Thomas Marwick

Thomas Marwick 1896 – 1973

James Kirkness, Quoyostray, later Grain, Wasbister, was 22 years of age when he married 21-year-old Grace Craigie of Deithe in 1842. They had five children; James, born March 28th 1843; Isabella in 1846; Janet in 1849; Mary in 1850; and John, who was born in 1857. John became a stonemason and married Isabella Ann Mainland of Gorehouse. They had two children; John born in 1881, and Mary, who was born the following year. John built a new house at Grain, but tragically drowned when a small boat he was in capsized in Eynhallow Sound at noon on March 18th 1884.

Within a year his widow Isabella married again, this time to 21-year-old Hugh Marwick of Whitemeadows. He was one of ten children born to Hugh Marwick of Quoys, Wasbister, later Whitemeadows, and Mary Inkster of Innister. The oldest, Janet, was born in November 1859; Sarah Ann was born in April 1862; Hugh, in November 1864; David, in September 1866; James Mowat in June 1869; William in July 1871; Thomas in June 1873; John in November 1875; Alexander in December 1878; and Magnus in October 1880. Their parents Hugh and Mary died in 1882 within a month of each other. Seven of the children were younger than 18 when they were orphaned.

Grain in Wasbister – built by John Kirkness

Back to Hugh and Isabella Marwick, now living at Grain, where they raised a family of five – three boys and two girls. First-born was Hugh, born on October 19th 1886; Sarah Ann was born on March 4th 1890; Ida, on June 4th 1894; Thomas, on March 8th 1896; and James Gibson, who was born on October 28th 1899. Hugh married Mary Leonard, Cruannie; Sarah Ann married John Corsie, Knarston, later Orphir; Ida married John Flett and lived in Kirkcaldy; James Gibson married Sally Craigie of Furse; and Thomas married Emily Seatter Craigie of Everybist.

Emily was one of seven daughters born to Alexander Gibson Craigie of Falquoy, later Everybist, and Jane Elizabeth Gillespie. She was born on February 17th 1891. She and Thomas were married on May 6th 1921, after banns according to the terms of the Established Church of Scotland. Thomas, then aged 25, was working as a gamekeeper on the Trumland estate, while Emily earned a living as a domestic servant. John Williamson was the officiating minister and Emily’s sister Ivy Cooper Craigie and Thomas’s brother James Gibson Marwick were witnesses.

Both Thomas and Emily suffered from bad health, and there came a time they decided to move south, hoping a more suitable climate would help them. Before he left Rousay, Thomas was handed a letter of reference by John Logie, former butler to the late Lieutenant General Frederick William Traill-Burroughs at Trumland House, and later Land Steward and Caretaker. At the time of writing he was resident at Rose Cottage, and his letter reads as follows:-

18th June 1927. Rose Cottage, Rousay.

This is to certify that I have known the bearer – Thomas Marwick all his life. He always bore a good character and was constantly employed at farm work while a young man until he “joined up” in 1915.

He served in France, was wounded and served until the end of the war. He was at Admiralty work for one year and was then employed by me for a year when he became tenant of the Glebe farm, Rousay, which he farmed successfully for four years when he had to give it up owing to his wife’s health. She being ordered by her doctor to do no work whatever.

I can with every confidence recommend him as a hardworking, willing, obliging, honest and trust-worthy man, capable to take full management of a farm.

John Logie.

Emily and Thomas had one child, Moira, before Emily sadly died in April 1930. It was her wish to be buried in Rousay, and below is the inscription on her gravestone in the Wasbister kirkyard:-

“God hath appointed a day.”
Erected by Thomas Marwick
in memory of his beloved wife
Emily Seatter Craigie who died
19th April 1930 aged 39 years.

On September 17th 1937 Thomas married Isabella Jack at Avoch Congregational Church. At that time Thomas was a 41-year-old chauffeur at Flowerburn House at Rosemarkie on the Black Isle where 30-year-old Isabella was employed as a house/table maid. Her parents were Robert Jack, a fisherman, and Janet Skinner. James Sutherland worked for many years within the Public Works Department of the Government of India before returning to the UK, and he purchased Flowerburn in the 1920s. His wife, Norah Kathleen Karine Dawson, became very active in the community, acting as President of Rosemarkie and Fortrose WRI in the 1930s.

Thomas and Isabella’s wedding day – 1937
Flowerburn House, Rosemarkie

Thomas and Isabella had three children, the youngest of whom is Mary, who married Neil Mowat. Mary, who now lives in Linlithgow, West Lothian, was very kind to send the letter of reference and the accompanying images to Rousay Remembered. Here are her comments regarding the rest of her father’s life:-

“After getting married they lived in Edinburgh where my brother and I were born but they moved back to live in Avoch where my dad started a fruit and vegetable business in 1950. He worked hard to make it succeed but fell ill and was for a long time unable to work which meant the end of the business. He had been wounded during WWI and for the rest of his life had a bullet in his lung which caused him problems as he got older. However he recovered and worked until he was in his seventies, again doing chauffeuring work and other things. He loved gardening and did that for some years before he died in 1973 aged 76. Dad is buried in Avoch as is my mother. I loved my dad dearly and I never heard him speak a bad word against anyone. I now wish I had asked him more about life in Rousay when he was young. We visited when he was older but I think now that I didn’t ask him enough at that time.

Interestingly dad always called mum Isobel as that was how she was known when they met and worked in Flowerburn. He was the only one who called her that as her family called her Isie. One of our granddaughters is now called Isabella Jack so the name continues down the family. She, for the present anyway, is known as Isabella! My brother Dennis (christened Thomas Dennis) is a twin but his twin brother died at birth and was never named. Dad’s best man was his cousin Alec whose father, I think, was dad’s uncle John who had an egg merchant’s business in Edinburgh. I believe dad’s half brother John died young as did his half sister Mary who was married to Charles Louttit.

When I was born my auntie Ida gave me Mary’s wedding ring and then, many years later, my cousin Madgie (also known as Meg), on a visit home from Australia, gave me two little photos of Mary and Charles which had been in Mary’s locket and which Madgie’s mother, Sarah, had been given when her half sister died. I still treasure them. Neil and I got married in 1966 and have now enjoyed more than fifty years of happily married life. We have three children, a daughter and two sons, and now have ten grandchildren.”

Thomas and his daughter Mary on her wedding day in 1966
– and the ring and locket photos.