In Print

Newsprint – 1936

1936 January 1 Orkney Herald



The Sourin Christmas Treat, held on the evening of 20th December, might equally be called “Sourin’s Family Party,” for it was attended by most of Sourin’s entire population. Practically every house in the district was represented by at least some of its occupants. What could be more jolly than seeing the old and young mixing together and very evidently enjoying themselves thoroughly! Little wonder that the treat has been voted a decided success.

Passing six, the children began to arrive at the Hall, which was beautifully decorated with gaily coloured streamers, balloons and evergreens. For fully an hour the hall rang with their songs and laughter and happy shouts as they played their games. Later on the older folks arrived, and at 8 o’clock, Mr J. R. Wallace, on behalf of the Sourin Treat Committee, extended a welcome to everybody and introduced the short programme, which the children were to give partly as their contribution to the evening’s entertainment and partly as an expression of their thanks for all the good things they were to receive. The children deserve great credit for the very efficient way they managed everything, for the stage managing as well as the rendering of all the items, was entirely in their hands.

While everyone was doing justice to an excellent tea, the Christmas tree, with its 50 presents and gay decorations, was brought in front of the platform and the coloured lights switched on. Many were the gasps of wonder and admiration at the glorious spectacle it made. Tea was no sooner over than there came a loud knock at the main door. Voices were hushed for a minute, only to reunite in a great burst of cheering, for Santa Claus had arrived. In came the grand old man to the singing of the children, and, in a very short time, every present from the tree had been handed out by Santa.

Happy children were everywhere; some were experimenting on the floor with their newly acquired toys; some were pulling crackers, while others were sucking oranges or munching apples. As Santa left the hall to continue his rounds, he received a rousing cheer which he thoroughly deserved. At this time, too, cheers were also given, on the call of Mr Davidson, to the children, to Miss Brown, and to Mr Wallace.

The Sourin Treat Band, Messrs J. W. Grieve, of Whitehall, and H. I. Gibson, of Bigland (violins) and Mr J. R. Wallace (piano) struck up a lively tune and, while some played cards, others danced, and many who were not dancers simply watched and talked and made merry among themselves. Supper came passing twelve, and, after another short spell of dancing, the family party was brought to a close by all present joining hands in “Auld Lang Syne.” Thus ended a grand night, for which great credit is due to the capable and hard working committee, who in turn are indebted to the many people who helped by giving milk, Christmas tree, and many other things.

The following comprised the Sourin Treat Committee: – Mrs H. I. Gibson, Misses R. Brown, A. Mainland, M. Mainland, Messrs H. I. Gibson, J. W. Grieve, T. Inkster, W. Inkster, J. R. Wallace.

The programme was as follows: – “The Furry Rabbits,” Chrissie Grieve; waltz,  the band (mouth organs – Archer Clouston, George Craigie, John Grieve, Billy Mainland, Leonard Irvine; trumps – Angus Harcus, Robert Marwick; melodeon – John Seatter); sketch, “Teddy is Ill,” Thelma Shearer, Netta Russell, and George Grieve; “Clementine,” Mabel Grieve, Sally Linklater, Ann Lyon, Isobel Pirie, John Grieve, Billy Mainland, Hugh Yorston, and John Seatter (on the melodeon); dialogue, “A Bright Idea,” Katie Linklater and John Harcus; “Irish Schoolmaster,” Tommy Linklater and Archer Clouston; “My bonny lies over the Ocean,” band and singers; “Aunt Mary’s Cake,” Dorothy Mainland; “Blindman’s Buff,” George Craigie, Angus Harcus, Hugh Yorston, John Grieve, Robert Marwick; “Polka,” band; “Tiresome Tommy,” Isobel Pirie, Mabel Grieve, Ann Lyon, Edith Gibson, Ernest Mainland; “God Save the King.”

1936 January 15 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – THE FESTIVE SEASON. – Rousay celebrated Christmas and the New Year in its usual cheery way. Many were the parties and impromptu dances held, and signs of merry-making were to be seen all over the island. The farmyards are still mourning the loss of many of their inmates, but many houses in Orkney, Scotland and England will be the richer through their loss.

PRIMROSES IN JANUARY. – Rousay has many claims to be Orkney’s fairest island, and here is further proof of its equable climate. On Saturday, 4th January, a lovely little cluster of primroses was found growing in the ditch at the roadside. Their stalks were not short and stunted, as might be expected, and the blossoms were perfect in every way. Surely this is exceptionally early for this spring flower to appear.

1936 January 22 Orkney Herald


It is with the deepest regret that we have to record the death of His Majesty King George V., which took place at Sandringham shortly before midnight on Monday. The King passed away peacefully after an illness lasting only four days. He was aged 70. Probably the best-loved ruler in British history, he leaves a grief-stricken nation and Empire. In Orkney the news was received with the deepest sorrow. Hundreds listened to the bulletins which were broadcast at 15-minute intervals on Monday evening…..

1936 January 29 Orkney Herald


In the presence of nearly 2,000 of the townspeople of Kirkwall, Edward the Eighth was proclaimed King from the ancient Market Cross on Friday. The ceremony which from beginning to end occupied less than 3 minutes, was impressive in its very simplicity. The crowd stood bareheaded throughout the historic ceremony, which began at noon, immediately the Cathedral clock finished striking the hour. Flags, which for the rest of the week were at half-mast, fluttered on this day at mast-head…..

1936 February 12 Orkney Herald



After a trial lasting five hours, a jury of fifteen, on Monday, at Kirkwall, found two brothers guilty of house-breaking and theft. Sheriff Brown sentenced each of the accused to 15 months’ imprisonment.

The jury’s verdict was unanimous.

The accused, John Robert Wylie (22) and Magnus Wylie (19), of Roadside [Grindlesbreck], Rousay, in custody since 19th December 1935, were indicted on a charge of having on the 13th and 14th December broken into a shop as Midskaill, Egilshay, occupied by Helen Mainland or Inkster, and stolen £15.

The sentences passed by Sheriff Brown on the two accused are to date from the day of their apprehension – 19th December.

The accused adhered to their plea of not guilty, being defended by Mr W. J. Heddle, in his capacity as agent for the pair.

Eleven witnesses were called for the Crown and two (the accused) for the defence. The proceedings lasted five hours, beginning at 11 a.m. and finishing at 5 p.m., with a recess from 1 to 2.

THE PROSECUTION. – The first witness for the Crown was Mrs Helen Mainland or Inkster (55), residing at Midskaill, Egilshay, the owner of the shop at which the theft was made. [Helen was the daughter of William Mainland, Midskaill, and Helen Shearer, Eday. In 1911 she married David Inkster, son of Hugh Inkster, Geo, Westness, and Georgina Harcus, Westray].

Examined by Mr John S. Cormack, Prosecutor-Fiscal, witness said she carried on a small retail grocery business in a wooden hut in the land of Midskaill, and quite near the farm buildings of Midskaill. She carried on the business alone. She remembered how, on the evening of the 13th December 1935 – a Friday – she left her shop between 8 and 9 o’clock, locking the door. At a quarter to 12 she went back to put out the light which she had left burning, and on her way she heard two shots coming from the direction of the Holm of Scockness. She then went to the shop, put out the light, locked the door again, and came away. It was a moonlit night, but dull and overcast. On Saturday morning she returned to the shop again between 9 and 10 o’clock, and when she got there she found that one of the windows had been forced and was standing half-open. The window in question was one which had been nailed up a year ago and was not supposed to open. In order to get the window to the condition she found it considerable force would have been required. When she went into the shop she found that the till had been opened, and the money in it was all gone except for three coppers. In the till there had been £6 in silver and several coppers. In a purse in a separate recess below the till were six or seven 10s. notes – she was not quite sure of the exact number – and three single pound notes. There would have been from £12 to £15 in the till in all, she would imagine. She didn’t remember the numbers or denominations of the notes. After the robbery she found that the lock of the till did not seem to be working, but whether it had been working before or whether it had been put out of action when the theft was executed she couldn’t say.

Witness said that among the notes stolen there had been a 10s. note changed by a customer, Robert Grieve, of Whitecleat, on Thursday night, the 12th. She knew the two accused, John Robert Wylie and Magnus Wylie. They had been working on the Egilshay roads in the summer, and had been in the shop frequently, and she supposed they knew the arrangements inside the shop quite well.

Informed a Neighbour. – When she discovered the theft, went on witness, she informed a neighbour, Edward Seatter, who came and examined the window, and said it had been burst open. She didn’t think she could identify the stolen notes. She had taken no note of them.

Cross-examined by Mr Heddle, witness said she kept no record of her cash drawings. She depended on her memory. She did not leave her cash overnight in the hut during the summer when there were strangers about, but she thought it was quite safe to leave it in the winter. She did not think anything like this would happen. Nothing had ever been stolen before.

Q. – Why single out this note Grieve handed in? A. – Because Robert Grieve was in the habit of keeping the numbers of notes passing through his hands. Q. – And you are sure that note was among your own? A. – Quite sure.

Shots Fired. – Alex. Flett Yule (24) farm worker, Saviskaill, Rousay, said that on the evening of the 13th December, Magnus Wylie came over to Saviskaill about 7 o’clock. He did not say what he came for. He had wanted witness to go over to Roadside, so the two of them had gone over. There they found Magnus Wylie’s brother, John Robert Wylie. They sat there till about ten o’clock, and then the three of them went out. First they went down to the shore, and then they got into one of the Wylies’ boats and rowed to the Holm of Scockness to hunt rabbits. The two Wylies each had a gun, and all three of them had flashlamps. They reached the Holm in about half an hour. It would have been about quarter to 11 when they reached the Holm of Scockness. About five shots were fired, but they got no rabbits. When they left the Holm they pulled to Egilshay. He did not know the Wylies had intended to go to Egilshay that night. They landed in Egilshay at the rocks on the north side of the sands of Netherskaill and left the boat tied there while they went ashore and up through the turnips at Netherskaill. They made straight for Mrs Inkster’s. Between their landing place and the shop there was a piece of rising ground. Witness said he had stopped at this mound and had said he was going no further. Q. – Did you know what the Wylies were going to do then? A. – No, I didn’t exactly know. Q. – They didn’t tell you? A. – No, but I knew there was some mischief on the go.

Previously in Trouble. – Continuing, witness said he had previously been in trouble for appropriating money dishonestly, and he did not want to be mixed up in that sort of thing again. He had had his lesson. The two accused had asked him to go, but he had refused, and they had gone on themselves, while he stayed at the mound. He had watched where they went, and had seen them crossing the road in front of the shop. He could not see them after that. They were gone about half an hour, and when they rejoined him they came from the direction of the shop. Nothing was said as to what had happened. They then went down through the turnips of Netherskaill again. They had run part of the way down. The Wylies had seemed in a hurry to get away. As they were going down towards the boat he heard money clinking in Magnus Wylie’s pocket. Just before they left in the boat he saw Magnus take two small handfuls of money out of his hip pocket and transfer it to his jacket pocket. There was both silver and copper in his hands. They then returned to Rousay. The Wylies had asked him to say nothing to anybody about what had taken place. On the 17th December he had been interviewed by Constable Yorston, and had given him the same statement as he had just given to the court.

Cross-examined by Mr Heddle, witness denied that he had had a gun and that he shot a duck on Scockness. Q. – When you got to the rising ground on Egilshay did you tell the Wylies that you wanted to go to the shop? A. – No. Q. – Do you deny that you went on to the shop? A. – I never went near the shop.

Witness also denied that on arriving back in Rousay on Saturday morning he gave Magnus Wylie two 10s. notes. He also denied making any arrangement with the Wylies to say nothing about the escapade. On Saturday night, 14th December he had given Magnus Wylie a 10s. note out of his wages to pay for a gun he had bought from Wylie.

Re-examined by Mr Cormack – Q. – When the Wylies left you at the mound how were they walking? A. – Side by side. Q. – Did you see them all the way to the shop? A. – I did not watch them all the way.

Footprints Followed. – Constable W. S. Yorston said he went to Egilshay on 17th December (Tuesday) to make investigations into the burglary. He examined the window of Mrs Inkster’s shop, and it appeared to him to have been forced with some sharp instrument. He thought it would have been quite simple for a man to get into the window once it had been forced open. Edward Seatter had drawn his attention to the footprints of two persons crossing a piece of ploughed land towards the shop. They picked up these footprints going back over the ploughed land from the shop. They were just the distance apart that two people would be when walking together. Q. – Did it look as if they were made by two people walking side by side? A. – Undoubtedly. Q. – Could the two sets of prints have been caused by one person making two trips? A. – I am pretty certain they were made by two persons. Witness went on to say he had traced the footprints. He had not been able to pick them up on the uncultivated land, but he had picked them up again in the stubble land. He had then followed them through the turnip field and right on to the shore. Midway down the turnip field the footprints of a third party had joined the footsteps of the first two. He had taken plaster casts of the right foot of each of the three sets of footprints.

The plaster casts were produced in Court and Constable Yorston identified them. Robert Grieve, of Whitecleat, had been present when he had taken the casts.

Remembered Figures on Note. – Witness went on to say he had interviewed Robert Grieve, who told him he had passed a 10s. note at Mrs Inkster’s shop on Thursday evening, 12th December, and that he remembered four of the figures in the number of this note. These figures were 3, 5, 9, and 0. Grieve had said the 3 and the 5 had followed one another, but he was not certain as to the order of the other figures. Thereafter he (witness) had gone to Rousay where he had discovered that the two accused had been spending money more freely than usual. He had learnt from Mr Walls, of the Co-operative Store, Rousay, that the accused, Magnus Wylie, had taken out three 10s. notes at the store, and had also tendered a 10s. note to his vanman, John Linklater, which Mr Walls had taken possession of. Mr Walls had handed over to witness the 10s. notes passed by Magnus Wylie. Grieve, who had accompanied witness to Rousay, had identified the note passed by him at Mrs Inkster’s shop.

Crown Witness in the Court Room. – At this point Mr Heddle informed His Lordship that Grieve, who was one of the Crown witnesses, had been sitting in Court. No witness should be in the courtroom before being heard. Grieve had been in the courtroom until the end of Yule’s examination.

His Lordship – I went to great pains at the commencement of the case to ask any witnesses to leave the court-room.

The Fiscal – I did not know he was in.

The Superintendent of Police stated that Grieve had been in the court-room about ten minutes. He was outside now.

His Lordship – Did he hear any of the evidence bearing on this present point?

The Superintendent – No, he heard none of that evidence.

His Lordship – There are no more witnesses in the Court-room by any chance?

The Superintendent – There are no more.

The examination was resumed.

Impudent and Abusive. – Constable Yorston said he had interviewed Yule on 17th December and had taken his statement, which confirmed the evidence of the footprints and the information he already possessed. On the following day he had gone to the accused and interviewed them. He had charged them with the burglary. They had both denied ever being out of the island that night. They had both been impudent and abusive, and it had been impossible to get an intelligent statement out of them.

Witness went on to say that on 19th December the two accused had been arrested in Stromness. He and Constable Craigie had brought them to Kirkwall. He didn’t know whether they had had any money on them when arrested. They had been searched in Stromness. On the 20th December he and Constable Craigie had gone to Rousay and had searched accused’s home. They had taken possession of two pairs of boots, one belonging to Magnus Wylie and the other belonging to John Robert Wylie.

Cross-examined by Mr Heddle: – Q. – Were there just two sets of footsteps going up and two sets going down on the ploughed land? A. – Yes, just two. Q. – Did you see any other footprints there? A. – No, none. Q. – Have you compared the plaster casts with these boots you took?

The Fiscal – I am bringing expert evidence on that point, your Lordship.

Q. – Did you take prints of Yule’s boots? A. – No. Q. – Why not? A. – I didn’t think it necessary at the time.

Witness said he had taken a cast of the third set of footprints, but the imprint was so shallow that the forepart of the cast broke when lifted.

Q. – You say you had difficulty in getting a statement from J. R. Wylie. Did you tell him that he could not tell the truth? A. – I have no recollection of doing so.

Corroborative evidence was given by Constable Charles Craigie, Edward Seatter (42), farmer-boatman, Netherskaill; Robert Grieve (30), farm-worker and fisherman, Whitecleat, Egilshay; and James Mainland (36), farmer, Sound, Egilshay.

Accused Receiving Public Assistance. – Mark Mackay Kirkness (57), District Inspector of Poor for Rousay and Egilshay, said that both accused and their father were in receipt of public assistance. On 12th December, Magnus Wylie had called on him to get the relief money that was due to him, his father, and his brother John Robert on the following day. He had given him the money, which amounted in all to £1 6s 6d. He had paid this in the form of a pound note and silver.

William Robertson Walls (43), manager of Rousay, Egilshay and Wyre Co-operative Society, said he had received two 10s. notes from Magnus Wylie in payment for goods on Saturday, 14th December. His vanman had received another 10s. note from Magnus Wylie, which he had taken possession of, and on Monday Magnus Wylie had paid for stores with another 10s. note. He had kept these four notes aside, and had handed them over to Constable Yorston.

Corroborative evidence was given by John Linklater (36), vanman.

Expert Evidence. – Expert evidence was given by Treasurer Robert Slater (59), boot and shoe merchant, Victoria Street, Kirkwall, with regard to the plaster casts. Treasurer Slater compared the casts with the boots of the two accused. In both cases he said that there was a marked similarity between the boot and the cast, but he could not go further. He was not prepared to say the casts were those of these particular boots.

In answer to Mr Heddle, witness said it might be perfectly possible to find boots of other persons in the county which would fit the casts.

This concluded the case for the Crown.

THE DEFENCE. – The only witnesses for the defence were the two accused.

In the witness-box the accused, Magnus Wylie, who gave his age as 19, said in answer to Mr Heddle, that on 13th December he went to Saviskaill to catch rabbits. He was in the habit of doing this. Yule had suggested going duck-shooting to the Holm of Scockness. He had complained that it was too dark. He and Yule afterwards went to his (witnesses) father’s place, Roadside. About 10 o’clock Yule had again suggested going to the Holm, and had borrowed a gun from John Robert Wylie. Witness and his brother had no guns. Yule was the only one with a gun. Witness had pointed out to Yule that they had no ammunition. Yule said he had some, and they went off to the Holm. Yule had shot a duck at the east side of the Holm. Yule had suggested going to Egilshay and they had gone there, landing on the rocks on the other side of the Bay of Skaill. They then went up along the shore alongside a turnip field to a piece of high ground, where he and his brother had sat down while Yule had gone on towards the shop. Q. – You have heard what Yule has said. It is not correct? A. – No.

Yule’s Story False Says Witness. – Yule, continued witness, had come back, and had asked them to come up to the shop with him. They had refused and he had to go on again himself. Yule was away about half an hour, and when he came back they had all gone down to the shore again and crossed over to Rousay. Q. – Did Yule tell you then that he had to pay you for catching some rabbits? A. – Yes. Q. – Did he give you two 10s. notes? A. – Yes. Q. – Did he ask you to say nothing about your escapade that night? A. – Yes. Q. – You promised not to do it? A. – Yes.

Witness said that on Saturday night, 14th December, he had received a 10s. note from Yule in payment for a gun Yule had bought from him. Q. – What did you do with that note? A. – I gave it to the Co-operative vanman.

Witness said he was at Saviskaill on the night of Tuesday, 17th December, and Yule had told him that he and his brother were charged with breaking into the shop in Egilshay. He had denied it. Q. – You swear that the story Yule has told is absolutely false? A. – Yes.

Cross-examined by the Fiscal: – Q. – You have heard the evidence as to the two sets of footprints going to and from the shop. Can you suggest how a person making two trips could keep his two sets of footprints practically parallel to one another? A. – It just depends on the way he set down his feet. Q. – I put it to you that this story of yours is a tissue of lies from beginning to end? A. – It is nothing of the kind.

Did Not Intend to Escape on Trawler. – Witness further said that he and his brother had gone to Stromness on Friday, 19th December. They hired a boat specially to do so. Their intention in going to Stromness was to get an agent. They had gone to Mr Robertson, but he had said he would not have time to take it up. Q. – Is Mr Robertson appearing as a witness? A. – I don’t think so. Q. – You know that Stromness is a place where trawlers come frequently ? A. – Yes. Q. – I suggest that you went to Stromness with the object of escaping on a trawler? A. – No, we didn’t. Q. – Then why the big hurry? A. – We weren’t in a big hurry. Q. – The police spoke to you on the 18th, and on the 19th you went off to Stromness in the dark of the morning? A. – We wanted to get our agent before he went away. Q. – According to your story, do you know whether Yule got any money out of the shop? A. – Yes. Q. – Did he give you any? A. – Yes. Q. – Did you know it was money from the shop? A. – Not then. He told me after he gave it to me. Q. – Did it not occur to you that if it was stolen money you should have given it back A. – I never thought of it.

Witness was questioned by the Fiscal regarding the 10s. notes he had passed.

In answer to Mr Heddle, witness said he had received three of the 10s. notes he had passed from Yule, and the fourth from his brother James. That accounted for all four notes.

John Robert Wylie (22), corroborated the evidence given by his brother.

Woman’s Outburst. – While the Fiscal, in the address to the jury, was drawing attention to the fact that the accused’s brother James had not been called as a witness, a woman in the court-room stood up and cried, “Excuse me, the accused’s brother was here, but was not called.” She was accused’s mother. She was ordered to sit down.

The jury retired to consider their verdict at 4.30. They were about five minutes. On their return the foreman said they had come to a unanimous verdict of guilty.

Sheriff Brown passed sentence as stated.

1936 February 19 Orkney Herald


ln the Recreation Hall on Thursday and Friday evenings, 6th and 7th February, Rousay Amateur Dramatic Society made still a further name for themselves in the production of that popular play, “Crony o’ Mine,” by Andrew P. Wilson.

Weather conditions were not just entirely what could be desired, consequently hindering a considerable number of people from attending from the neighbouring islands of Egilshay and Wyre from being present. Nevertheless, the attendance on both evenings was quite good. The Wasbister Dance Band, under the leadership of Mr Inkster, Cogar, was present both evenings, and gave very fine music during the intervals throughout the play, helping in a great measure to the entertainment’s success. The Society would like to take this opportunity of thanking them most heartily for their generous support. As in former years everybody was most helpful and obliging in the way of loaning furniture, etc., for the stage, and the Society would especially desire to thank Mr and Mrs Walls, Store Cottage, who assisted them in so many ways.

To the stage-manager, Mr D. J. Logie, is due great praise for his magnificent work. The scenery was perfect, the stage effect being natural and pleasing. One was greatly impressed by the choice of the characters for the cast. Everyone seemed so suited for their part, and in truth made a most excellent slow. The cast, with the exception of Miss Kathleen Craigie, have all appeared in plays which the Society have previously produced, so we specially congratulate this young lady on the brilliant performance she made on her debut. It is earnestly hoped that the Society may continue to give annual performances of this kind, as their efforts are greatly appreciated by the whole island.

The cast was as follows: – Rev. Nicholas Urquhart, Mr James Craigie, Pier Cottage; Doc. Andrew Macnaughton, Mr James Mainland; Miss Alison Gregory, Miss Kathleen Craigie; Dorothy Maxwell, Miss Brown; Janet Petrie (housekeeper), Miss Mathieson; Maggie (maid), Mrs H. I. Gibson; Doc. Lawson, Mr H. I. Gibson; Mr Carstairs, Mr George Sutherland; Thammas Waugh (beadle), Mr James Grieve.

A dance was held after Friday evening’s show, and was well attended by all the younger people of the island. Mr George Sutherland ably acted at M.C., good music being supplied by the Wasbister Dance Band and others.

EGILSHAY BURGLARY TRIAL DEVELOPMENT. – John Robert Wylie and Magnus Wylie, who were found guilty by a jury at Kirkwall last Monday of breaking into a shop in Egilshay and stealing £15, have applied to the High Court of Justiciary against the sentence of 15 months imprisonment, imposed on each of them. Each of the accused has appealed. The Appeals are made on the ground that the sentence is excessive in view of the youth of the parties, and the fact that it is a first offence. The appeals were despatched on Saturday by air mail.

1936 March 4 Orkney Herald

EVIE – “SPOOTS.” – The first spoot ebb of the season came with the moon on Saturday, 22nd inst., but it was not so big as anticipated, the winds not being favourable. Formerly, when many fishing boats lined the beach and many fishermen lived in the district, spoots were in great demand for bait in cod and haddock fishing, the pursuit of which was then common. Long rows of spoot catchers could be seen on the sands deftly using their ‘boards’ – spatulas – in successfully scooping the elusive mollusc. Nowadays, with no fishing industry, the spoot is seldom fished except as an edible. It is perhaps the most palatable of the shell fish found on the shore. But, as Ann Scott Moncrieff says in last week’s Radio Times, “It needs both skill in the catching and care in the cooking.”

1936 March 18 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – BACHELOR’S BALL. – At the bachelors’ ball on 13th inst., in the Sourin Hall, Rousay, fickle woman resumed her usual and proper place, while mere man showed once again that there is little (if anything at all !) to which he cannot successfully turn his hand. The gentlemen were out to pay fitting tribute to the ladies whose guests they had been at the Leap Year dance. From beginning to end, in spite of the dangers of Leap Year, they went about their duty with every confidence, and had the satisfaction of seeing their efforts successful. Tea was served at 9.15 p.m., and supper at 1 a.m. On both occasions many highly appreciative comments were made on the splendid catering of Flett’s Home Bakery, Albert Street, Kirkwall. During the evening, fruit and sweets in plenty were passed round. The following committee of bachelors was responsible for the function: – Messrs G. Craigie, Falquoy; Jas. Craigie, Furse; W. Gibson, Hullion; T. Inkster, Woo; W. Inkster, Woo; Jas. Mainland, Westness; J. Mainland, Westness; H. Robertson, Langskaill; J. R. Wallace, Sourin Schoolhouse, while Mr R. Inkster, Cogar, was in command in the kitchen. The committee are grateful to all who in any way gave willing assistance, and thank those who loaned lamps, etc., and those who made music throughout the evening.

ORKNEY CONSTABLE AS “FILM STAR.” – The Gaumont-British news reel showing at the Albert Kinema on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday included one item of particular interest to Orkney. In the scenes shown of King Edward’s first Investiture there appeared a shot of Constable Thomas Mainland, Stromness (formerly of Kirkwall), who it will be remembered was a recipient of the King’s Police Medal for gallantry. Introduced by the announcer as “a visitor from the far north of Scotland” Constable Mainland was shown leaving Buckingham Palace after the Investiture wearing the medal he had received from his sovereign. The “shot” of the Orkney constable was quite a prolonged one, and was greeted by the Kinema audiences with cheers and applause. [Orkney Herald]

[Thomas Mainland was born in January 1893, one of the eleven children of John Mainland, Weyland, Egilsay, and Sarah Rendall, Westray. In 1919 Thomas married Barbara Gibson Craigie, daughter of Hugh Craigie, Turbitail, later Deithe, and Margaret Craigie Inkster, Upper Cogar.]




The Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh on Wednesday agreed to a reduction of the sentence pronounced in the Sheriff Court at Kirkwall on February 10 against John Robert Wylie and Magnus Wylie, who were convicted on a charge of breaking into a shop at Midskaill, in the island of Egilshay, parish of Rousay and Egilshay, and county of Orkney, occupied by Mrs Helen Mainland or Inkster, widow, and stealing £15. The appellants were each sentenced to fifteen months’ imprisonment, to date from December 19. They contended that the sentence was excessive, looking to their youth and to the fact that it was their first offence.

Mr W. J. Bryden, advocate, for the appellants, said that the crime was not premeditated. The appellants had never been in the hands of the police before. On the night of December 13 they went out in a boat with another man, and engaged in shooting ducks and rabbits on a neighbouring island. They met with little success, however, and they proceeded to the island of Egilshay. The two Wylies proceeded to the shop of Mrs Inkster, which they entered, and rifled the till. This type of crime was very rare in the Orkneys. It was unjust, counsel said, that a man in the Orkneys should suffer a sentence of three or four times as severe as was pronounced elsewhere for a similar offence. He suggested that this was a case for a very substantial reduction in the sentences.

The Court held that the sentence of fifteen months was excessive, and reduced it in each case to three months’ imprisonment, to run from the date of the conviction.

1936 April 1 Orkney Herald



At Orkney Sheriff Court last Tuesday evidence was heard in the action Costie v. Craigie, in which Miss Ann Costie, widow, Standpretty, Rousay, craves the Court to interdict William Craigie, Standcrown, Rousay, from trespassing on her land.

Agents in the action are – For pursuer, Mr C. E. S. Walls, solicitor (of Messrs T. P. & J. L. Low); for defender, Mr D. J. Robertson, solicitor (of Messrs Macrae & Robertson).

Sheriff Brown was on the bench. The case for the defenders was heard first.

THE DEFENCE. – William Craigie (62), farmer, Standcrown, the defender, in examination by Mr Robertson, said he was proprietor of the farm of Standcrown, which he bought in 1925 from the trustees of Lt.-General Sir Frederick W. T. Burroughs, K.C.B., of Rousay and Wyre. He was a native of Rousay, and at the time he bought the farm he was living in Edinburgh. He did not know the farm then, but he knew where it was. He had been offered it before. When he bought the farm it was let, but the house was unoccupied. The tenant was John Craigie, who lived at Triblo. John Craigie remained tenant of Standcrown for about a year after he bought it, and he paid rent to him for that year. He went there to live himself in November 1927, and had occupied the place ever since. When he came to the farm he used two roads. With a light cart he would go in by Oldman, and if a cart was heavily loaded he would go in by Standpretty. There was road across Standpretty when he came, and by crossing lands of Standpretty he could get to the public road.

When he went there there were two bridges which he understood to be access bridges. In 1926 the people of Standpretty ploughed out a path which linked Standcrown with Standpretty and the public road. After that, defender used a road that took him round by pursuer’s house, and gained access to his own place that way. No objection was raised till the Christmas week of 1934. Till then he regularly used roads and footpaths which took him over pursuer’s land, in consequence of pursuer having ploughed out the formerly existing way. In good weather he used the peat track. In the spring of 1936 pursuer ploughed out the end of the hill, and then he had no way of getting out or in at all. Pursuer tore up a bridge at the milldam. Another bridge between the places still stood.

The footpath he used most was interfered with by the erection of a wire netting fence. That fence was put up to keep the hens in, and was first erected in the summer of 1933, being taken down when the winter came. In 1934, when it was re-erected, the pursuer added barbed wire to the top, and defender, who had previously been able to step over it easily, then had to put two stones there as steps.

Defender was first told by the pursuer in the Christmas week of 1934 that he had no right to go over her land. Until then he had been using the footpath regularly for at least seven years. During that week, defender and his wife went down to Faro, nearby, where the tenant, Malcolm Corsie, was ill. Defender took down the wire netting “gate” of the fence, which that winter had been left erected, and laid it down, for convenience for passing home again in the dark. When they returned, about 10 p.m., the fence was secure again. Defender took it down, passed through with his wife, and left it down. The next morning it was up again. John Costie, the pursuer’s son, came down and asked defender if he had pulled the wire down, and what for.

Defender asked John Costie if he (Costie) had put it up, and what for, “last night especially.” Costie said it was his own. Defender told him not to do it again. That was the first time there had ever been words between them. The defender could not get into his farm now or out of it except by the hill, which was impassable in winter. The last time he was able to take a cart through that way was the last week of harvest. Defender knew that pursuer was saying that the late General Burroughs’ factor had laid off a road over the hill for Standcrown 1915. There was no road there. The place was marshy and wet; water from it drove pursuer’s mill. Defender had not been able to get any carts into or out of his place since last August.

Cross-examined by Mr Walls, agent for the pursuer, Craigie admitted that he inspected the farm the year before he bought it. He did not know it well, as he had been away from Rousay for over forty years. He made inquiries regarding means of access from James Grieve, who occupied Outerdykes, nearby. The roads and paths which Grieve told him were the ways for Standcrown, were those outlined by defender in his evidence. Defender took the title deeds for granted; that was why he was challenging pursuer’s action. For twelve months after buying Standcrown, defender said he lived at Breval, nearby. He actually went into Standcrown in February 1928. When the furniture was flitted in some was taken above the hill and some down the hill.

Witness then marked routes on the duplicate plan, showing three ways he claimed he ought to be able to use.

Defender denied that he ever sent his grandson to pursuer to ask permission to cross her land with carts. He denied also that he gave the pursuer’s son great provocation by his manner of speaking to him.

Do you deny that you ever went across the pursuer’s new grass? – I don’t. That was their own fault. I could not get any other way, so high did they make the barbed wire and netting fence afterwards.

Orphir Woman’s Evidence. – Miss Betsy Cooper (66), Roadside, Orphir, the next witness, said she was a grand-daughter of James Cooper, a former tenant of Standpretty, where she was born, and where she lived till she was between 13 and 14. The tenant of Standcrown at that time was James Grieve. His children went to school by going across the meadow of Standpretty. Then they went across to the service road. Witness sometimes accompanied the Grieve children to school, and so far as she knew that was the way they always used; there was a path down that way. The people went across Standpretty to go to the shop or to Oldman, and her grandfather never objected to the practice.

Cross-examined by Mr Walls, Miss Cooper said that in those days everyone was friendly and people just went everywhere. So far as she knew, there were no recognised ways to which people were expected to stick. Witness agreed that James Grieve attended the Established Church for a while, and that he would not use this path when going to church.

Re-examined by Mr Robertson, witness agreed that James Grieve also attended the Free Church, and when going to services there would require to use the path going in that direction, and common with the path the use of which was claimed by defender.

Mrs John W. Garrioch (62), 3 Fraser’s Close, Victoria Street, Kirkwall, in answer to defender’s agent, said she a native of Rousay. Her father was John Mowat, and she was born at Westness, going to Sourin when she was twelve years old. He took the farm of Standpretty, and there she lived till she was eighteen. Her father was tenant of Standpretty for eighteen or twenty years. After witness left home, she returned practically every week-end for a time. The tenant of Standcrown at that time was James Grieve. She remembered a path between the cultivated land and the heather. That path was used as a right of way from Standcrown. She remembered being at Standpretty once on holiday. Her father was cleaning out the ditch alongside that path. He was throwing the mud on to the top of the ditch, and while doing so he told her that the path was the old church road. That was said on a Saturday afternoon, and he said to her that he would have to clear the path for next day, for the people to go to church. Witness could not remember a shop at Oldman, as that was before her time. She remembered that to the west of Standpretty there was a cart road or track to Standcrown. She thought that that track was a privilege from her father as the other ways were impassable in winter. The track was also bad in winter. There was no road passable through the commons above, and it would not be possible to get a cart through there in winter. Vans were in the habit of going up the Kirk Road from the service road. People went across Standpretty to that road to meet the vans. She never knew of people being stopped in that practice. Her father actually told her it was a right of way.

Cross-examined by Mr Walls, Mrs Garrioch said that James Grieve carted with oxen.

Re-examined by Mr Robertson, Mrs Garrioch said that the people of Standcrown had no way of getting out or in except by Standpretty, or unless they went over the hill and round by Oldman.

This closed the case for the defence.

CASE FOR THE PURSUER. – The pursuer’s own evidence had previously been taken on commission. The pursuer, Mrs Ann Costie, deponed that she was heritable proprietor of Pretty, or Standpretty. She is a widow and occupies the farm herself. Her son, John Costie, assists her with the farm work. She bought the croft in the spring of 1925 and took occupation at Martinmas, 1926.

When she bought Standpretty, the tenant was John Craigie. He was tenant also of Standcrown. John Craigie vacated Standpretty at Martinmas, 1926, and Standcrown at Martinmas 1927. William Craigie, the defender, took up residence at Standcrown in February, 1928, having lived at Breval until he got the Standcrown dwelling-house in order.

When the defender took up residence at Standcrown, he began going across Standpretty. During the first year or so, in going to the shop, post office, and public road, he went over Standpretty along or near a ditch between the two lands. After the first year or so, he began taking a diagonal route across uncultivated ground known as the meadow of Standpretty. He had tramped out a footpath by his continual coming and going. There was no footpath there before.

In the spring of 1930 he started another path along a ditch which runs through and across pursuer’s croft, this in order to cut short his route to Faro, where he had sown the crop that year. Defender continued to use this path till May, by which time pursuer’s son completed a new fence. After that, defender went down to the lower end of the fence and then turned up across new grass.

A fence had been erected at that place each year during the past four or five years for poultry. Each year the fence remained up for about six months in summer and was taken down for each winter. This fence had been erected more or less in the same position each year, and ran across that portion of land over which the defender had been crossing.

Saw Defender Tear Fence Down. – During the first year the fence was erected, defender went round about it and made no complaint. After that he started going over the top of it. Pursuer made no objection, but later on discovered that the wire netting was being torn down from time to time. One day pursuer’s son saw defender tear it down. Last summer defender started going over new grass which pursuer was keeping as hay.

After defender came to Standcrown, pursuer gave him permission to go down past her house with a cart. The permission was asked while pursuer and her son were working in the cabbage patch, and was asked by the defender’s grandson who said he had been sent by his grandfather. The defender did not go past her house with a cart very often, as the ground was wet in winter. He nearly always went past Oldman.

The defender, averred pursuer, did not need to go over her land at all. He could go out over the hill ground or common grazings. The first she heard of a right-of-way across Standpretty being claimed by the defender was when she received a letter from his agent, in which two rights-of-way were claimed, one from his farm to the church, and another from his farm to the school. When pursuer did not object to defender going over her property, she did not imagine he would claim a right to do so. She allowed him to cross over Standpretty merely as a tolerance. There was no right-of-way across the farm, she contended.

Pursuer’s Son’s Evidence. – John Costie (25), son of pursuer, said in examination by Mr Walls, that he resided at Standpretty and assisted his mother with the work of the farm. His mother bought the croft in the spring of 1925 and got actual occupation in 1926. When she purchased Standpretty John Craigie was tenant. He was also tenant of Standcrown. He vacated Standpretty in 1926. The defender came to live at Standcrown in February 1928. When defender went to and from his farm he usually went down along the ditch boundary between Standpretty and Standcrown, and then down across Eastaquoy. He did not remember defender taking any other road during the first year. After the first year he started to go diagonally down across the meadow of Standpretty. He went that way frequently and tramped out a footpath there. There was no path there when he and his mother had come to live at Standpretty. Standcrown lay to the south of Standpretty. He remembered quite well the defender working the croft of Faro, which lay to the N.E. of Standpretty on the north side of the service road. Defender commenced working at Faro about 1930. When going between Standcrown and Faro he went along the ditch by the meadow-land of Standpretty as it was the shortest way to Faro. He continued to use this path until he was practically into the Standpretty land. Q. – Did he ever cross your new grass?  A. – Oh yes. Repeatedly.

Became Abusive. – Witness said he had been in the habit of erecting a poultry fence at Standpretty until 1934. This fence was put up on the same piece of land every year, and it crossed the path used by the defender. Q. – What did the defender do when he came to the fence? A. – He went over the top. Q. – Do you remember in the spring of 1934 erecting your usual poultry fence? A. – Yes. In that year we put on a strand of barbed wire 3½ feet from the ground. We laced the wire netting to the barbed wire. Q. – How did the defender get over this? A. – He strided over it. Q. – Do you remember any time after you put up this fence finding it torn down? A. – Yes. In December 1934. Q. – Was the wire netting lying flat on the ground? A. – Yes. Q. – Did you fix it up? A. – Yes. Q. – Did you find it torn down again? A. – Yes.

Witness said he remembered on Sunday morning, the 9th December 1934, seeing the defender tear down the wire netting. Defender had left the netting lying down and he (witness) had fixed it up on Monday. He found it torn down again and had charged the defender with tearing it down. Q. – What did he say? A. – He cursed and swore. Q. – Was he abusive? A. – Yes.

Warned Defender Against Interfering. – Continuing, witness said he had warned defender against interfering with the fence. He had said he would stop defender crossing his land if he kept interfering with the fence. In the summer of 1935 he had put up a new fence 4½ feet high. The defender had thereafter gone down and around the fence and up across the new grass. There was no need for him to do that. He could have gone up the service road. Q. – Did the defender ever ask permission from you to use your cart road from Standpretty that leads to the service road? A. – Yes; in June 1934. Q. – Did he ask permission to cross over a bit of your land to get to the service road? A. – Yes. Q. – You gave him permission to go that way? A. – Yes.

Witness said he remembered some time previous to this, defender sending his grandson to ask his mother’s permission to cross their ground with his cart. That permission was granted. Defender did not go over Standpretty very often with a cart. He had never gone across Standpretty between the mill-dam and the steading. Q. – The defender alleges that you have ploughed out roads and torn up bridges. Are there any bridges you have had occasion to take up? A. – Yes; one. The bridge over the mill lade. Q. – Have you since restored it? A. – Yes. Q. – And the only road or track you have ploughed out that the defender might be referring to is a road over which he has never gone. Is that so? A. – Yes. Q. – If the defender wished to go out with a cart from Standcrown, could he reach the service road by crossing over the common bridge? A. – Quite easily. Q. – Without coming on your property at all? A. – Yes. Q. – Before this action did you ever hear it claimed by the defender that he had a right to go over your property? A. – Never. Q. – Now that he has claimed that right you feel you must protect your property? A. – Yes.

A Hard-Trodden Footpath. – Cross-examined by Mr Robertson – Q. – Did John Craigie, the farmer tenant of Standpretty and Standcrown give up both places at the same time? A. – No. Q. – Which did he give up first? A. – Standpretty. Q. – So that you were occupying it before Craigie came to Standcrown? A. – Yes. Q. – How long? A. – About fully a year. Q. – Was there a footpath across the meadow when you came there? A. – No. Q. – Has that footpath been used by anybody else but Craigie? A. – Not to my knowledge. Q. – You know it is a hard-trodden footpath? A. – Yes. Q. – Did your mother and you take no objection? A. – No. Q. – It wasn’t doing any harm was it? A. – Well, it wasn’t doing it any good. Q. – But it wasn’t doing any harm? A. – I suppose not. Q. – Was there any path along there before? A. – No. Q. – You are sure of that? A. – There was nothing to be seen anyway.

With regard to the poultry fences, witness said the first fence had been put up almost 5 years ago and there had been one every year since. Q. – Did Craigie just step over it? A. – Yes. Q. – He would have no difficulty in stepping over it? A. – No. Q. – You had no objection to him doing so? A. – No. Q. – Did children go over that fence? A. – No; they went round. Q. – Was there any other way defender could have got? A. – Up above or down below. Q. – You say Craigie asked your permission to use your cart road? A. – Yes. He sent his grandson to ask my mother. Q. – Is that the road he says he has a right to? A. – Yes, that is the road.

Retired Farmer’s Evidence. – John Craigie (77), retired farmer, residing at the Queen’s Hotel, Kirkwall, said his wife had been the tenant of the farm of Triblo, Rousay, for a number of years. Triblo lay to the N.W. of Standpretty and was separated from it by a service road. His wife and himself had gone to live at Triblo on his wife’s mother’s death about 1897. At that time James Grieve was tenant of Standcrown and John Mowat was tenant of Standpretty. Grieve left Standpretty about 1903, and he (witness) had taken over the tenancy of Standcrown. He was tenant of Standcrown for about 24 years, but he always lived at Triblo. Q. – Do you remember, when you came to Standcrown were there any footpaths across Standpretty? A. – Yes, there were footpaths but there was a road laid out to me. Q. – While you were tenant of Standcrown and before you became tenant of Standpretty, how did you go to Standcrown from Triblo? A. – Along the ditch above the end of the land of Standpretty. Q. – Was that above Standpretty’s ground? A. – Yes. Q. – You did not cross over Standpretty? A. – No. Q. – While John Mowat was tenant of Standpretty, did you walk across it? A. – No. Q. – After John Mowat died were you the next tenant of Standpretty? A. – No. James Munro. Q. – After Mowat died and before Munro came to Standpretty, did you approach Mr Logie, the estate factor, to give you a road to Standcrown? A. – No, not till after Munro came to Standpretty. Q. – Did Mr Logie lay off a road for you? A. – Yes. Q. – What width of road? A. – 21 feet. Q. – Prior to this road being laid off, was it a path that you had been using? A. – Yes. Q. – Also on the common grazings? A. – Yes. Q. – Do you as a farmer and former tenant of Standcrown see any reason why the defender shouldn’t use this road laid off? A. – I don’t see any reason why not. It suited me to go between and I don’t see why it shouldn’t suit the next tenant.

Put Up Temporary Bridge. – Witness said he was tenant of Standpretty for three years after Munro. Before he went there there was no bridge over the mill lade from the mill-dam to the house. He had put a temporary bridge there. Before he put up this bridge it would not have been possible for anyone to cross over Standpretty.

Q. – Were you and Munro fairly good friends? A. – Yes. Q. – Had you a sort of understanding that you might go over Standpretty? A. – Yes, he often asked me to come past the house and I did go but I had no right. It was just his good-will that permitted me. Q. – You never heard of any right-of-way did you? A. – No.

Cross-examined by Mr Robertson – Q. – You took Standcrown in 1904? A. – Yes. Q. – When did you take Standpretty? A. – Perhaps 5 or 6 years afterwards. Q. – About this road, did you go to John Logie and ask him to lay off a road! A. – Yes. Q. – What is Logie’s authority for doing that? A. – I don’t know. I never asked his authority. Q. – Do you know if it was done with the approval of General Burroughs’ trustees? A. – I don’t know. Q. – Did you go to the Land Court and get permission to make this road over the common grazings? A. – No. Q. – Do you know you should have? A. – No, I don’t know. I just went to John Logie and he came and did it. Q. – You don’t know what power he had to do it? A. – No. Q. – Was there any made road there? A. – Perhaps you may see some of the track, but there was no made road. Q. – Could you go there with a cart in winter? A. – Yes, with difficulty. Q. – Could you take it in wet weather? A. – Oh, yes. Q. – Have you ever done it in winter? A. – Often.

Re-examined by Mr Walls – Q. – Is it the case that at present there are really no good roads in that quarter at all? A. – That is right.

Alexander James Munro (51), farmer, Breval, Sourin, Rousay, said he became tenant of Standpretty on the 8th of March 1915, and remained there until 1923. While he was tenant of Standpretty John Craigie, Triblo, was tenant of Standcrown. Q. – Did you ever hear of the tenant of Standcrown having right-of-way over Standpretty? A. – Never.

With regard to the common grazings, witness said these were not always common grazings. He knew he had paid rent for this land up to an imaginary line. It was all included with the land at Standpretty when he took it on – Standpretty and hillside.

Q. – Can you remember what happened at the lay off of the road? A. – When Logie had finished laying it off Craigie said to me “Have I to keep to that road?” I said “As long as we are on good terms you can go where you like, but if we have any dispute, that’s your road.”

The rest of Munro’s evidence corroborated that given by the previous witness.

Cross-examined by Mr Robertson – Q. –  About these common grazings, is it a common grazing now? A. – Since the estate was sold.  Q. – Was it not a common grazing before you went there? A. – No. The man before me and I paid rent for it. Q. – You did not pay a separate rent for it? A. – No it was all included in the agreement.

John Mowat (58), mason, residing at 42 Victoria Street, Kirkwall, said his father John Mowat, was tenant of Standpretty some time ago. He became tenant about thirty or forty years ago and remained tenant until his death about 1914. When he (witness) worked at Standpretty James Grieve was tenant at Standcrown. Q. – Did James Grieve go across Standpretty when going to and from Standcrown? A. – When he wanted to come to Standpretty, certainly. Q. – How did he go with his carts? A. – He always went on the Oldman road. Q. – Do you remember your father breaking out part of the meadow below Standpretty? A. – Yes. Q. – Was there any footpath across Standpretty when he was tenant? A. – Not that I remember. Witness said that in those days when a person wanted to get from one place to another he just went the way he could best keep his feet dry. There was no hard and fast rule.

Cross-examined – Q. – You were just at Standpretty for two periods of six months? A. – Yes. Q. – Had your father the common grazings? A. – The cattle went to the hill. The hill was all common grazings. Q. – If James Grieve was going to church would he cross Standpretty to get there? A. – They just went the driest way they could get.

Hugh Gibson (59), Faraclett, Rousay, tenant of Oldman for 22 years – 1902 to 1924 – said Oldman lay beside Standcrown. James Grieve was tenant of Standcrown when he went to Oldman. Grieve did his carting with an ox, and he generally carted up by Oldman, always asking leave to do so.  He did not remember Grieve ever carting across Standpretty. He knew the bridge crossing the boundary ditch between Standcrown and Standpretty. Mr Mowat (of Standpretty) had put it there along with Mr Grieve. It was done as an obligement to Grieve, but subsequently they had some disagreement and Mowat stopped Grieve.

Mr Robertson had no questions to ask.

This concluded the evidence, the hearing of which lasted four hours. The case continues for debate.

1936 April 22 Orkney Herald

EVIE – FISHING. – The lobster season has opened, and fishing operations are again resumed. With gear replenished the fishers have put to sea and renewed their acquaintance with their old fishing grounds. They have made a fair start, but the weather has been disappointing, rough seas often preventing them reaching their creels. Round about Eynhallow some of these days the sea has been a boiling cauldron – unapproachable.

1936 May 20 Orkney Herald




A Stone Age burial cairn at Hullion on the Island of Rousay, was described in a paper by Dr J. Graham Callander, F.S.A. Scot., and Mr Walter G. Grant, F.S.A.Scot., at the monthly meeting of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland in the Library of the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland, Edinburgh last week.

The cairn – the Knowe of Ramsay – was the third monument of its type on the island of Rousay to be described before the Society, the others being the Midhowe Cairn and the Knowe of Yarso. The three showed the same general features – an entrance passage leading into a long narrow gallery divided into compartments by vertical slabs set in pairs opposite each other, and projecting inwards from the lateral walls so as to form a series of stalls on each side of the gallery or chamber. The last mentioned two cairns, however, had a face of building within the thick wall, and in the outer facing the slabs were laid obliquely instead of on the flat. In the Knowe of Ramsay, however, there was no inner face of walling, and the outer face consisted of ordinary building. At the northern end and for a short distance along the north-west side was an outer facing wall. Near the south end on the south-east face was a short section of walling jutting out at right angles from the main structure, which seemed to belong to a later date.

Dilapidated Condition. – The Knowe of Ramsay was in a terribly dilapidated condition, the whole of the superstructure having been removed to provide building material for houses and dykes in the immediate vicinity.

The entrance passage measured 6 ft. 3 ins. in length, and 1 ft. 8 ins, in width, while the gallery measured 88 ft. in length and about 5 ft. in general width, the walls on each side being reduced to a height of 4 ft. 6 ins. or less. It was divided into 14 cells.

As for relics, only a very few fragments of pottery and some pieces of flint were recovered. Human remains were found in three of the cells, but too fragmentary to give an indication of their period. Two of the skeletons were probably those of male adults, one showing evidence of chronic rheumatism. Some animal and bird bones were also found. Ox, red deer, and sheep were identified amongst the animal bones, and duck, cormorant, gannet, bittern, goose, swan, sea-eagle, and great auk amongst the birds.

The walls of the chamber showed signs of burning in many places, and some of the human and animal bones were blackened by fire.

Reindeer Antlers. – Miss Margery I. Platt, M.Sc., of the Royal Scottish Museum, Edinburgh, submitted a short paper describing reindeer antlers of record size. The antlers comprise a complete pair attached to the frontal bones, and a third single antler of the left side. Both of these are the property of Mr Walter G. Grant, of Trumland. They were dug out of the peat on Westness, near Muckle Water Loch, Rousay, in an approximate position of 59 degs. 9 mins. N., 3 degs. 4 mins. W., many years ago. Only one other antler of great size (approximately 3 feet) has been recorded previously, and it is interesting to note that this, too, was found in the peat on the same island. The reindeer is adapted to persistent cold, and it is the only species of deer which ever populated the icy floes and bare tundras. These facts indicate that reindeer of large size and good condition existed in prehistoric times on the island of Rousay, when the race generally was retreating northwards from extensive southerly localities in Europe, driven by a steadily increasing warmth of climate.





No lives were lost when the trawler Morvina, of Grimsby, ran ashore last Wednesday morning on Kili Holm. Egilshay. The trawler, however, was badly damaged, and sank when, later in the day, she was towed off by the s.s. Earl Sigurd.

Some of the crew of nine were taken off the wrecked ship by the Earl Sigurd. The skipper and two others stayed aboard until the attempt at towing was tried. Not till it was obvious that the trawler would not float in deep water did they leave. They were taken off by the Stromness lifeboat, which had arrived on the scene. The skipper of the trawler jumped from the sinking vessel into the sea and swam to the lifeboat…..

The stranding occurred in the early morning during dense fog. Efforts were made by the crew to get the ship off, but these failed and distress signals were flown. These were seen by the Earl Sigurd, which was then on her way to North Ronaldshay. Captain Bremner went to the Morvina’s assistance. A Rousay motor boat was also on the spot, offering what assistance she could. Two of the trawler’s crew went off in the Morvina’s boat with a hawser to the Earl Sigurd. Four more of the Grimsbymen went aboard the Earl Sigurd, the skipper, mate and chief engineer remaining on board the Morvina.

At high tide the Earl Sigurd attempted to tow the Morvina off. It became obvious, however, that the Morvina was too badly damaged to float once she reached deep water, and the remaining members of the crew had no alternative to leave her.

The Stromness lifeboat, which had been called out, arrived on the scene at an opportune moment, and manoeuvred skilfully alongside the Morvina to allow the three trawlermen to come aboard. The chief engineer and the mate jumped aboard the lifeboat to safety, but the Morvina was by this time in so critical a position, and liable to roll under, that the skipper could not risk waiting for the lifeboat to manoeuvre alongside a second time, and he leaped into the sea and swam to the lifeboat. He was pulled aboard none the worse for his immersion. The lifeboat transferred the rescued men to the Sigurd and set off back to Stromness.

The Sigurd, leaving the trawler lying partly submerged, set off for North Ronaldshay with the rescued crew, and afterwards brought them into Kirkwall.

The motor boat from Rousay, which went out to the wreck and rendered able assistance was the Evie-Rousay mail-boat, operated by Mr Thomas Sinclair. Mr Sinclair made several journeys out to the Morvina and carried messages ashore to be telegraphed for the information of the lifeboat and the Coastguard authorities.

The Stromness lifeboat left her base about 11 a.m., and had a good run to the scene of the wreck. She was in charge of Second Coxswain Robert Greig. The time of the Morvina’s stranding is reported as 7.15 a.m.

1936 June 3 Orkney Herald

EVIE – MR ROBERTSON GOES TO HIS ISLAND. – Mr Duncan J. Robertson, O.B.E., proprietor of Eynhallow [and County Clerk of Orkney], crossed to his bird sanctuary last Friday. The weather was not all that could be desired, but the journey was made pretty comfortably. Mr Robertson, with his family party, will spend his usual annual holiday on the island, and we hope he will have the best of weather, and get all the rest and enjoyment he deserves, to come back greatly benefited by his stay, and his study of bird life in this quiet spot.

1936 June 10 Orkney Herald



Sheriff Brown has issued his decision in the Rousay interdict case, Costie v. Craigie. The verdict is in favour of the pursuer, Mrs Ann Costie, widow, Pretty or Standpretty, who craved the court to interdict William Craigie, Stan Crunie or Standcrown, from trespassing on her land. Pursuer and defender are neighbour farmers. Agents in the action were: – For pursuer, Mr C. E. S. Walls, solicitor (Messrs T. P. and J. L. Low, Kirkwall); for defender, Mr Duncan J. Robertson, solicitor (Messrs Macrae and Robertson, Kirkwall).

Sheriff Brown’s interlocutor is in the following terms: –

Kirkwall, 2nd June, 1936. – The Sheriff Substitute having resumed consideration of the cause, together with the proof and productions, finds in fact (1) that the pursuer is heritable proprietor of the holding of Standpretty in the island of Rousay, in virtue of a disposition, No. 4 of process, dated 11th, 16th, and 17th September, 1925; (2) that the defender is heritable proprietor of the holding of Standcrown, marching with the holding of Standpretty on the south-east, in virtue of a disposition, No. 13 of process, dated 21st, 24th, and 26th October, 1925; (3) that for a long period of years the lands of Standpretty and Standcrown, which were the property of General Sir Frederick Traill Burroughs, or his Trustees, were occupied by a succession of tenants; (4) that during this period, though not without interruption, the occupiers of Standcrown had, by tolerance, liberty of passage over the lands of Standpretty; (5) that the only access to Standcrown is not of necessity across Standpretty: Finds in law (1) that up till 1925 no servitude or implied right of access or passage in favour of Standcrown had been constituted over Standpretty; (2) that the defender has not by his title obtained an implied grant of a valid servitude right of way or access over the lands of Standpretty for any purpose: Therefore repels the defences, sustains the pleas-in-law stated by the pursuer, and grants decree in terms of the first, second and fourth craves of the initial writ: Finds the defender liable to the pursuer in the expenses of the process, allows an account thereof to be given in, and remits the same, when lodged, to the Auditor of Court to tax and to report. – (Signed) GEORGE BROWN.

1936 June 24 Orkney Herald

EVIE – THE PEATS COME HOME. – After many weeks of splendid drying conditions, the peats are ready for burning, and the moors are being cleared of their produce. Every day now, the rumble of the peat carts on the rocky hill roads may be heard as the crisp turves are being conveyed to the home stance. Here they are masoned into fine stacks, where they repose until required to be withdrawn to keep the home fires burning. Of excellent quality this year, they will form fuel equal to coal in heat-giving properties, and superior in their aromatic flavour and cleanness to handle. Long live the peats!

1936 August 26 Orkney Herald

WYRE – SHIPMENTS OF HORSES. – Another horse was shipped from the island last Monday, which makes the number four from the island this year. The shipping of horses is no easy matter. They have first to be sent over to Rousay in a cobble boat, and then shipped on to the steamer. The people of Wyre are, however, trying for a pier, and if they get one, it will prove the biggest boon the isle has ever known.

FARM WORK. – The past week has been one of many jobs for the farmer – looking round, seeing that everything is in place before cutting starts. Scuffling [shallow ploughing] is now almost finished, and the turnips are doing well. Wednesday, 12th August, was sheep dipping day. The Wyre farmers dip their sheep in the old-fashioned way, lifting the animals into a wooden tank, then on to a dripper. The sheep are always held on their backs. This puts a heavy strain on the man; besides, it is a job that requires 7 or 8 men in oilskins to dip one sheep. It is about time the men on this island had a more convenient way of dipping.

1936 September 4 The Scotsman

          A “monster” reported seen off Rousay, one of the Orkney islands, is declared by local experts to have been a great-headed cachalot [Great Spermaceti], a member of the whale family. The two fins which were visible gave the suggestion of horns.

1936 September 23 Orkney Herald

WYRE – MEASLES. – There has been an outbreak of measles in the island, but it seems to have died down, as there are no more cases to date. It is to be hoped it will not spread, as there are quite a number of people who have not had the disease.

SHEEP DIPPING. – The people of the island have decided on having a concrete sheep dipping tank. They are well on with the job now, and will be using it for the next dipping, which will be shortly. It will be a great improvement upon the old method of dipping. Mr William Pottinger, Stronsay, is doing the mason work, and is making a first class job.

HARVESTING. – All the crop is now in the band, and is a fairly good crop over all. The farmers’ biggest worry now is stooks, which are in a very poor condition owing to the calm, misty weather of the past week or more. In some cases the stooks have been pulled over to dry the inside of the sheaf, and even the sheaves had to be loosened before the growth of the grain could be checked.

1936 October 14 Orkney Herald

WYRE – LAMB SHIPMENTS. – Lambs are being shipped now every Monday and will soon all be away. Good prices have been realised, some lambs selling at 50s. earlier in the season. Prices are better than those obtained last year.

HARVEST. – Leading is now finished and stacks are built on various fields. Some houses have six, eight, and more stacks outside the cornyard, the reason being that the cleanland crop being in poor order, farmers were glad to get it together when it was dry, no matter where they built the stacks. Tile crop is a good bulk in most cases.

[Good to see the appearance of a Wyre correspondent – whose contributions I will use, all the time there is little or nothing forthcoming from Rousay!]

1936 October 21 Orkney Herald

EVIE – STORM AND RESULTS. – After a long period of fine weather and calm blue seas, the elements have at last been stirred up into violence and a change has come over the face of the waters and the countryside. Tremendous seas have swept in from the west these days, rising in huge columns and breaking over the headlands of Scabra. Eynhallow has been lying in a bed of surf, and the sound almost hidden with the smoke of the spray. Vegetation has been blackened by the battering of the forces of wind and wet, and showers of leaves torn from the trees have been swirling through the air and over the ground. The wind reached its greatest force on Saturday night when, accompanied by heavy showers, its impact strained to the utmost such things as corn-stacks, hen houses. etc. Little damage, however, was done. Boats lying at anchor had a tough fight, one breaking from the moorings and coming ashore, Mr J. Mount’s motor boat. The Rousay mail boat was driven in at the other side of the sound. The greatest loss sustained was that of sheep washed off the skerry on Eynhallow, the exact number not yet known. Several came ashore at Rousay on Sunday morning.

WYRE – THE GALE. – A storm of unusual severity was experienced here last Saturday. At high water the wind was very strong, and got gradually worse towards evening, reaching its height about 7 or 8 p.m. No damage of any consequence was done. A few stacks were blown over, and one or two hen houses. The boat used for boating cattle off to the steamer filled at her moorings about the time the wind was strongest.

1936 October 26 Dundee Evening Telegraph

Orkney Distillery Staff’s Gift to Employer. – Walter G. Grant, F.S.A. (Scot.), Kirkwall, and Trumland, Rousay, whose practical interest in the development of civil aviation in the Orkney Islands was again demonstrated recently by his provision of a site for the Air Ministry directional radio station, was honoured to-day on the occasion of his silver wedding.

The staff of Highland Park Distillery, Kirkwall, of which he proprietor, presented Mr and Mrs Grant with a case of silver and ivory fish knives and servers, the gift being handed over by Mr James Stout, the oldest employee.

1936 November 7 The Scotsman

LAYING A TELEGRAPH CABLE IN ORKNEY. – His Majesty’s telegraph ship Alert is employing this week-end a Kirkwall auxiliary ketch, the Wharrie Glen, for shallow water work, in laying a new cable between Evie, on the Orkney mainland, and the island of Rousay, across Eynhallow Sound. Over two miles of cable will be laid. The old cable will not be lifted.

1936 November 25 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – PRIZE DAY IN SOURIN PUBLIC SCHOOL. – A very pleasant little ceremony took place in the Sourin School on the afternoon of Friday, 20th inst., when Mr Hugh Mainland, Hurtiso, district member of the School Management Committee, presented the attendance and merit prizes for the year ending July 31, 1936. When the whole school had assembled in the Senior Room, Mr John R. Wallace, in a short speech, welcomed Mr Mainland, who suitably replied, and then proceeded to present the prizes to the successful pupils. At the end of this part of the ceremony, Mr Mainland said that he wanted all the pupils to have something to take home, and he delighted everyone by asking Miss Margaret J. C. Cooper to hand out to each pupil a grand, big bag of sweets. Before he left, Mr Mainland received the right hearty vote of thanks he deserved. The prize list is as follows: – Attendance (presented by the School Management Committee) – Perfect Attendance – Edith H. Gibson, Bungalow; John D. Grieve, Digro; Dorothy M. Mainland, Hurtiso; Ernest Mainland, Hurtiso. Good attendance – John C. Harcus, Clumpy; Ann Lynn, Ervadale; Hugh Lyon, Ervadale; Robert C. Marwick, Innister; Margaret A. Munro, Breval; John C. Seatter, Banks; Thelma Shearer, Curquoy; Hugh S. Yorston, Frotoft P.O. Merit (presented by the teachers) – Infants – Thelma Shearer, Curquoy; Junior II – George Grieve, Cruannie; Senior III – 1 Ernest Mainland, Hurtiso; 2 Hugh Lyon, Ervadale; Senior II – 1 Kathleen Linklater, Blossom; 2 Netta A. Russell, Brendale; Senior I – 1 Edith H. Gibson, Bungalow; 2 John C. Harcus, Clumpy; 2nd Year Advanced Division – 1 Ann Lyon, Ervadale; 2 Robert C. Marwick, Innister.

1936 December 16 Orkney Herald



The constitutional crisis ended last Thursday – but in a manner that saddened the Nation and the Empire – with the abdication of King Edward the Eighth.

On Saturday King Edward’s successor, his brother, Prince Albert, Duke of York, was proclaimed in London King of Great Britain and the Dominions. He has taken as his title King George the Sixth. The warmth of the welcome accorded the new King indicates that he will be no less popular than his unlucky brother…..

1936 December 30 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – SOURIN SCHOOL CHRISTMAS TREAT. – In spite of lashing rain, muddy roads, and no moon, practically the whole of Sourin’s population splashed their way to the Sourin Hall on Friday, 18th inst. In the hall, which was tastefully decorated with streamers, clusters of balloons, and evergreens, the outstanding feature was the Rousay-grown Christmas tree, with its load of toys, gay decorations, tinsel and coloured electric bulbs. The children’s games began shortly after six, and were continued with great enthusiasm until 7.45, when biscuits were served. At 8 o’clock, the school children made their contribution to the evening’s entertainment by giving a short concert programme. The children themselves were in charge of the programme, each item, including the opening speech of welcome, being announced and rendered by the pupils. The applause of their audience showed how very highly their efforts were appreciated.

Supper followed, and then a loud knock-knock at the main door announced the arrival of good old Santa Claus. Each child, after being presented by Santa with a toy from the tree, received a cracker, an orange, an apple, a bar of chocolate, and a balloon. As Santa left the hall, he received the rousing cheers he thoroughly deserved. The jolly family atmosphere continued through the happy hours of dancing, which lasted till 1.30, when “Auld Lang Syne” brought to a close what everyone voted the best treat yet.

The committee wish to thank all the kind friends who gave assistance, financial or otherwise, and the willing musicians, who so readily provided the music.

Annexed is the programme: – Round, “Xmas is Here,” Ann Lyon, Sally Linklater, Mabel Grieve, Isobel Pirie, Jean Marwick, Netta Russell, Edith Gibson, Dorothy Mainland, Hugh Yorston, Andrew Clouston, John Grieve. John Seatter; recitation, “The Work of the Railway Train,” Chrissie Grieve, Dorothy Munro, Peggy Corsie, Thelma Shearer, Ernest Mainland, George Grieve, Tommy Linklater, Robert Munro, Robert Lyon, Edward Seatter, James Harcus; dialogue, “The Candidate,” Tommy Linklater and Ernest Mainland; mouth organ selections, John Seatter, Gordon Taylor, Archer Clouston, John Grieve; dialogue, “Jack and Jill,” Peggy Corsie and Edward Seatter; recitation, “The House that Jack built,” Thelma Shearer, Chrissie Grieve, George Grieve, Arnold Grieve, Hugh Lyon, Gordon Taylor, Kathie Linklater, Bertie Grieve, Tommy Linklater, Ernest Mainland, Jean Marwick, John Harcus; sketch, “The Deaf Grandma,” Netta Russell, Chrissie Grieve, Thelma Shearer, and George Grieve; Christmas carol, “Good King Wenceslas,” Ann Lyon, Sally Linklater, Mabel Grieve, Isobel Pirie, Jean Marwick, Netta Russell, Edith Gibson, Dorothy Mainland, Hugh Yorston, Archer Clouston, John Grieve, John Seatter; dialogue, “The Two Cousins,” Ann Lyon and Isobel Pirie; mouth organ selections, John Seatter, Gordon Taylor, Archer Clouston, John Grieve; selection of Nursery Rhymes, Peggy Corsie, James Harcus and Edward Seatter; sketch, “Lightning Cures,” John Grieve, Hugh Yorston, Angus Harcus, Mabel Grieve, Sally Linklater; dialogue, “Love’s Young Dream,” Kathie Linklater and John Harcus; recitation, “The Rainbow,” Jean Marwick, John Harcus, Edith Gibson, Bertie Grieve, Dorothy Mainland, Gordon Taylor, Kathie Linklater, Archer Clouston; “God Save the King.” Announcers and stage managers – Archer Clouston, Hugh Yorston, John Grieve and John Seatter. Dressers – Ann Lyon and Isobel Pirie.