1919 January 1 Orkney Herald
CHRISTMAS. – Christmas Eve was boisterous and rainy; but, despite these adverse atmospheric conditions, the streets of Kirkwall presented quite an animated appearance, as people hurried to and fro making purchases for the festal day. A number of the principal shop-windows were brilliantly lighted up as in pre-war days, and goods were displayed in the most attractive manner. A large business appeared to be done. Carol singers from the Salvation Army were out as usual, and were heartily received and compensated at the various houses at which they made calls. Christmas Day was a public holiday in town; but, although the weather showed considerable improvement, there were few people to be seen out of doors at any time during the day, and the streets had a very deserted-looking appearance. All classes in the community have been working at high pressure during the war, and advantage was evidently taken of the holiday to have a restful time at home. The usual services were held in St Olaf’s Episcopal Church. The Electric Theatre gave several exhibitions during the day, and drew good houses.
1919 January 8 Orkney Herald
AN INCIDENT AT KIRKWALL HARBOUR. – The quietude of Kirkwall was suddenly broken into on Saturday afternoon by the simultaneous blowing of sirens by a number of steamers lying in the harbour. For about a quarter of an hour the noise continued in various keys, and people rushed to the pier to endeavour to find out the meaning of this extraordinary outburst. Various rumours got afloat, one of which was that the ex-Kaiser had been assassinated, and the crews of the vessels had taken this method of expressing their satisfaction at the exit of Wilhelm Hohenzollern. We understand, however, that the real cause for the noisy outbreak was nothing more than a parting send-off to one of H.M. patrolling vessels which was leaving for the south, her part In the war having come to an end.
1919 January 15 Orkney Herald
FILTHY GERMAN FLEET
DISCIPLINE COMEDIES AT SCAPA.
The London correspondent of the Liverpool Daily Post and Mercury gives an account of the extraordinary conditions which still prevail on board the German warships both in the German ports and at Scapa Flow. The ships, he says, have been allowed to get into a filthy condition, and have lost their seagoing and fighting qualities. Even the battleship cruiser Mackinsen, which is nearly completed, was found in such an appalling state that it is described as an offence to the nostrils over a considerable area, while the big ship Baden arrived for interment at Scapa the other day in hardly better condition. The same applied to the surrendered warships lying In Scapa Flow. Each of the big vessels has a German nucleus crew of about 150 men to guard them against casualties from storms. It was all we could do to raise steam on these great battleships and battle-cruisers for the passage to the Orkneys owing to their disgraceful condition, and in many cases the German crews show not the slightest inclination even to keep their ships tidy and sanitary. Their conduct is compared to that of the Russian revolutionaries. If an officer wishes to give an order he has to address the crew through the medium of the Workmen’s Council, to whose orders in turn the crew pay no attention whatever. The hardest work they care to do is fishing.
1919 January 29 Orkney Herald
SHORTER SERMONS. – During the war there has been a tendency to shorten church services. One reason was that the war calls made on the clergy put an increasingly heavy burden upon the ministers who remained at home. The curtailment of the services was made in the sermon. Without assistance a clergyman could not take two long services and preach two long sermons on Sunday as well as conduct his Bible-class and fulfil his mid-week engagements without seriously injuring his health. The experience of the clergy at the front is that three quarters of an hour for each service is a most useful limit.
1919 February 5 Orkney Herald
ROUSAY. – On Sunday last the Rev. J. Deas Logie, minister of the parish, conducted services in Wasbister and Frotoft schools, thus completing the circuit of the island. The Rev. D. S. Brown, minister of the United Free Church, preached in Trumland and Ritchie churches. The day was ideal, and the attendances good at all the services.
GERMAN FLEET AT SCAPA.
VON REUTER GOES HOME.
The surrendered German war vessels at Scapa are showing great deterioration as the result of the neglect of them by their crews. The Germans will do nothing that is not absolutely compulsory. It is learned that Admiral von Reuter, growing tired of his sojourn at Scapa, made signals that he wished to return home. Of course permission was refused, but on the request being repeated he was asked the reason for his desire. His reply was, “I am sick.” Whether he meant that literally or intended to convey the idea that he was sick of his surroundings was not quite clear, but he was permitted to return, and apparently found the home conditions less attractive than they had been, for he has returned to Scapa. Another German naval officer who is there is well known as the former commander of a Zeppelin.
1919 February 12 Orkney Herald
IN MEMORIAM: – In loving memory of Frances Glen Mitchell Deas Logie, married 1905, parted 10th February 1918. – Sleep, beloved; rest in Jesus.
I wish you were beside me
As of old,
Sitting by the fire this night
As of yore.
I’d give up much I’ve cherished,
For your sake.
All my world I’d fling away
For my mate.
We shall meet just as we parted
A year ago.
Young and bright and happy-hearted:
Good-bye, beloved; daily remembered:
Good-bye, sweetheart; yet not good-bye;
We’ll meet again on glad re-union day.
– Inserted by her mourning husband, Rev. John Deas Logie, Minister of Rousay and Egilshay Parish.
1919 March 5 Orkney Herald
SNOWSTORM. – The intense cold experienced in Orkney during last Saturday and Sunday, with a considerable fall in the barometer, culminated on Monday morning in a sharp snowstorm. For several hours snow fell with great intensity, and there being a high wind there was considerable drifting throughout the countryside. At the beginning of the storm, the wind was easterly, but it veered round to the south. Towards midday on Monday the sky cleared and the sun rapidly melted the snow, with the result that the streets of Kirkwall were in a very sloppy state, which rendered locomotion very difficult. But this condition of the atmosphere did not last long. ln the afternoon the wind went round to the north-west, and a keen frost set in, which still continues. There has been no renewal of the snowstorm. The motor lorry conveying the south mails from Stromness to Kirkwall had a difficult journey, encountering many wreaths on the way; but it surmounted all obstacles until, about a mile and a-half from its destination, it met an obstruction in the shape of an Admiralty motor car which had got stuck in a wreath, and so completely blocked the road that further progress was impossible. On Tuesday morning the road was cleared, and a passage made for the lorry, which arrived at Kirkwall with the mails shortly after 9 a.m.
FATE OF GERMAN FLEET
TO BE SUNK, SOLD, OR BROKEN UP?
In the House of Lords on Wednesday, Lord Islington called attention to the statement recently made that the Conference in Paris was contemplating the sinking of all the German naval ships now in British custody at Scapa, and asked if there was any probability of this policy being carried out.
Lord Lytton (Civil Lord of the Admiralty) said the question of what was to be done with the German Fleet was one of considerable difficulty. It was for the Paris Conference to decide. A point to which the British Government attached the greatest importance was that these ships should not continue to form part of any of the naval armaments of the world. There was only three courses open, either to sink the ships or to have them broken up, or to put them up for auction. He did not know whether it was an economic proposition to break up the ships. It was a question for experts if it would pay to use the material composing the ship for any other purpose. No doubt the Conference would decide in favour of that course. Personally, he favoured the sale of the ships by auction to be used as scrap.
1919 March 15 The Scotsman
ORKNEY – TRUMLAND HOUSE (FURNISHED ) IS TO LET for the coming season, along with the SHOOTINGS and FISHINGS of the ISLAND OF ROUSAY; probable bag, 300 brace grouse and large number of snipe and other wild fowl. The trout fishing (both brown and sea trout ) is a feature; June and July are the best months for brown trout fishing in the lochs, and, if desired, these months can be made the subject of a separate let. Apply to Messrs MACKENZIE & KERMACK, W.S., 9 Hill Street, Edinburgh.
1919 March 19 Orkney Herald
ROUSAY – SERVICE OF PRAISE. – A service of praise was held by the U.F. Church in Wasbister School, on the evening of Sabbath, March 9. Mr James H. Shepherd, Egilshay, presided. and Miss Baikie, Sourin School, was pianist. Mrs Shepherd and Mr Brown sang solos and, along with Misses Grieve and Craigie from Sourin U.F. Choir, carried through with credit the programme of sacred music before an appreciative audience, who also entered heartily into the service of praise. A collection was taken for the organ fund of Sourin U.F. Church.
1919 March 26 Orkney Herald
SUMMER TIME. – This popular innovation comes into force for the current season on the morning of Sunday first, when clocks should be advanced an hour. Summer-time will continue this year until the night of Sunday-Monday, September 28-29. This advance of clock-time by one hour has proved a great boon to the people and has enabled them to have an hour’s more daylight in the evenings. Its adoption, which was at first tried as an experiment, will doubtless now be continued permanently, as it has been received with widespread approbation. A week, however, has been cut off as compared with last year, but the time is longer than in either 1916 or 1917.
RENDALL – HEATHER BURNING. – Fire was set to the hill last week, and hundreds of acres were burned, as were peats which had not been carted home owing to the wet summer. It illuminated the neighbouring parishes for miles around, the flames leaping in the air in tongues some say from twelve to twenty feet high.
1919 April 2 Orkney Herald
SUMMER-TIME came into force on Sunday. There was evidence, from the poor attendance at the churches in Kirkwall in the forenoon, that several people had evidently forgot to put the clock up an hour before retiring to rest on Saturday night.
EGILSHAY – ORGAN FOR THE U.F. CHURCH. – The section of Rousay U.F. Church which worships in Egilshay held a meeting of office-bearers there after divine service on Sabbath, March 16, and resolved to introduce instrumental music. They also raised on the spot the sum of £7 as a contribution towards purchasing an American organ. The sister congregation, in Sourin U.F. Church, Rousay, is also arranging for an organ there.
1919 April 30 Orkney Herald
THE WEATHER. – Very unseasonable weather has been experienced in Orkney during the past eight days. High winds and snow showers, alternating with sleet and rain, have been of daily occurrence, and the cold has been most intense. Farm work, in consequence, has been greatly interfered with, and very little seed has up to now been put into the ground. On Sunday a gale of north wind blew all day, which increased in the evening to storm-strength, and continued with unabated fury all that night, and showed very little abatement during Monday. On Sunday evening the Admiralty chartered ketch Ellen Amy Innes broke from her moorings at Kirkwall Pier and drifted ashore at the Ayre beach, where at high water the seas were taking a clean breach over her. Although she was lying on a shingly beach, the continuous buffetings that she received strained several of the planks in her sides, and when she was towed off yesterday (Tuesday) morning, it, was found that she was making a considerable amount of water. The mail steamer St Ola did not cross the Pentland Firth on Monday, and the mails were brought over by the Fleet mail-boat. Although the storm had subsided yesterday, the weather showed little signs of improvement, and sleet fell all day.
1919 May 14 Orkney Herald
ROUSAY – ECCLESIASTICAL. – Rededication services have been conducted by the Rev. J. Deas Logie, minister of the parish, and Rev. D. S. Brown, minister of the United Free Church. Communion services were conducted in the Parish Church and at Wasbister by the parish ministers and in the Ritchie Church by the United Free Church minister. The public schools at Frotoft and at Sourin have been examined in Bible knowledge by the Rev. J. Deas Logie. Mr Deas Logie, who fully intended being present at the second meeting of the Education Authority, was unexpectedly called south owing to the death of his mother. He hopes to remain south over the period covered by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
1919 May 28 Orkney Herald
EGILSHAY. – The Sacrament was held in the U.F. Mission Station here on May 18th, by Rev D. S. Brown, M.A., Rousay, when six young people joined the membership of the Church, and there were six baptisms. This little congregation was found to be in an efficient state, and among its other qualities has developed the grace of giving. Its contributions during March, and for all purposes, were over twenty-one pounds, and it is introducing instrumental music. A meeting of the office-bearers was held on the 20th to find ways and means for defraying the cost of some needed repairs on the Church and Manse.
1919 June 4 Orkney Herald
THE SCOTTISH LAND COURT.
SITTINGS IN ORKNEY.
ROUSAY AND VEIRA ESTATE.
John M. Harrold, Brinian, Trumland, Rousay. Area of holding, 4 acres arable, and 2 roods above Trumland; rent, £4 for 4 acres, and 10s for 2 roods.
Mr Cormack – Applicant died in November, and made over his holding to his daughter and son.
Mr Robertson, for the Trustees, said – The man has a shop and the land is merely an adjunct.
The case was continued.
William Mainland Low, Hunclet, Rousay. Area of holding, 24 acres arable, 39 acres outrun; rent, £24.
Examined by Mr Cormack, applicant said: – I became tenant at Martinmas 1910. I got no lease, but was told by the late tenant that the acreage was 24 acres arable. Of the arable land some is fair and some pretty thin and rocky. The 39 acres outrun is partly heather with spots of rough grass. Putting all patches together it might be about an acre. There are 10 acres of good pasture between the arable land. The hill ground is unfenced, and we have to herd the cattle. My stock is 2 horses, 5 milch cows, 4 stots, 5 calves, 6 sheep. The buildings belong to the estate, which has done nothing to them. They are in a poor condition. The dwelling-house is very damp. I would like to have the walls cemented and the slates of the roof pointed. The stable needs a new roof and fittings renewed. The roof of the byre is done. The floor would require to be relaid. The barn roof is in the same condition. When I entered the tenancy Mr Logie said that he would help me to repair the buildings. I got very little assistance. We got the chimney-head sorted, a part of the dwelling house gables pointed, and a small window for the stable. I purchased last year between £5 and £6 worth of manure, and this year £14. We sell no grain. The farm is steep and rocky, and very bad to work.
By Mr D. J. Robertson – Besides the outrun of 39 acres, we have 60 acres of hill ground. Other people graze their cattle there. I have never turned them off. We never use the land. I knew that it was let with the farm. We did put cattle on it a few times at first, but had to stop it, as it gave us a lot of trouble to find the cattle. They can take that land from me. The average stock is 12, but I must sell two, as I cannot keep them. The previous tenant kept more stock than I do, but they were smaller beasts; I sold nine lambs last year; I got 39s each for them. I sold 2 pigs, for which I got £8 each. We keep about 50 poultry. I could not say how much grain they get. I could not say how many dozen eggs we sold. At first I offered £20 for the farm, but had eventually to offer £24 to get it. Myself, wife [Elizabeth], and daughter [Lilly] work the place. The farm is not paying much better than before the war. The price of everything has gone up. I made no complaint about the building. I got the stable window when I asked for it. I don’t know how old the dwelling-house is. It is not very old. I bought the wire fencing from the previous tenant. It is now my property.
By the Court – In 1918 I sold 3 cattle, and got £16 to £18 apiece for them, and got £21 for another. These are the prices in the island.
John Logie, estate steward, examined by Mr Robertson, said – I have been estate steward for thirteen years, and have been in General Burroughs’ employment since I was 14 years old. I know the whole estate. The rent of Hunclet up to 1899 was £28. It was reduced to £24 when James Robertson became tenant. When Robertson sold off in 1910 he had 15 head of cattle. I received offers for the farm. I got one of £20 from this man, who latterly offered £24. I took him in preference to others. The dwelling-house is a new house; the other houses are old. I should say that Low’s cattle would fetch about £20. I keep poultry, and buy all food, and it pays us very well. Half the eggs are clear profit. The prices in Rousay were from 2s 6d to 4s 6d or 4s 10d last year. The value of eggs shipped from Rousay was about £7000 per annum, and a good crofter hen would lay 220 to 240 eggs with decent treatment.
The case of John Robertson, Banks, was withdrawn.
Paterson Craigie, Veira Lodge, Rousay. Area of holding, 3 acres arable, 3 acres outrun; rent, £15.
Mr Cormack said the applicant died on 12th August 1916. He left a holograph bequest, dated 17th June 1916, leaving the holding to Ann Elizabeth Craigie, his daughter. She has only now been intimated to the estate.
Mr Robertson – In this case the estate objected on the ground that it is not a holding under the Act.
Mr Cormack – There is one son [Robert] who is 52 years old, and does not reside on the holding, but resides in Manchester.
Ann Elizabeth Craigie, in reply to Mr Cormack, said – I am a daughter of the late Paterson Craigie, who became tenant in 1890. There was a lease for seven years at a rent of £15, and the rent was paid by my father and latterly by myself. The arable land is fair good land, and the outrun is natural grass. Our stock is 2 cows, 2 calves, and 1 ewe. We have a calf extra just now; we could not sell it because we could not get a price for it. The dwelling-house is a seven-roomed house, and is not in very good order, and the outhouses are worse. All the buildings require looking after. My father always said that he bore half the expenses of the repairs. The fence belongs partly to the estate and partly to us.
By Mr Robertson – The house was used as a factor’s house. The six acres are all enclosed. We have one permanent lodger. He does a good deal of work. We took summer lodgers at one time. My father let the house to shooting tenants on three occasions, and he got half the rent. My father carried on a little blacksmith’s shop at Veira Lodge, but was almost retiring when he took the Lodge. He sometimes went to the fishing.
John Logie, in reply to Mr Robertson, said: – Veira Lodge was the factor’s residence. General Burroughs, when he first came to the island, lived there. It was at first his intention to add to the house, but he eventually built another. The six acres of land is laid out as a garden. When the factor left Veira Lodge it was let to Paterson Craigie at a low rent of £15. It was let to him on the understanding that he was to keep lodgers. He did keep lodgers, and has had a boarder for several years. When the Lodge was let to a shooting tenant we arranged with Paterson Craigie to remove to a small house in the garden, so that the shooting tenant might have the house.
By the Court – At present I am living at Trumland House as caretaker. There is no other factor’s house on the island.
By Mr Murray – Shortly after General Burroughs’ death in 1905 notice was given to Craigie that he would have to remove from Veira Lodge. Lady Burroughs said that she was not going to take up residence at Trumland House, and that notice to Craigie was allowed to lapse.
By Mr Robertson – The rent is for the house and not for the land. The dwelling house was papered and painted immediately before a shooting tenant came.
ROUSAY AND VEIRA ESTATE.
The Court resumed their sitting on Monday, when the further hearing of applications on Rousay and Veira estate were heard. Mr D. J. Robertson appeared for the estate, and Mr J. S. Cormack for applicants.
Robert Seatter, Banks, Sourin, Rousay, applied as statutory small tenant to fix a first equitable rent. Acres, 65.390 acres arable, 41.217 acres outrun; rent, £50.
Mr Robertson – There are £200 of arrears.
By Mr Cormack – I entered the farm at Martinmas 1893 on a lease for 19 years at a rent of £50. I have been a yearly tenant since 1912. My stock is 3 horses, 1 year-old horse and foal, 6 cows, 8 year-olds, 6 calves, 1 bull, 5 ewes, 10 lambs. The buildings belong to the proprietor. I put in 90 chains of drains, for which I received 2s per chain. I put in another 11 chains, for which I got nothing. I was always complaining about the state of the buildings, but it did not help me. The wire fencing on the holding belongs to me. £8 to £10 were spent on artificial manures yearly.
By Mr Robertson – I offered for the farm. I saw the buildings before I went in. I asked that something should be done to them, and would not sign the lease until a promise was made that something would be done. There were two breaks in the lease. I did not take advantage of them. In 1904 I asked permission to give Banks up, as I wanted a better farm, but did not get it, so I remained at Banks.
By the Court – I did not pay rent because I was waiting for the decision of the Court.
Mr Robertson – For five years he has paid no rent at all.
The Chairman – There was no reason why you should not have paid your rent.
By Mr Robertson – I was asked for payment, but I made no payment. The poultry are fed off the farm. We put all the ware we can get on the land.
John Logie, estate steward – Since 1904 the estate spent £16 14s on the holding. This holding lies along the shore, and with certain winds there is plenty of ware to be got. In 1910 the tenant gave twelve months’ notice that he was to leave, but shortly after that the Land Act passed, and he remained. When he gave off the farm in 1910 there were several offers for the holding, but these were not made in writing.
Mrs Christina Munro, Old School, Sourin, Rousay, applied to Court to fix a first equitable rent. Area, 3½ acres arable, 2 roods outrun; rent, £6 10s; arrears, £28 15s.
Applicant was represented by her son, who, in reply to Mr Cormack, said the stock was 1 cow, 1 calf. His father became tenant at Martinmas, 14 years ago, at a rent of £6 10s. His father repaired the walls of one end, and re-roofed the house with Caithness slates, and got no assistance from the estate.
By Mr Robertson – My father was ground officer to General Burroughs. He also was inspector of roads and collector of rates. Woo fell vacant in 1890. General Burroughs gave the farm to my father and lent him £200 to stock it. My father became bankrupt, and General Burroughs lost £100, and he allowed my father to go to the Old School.
By Mr Cormack – My mother is prepared to pay any arrears that may be fixed by the Court. In the first tenancy my father built a byre and got £5 assistance. That would have been about 25 years ago.
John Logie, estate steward, in reply to Mr Robertson, said the late Mr Munro came to Rousay at the request of General Burroughs to superintend the making of roads in the island. General Burroughs had borrowed £45,000 for that purpose. When the Old School became vacant, Munro got it, and he was also appointed ground officer. Woo fell vacant, and Mr Munro took it. Mr Munro became bankrupt and the estate lost money. The Old School was let for £6 10s to a neighbouring tenant, and after a time it became vacant. I had several offers for it, amongst others Mr Munro. I was instructed by the trustees of the estate to have no dealings with him, but Lady Burroughs made a special appeal to the trustees to give him the Old School, and that was done and the rent paid until the Land Act was passed. The arrears are now £28 15s.
William Sabiston, Redlums, Rousay, applied to be determined whether he was a landholder or statutory small tenant. Area, 2 acres 3 roods arable, 1 acre 2 roods outrun; rent £3 10s; arrears, £9 10s.
In reply to Mr Cormack applicant said: – I entered Redlums at Martinmas 1902. The outrun is a piece of worthless ground. My stock is 1 cow, 1 calf, and 1 work stot. The rent when I took the farm was £4, and I had about an acre of ground in another farm. I have repaired the dwelling-house and put in a new door and gable and skylight. The outgoing tenant took away the door. The proprietor never put a penny on the building.
By Mr Robertson – It was Mainland’s representatives that took the door and fixture away after I took the place. I got no chance of taking on the fittings. I gave up keeping sheep as they spoiled the croft. I have 10 acres of hill grazing as well.
Mr John Logie – Sabiston took the place on the understanding that he would take the fittings, but he refused to take them, and the landlord refused also.
1919 June 11 Orkney Herald
THE SCOTTISH LAND COURT.
CONTINUED SITTINGS IN ORKNEY.
Part of the evidence laid before the Scottish Land Court at their sittings in the Town Hall, Kirkwall, on Monday last week was reported in our last issue. A number of other applications came before the Court the same day.
ROUSAY AND VEIRA ESTATE.
John Gibson, Broland. Area, 32 acres arable, 20 acres outrun; rent, £19; arrears, £36 10s. This was an application to fix compensation to the tenant on renunciation or removal. Applicant said: – I succeeded my father In 1900, who succeeded his father. Seven or eight acres are fair land, but the rest is poor, clayey land. The pasture is just rough natural grass. My stock is 2 horses, 4 milk cows, 4 year-olds, 4 calves, 1 sheep, 2 lambs. The first rent I remember was £12, but the land was afterwards squared, and the rent raised. In 1900 I had a lease for five years at a rent of £24; in 1907 the rent was reduced to £19, the present rent. My grandfather and father built the buildings without estate assistance. I reclaimed 9½ acres land out of rough ground. I was paid 2s a chain by the estate for putting in drains.
By Mr Robertson – The 9½ acres reclaimed land are still under cultivation. I got into arrears because we thought it best to wait for the Court’s decision.
Mrs Ann Johnston, Kirkhall, Trumland, Rousay, applied to the Court to fix a first fair rent and also for permission to assign the holding. Acreage, 4 acres arable; rent, £4.
Mr Robertson, for the estate, objected to the assignation, because applicant is not a landholder.
Samuel Inkster, son-in-law, examined by Mr Cormack, said: – I have resided on the holding for about 17 years. The acreage includes houses and land. The stock is 1 cow. We keep a horse part of the year, and have to buy food for it. My wife’s grandfather was the first tenant. He built the house and took out the land. We got wood, lime, flags and cement for repairing and re-roofing the dwelling-house. All the work was done by Mrs Johnston. A new byre was built from the foundation and enlarged, and a new roof put on. Mrs Johnston got 10s for slates. Some of the old couples were used. During my residence 7½ chains drains were put in, for which we got 2s per chain. It is an arrangement between my wife, myself, and Mrs Johnston that she should reside with us the rest of her days. If it was not to keep her I would not reside on the place, which does not keep me fully employed. I take any job I can get.
Mr Logie, in reply to Mr Robertson, said – The holding was occupied by Mrs Johnston’s father-in-law. When he died he made it over to his daughter Jane, who was tenant for about a year. She married John Mowat and is still alive. When the farm became vacant there were several applications, and amongst others Charles Johnston, who was employed at the home farm. We were in London at the time, and General Burroughs consulted me with regard to a tenant. I knew the condition and suggested that he should let the place to Charles Johnston, which he did.
At the sitting of the Court on Wednesday, James Russell, Brendale, Rousay, applied for an order to determine whether he is a landholder or statutory small tenant. Area of holding, 36 acres arable, 35 acres outrun; rent, £25; arrears, £109. Stock – 2 horses, 4 milk cows, 6 year-olds, 6 calves, 4 ewes, 3 lambs.
In reply to Mr Cormack, applicant said: – I kept back the rent because I did not get what I bargained for. My father became tenant in July 1889 under lease. On the expiry of the lease he became a yearly tenant. His rent was £30, and that was the rent paid until I entered at Martinmas 1910. £5 was taken off the rent, and I was to put up a new dwelling-house and byre before I became tenant. The byre was put up that year, but the dwelling-house was not finished until the following winter. My brother was to have been tenant, but he died before he could enter. Several small farms were to have been included with Brendale, and the rent was to have been fixed by Mr Logie and myself afterwards. Only one of these small places, Knapper, was added; that was at Martinmas 1912. I pay additional rent for Knapper, with which the Court is not concerned. The dwelling house belongs to the estate. I carted a lot of rubbish away from the back of the house. My father built an addition to the stable. The estate supplied the wood, lining, and roof flags. We had to cart the flags for a distance of 6 or 7 miles. The estate employed a man to roof the stable. I carted the material and assisted the man along with a third man. The estate wanted me to put up a byre, as it was thought I could get it done cheaper than them, which I did, costing the estate £50 12s 7d. The barn is in a bad state of repair. It belongs to the estate. If you were going to repair it you would not know where to begin. Part of the bargain was that I was to get a new barn, but that was not done. I also asked for an implement shed, as the implements had to lie outside all winter. About 12 acres are fair, arable land; by putting on a lot of artificial manure you get good results. Seeds and manures this year cost me £40.
By Mr Robertson – Knapper used to carry 1 cow, 1 year-old, and 1 calf. When the byre was built it was with the view of Knapper being added to Brendale. I did not succeed my father. My brother died in 1909 or 1910. I don’t know whether he had any agreement or not. I made a new agreement with the factor, and agreed to do all the carting and quarrying in connection with the byre, and all the carting in connection with the dwelling-house. I also did the carting for the stable. I paid up my father’s arrears. I have a breeding sow, and sold 7 young pigs and got 30s each for them. I have about 50 or 60 poultry. I took down a field dyke and put it on the land. All the fencing belongs to me. I am prepared to pay up the arrears.
John Logie, estate steward, in reply to Mr Robertson, said – This man’s father is still alive and resides with his son. I made an arrangement with the brother, John Russell, that he was to get the farm. A new steading and byre were to be put on. The byre was to go up in the first place. The same agreement applied to this man. We were to erect a dwelling-house as soon as we could, the tenant to do the quarrying, and the arrears were to stand over until the byre was built, and the value of the byre was to stand against the arrears, and any balance on either side was to be paid over. For the stable the estate was to provide the material and Russell was to get skilled labour and do the carting and quarrying, and he was to get a reduction of £5 in consideration of his doing the carting and quarrying. The estate was to renew the barn, except the carting and quarrying and cutting out the foundation. I agreed to carry the land straight to the public road, and that is how Knapper came in. The other small places do not come in. Russell was too far behind with the quarrying. I told the estate mason to go on with the work as soon as he knew the stones were quarried, but the stones have never been quarried and the foundation never made.
By Mr Cormack – The arrangements were all verbal. The arrears were to be paid up, and certain work done by the tenant. There has never been a stone quarried for the farm.
Hugh Pearson, Kirkgate, Wasbister, applied for a revaluation. Area of holding, 7 acres arable, 19 acres outrun; old rent, £5; fair rent, £4 18s. Stock – 2 milk cows, 2 year-olds, 2 calves, 3 ewes, 3 lambs. Applicant, examined, said: – The farm cannot keep so many. I have grazing on another farm. I am £9 9s in arrears. My father was the first member of the family on the place. I do not know what like it was when he went there. The first rent was £2 10s, and there was another croft with it. This was taken away, and the rent remained the same. In 1878 the rent was raised to £6. We got no land, but half an acre was added the year afterwards. We tried to reclaim a bit of the land, but it was so wet that we let it go back again. We could not get quarrying stones for drains. I do not know the reason for this, but I think it was a general rule with crofters in Rousay, but we were never told the reason. My father and myself put up all the buildings. We got slates for the roof of the dwelling-house, cement, lime, and iron strainers. In the summer time we have to carry water, but in winter we have plenty.
By Mr Robertson – My father did not get wood for the dwelling-house. My brother was a joiner, and he took the wood from Kirkwall.
Mr Logie, in reply to Mr Robertson, said – No tenant was ever refused stone for draining. There was a restriction put on the crofters for stone for building, but this embargo gradually fell off, and the tenants are now under no restriction for drains or building. They have only to get permission.
Robert S. Sinclair, Skatequoy and Stennisgorn, Wasbister, applied to be declared a landholder and to have a first fair rent fixed. Area of holding, 54 acres arable, 136 acres outrun; rent, £38; arrears, £33 as at last term.
Examined by Mr Cormack, applicant said: – The factor said that is was 60 acres arable, but I disputed that, and had it measured by Mr J. G. Craigie and my son. Almost half of the 54 acres is fair good soil, but one of the best fields is almost useless on account of weeds. The other half is in some years of very little use, as it is oatsick land. I grow no white oats. About half will grow murtle oats and the other half small grey oats. The average weight of murtle oats is 32 or 33 lbs., and the grey oats 28 lbs. if a good year. The out-run is poor enough, and consists of shingle, stones, short heather, with little grass. We only get use of it for two months in the year. My stock is 3 horses, 2 year-olds, 1 pony foal, 7 cows, 7 calves, 7 year-olds, 3 two-year-olds, 22 ewes. Seven of the cattle should have been away. I made an arrangement with my next neighbour that I would pay for the fence between her and her next neighbour, and in return I would get grazing for sheep. The family’s first tenancy was for Stennisgorn. My father’s uncle was the first tenant; his name was Hugh Marwick. My father succeeded to the tenancy between 1844 and 1850. Skatequoy was let with Stennisgorn in 1889. The proprietor wished the two places to be put together. My father paid £62 for the two places. Skatequoy was a croft. The buildings were to be made satisfactory for the two places. I have thatched the roof of the dwelling-house, and done all the repairs except the sorting of the chimney-head. I put up a new byre and turnip-shed. A stable was put up suitable for the holding. The old stable belongs to the estate. I got £8 from the estate. I think it was arrears cancelled. I built a dairy and hen-house. I have heard my father say that he built all the dykes on the place except half of the march dyke. I heard him say that he also put in 630 chains of drains in Stennisgorn. All the fencing belongs to us. I made a mill-course, which is now disused, as I put in an oil-engine. I demolished a field dyke, dug out a dung court, put the earth from the dyke in it, and afterwards put it on the land; this improved the land. I have made 34 chains of new roads. Since the application was lodged I put an addition to the barn, took down an old kiln, and added 13 feet to the stable. I put a new floor in the stable from end to end. I built an implement shed. When the rent was £62 my father was not grossing his rent. I could not say when it was reduced. I became tenant in 1904 at a rent of £52, and continued to pay that until 1907, but found it was too dear, so gave it off, but afterwards took it for five years at a rent of £38.
By Mr Robertson – A Mr Gibson was at Skatequoy before my father; he was no relation. My father built the only house on Stennisgorn. I do not know whether he got assistance from the estate. My father reclaimed all the land on Stennisgorn except 7 acres and his rent was at that time £4. In 1853 my father took a lease of Stennisgorn at a rent of £24. Each tenant was allowed to retain one-third of the rent for nine years for fences, drains, and ditches. I got no consideration for drains made before 1853. In 1855 I got £9 2s 10d; in 1856, £9 17s 3d; in 1857, £9 2s 6d ; in 1858, £7 1s 1½d. In 1894 £20 was paid for repairs on buildings at Skatequoy and Stennisgorn. In 1896, £8 was paid for the extension of a stable at Skatequoy. In 1897 my father took a lease of the farm for 10 years at a rent of £52. In 1898 the rent was reduced to £38 on consideration that during the first two years of the tenancy I was to erect a new byre and turnip shed at Skatequoy. I did not pay over £20 for the byre, but could not say what my labour would amount to. I am certain that my estimate for byre and turnip shed was under £70.
Mr Logie, examined by Mr Robertson, said – It was the wish of the man’s father that the two farms be joined. The rent he offered was £50, and the rent of Stennisgorn was £31 18s. Some sums were paid for dykes. The boundary dyke was put up by the estate. There was a low wall between Stennisgorn and Saviskaill which was taken down; this was the boundary wall. The late Mr Seatter employed Mr Sinclair to build the wall. He estimated the cost of the byre, etc., at £70, and the reduction of £14 for five years was just that amount.
Robert A. lnkster, Cogar, Wasbister, Rousay, applied to be declared a landholder and to fix a first fair rent. Area of holding 27½ acres arable, 16¾ outrun; rent £20, arrears £65.
In reply to Mr Cormack, applicant said – The biggest part of the land is poor land. One field had stopped growing altogether. I put artificial manure on it, and it is doing better now. My stock is 2 horses, 1 colt, 1 foal, 3 cows, 3 one-year-olds, 3 calves, 1 two-year-old, 1 old cow in calf, 4 ewes, 1 pig. That is about the usual stock; we are keeping one young horse, and we will sell the older one. My grandfather, William Inkster, had the farm first at least in 1858 at a rent of £4. That was before squaring. He had a little better land than we have now. About 1867 the rent was raised to £16; no extra land was got so far as I am aware. That rent continued to be paid for some years. In 1877 a lease was entered into at a rent of £24; that rent continued to be paid until 11 or 12 years ago. It was then reduced to £20, the present rent. The original walls of the dwelling-house were built by my grandfather. My father added a room on one end, and got no assistance. I put on a new roof, built a room at the back, put on all inside fittings, supplied all windows and two new doors. I got £12 from the estate and a new back kitchen door. I put a new roof on the barn and potato shed. I got a roof and four new couples from the estate. My father built the stable. I put up a new byre and got £10 from the estate. My father put up a hen-house, calves’ byre, gig and implement shed. I put up a pig’s house, but got no assistance. My father reclaimed two parks of about 3 acres next the outrun. Two fields below the road were reclaimed and part of a third. I do not know the amount of drains put in, and do not know if anything was paid for draining. I myself have put in 15 chains of drains. I built all the upper dykes except 6 chains, and built the lower dykes, and got £16 from the estate. The fencing is all my own. I carted earth from the roadside and some from the foundation of the new byre, and put it on the field that would not grow. This year I have spent £20 on manures. The land grows some murtle and some white oats.
By Mr Robertson – I have made no claim for improvements made by my grandfather. In 1903 I became joint-tenant with my father. We got everything asked for in the way of repairs.
Mr Lowe, in answer to Mr Robertson, said that altogether £110 had been expended on the croft.
Mr Cormack – Applicant said that he could not afford to pay the rent and also pay a man to help to work the holding. He does nothing outside his croft. His sister is not able, on account of rheumatism, to assist him in the work.
John Corsie, Knarston, Rousay, applied to fix a first equitable rent and also to become a landholder under the Act of 1911. Areas of holding, 30 acres 1 rood 24 poles arable, 13 acres 3 roods 25 poles outrun with grazing on Knitchin and Kingerley Hills.
In reply to Mr Low, applicant said – I became a yearly tenant of half of Knarston at Martinmas 1911. My son, George Corsie, succeeded his grandfather, Simpson Skethaway, to the other half of Knarston. The half occupied by me was formerly occupied by John Gibson. My stock is 2 horses, 1 year-old foal, 3 cows, 2 two-year-olds, 3 one-year-olds, 3 calves, 3 ewes, 5 lambs, 1 pig. I have always kept as much stock as the farm will carry. If it was not for the hill ground I could not keep the stock I do. At the time I took the farm at £16, the buildings were not in a good state. The buildings belong to the estate. The dwelling-house needed new slates on the roof, and the middle required to be celled. We require a barn, for there is no barn; the estate made a byre of it. The byre requires an extension of four stalls. The stable is done, and it only holds two horses. We require a new stable and byre. We require potato, hen, and milk houses, and a granary. We have grazing on Knitchen and Kingerley hills. I have grazed on Glifter for 33 years without any objection. The neighbours do not object. There is a bit of ground between Knitchen and Knarston about which there has been a dispute. If I am cut off from Glifter I would have to put a herd out with the cattle every day as the cattle would come down on other farms. I am quite willing, with regard to that bit of land, to leave it to the Land Court to define the rights. I have grazed there until three years ago when Grieve objected. About twelve other people graze on that hill: all cattle go to the hill. I put sheep to the hill during the winter, but not in summer. I made an arrangement to clean half the ditch, and the estate was to clean the other half. I cleaned a lot, and got paid for it.
By Mr Robertson – My son, who succeeded to the other half of Knarston, is a boy. The whole stock on both places belongs to me. Practically I agreed to take the place. I sometimes stay on my son’s farm and sometimes on my own. I shift about; when it is very cold I go down below, and when it is warm up above.
By Mr Low – My intention was to get buildings sufficient to work the holdings as a whole.
Mr Logie – Since 1913 three farms on the estate have been let at higher rents – Rusness, former rent, £18, let for £22; Breckan, Wasbister, former rent £14, let for £16; Cavit, former rent £26, let for £28.
1919 June 18 Orkney Herald
THE WEATHER. – The long-continued drought has at length come to an end, and heavy rainfalls have been experienced in Orkney during the last seven days. On Thursday and Friday sharp thunderstorms passed over the islands, accompanied by vivid flashes of lightning. The rain has wonderfully revived the growing crops, but on many fields the ravages of the grub can be plainly seen. Turnip sowing has now been almost completed, and farmers will only be too pleased if a period of warm weather follows upon this welcome rain. Grass, which was suffering much from the cold, dry weather, is now looking remarkably well again. Potatoes in gardens and allotments are fast growing to maturity, and in some cases, the shaws [the parts of a potato plant that appear above the ground] are even flowering.
1919 June 25 Orkney Herald
HUN PERFIDY AT SCAPA FLOW.
ALMOST THE ENTIRE INTERNED FLEET SUNK BY THEIR CREWS.
GREATEST SENSATION OF THE WAR.
News reached Kirkwall early on Saturday afternoon, from Houton, Orphir, that the German warships interned in Scapa Flow were in a sinking condition; and that a number, in fact, had by that time disappeared beneath the waters. At first scepticism prevailed as to the truth of the information, people being slow to believe that the Huns would dare to do such a dastardly trick, after surrendering their fleet so ignominiously at the time of the armistice, when such an end to their naval power would then, at least, have had some glamour of romance about it. But who can analyse the German mentality? It is a thing apart and savours much of the mentality of the brute creation.
In a short time, people from Kirkwall were on their way to Houton Bay – a distance of about 12 miles – and the sight that met their gaze on arrival there confirmed the story of the latest German perfidy. Battleships, cruisers, and destroyers, which had for over six months lain there peacefully at anchor, were now in every stage of foundering – some on their beam ends, others with bow or stern raised heavenwards, before they disappeared into the depths below. We understand that ten of these leviathans took the final plunge in the course of one hour, so well had the Huns planned this great coup. It was a scene of majestic yet tragic grandeur.
A touch of pathos was added to the exciting episode. The crews, in a spirit of bravado, had hoisted the German battleflag on all the doomed vessels; and this flag, which had been disgraced by the cowardly surrender of the Hun warships without a flight last November, now once again waved proudly at the masthead of each warship, and remained there until the waters engulfed it.
The time for this mad venture had been chosen with marvellous cunning. A British fleet of battleships had left their anchorage in the Flow early on Saturday morning for the purpose of putting to sea for gun practice; and it would appear that immediately after their departure the Huns had set about carrying out the plan of sinking the entire fleet of interned vessels They had calculated upon the impossibility of any small craft which remained in the Flow being able, once the battle-ships were in a sinking condition, to render any effective help in towing the vessels into shallow water; and this surmise was only too correct. To sum up the extent of the destruction which the Huns have done to their surrendered fleet – all the German battleships and cruisers have been sunk, except the Baden; five light cruisers have been sunk; eighteen destroyers were beached – three of them just below Smoogro House, Orphir – four are afloat, and the rest have been sunk.
The sea for a time around the sinking ships was alive with German sailors. Some were on rafts, others in boats; while a large number, with life-belts on, threw themselves into the water. Of these latter many were drowned, as it was impossible to keep afloat in water which by this time was covered with a thickness of oil emitted from the reservoirs of the doomed ships. We understand that a number of others were killed or wounded while trying to effect their escape seawards, and who would not surrender when called upon to do so. Those who were rescued or captured are now detained in safe custody.
On Sunday and Monday several rafts were washed ashore at Holm. There were no men on board these, but on each raft were tins of biscuits, bottles of light beer, a pistol for firing off distress signals, and a night light.
A good deal of criticism is being passed on the British Admiralty for their apparent laxity in allowing German crews to man the interned warships, and thus giving them the opportunity to effect the destruction of these vessels. However, there will likely be a strict enquiry into all the circumstances. In the meantime the naval authorities at Longhope are very reticent in giving any details for publication.
We understand that a German transport arrived at Scapa Flow a week ago with reliefs for the crews of the interned vessels; and it may be – and, indeed, it is quite probable – that the plot to sink the vessels was hatched in Berlin, with a view of delaying the signing of the peace. What good Germany can derive from this act of treachery one fails to see. The punishment must ultimately be borne by herself; and it will only harden the hearts of those who inclined to be merciful to this defeated, disgraced, and contemptible nation.
1919 July 2 Orkney Herald
END OF THE GREAT WAR.
GERMANS SIGN PEACE TREATY.
JOYFULNESS IN KIRKWALL.
“Peace is signed!” Such was the joyful news that reached Kirkwall on Saturday afternoon at five o’clock. The first message to get through was one from the Bulletin, Glasgow, to the Leonards, booksellers. Shortly thereafter we received an official message through the Press Association, which put all doubts at rest.
The momentous tidings spread like wildfire throughout the town, and soon all was bustle and animation in the streets. As if by the touch of a fairy’s wand, strings of flags appeared, stretched across the principal thoroughfares; and fuel was added to the enthusiasm by scores of vessels in the harbour and bay simultaneously blowing their sirens.
As the evening wore on the crowds became more dense, and there was one seething mass of humanity from the top of Albert Street to the harbour. Sailors, soldiers, and airmen were much in evidence, as also were their American comrades. The spirits of the crowd were very high, but the revelry never went beyond harmless fun. Bands of young men and women marched in procession, and, in open spaces, sang and danced to their hearts’ content. A merry lot of R.M.L.I. men, headed by one of their number beating a kettle-drum, was much in evidence. Whiles they marched, and whiles they danced, and, in the end, finished off by giving an impromptu vocal concert in Albert Street, which was much appreciated by the large crowd which surrounded the singers. A triumphal car, packed with airmen, made its passage through the streets, its coming being heralded by the blare of bugles and the ringing of bells. The vendors of flags must have done a roaring trade, for almost everyone of the promenaders was displaying on his or her person or carrying in the hand one or more of the flags of Britain or her allies. To add to the noise made vocally, instrumentally, and by the ships’ sirens, there was the noise of the bursting of rockets, the cracking of squibs and other varieties of fireworks. There can be no question but that for some hours pandemonium reigned. All the ships in the harbour and in the bay were gaily dressed with flags, and coloured lights and rockets were set off from a number of these vessels, but, owing to the bright twilight the effect of these was to a great extent lost. The crowning act of the evening was enacted about 11 o’clock, when the effigy of the Kaiser was burned. This took place at Harbour Street, and the cremating was done to the accompaniment of jeers and groans from the large crowd who witnessed it. Unfortunately, rain set in about 9 o’clock and somewhat marred the fun. But, in spite of that, peace evening in Kirkwall will be one that will be long remembered.
1919 July 9 Orkney Herald
ROUSAY – LIEUT-COMMANDER J. A. SHEARER, of the Royal Air Force, recently called at the office (says The Proceedings of the Institute of Certified Grocers) fresh home from the Continent. He is member, of whom the institute may well be proud! When war broke out he was in Rhodesia, and he was seen on service in German West Africa. Subsequently, he came to England and trained as a flying officer. He is far too modest to tell of his doings in France, but this we know, that he gained the Distinguished Flying Cross with the observation balloons. May the gallant officer long live to enjoy his honours! A correspondent writes: – I may add that he had three brothers and a brother-in-law in the Army as well – Bob (Corpl.), Jim, Dave, and Charlie – and all of them saw very heavy fighting in Belgium, Flanders, France, and Jim in Italy. Bob was severely wounded in the left leg, and was a year in hospital, and the wound is not quite healed yet. Jim (Corpl.) has been demobilised; he joined before he was eighteen years old. Dave is still in the army, Sergeant over 100 Chinamen cleaning up the aftermath of war. He is the youngest of the four, being only 20 years old a day or so ago. So good luck to Rousay for rearing such boys as those.
[The lads were the sons of farmer, cutter and tailor John Shearer, Sanday, and Lydia Marwick, Corse, Rousay. At the time of the 1901 census the family were living at Cott, Frotoft. John Alexander Shearer was born in 1888; Robert, in 1892; James, in 1897; and David, in 1899. Unfortunately I could not find any details of brother-in-law Charlie.]
1919 July 23 Orkney Herald
MESSAGE FROM THE KING TO THE PEOPLE OF ORKNEY
ADMIRATION OF WAR SERVICES
Sir W. Watson Cheyne, the Lord-Lieutenant of Orkney and Zetland, is commanded by the King to communicate the following message to the people of Orkney: –
To Sir W. Watson Cheyne, Lord-Lieutenant of Orkney and Zetland.
I desire you to express my admiration of the courage and endurance displayed by the Sailors, Soldiers, and Airmen of your county during the past five years of war.
I am grateful to all the brave men and women of the County of Orkney for their devoted and patriotic service.
I once more express my sympathy and that of the Queen with the relatives of the gallant men who have given their lives in their country’s cause, and our earnest hope that the sick and wounded may be restored to health.
I rejoice with you today at the restoration of peace, which I trust will bring to us all unity, contentment, and prosperity. –
Saturday was generally observed throughout the United Kingdom as Peace Day. While the Government suggested that the day should be set apart as one of national rejoicing, it was left to local authorities and communities to organise the celebrations in their own way. Kirkwall Town Council took the matter in hand as soon as it was known that a day had been fixed for the historic event; but the time being short in which to attempt anything on an elaborate scale, they naturally built up their programme on lines in which simplicity predominated. The programme for the day was a procession in the forenoon, sports in the afternoon, a cycle parade in the evening, and, later, a bonfire….. In almost every parish in the county celebrations were held on Saturday. These, as a rule, took the form of a picnic and sports for adults and children, finishing up with a bonfire and dance in the evening. That some of the bonfires were of huge dimensions could be seen from Kirkwall, those in Firth, RendaII, Rousay, and Shapinsay being particularly distinguishable.
THE SCOTTISH LAND COURT
FAIR RENT DECISIONS
The following decisions in Orkney cases have been issued by the Scottish Land Court: – …..
Hugh Pearson, Kirkgate, Wasbister, Rousay. Old rent, £4 18s; equitable rent, £4.
William Marwick Low, Hunclet, Frotoft, Rousay. Old rent, £24; equitable rent £23.
Note . – The applicant has made no improvement, but the proprietor has preferred to make him a landholder, and as a landholder he is now required to provide and maintain the necessary buildings.
Ann Elizabeth Craigie, Veira Lodge, Rousay. Old rent, £15.
Note.—The main objection by the landlord to the application is that this is not a holding. At first sight the subjects appear to conform to the definition in the Landholders Acts, for the land, excepting for some portions that might be excluded as woodland, is mainly agricultural, and as to the residue pastoral. Had the dwelling-house been at all of the kind that is usual on a small holding of six acres, then would not have been the smallest difficulty in overruling the objection made, but the dwelling-house is historically the factor’s house, and is the only one on the estate. It was used as such for many years, and was even occupied for a short time by the late proprietor himself before he built the existing mansion-house. Owing to the fact that since the late proprietor’s death the mansion house has been occupied by sporting tenants only, the present land steward and factor reside in it, or in a gate lodge when the mansion house is occupied, because he also acts as caretaker. The house in question has two storeys, and is fairly commodious. The whole of the land is surrounded by a high wall, and plantation of trees and shrubs have been made for amenity. The subjects appear to be rather of a residential than of as agricultural character. On the whole, the Court is satisfied that their inclusion within the operation of the Act would not only be a hardship to the proprietor, but would be unwarrantable on any fair construction of the law…..
ROUSAY AND EGILSHAY.
Robert A. Inkster, Cogar, Rousay. Former rent, £20; equitable rent, £20. Arrears £65, ordered to be paid.
John Gibson, Broland, Rousay. Former rent £19; equitable rent, £18. Arrears £36 10s, to be paid.
David Gibson, Faraclett, Rousay. Equitable rent, £12 10s…..
1919 July 30 Orkney Herald
SALVAGE AT SCAPA – RAISING SCUTTLED GERMAN SHIPS. – Contracts have been placed by the Admiralty with the Liverpool Salvage Association for the salvage of the scuttled German fleet in Scapa Flow, and the work is already in progress. The science of salvage work has been developed to such an extent that the possibilities of success are far greater to-day than they were even twelve months ago. Many of the German ships are in comparatively shallow water, and they will be recovered with little difficulty. But even those which are in a depth of water may not be beyond the reach of the salvage parties. Divers have already been at work, and the whole area, together with the position of the sunken ships, has been carefully charted, ready for operations on an extensive scale. Captain Young, the chief officer of the Liverpool Salvage Association, is personally superintending the work at Scapa Flow, and Liverpool experts have the utmost confidence in this officer, whose experience in the salving of sunken ships is unique. No decision has yet been taken with regard to the trial of the German officers of the ships sunk at Scapa. The battleship Baden has been salved, and those which were beached are now in working order. Very little has been done with the others.
ROUSAY – FROTOFT CHILDREN’S PICNIC. – The annual children’s picnic was held in Frotoft district, at and around the Schoolhouse, last Friday afternoon, under the most favourable weather conditions. A large turn-out of children, parents, and visitors assembled in the schoolroom and on the green. The day was ideal, and the proceedings in connection with this annual event interesting. A good number of races, varied and amusing, were indulged in to the joy of the children and the delight of the adults. The children generally had the satisfaction of receiving prizes as a reward. Praise is due Miss Sinclair and a willing, active committee for the manner in which provision was made for the large company, and the enjoyment derived from the picnic and entertainment. The Rev. J. Deas Logie, parish minister, was present by request of the committee during the afternoon and evening, took part, guided the proceedings, and added by his presence and good cheer to the pleasure of the day’s outing. Mrs Paterson handed out the prizes to the successful children and adults who had run in the races and taken part in the sports. Miss Sinclair and the committee, Mrs Paterson, and the Rev. J. Deas Logie were all heartily thanked for their efforts at providing a good picnic and sports. The young folks afterwards enjoyed a dance, which is always a feature for a few hours at each annual picnic.
1919 August 6 Orkney Herald
ROUSAY – WASBISTER DISTRICT PICNIC. – On Tuesday 29th July, the Wasbister annual picnic for the children, which was well attended and patronised by parents, friends and visitors, was held. All through, the day was all that could be desired. The children, as usual in picnics, were there at the appointed time, ready for enjoyment and, no doubt, appreciation. A picnic comes to be as much a test of skill and endurance in races and sports, as tests are applied to the child’s progress in education. But the sports are not limited to children; adults take part in the sports and share in the fare of the prize-list. A district gathering means the giving of enjoyment, and getting enjoyment. It means a day off, and a day’s outing. Miss [Anna May] Cooper, teacher in the Public School, had everything ready, with the help of a committee of ladies. The Rev. J. Deas Logie, parish minister, Rev. D. S. Brown, United Free minister, and Mrs Brown, Rev. Mr Taylor, Paterson Church, Kirkwall, and his family, who are on holiday, and other visitors, assembled to enjoy and give enjoyment. A pleasant afternoon and evening were spent. In front of the schoolhouse the large company gathered on the green, and after prayer offered by Rev. Mr Brown, tea was served. Then came the prize-list. Mrs Brown obligingly gave out the prizes to those who were successful in races and sports. On the call of the minister, votes of thanks were given Miss Cooper, the ladies’ committee, Mrs Brown, and all who contributed to the pleasure of the outing. At the call of Mr Mark Kirkness, the Rev. J. Deas Logie was thanked for his presence and interest in the proceedings of the day. For some hours afterwards dancing took place. Messrs Magnus, Alex, and Hugh Craigie and Hugh Inkster supplied the music, which was as pleasing and graceful as the dances. A day off, the spirit, soul, heart in motion, even through mechanical channels, is a day well-spent.
SOURIN DISTRICT PICNIC. – Rousay reached the third and last in its series of picnics in the out-of-doors celebration of the annual event at Faraclett farm on Friday, August 1. Mr [John] Gibson kindly granted the use of his farm buildings and ground for the occasion. After the morning’s rain and thick clouds, there was a scattering above of the clouds, the ceasing of the rain; then came a day’s sunshine and cool breeze. All’s well! Rousay was in luck again. Miss [Lydia] Baikie, teacher in the Public School at Sourin, had marched the children from the school, and had everything necessary for the day’s outing and enjoyment at hand, and ready visitors from the south were there, accompanying the parents and friends. Mr Louttit, from Edinburgh, the Rev. J. Deas Logie, Rev. D. S. Brown, and Mrs Brown were present, to lend by their presence encouragement and helpfulness. The adults had a fine view of the races and sports that were carried through under the guidance and direction of the minister of the parish. The day sped on, merriment went on, enjoyment increased. The only hitch was the tug-o’-war – no rope at hand could stand the test of twenty strong men. An item in the races was the challenge by the venerable Mr [Robert] Marwick, of Scockness, in the spirit of youth, to the minister for a run. The challenge was accepted. The run left nothing to be desired as an event. After sports and races came tea, and then the prize list. Mrs Brown gave out the prizes. Votes of thanks were given Miss Baikie for her care and attention; to the ladies’ committee for their service; to Mrs Brown for her kindness in handing the prizes; to Mr Gibson for the use of his ground; and to everybody for their best behaviour. Mr Alan Gibson moved a vote of thanks to the Rev. J. Deas Logie for his interest and energy. Thanks were returned also on behalf of all contributors. Dancing was engaged in for some time by the youths and maidens. Mr Gibson was untiring in his efforts to make everybody as comfortable as possible. Thus ended a pleasant day.
THE SCOTTISH LAND COURT.
FAIR RENT DECISIONS – ROUSAY AND EGILSHAY.
James Russell, Brendale, Sourin, Rousay. Former rent,£25; equitable rent, £27.
Note. – A new Barn is decidedly required. The stable would be improved by making four stalls into three, bringing back the heel posts and renewing stall fittings. The representative of the estate at the inspection agreed to carry out these alterations as soon as he could get wood, and the equitable rent has been fixed on the footing that this is done.
Robert Sinclair, Skatequoy and Stennisgorn, Rousay. Former rent, £38; equitable rent, £46.
Note. – The objection that the holding exceeded the statutory limits was not supported by evidence. The roof of the dwelling-house on the holding is not in good order. The proprietors have undertaken to make it wind and water tight before the coming winter and to put on a new roof as soon as wood can be got on reasonable terms. There is no cartshed or granary. These, in all the circumstances, are not absolutely necessary, but it would be a desirable improvement to have them provided. Otherwise the holding is now very suitably equipped with buildings. For the new byre and turnip shed erected by the tenant in accordance with the lease of 1907, fair consideration has been given by the landlord in the form of reduction of rent from £52 to £38 for the five years of the lease. The equitable rent now falls to be fixed under normal conditions without reference to any agreement whereby the tenant is required to provide buildings without assistance from the landlord. Under the circumstances it has almost inevitably been raised, though it has not been quite restored to its former figure.
William Sabiston, Redlums, Rousay. Former rent, £3 10s; equitable rent, £3.
Note. – Some of the land on this holding is fair quality but the houses are very poor. The tenant, however, has asked for no repairs.
Christina Munro, Old School House, Sourin. Former rent, £3 5s; equitable rent, £5.
Note. – The dwelling-house on this holding is not good. The roof may last for some time longer, but some repairs to the ceiling and some wall plaster are urgently required to put the house into tenantable order. If these repairs – which are not extensive – are not done within a reasonable time, the tenant will be entitled to apply to the Court to be made a landholder. At the hearing exception was taken to the applicant’s title to the holding, but by minute subsequently lodged the exception was waived and applicant accepted as tenant.
1919 August 13 Orkney Herald
THE SCUTTLED GERMAN FLEET. – In the House of Commons on Wednesday the First Lord of the Admiralty, in reply to Commander Bellaire, said no attempt was made to salve the sunken German ships at Scapa. The salvage operations only concerned those vessels which had been beached in shallow water before they had time to sink. The cost, which would not be large, was being met provisionally out of the Navy Votes [Royal Navy accounts administration]. The ultimate incidence of the charge would be settled between the Allies. Only one salvage vessel lent by the Salvage Association was employed for two weeks getting these ships off, and the operations were now practically ended.
ROUSAY AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY SHOW. – The entries for the Rousay Agricultural Society Show at Sourin on Wednesday last were very small. The quality of the animals exhibited was of a first-class standard. Mares were prominent and some fine breeds were displayed. Mr J. Harrold acted as secretary and Messrs Scarth, Burgar; J. Wood, Aikerness; and J. Inkster, East Heddle, were the judges. The principal awards were: –
CATTLE. – Polled Cows – 1 George Gibson, Avelshay; 2 James Corsie, Knarston; 3 and highly commended Robert Seatter, Banks; commended J. Scott, Hurtiso. Shorthorn Queys – 1 A. C. Gibson, Bigland; 2 William Orr, Saviskaill; 3 J. Scott, Hurtiso. Two-year-old Queys – 1, 2, and hc G. Gibson; 3 and c D. Gibson. Two-year-old Shorthorn Steers – 1 and 2 Geo. Scott. One-year-old Polled Queys – 1 and 3 A. C. Gibson; 2 G. Gibson. One-year-old Polled Steers – 1 and 3 A. C. Gibson; 2, hc, and c D. Gibson. One-year-old Shorthorn Steers – 1, 2, and 3 R. Seatter.
HORSES. – Yeld Mares – 1 and 2 G. Gibson; 3 D. Inkster, Furse; hc and c Wm. Moar. Mares with Foal at Foot – 1 and 2 Thomas Inkster, Nearhouse; 3 J. Scott, Hurtiso. Foals – 1 and 3 Thomas Inkster; 2 Wm. Moar; hc John Craigie. Three-year-old Fillies – 1 G. Gibson; 2 R. Seatter; 3 J. Corsie; hc Wm. Moar. Two-year-old Geldings – 1 D. Gibson; 2 A. Gibson; 3 G. Gibson; c Wm. Moar. Two-year-old Fillies – 1 John Craigie; 2 John Scott. One-year-old Fillies – 1 and 2 John Corsie; 3 Wm. Moar; hc Thos. Brown.
SPECIAL PRIZES. – Best Cow in Yard – George Gibson. Best Gelding – John Corsie. Best Mare – John Craigie, Glebe.
EGILSAY – PRAISE SERVICE. – On the evening of Sabbath, August 3rd, a praise service was held in Egilshay U.F. Church. A party of about a dozen members of U.F. choir, Sourin, Rousay, being favoured by good weather, crossed the sound to Egilshay, and combined with a local choir in carrying out a programme of sacred music with marked success. The choirs sang sometimes together and sometimes separately, and solos, duets, and quartettes were also sung. Rev. D. S. Brown. M.A., Rousay, presided over a meeting which was well attended, and the audience helped most heartily in the congregational singing, which also formed part of the programme. The collection, which was liberal, was in aid of repairs of Egilshay Church. This is the second deputational visit made by Sourin choir, and both have been successful. They have been undertaken as an experiment to see if it is possible for neighbouring districts or churches to help one another in this way. It would, perhaps, form a pleasing variation in the routine of ordinary church services by improving church music and the attendance, and also the finances of the church.
1919 August 20 Orkney Herald
STEAMER PURCHASED FOR ORKNEY. – The Orkney Steam Navigation Company have purchased a steamer called “The Countess of Bantry.” The vessel, which has hitherto been employed in the West Highlands, is slightly larger than the “Fawn” previously owned by the company. She will take the place of the “Orcadia” while that vessel is away getting an extensive overhaul and repair, after which it is believed she will take up the Rousay and North Ronaldshay trade. She left Oban yesterday for Kirkwall.
THE SCOTTISH LAND COURT – FAIR RENT DECISIONS.
John Corsie, Knarston, Sourin, Rousay, applied to the Court to fix a first equitable rent. Former rent, £16; equitable rent, £18.
Note. – Some hill pasture known as “Glyfter” was claimed by the applicant as part of the hill grazing to which he had a right along with other tenants. From the evidence led, however, and from leases produced it is clear that this grazing was let to the tenant of Avelshay farm some years before the passing of the Crofter’s Act in 1886 and has been part of that farm to the present time. The applicant’s evidence, which was not supported, is quite ineffective to displace the evidence as to “Glyfter” being part of Avelshay farm. It was arranged at the inspection that the access road to the hill pasture which had not previously been well defined should run from the public road alongside the Glebe march ditch and should extend half a chain in width throughout. The applicant having a right to erect a fence, if he should desire, along the west side of the public road from the south of the well to the access road and alongside the access road…..
1919 September 10 Orkney Herald
ROUSAY – SERVICE OF PRAISE. – A service of praise was held in Sourin U.F. Church on Sabbath, August 31st, at 5 p.m., by the combined choirs of Trumland and Sourin Churches. The Rev. Mr Taylor, of Paterson U.F. Church, Kirkwall, was chairman of the meeting; Miss Baikie, Schoolhouse, was organist; and Rev. D. S. Brown, M.A., acted as conductor for the combined choirs. As much labour had been spent by the singers in the way of preparation, the programme of nineteen items was carried out like clockwork. As the weather was favourable for this scattered district, there was a good attendance, who felt the impressiveness of the service, and who helped to make it that, by their sympathetic support of the musical folks, and by their own hearty congregational singing. One noticeable feature in this pleasing and spiritual service – besides the liberal collection, which was given for repairs – was the alto singing in both choirs. This is too often wanting in rural churches, when the beauty and worth of alto is not appreciated as it should be. The event, which is creditable to all parties, also goes to show, along with other recent happenings, that sacred music is improving in the district; and the hope may be expressed that it is only a symptom of that wider movement in the same direction, which would strengthen the whole church for its great work in difficult times.
1919 September 24 Orkney Herald
ROUSAY – THE NEW CHURCHYARD. – The ground or churchyard of the Parish Church has been recently opened for burials. Two burials have already taken place. The opening of the new churchyard, in which hitherto no burials took place, will supply the necessity for a new burial ground in Rousay parish. The continued state of affairs with regard to prevailing method of burials, the congestion in the old churchyard and burial places, of which there are strangely in this parish a good number compared to other parishes, is proverbial, and amounts almost to a scandal. Burials have taken place in some of these burial places for hundreds of years, fresh burials taking place where remains had formerly been laid. The churchyard at Egilshay and the graveyard at Wasbister are the only two places in the pariah out of the six where burials should be allowed to continue to take place – these only appear to be in line with the conditions of burial prevailing in other parishes in Orkney and elsewhere. The minister and kirk session have a legal duty to perform in making sure that those who are responsible by law or accepted “care and management” must maintain the burial places in a “seemly and orderly condition.” The churchyard of Veira, the churchyard at Westness, and the graveyards at Chapel [Glebe] and Scockness should undoubtedly be closed, with the limited safeguard of permitting a few aged folks to be buried beside partners. Patience on the part of the minister and kirk session of Rousay and Egilshay kept them from compelling the heritors to provide a new churchyard for “parishioners’ interment,” or calling upon the Local Government Board to order these burial places to be closed. The opening of the churchyard of the Parish Church now opens the way for the automatic stopping of burials in the congested places mentioned without further summary action, supplies a central churchyard as a burial place for the districts embracing Sourin, Veira, Brinian, and Frotoft on that side of the island, saves considerable expense to the ratepayers, by obviating any tendency for a public cemetery, which would involve in either ground building of walls, laying out of ground, maintenance and upkeep at a time when taxation will rise and reach a considerable sum of money, due to war, national, and educational expenditure. Credit is due the minister and kirk-session of the parish for their prompt action in meeting the situation by the opening of the ground or churchyard of the Parish Church, which will thus save the heritors’ and taxpayers’ pockets additional expenditure otherwise required by necessity, law, and public decency. Jurisdiction naturally remains with the minister and kirk-session, as common in Scotland in law and practice in the parish churches, where churchyards are enclosed round the parish church in which public worship is held. Parishioners are requested to take note of the intimation by advertisement which appears in the first page of this issue of the Orkney Herald.
ROUSAY PARISH CHURCH CHURCHYARD.
IT IS HEREBY INTIMATED that the Churchyard of the Parish Church is now open for burials. Burials have already taken place. All parishioners may have free lairs on application to the Minister of the Parish, or, in his absence from home, from Mr JOHN CRAIGIE, The Glebe, who possesses a mandate to act, and will attend when a lair is required. The only expense will be the Gravedigger’s Fee. On behalf of the Kirk Session and by its authority thereof.
JOHN DEAS LOGIE, Session Clerk,
Minister of Rousay and Egilshay.
20th Sept. 1919.
1919 October 1 Orkney Herald
ROUSAY – THE CHURCHYARD. – A correspondent writes: – It seems incredible to learn that with a new parish churchyard now open, there should be a hole-and-corner attempt to contemplate a burial place in the near vicinity of the Parish Church and in the district. Historians would require to go back to the tribal or pagan period for anything so vicious in tendency to beat such an absurdity, perversion of common-sense, and ordinary decency on the part of a small coterie of men in a Christian, Presbyterian community. Rousay parish, unlike most parishes in Orkney and elsewhere throughout Scotland, has had a burial place in each district; such burial places are in process of closure, and the new churchyard, a very desirable site approved by the late General Burroughs, and given partly with that object in view, and who had it consecrated by a Bishop (Episcopalian), though consecration is not a Presbyterian form, has given intense satisfaction to the parishioners as a whole. It would seem that a small clique who, if they could, it would appear, would revive a pagan spirit, a Druid form and spirit of a thousand and a half years ago, is suggesting a counter burial place to the parish churchyard. The majority of parishioners are as good a type and class as can be found anywhere in Orkney, and the hope is becoming general and strong that they will end such unworthy tactics cradled and fostered by a few men with a Guy Fawkes’ motive, who seem to walk backwards, and cannot be happy unless they are against the Government, and opposing whatever tends towards unity, peace, happiness, and goodwill of the parish. Even a central parish churchyard for “parishioners interment” is evaded, and they seek thus to prey upon the gullibility and weak-kneed of those who listen to them, and whom they seek to influence. It would be no surprise to learn that this small party contemplate a counter-heaven to the Christian’s heaven; as for a counter other place below, that project might be considered unnecessary. It would certainly be unwelcome to the good folks of Rousay, and they will belie their credit and honour and good faith, and their respect for the memory of Sir Frederick Burroughs if they do not forthwith absolutely absolve themselves from such contamination of spirit, and decline in a case that now absolves the heritors from putting their hands in their pockets, to be influenced to put their own hands as parishioners and rate-payers into their own pockets by the gentle pressure of a side show of men. Let such men pay for their side-show out of their own pockets, not other people’s. It is expected that the parishioners will shake themselves clear from such a mad project, and maintain their self-respect and esteem; otherwise, sacred, Christian burial will be dragged down to the level of the savage spirit, method, and environment. Some men seem not to know what Christianity is and means; for them Presbyterian union, which will make drastic changes, is one hundred years ahead. Union will at least benefit Wasbister with a church, and mean one church less on the manse side of the island. Hence the advantage of a central parish churchyard.
1919 October 8 Orkney Herald
ROUSAY – MEMORIAL FOR THE FALLEN. – A war memorial to commemorate the gallant men from the parish of Rousay and Egilshay who, in the late great war, laid down their lives for king and country, is under consideration. A committee has been appointed. A general feeling exists that the best site in the parish for such a sacred memorial monument is in the Parish Church churchyard. To secularise the memorial and make it devoid of the religious element in worship, dedication, and preservation within sacred precincts would be sheer paganism. Such a sacred memorial, it is felt, concerning the memory of the fallen, should not be detached from the religious, hallowed associations around a church where God is worshipped and revered every Lord’s Day. A churchyard is for “parishioners’ interment;” it is now open for burials; but the minister and kirk-session offer no objections to the memorial monument being placed in the church-yard, but rather welcome the desire to place it there, and hope the desire will be realised. The late General Sir Frederick Burroughs, who with shrewd foresight gave the ground for a churchyard, which now saves the heritors such a lawful provision and expense on their part, and who, it is stated, would have been buried there himself had he died in Orkney, has had his sacred wish fulfilled in the churchyard open since May for burial purposes, and it would be fitting and an honour to his memory, he who was a man of war as well as a man of God, were the war memorial monument contemplated placed on a prominent site in the parish churchyard in remembrance of the men who fell in the war, and who were brought up in Christian, Presbyterian homes in the parish. Only the narrowest, shallowest, prejudiced mind, with little depth of sacred, religious devotion, would offer objection to such a religious proposal, which it is hoped will be carried out in unity and quiet submission of spirit in honour of the lads and to the glory of God. The suggestion of a few men to place the monument near the pier head, a rendezvous for horses, cattle, sheep, and pigs, only reveals what manner of men they are, and how devoid they are of grasping the religious side in the memory of the fallen men, what we owe to God, and how little some men know of their own religion. After all, strip away the outward garb of civilisation and we have pagans.
1919 October 15 Orkney Herald
ROUSAY – ENTERTAINMENT AT WASBISTER TO THE RETURNED SOLDIERS AND SAILORS. – On the 19th ult., an entertainment was given to the returned soldiers and sailors. The weather, which had been very boisterous, cleared up in time to allow the invited guests to arrive. The school-room was beautifully decorated with flags, ever-greens and flowers. Over 90 guests sat down to tea. The tea tables were tastefully ornamented with flowers, which, along with silver dishes lent by ladies of the district, gave a festive air to the tables, which were sumptuously spread with delicious home-baked scones, cakes, pastries, and other dainties. Grace was said by Mr John Sinclair, and then tea was served by the committee. When this repast was over, the chairman, Mr James G. Craigie, in a kind and appropriate speech, welcomed the soldiers back to Rousay and to civil life. He spoke of what they had done for the community and for humanity, and in the name of the Wasbister people thanked them for their services. As a sign of the districts appreciation, it was desired, he said, to give the soldiers an evening’s entertainment and also a small gift as a mark of the district’s gratitude. Each soldier was then presented with a letter wallet, with his initials on the cover and an inscription on the inside. When this ceremony was over, Mr Craigie called for a vote of thanks to the committee for the splendid way it had carried out the arrangements for the entertainment. This was heartily responded to, and Mr George Sinclair, on behalf of the soldiers, thanked Mr Craigie for his kind words and the Wasbister people for the splendid reception they had given. The soldiers deeply appreciated the kindly feelings which had prompted those at home to welcome them so warmly. He also thanked them for the fine gift they had each received, for they had not looked for reward, as they had only done their duty. The schoolroom was then cleared, and a dance followed, which was kept up to an early hour. During the evening solos were given by Misses Flaws and Cooper, and Messrs Clouston and Sinclair. The songs were splendidly received and heartily encored. Those who did not dance had an opportunity for conversation or games to the schoolhouse. Supper was served later, and during the evening light refreshments were handed round. Music was supplied, on the violin by Messrs Magnus Craigie, J. Craigie, J. Clouston, H. Sinclair, H. Inkster, G. Sabiston, and on the piano by Mrs Marwick, Miss Cooper, and Mr R. Inkster. The evening was a complete success, and thanks are due to the committee, who spared no pains to make the entertainment the best which has taken place in the district. This opportunity is taken of thanking all those who helped in any way to make the evening such a success. Owing to the too generous supplies of home-baked delicacies, it was found impossible to distribute what remained, so on the Monday evening following, another social evening took place; this time some of the guests of the previous evening attended to the catering and serving. The school children were specially invited, and the evening passed off as successfully as the preceding one.
1919 November 12 Orkney Herald
THE WEATHER. – Late on Friday evening a strong breeze of north-easterly wind gradually increased into a moderate gale, which subsided somewhat in the early hours of Saturday morning, but shortly after daybreak, however, it suddenly developed into a gale of unusual severity, accompanied by heavy showers of snow, and continued with unabated violence until late in the afternoon, when the wind veered round to the southeast, and the gale as suddenly spent itself. The North Isles steamer Countess of Bantry, the Clansman, and the mail steamer, Earl of Zetland, were unable to sail on Saturday morning. A number of fishing trawlers which took shelter in Kirkwall Bay left again on Sunday. Part of the retaining wall at the Ayre Road, which was subjected to heavy onslaughts of sea, was washed away, and some damage done to the road.
1919 December 31 Orkney Herald
THE CATHEDRAL CLOCK. – On Christmas Eve the Cathedral clock was lit for the first time. Seen from the western approaches of Kirkwall, it has a striking resemblance to the moon, and to the uninitiated it could quite easily be mistaken for that orb, as it stands high above all the other lights of the town, and is much larger and has a subdued white light not unlike the moon. In fact, when first seen it was mistaken for same, and quite naturally so, as at a distance it appears to hang In the eastern sky.
CHRISTMAS. – The first post-war Christmas in Kirkwall is likely to be long remembered by the inhabitants. Christmas Eve portended a really old-fashioned Christmas, as throughout the day a keen frost set in and hardened up the snow which had already fallen throughout the week. All the principal business shops were brilliantly lighted up, and most of them had their windows tastefully decorated for the occasion. As was natural, there was a large number of people on the move, and the majority of the shops appeared to be doing a brisk trade. It was quite evident the citizens were bent on blotting out the memory of the past five years by making the first peace Christmas as happy as possible.
It would really appear as if Nature had granted a special concession to the day of peace and good-will, as the dawn of Christmas morning was the finest and most appropriate one Kirkwall has seen for many a year. The weather conditions of the previous week were of the worst kind, and such an acceptable change gladdened the hearts of all. People were astir by good time, especially the younger element. This was no doubt attributable to the event of the day, namely, the ba’-playing on the streets. As the old-fashioned game had been in abeyance during the war, keen interest was being manifested in the forthcoming games. According to custom, the ba’s were exhibited in shop windows prior to the eventful day.
BOYS’ BA’. – The boys’ ba’ was thrown up at 10 a.m., and after few minutes’ play it was apparent it was destined to follow the course of its predecessors, as within fifteen minutes the Up-the-Gates succeeded in getting it off Broad Street, and as the street near the National Bank was one sheet of ice, nothing could stop the enthusiastic rush. At this juncture many of the older Down-the-Gates’ supporters, disgusted with the poor fight put up by their side, left the scene and returned to their respective homes. The ba’ was more than half-way to its goal before it took a halt, and when it did so, alas! few boys could be seen in the seething mass. It would take a long stretch of imagination to call a married man – with boys of his own – a boy. Nevertheless, one of these so-called boys was discovered in the ranks of the Up-the-Gates. This was heaping insult on injury, and demanded some sort of retaliation; and, accordingly, the Down-the-Gates put in their boys too – not married boys, by the way. This appeared to have the desired effect, as the tide began to slowly turn, and a hard backward fight ensued. Realising it was impossible to regain lost ground on the slippery streets, the Down-the-Gates succeeded in forcing play down a side-lane to Junction Road, but on arrival there it was discovered that the ba’ had mysteriously disappeared. Up went the cry, “She’s gone, boys!” The truth was soon learned. One of the Down-the-Gates, seeing an opening, forced a passage and made off with the trophy, hotly pursued by his opponents. In his excitement he threw the ball to one of them, who, of course, endeavoured to reach the desired goal. His progress was arrested at the County Buildings, and the Down-the-Gates, being alive to the dramatic turn of events, grasped the opportunity and never relaxed their efforts until the much-coveted prize found repose in the harbour. In previous years there was no difficulty in finding a suitable ship’s mast whereupon to hoist the prize, but war has changed all that, and this Christmas Kirkwall Basin cannot boast of one smack. The difficulty was got over by using the flag-staff at the Harbour Office. The usual harangue took place as to who should get the ba’. The majority favoured a small lad named [James] Cooper, and consequently it was handed over to him.
MEN’S BA’. – The men’s ba was thrown up at 1 p.m. The result of the play was thought to be a foregone conclusion, as many years have elapsed since this ba’ was won by the Down-the-Gates. The Up-the-Gates were out in strength, and the Down-the-Gates were conspicuous by their absence when the ba’ was thrown up. Confident of success the “Uppies” commenced their usual surging tactics with the object of making a non-stop run. Where the Down-the-Gates came from it is difficult to tell, but they arrived in force. It was quite apparent the majority of these had no intention of participating in the game as their dress belied such intention. It turned out a tough affair, and the struggle on Broad Street lasted for fully half an hour. The Down-the-Gates, realising they had a chance, fought a hard battle and won. So exciting was the game that the women folk could not keep out of it, and quite a number of flappers could be seen pushing towards the harbour. It was a great game, and apparently enjoyed by all. The outstanding feature was the good-will that existed on both sides, and none of the former drunkenness and fighting was apparent. The trophy, by general consent, was handed to Peter Harcus, a veteran player for the Down-the-Gates.