a most successful and enjoyable evening.

1910 December 7 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – FATAL BURNING ACCIDENT. – On Sunday last a young child, two years old, belonging to John Craigie, The Glebe, Rousay, met with a serious burning accident to which it succumbed the following morning. It appears the mother had gone out, leaving the child playing with the older members of the family, and somehow it went too near the fire and its dress got ignited. The older ones ran out calling for help, and the child following them, the wind in the door fanned the flame, in consequence of which the child was very badly burned. Medical aid was promptly called, and all possible was done for the child, but as before mentioned it died the following morning.

[The youngster was James Craigie, born in 1909, the fifth child born to John Craigie and his wife Ann Seatter Russell, Evie. The family later move to Furse.]

1910 December 14 Orkney Herald

PARISH COUNCIL ELECTIONS. – …..At Rousay there were nine candidates for seven seats. The votes were counted at Kirkwall on Thursday forenoon, and the result was: –

Robert Seatter, Banks – 42
George Gibson, Avelshay – 41
Thomas Garson, Grugar, Egilshay – 39
John Logie, Trumland – 38
Hugh Robertson, South Tofts, Egilshay – 37
David Gibson, Langskaill – 35
David Inkster, Furse – 28
William Craigie, Upper Knarston – 23
John Craigie, Triblo – 18