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KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 



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IN THE 



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B. H. HOSSACK 

Craigiefiblo, Kirkwall 



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ICIRKWALL 

WILLIAM PEACE & SON 

1900 



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PREFACE. 



ji(i\'^HE main object of this book is to keep alive the memories of some of the people 
whose names are associated with the history of our ancient Burgh, and who have 

?left in its records a local reputation. To accomplish this end in a systematic 
manner, it has seemed best to associate the persons with the houses in which 
) they lived. 

C In a few cases it is difficult to fix the site of an ancient dwelling. Long ago, 

with comparatively few inhabitants, Kirkwall could allow each house a kail-yard and a 
peat-brae ; but, as population increased, these spaces were built upon, making it anything 
but easy to dissect out the position of the original dwelling. 

In seeking information about our old tenements, the writer has persistently worried 
present proprietors, from the Shore to the Head of the town, and he has to thank them 
all for their courteous and kindly help. 

Our Kecords of Sasine, which date from the middle of the seventeenth century, show 
the changes of ownership since that time, and in some instances, by the use of a name 
which "of old" was borne by a particular tenement, a ray of light is cast upon that 
house which enables us to go back upon its story, perhaps a century and a half previous 
to the event recorded. 

Family papers, public documents, such as Town Council minutes. Session records, 
Sheriff Court books, and diaries, notably that of Thomas Brown, give us an insight into 
the lives and conduct of our forebears. In making use of such papers, a writer is often 
led to chronicle very small beer indeed ; but, in a little community like ours, the authenti- 
cated gossip of two centuries ago forms to-day an important contribution to our social 
history. 

In the following pages, with the exception of public buildings, the old part of the 
town alone is dealt with, and the very attractive period, where memory merges into 
tradition, is left untouched. Old memories are treacherous, and tradition unreliable. 

The writer begs to thank the many friends, too numerous to name, in Orkney and 
in the South, who have kindly given him assistance. 

CsAioiBFiELD, Srd December 1900. 



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CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. -INTRODUCTORY. 

Agrioola's Voyage— The Qrcades — Old References— Mission of PAlladius— Corinac's Mission — 
Position of Kirkwall— Hound Towers — Coming of the Vikings — Harald of Norway — his 
Invasion — Extinction of Christianity in the Islands — Reintroduction — Norwegian Earls 
— Brusison's Church in Kirkwall— St. Olaf s— Thorfinn's in Birsay— Christ's Kirk— Earl 
Magnus — his Death — Earl Hakon — Rognwald II. — his Vow — Swein of Gairsay — Bishop 
William the Old— his Pilgrimage— the Three Earls— Erlend's Death— Feuds— Ronald's 
Death — Harald and Swein — Swein's Death — the Angus Earls — the Annual of Norway 
— Stratheme Line — St. Clairs — Kirkwall Castle I 

CHAPTER II.— THE CASTLE. 

Scandinavian Kingdoms United — Court of Earl Henry II. — Capture of Prince James of Scotland 
—Earl William— Bishop Thomas Tuiloch's ** Diploma"— Bishop William Tulloch— his 
Imprisonment by William the Waster— Marriage of James III. and Margaret of Den- 
mark — Impignoration of the Islands — St. Clair Estates Confiscated — Father Hay's 
Account of the St. Clairs — Bishop Andrew — the Burgh Charter — Sir James Sinclair — 
Battle of Summerdale — Visit of James V. — Oliver Sinclair — James Hepburn, Duke of 
Orkney— Gilbert Balfour— Earl Robert— Earl Patrick— Earl's Palace built— Bishop Law 
— Siege and Demolition of Kirkwall Castle 15- 

CHAPTER IIL— THE CATHEDRAL. 

Rognwald's Vow — Site of Cathedral — Kol's Work — Remains of St. Magnus removed from Birsay 
— See transferred to Kirkwall — Cardinal Nicolas — Dimensions of the Cathedral as first 
Designed — Bishop Stewart's Addition — Bishop Reid's — Marwick's Hole — Sir Henry 
Dry den's Description — Masons' ** Marks " — the Spire— the Pyramid— Cowper's Ha' — the 
Bells — Bishop Maxwell's Gift — the Clock — Communion Cups — Collection Plates — 
Upkeep of the Building — the Meason Bequest — Town Council's Neglect . . . 2& 

CHAPTER IV.— THE CHURCH. 

Cathedral Altars and Endowments— Masters of Grammar School and Sang School — Screen — 
Lofts : Grahams', Dicks', Magistrates', Sailors', Scholars', Strangers', St. Clairs', 
Stewarts' Lofts— Pulpit— Pews— Earl's Seat — Stalls— Disputes over Sittings — Church 
White-washed — Ministers — Readers — Desecration 3^ 

CHAPTER v.— CATHEDRAL AS BURIAL-PLACE. 

Relics of St. Magnus — Earl Erlend buried — William the Old— Earl Ronald — Margaret, Maid of 
Norway — Bishop Tuiloch's Tomb— Captain Patricio — *' El Gran Grifon" Wrecked on 



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Xll CONTENTS. 

Fair Isle — William Henryson's Tom))stone — Burial- Place of Earl Robert Stewart — of 
Lord Adam — William, Earl of Morton — Bishop Honyman — Bishop Mackenzie — Craigie's 
Burial-place— Covingtrie's— Recessed Arch— Tombstones of Irving of Sabay and others 
— Nicolson's Mort-brod — a Son Sells his Father's Tombstone— Dr Baikie's Cenotaph — 
Dr Rae's Monument 49 

CHAPTER VI. -THE BISHOP'S PALACE. 

Early Bishops ot Orkney — Rjarui the Scald — Lay of the Jomsburg Vikings — Bishop Henry I. — 
Haco*s Expedition— Battle of Largs— Haco's Death— Troubles of Bishop William III. — 
Bishop Thomas TuUoch gets the Secular Government of Orkney —his "Diploma" — 
William TuUoch — Encroachments on the Royal Revenue — Bishop Stewart— Bishop 
Thomas' Endowment — Bishop Maxwell — Visit of James V. — Bishop Reid — his Missions 
to France — Death of Queen Magdalen — Mournings First Worn in Scotland — Reid 
Reorganises the Cathedral StaflF — his Death— his Monument— English Fleet sent to 
Orkney — Bishop Both well — Reformation — Square Tower — Water Gate . . . ,58 

CHAPTER VII.— THE EARL'S PALACE. 

Earl Patrick's Palace — Scott's Description — Palace given to the Bishops — Bishop La W;— Apostolic 
Succession — Excambion between King and Bishop — Law saves the Cathedral — Bishop 
Graham — his Deposition— TuUoch of Langskaill— Graham acquires Breckness — Graham's 
W'ife — their Sous — Bishop Baron — Morton gets the Earldom — Rents the Palace — 
An-ival of Montrose— his Defeat and Execution — Letter of the Orkney Ministers to 
Montrose — Archbishop Sharpe— Bishop Sydserff — Bishop Honyman — Bishop Mackenzie 
— the Bishop Cup — Marriages of Bishop's Daughters — Bishop Bruce — Elphinston of 
Lopness — Menzies of Raws— Douglas of Egilshay and others, Tacksmen of the Bishopric 
— Slates from Lord Morton's House — Memorial regarding Ruins of Palace . . .73 

CHAPTER VIII. —TOWN HALL. 

** Up-the-Gates" and ** Down- the- Gates " — Early Provosts— ** The House called Tountgar" — 
Parliament Close— Kirkwall sends Commissioner to Convention of Royal Burghs — 
Orkney **to bruicke its awen Lawes" — comes under Scots Law — a Tolbooth acquired — 
the *' Ridgeland" — Escapes from Tolbooth — Langirons — Deaths in ToUM)oth — Long 
Impnsonrnents — Burgess Tickets — Unfree Traders — Complimentary Tickets — Dis- 
tinguished Burgesses — Elections for the Northern Burghs — Fox Elected — Dispute 
between Kirkwall and Stromness — Riding the Marches — Gow the Pirate — a New 
Tolbooth — Assemblies— Extinct Trades — New Town Hall— Council Reconstituted . . 96 

CHAPTER IX.— THE STREETS : SHORE AND RAMPARTS. 

Threefold Division of Kirkwall — Shore Street — Butter Storehouse— Tounigar — Gockhall — Queen's 
Hotel— the Ramparts — Townspeople Armed — House **of old called the Inns" — its 
Builder and Occupants— Orkney Golf Club — Girnell House — Traill of Elsness— Traill's 
Folly— the Pier— Old Time Shipping— New Pier 117 

CHAPTER X.— BRIDGE STREET. 

Bridge Street — Rev. George Spence — ScoUay's Inn — Scott's Visit — House of Captain Leask, 
afterwards Dr Logic's — John and David Covingtrie — Rev. Thomas Covingtrie — Com- 
mercial Bank Agency Established — Craigie of Gairsay — Captain Peter W^inchester — 
William Patterson, Surgeon — William Watt Bain — his Death 133 



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CONTENTS. Xlll 

CHAPTER XI. -BRIDGE STREET, EAST SIDE. 

John Cuthbert — John Curaiter — Clickimin — the Fea Family — the Forty -five-Burnintf of the 
House of Sound— the Kelp Industry— the "Kelp Riot"— the Piper's House— Piper's 
Memorial— Irving of Sabay's House — Sinclairs of Sal>ay — Walter Fcanie, Litster — Rev. 
John Wilson— Interference in Church Matters l>y Rol)ert Elphinston— Wm. Traill, 
Treasurer— Town Council Convivialities — Sir James Sinclair of Mey — Anchor Close — the 
Gallery — Kennedies of Stroma — their Tomb — Gallery rebuilt by James Traill of Wood- 
wick — George William Traill — General Burroughs— St. Ola's Church — the Poor House- 
Poor House, Business Premises — the Dishington Family — Letter of Sir Hew Dairy mple 
— "Old Guard-House Yard "—"Lang Stean"—Hempow— the Burgh . . . .144 

CHAPTER XII.— BRIDGE TO LONG GUTTER. 

The " Midtown " — Long Gutter — the Drummonds, weavers — John White's Close —Brouns of 
Weyland — Sinclairs of Campstane— Rev. James Wallace — his " Description of Orkney " 
— Liddells of Hammer— the "Cros^ House "—an Election of the Council reduced — ^Traill 
of Frotoft— the W^att Family — Alexander Geddes, Skipper and Bailie — Traill of Quen- 
dale, Provost — the Dowcot — Parliament Close — Buchanan of Sound — the Kaas — 
Warren's Walk 16» 

CHAPTER XIII.-LONG GUTTER TO STRYND. 

Baikie of Burness — William Laughton — Town Borrows from Laughton — Hell and Purgatory — 
Sinclair of Essenquoy — " A Drunken Orkney Asse" — Edward Cock — Stainigair's Land 
— Wilson of Hunclet — Davidson's Land — Dr Fea's Account of Orkney — Strang of 
Lopness — Arthur Buchanan — Margaret Buxtoun — Elspet Ballenden's Lapse — the 
"Meikle" Kirk3''ard — Andrew Ross — the Lindsays — the Linen Trade— the Groats — 
Vaccination — ** Brassy " — the Union Bank — Reward for Shooting an Eagle — Duke of 
Clarence visits Kirkwall — the Broadfoots — Neill's **Tour" — Mounthoolie — the Balfours 
— Moncrieff of Rapness — Orhiey Herald — Heddles of Cletts and of Melsetter — Henrysons 
of Holland — Youngs of Castleyards — Riddochs — PoUexfens- Stewarts of Burray . . 18S 

CHAPTER XIV.— BROAD STREET. 

Earl Patrick's Blacksmiths— Bess Hoy — Captain Knightson — Graham and Baikie Mutual Assault 
— the South Blockhonse — Fleshmarket — Morrison's Houses in the Strynd — Castle Hotel — 
Laverock — Bishop Reid's Chapter— the Provostrie — the Halcro Family — the Dicks — the 
Thesaurie — the Sub-chantry — the Archdeanery — ^Tankemess House — Gilbert Foulzie — 
the Chancellor's House — Sir William Dick of Braid — Andrew Dick — Prince Family — 
New Town Hall— Post Office — the Traills — Andrew Ross — Harry Erburie— the Craigies 
—the Baikies of Burness— Rev. Thomas Baikie ousts Mr Wilson from the Pulpit— 
Baikies of Tankerness— Arthur Baikie— Monteith of Egilshay — Douglas of Spynie — the 
Glebe — the Meeting-House — Struggle between Episcopacy and Presbyterianism — 
Banishments to Orkney — Mr Sands accused of Sheep- Stealing — Proclamation of James 
VIIL— Smythe of Braco 22S? 

CHAPTER XV.— THE GRAMMAR SCHOOL. 

Grammar School — Teachers — Endowments — Sang School — Isbister Mortification — Ba* Money — 
Private Tutors, Chaplains or Levites — Struggle for Patronage between Church and 
Magistracy— Fees— New School to be built in Churchyard— Interdict — Site on Pabdale 
grarited— Number of Pupils— Present Condition 261 



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3:1V CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER XVI.— PALACE STREET. 

Long Tenement— Hony man of Graemsay— Lord Braxfield— Marriage of Richard Honjrroan— 

Stewarts of Grwmsay— William Orem— Charles Stewart, Stewart Clerk .... 279 

CHAPTER XVIL— THE KIRK GREEN. 

Old Town Hall— Wreck of the "Crown," with Covenanters— Monument— Arthur Murray's 

Guard-House—** Jongs" — Market Cross 284 

CHAPTER XVIIL— VICTORIA STREET. 

Chaplain's Chamber— Subdean's Lodging— Buchanan of Sandside — Calder's Inn— Gospel Hall — 
Chapel of Our Lady in the Laverock— Rev. Mr Nisbet and Mrs Agnew— Crown 
Chamberlain's— William Troup, Dancing Master— Mally Troup— *' Charming Mally" — 
Old Post OflSce— the Butts— Traill of Elsness — Urquharts of Elsness — John Richan — 
Rev. Harry Colville — Strangs : Andrew, David, and George — Sir Rol^ert Strange — 
CuUoden — Dupaique, Fencing Master — Andrew Strang — James Stewart, **Pea8ie" — his 
Will — Rev. Andrew Ker. — Endowment of Second Charge — Robert Donaldson — Hugh 
Clouston— Rev. William Scott builds New House — Mrs Thuring— Francis Halcro refuses 
Oak for Repairing Gun Carriages — Hall of Banks — Quoybanks— the "Black Roll" — 
Victoria Street Hall — Francis Murray — his Child's Name — Site of National Bank — 
Douglas of Egilshay — Thomas Swentoune, Archdean — William Mudie--Riot in Church 
— " Wanton Francis" — Captain James Moodie— Christian Crawford — Captain Benjamin 
Moodie —his Correspondence with Groat of Warse — his Treatment of Orcadian Jacobites 
— Captain Baikie — *' Glorious First of June " — Dr Baikie — Provost Louttit of Lykiug — 
James Scarth— Patrick Murray of W^oodwick — David M'Lelland buys Woodwick— 
Spence of Overscapa — Rev. Hugh Stalker— Magnus Anderson, Bookbinder — Orcadian — 
John Boynd — Proclamation by Plafe and Sjtoon — Robert Mackay— Matthew Mowbray 
— Bishop Maxwell's House — John Edmonston — Arthur Murray — Stewarts of Massater — 
Mutiny of the *' Bounty " — Taylors and Pottingers — Thomas Urquhart, Postmaster — his 
Trial and Sentence — David Erskine — Sir James Marwick — John Caldell — Patrick 
Craigie, Provost— Robert Borwick— Highland Park— Oliver Scott— Clay Loan— Execu- 
tions and Executioners 288 

CHAPTER XIX.— THE LAMMAS MARKET. 

Market — Dues— Town Guard — Guard-House — Lammas Bed— Lammas Brother and Sister — 

Appropriation of Portions of Broad Sands by Private Persons 344 

CHAPITER XX.— THE UPPER LAVEROCK. 

Richan of Linklater— Thomas Warwick, Litster -Magnus Taylor, " Clay braes "—William 
Farquhar, Glover— Ballendens of Stenncss — Isobel Ballendcn — Margaret Richan Slan- 
dered — George Richan — Richan of Rapness — Richan of Hoxa— Captain Richan, of 
H.M.S. "Norfolk"— Sheriff Shirreff— Election Riot- the Balfour Hospital - Matron- 
Doctors — Edward Rind — Gutter Hole — Robert Nicolson, Glazier — Robert Nicolson, 
Sheriff — Thomas Brown, N.P. — Horse-hiring — Christian Poison — Misses Moodie's 
School — North Pole Mission — Mr Copland's House — Neukatineuks — Glaitness School . 348 

CHAPTER XXI.— JUNCTION ROAD AND CASTLE STREET. 

Ruins of Castle — Masonic Hall — Freemasonry— Cathedral Building — Lodge Kirkwall Kilwinning 

-s-Foitndation Stone of Pier laid 366 



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CONTENTS. XV 

CHAPTER XXII.— THE AIRE AND PEERIE SEA. 

Stewarts of Brugh— Mr Walls' Bargain— Proposed Wind-Mill on the Aire— The "Doctor"— 
Water Mill— Mr Hutton's Bridge — Stone Bridge— Clearing the Oyce Mouth— Ship- 
building— Deepening the Peerie Sea— the Craftie 372 

CHAPTER XXm.— BACK OF TOWN. 

Pipersquoy — Horneraquoy — Roasting Dyke — Quoybanks — the Glebe — Quoyangrie — Bu tquoy — 
Cuikisquoy — Adrian the Cook — Walter the Gardener — Brandiequoy — Play Ground — 
Old Manse — Inscription— Let to Governor Watson — Burning of the Manse — Disputes 
about Repsdrs among Rival Claimants — Captain Baikie sells to Mr Charles Slater — 
George Eunson — Smuggling — Charts of Orkney — Spirit Licenses 379 

CHAPTER XXIV.-PABDALE. 

The name Pabdale — William Craigie of Pabdale — Laing — James, father of thirty-four Children — 
Gilbert Meason — Robert Laing buys Pabdale — Malcolm, the Historian, encloses and 
squares Pabdale— the Ba'lea — Laing an Advocate — Bursting of Pabdale Mill-dam — 
Scott visits Laing — Pabdale Garden— Death of Lord Kinedder — Feuing of the East Hill 
— Mr Rae's Interdict — Scott visits Stones of Stenness— Destruction of Semi-Circle — 
Ring of Odin — Mill Street — the Brewery— the Snuff Mill— (xeorge Robertson — William 
the Third's Volunteers — Keelie Park — Carter's Park — Dundas Crescent — Gallowha' . 394 

CHAPTER XXV.— TRADEvS' PARK. 

Origin of Trades' Corporations — the ** Blue Blanket " — Abuse of Privilege by the Trades — Incor- 
porated Trades of Kirkwall — Feuing of Trades' Park- DiflScul ties of the Committee of 
Management — Suppression of Trades' Corporations — Sale of Park — Division of Funds — 
Minute Book — Taylor's Seat in Church — Shoemakers' Misconduct — Deacons Members of 
Council ex officio — Standard of Weights — Tampering with the Weights by Earl Robert — 
Earl Patrick — Lord Ochiltree — Elphinston of Lc^pness — the Standards — the Bysmar — the 
Pundlar — the sniail Bysmar— Fraudulent Weighing possible— Weighing by Beam and 
Scale introduced — Raising of the " Pundlar Process " — Guaging of Butter — the Barrel as 
a Measure — the Beer-tree — Beer-tree Bind — Dressing of Grain — Drinking and Gambling 403 

CHAPTER XXVI.— ST. CATHERINE'S QUOYS, DUNKIRK, AND CROMWELL'S FORT. 

St Catherine's Quoys, Upper and Lower— David Drever — Catherine Place — Back Walk — Young 
Street— Dunkirk — Whale Fishing Company — the "Ellen" — Reading Parties — Crom- 
well's Fort — Cromwell's Soldiers — his Governors — Judges — County Committee— Levies 
of Men and Money — Efficiency of the Fort 412 

CHAPTER XXVIL— RULE OF THE CHURCH. 

Rule of the Church— Modes of Punishment — Breaches of the Third Commandment — Act of Parlia- 
ment against — the Fourth Commandment — Black Roll— Absence from Church — Sunday 
Walking — Travelling — Drinking — Domestic Work — Boys of Kirkwall— Sunday Sports — 
Football — Golf — Archery — Sixth Commandment — Case of Robert Bellie, Murderer — 
Seventh Commandment — Treatment of Rich and Poor — Favourable Terms for Ready 
Money — Pledges taken for Fines : a Piece of Cloth, a Three-year-old Cow — Arthur 
Murray's Guard-House — Oaths concerning Paternity — Excommunication — Fugitives 
from Discipline — Case of Robert Erskine — Marriages — Pledges raised Peculiar Questions 
— Sackcloth— Slander — Witchcraft — Registration of Baptisms — of Marriages — Diffi- 



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XVI CONTENTS. 

culties of a Sailor's Widow in getting Married — in the case of Unreasonable Parents the 
Church favoured the Young People — Contracted Parties bound to Marry within Forty 
Days — Breaches of this Rule — Duties undertaken by the Bridegroom : a Donation to the 
Poor Box, a Football to (grammar School Boys — Proclamations — Bells — Passing- Bell — 
Registrations of Deaths Instituted by Bishop Honyman — Burials in Woollen Ordained — 
the Mort-Cloth — Desecration of Churchyards — Burial of Snicides — Burial in the Choir of 
St. Magnus— Meal and Malt given to the Poor — Special iVifts to Distressed Strangers — 
Church Collections, various purposes, Domestic and Foreign — Debased CuiTenc3" of 
Scotland before the Union — Legal Interest on Money — Fasts and Thanksgiving Days . 417 

The Secession Church in Kirkwall — Rev. William Broadfoot — his Translation to London — 
Mr Pringle, Newcastle, and Mr Stark, Forres — Messrs White and Paterson, Preachers 
— Mr Paterson's Appointment— his Ordination— Sunday School — Infant School — Sub- 
scription School — Mr Paterson's Letter to Mr Paul — Mr Webster, Assistant and 
Successor— Mr Haldane's Visit to Orkney — its effects 445 

Congregational Church in Kirkwall — their places of Worship— their Ministers — their Office- 
bearers - 452 

Original Seceders or Protestors — their Opposition to other Denominations — Controversy 
between Mr Paterson and Rev. Ebenezer Ritchie — Dawn of the Disruption — Rev. Peter 
Petrie — ** Stone and Lime Disruption" 453 

Free Church — Office-bearers — Union with Original Seceders— Church in King Street— Jubilee 

Church— F.C. Manse— Sale of empty Meeting-Houses 457 

EIpiscopal Church — Persecution suffered by Episcopalians — present Incumbent .... 458 

Gospel Hall — Work of Mr Darby 459 

Salvation Army — Work in Ijarge Cities 459 

CHAPTER XXVIII.— SOME RECENT CHANGES. 

Home Industries sixty years ago— Net-knitting— Straw-plaiting— Growing and Preparation of 
Rye Straw— local value of the Industry— the Village ** Natural " — an Expensive 
Pauper — Periodical Blood-Letting — »Sheep-ruing— Introduction of Gas — Kirkwall (ias 
Company — Private Gas-making — Street Lamps— Introduction of Water by Gravitation 
— Old Methotls of Water Carrying— the iS^ay— Steamboat Communication with the South 
—the last of the Sailing Packets— Steam Communication between Kirkwall and the 
North Isles — its effect on the Habits of the People— Orkney Road Act — New Year's 
Ba'— Queen's Birthday Bonfire 460 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. 



•' St. Magnus Cathedral Front utpiece. 

Seal of Burgh of Kirkwall, 1675 Page 14 

One of Bishop Graham's Communion Cups * 35 

Collection Plate 37 

Ship, from Sailors' Loft, Cathedral. Original in possession of J. W. Cursiter, Esq.jF.S.A. Scot. 

DrawingbyT. S. Peace, F.S. A. Scot., Architect 41 

* For use of block favoured by Rev. J. B. Craven. 



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CONTENTS. XVll 

Cathedral Choir, showing Graham's Loft and Earl's Seat 43 

Tombstone erected by John Covingtrie 62 

West Front of Cathe<lral, Main Doorway 63 

North Aisle, Nave, from photograph by Miss H. Courtenay 65 

North Aisle, Dot>rway 57 

Arms of Bishop TuUoch, from St. Magnus. Drawn by T. S. Peace 62 

Arms of Bishop Stewart, from St. Magnus. ,, ,, 64 

Arms of Bishop Maxwell, from old Gateway, Victoria Street. Drawn by T. S. Peace . 64 

Arms of Bishop Reid, ,, ,, ,, ,, . . 66 

Mural Brass, Notre Dame, Dieppe, in Memory of Bishop Reid. Photograph procured for this 

book by the lat€ Father Henderson 67 

Earl's Palace, from Billings' ** Baronial and Ecclesiastical Antiquities of Scotland," . . 72 

Old Town Hall, Kirk Green 108 

Putt Stone behind St. Ola Hotel. Drawn by T. S. Peace 124 

Putt Stone in Storehouse. ,, 

Lintel, back of the Inns. ,, 

House of Craigie of Gairsay. ,, 

Large Fireplace in Craigie's House. ,, 

Monograms from Craigie's House. ,, 

Lintel over Front Door of the Gallery. ,, 
Doorw.iy of Old St. Olaf s. 
Anmbrie of Old St. Olaf's. „ 

Kirkwall Beggar's Badge. ., 

Stone with Burgh Arms, Old Bridge. ,, 
Doorway, House of Rev. J. Wallace. ,, 



126 

125 

140 

141 

143 

167 

160 

161 

162 

168 

170 

Communion Cups, Mr Wallace's Bequest 172 

Tombstone in Cathedral, (ieorge Liddell of Hammer 174 

Arras of Watt of Skaill 176 

Stone over Doorway in Lang Stcan Close. Drawn by T. S. Peace 177 

Stone from Sinclair of Essenquoy's House. ,, ,, 186 

Arms of Balfour of Balfour and Trenaby 199 

Henryson Shield, from Tombstone, Cathedral. Drawn by T. S. Peace 207 

Stone from Karl's Palace. „ ,, 214 

Arms of Stewart of Burray. „ ,, 216 

abroad Street, circa, 1780 „ „ ... to face 222 

Gateway, Taukerness House 228 

Inscription over Gateway. Drawn by T. S. Peace 229 

"/Municipal Buildings to face 232 

Stone from George Traill's House. Drawn by T. S. Peace 235 

David Craigie's Tombstone 237 

•Arms of Monteith of Egilshay, Bishop Graham, and Smythe of Braco. Drawn by T. S. Peace. 

to J ace 244 

Orem's House and Bishop's Tower, from water colour by Miss Maude A. Balfour , . . 283 

Hugh Halcro's Arms. Drawn by T. S. Peace 289 

Monogram in Buchanan's House. ,, 290 

Lintel, 34 Victoria Street 296 

John Richan's Tombstone 297 

Carved Stones, John Richan's House. Drawn by T. S. Peace 298 

Lintel, John Richan's House. ,, „ 299 

Tablet, Victoria Street. „ „ 307 

Carved Stone, 5 Victoria Street. ,, „ 329 



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XVIU CONTENTS. 

Stone with Bishop MaxwelFs Monogram. Drawn by T. 8. Peaoe 332 

Old Houses in Victoria Street. „ ,, 883 

Lintel, back of Balfour Hospital. ,, „ 349 

Tombstone, Robert Rtchan and Isobel Ballenden 850 

Stone in House at Gutterhole. Drawn by T. S. Peace 351 

Ruins of Kirkwall Castle. ,, „ 387 

JErskine's Houses tojtict 372 

^a>abdale to face 394 

Stone with Ring of Odin. Drawn by T. S. Peace 399 



AVAPS. 



J Kirkwall in the Time of Rognwald I .to fact 5 

V Kirkwall from Shore to Long Gutter ,, 117 

/TtlRKWALL FROM LoNO GUTTER TO HeAD OF BrOAD StREKT „ 183 

V Kirkwall, Victoria Street „ 288 



ABBREVIATIONS. 



Acts ^Scottish Acts of Parliament. 

Aat. Mus. — Mu.seum of the Scottish Society of Antiquaries. 

C.R. — Town Council Records. 

Fabti — Fasti Ecclesiie Scoticanae : The succession of ministers in the Parish Churches of Scotland, 

from the Reformation, 4560, to the present day, by Hew Scott, D.D. 
H.L. — Henry Leask, Boardbouse. 
North. Ant. — Mallet's Northern Antiquities. 
Ork. and Zet. Cliron. — Orkney and Zetland Chronicle. 
Pet. Notes— Sheriff Peterkin's Notes on Orkney. 
Pet. Rent. — Peterkin's Orkney Rentals. 
Presb. Rec. — Presbytery Records. 
Pund. Proc. — Pundlar Process. 
Reg. — Registered. 
Saga — Orkneyinga Saga. 
S.R. — Session Records. 
Sh. Ct. Reg. — Sheriff Court Registers. 
T.B. — Tliomas Brown or Brown's Diary. 



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Kirkwall in the Orkneys. 



CHAPTER I. 

Introductory. 

^N the introduction to the Life of Agricola, it is casually stated that the fleet sailing round 
^ by the northern coast discovered what had not been known, that Britain was an island, 
and found and annexed the Orcades. The name remained steadily in use, and is repre- 
sented by the Orkneys of the present day.* 

From the middle of the first century of the Christian era there are in European literature 
frequent references to the Orcades. Geographers and historians professed to fix the position 
and to state the number of the islands. Poets, trading on the romance which hangs round 
remote and imperfectly known places, used them to adorn their lines. Thus Claudian, 
towards the close of the fourth century, reciting the exploits of his imperial patron, Theodosius^ 
saturates the Orkneys with Saxon gore.t 

Before the islands had acquired any political recognition, ecclesiastical history shows that 
the Church had marked them out as a field of missionary effort. 

About the year 429, Pope Celastinus consecrated Palladius and sent him to Scotland, ** for 
before, the Scots were instructed in the faith by priests and monks without bishops. He is 
the first that created anie bishops in Scotland. He ordained Servanus bishop, and sent him 
to Orkney to preach the Qospell." X 

" Cormac, a soldier of Christ, attempted a second time to discover a desert in the ocean. 
After he set out under full sail from the land along the boundless ocean, Saint Columba, who 
was then staying beyond Drumalban (the Grampians), commended him to King Brude, in the 
presence of the ruler of the Orkneys, saying, * Some of our brethren have lately set sail, 
desiring to find a desert in the pathless sea ; should they chance after many wanderings to 
come to the Orkney Islands, do thou carefully commend them to this prince, whose hostages 
are in thy hand, that no evil may befall them within his territories.' The Saint spake thus 
because he foresaw in spirit that after a few months Cormac would arrive at the Orkneys. 
And so it came to pass ; and to the aforesaid commendation of the holy man, Cormac owed 
his escape from impending death." 

♦ HiU Burton, i. 20. 

t Barry has noted 13 references from a.d. 45 to 657, p. 19, 2nd Ed. 

X Calder^'ood, i. 40. 



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2 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

Whether Cormac, on his arrival, discovered any results of the teaching of Servauus does 
not appear, but the Golumban mission, once begun, was maintained, and Christianity spread 
over Orkney. 

A small collection of huts occupied the site of what was to become the chief town in the 
islands. 

What the hamlet was during the Pictish occupation, we can from its position fairly 
conjecture. Drawing their sustenance chiefly from the water, the first settlers planted their 
dwellings along the shore of the bay, and by the edge of a large tidal basin known in later 
times as the Oyce, shut off from the open sea bya long stretch of stony beach, now called 
the Aire.* 

Such a position was highly advantageous to the primitive community, for when the outer 
waters were too boisterous for their frail vessels, they could launch their coracles on the 
lagoon, ready at all times to yield a liberal return to their primitive modes of fishing. 

Here for centuries generation had suceeded generation in submission to a patriarchal 
government, which has left no history, and in the practice of a religion of which nothing now 
is known. 

In this i)lace the Culdees established a mission. But this was not the only, nor indeed 
the principal, station of the Irish missionaries in Orkney. Such names as Papa and Paplay 
show that they had dotted themselves down all over the islands, while the round tower in 
Egilshay marks the site of the metropolitan church. John Hill Burton, the historian, who 
does not appear to have known of the Egilshay tower, says concerning such building :— 
" Most people have heard of those mysterious edifices, the Irish round towers. We have 
two specimens of the structure in Scotland ; there are none in England or on the Continent. 
Buildings so exclusively peculiar could not but excite curiosity and wonder ; and the more 
80 that, while they stand beside churches, or are indeed actually part of them, yet it is 
clear that they were built at a different time and never formed any feature of the design on 
which the church might be built. Different in their general form and structure from the 
early Christian buildings, they were eccentric in this, that while the Irish ecclesiastics 
seemed to have built nothing else of stone or nothing of a lasting kind, they had raised these 
prodigious towers. Yet if we suppose their means to have been limited, this devotion of them 
would, keeping purely ecclesiastical purposes in view, be a good investment. The great 
difficulty they had to deal with was the sudden invasions of the Norsemen, who carried off 
what was ready to their hand, and burned what was destructible. One cannot suppose better 
fortresses of defence against enemies like these than the round towers. They had no stairs, 
and could only be scaled by ladders. Nowhere could the treasures of the church— the books, 
the relics, and the objects of more material value— be so safe as in one of these stone tubes, 
whether attended with a guard or not. It was impossible to attack them without a scaffolding 
of equal height ; for to attempt to topple thom down, by attacks from below, before the days 
of artillery, would have been destructive to the besiegers. 

** It was natural that, as the practice of their parent Irish church, the raising of such 
buildings would find its way across to the ecclesiastics of Scotland.*' 

Though destitute of a tower, our little village had its church, and the name Pabdale 
shows that the monks had fixed their abode on the bank of the stream that ran past the 
hamlet into the Oyce. 

For a couple of centuries after Cormac's time the mission was left in undisturbed enjoy- 
ment of Christian ordinances. 

• Norse, Eyer, a shore. 



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INTRODUCTORY. » 

But no\¥ an intrusion of an alarming kind began to make itself seen and felt. An 
occasional galley put into the bay having on board a heathen crew, which feared not God nor 
regarded man, whose idea of the rights of property was the simplest — everything belonged to 
them which they had the opportunity to seize and the strength to hold. 

And these rovers could appreciate to the full the advantages of the situation which th& 
Pictish settlers had chosen for their home. The splendid bay could afford shelter for navies. 
It had communication on the west with the Atlantic and on the east with the North Sea. 
But it was not the magnificent bay or " hafn " that specially attracted the Norsemen ; it wa» 
the Oyce, the convenient and commodious vagr* — the " Peerie Sea" of to-day. Here their 
galleys, beached or anchored, could in all seasons and in all weathers lie in perfect safety ; and 
these advantages the vikings were not slow to utilise. From regarding the place as a port of 
occasional call, they soon came to make it the rendezvous for those annual piratical cruises 
which were the terror of the whole European sea-board. 

One can easily imagine the scene, on a spring morning, as witnessed from the Aire, when,, 
on the first of the ebb tide, galley after galley, following the long ship of the chief, filed 
through the mouth of the Oyce, sped across the bay, and disappeared down the String. 

These wanderers, regarding home and country simply as head-quarters, or as a base of 
operations, instead of returning to Norway with their spoils, began to winter in the islands ; 
and the number of settlers increased so rapidly that, before the end of the eighth century^ 
Orkney had entirely fallen into the hands of Norse rovers, who held themselves independent 
alike of Scotland and of Norway, and who recognised no law but the law of the strongest 

As yet there was no King of Norway. The country was divided among a number of 
independent chiefs, not one of whom could assert any authority over the others. 

Shortly after the middle of the ninth century one of these, Harald, surnamed the Fair- 
haired, resolved to make a dash for monarchy. This man " stands completely isolated from 
parentage and early history. The legend is that he had vowed to let his beautiful locks of 
golden hair grow undipped until he should call himself monarch of all Norway." t 

The Sagas throw around this episode in northern history the romance of a love story. 

Harald, probably the son of one of the petty kings, asked Gyda, the daughter of another,, 
to be his wife. She replied that she would give him his answer when he could make her 
Queen of all Norway. 

Harald set himself to the task, and, mainly by the help of Rognwald of Moeri, was able 
to have himself proclaimed sole King, 872. Of necessity Gyda became Queen. 

Harald's work in Norway gave a fresh departure to the history of our islands. 

" Many men left Norway, fleeing the country, on account of King Harald, and went on 
viking cruises into the west sea. In winter they were in the Orkney Islands, but marauded 
in summer in Norway, and did great damage."J 

To crush those irritating pests, and perhaps to find employment for the more turbulent of 
his own chiefs, Harald set out with a powerful fleet, and sweeping aside all opposition, not 
only brought Orkney and Shetland under subjection, but extended his sway over the Hebrides 
and Man. The king offered the lordship of the northern isles to his friend and supporter. Earl 
Rognwald. Rognwald, however, preferred returning to Norway, but he secured the insular 
rule to his brother, Sigurd, who thus became first Earl of Orkney, a.d. 872. And so these 
islands, geographically Scottish, and which had been tributary to the northern Pictish kings, 
became politically attached to Norway. By this time the aboriginal Picts had died out or 

* Rhymes with ogre. + Hill Burton, i. 326. 

:{: Harald Harfager's Saga ; Laing's Sea Kings, i. 289. 



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4 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

had become merged among the Norse invaders. Their religion died with them, and in its 
place came the hero worship of Odin and Thor. 

In mound and monolith, so common in our islands, we have a voiceless history of the 
Viking period :— " Odin established by law that all dead men should be burned, and the ashes 
be cast into the sea or buried in the earth. For men of consequence a mound should be 
raised to their memory, and for all other warriors who had been distinguished for manhood, 
a standing stone, which custom remained long after Odin's time." * 

At the close of the tenth century Christianity was re-established by the baptism of Earl 
Sigurd II. and his followers. The story is very simply related in the Saga :— " Olaf 
Tryggvison, returning from a viking expedition to the west, came to the Orkneys with his 
men, and seized Earl Sigurd in Osmundwall as he lay there with a single ship. King Olaf 
offered the Earl to ransom his life on condition that he should embrace the true faith and be 
baptized ; that he should become his man, and proclaim Christianity over all the Orkneys." 

Under compulsion, Sigurd submitted, but his fealty and his religion sat equally lightly on 
him. The Saga continues :—" After that Earl Sigurd paid no allegiance to King Olaf. He 
married the daughter of Malcolm, King of Scots." And when he w^ent forth to be slain in the 
battle of Clontirf, his raven banner was consecrated by the most potent spells of the old 
superstition. 

On the death of Sigurd, his youngest son, Thorfinn, encouraged by his grandfather, 
Malcolm II. of Scotland, seized the earldom. But by a former marriage Sigurd had three 
sons. The eldest died in his bed. The two younger, Einar and Brusi, made a compact that 
the survivor should succeed to the estate of the other. Einar was killed by the followers of 
Thorfinn, and when Brusi died the grandson of the King of Scotland regarded himself as sole 
ruler of the Orkneys. 

But Brusi's son, Rognwald, came from the east and claimed his portion— not only his 
father's share, but also that of his uncle, Einar. 

Thorfinn was Earl of Caithness, and quite powerful enough to retain the position in 
Orkney which he had assumed, yet he quietly ceded this claim, and " thus eight winters passed 
that Earl Rognwald had two-thirds of the islands without any objection on the part of 
Thorfinn." 

Rognwald Brusison erected the church from which Kirkwall has its name. Wiiat the 
Norsemen called the hamlet before the kirk was built is not known. In the Saga it is 
nameless till the days of Brusison, and even then the compound Kirkiu-vagr— the creek of the 
kirk— shows that the Oyce was what was valued, and not either kirk or village. 

Rognwald dedicated his church to the memory of his foster-father, Olaf the Holy, who 
was killed in the battle of Sticklastadt, 1030. Uncle and nephew, in their joint earldom, 
agreed pretty well for eight years, but, "when bad men went between them, dissensions 
arose." Then came war— battles on sea and on land, heroic fighting, and marvellous escapes, 
till at last Rognwald was slain in Papa Stronsay, and Thorfinn ruled alone. " Men said that 
Earl Rognwald was one of the best-beloved of all the earls of the Orkneys ; and his death 
was greatly lamented by all the people." t 

Brusison is the first of the earls named as living in Kirkwall, and it is probable that he 
built his hall here shortly after the arrangement with Thorfinn. " Earl Rognwald resided in 
Kirkwall, and brought there all necessaries for the winter ; he had a great number of men 
and entertained them liberally." J 

This is the first mention of the village by name, and it is with Earl Rognwald L, presum- 
ably the builder of church and castle, that the history of Kirkwall begins, circa 1035. 
* Yinglinga Saga. t Saga. X Saga. 



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KIRKW^ZZ B Jl T 







— KIRKWALL.— 

IH THE TIME OF EARL ROGNWALD /. 



NOTE,— The sUwUion of the modem ttreeU 
and highway $ u thown thus —.zzirz:^ 



»L MEDDLE. 

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INTRODUCTORY. 5 

Id Earl Rognwald's time the little town still consisted of two irregular rows of houses, 
one lying east and west on the shore of the bay, the other running southward at right angles 
to the sea front, and facing the Oyce. The southmost building then and for many years after- 
wards was St. Olaf s Church, attached to which was a space of consecrated ground extending 
to the Burn of Pabdale. The Hall or Castle was on the higher ground, a little to the south- 
west of the hamlet. 

After the death of his nephew, " Earl Thorfinn took possession of the whole of the islands, 
and no one spoke against him. He left off making war expeditions, and turned his mind to 
the government of his land and his people, and to the making of laws." He made a pilgrimage 
to Rome, and received from the Pope absolution for all his sins. After his return he resided 
chiefly in Birsay, where he built Christ's Kirk, ** a splendid church, and there was the first 
Bishop's see in the Orkneys." " Earl Thorfinn was five winters old when Malcolm, King of 
Scots, his mother's father, gave him the title of earl, and after that he was earl for seventy 
winters." " He was a man of very large stature, uncomely, sharp-featured, dark haired, and 
sallow and swarthy in his complexion. Yet he was a most martial- looking man and of great 
energy, greedy of wealth and of renown, bold and successful in war, and a great strategist. It 
is truly said that he was the most powerful of all the earls of the Orkneys. He is buried ali 
Christ's Kirk, which he had built." * 

Thorfinn and his wife, Ingibiorg, " the mother of earls," " had two sons who arrived at 
manhood ; one was called Paul, the other Erlend. They were men of large stature, fine- 
looking, wise and gentle, r&sembling their mother's relations. They were much loved by the 
Earl and all the people. Now the sons of Earl Thorfinn succeeded him. Paul was the elder 
of the two, and he ruled for both of them. They did not divide their possessions, yet they 
almost always agreed in their dealings." " When the brothers, Paul and Erlend, ruled the 
Orkneys, King Magnus came from Norway with a large army. He seized the Earls Paul and 
Erlend and sent them east to Norway, where they died ; placed his son Sigurd over the Isles, 
and gave him counsellors." t 

" King Magnus went to the Sudreyar, accompanied by Magnus and Erlend, tlie sons of 
Earl Erlend, and Hakon, Paul's son. He fought a great battle in Anglesea Sound with two 
British chiefs. When the men took up their arms and buckled for the fight, Magnus, Erlend's 
son, sat down on the fore-deck and did not take his arms. The King asked why he did not do 
so. He said he had nothing against anyone there, and would not therefore fight. The 
King said, * Go down below and do not lie among other people's feet if you dare not fight, for 
I do not believe that you do this from religious motives.' Magnus took a psalter and sang 
during the battle, and did not shelter himself." t 

After the fight in Menai Strait, King Magnus Barefoot looked askance at Magnus, 
Erlend's son, so the young man stole away from the Norwegian Court and found refuge with 
the Scottish King. 

" Then King Magnus married Gunnhild, the daughter of Earl Erlend, to Kol, Kali's son. 
Her dowry consisted of possessions in the Orkneys." Kol and Gunnhild had a son. Kali. 

Sigurd, whom his father, Magnus Barefoot, had placed over Orkney, went, on the King's 
death, to take the throne of Norway, and Hakon, Paul's son, with Sigurd's consent, ruled the 
Orkneys. 

After a time, Magnus, the son of Earl Erlend, came from Scotland and claimed his 
patrimony, which was reluctantly ceded by Hakon. '* So long as their friendship continued 
there were good times and peace in the Orkneys/' 

" Magnus, Earl of the Islands, was a most excellent man. He was large of stature, a man 
* Saga. t Saga. t Saga. 



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6 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

of noble presence and intellectual countenance. He was of blameless life, victorious in battles, 
wise, eloquent, strong-minded, liberal, and maj];nanimou8, sagacious in counsels, and more 
beloved than any other man." * 

But Hakon became " very jealous of the popularity and greatness of his kinsman, Magnus. 
Through the slander of wicked men this enmity went so far that the earls gathered troops and 
went to meet each other. But as many well-disposed men joined themselves together to avert 
hostilities between them, and to a.ssist neither of them against the other, they confirmed their 
reconciliation with oaths and shaking of hands." 

** Some time after this. Earl Hakon, with hypocrisy and fair words, appointed a day of 
meeting with the blessed Earl Magnus. This meeting, which was to confirm their peace, 
should take place in Pasch week in Egilsey. Each of them should have two ships and an 
equal number of men. Earl MagniLs arrived first with his men at Egilsey, and when they saw 
Earl Hakon coming they perceived that he had eight war ships." t 

Hakon's object was apparent. Magnus was murdered in cold blood, and, as if he had 
been a criminal and deserved to be capitally punished, his body was denied honourable buriaLJ 

Thora, the mother of Magnus, had prepared a feast for the two Earls when they should 
return from the conference, and when Hakon came alone she readily understood the cause of 
her son's absence. Concealing her feelings, and waiting till " the drink began to have effect 
upon the Earl," she obtained permission to bury her son's body where she chose, and she 
selected Christ's Kirk at Birsay as its resting-place.§ 

Soon it was noticed that " above the grave was a beam of light, while a fragrant odour 
diff'used around had marvellous healing virtues." || " Then men who were placed in danger 
began to pray to him, and their prayers were heard." IT 

In the Magnus Saga a list of cures is chronicled, two of them being cases of leprasy from 
Shetland, whence most of the pilgrims came.* It was also observed that the place where Earl 
Magnus was slain, which was previously covered with moss and stones, became green sward, 
and at no time of the year could any one go thither without finding a flower in blossom.t 
" But people dared not make this known while Earl Hakon was alive." J Hakon became a 
good ruler, and established peace throughout his dominions ; he also made new laws for the 
Orkneys, which the landowners liked better than the old. He was pious, too, after the fashion 
of the times, for he made a pilgrimage to Rome and to Jerusalem, and cleansed himself from 
all physical and moral impurities in the waters of the Jordan. 

After his return he built in Orphir a church, formed upon the plan of the church of the 

Holy Sepulchre, in Jerusalem, and " he became so popular that the Orkneymen desired no 

^ther rulers than Hakon and his issue." § So he reigned in peace over all Orkney during his 

lifetime, and died greatly mourned by his people. At Hakon's death his son, Paul, assumed 

the earldom. 

Meanwhile Kali, the son of Gunnhild, sister of Earl Magnus, "grew up and was a most 
promising man. He was of middle size and very handsomely shaped. He was very affable, 
popular, and highly accomplished." To him Sigurd of Norway gave the half of the Orkneys. 
"He also gave him the name of Earl Rognwald because his mother, Gunnhild, said that 
Rognwald Brusison was the most accomplished of the Orkney Earls, and thought the name 
would bring good fortune." This youth now claimed the estate of his uncle, the murdered 

* Saga. t TorfsBus. 

t The Aberdeen Breviary gives the date as 1104. The Bollandists suggest 1106. A recent 
thoughtful but anonymous writer makes it 1116. But Dr Anderson, in his introduction to the 
Orkneyinga Saga, gives good reasons for fixing it 1115. 

§ Saga. II TorfsBus. IT Saga. * Anderson. t Saga. t Saga. § Saga. 



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INTRODUCTORY. 7 

Magnus. But Paul would not cede any part of the earldom, and Rognwald in prosecuting his 
claim, while not actually defeated, was baffled and unsuccessful. Indeed there is no doubt 
that the islanders felt more restful and secure under one than under two earls, and this, with 
their memory of Hakon's beneficent reign, made them less than lukewarm in the cause of 
Rognwald. In these circumstances, Kol, the father of Rognwald, advised his son to invoke 
the aid of his sainted uncle. " Now it is my counsel to seek for help where it is likely to be 
had eflfectually, and to pray that he may permit you to enjoy these possessions to whom they 
rightly belong— namely, the holy Saint Magnus,* your mother's brother. It is my wish that 
you should make a vow to him that he may grant you your patrimony and his inheritance. 
You should promise one thing— that if you obtain these dominions you will build a stone 
minster at Kirkwall^ in the Orhieys, more magnificent than any in these lands, dedicating it to 
your kinsman, Earl Magnus the Holy, endowing it with money so that it may be fitly 
established, and that his relics and the Bishop's See may be brought there." t 

The vow was made. Rognwald was successful. Without bloodshed. Earl Paul ceded the 
half of the islands and went to live in Rousay, while Rognwald occupied the Hall at Kirkwall. 

At this time there lived in Gairsay, Swein Asleifs son, perhaps the most daring and 
reckless of the viking leaders, but when Paul came to Rousay, Swein had gone " to Scotland 
to see his friends." Among others he visited Paul's sister, Margaret, who had married 
Maddad, Earl of Athol, and the three " had many secret consultations." J 

Hearing of disturbances in Orkney, Swein came north with a single ship, surprised Earl 
Paul at an otter hunt in Rousay, and carried him away to Athol. Paul never returned to 
Orkney, but his nephew, Harald, Maddad's son, was admitted joint earl with Rognwald, 
the latter to be sole ruler. 

Earl Rognwald II. found Kirkwall very much as Earl Rognwald I. had left it a century 
before ; but the fulfilment of his vow transformed the hamlet into a town. The building of 
the Cathedral necessitated a palace for the bishops, residences for the dignitaries of the church, 
and dwellings for the numerous followers of these important personages. 

In these changes Bishop William, who resided for the most part in Egilshay, was an 
important factor. 

Buchanan, in his description of Kirkwall, 1582, gives the key to a proper interpretation of 
its history :— " In this town there are two Castles of moderate extent near to each other, the 
one the King's and the other the Bishop's. Between them is a Church which, for these regions, 
may be termed magnificent ; and between the Church and the Castles there are some buildings 
on both sides which the inhabitants call two cities — the one the Royal, and the other the 
Episcopal." 

James the Third's Charter, 31st March 1486, recognises this division, when it is proposed 
" to erect all and haill our said Burgh and City of Kirkwall, and that part thereof called the 
Laverock, in ane ffull Burgh Royal." 

The Laverock was the Episcopal domain, and the boundary between the two " cities " was 
the lane which divides Broad Street into two nearly equal portions. 

The rivalry between the youths of Burgh and Laverock always found ready vent in the 
trials of strength and skill afforded by the popular sports. Thus the fierce struggle which 
annually takes place round the ** New Year's Ba'," and which always begins at the ancient 
boundary, is in its origin a tug-of-war between Crown and Mitre. 

The building of the Cathedral progressed under Kol's supervision, and after it was 

* Magnus was canonised 1135, and stands high in the Calendar, as the first regular canonization 
was that of Ulric, Bishop of Augsburg, by Pope oohn XV., in 993. 

t Saga. X Saga. 



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8 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

safficiently advanced to allow of consecration, Rognwald and the Bishop set off on a pilgrimage 
to the Holy Land. They required, however, to live by the way, and piracy did not at all 
detract from the piety of these devotees ; on the contrary, it enabled them to be more liberal 
in the practice of Christian charity :— " Of the booty we obtain we shall give every fiftieth 
penny to the poor." ♦ 

Soon after Rognwald's departure, Erlend, Harald's cousin, aided by Swein of Gairsay, 
invaded Orkney. 

In hereditary descent this claimant had a better right to the earldom than had Harald. 
They were both grandsons of Hakon, the slayer of Magnus, but Erlend's father was Earl 
Harald, Hakon's eldest son,t while the other was the son of Hakon's daughter, Margaret, 
Countess of Athol. 

On Michaelmas evening, Harald and his men saw long ships approaching, and, suspecting 
them to be enemies^ they ran from the ships at Scapa into the Castle. There was a man 
named Arni, Rafn's son, who ran from Harald's ship to Kirkiuvag. He was so frightened that 
he forgot that he had his shield at his shoulder until it stuck fast in the door, t The width of 
the landward doorway is the only hint given in the Saga of any of the dimensions of the EarFs 
Hall. 

That it was a place of considerable strength is shown in the context. ** Earl Erlend and 
Swein ran from their ships and pursued Earl Harald to the Castle, and attacked them, both 
with arms and fire. The assailed defended themselves bravely, until night parted them. 
Many were wounded on both sides. Next morning the Boendr and their mutual friends 
arrived, and tried to make peace between them." The end was that Erlend dispossessed 
Harald and ruled all Orkney. However, " it was an agreement between Earl Erlend and the 
Boendr that he should not hinder Earl Rognwald from taking possession of that part of the 
islands which belonged to him if it should be granted him to come back " ; but if Earl 
Rognwald should demand more than one-half of the islands, they should help Earl Erlend to 
resist his claims. 

Erlend, now sole ruler, did not at once take up his residence in the Castle of Kirkwall. 
Harald had gone over to Caithness, and might return. Swein, Asleif's son, cautioned Erlend 
not to trust the Scots. Accordingly, " the most part of the winter they were on board their 
ships, and had scouts on the look-out. Towards Yule-tide the weather began to grow 
boisterous, and Swein went home to his estate in Gairsay, and asked the Earl not to relax his 
vigilance though they parted. He remained on board his ships, and had nowhere a Yule feast 
prepared for him in the Islands." 

After three years' absence, Rognwald returned and came straight to his Kirkwall resi- 
dence. 

The pilgrimage of the Earl and the Bishop had been successful throughout. They 
gathered booty, rode out a gale under Candia, arrived at Acre on a Friday morning, landed 
"with great i)omp and splendour," visited Jeru.salem, went to Jordan and bathed. Earl 
Rognwald swam across the river, and, finding a willow bush, twisted in its branches a 
memorial knot. § 

On their return journey, they brightened up their ships and made them " look splendid " 
before visiting the Emperor Manuel at Constantinople. Here they were well received, and 

♦ Saga. + Slettinali. 

X " The shield was suspended by the Skialdurfettle, a shoulder belt or strap which went from 
the right side of the neck down under the left shoulder, and held the shield when not actually 
required. Figures of the shield so borne are not frequent. Such a fi^re is given in Cutt's Sepulchral 
Crosses, Lond., 1849, p. 21, from a gravestone of the 14tb century in St. Magnus Cathedral, Kirk- 
wall." — Stephen's Runic Monuments, iii. 64. § Saga. 



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INTRODUCTORY. 9 

bad tempting offers made them to stay and join the ImiKjrial Varangian bodyguard. After 
enjoying the gaieties of the cai)ital of the Eastern Empire for half the winter, they set sail and 
came up the Adriatic to Ai)ulia, Here the Earl and Bishop, with a few of their noblest men, 
procured horses and rode first to Rome, and then across the Continent of Eurojie to Denmark 
— a most remarkable feat for the brave old priest. No wonder the Saga adds :-7r" This 
journey became very famous, and all those who had made it were considered greater men 
afterwai'ds than before." 

As the result of Rognwald's return, a conference took place between the earls, and peace 
was confirmed, the Boendr insisting that their bargain with Erlend should be adhered to. 
Thus, there were three earls of Orkney— Rognwald, Erlend, and the ousted Harald. But the 
exile came back, and then there was war. At first it was each man for himself, but by and by 
Kognwald and Harald joined against Erlend. " Earl Erlend yielded to the i)ersuasions of his 
men that they should go to Damsay, and in a large castle there they drank all day, but 
fastened the ships together every night and slept on board." Here " the Earls Rognwald and 
Harald surprised Earl Erlend." But Erlend personally was past surprise. " A man named 
Orm, and another Ufi, were in the forepart of the Earl's shij)." When the assailants were 
boarding, " Ufi jumped up and tried to rouse the Earl, but could not, for he was dead-drunk. 
Then he took him in his arms and jumiied overboard with him into a boat alongside the 
ship. There Earl Erlend was slain, and most of those on board." Harald returned to the 
Castle of Kirkwall, but Rognwald remained for a time in Damsay. 

After Erlend's death, Swein of Gairsay made i)eace with the earls, both of whom were 
glad to have him as a friend. " When the Earls Harald and Rognwald had made i)eace ^'ith 
Swein, Asleif's son, they (the earls) were always together, and Earl Rognwald governed, but 
they agi-eed very well." " Earl Rognwald gave Earl Harald the ship which had belonged to 
Swein." 

One day when Swein was staying with Rognwald in Kirkwall, the two had stepped over 
from the Castle to the Cathedral. About one hundred and fifty yards from the church door, 
where they stood, on the shore of the Vagr, lay Swein's galley preparing for sea. " The sail, 
which had been lying in Saint Magnus Church, was carried out, and Swein looked rather 
gloomy." He had no share in the preparations ; his ship was the property of another. But 
at the sight of her, old memories in swift recurrence crowded before him— all the vicissitudes 
of war, triumph and defeat, pursuit and flight ; the no less earnest struggle for life against 
winds and waves and tides, and in all, himself the chief on whose courage and tact his mea 
relied for victory. No wonder that Swein looked gloomy. 

Though on the whole fairly successful, the dual rule of Rognwald and Harald was some- 
times the source of discords. Kirkwall at this time was a turbulent little village, some of 
the inhabitants regarding themselves as Harald's retainers, while others were devoted to 
Rognwald. Thus " Thorbioni Klerk went to Earl Harald and became his counsellor. It was 
said that Thorbiorn did not improve the harmony between Earl Harald and Earl Rognwald." 

"Thorarinn Killinef was one of Earl Rognwald's men, a great friend of his, and was 
always with the Earl. A man named Thorkell was one of Thorbiorn Klerk's followers, and a 
friend of his. Thorarinn and Thorkell quarrelled over their drink in Kirkwall, and Thorkell 
wounded Thorarinn. Thorarinn's companions pursued Tliorkell, but Thorbiorn and his men 
defended themselves in a loft. The earls were informed of this, and they went to part them. 
Thorbiorn refused to leave the decision of the case to Earl Rognwald, as it was his men that 
were concerned in the pursuit. When Thorarinn had recovered from his wounds, he slew 
Thorkell as he was going to church (St. Olaf s). Thorarinn ran into the church, but Thorbiorn 
and his men pursued him. Earl Roguwald was told what was happening, and he went with 

c 



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10 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

his men and asked Thorbiorn whether he was going to break the church open. Thorbiom 
said the church ought not to shelter him who was within. Earl Rognwald said there should 
be no violation of the church at this time, and Thorbiom was pushed away from it. No 
agreement was come to about this case." But out of it arose a vendetta, which only 
terminated in the deaths of the principal persons concerned. "Thorbiorn went over to 
Caithness, and was there for a while," behaving very badly both to men and women. After a 
time " he went out secretly to the Orkneys in a boat with thirty men, and landed at Scapa^ 
and walked to Kirkwall with three men. In the evening he went alone into an inn where 
Thorarinn was drinking, and struck him a death-blow immediately. Then he ran out into the 
darkness and far away.* 

"Every summer the earls were wont to go over to Caithness and up into the forests 
to hunt the red deer." 

In 1158, "the earls went over to Caithness during the latter part of the summer as 
usual." At Thurso they learned that Thorbiorn, with a large following, meant to attack them 
if a favourable opportunity offered. Rognwald, with four others riding well in front of 
the main party, came to a house close by which a farmer was building a stack of grain. 
Seeing the Earl, " he saluted him by name and asked for news, si)eaking very loud so that he 
could be heard far away. This was a short distance from the sitting-room of the house." 
Thorbiorn, who was within, got quietly out at the back with his followers, and coming round, 
struck a treacherous blow at Rognwald. Asolf, one of his four companions, " warded off the 
blow with his hand, and it was cut off ; and then the sword touched the Earl's chin, inflicting 
a great wound." 

" On receiving the blow, Asolf said, * Let them serve the Earl better who have to thank 
him for greater gifts.' He was then eighteen winters old, and had lately entered the EarFs 
service." 

" Earl Rognwald was going to jump off his horse, and his foot stuck fast in the stirrup." 
In that plight he was slain. 

" Earl Harald brought the body with a splendid following to the Orkneys." It was 
buried in St. Mary's Church, South Ronaldshay, " and there it rested until God manifested 
Rognwald's merits by many and great miracles. Then Bishop Bjarni had his holy remains 
exhumed with the permission of the Pope." They w^ere dejwsited in the Cathedral, which he 
had built. A skeleton in the wall of the south choir aisle is supposed to be that of the 
chivalrous Earl Rognwald. 

Rognvald was survived by a daughter and six grand-children, but none of these suc- 
ceeded to the earldom. 

" After Earl Rognwald's death, Earl Harald took possession of the whole of the islands, 
and became their sole ruler. He was a mighty chief, and a man of large stature and great 
strength." t But, deprived of Rognwald's judicious counsels, he sometimes behaved foolishly, 
and suffered in consequence. In 1194 an attempt to dethrone the King of Norway was 
organised in Orkney with Harald's connivance. The insurgents were defeated and*nearly all 
slain by King Sverrir. For his share in the rebellion, the Earl was summoned to Norway. 

Accompanied by Bishop Bjarni, he appeared before the King, laid his head at the 
Monarch's feet, and appealed for pardon. Possibly through the Bishop's influence, Sverrir 
allowed Harald to return to Orkney, but to mark his sense of the magnitude of the crime, the 
King deprived him of the whole of Shetland. 

The Saga shows Earl Harald at the social board, and records some of his table talk, 

* Saga. + Saga. 



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INTRODUCTORY. 11 

Harald and Swein, Asleifs son, were very friendly; indeed, the heroic chief of Qairsay 
undertook the training of one of the EarPs sons. 

"Once it happened that Swein went out on a spring expedition, taking with hin* 
Hakon, the son of Harald. They had five rowing ships, all large. They went to Ireland and 
plundered there, but when they came to Dyflin (Dublin), two merchant ships came from 
England, laden with English cloth and other merchandise. Swein made for the vessels, and 
offered them battle. There was little resistance by the English, and Swein's party took every^ 
penny in the vessels, leaving to the Englishmen only what they stood in and a small quantity 
of provisions. They sailed from the west with great pomp." 

" Swein used to reside at home in Gairsay in winter, keeping eighty men at his own 
expense. He had such a large drinking hall that there was none equal to it anywhere else in 
the Orkneys.'' 

'^ He had taken a large quantity of wine and English mead from the vessels in Dublin 
Bay. When he had been at home a short time, he invited Earl Harald and prepared a 
splendid feast for him. When Earl Harald w^as at the feast a great deal was said of Swein'a 
magnificence. The Earl said :— * I wish, Swein, you would leave off your marauding expedi- 
tions ; it is good now to drive home a whole wagon. You know that your plundering has. 
fed you and your men a long time, but to most men of violence it happens that they perish in 
their raiding if they do not leave it off in time.' " 

Swein looked to the Earl, and replied, smiling, " This is well said, my lord ; you have 
spoken like a friend, and it is good to take sound advice from you ; but some complain that 
you are not an over just man yourself." 

The Earl replied : " I must be responsible for my own acts, but I spoke as it occurred to- 
me." 

Swein answered : " Your intention is no doubt good, my lord ; and it shall be so that I 
will discontinue my marauding expeditions, for I am getting old and my strength is wasting' 
away in the wet work and the fighting. I am now going to make an autumn expedition, and 
I wish it to be not less glorious than the spring one. Then I shall leave off war-going." 

Said the Earl : " It is difficult to know, comrade, which comes first, death or lasting fame."^ 

Then their conversation ceased. When Earl Harald left the feast, honourable gifts were 
presented to him, and he and Swein parted very good friends. 

Swein did not " drive home a whole wagon." He attacked Dublin and took it. After 
imposing conditions which the Dublin men swore to observe, the invaders returned to their 
ships for the night. 

The Irishmen made good use of the darkness. They dug pits inside the gates and in the 
places where Swein and his lieutenants would be likely to lead their crews. These they 
covered with light material, strewing straw all over. 

" Swein and his men, not being on their guard, fell into them. Some of the townsmea 
ran immediately to the gates, and others to the pits, and attacked Swein's men with weapons* 
It was difficult for them to defend themselves, and Swein perished there in the pit with all 
those who entered the town. It was said that he spoke these words before his fall : * Know 
all men, whether I die today or not, that I am the holy Earl Rognwald's henchman, and my 
confidence is where he is, with God.* Here is the end of Swein's history ; and it has been 
said that he was the greatest man in the western lands, either in old times or at the present 
day, of those who had not a higher title than he had." 

Harald Maddadson became earl of half of Orkney in 1139. After the death of Earl 
Rognwald, in 1158, he was sole ruler till he died in 1206, a remarkable length of reign in such 
troublous times. 



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12 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

Two sons, David and John, now occupied Kirlcwall Castle, these i)oth died without 
male issue, but a daughter of the latter, or perhnps a sister, had married Oilbride, Earl of 
Angus, and their son, Magnus, became Earl of Orkney, 1231. 

There were seven earls of the Angus line, the last of whom, Magnus V., was the greatest. 

As Caithness was included in his earldom, he owed allegiance equally to Norway and to 
Scotland, and at both Courts he was held in high esteem. 

" It was in his time, and perhaps in his favour, that the King of Norway prohibited any 
within his kingdom to bear the title of earl except the King's sons and the Earls of Orkney."* 

David, Bishop of Norway, a partisan of the Bruce, was excommunicated by the Papal 
• Legate in England, Canlinul St. Sabinus, for condoning the sacrilegious slaughter of Comyn 
in the church of Dumfries. He found a refuge in Orkney, and Edward I. addressed a letter 
to King Haco of Norway calling for his arrest. The negotiations were proceeding when 
Edward died, 1307, and David returned to his See. The probability is, that had Haco yielded 
to Edward's desire, Magnus would have resisted the Bishop's extradition. 

In 1312, Earl Magnus was at Inverness when King Robert the Bruce and Hakon V. of 
Norway renewed between their countries the treaty which had been concluded at Perth, 1266, 
between Alexander III. of Scotland and Magnus IV. of Norway. By this treaty the Hebrides 
and Man were ceded to Scotland, while Orkney and Shetland were retained by Norway. 
A very important term in that treaty was that Scotland should pay four thousand inerks 
within four years, aud one hundred mei-ks annually in perpetuity. This yearly tribute, known 
as the Annual of Norway, was to be paid over in St. Magnus Cathedral into the hands of the 
Bishop of Orkney. 

In 1314, Magnus, as liegeman of the Bruce, was one of " the warriors of the hardy North" 
who fought at Bannockburn. 

To the men of Orkney this battle had no national interest, and those of them who were 
present were there as the Norse followers of this earl, a reinforcement of his Caithness con- 
tingent. 

In 1320, Magnus was one of the eight earls who, along with thirty-one barons and others 
representing the whole community of Scotland, subscribed and sent the famous letter to the 
Pope, in which, while respectfully asserting the independeiice of their country, which the 
Pontiff had hitherto refused to acknowledge, they earnestly requested to be reconciled to the 
Romish See.t Before this time the Archbishop of York and the Bishops of London and 
Carlisle had standing orders from Rome to excommunicate Bruce and his accomplices on every 
Sabbath and festival day throughout the year.J 

The hostility of the Pope was no doubt purchased by England, but the excuse for it lay, 
not in the war of independence, but in the killing of Comyn in the Greyfriars' Church in 
Dumfries, February 1306. 

• Barry. + Rymer, quoted by Tytler, i. 369. 

X This famous letter was adopted by the Scottish Parliament sitting in Arbroath Abbey, 6th 
April 1320. It is a most powerful protest agaiust th6 Pope's reco^ition of England's chdm of 
.supremacy. It acknowledges the great services which their beloved King had rendered in securing 
the independence of his country, but adds — " If this prince shall leave tjiese principles he hath so 
nobly pursued, and consent that we or our kingdom be subjected to the king or people of England, 
we will immediately endeavour to expel him as our enemy." " For it is not glory, it is not riches, 
neither is it honour, but it is liberty alone that we fight for, which no honest man will lose but with 
his life." It pleads to the Pope, with air hu'mility, **from bended knees and hearts." There is, 
however, no servility. " But if your Holiness shall be too credulous of the English misrepresenta- 
tions, we must believe that the Most Hi^h will lay to your charge all the blood,- loss bf souls, and 
other calamities that shall follow." This memorial had a strong effect at Rome. The duplicate, 
which was retained, is still preserved in the Register House in Edinburgh. * * - 



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INTRODUCTaRY. l8 

Magnus left no son to succeed him, and the Angus line of earls became extinct ; but a 
"daughter, Isabella,- had married Malise, Earl of Striatherne, and her son,- Maltse, wa» tlie first 
of the Stratherne line. In point of fact, he was the only one of his race that ruled Orkney. 
ile was twice married, aiid had five daug;hters, but no son came to perpetuate his name. 

On the death of Malise, Earl of Stratherne, the husband of his third daughter, Agnetta, a 
Swedish noble, Emgils Sunoson, got the title of Earl of Orkney from Magnus III. of Norway, 
1353. In 1357 he was deposed by the same monarch and his estates confiscated. 

In 1364, Thomas St. Clair occupied Kirkwall Castle as representative of the King of 
Norway. 

In 1379, Henry St. Clair, son of Elizabeth, youngest daughter of Malise of Stratherne, was 
preferred to the earldom, the first of an illustrious dynasty which lasted for ninety years. 

" The St. Clairs are of Norman extraction, being descended from Williem de St. Clair, 
second son of Walderne Compte de St. Clair, and Margaret, daughter to Richard, Duke of 
Normandy. He was called for his fair deportment the Seemly St. Clair, and, settling in 
Scotland during the reign of Malcolm Caenmore, obtained large grants of land in Mid- 
Lothian." 

" These domains were increased by the liberality of succeeding monarchs to the descend- 
ants of the family, and comprehended the baronies of Rosline, Pentland, Cowsland, Cardaine, 
and several others. It is said that a large addition was obtained from Robert Bruce on the 
following occasion. The, King, in following the chase upon Pentland Hills, had often started 
a white faunch deer, which had always escaped from his hounds ; and he asked the nobles, who 
were assembled around him, whether any of them had dogs which they thought would be more 
successful. No courtier would affirm that his hounds were fleeter than those of the King, 
until Sir William St. Clair of Rosline unceremoniously said he would wager his head that his 
two favourite dogs, Help and Hold, would kill the deer before she would cross the march 
burn. The King instantly caught at his unwary offer, and betted the forest of Pentland Moor 
against the life of Sir William St. Clair. All the hounds were tied up, except a few ratches or 
slow hounds to put up the deer ; while Sir William St. Clair, posting himself in the best 
situation for slipping his dogs, prayed devoutly to Christ, the blessed Virgin, and St 
Katherine. The deer was shortly after roused and the hounds slipped, Sir William following 
on a gallant steed to cheer his dogs. The hind, however, reached the middle of the brook, 
upon which the hunter threw himself from his horse in despair. At this critical moment, 
however, Hold stopped her in the brook, and Help coming up, turned her back and killed her 
on Sir William's side. The King descended from the hill, embraced Sir William, and 
bestowed on him the lands of Kirk ton, Logan House, Earncraig, &c., in free forestrie,"* 

This adventurous huntsman married Elizabeth, daughter of Malise, Earl of Orkney and 
Stratherne, in whose right their son, Henry, was created Earl of Orkney. 

" Although the EarLs of Orkney had precedence of all the titled nobility of Norway, and 
their signatures to the national documents stand always after the Archbishops and before 
the Bishops and nobles, though the title was the only one permitted in Norway to a subject 
not of the blood royal, yet it was now declared to be subject to the royal option of inve8titure."t 

Haco VI. of Norway, in investing Henry St. Clair in the earldom of Orkney, fully recog- 
nised the fact that the earls of Orkney were now liegemen of the Kings of Scotland, and that 
they had shown a disposition to be independent of both their suzerains. 

Accordingly, this investiture was granted under very stringent conditions, ainong others, 
that the Earl should take no part with the Bishop of Orkney to the King's prejudice, or enter 

* Father Hay. t Dr Anderson, Saga, Int., p. 64. 



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14 



KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 



into any contract with him without the Ring's permission ; and that he should build no fort 
or castle within the precincts of the earldom without the Royal assent. In face of these 
conditions, Henry St. Clair, circa 1380, cleared away the old Hall of the Norse earls and built 
a stronghold suited to the military requirements of the time, and of a style fitting the occupa- 
tion of one of the most important feudal barons of his day. 




Seal of Burgh of Kirkwall, 1675. 



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CHAPTER II. 

The Castle. 

fF the Castle was built without permission of the Ring of Norway, Earl Henry had a ready 
excuse, that, as he could not make a league with the bishops, he required a place of 
residence, at least equal in strength to their palace, which had accommodation for a 
large garrison. 

Evidently the King and the Bishop had not been on good terms, and possibly the church- 
man transferred his grudge from the King to the Earl. If he did so he was worsted, for in 
1382, without any detail of circumstances, " there came the mournful tidings that Bishop 
William was slain in the Orkneys." 

When St. Clair came to his earldom he found that the islands had suffered much, and 
were then suffering from the depredations of Scottish rovers; Accordingly, he used his 
influence at Court in favour of his new subjects, and obtained from the King a proclamation 
prohibiting, under heavy penalties, any Scotsman resorting to Orkney except for lawful trade, 
and this mandate, with the EarFs vigilance, had the desired effect 

During the rule of this earl the three Scandinavian kingdoms — Denmark, Norway, and 
Sweden — were joined under one crown. 

Margaret, daughter of Waldemar of Denmark, a brave, clever, energetic woman, married 
Haco y. of Norway. Haco and Margaret had one son, Olaf, who succeeded his grandfather, 
Waldemar, on the throne of Denmark. Shortly afterwards Haco of Norway died, and Olaf 
would have become king, but the Norwegians, who did not want a boy ten years of age on the 
throne, placed the crown on Margaret's head. Shortly afterwards Olaf died, and in the 
absence of a male heir, Margaret became Queen of Denmark also. Then the Swedes, dis- 
satisfied with their King, Albert of Mecklenburg, invited Margaret to depose him and take the 
throne. This she did, doubtless with much pleasure, and became Queen of the North. The 
union of the three kingdoms was sealed at Calmar, 1397, and Copenhagen became the capital. 
From this historic accident, Orkney and Shetland, which had hitherto belonged to Norway, 
came now to be regarded as pertaining to Denmark. 

That such a union was possible, apart from conquest, was undoubtedly owing to the 
amount of popular literature common to the three countries. 

Laing says—" It would be a curious subject for the political philosopher to examine what 
have been the effects of the literature of a people upon their social conditions. The literature 
of the Northmen kept alive the common feeling and mind— the common sense in matters of 
common interest which grow up into national institutions. They had a literature of their 
own, however barbarous, had laws, institutions, and social arrangements of their own, and all 
these, through a common language, influenced and formed a common mind in all.'' * 

• Sea Kings of Norway, i. 66. 



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16 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

Henry, the castle builder, was succeeded in the earldom by his son, Henry IL, a most 
accomplished nobleman. His 'Mittle Court of Orkney was the most elegant and refined in 
Europe, and adorned with the official services of many proud Scottish nobles. Half a century 
before Columbus commenced his baffling search for a patron among the sovereigns of Europe, 
the Venetian navigator, Zenoni, had been commissioned by Earl Henry to retrace the footsteps 
of the early Scandinavian discoverers of the western world." * 

The Earl's neighbours, the Bishop of Orkney and the dignitaries of the Cathedral, 
represented the scholarship of the age, which, combined with the feudal splendour of the St. 
Clairs, made Kirkwall at the beginning of the fifteenth century the most brilliant capital in 
northern Europe. 

To Earl Henry, Robert III. of Scotland committed the charge of his second son, Prince 
James, after the more than suspicious death at Falkland of the Crown Prince, David, Duke of 
Rothesay. Eearing lest the ambitious Albany should secure the crown for himself by the 
^removal of his remaining son, the old King sent the youth off to France under the charge of 
the Earl of Orkney. But the voyage proved disastrous. Through the intrigues of Albany, 
Henry IV. of England was induced to send a vessel to intercept them, arid their, ship waa 
captured off Flamborough Head by an armed merchantman belonging to the port of Wye. f 
The Prince and his retinue were carried prisoners to London. In security, if in captivity, the 
royal youth was for nineteen years detained in England, receiving meanwhile such a training 
as befitted the heir to Scotland's throne. 

Earl Henry was allowed his freedom, on leaving his brother John a hostage for his return, 
and thus, in a manner bound to both courts, he made repeated journeys from one to the other. 
in his frequent absences from Kirkwall his grandmother held the castle and ruled the. 
earldom. 

He married Egidia, daughter of Lord William Douglas, grand -daughter of Robert II. of 
Scotland, and was succeeded by his son, William, the first of the family to give his name the* 
form of Sinclair. Earl William found employment enough at the Scottish Court to make him 
careless of seeking infeftment at the hands of the King of Denmark. He visited Prince James 
in his captivity in England, and, when the young King returned to Scotland, was one of the 
splendid train that met him at Durham. 

But King Eric became impatient, and felt himself bound to resent Earl William's 
carelessness in the matter of homage. He did so by raising a doubt as to the validity of the 
St. Clair title, and he only granted investiture when, in 1434, Bishop Tulloch and his clergy, 
after careful genealogical research, produced a " Diploma " showing the title to be unassail- 
able.! 

In 1448, Christian I. ascended the Danish throne. 

In 145.5, Bishop Thomas died and was succeeded by his cousin, William Tulloch. 

"Tulloch, Bishop of Orkney, a Scotsman and a prelate of high accomplishments and 
great suavity of manners, enjoyed the friendship and esteem of Christian, King of Denmark 
and Norway, and api>ears to have been entrusted by this northern potentate with a consider- 
able share in the government of these islands." § 

If Eric had been doubtful of the loyalty of the St. Clairs, Christian had no less reason to 
be dissatisfied. After this king had been thirteen years on the throne, Bishop William was' 
good enough to apologise for the negligent earl on the ground that, having been appointed one 
of the regents of the kingdom during the minority of James III., his presence was required at' 

• Balfour Mem. for Ork., p. 27." 
t Tytler quoting Walsingbam aod Winton, iii. 154. J Barry. § Tytler, iv. 216. 



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XHK CASTLE. 17 

the Scottish Court, and, therefore, he could not go to Coi^enhagen to take the oath of 
allegiance. 

His attendance at Court necessarily prevented the EarFs residence in Orkney, but, after 
years of neglect, he at length sent his son to occupy Kirkwall Castle. 

This young man, known in the family records as William the Waster, found a churchman 
exercising secular rule over hLs father's lands, and at once proceeded to make history, not 
merely for Orkney, but for Scotland and for Europe. Great must have been the excitement 
in Kirkwall when the reckless "Waster" carried the suave Bishop from the Palace to the 
Castle. Great also must have been the wrath of King Christian when the tidings reached 
Coi)enhagen that " the prelate had been seized and shut up in prison by a son of the Earl of 
Orkney, who showed no dis[>osition to interfere for his liberation." * 

A dignitary of the Scandinavian Church, the royal representative in the province, and an 
esteemed personal friend, incarcerated by a Scottish lordling, was a national and a personal 
insult which King Christian could not brook. He directed letters to the Scottish Court 
remonstrating against the treatment of the Bishop, demanding his immediate liberation, and 
intimating that he would not tolerate the oppression of his lieges in Orkney by any of the 
subjects of the King of Scotland. To add weight to his ])rotest, he demanded payment of 
all arrears of the " Annual of Norway." 

This tax, though only a hundred merks yearly, had remained unpaid for nearly a couple 
of centuries, so that the amount now due, principal and interest, formed a very embarrassing 
claim \i\)on the never overflowing Scottish exchetiuer. In sending in his account, the royal 
creditor expressed the hoi)e that the friendly relations of the two kingdoms might not be 
disturbed, but the very utterance of such a hoi)e showed that Denmark contemplated a 
possible rupture. 

In this complication both parties agreed to settle their differences by arbitration, and 
placed the case in the hands of Charles VII. of France. This monarch, valuing the alliance 
of Denmark and of Scotland, gave the weighty question his earnest consideration. Hi* 
finding was that, as the young King of Scotland was of an age f to marry, and as the King of 
Denmark had a daughter of suitable years, international differences should be forgotten in the 
rejoicings of a royal wedding. Tlie award was accei)ted, and James III. married Margaret of 
Denmark. 

In the drawing of the marriage settlement, the Scottish ambassadors secured remarkably 
liberal terms for the bridegroom. Scotland's heavy debt to Denmark was cancelled, while the 
Princess brought with her a dowry of sixty thousand florins. Of this sum ten thousand were 
to be paid at once, and the Orkney Islands were to be held in imwn by Scotland till the 
remaining fifty thousand florins should be forthcoming. 

But when it came to the payment of the ten thousand florins. Christian found that he 
could only disburse two thousand, and he gave Shetland in pledge for the balance. Thus 
Orkney and Shetland, which had been lost to Scotland in the ninth century by a process of 
Scandinavian immigration, were in 1468 restored by this impignoration ; for the question of 
their redemption has long since passed beyond the range of practical diplomacy. And it 
should not be forgotten that this restoration, and the wedding which brought it about, 
resulted from the rough play between Bishop Tulloch and young Sinclair on the streets of 
Kirkwall. 

In 1471, William St. Clair exchanged his earldom of Orkney for a grant of the lands and 
castle of Ravenscraig in Fife, and an Act was passed annexing the islands to the Scottish 

• Tytler. iv. 215. 
t James had barely completed his eighteenth year, and Margaret was just sixteen. 



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18 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

Crown, " nocht to be given away in time to com to na jHjrsain or i)ersaini8 excep alenarily to 
ane of the king's sonnia of lauchful lied." The exchange of Orkney for Ravenscraig was so 
une<iual as to be really a confiscation, and as such it wa« regarded by the St. Clairs. In 1715, 
when John, Master of St. Clair, wa« |)assing into exile for his share in the rebellion, he made 
some stay in Kirkwall, and remarks : — " I had occasion to entertain myself at Kirkwall with 
the melancholy prosjKJct of the ruins of an old castle, the seat of the old earls of Orkney, my 
ancestors ; and of a more melancholy reflection of so great and noble an estate a>s the Orkney 
and Shetland Isles being taken from one of them by James the Third for faultrie, after his 
brother Alexander, Duke of Albany, had married a daughter of my family, and for protecting 
and defending the said Alexander against the King, who wished to kill him as he had done his 
youngest brother, the Earl of Mar, and for w^hich, after the forfaultrie, he gratefully divorced 
my forfaulted ancestor's sister ; though I cannot persuade myself that he had any misalliance 
to plead against a familie in whose veins the blood of Robert Bruce ran as fresh as in his 
own." 

This not only ])roves the confiscation, but gives the cause. 

William St. Clair, as Earl of Orkney, was sufficiently jxiwerful to interfere in the private 
aflfairs of the royal family, and could uphold a meml)er of that family whom the King had 
resolved to cast down ; but William St. Clair, as the Laird of Ravenscraig, was weak and as 
another man. Of the style this Earl maintained in E<linburgh "we have a description : — 

''In the Blackfriars Wynd the semi-royal house of Sinclair had a mansion. 

" They were Princes and Earls of Orkney, Lords of Roslin, Dukes of Oldenburg, and had 
a list of titles that has been noted for its almost Spanish tediousness. In his magnificence 
Earl William — who built Roslin Chapel, was High Chancellor in 1453, and ambassador to 
England in the same year— far surpassed what has often sufficed for the Kings of Scotland. 

" His Princess, Margaret Douglas, daughter of Archibald, Duke of Touraine, according to 
Father Hay in his * Genealogie of the Sainte Claires of Rosslyn,' was waited uix)n by seventy- 
five gentlewomen, whereof fifty-three were daughters of noblemen, all clothed in velvets and 
silks with their chains of gold and other pertinents, together wnth two hundred riding 
gentlemen who accompanied her in all her journeys. She had carried before her when she 
went to Edinburgh eighty lighted torches, so that, in a word, none matched her in all the 
country save the Queen's Majesty." * 

Father Hay tells us too that " Earl William kept a great court, and w^as royally served at 
his own table in vessels of gold and silver. Lord Dirleton being his master of the household, 
Lord Borthwick his cup bearer, and Lord Fleming his carver, in whose absence they had 
deputies, viz. : — Stewart, Laird of Drumlanrig ; Tweedie, Laird of Drumelzier ; and Sandi- 
lands. Laird of Calder. He had his halls and other apartments richly adorned with 
embroidered hangings." 

That this magnificence was not exhibited to the full in Kirkwall Castle must be admitted ; 
but even on a deputy, and esi»ecially if that deputy were a son, there would be from the 
I)aternal centre a strong reflected s])lendour. 

William Sinclair was the last of the hereditary earls of Orkney. Back through the 
Stratherne family, through the house of Angus, and through centuries of Norse ancestors, he 
could trace his descent from Sigurd the First, the liegeman of Harold Haarfager. He was 
also the last to hold the fief from a Scandinavian suzerain. 

After the confiscation, the earldom lands were leased to Bishop Tulloch, and on his 
translation to the See of Moray the lease was continued to Andrew, the first prelate of 
Scottish appointment, and with the lands was given the keeping of the Castle of Kirkwall. 
• " Edinburgh in the Olden Time," Wilson. ' 



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THE CASTLK. 19 

Barry refers to a stone in front of the building carved with arms and a mitre.* If such a 
stone existed it probably dated from the rule of one of these two churchmen. 

In the absence, or rather in the non-existence, of an earl, Bishop Andrew secured for the 
bishopric a royal charter erecting it into a regality, thus making himself and hLs successors, in 
their civil jiu-isdiction, independent of the earldom courts, t 

In thus procuring a separate right of " pit and gallows," he was doubtless simply restoring 
the bishopric to the position it had held under Scandinavian sway. This charter was 
confirmed by another eleven years later. Tudor says that the two bishops, during their leases, 
increased the estate of the bishopric at the exi)ense of the earldom, and this is fully borne out 
by the rentals. The Bishop took to himself the scat which in many cases should have been 
paid to the King. 

" I knaw nocht quha aw the land male hierof, bot the scats suld be the kingis, and thai ar 
withhaldin be the bischop in my time, xxij. yeiris bigane." J 

" Langscale (Rousay) was evir to the Kingis scattis quhilk is haldin be the bischop 
(Andrew) in all my tyme bigane, and Bischop William, quhen he had our Soverane Lordis 
lands in tak, was the first that evier began to tak ony of the kingis scattis contenit in this 
buik." § 

Many similar entries prove that these two pious churchmen added largely to their 
incomes by systematic frauds on the royal exchetiuer. 

It is somewhat remarkable that, during the episcopate of a man of Andrew's influence, 
the King should, in the burgh charter, 1486, hand over to the newly-constituted corporation 
the care of the Cathedral building, and the api)ointment of parish schoolmaster, two matters 
which were certainly prerogatives of the Church, and which for a couple of centuries after the 
granting of the charter remained in the hands of the clergy unquestioned by the Town 
Council. 

The charter marks the initiation of a new jwwer in the town, the power of the |)eople. 
Hitherto the Castle and the Palace, conjointly or separately, had ruled Kirkwall, but from 
this time the Town House loomed in the future as an institution of greater public importance 
than either. It is well to keep in mind what the burgh w^as when this charter was granted- 
It was still the triangular village situated between the Burn of Pabdale and the bay. What 
importance it had was gathered from its relations with the aristocratic suburban community, 
the Earl and his Court, the Bishop and his retinue, and the other dignitaries of the Church, 
with their necessary establishments. Many of these were immigrants, who brought with 
them from the outer world tastes which could only be gratified through a maritime trade with 
British and Continental i)orts. And the demand called forth the supply, bringing to the front 
quite a number of merchant sailors, many of whom, by commercial enterprise, acquired 
wealth ; and when, long after the granting of the charter, the corjKjration assumed the 
conduct of burghal affairs, these were the kind of men who, as magistrates and councillors, 
came to the front and managed the affairs of the little town. 

In 1488, James III. was killed at Sauchie Burn, and his successor entrusted the Crown 
lands in Orkney, with the keeping of the Castle of Kirkwall, to Lord Henry St. Clair, a son of 
the semi-royal William, late Earl of Orkney. By him the Castle was held and occupied till 
the fatal year, 1513, when he followed his king to England and fell with him at Flodden. 
"In the second year of Lady Sinclair's widowhood, 1515, the Orcadians elected James 
Sinclair, natural son of Sir William Sinclair of Wassater, Sanday, as their leader and virtual 
governor, the possessor, though illegitimate, of most of the wealth of the family, and the 
inheritor, as a born and bred Orkneyman, of all its popularity. On the plea of a general devas- 
♦ p. 236. t 1490. t Pet. Rent., p. 56. § p. 78. 



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20 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

tation of the islands by the English fleet, in Orkney they withheld Lady Margaret's rents for 
three years, 1523 to 1525, and forced her son. Lord William, to surrender the Castle. They 
slew thirty of Lord William's adherents who had taken sanctuary in St. Magnus Cathedral." * 
To recover possession of Orkney, Lord William raised a i)arty, and, accom{)anied by his 
cousin, John, p]arl of Caithness, crossed the Pentland Firth the following year. The Caith- 
ness men were defeated at Summerdale, in Stenness, and slaughtered almost to a nian.t 

Tradition is somewhat circumstantial in its memory of the first death in this invasion and 
the \^t at the close of the battle. The Caithness leaders held to the belief, " which spills the 
foremost foeman's life, that party concjuers in the strife." Accordingly, soon after landing in 
Orphir, they came u\x)r\ a lad herding cattle, and ruthlessly slew him. The victim, however, 
was not a foeman, but one of their own countrymen who had found employment on the north 
side of the Pentland. 

The last to fall was an Orcadian, whose cottage was at Tusker])ister, (juite near the battle- 
field. He had strii)i)ed one of the fallen, and had arrayed himself in gay apparel. He 
expected to surprise his mother, but the old lady surprised him. To protect her life and 
honour, she had, by way of weapon, put a stone in the foot of a long stocking, and as soon as 
the seeming stranger entered, she felled him to the ground and killed him. 

Sir James Sinclair now remained governor of the Castle, and proceeded to acquire 
property. By representing that Sanday and Eday were holms used only for pasturing cattle, 
he received a grant of these islands. Sinclair died by his own hand at Stirling in 1539.t 

In the following year, James V. came to Orkney with a fleet of twelve ships. § He was 
surprised to find the islands in such a state of civilization. Indeed, the town, with its 
Cathedral, its Palace, its Castle, and the handsome houses of the dignitaries of the Church, 
their gardens sloping to the Oyce, was well calculated to impress southern visitors ; for, in 
architectural elegance, Kirkwall in the sixteenth century could have been surpassed by very 
few Scottish towns. 

The King had with him a small army, and he " placed garrisons in two castles, the king's 
castle and the bishop's." || 

He evidently regarded Kirkwall Castle as a safe and commodious dwelling fit to be a 
royal residence, for he settled it on his Queen, Mary of Guise, should she survive him. 

During the short time James remained in Orkney, his pilot, Lindsay, made good use of 
his opportunities in taking soundings and drawing a chart of the islands. 

The lease of the earldom was now granted to Oliver Sinclair, the Court favourite for the 
time, and when, after the death of her husband, the Queen dowager desired to have jiossession 
of her castle, she was forced to have recourse to law, and after a somewhat tedious action, it 
was ordained by the Lords of Secret Council that Sinclair should give up the place within 
six days after receiving an order from the royal widow to that effect. 

This unfortunate Oliver was the last Sinclair to bear rule in Orkney. In the wider 

history of Scotland his name is associated with the greatest national disgrace in the annals of 

our country's wars. At Solway Moss, an army, nominally under his command, but actually in 

a state of mutiny, was scattered to the winds by the dashing charge of a handful of English 

horse. The story of his life well illustrates the instability of Court favour. He had held the 

foremost place in the household of James V., yet he was personally unknown to James VI. 

and his Court. When the Earl of Arran had sole possession of this King's ear, we are told 

* St. Clairs of the Isles, 
t It wiis not till 1538, eleven years after the battle, that the King granted amnesty to those who 
had taken part in slaying the Earl, and in the Act of Oblivion he specially names Magnus Cromarte, 
Johne Croniarte, Magnus Garoch, and Edward Bumess. 

4: Barry, p. 246, note. § Tytler, v. 276, II Buchanan. 



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:< THE CASTLE. 21. 

that " one day the favourite was bustling into the Court, when an old man, meanly dressed, 
chanced to stand in his way. As Arran pushed rudely past him, the man stopped him, and 
said—* Look at me, my lord, I am Oliver Sinclair.' In a short time, Arran, too, was living in 
obscurity and fear, and he died a violent death." * 

Mary of Guise having ousted Sinclair, was, as Regent of Scotland, too much occupied 
with State affairs even to visit Kirkwall, and she gave the keeping of the Castle to one Bonot, 
a Frenchman, a choice which was far from popular.f 

The Queen dowager died, 1560, and in 1564, Lord Robert Stewart, half-brother of Queen 
Mary, got a written title to " all and whole the lands of Orkney and Zetland, with all and 
sundry the isles pertaining thereto, with all and each of the castles, towers, fortalices, woods, 
mills, multures, fishings, tenents, service of free tenents, with the whole superiority of free 
tenents, advocation, donation of churches, and with the office of Sheriff of the Fouldrie of 
Zetland." t The feu was fixed at £2006 13s 4d ; Oliver Sinclair had paid £2000. 

In 1567 this lease was cancelled, and the islands were given to James Hepburn, Earl of 
Bothwell, who was at the same time created Duke of Orkney. But the duke had a more 
restricted title than the earl had held. He did not get " all and whole the lands of Orkney 
and Zetland," but only " all and haill the earldom lands and isles," «fec., " all erectit in ane haill 
and free dukry to be callit the dukry of Orknay for ever." 

Here it would seem that the crown authority recognised the illegality of granting a title 
to the bishopric lands, which had been secured for the church and erected into a regality by 
the charter granted to Bishop Andiew. Mary, perhaps foreseeing the troubles that were sure 
to follow her ill-omened wedding with the Duke of Orkney, had given the keeping of the 
Castle of Kirkwall to one whom she had reason to regard as a friend. Gilbert Balfour had 
been Master of the Household to the Queen and her husband, Henry, Lord Darnley, and he 
was now Sheriff of Orkney and Governor of all its strongholds. 

Mary's troubles came perhaps sooner than she anticijiated. In exactly a month after this 
miserable marriage, Bothwell fled from the bloodless field of Carberry, and, seeking refuge in 
his island duchy, he hoped to find security in Kirkwall Castle. But the politic Balfour, 
refusing to treat with a broken man, turned the guns of the fortress upon him, and the 
fugitive hurried off to Shetland, hotly pursued by a squadron under command of Kirkaldy of 
Grange. 

And now Lord Robert Stewart succeeded in recovering his former title, securing the 
bishopric as well as the earldom revenues. As to this. Bishop Graham says—" Robert, Erie 
of Orknay, sone to King James the Fyft, obteyned a few of Orknay and Shetland, and yair- 
upon intendit to stress the udillandis, and augment a rental on these their landis. He ceased 
fra it, and found out ane uther way to doe the turne. He was Abbot of Hallyrudehouse, and 
Adame Bothwell, then bishope of Orknay, they maid ane excambione,, and Erie Robert 
became in these dayes bischope in omnibus, and set his rentall of teynds upon these udillands 
above the availe, yea, triple above the availe. This rentall stands to this day." § 

On the other hand, Bishop Bothwell " denied that ever he dimitted to my Lord Robert 
his office or anie part thereof, but that the said Lord Robert violentlie intruded himself on his 
whole living." 

Hitherto, the power of the Castle had been to a certain extent limited by the authority 
of the Palace ; but under Robert Stewart, the power of the earls and the authority of the 
bishops were the prerogative of one unscrupulous man. 

The story of the tyrannous rule of the Stewart earls has often been told. Under them the 

♦ Scott, Tales. t Peterkin, Notes, 100. t Pet., Notes, 101. § Pet., Reot, iii. 20. 



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22 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

islanders became familiar with enforced labour of all kinds — field work, i)eat cutting, ferrying, 
quarrying, and building, receiving no return either in food or wages. 

Rents being \md in kind, were left nominally untouched, but in reality, through altered 
standards, were increased all over the islands by one-fourth. Every thing thro^^n up by the 
sea or found floating off the shore liecame the proj^erty of the Earl. For venial crimes small 
proprietors were deprived of their lands, and where a pleasant bit of proi>erty tempted the 
eye, charges of witchcraft and sorcery were trumi)ed up against the owner, to l)e immediately 
followed by confiscation. 

The church was largely drawn uiK>n to augment the revenue of the Earl. The teinds, as 
Bishop Graham showed, were set at triple their value. Benefices were allowed to remain 
vacant, and the stii)ends were appropriated by the Earl. Earl Robert supjn'essed the Burgh 
Council and destroyed what records had accumulated. 

He built for himself a i)alace at Birsay, after the ])lan of the beautiful royal rewidence at 
Falkland. His vassals — a convenient and comprehensive designation including all ranks and 
conditions of the [)eople — were forced to supply the lal>our. 

To i)revent as far as jwssible his high-handed rule becoming known l>eyond his earldom, 
no one was allowed to enter or de()art without his permission. 

In spite, however, of his precautions complaints reached the Court, and Earl Robert was 
summoned to Edinburgh. He was imprisoned in Linlithgow for a time, but on bail being 
found for him by two friends to the amount of £10,000, he was lil)erated, and returned to 
Orkney, where he died in 1591. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Patrick. 

Of this earl's character and government, Scottish historians take different views. An 
almost contemi>orary writer says : — "The real crime of the unfortunate Earl was most 
probably his extensive possessions, the secular jwrtion having attracted the avidity of the 
Royal favourite,* and the Episco|)al revenues being as keenly eyed by the prelates. f 

Peterkin calls his execution a judicial murder. But local tradition both in Orkney and in 
Shetland, the complaints of the Balfours, Ballendens, and others of his neighl)ours, and 
finally his indictment and trial, leave no doubt whatever of the iiyustice and t>Tanny of his 
rule. 

He plundered those of his subjects whose wealth made it worth the trouble, and where 
resistance was offered he resi)onded with imprisonment and torture. 

Bellendcn of Evie refused to part with some lands to the Earl, whereui)on his eldest son 
was put in the " boots," another son was imprisoned, and the bedridden old laird himself was 
carried off to Kirkwall. 

Besides the torture of the " boot," we hear of the " cashie laws," an iron stocking heated 
up by a moveable furnace ; of the penny winkies, the thumbscrew, and of the simple scourge 
applied with such hearty goodwill as to leave " neither skin nor hide " ui)on the unfortunate 
Bcourgee. 

From these it may readily be believed that in his own domains the Earl had few friends. 

With his neighbour of Caithness he was at constant feud. The rout at Summerdale was 
unforgotten and unforgiven on the other side of the Pentland Firth, and though the Stewarts 
had no finger in that pie, the Sinclairs seemed to regard the Orcadian earls as hereditary 
enemies. "The year of God 1608 there was some ai)iK?arance of trouble between the Earls of 
Caithness and Orkney, by reason that upon some preceding discontent the Earl of Caithness 
had now caused apprehend some of the Earl of Orkney's servants who were forced to land in 
Caithness by a contrary wind and vehement storm of weather. First, the Earl of Caithness 
made them drunk, then, in a mocking jest, he caused shave the one side of their beards and 
* Kerr, Earl of Somerset. t Aikman's Buchanan, iii., p. 336. 



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THE CASTLE. 23 

the one side of their heads, last of all he constrained them to take their vessel and go to sea in 
that stormy tempest." * 

Earl Patrick complained to the King of this gratuitous indignity put upon his people, and . 
both noblemen repaired to Edinburgh. There, however, "they agreed all their private 
quarrels by the mediation of friends lest they should reveal too much ot each other's doings." 

On the other hand, perhaps as a matter of policy, the Earl cultivated the friendship of the 
Sutherland family. ** In the month of August 1602, John, Earl of Sutherland, accompanied 
by his brother. Sir Robert Gordon, Hutcheon MacKay, the Laird of Assynt, and other gentle- 
men went into Orkney to visit Earl Patrick. They shipped at Cromarty, in the Earl of 
Orkney's warship the Dunkirk, and landed at Kirkwall, where they were honourably received 
and heartily entertained by Patrick, Earl of Orkney." On such occa.sions his palace witnessed 
profuse display and prodigal expenditure. " His pomp was so great that he never went from 
his Castle to the Kirk without the convoy of fifty musketeers and other gentlemen of convoy 
and guard. And, before dinner and supper, there were three trumpeters that sounded till the 
meat of the first service was set at table, and sic like at the second service, and consequently 
after grace." f 

Inheriting a strong love for architecture, he built for himself a residence on the bishopric 
lands. He selected a site close by the Place of the Yards, and erected what was called the 
New Wark in the Yards. 

The Earl's Palace, when finished, must have been one of the finest examples of Scottish 
baronial architecture then existing, and the magnificent banqueting hall, the commodious 
withdrawing room, and the immense kitchen, with its capacious fire-place, go to show that the 
builder proposed to maintain the princely style becoming the grandson of a king and the 
ruler of a virtually independent province. 

But in the erecti(m of this lordly mansion the oppressions of the islanders culminated. 
It is charged against the Earl that he compelled the gentlemen tenants of Orkney and Zetland 
to work for him all manner of work by sea and land, in rowing and sailing his ships and boats, 
loading them with stones and lime and discharging the same, quarrying and carrying stones, 
building his walls and other sorts of servile and painful labour, without meat, drink, or hire. 
The islands were still under their old Norse laws, and in the Things justice should have been 
attainable even against an earl, but Patrick, adopting a course introduced by his father, packed 
the courts with creatures of his own, and thus could always secure a decision in his favour 
against any recalcitrant subject. 

5th August 1602—" James Barnetson and Adam Cromartie baith proven in the Foldis 
bulks to have disobeyit to gang to my Lord's wark in Scalloway as they were decernit, 
thairfore ilk ane of them are decernit to pay 40 sh." J 

This refers to the building of Scalloway Castle. In Kirkwall the Earl presided as provost 
in the burgh and as sheriff in the county courts, and carried matters his own way. 

The building of the palace, together with his other extravagances, plunged Earl Patrick 
so hopelessly into debt that his principal creditor. Sir John Arnot, by way of security, was 
" infeft in the earldom," and Sir John had this infeftment subsequently ratified by Parliament, 
9th July 1606. 

With the candour of a creditor, he writes to the Earl, 9th April 1605 :— " It grieves me 
very meikle and piercis my hairt to hear your L. name bladdit out at the market croice as it 
is, for even when I was in wryting this letter your L. is chargit at the Gudeman of Ethay's 
instance to compair before the Counsel the 7th day of Junii or thereabout to answer to his 
complaints. There is as many complaints made upon your L, (and yet habile without cans) 
* Peterkin, Notes, App. 55. t Macfarlane MSS. t Pet., Notes, App. 32. 



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24 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

that your L. name is made odious to all the people of this country, haith great and small, 
every one ready to hem to their own evil word as occasion serves. Thomas Swiuton,* Jsvmes 
Annand, + and Jame-s Crawford can shew your L. enough heirof gif they please. I am feirit 
that it sail move his Majesty to extreme anger against your L., for his Highness is of another 
kind of disposition nor he has been in Scotland quhen he was hier." X 

But a time was at hand when Earl Patrick should discover that in his own Orkney there 
was present a greater than himself. 

In August 1606, the Parliament which met at Perth pas.sed an Act *' to restore the state of 
bishops to their ancient and accustomed honours, dignities, prerogatives, livings, lands, tithes^ 
rents, and estates.'' 

Jamas Law, minister of Kirkliston, was installed Bishop of Orkney, and of all the 
Scottish prelates he was the fittest to cope with Patrick Stewart. 

The Bishop, very soon after coming to Kirkwall, determined to get rid of the Earl. By 
pressing at Court the wrongs of the people he hoped to attain his end. He had ready access 
to the King's ear, and found it very willing to listen where the possible confiscation of an 
important fief was concerned. He wrought patiently and systematically. For three years ho 
recorded the grievances of the people, arranging the cases for production when necessary, and 
in 1609 he had the Earl summoned before the Scottish Privy Council. An indictment under 
fourteen heads was drawn up, and the trial commenced 4th June 1610. § 

Though the Lords of the Council were anxious to save the life of the peer, it was obvious 
that he could not be acquitted, so months and years passed away without sentence, Earl 
Patrick all the while a state prisoner. The King earnestly desired a compromise, and offered 
him a royal residence, with ample income, if he would give up Orkney and Zetland ; but, with 
the unreasoning ob.stinacy of his race, he refused all terms. 

Lest his influence with the nobility should lead to plots in his favour, he was removed 
from Edinburgh to Dumbarton Castle. His income was now cut off, the merest pittance being 
allowed for his support—" 22 June 1613, Four Pounds " (6/8 stg.) " daily allowed the Earl of 
Orkney, prisoner in the castle." 

Meanwhile his natural son Robert,|| perhaps inspired by filial affection, perhaps moved by 
the paternal reproaches, resolved to make a demonstration in favour of his father. On the 
plea of gathering arrears of rents he proceeded to Orkney, seized the Palace of Birsay, and 
there collected men. A lingering hope of release from Scottish rule, and a desire on the part 
of the bulk of the people to return to the old Norse laws and customs, gave what strength it 
had to this little rebellion. The Scottish friends and dependents of Earl Patrick gathered 
round his son, who, passing to Kirkwall, secured the castle, the palace, and the girnel house, 
the Cathedral tower being already in possession of Patrick Halcro, the most prominent of his 
supporters. 

In ail munitions of war the castle was well found, and was capable of standing a 
prolonged siege. We are told that Earl Patrick " had his ships directed to the sea to intercept 
pirates and collect tribute of uncouth fishers that came yearly to these seas, whereby he made 

* Minister of Kirkwall, 1583 ; Member of the Secret Council, 1689 ; Commissioner for Orkney 
and Zetland for six years ending 1591. 

t Minister of VVestray, 1567 ; Commissioner of Orkney, 1580. 

t Pet. Notes, App. 58. § See Appendix to this chapter. 

II Robert Halcro of Cava, acting for Marjorie Sinclair, mother of Earl Patrick's natural son, 
Robert, prosecutes and obtains decree aeainst Jasper Flett of Howbister for rents due to Earl 
Patrick to the amount of £686 2s 9d cash, 11 lasts, 11 meils, 1 setting, 14 merks flesh, 40 pair of 
cunnings, and 15 score of cunning skinnos for lands in Sanday, years 1601-2. — Sheriff Court Books, 
6th Jan. 1625. 



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THE GAfiTLR. 25 

such collection of great guns and other weapons for war as no house, palace, nor castle, yea in. 
all Scotland, was not furnished with the like." * 

When news of this insurrection reached the Court there was a keen competition for the- 
command of the expedition which should be dispatched to restore order. 

Sir James Stewart, afterwards Lord Ochiltree, was at that time Sheriff of Orkney, and he 
offered to go personally and suppress the rising, if the Privy Council would grant him a. 
commission to levy 500 men. Lord Lovat promised him "from 200 to 300 Hielandmen/*" 
Some gentlemen of Orkney, then in Edinburgh, dreading the consequences of such a Celtic 
invasion, prevailed on Robert Monteith of Egilshay to put in a proposal. He accordingly 
undertook to "appease the country" if he got sixty soldiers, a hemld trumpeter, and one ship- 
to transport them. He gave George, Earl of Caithness, as one of his cautioners. But the 
cautioner circumvented the principal and secured the command for himself. 

Burning to wipe off the disgrace of Summerdale, Caithness appointed his own retainers to- 
meet him in Orkney, and he himself embarked at Leith with sixty soldiers. For the 
destruction of the fortress and the Cathedral he had from Edinburgh Castle "ane great 
cannon callit Thrawn Mouthe, markit with the porcupine, and ane battering piece, markit 
with the salamander." His ammunition consisted of " three score bullets for each of the two 
battering pieces, four score and two stones of gunpowder, and two barrellis with cuttit iron for 
hail-shot," 

He landed at Carness on the 23rd August 1614. With much labour he got a battering^ 
piece ashore, which then, " by great force of men and some difficulties through the depth of 
the soil, was with all possible diligence drawn near two miles towards the town, and the same 
day, about thrie afternoon, planted at Weyland, within ane half quarter of mile to the Castle." 

" I commanded the cannoneers to shute at the Castle, who did their part so well that by 
the second shot one of the turrets upon the head of the House was pierced and almost beaten 
down, to the great terror of the traitors, and other three being shot, did all hit but not hurt so- 
much." 

The march to Kirkwall met with some show of resistance. It was charged against Robert 
Stewart at his trial that, " upon knowledge of the said Lieutenant's coming, ye maist treason- 
ably convenit and musterit your hail forces, and for augmenting of your number drew in 
divers of the country people who were pressit and forceit by your tyranny to take part with 
you in your rebellion, making up in number an army of five hundred men for your guard and 
defence in so dampnable ane cause. With the quhilk number of armit soldiers ye marchit- 
forth in battle array out of the town of Kirkwall towards the Car ness divers days of the 
month of August last, of purpose there to have withstood and resisted the said Lieutenant 
and his ship's landing. Likeas, after the said Lieutenant and his company war landed, ye, 
accompanied with the number above written, all bodin in feir of weir, with hagbuttis^ 
muscattis, poulder, leid, ensignes displayid and sounding of drums, rankit yourselves in battle 
array at the Baw-field,t ane little frae the toun of Kirkwall, where ye, by the shutting of your 
muscattis, maist treasonably made resistance to the said Lieutenant being cled with His 
Majesty's authority." 

Robert Stewart's five hundred men retreated somewhat ignominiously from the Balea, but 
in the Castle they gave the Earl of Caithness more trouble than he had anticipated. The 
EarUs opinion of Henry St. Clair's fortress is interesting : — " It is one of the strongest houses 
in Britain, for I will bring with me to your Lordship cannon bullets broken like golf balls 
upon the Castle, and clovin in twa haffis." 

f Macfarlane MSS. t The Ba'lea of Kirkwall at that time must have included the ** Carters' Park.* 

£ 



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26 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

He 8ays again that, but for his securing the services of Patrick Halcro, " it would have 
been ane langsome siege ; for I protest to God the house has never been biggit without the 
■consent of the Divil, for it is one of the strongest houses in Britain — without fellow." 

The townspeoi)le, though not actually in rebellion, showed that they considered blood 
thicker than water. Caithness complains to the Secretary of State — " I cannot nor may not 
stop the inhabitants of this town from 8i)eaking with the traitors, giving thfem meat and drink, 
And making daily and nichtly advertisements of what I am doing. I will entreat your 
Lordship to mak me advertisit with diligence of the Council's mind what 1 sail do to them, 
baith men and women." 

Though it had not been "ane langsome siege," the Earl found himself in somewhat 
straitened circumstances. " There is here no bread, nor drink, nor other victuals to be had for 
price, prayer, or command, so that I must seek present relief of some victuals from Caithness, 
or suffer the soldiers to starve for want. The hail iwwder, except ane half-barrel, is sfKint, 
and all the bullets for the cannon except nine. The soldiers want their jwiy for this month, 
and we cannot have the half or any pairt thereof advancit. The rebells are resolvit 
obstinately to indure and hold out ; and this day, because the cannon played not on them 
{having intelligence of all our wants), they jested from the Castle in the morning, asking why 
our cannons did sleep so long." 

Not many lives were lost during this siege. In thanking the Secretary of State for 
sending supplies, Caithness says — " I and all who are here >^ith me have hot service with this 
most bluidie and barbarous rebels and traitors. They have killed four, and the last one is 
William Irvine,* ane Orkney gentleman, who, since his death, I have heard was ane great 
friend to the traitor. God is just in all his judgments, for amongst us all standing by him he 
is shot dead upon the nineteenth day of this nionth,t at two hours in the afternoon." 

Marjorie Sinclair, Robert Stewart's mother, was with her son in the Castle, and got a 
musket bullet through her hand. 

At length the Earl was able to report—" All is come to His Majesty's honour, praLsit he 
God. I have six slain to me, many hurt. I shall not be slow to punish severely, to make 
example to others to play the lyk. Presently I am going to drink His Majesty's good health 
upon the Castle heid." 

But for Halcro's treachery that toast would have been long deferred. " After four hours' 
conference, he and I hand in hand, I made him to yield that he would give it over and make 
the house to be in my hands ujKDn condition that I should promise him his life, which I did." 
That promise Caithness hoped the Privy Council would disregard, and he writes — " I think 
my word and proraeis given to Patrick Halcro shall not be fulfilled, before it wer I rather be 
in my grave." 

To screen Halcro and make it appear that the desire for surrender came from within, a 
minister was sent into the Castle to admonish the garrison, and disunion was the result. 

" After the Castell had been a whyle beseiged, and that many hundred shot of cannon had 
bein delashed at it in vain, without any effect, they which were within the fort fell at variance 
among themselves. Robert Stuart was resolved to hold out and not to render the house to 
the Earl of Cathynes. Patrick Hacro, the author of this rebellion, persuaded him to the 
contrary ; whereupon Robert Stuart yielded at last, having discovered Patrick Hacro his 
treasone by means whereof he cud hold it no longer nor yet save himself ; which when Robert 
Stuai't i)erceived, though too late, he issued out the next morning with such as wold follow 
him, choosing rather to render himself than to be delivered up by Patrick Hacro. "J 

^ Of Sebay, whose tombstone is still in St. Magnus, t September 1614. J Peterkin, Notes, App. 67. 



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THK CASTLE. - 27 

But for the authority of Bishop Law, the victor would have wreaked his vengeance upon 
the vanquished by the destruction of the venerable Cathedral. Caithness fed fat his ancient 
grudge, however, by hanging twelve Orkneymen " at the Castle yett," and by carrying south 
with him in triumph the young commander and five of his comrades. 

The news of the capture of Kirkwall Castle was received in Edinburgh with a joy that 
showed a very exaggerated idea of the importance of Robert Stewart's demonstration on his 
father's behalf. On the 23rd of November 1614, "the two cannons were brought up the 
street of Edinburgh, and the keys of the Castle of Kirkwall about their mouths, with drums, 
trumpets, and shotts of ordinance of the Castle, and layde in their own places within the 
castle. The Castle of Kirkwall was demolished at the king's command."* 

The same authority states that, in the beginning of December, " sundry brasen pieces from 
the castle of Kirkwall were brought to the castle of Edinburgh," but omits to state that the 
brass guns carried away amounted in value to more than 20,000 merks, so well had the 
Stewarts fortified their stronghold. 

Robert Stewart was hanged 6th Jan. 1615, along with his five companions — "the 
gentleman, not exceeding twenty-two yeirs of age, was pitied of the i)eople for his tall stature 
and comlie countenance." t 

Exactly a month lat^r Earl Patrick, for his share in this rebellion, was beheaded at the 
Cross of Edinburgh, his execution having been i)ostix)ned for a few days at the recjuest of the 
ministers, who found him, and indeed left him, " so ignorant that he could scarce rehearse the 
Lord's prayer." 

We get an idea of the weight of shot belched forth by " Thrawn Mouth " : — " David 
Seater, belman in Kirkwall, searched the east syde of the Castle, there about the greatest 
breach thereof, and picked out a cannon ball, to the bigness of thirty pounds weight or thereby, 
shot thereat 74 yeires at the in taking of the said Castle. This was done upon a wage of 12/- 
scots betwixt the said David and Alexr. Sclaitter, officer in the said Brugh." 1 

An order for the demolition of Kirkwall Castle was issued 22nd Oct. 1614, but it was not 
at once carried into execution, for on Sth May 1615 a Sheriff Court was held " a pud Castram de 
Kirhvall" The final order, promulgated 18th April 1615, drove the Sheriff out, and 27th Oct. 
1615 he sat " wt Nova Domo, prope palatium de Yardis" § Thus the destruction of the Castle 
was carried out between May and October 1615. 

The last remnant of " fair Kirkwall's pride and sorrow " was cleared away thirty years ago 
under circumstances recorded on the front of the Castle Hotel : — " Near this si)ot, facing 
Broad Street, stood in the year 1865 the last remaining fragments of the ruins of the Castle of 
Kirkwall, a royal fortress of great anticjuity and originally of vast strength, but of which, from 
the ravages of war and time, nearly every vestige had long previously disapjDeared. Its 
remains, consisting of a wall 55 feet long by 11 feet thick, and of irregular height, were, 
removed by i)ermLssion of the Earl of Zetland, on application of the Trustees acting in 
execution of the Kirkwall Harbour Act, 1859, in order to improve the access to the Harbour ; 
and this stone was erected to mark the site, mdccclxvi." 

The well from which the Castle had its water supply still exists, though covered over. It 
is lined with dressed freestone, and is under the road, about midway between the opixjsite 
houses at the head of Castle Street. 

The history of the earldom, after the execution of Patrick Stewart, may be very briefly 
told. 



♦ Calrlerwood. vii. 192. t Calderwood. $ T. B., 16th Feb. 1688. 

§ Sh. Ct. Rojz. quoted by Peterkin in a MS. memorial to the Crown craving the restoration of t1 
Earl's Palace. This memorial in now in copy in the office of Mr Gold, Chamberlain of the Earldom, 



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28 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

Sir John Arnot, for a very large loan to that earl, had received infeftment in the earldom 
lands of Orkney and Zetland. 

In 1612, James VI. bought up Sir John's right and annexed the whole to the Crown. 

In 1614, a lease of the earldom was granted to Sir James Stewart of Kilsyth, afterwards 
Lord Ochiltree, as Farmer- General. For his oppressions, and for tampering with the weights, 
he was deprived and cooidemned to a long imprisonment.* 

Ochiltree's lease was transferred to Napier of Merchiston and William Dick, merchant, 
Edinburgh. 

In 1622, Sir John Buchanan got a lease, and in 1624 Sir George Hay of Kinfauns.t 

Charles I., in 1633, gave a grant to the Earl of Morton, redeemable on payment of a 
fictitious debt of £30,000. Morton having been deprived under the Commonwealth, a lease 
was granted by Charles II., in 1662, to George, Viscount Grandison. 

This lease was withdrawn, under Decree of Reduction, at the instance of Sir John Nisbet 
of Dirleton, Lord Advocate, and the earldom was again annexed to the Crown, 1669. 

It was restored by Queen Anne to the Morton family in 1707 under redemption of 
£30,000 as formerly. 

In 1742 it was vested in Morton irredeemably by Act of Parliament, and a charter passed 
on which the Earl was infef t. 

In 1766, Sir Lawrence Dundas purchased from James, Earl of Morton, the earldom of 
Orkney and lordship of Zetland for £60,000, and obtained a charter from the Crown on which 
he was infeft. He was succeeded by his son, Sir Thomas, afterwards Lord Dundas, and he by 
his son Lawrence, who was created Earl of Zetland in 1838. Thomas, the second earl, was 
succeeded by his nephew, Lawrence, third Earl and first Marquis of Zetland, the latter dignity 
having been conferred upon him in 1892. 



APPENDIX TO CHAPTER IL 



In an " Act abrogating some Unlawful Acts within Orkney and Shetland," seven of the 
Earl's systematic modes of oppression are given. They are : — 

1. The confiscation of the laudis and goods of all such persons, who after they are sworn 
in the courtis whilks are yeirly holden through the parochies, shall happin to conceal any 
thing wbilk may import either a personal or pecunial punishment. 

2. The prohibition given to relieve ony shippis distres.st be stormis or unseasonable 
wedder. 

3. The prohibition to pursue ony action before ony judge outwith the bounds of Orknay 
and Zetland. 

4. The prohibition and discharge of passage at the ferries without a passport, when as 
there is no necessair cans to seik the same. 

5. The exacting of far greater taxations of the people nor the country is fouretened with. 

6. The confiscation of goods and gear of such personis who happins to meddle with 
wrake or weith casten up be the sea. 

7. And the confiscation of the goods and gear of such personis who mark not their bestial 
and goods within the time prefixed. 

• Pund. Proc., ii. 7. 
t At this time the Cathedral was undersoing repairs rendered necessary by the damage done in 
Bobert Stewart's rebellion, and Sir George Hay's interest in the work is shown by his arms above the 
west doorway. 



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CHAPTER IIL 

The Cathedral. 

^RKNEY had been erected into a bishopric in 1136, and William the Old was already 
spiritual overseer of the islands. Birsay was the diocesan church, but the Bishop 
resided more frequently in Egilshay, where he had an older and statelier minster. 
But there was need for a better and more central church for the Bishop, and this gave point 
to Rognwald's vow that he would '* build a stone minster at Kirkwall more magnificent than 
any other in these lands." 

This is the church which Buchanan described as situated between the two castles. 

The vow had been suggested to Roguwald by his father, Kol, husband of Gunhild, 
sister of Magnus the Martyr, and to Kol was entrusted the carrying out of the work. 

In the choice of a site Kol was singularly happy, for, though the foundation is only a few 
feet above sea level, the church can be seen from a great distance over the sea, both north and 
south. From the southern side of the Pentland Firth St. Magnus' spire is visible any clear 
day. 

" Kol ordered the materials and all other necessaries. He also planned out the dimensions 
of the church to the architects, and prescribed their task to every person ; but when the 
building took up a long time, the Earl began to come short of money to finish the work, where- 
upon he consulted with his father, who advised him to repeal that law by which it was enacted 
that the earls of Orkney should succeed to the feus of all their vassals, which was a very hard 
case. Wherefore Earl Rognwald summoned a court and concurred in repealing that old law. 
Every man gladly embraced the benefit of the new kw, and bought every plough-gang of land 
in all the country for a mark each plough-gang. By these means there was enough to finish 
the church very elegantly and with much magnificence." ♦ 

From this it would seem that a slight approach to feudal tenure had been made in Orkney, 
and in the above arrangement Rognwald restored udal holding. The main idea in udaller is 
the first cultivator of vhmU and hitherto unappropriated land. The tenure is very simple. 
Original possession is its essence, independent of title or superior. The udallers paid scat to 
the king in proportion to the extent of their lands, but only as a voluntary assessment towards 
the necessary expenses of a central government.t 

" It is probable that, within three or four ye^r? of the foundation of the Cathedral, enough 
was built to allow of its consecration." % Then Bishop William had the relics of St. Magnus 
brought from Birsay and deposited beneath the high altar. The Bishop's See was removed to 
Kirkwall, and Rognwald's vow was fulfilled in its entirety. 

In 1154, Cardinal Nicolas came from Rome to Norway, sent by the Pope, and he con3e- 
crated John Bergisson first Archbishop of Trondheim, placing Orkney in his province. § 

• Torfoens. t See Appendix to this chapter. % Dryden, p. 17. 

§ This Cardinal was Nicolas Breakspeare, afterwards Pope Adrian iV., the only EngUshman who 
has occupied the papal chair. 



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30 KIHKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

Though Kol ** planned out the dimensions of the church to the architects," his plan has 
been widely departed from. The internal length of the Cathedral is 217i feet, while the 
original plan gave about 130 feet, exclusive of the apse which terminated the choir. Architects 
read on its walls records of the works of different centuries, and are also able to tell of long 
intervals when all work was suspended. 

Wallace, writing about 1688, says :— " Bishop Stewart, Bishop of Orkney, enlarged the 
Cathedral Kirk to the east all above the grees."* Again, with regard to Bishop Reid, he 
says :— " He greatly enlarged the Cathedral Kirk, adding three pillars to the former Fabrick, 
and decorating the entry with a magnificent porch." 

Writing as he did, when the work of the latter prelate was almost within the memory of 
living men, it would be hard to believe that Wallace could be wrong ; yet some architects 
refuse to allow Stewart any share whatever in the work, and give Held only a bit of outside 
wall and the doorway in the south aisle. But, whoever made the extensions, an uneducated 
eye can easily detect them both inside and outside the Cathedral. 

The two transept chapels are said to belong to the latter half of the twelfth century. A 
narrow space was left between the chapels and the mcain building, and on the south side thiff 
space was walled up and roofed over. A window in the choir aisle, which looked into the 
apartment thus formed, was closed with masonry. Thus the place was shut off from external 
light. But from a room on the triforium level a communication was opened with the vaulted 
chamber below. This was a slit like the slide of a letter box, forming a shoot through which a 
human body could be projected. And the convenience of this arrangement is obvious. The 
clerical tribunal sat in the upper room, so when an unfortunate offender was sentenced to 
imprisonment he glided gently from the hall of justice directly into his cell. Once in, escape 
was impossible, and when the aperture was closed the unhappy occupant was in total darkness. 

This would be quoted as another sample of Romish tyranny, but that the Protestant 
clergy regarded the structure with much approbation. They, however, overlooked the 
neatness, secrecy, and despatch of the ingenious contrivance, and did their work with what 
might be called characteristic clumsiness. They blocked the easy shoot, opened a door in the 
built-up window, and from the south transept chapel, where they sat, sent their prisoners round 
into the church and up a ladder to their cell. Many a time has the Cathedral echoed with the 
screams and imprecations of reluctant women and men on their way, short as it was, to the 
dreaded " Marwick's Hole." Who the Marwick was whose name has attached itself to this 
miniature " Bottle Dungeon " is not known. He may have been the builder, or the gaoler, or 
the first occupant of the uncanny place, but that " Marwick's Hole " was a name of terror to 
the most hardened transgressors we have abundant proof. 

Sir Henry Dryden says it is not known when this chamber was formed. A recent 
writer on the Cathedral gives the date as 1540-1 558. f If this be correct, the beneficent Bishop 
Reid has the credit of designing this ideal " Black Hole." 

Though Kirkwall Cathedral is one of the smallest in Britain, it gives at first sight an 
impression of immense size. This arises partly from the comparatively puny surroundings, 
but largely from studied art. The length and height have been magnified and the width 
reduced to the narrowest possible limit. In the nave the height to the vaulting is seventy-one 
feet, while the width between the pillars is less than seventeen. One feature of St. Magnus, 
peculiarly its own, is the handling of different kinds of stone to produce colour effects. 
Unfortunately, however, the introduction of yellow necessitated the use of a stone which: 
succumbed too readily to the influences of weather. Sir Henry Dryden says ** the doorway in 

• Altar steps. t Builder, Oct. 7, 1893. 



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THE CATHEDRAL. 31 

the south transept and the three doorways in the west end are probably the finest examples in 
Great Britain of the use of stones in two different colours." 

Of the much admired rose window in the east end of the choir, the same author says :— 
" There are many examples of wheel windows, but this use of a wheel extending from side ta 
side over four lights in a pointed window is probably unique." Under this window are four 
carved stotie ornaments. The outer two correspond in pattern, though the stone in the north 
spandrel is new, the old one having been worn away. The carvings on the other two are 
different arrangements of Jleurs-de-lis, in each instance forming a cross within a circle. 

'^The capital of the central mullion has on it a figure with a cross in its right hand, 
sitting on a hideous beast and scourging it with his left hand, probably representing religion 
conquering sin." * 

The whole floor is now paved with slates, but there is evidence to show that a part at 
least had been laid with tiles, some of which are still preserved. 

On a work of such magnitude, artisans of different degrees of skill were employed, and it 
was necessary that each man should be responsible for his own work. In the case of the actual 
builders, careful supervision was all that was required, but with regard to the hewers it was a 
very different matter. These, for convenience and better choice of material, sometimes 
wrought at the quarry, away from the eye of architect and overseer, and some system was 
required by which a careless chisel could be traced to its owner's hand. For this purpose, from 
very early times, certainly in the great cathedral building period, hewers used certain "marks," 
equivalent to signatures, by which each man's work could be identified. Every stone cut by- 
every individual sculptor had his mark incised on it, so that an error in curve or angle was at 
once brought home to its author, and, as such an error might not be noticeable till the stone 
was laid, the mark was put upon the outer surface. 

Dryden counted thirty-four of these "masons' marks," and has preserved them, but 
time's effacing finger and the industrious tool of the renovator have obliterated most of them.t 

The stones used in building Kirkwall Cathedral were brought from quarries widely 
distant from each other. They were boated up the Oyce, and were hewn opposite the west 
door, where some of the Broad Street houses now stand. In digging for foundations in that 
neighbourhood, builders still come upon the " redd " of Earl Eognwald's hewers. 

In the case of St. Magnus, the " masons' marks" could have no disfiguring effect, the 
internal work having been finished by the laying on of a thin coating of plaster. This laid the 
ground for the brilliant fresco painting which made the old Cathedral so gorgeous to the 
Scandinavian eye. Some of the ancient colouring is still to be seen, and is easily noticed 
among the groinings in the roofs of the aisles. 

These roofs, arched within, were designed to be externally flat, and four built-up arches 
where nave and choir join the transept show that their present sloping roofs were not in 
the architect's plan. 

The Cathedral was completed by a lofty spire. What the original spire was like, un-' 
fortunately we can never know, but, from frequent references to it as a " steeple," we may 
conclude that it tapered up in slender symmetry to a height proportionate to the size of the 
building which it surmounted. Unfortunately, however, the spire was not a structure of 
stone and lime, but of wood, perhaps covered with lead. 

i , * Dryden. 

t In 1848, when some repairs were being executed by Grovemment, one of the workmen, a native;, 
of Kirkliston, died, and was buried in the churchyard. The architect superintending the works' 
designed a neat monument, which was executed by the comrades of the deceased, and their marksi 
eight 4n number, are still to be seen on the stone. 



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32 KIRKWALL IN THE OBKNEYS. 

" The minister and elders aggried with John Auchinleck to mend the faults of the steiple 
and to put in a new jest ; and to pay him 20s in the day on his owen charges ; and likewayes 
they aggried with David Sinclair, 12s in the day for attending the work and serving him ; 
likewayes it is ordered that ane elder day about oversie the work." * 

In 1671, the spire was struck by lightning, and the "fire brunt downwards until the 
steeple heid, three loftings, and all the timber work connected with the bells and knock house 
were consumed to ashes." On this occasion the people of the town were very active in their 
endeavours to save the old Cathedral and its belongings. They spread salted hides upon ** the 
highest lofting of the steeple and the bells," and that the bells, if they did come down, might 
fall as softly as possible, they carried great quantities of earth into the centre of the transept. 
The bells did fall, but so effectual had been the precautions that only one, but that the 
largest, was cracked. Some idea of the quantity of stuff thus heaped on the floor may be 
formed by seeing the difficulty experienced in getting it removed. At a meeting of Session, 
present the Bishop, the minister, and twelve elders, " The magistrates are desired to tak ane 
speedie course that all the earth which was carried into the church for saving the bells wch 
fell downe to the church flobre when the stepple was brunt by lightning upon the nynt of 
Januar last, and lykwise the redd which was thrown down from the steeple since, may be 
carried out of the church by the townse people by turns until the church be cleansed." t 

The repairing of the church and the closing in of the tower were matters of necessity, but 
the rebuilding of the spire was beyond the means of the people of Kirkwall. So it was 
resolved that, since they could not compass a steeple, they would replace it by a pyramid. 

The Kirk Session and Town Council, on the one part, contracted with Robert Pottinger 
and his cautioner, John Kennedie of Karminichie, on the other part, that among other repairs 
Pottinger should *' sufficientlie mend the stone work of the said steeple under the platform, 
that it may be strong and able to support any sort of Pyramid that may be built upon it." 1 
When this was completed, St. Magnus stood as we see it to-day. The external dimensions of 
the Cathedral are :— Length, 234 feet 6j inches ; transept, 101 feet 4 inches ; and height from 
the floor to the top of the present weather-cock, 1«33 feet 4 inches. 

In the tower there are two chambers. " The Thesuarer gave in the accompts of what 
money Arthut Baikie had debursed for the mason work at the rose above the south kirk 
doore, and the vaults for men's safe passage, and likewayes to the men who cleansed the 
steeple and hoysed up the bells to the Cowper hall, and hanging up of the skellet bell, whilk 
corapts were accepted after revising and allowed." The chamber to which the bells were 
hoisted, and which is still known by the old people as Cowper's Ha', is the apartment below 
that in which the bells are hung, and the floor of which, pierced for the passage of a bell rope, 
may be seen high above the centre of the transept. 

Cowper of the " Hall," like Mar wick of the " Hole," has left his name in the Cathedral, 
but no memory of what he was. He may have been an ancient bell-ringer who passed much 
of his time in this room, for under the old regime the bells had constant work. 

From the Cowper's Ha' the bells were soon hoisted to their chamber above, and on 
Friday, 18th April 1679, " Ye bells of S. Magnus Kirk in Kirkwall, being 3 qch was fallen by 
burning of ye steeple head on Monday the 9th Jan. 1671, was houng and roung in ye kirk." § 

These were the two smaller bells and the skellat. But the great bell was not hung till 
three years later. " Augt. 23 (1682), being Wednesday, Alexr. Geddes arrived at Kirkwall 
from Holland with his vessel or ship qrin was ye great bell of Kirkwall, returned after ye 
pasting thereof at Rotterdam." || 

' ♦ S. R., 2l8t July 1657. t S. R., 15th March 1671. t S. R., 25th March 1679. . § T. B. U T. B. , 



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THE CATHEDRAL. 33 

Sir Henry Dryden gives a very full description of the bells, and the three still in use 
relate their own history. The skellat bell, 1 ft. 8 in. diameter, and 1 ft. 4 in. high, exclusive 
of canons, is plain. 

In the olden time the skellat did all the duties which a single church bell could be called 
upon to perform. It tolled for the welfare of a parting soul ; it ckttered cheerily on occasions 
of rejoicing ; and it boomed in slow solemnity over the mourners in the grave yard below. It 
was rung on any occasion of alarm, and, as the " Fire Bell," it summoned the townsfolk to 
render neighbourly help. Its hateful clang called many generations of unwilling school boys 
to their morning tasks. The skellat still hangs in the tower, but is cracked and silent. * 

But Bishop Maxwell, who had already adorned the church by the erection of stalls, was 
not content with the clatter of the shrill little skellat, and he procured for his Cathedral its 
peal of three bells. These were cast in Edinburgh Castle by Robert Borthwick. Of this man 
it is known that he was master gunner— chief cannon founder— to James IV., that he was 
present at the battle of Flodden, and that he was one of the survivors of that bloody field is 
shown by the date of the casting of the bells, 1528, in the reign of James Y. 

The first bell, 2 ft. 9 in. diameter and 2 ft. 5 in. high, has in three lines of raised black 
letters : — " Maid be maister robert maxvel, byschop of Orknay, ye secund yier of his 
consecracion, in the year of god Im Vc XXVIII. yieris, ye XV. yier of Kyng James ye V., be 
lobert borthvyk, maid al thre in ye castel of Edynbrugh." 

The second bell has in two lines :— " Maid be maister robert maxvel, bischop of Orknay, 
in ye secund yeir of his consecration, in the yeir of god Im Vc XXVIII. yeiris, ye XV. yeir of 
ye reign of King James V." 

The inscription on the third bell, belonging to a century and a half later than the others, 
is somewhat modernized, but it blunders in leaving out the year of the King's reign. It is in 
two lines:— "Made by master Robbert Maxvell, Bischop of Orkney, the yaer of Gk)d 
MDXXVIir., the year of the reign of King James the V., Robert Borthwik made me in the 
castle of Edinbrugh." 

When this bell was sent to Holland to be recast, the instructions were " that there be ane 
special and diligent care had that the letters already about the bell be again reformed as the 
samin is conform to ane note thereof sent with it, together with the several arms already 
thereupon, viz., the arms of Scotland, being ane Lyon within the Shield, with the portrait of 
Sainct Magnus and the Maxwell's arms ; and that the samin be placed upon the said bell as the 
samin is at present. That there be added thereto underneath the said letters and arms, this 
line, viz. :— * This bell recastin at for Kirkwall in anno 1682, and to mark the weight 

thereof upon the bell.' " 

Accordingly, in an oval medallion in seven lines is the following :>— " Taken et brought 
againe heir by Alexander Geddus, Merchant in Kirkwa, and recasten at Amsterdam, JuUy, 
1682 years, by Claudius Fremy, city bell castor. It weighs 1450P." 

The " portrait of Sainct Magnus and the Maxwell's arms " were also reproduced, the whole 
work costing 1303 merks. The weight of the bell and tongue is 1574 pounds avoirdupois. 

*' The second bell is used for the clock, and is struck by the clock hammer on the outside, 
giving when so struck a note lower than that given when struck by the tongue." f 

The first cathedral clock was rude in construction, it had only one hand, and required 
daily winding. The chapters were inscribed on the wall of the tower. As far back as 1669 
there are entries in the Session Records regarding the clock, and from the instructions given 
regarding it, the probability is that its history dates from that year. As no statement is made 

* The name is probably derived from the Norse skyaUa, to clash or clatter. t Sir H. Dryden. 

r 



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S4 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

of the original cost, it may be inferred that the Town Couacil put up the timepiece and laid 
the care of it upon the Session. 

After invocation of the name of God, the Session appointed Harrie Grott *' to wait upon 
ihe Knock and look diligently thereto." * In 1673 Harry died, and his place was taken by 
James Laughton. The diligence of these two men is proved by the fact that in May 168^ 
David Forbes, Town Clerk and Church Trfeasurer, had ** several pairts of the old knock in 
his possession." These parts were given to David Seatter, church officer, at his own request, 
that he might do the necessary repairs, a job that apparently any person of ordinary 
intelligence might undertake. Seatter's business capacity was not of the highest order, for he 
bound himself to have the work completed before a day fixed by the Session, " under pain of 
tinsel of what shall be expended by him there upon." Seatter's work was completed in 
June of the following year, and a dial was procured. ** The horologe broad for ye clock of 
Kirkwall was placed upon ye west side of ye steeple, which broad was painted by James 
I^icolson, chapman." t 

So fallacious was it, however, as a timekeeper, that the Session in 1693, for the sake of 
accuracy, gave an order to Patrick Adamson, with a dollar in advance, for ^* the squaring of 
two stones for dials," and these dials were also painted by James Nicolson. 

The old clock seems to have wagged along somehow till 1720, when Andrew Kilgoui^ 
watchmaker, Inverness, being in Kirkwall, contracted with the Session for £13 stg. to repair 
the clock, give it a larger dial, and make it go eight days. The Session agreed to furnish the 
necessary iron and wood and to pay the wright, Kilgour paying the smith. This was done, 
but within three years we learn that " the kirk clock is wholly useless as it presently stands.^ 
JThen George Leith, watchmaker, undertook to put "her" right, and to ask no pay for a 
quarter of a year. The Session had lost by their bargain with Mr Kilgour, and now Mr Leith 
loses by the Session. The work occupied him six weeks, during which time he received one 
pound sterling for maintenance, and when the repairs were completed he got 20s as half of his 
pay, the other half being retained till it should be seen " how she would go." 

Dec. 9th : — " Compeared before the Sess. George Leith, and acquainted the Sess. that he 
had righted the clock, and that he had put her up and that she was now going right, and 
craved that the Sess. might now order James Seater, bellman, to draw her seasonablie." 

Thus renovated, the old clock was able to go till 1751, when the civic and ecclesiastical 
julers agreed to have a new one. This was constructed by James Gordon, Aberdeen, and, 
.besides the date and maker's name, bears the inscription, " Emptum per urbem et sessionem 
XirkwaU." 

Among its few valuable belongings the Cathedral has two communion cups and two 
collection plates which demand notice. 

In 1698, the Rev. Mr Wallace left one hundred merks for the use of the church, and "the 
Session appoint and ordain that two cups for the Sacrament should be bought, and Mr 
.Wallace's name engraved on them." 

The brazen collection plates are about two and a half feet in diameter, and are each 
adorned with figures of Adam and Eve, while one has an inscription, " Had adam gedaen Gods 
woort wys, soo vaer hy gebleven int paradys. Anno 1636." t A facsimile of the inscribed 
plate has recently been presented by George Hunter Thorns, Esq., Sheriff of Orkney, to St. 
Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh. Those plates were not made for the Cathedral, but were 
picked up in Rotterdam in 1692.§ 

Under Romish rule the bishops were really the upholders of the fabric of the Cathedral, 

♦ S. R., 20th Oct. 1669. t T. B.'8 Diary. 

• X Had Adam done God's word, so had we then lived in paradise. § S. R., 19th Ap. 1692. 



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THE CATHEDRAL. 



35 



and, as has been seen, some of them contributed generously towards its enlargement and 
adornihent. Under Protestant Episcopacy, Bishop Graham says :— " For ye fabrick off the 
kirk the Bishop upheld the quier and the Bishop's dwelling plaice, and there is ane Act of 
Parliament in anno 1633 for upholding off the bodie off ye kirk, and the Bishop himself has 
Bundrie tymes demanded means from ye excheker." These demands could have been made 
only during the five years be- 
tween the passing of the Act 
referred to and Bishop Graham's 
demission, 1638. 
- When the city of Edinburgh 
leased the bishopric lands the 
Corporation dealt kindly with 
the Cathedral :— " In presence 
of the ministers and elders of 
the kirk of Kirkwall convened 
for the ty me, Compeared Patrick 
Smith of Braco, and, in name 
and behalfe of the town of Edin- 
burgh, delivered the sowme of 
two hundred pounds money into 
the Session of Kirkwall, to be 
employed for repairing of the 
fabrick of the quire of the said 
EArky together with the sowme 
of £20 for communion elements, 
and desired an act of Session 
upon the deliverie of the fore- 
said sum for his exoneration ; 
whilk was most willinglie grant- 
ed, with many thanks, unto the 
said town of Edinburgh for their 
special care of the said kirk, 
hoping that they would con- 
tinue the same in tyme com- 



ing. 



»* 




Communion Cup in the Cathedral. 



In February 1658, the mini- 
ster and elders memorialised the 
Justices of Peace on the sub- 
ject : — ** Whereas it is not unknown to the most part of this honorable meiting that in 
tymes past, speciallie in the late Bishope's tyme, it was provided That the great fabrick of our 
kirk suld be mentained and supported, partlie by the Bishop out of his revenues, and partlie 
by the fynes of all adulteries as occasion offred throughout the whole countrie, both main-land 
and yles : Likas, conforme to his order, it is of verity that the late Bishope did carefullie, 
upon his awen charges, men tain and uphold the most considerable part of the said fabrick 
commonlie called the quier, or the place where divine ordinances ar administered, and withal 
the foresaid fynes wer carefullie uplift and employed as said is ; but, since the reducing of 
Episcopacy, we have had no supplie, neither on way nor uther, for upholding the fabrick of our 

* SL R., 7th Nov. 1647. 



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36 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

kirk, and being unable to manage the work of ourselves, off necessitie it must ruine unless 
some seisonable supplie be provided. May it therefor plese your Honors tak the premisses to 
serious consideration, and out of your spare fynes help to relieve our crying necessitie, both 
relating to the fabricke of our kirk and our numberous poore." 

In 1717, the Session petitioned King George I. for an annual grant of £8 6s 8d sterling 
(£100 Scots) '^ to help and support the magnificent and antient fabrick of St. Magnus Church 
in Kirkwall, in use and wont to be payed out of the rents of the Bishopric in former tymes of 
the Presbyterian Government." 

In July 1770, the Rev. John Yule reported that he, with the Provost, had drawn up two 
memorials, one to the Barons of Exchequer and the other to Sir Lawrence Dundas, supplicat- 
ing aid towards the upkeep of the church. These memorials were accompanied by ** perspective 
views'' of the Cathedral, and were presented by Patrick Graham of Graemeshall. They 
state '* that the said cathedral is a very large fabrick, built by Rognwald, Count of Orkney." 
They give the dimensions, number of pillars ; number of couples, 151 ; half couples on the 
lower roofs, 238 ; slater-work, 68 roods ; number of windows presently open, 28 ; shut up, 72. 
**That it has been supported for above these 70 years past by burials, mort-cloths, bells, 
marriages, and other small perquisites, not exceeding £10 a year communibus annis or thereby. 
That this fabric is very old, but is now like to become ruinous for want of a proper fund to 
support it." 

But no permanent fund was obtained till 1805, when a private citizen gave what the Crown 
refused :— " I, Gilbert Meason of Moredun, hereby legate and bequeath the sum of £1000 
sterling to Robert Yule and Hugh Stalker, the two present ministers of the town and parish of 
Kirkwall and St. 011a, and to the Kirk Treasurer of the said town and parish, and to Thomas 
Traill of Frotoft, Esq., provost, and Thomas Jameson, eldest baillie of the burgh of Kirkwall, 
and to Malcolm Laing of Strynzie, Esq., the Convener of the County of Orkney, during their 
continuance in office ; and to the two ministers and kirk-treasurer of said town and parish of 
Kirkwall and St. OUa for the time, the provost and eldest bailie for the time of the said Burgh 
of Kirkwall, the convener of the county of Orkney for the time, and to a residing freeholder of 
the county of Orkney to be t^osen annually by the heritors, freeholders, and commissioners of 
supply upon the 30th of April of each year ; or if no meeting shall take place on that day, at the 
first meeting which shall be held during the following Kirkwall or Lammas market : But that 
in trust only in order that the two ministers, kirk-treasurer, provost, and eldest bailie, convener 
of the county, and residing freeholder, to be chosen in manner before mentioned, may lend out 
the aforesaid sum of £1000 sterling upon a first heritable security over a land and estate 
yielding a free yearly rent equal to 7i per cent, of the said sum of £1000, and call up the same 
when necessary and relend it upon a similar heritable security ; and that they may regularly 
uplift and each year apply the interest of the said sum of £1000 in keeping in repair the 
cathedral church of St. Magnus in the aforesaid burgh of Kirkwall, and in order that they may 
apply any annual surplus, above what is necessary for the said repairs, in opening up the 
windows of the said cathedral church that are now shut up, and in beautifying and restoring 
the fabric to its original state. And I hereby declare that the interest of the said one thousand 
pounds shall never be applied to any other purpose whatsoever than upholding and beautifying 
the said fabric ; and in case of the said interest or any part thereof being applied to any other 
purpose, I hereby give full power and authority to any heritor of the county of Orkney, or 
burgess of the burgh of Kirkwall, to raise an action against any of my trustees for the recovery 
of the sum so misapplied, and that at any time within six years of the misapplication ; and I 
direct the sum so recovered to be applied in the first place for payment of the expenses of the 
aforesaid prosecution, and the balance thereof that shall remain after payment of the said 



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THE CATHEDRAL. 



37 



expenses shall be applied, along with the following year's interest of the sum hereby mortified, 
for the preservation and restoration of the aforesaid cathedral charch," &e. 

The^original trustees and their successors have very carefully carried out the testator^s 
desire, and, besides keeping the old building weathertight, they have been able, on his 
suggestion, to open some of the built-up windows.* 




Collection Plate in the Cathedral. 

The Session was as reckless in knocking holes in the walls for the admission of lights as in 
closing up lights put in by the architects. Apparently any one who wished and would pay for 
it might have a window. The Session ordered a window ** to be broken out of the north side 
for light to Patrick Traill and William Mudie's seat, 13th September 1686." 

21st Oct. 1691, Patrick Adaroson was instructed to open a window near the Stewarts' loft. 

8th May 1693, Adamson was again instructed ^ to strike out a window at the back of 
Margaret Elphinston's seat for the better lighting of that place of the church." 

It is a significant fact that in its direst distress, St. Magnus received no help from the 
Town Council. James the Third's charter, upon which the Burgh Corporation founds a 
claim of proprietorship in the Cathedral, grants with many other things, " particularly all and 

* To Mr Meason's legacy there is now added a further sum of £1000, bequeathed in 1894 by Mr 
Francis Taylor, farmer and land surveyor. Mr Taylor belonged to an old Kirkwall family which for 
centuries held property in the Laverock. Many of his foreb^rs lie buried in the Cathedral, and he 
himself had always a strong love for the grand old building. 



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38 



KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 



Jiaill the prebendary of St John, and all and sundry lands, houses, farms, tiends, and tiend 
sheaves thereof, with full power to the said provost, baillies, and Council of the said burgh. 
And their successors, to intromit, uplift, and receive the same the duties of the said lands, and 
to sell and raise the same in all tyme coming, and that for to be always employed and 
bestowed upon repairing and upholding of the said kirk, called St. Magnus Kirk.^ 

James, in right kingly fashion, gave away freely what did not belong to him ; but, while 
the Magistrates cheerfully accepted this gift of lands, not till nearly two hundred years later 
had they a say in Cathedral matters. 

In May 1672, Bishop Houyman proposed to appoint his brother, George, minister of 
Kirkwall. The election was not popular, and Provost Patrick Craigie, along with Arthur 
Baikie, David Moncrieff, and John Spence, three of the bailies, *' produced before the 
reverend father and remanent brethren convened for the tyme, their gift of Katificatione and 
Corroboratione granted be our Sovraigne Lord the King's Matie to and in favours of the said 
brughe, in which was contained the right of Patronage.'' 

Mr Honyman was set aside, and Mr Wallace, having accepted a joint call from the 
Bishop and Magistrates, was appointed. But the civic rulers, while asserting their joint right 
of patronage, conveniently forgot that the charter on which they founded this claim made 
them responsible '* for the repairing and upholding " of the Cathedral for all time coming. 



APPENDIX TO CHAPTER III. 



It was in the middle of the seventeenth century, between 1648 and 1667, that most of the 
lands in Orkney passed from udal to feudal tenure, when Douglas of Spynie was Commissioner 
for Lord Morton. 

The list of proprietors who paid feu duty at that time is a long one : — 



Buchanan of Sandside, for lands in Deemess. 
Smith of Rapness — Deemess and Westray. 
Baikie of Tankemess — Deemess, St. Ancfrews, St. 

Ola. 
Young of Gastleyards — St. Ola. 
William Sclaiter— Firth. 
Halcro of Crook — Rendall. 
Moir, Flett, Sinclair — Harray. 
John Nisbet — Birsay. 
Geo. Liddell and Joiin Johnston — ^Birsay. 
Creorge Ritchie — Harray and Firth. 
Thomas Sinclair — Camstone and lands in Ronsay, 
Thomas Craigie of S^viskaHl — Rousay. 



George Balfour of Pharay — Westray. 
Thomas Traill — Westray and Papa. 
Mitchell Rendall— Westray. 
John and Alexander Read — Westray. 
John Groat of Elsness — Sauiday. 
Nicol Rendall — Westray. 
John Elphingston — Sanday. 
James Traill — Sanday and Rousay. 
David Moncrieff— Sanday and Birsay. 
William Douglas — Stronsay. 
Robert ScoUay — Stronsay. 
Magnus Boag— Deemess. * 



^ Ork. and Zet. Chron., July 1825. 



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CHAPTER IV. 

The Church. 

gRIOR to the Reformation, St. Olaf s was the parish church of Kirkwall, but the people 
were evidently negligent in attendance, and allowed the building to get into a state of 
decay. Bishop Reid marked his desire to keep the Cathedral services distinct from 
those of the parish kirk by repairing St. Olaf s. But two places of worship for members of 
one communion were more than Kirkwall required, and St. Olaf s again went to ruin. 

For the requirements of worship under the old rule, St. Magnus was open from the west 
end of the nave to the east end of the choir. Dryden says :— " It appears there were never 
more than five altars." Probably this would mean there was architectural accommodation for 
five only, but old rentals and the burgh records of sasine prove that there were endowments 
for more than five. Possibly — and with all respect the suggestion is offered— several saints, or 
rather their officiating priests, might share a common altar. A mere superficial search brings 
out a list of fourteen prebends, chaplainries, and altars dedicated to so many separate saints, 
3ome of them handsomely endowed. * 

To Saint Duthac, the wealthiest of them, was dedicated one of the chapels in the 
Cathedral. 

The popularity of this obscure saint is not easUy accounted for. The fact of his being a 
Scottish prelate and a friend of Alexander III. should not be expected to have weight with a 
Scandinavian people, but as he was Bishop of Ross, the record of his virtues had not far to 
travel from Dornoch to the Pentland Firth. Certain it is, however, that his shrine held 
property all over the Mainland. 

St. Katherine's altar was supported by the rents of more than a score of farms, chiefly in 
St. Ola, Holm, and Shapinsay. 

r At the time of the Reformation, Malcolm Sinclair, afterwards of Quendale, Shetland, was 
chaplain to St. Ninian's altar in the CathedraLf 
( To St. Barbara's altar belonged at least one house in Kirkwall. 

St. Christopher had an altar endowed with land and a house in the Laverock ; while, of 
pourse, St. Magnus' altar was richly endowed. X 

These six altars are specially referred to as such, but besides these we have dedications of 
lands to Saints Mary, Columba, John the Evangelist, Lawrence, Peter, Augustine, Salvator^ 
^ames, and possibly others. 

The prebendaries of St. Peter and St. Augustine were respectively masters of the 
{Grammar School and the " Sang'* School, so that their work lay outside the Church ; but all 
the other prebends, altarages, and chaplainries went to the support of the intramural worship. 
Jhus there must have been under the rule of Rome a very lai^e officiating staff to conduct the 
daily services. . ) 

* Pet., Rent., 35., t Baikie*s parchments. % R^nit., ii. 152, i. 24, ii. 6. 



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40 KIRKWALL ly THE OBKNJiiyS. 

Whether there were any paintings in the Cathedral cannot now be ascertained, as all that 
was beautiful or valuable was stolen at the time of the Reformation. There were, however, 
statues of saints, and two of these, being neither beautiful nor intrinsically valuable, are still 
preserved, and are easily recognised by hagiologists as representing Saints Olaf and Magnus. 

Under Protestantism the sermon soon came to be regarded as the most important part ot 
the service, and, for the convenience of speaker and audience, new arrangements had to be 
made. The whole congregation gathered themselves into the choir, which was shut off from 
the transept by a wooden screen. The first screen " was broken downe for feir of fyring when 
fyre fell downe there upon from the steeple head," 9th Jan. 1671. 

On the fifteenth of March of the same year, George Mowat, wright, was ordered to put up 
** ane new partition, with deals having doores at the entering in of the quire as formerlie." 
In the new screen there were three doors, and over each an inscription. Above the central 
door was inscribed, " Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." The 
north aisle door had, *' Enter into his courts with praise " ; and the south aisle entrance, " My 
house shall be called ane house of prayer." * 

This screen was removed in 184^ by workmen employed by the Government, and when 
the congregation returned to the Cathedral the present partition was put up. 

The first gallery erected was the Graham's *' Loft," in the south-east corner of the choir. 
It was, no doubt, comfortably furnished by the old Bishop, but the " Englishes " cleared out 
the seats, leaving nothing of it but the carved oak front and the floor. 

It was again ''compendiously fitted" for Bishop Honynian. But though this galleiy 
continued to be occupied by the Bishops, the Grahams claimed it as family property. There 
was a meeting of Session, 20th Nov. 1721, '* Whilk day Magnus Mason represented to the 
Session that Patrick Graham of Grahamshall desyred him to crave of the Session a liberty to 
rectify the Graham's Loft, which is altogether out of order. Whereupon the Session replied 
they were willing the said Loft should be rectified, and, for that effect, Stenhouse, Grahams- 
ball, and Breckness had bein spoken to that they would repair the said Loft, they having 
all interest in the same, and the Session readily allows the same to be done, provyding 
always that the same be done without any alterations or incroachments on the Church PiUarg 
or Walls, and that they pay to the treasurer nyne pounds Scotts due upon the said Loft for a 
privilege formerly granted, and ordains the treasurer to be present when that Loft begins to 
be repaired, that no incroachments be made." 

Bat as Grahamshall, Breckness, and Ballenden respectively attended the churches of 
Holm, Stromness, and Evie, this gallery was set apart for the ui»e of visitors. In September 
1671, the key was handed over to the beadle, with strict injunctions that no idle boys were to 
be allowed in the fore seat, which was to be " reserved for gentlemen and strangers." 

Next to his own loft, and between the two pillars on the south side of the choir, Bishop 
Graham granted permission, May 1630, to John Dick, Sheriff of Orkney, to erect a loft for 
himself " directly above that part where Bishop Tullo's tombe now stands." Andrew Dick^ 
brother of the Sheriff, next got this loft, the Session ordaining him " to put ane lock and key 
thereupon for his better accommodation to hear God's Word." 

In the bay next to the Dicks' loft, and "facing the pulpit, is a seat for the Provost and 
Magistrates, Town Council, <fec. This seat is highly finished with paintings, carvings, &c."t 

The Provost and Bailies insisted on being attended to church by the Councillors under 

penalty of a fine for absence. They all assembled in the Tolbooth before service, and were 

marshalled to church by the town officers carrying halberds. Thjis att^ndf^n^e of the town 

officers was considered an extra duty requiring a special fee, but, as the money was always 

♦ J. W. Cureiter*8 papers. t Fea, 1787. 



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THE CHURCH. 



41 



spent on ale, it was decided, 23rd Dec. 1689, to pay on Monday, to prevent the burgh func- 
tionaries from drinking on Sunday. 

The attendance of the halberdiers on church-going Provosts was continued to within the 
memory of living men, Provost Traill of Woodwick being the last to adhere to it. In the 
present days of dissent, the deserted magisterial pew, exactly opposite to what was Sheriff 
Dick's in the olden time, is recognisable by its facing of crimson cloth, but two hundred years 
ago a different taste prevailed. The Treasurer of the Burgh, 1719, was commissioned to bring 
from Edinburgh " ane ell and three-quarters of the best six-quarter broad green bloath, fitt for 
ane cloath to the magistrates' loft, the present cloth being moth-eaten ; as also to by ane large, 
good printed Bible, to make up fyve Bibles to the Provost and Baillies, and to put ane hand- 
some cover of rid yron." * 

Along the south pier of the 
choir, back to the western pillar, 
stretched the Sailors' Loft, sup- 
ported in front on wooden posts. 
From this gallery was suspended 
the picture of a ship as emble- 
matic of the calling of the occu- 
pants, t 

In the care of wooden struc- 
tures, sailors are a practical 
people, and we find that the 
ancient mariners of Kirkwall 
saw to the security of their 
gallery. In Jan. 1722, Thomas 
Louttit, James Newgair, and 
Thomas Spence, skippers, ob- 
tained permission, at their own 
expense, to.su pport this loft with 
a new " stoup." 

At right angles to the 
Sailors', and on a somewhat 
higher level, the* Scholars' Loft 
strelched right across the screen. 

It was part of the duty of 
the master of the Grammar 

School to attend church with his young folks on Sunday, making himself responsible for their 
good behaviour ; and while we have frequent reference to idle and mischievous boys in other 
parts of the church behaving during service after the instincts of their species, we have not a 
single case of misconduct reported against the occupants of the Scholars' Loft. 

Opposite the Sailors' Loft was the Strangers' Gallery, and opposite the Magistrates' Loft 
was that of the St. Glairs. " James Sinclair being cited for keeping the key of the Sinclair's 
loft in his owen custodie, and being desired to give up the same to the Session, that the 
church beddal might have the keeping thereof with other keyes, refused to deliver it until 
he had spoke with the gentlemen of the name whose predecessors caus^ build the sd loft. 
Recomends to the minister to speak my lord bishop what course shall be taken yranent." t 





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From Sailors' Loft, St. Magnus Cathedral. 



* Bnrgh Records. t In J. W. Cursiter's possession. 



S. R., 3l8t May 1675. 



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42 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

My Lord Bishop probably managed the business qaietly, for the key does not again appear 
in the minutes. 

In the bay east of the Sinclairs' Loft, where- the Miigistrates' pew now is, was the 
Stewarts' Loft. 

The pulpit was reared against the western of the two pillars, on the north side of the 
choir. 

How long a pulpit should last, depends perhaps to some extent upon the powers of the 
preachers occuping it, but by April 1689 the Cathedral required a new one. For the making 
of it William Tait was to have fifty pounds Scots, but, if it gave satisfaction, " he was to be 
considered by and attour the paction." It exceeded expectation, and he received one hundred 
marks, with half a dollar to his man. * 

The old pulpit had been very handsome, and was probably the gift of one of the earls. 
^' In this Cathedral I found thrown aside a piece of carved wood, which attracted my notice. 
It is a board of a foot and five inches long. On this board are carved the hands and feet of 
our Saviour, in the form nf a St. Andrew's cross. The upper part of the cross is composed of 
the hands, the lower of the feet, a foot being opposed to each hand. In the center, where the 
hands and feet meet, there is a crown of thorns ; in the center of the crown, a heart pierced on 
the left side. In the vacant space on one side are three nails and three dice ; on the other, a 
scourge. The whole was overtopped by an earPs coronet, but it is now broken off from the 
board, and the board itself is rent through the middle vertically. I was informed that this 
piece of carving stood formerly on the fore part of the old pulpit, which, falling to decay, a new 
one was erected in its place in 1689. How this- remnant of the Roman Catholic religion 
escaped the zealous eyes of the first reformers is to me a mystery." f 

On the south side of the choir, opposite the pulpit, was a handsome canopied throne. 
This, which in pre-Reformation times was probably the throne of the bishop, became under 
the Stewarts the seat of the earl. 

When Lord Morton accused the Magistrates of having destroyed his seat in the church, 
they " denyed any breaking down of the same ; and if any pairt thereof was wronged it was by 
the Englishes, as the pulpit and the rest of the seats in the church was broken down and 
brunt" 

Plainly only a part of the earl's seat was injured — possibly the soft wood fittings — ^and so 
with the pulpit, for it is a very remarkable fact that Cromwell's so-called fanatical saints 
spared all the old carved work of the Cathedral. 

Private persons, for a consideration, were allowed to erect jiews for the accommodation of 
their families, and at first these seem to have been planted without regard to system. This 
want of order resulted in frequent bickerings among neighbours and appeals to the Session 
for arbitration. 

When once a pew had been erected, it was regarded as heritable property, and the right 
of the next-of-kin was generally acknowledged by the authorities, and this the more promptly 
if a donation accompanied the claim. On special occasions it was necessary that some of the 
pews should be moveable, as, for example, 11th March 1678, the Session *' Ordains ane table 
to be sett upon the gries, and all the elders to be admitted next Lord's day are to sitt 
publicklie in decencie and order, wher they are to hear ane exhortation concerning ther 
duetie. And ordains Pennyland's seat to be removed pro tempore for the better accom- 
modation." 

The stalls erected by Bishop Maxwell at the east end of the choir were occupied by the 
Magistrates, with consent of the Session, when they laid aside official pomp and attended 
* S. R., 2l8t Oct 1689. t Principal Oordon. 



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THE CHUBGH. 



43 



church with their families. David Moncrieff, 19th May 1673, petitions for a seat in the stalk 
for " himselfe, bedfellow, their airs and successors," for which he will pay £20 Scots. Thia 
was granted, though David Covingtrie produced a heritable right to the seat, " which the 




Choir, St. Magnus Cathedral, showing the Graham's Loft and Earrs Seat. The 
carved stone shown in pier to the right is in situ under the east window. 

Session did repell in respect that the disponer possessed himself merely as one of the Bailies 
of Kirkwall." 

On 8th July 1678, George Traill and his son-in-law, David Covingtrie, apply for seats in 



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44 KIKKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

the church for themselves and. bedfellows, and get, at "the upper part of the stalls on the 
south side, two chair rowme, with power to them to reforme and repair the samen in the best 
forme they shall think expedient without prejudice of the comon passage, lights, or ordinar 
hearing of the people, with this special provision that, if it shall happen the stalls to be 
modellized and reformed into pewis together with ther seat, then and in that case the saids 
George and David and ther servands ar first to be preferred to ther owen seats -or pewis to be 
erected in their rowme." This shows that the church court was paying special attention to 
the stalls at this time, and the Session at its meeting the week following " Ordains Robert 
Murray to permit no idle boys or prentises to sitt in the lower part of the stalls, but onlie to 
be possest be honest men in the parochin." 

The elders on duty for the day also sat in the stalls. 

The Corporation of Taylors got "five chairs' room," with power to put up a middle 
division with two leaning boards, " without altering, defacing, or demolishing any of the old 
work."* 

James Baikie of Tankerness, evidently with the consent of the authorities, put up a pew 
for himself in the Stewarts' aisle under the Stewarts' loft. 

Finding it too small for his family, he obtained permission to put up another in front of 
the first, if it could be "conveniently done without offence or stop to the service of the 
communion, to stay the entrie or passage to the table or pulpit." t But here Edward Stewart 
of Br ugh interposed, alleging that he was commissioned by his brother, the Earl of Carrick, to 
see " that the Stewarts' yle might be made void for the said noble Earl and others of their 
name to build theirin what may be pleasing." Baikie would not stir, and the Session could 
take no steps, as the Bishop was from home. 

Bishop Graham returned and went south again without venturing to deal with the 
troublesome pew. At length, when he could defer the case no longer, he assumed wrath and 
rated Baikie for not being " more carefull and foreseeing to prevent the danger in tyme, and 
not to incur the indignation of such noblemen as the Earl of Carrick and others of the worthie 
name of Stewart pretending right and title to that yle ; for it would come to his Majestie's 
eares how such persone did sit there and trample upon his hieness graund-uncle's bellie,t being 
his burrall place, as the said noble Erie had written to my Lord Bishop himself in a particular 
letter." 

Baikie remaining stubborn, the Bishop removed the woodwork "out of his owne 
authoritie," leaving the owner to " employ it to what he pleased." 

The fact of Baikie having a seat in the Stewarts' aisle was probably the result of an 
edict of the Bishop and Session two years previously§ : — " Ordains intimation to be made to 
.the Laird of GraBmsay and to the name of Sinclair, that if their two seates be not completly 
builded betwix this and pasche day nixt to cum, the Session heirafter will dispose upon them, 
and outred them upon their charges as they shall find to be expedient both for easing of their 
awne congregation and likewise for strangers." 

The same year Sir James Stewart and the Laird of Grsemsay had another seat removed 
from the same aisle, leaving apparently only the pew of the Laird of Halcro. The Earl of 
Carrick's seat, if he chose to occupy it,. was, as has been shown, the gallery above, the front 
:fleat of which is now set apart for the use of the Magistrates. 

When Edward Stewart, who had begun the disturbance with Baikie, asked leave a few 
months later " to big a seat for his wife or a friend, with a foot gang before the same to his 
daughters to sit upon," in the space that had been cleared, it was refused till he should get 
written permission from the Earl of Carrick. 

♦ S. R., April 1676. t 13th March 1631. t Lord Robert. § 11th Jan. 1629. 



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THE CHURCH. 45 

By and by, however, we find the Session dealing with the spaces in this aisle as freely as 
if " the worthie name of Stewart " had become extinct. 

They put up three new pews on the site from which Baikie's seat had been removed, and 
gave to David Sutherland of Windbreck the " midmost of the three." 

This was for his* services in procuring from the Treasury £200 for the repairing of the 
church. 

Nearly one hundred years later this aisle was again the subject of disputes. Alexander 
Muat, " nearest heir in lyf e " to Hugh Halcro of that ilk, gave up his right to the Halcro's 
seat, " Lyand in the mid ysland on the east side of the pulpit, to his cusine, James McKenzie, 
Toune Clerk of Kirkwall." On this David Craigie of Gairsay wrote to Mr Baikie, minister : — 
" Reverend Sir, in answer t.o yours of the tenth instant. My Fredicessors and I have bein in 
possession of that seat, which bears Halcro's name andarmes and the Craigies and the 
Crightons, and I am resolved to maintain my pocession, yet I am well pleased that James 
McKenzie and his family have liberty therein, Provyding that I and my family have access 
thereto when in town. I salute you kindly and your spouse and family, and am. Sir, Your 
Humble Servant, David Craigie. Kirkl., 17th July 1721." 

Seats, being regarded as heritable property, were turned iiito cash as freely as any other 
chattels, and persons having no right to sittings but what use and wont gave them, sold their 
claims without the least compunction. Accordingly, we have the Session and Bishop ** taking 
to their consideration the greit abuse of severall persons in this congregation who tak upon 
them to sell, alienate, and dispone seats in the church as if they were their awen proper 
heritage," and x)assing an Act making such dispositions of no effect.* 

This practice made them more careful in the disposal of seats. "When David Moncrieff, 
bailie and elder, got for " hiraselfe, bedfellow, their airs and successors," a seat in the staUs, it 
was expressly stated that they should have no right to sell, but, as son succeeded father, 
" every new possessor shall pay a gratuitie to the satisfaction of the Session." 

In 1721, Provost Covingtrie had the third seat back from the altar steps, while the fourth 
belonged to Baikie of Tankerness. Covingtrie got permission from the Session, with Baikie's 
consent, to turn both pews into one square seat with a table. Tankerness had removed from 
the middle of the church to a pew with a canopy in the east bay of the north aisle. 

On a pew becoming vacant in a desirable part of the church, it was very quickly picked 
up by the person who could bring most influence to bear upon the Session. 

Captain Peter Winchester had a very snug seat under the stair leading to the Dick's Loft, 
and he " disponed" it. May 1684, to the Rev. James Wallace, minister of Kirkwall. At such 
transfers the church, as superior, claimed a feu duty. 

For lone women the Session put up pews, and let them to as many of that class as would 
take them. 

'* David Scatter, kirk officer, was ordained to intimate to the women who sits in the 
Women's Isle that their new pews (were) to be built under the Magistrates' Loft, and to know 
if they incline to farm any of them." 

" After prayer, it was appointed that those who sitts in the women's pews, which were 
lately erected before the Earle's seat and the Latron of the pulpit, should be charged to 
exhibit their acts and rights why they sitt yr." t 

The lectern was attached to the pillar opposite to that which supported the pulpit. 

When there was in Kirkwall no earl to occupy the canopied seat of the Stewarts, the 
irriepressible boy took possession of it, so that the Session had it " nailed up and locked." 

When Bishop Qraham erected his loft in the south aisle of the choir, he kept th« 
♦ Oct. 19, 1670. t 4th April 1698. 



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46 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

corresponding space in the north aisle vacant ; but on the floor of that bay Monteith of 
f^ilshay put up a large pew with a canopy. 

In 1767, the sitting accommodation in the church being found too limited, the Session 
proceeded to erect a gallery in the north-east bay. This called forth the following protest : — 
'* At Kirkwall, and upon the High Street thereof, betwixt the hours of Twelve at mid day and 
one of the afternoon of the fourth day of May, in the year of our Lord One thousand seven 
hundred and sixty seven, and of his Majesty's Reign the seventh year, in presence of me, 
Nottary Publick, and witnesses after named and subscribing, and in presence of Mr Hugh 
Sutherland, one of the ministers of the Qospel at Kirkwall, and conjunct Moderator of the 
Kirk Sessions thereof, and of Andrew Liddle, Treasurer to the said Kirk of Kirkwall and 
acting Manager and Doer for the said Kirk Sessions ; Compeared John Riddock, Esq., 
Provost of the Burgh of Kirkwall, as Pror. for and having commission from Robert Baikie, 
£i^. of Tankerness, heritable proprietor of that seat within the church of Kirkwall commonly 
called the seat of the Family of Egilshay ; With the consent and concurrence of the said 
Robert Baikie's curators for their interests (whose power of Prory. was clearly known to me, 
Nottary Publick), and represented to the said Mr Hugh Sutherland and Andrew Liddle, 
That, Whereas They and the said Kirk Session were Erecting, and in the course of Building, 
a new Loft or seat within the said Kirk of Kirkwall, above the Burial place there belonging 
to the Earldom of Orkney, and which now belongs in property to the Honnble. Sir Lawrence 
Dundas, Bart., which new loft or seat they and the said Kirk Session have made to Project so 
far into the area of said church as to Darken and Eclipse the light and View of other seats 
therein, and particularly of the fore mentioned seat of Egilshay, now the property of his said 
constituent, a Minor ; By which illegal and unwarrantable Invasion and Encroachment of 
Property, they and the said Kirk Session had also Debarred and Excluded his said 
Constituent from the use of his property in the ordinary Burial place of the said Family of 
Egilshay, Below or underneath his said seat, by rendering it Impracticable to shift or Remove 
said seat when he might have necessary occasion to Digg a Grave therein, without Greatly 
Dammaging the same. The said John Riddock, as Provost of the said Burgh of Kirkwall, and 
in name of the Ramanent Magistrates and community thereof, as also in name of his said 
Constituent, a principal and considerable heretor within the Parish of St. OUay, within which 
the said Church stands, did also farther Represent to them and the said Kirk Session that the 
whole area of said Church belongs by Law to the Inhabitants of said Burgh, who are heretors 
of the said Parish, and That, tho' the heretors have permitted the Kirk Session to sett off and 
otherwise dispose of the seats within the Area for the better support of the fabrick. Yet any 
such Tacit permission or Tolerance can never Establish a Right of Property therein to the 
Kirk Session, far less can it authorize or justify them in the Arbitrary Disposal of said seats 
contrary to Law, which they have so long and so unwarrantably assumed to themselves, and 
still less can they be permitted or authorized to make any inconvenient encroachment on the 
property of others' seats as has been above Represented." 

To this Mr Sutherland answered that from time immemorial the Kirk Session had let 
seats, and had by this means been able ** in a surprising manner to keep up the large Fabrick 
of the Kirk allways in good Repair, as well as to supply the poor of Town and Parish, and no 
heretor or Inhabitant of Kirkwall or St. Ollay had ever paid or indeed been charged with a 
single farthing for that purpose." 

He said that as complaints were constantly being " made to them for want of seats in the 
Kirk, and many were every Sunday kept at home in their houses upon that account, the 
Session thought it a duty highly incumbent on them to allow no part of the Kirk to remain 
unoccupied." 



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THE CHURCH. 47 

As to darkening the seat, lie asserted " that the seat is as much and more darkened by 
the cover that is over it than it possibly can be by the loft. As affecting burials, the loft was 
not in any way attached to the seat, and, as to its projecting, it simply corresponded with the 
Graemes' Loft opposite, which it was intended to match." 'Die protest was of no avail 

Many persons could not pay for sittings, and some of these would take possession of the 
highest seats in the synagogue : — * "Qlk day the minister and elders of the Session, having 
considered the great incivilitie and rudeness of the baser sort among the people of this 
congregation, who, being set downe in the chiefest seatis of the kirk, would not rise up to give 
place to their betters and superiors. Ordains that whosoever heirafter (due intimation being 
made out of the pulpit) shall sitt within the seatts commonly called the stals above the doores 
new made, except gentlemen, strangers, or elders of the Session, being elders at the tyme, 
shall pay to the boxe size shillings toties quoties/' 

The present use of the choir as a presbyterian place of worship does not give universal 
satisfaction. 

"The choir, which is used as the parish church, has been rendered hideous by pews, 
gallaries, whitewashed, pinkwashed, or yellow-ochred pillars, and a tawdry deal screen which 
shuts off the choir from the nave.** f 

This arrangement is generally attributed to presbyterian taste, so utterly unappreciative 
of the beauties of the Cathedral But the first screen, which there is no reason to suppose 
was any better than the last, was erected in the vain hope of protecting an episcopal 
congregation from discomforting western draughts ; the first gallery was hung between piUar 
and gable by an episcopal bishop " for his better hearing the word of Qod," and all the others 
were sanctioned by the same prelate. Even the white-wash is in its inception episcopal, 
dating from the days of good old Bishop MacKenzie. " Tuesday !t — David Seatter, Belman, 
entered his work in whitening S. Magnus Kirk, within the choir thereof, with lime and other 
necessaries for that effect.'' 

From the Reformation to the present day there have been sixteen ministers in the first 
charge, nine episcopal and seven presbyterian. 

Gilbert Foulzie, the Romish Archdeacon under Bishop Bothwell, was the first protestant 
priest of Kirkwall. He was followed by Thomas Suenton, 1685; Patrick Inglis, 161—; 
James Heind, 163 — ; George Johnstowne, 1642 ; James Douglas, 1647, deposed 1659 and a 
presbyterian put in his place, re-instated 1662 ; James Wallace, 1672 ; John Wilson, 1689, 
deprived 1694. 

The first presbyterian minister was Alexander Lennox, inserted for four years, 1659-1662, 
into the middle of Mr Douglas' ministry. The next was Thomas Balkie of Bumess, 1697, 
followed by Edward Irving, 1741 ; John Yule, 1747 ; Robert Yule, 1789 ; William Logie, 
1824 ; Wm. Spark, 1866 ; John Rutherford, 1883. 

Before the second charge was recognised, the priest was assisted by a reader, who was 
vicar of St. Ola. David Watson, "reidar at the Kirk of Kirkwall," witnesses a deed, 18th 
Aug. 1624. This was in the incimibency of Mr Patrick Inglis^ and possibly Watson was the 
first protestant vicar of St. Ola. The emoluments of this office were so small that the 
appointment would only be accepted in the hope of a speedy preferment to a better, yet 
Watson's successor, George Mudie, held the position for thirty-three years, during part of 
which time he acted as master of the Grammar School without any additional remuneration. 
*' George Mudie, reidare at Kirkwall," sold, 2nd May 1626, " all and haill (his) haill viccarage 
buttire off the parochin of St. Allawis, extending to fyffe barrellis Orknay buttire." Bailie 
Thomas Lentron was the purchaser. 

♦ 1629, April 29. f Tudor. t T. B., 22nd Feb. 1687. 



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48 KIRK\YALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

James Reid got the appointment in 1660, and, after holding it for three years, the 
Presbytery appealed to the congregation for an augmentation of his salary. But at a meeting 
of the Synod, 9th July 1663, the inhabitants of Kirkwall " declare that they are neither willing 
nor able to contribute anything towards the stipend of Mr Beid, and as to ane qualified reader 
for morning and evening prayers, they declair that the constant stipend and mortification 
belonging to the reader is now possest and lifted up by Mr James Reid, and they think, since 
he takes up the benefite and stipend dew to the reader,, he sould serve the service of the 
leader. Or, if Mr James Reid will quyt that provision, they sail be content yt the Bp. provyd 
for ane qualifyed reader yt will doe the service. Oyr ansr they have none." 

Mr Reid, no doubt to his great satisfaction, was translated to North Leith the same year. 
He was the last reader in the Cathedral, his successors to the present day being ministers of 
the second charge. 

But while the title and status of the incumbents had been raised, the stipend remained 
small. In 1703 Alexander Nisbet was ordained, but within a year he accepted a call to 
Shapinsay, being, as he said, " obliged to leave for want of sustenance." 

His successor, Mr Andrew Ker, a clerical Ishmael, succeeded in moving the General 
Assembly of 1705 to take action in the matter of stipend. The case was represented to Her 
Majesty, Queen Anne, and a sum of five hundred merks per annum out of the bishopric rents 
was set apart for the minister of the second charge. 

Mr Ker, having secured a stipend, next began to agitate for a manse, but his translation 
to Rathven, in 17^, left this desirable object unattained. Mr Ker had, however, left the 
second charge a more confortable office than he had found it, and looking back over the list of 
incumbents, one effect of the improvement becomes apparent. In the forty-four years, 1660 to 
1704, when " fyffe barrelUs Orknay buttire " formed the bulk of the income, eleven ministers 
held the charge, giving an average pastorate of four years ; while, during the hundred and 
ninety odd years which have elapsed since Queen Anne's grant, Mr Walker, the present 
incumbent, is only the thirteenth, an average of about fifteen years. 

When the choir was shut in and set apart for worship, the nave soon came to be sadly 
desecrated : — 1620, Dec. 3, " Qlk day my Lord Bishop wt the rest of the Sessione, having 
considerit the gryt abuse that hes bene usit in the kirk be working and sawing of tymber be 
anie Particklar man that dwellis within the towne of Kirkwall, hes, with ane consent, ordainit 
that quhatsomever person or persons presumis in the contrarie shall pay 20s. to his quoties aa 
weil thaine that sawis as thame that awis the tymber." 

But the greatest scandal was the " more than barbarous practice of the town-guard of 
BLirkwall, at the time of the Lammas fair, their keeping guard within the church, shutting of 
guns, burning great fyres on the graves of the dead, drinking, fidling, pipeing, swearing and 
cursing night and day within the church." * 

This desecration was only removed by the erection of a guard-house in 1702. 

• S. R., 23rd Dec. 1690— James Laugh ton is to have two shillings Scots weekly ** for cleaning out 
the ashes while the guard is in the Cathedral. " 



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CHAPTER V. 

Cathedral as Burial-Place. 

fT has been seen that when Earl Magnus wais murdered, 1115, his body was conveyed to 
Birsay and buried in Christ Church. It was afterwards disinterred, and with im|)osing 
^^ ceremonial conveyed to Kirkwall. A series of stiinding stones, some of which are still 
to be seen, marked the spots where the sacred coffin rested. 

In the relic-hunting rage of the Middle Ages, the absurdity of an obscure hamlet in a 
remote island possessing a whole saintly skeleton became widely apparent, and numerous 
claims were made upon Kirkwall. So many portions were taken abroad and deposited 
among the treasures of continental shrines that, in his own church, little was left of the 
mortal remains of St. Magnus. Prague and Rome have been named as possessing some of 
these relics.* 

In a cavity in the west end of the north pier of the choir are some bones which have been 
concealed with pious care. These have been regarded as part of the body of St. Magnus^ 
hidden away at the time of the Reformation to secure them from Protestant desecration. 
They were examined in 1867 by Lord Bute, Doctors Logie an I Kirkpatrick, Mr Iverach^ 
chemist, and Mr Greorge Petrie ; and the last-named gentleman has recorded the fact that the 
jawbone did not belong to the skull beside which it lay. 

This would only go to show that beside the relics of St. Magnus was deposited a fragment 
of some other saint. It certainly was religious zeal that placed these bones in their remark- 
able hiding-place. Their discovery came about through the careless stroke of a workman's 
hammer indicating a hollow in what appeared to be solid mason ly. 

Of Rognwald's contemporaries. Earl Erlend, who was slain at Damsay, 1155, was the 
first to be buried here. 

In 1168, Bishop William the Old, who consecrated the Cathedral, was interred near the 
grave of St. Magnus. During the repairs by the Government in 1848, a chest, made of 
separate slabs, of stone, was discovered between the two pillars of the Stewarts* aisle. " It 
was about 2 ft. 6 in. long, 1 ft. 3 in. wide, and 1 ft. 3 in. deep, put together with mortar. In 
it was a skeleton doubled up carefully, with the upper part of the body in the projier position. 
With it was an article of ivory, like the cross handle of a walking stick, with an iron pin fixed 
in it. On the breast, close to the chin, was a piece of lead, 7 J x 2.1 inches, inscribed, * Hie 
requiescit Wilialmus felicis memoriae,' and on the back, * Pmus. Epb.' It is evident that thia 
was a reinterment, and probably the bones were removed to their last position from the choir 
of the first church when the addition was made to the east part of it." t 

In 1856, chest and bones were cleared out, and the dust of the venerable Bishop wa* 
mingled with the common clay of the churchyard. 

* The Marquis of Bute has ascertained that at all events the Bohemian City has no relic of the 
Orcadian saint. t Dryden. 

H 



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•50 KIRKWALL IN THE OKKNEVS. 

When Earl Rognwald was slain in Caithness, 1158, " Earl Harald brought the body, with 
A splendid following, to the Orkneys, and it was buried at the Magnus Kirk ; and there it 
rested until God manifested Rognwald^s merits by many and great miracles. Then Bishop 
Bjarni had his holy remains exhumed with the permission of the Pope." * 

The Saga rather crowds events together. Had Rognwald been buried by Harald in the 
Cathedral, the disinterment referred to would have been unnecessary, but his companions 
Iburied him in the first church they came to, Lady Kirk, in South Ronaldshay ; hence this act 
of Bishoj) Bjarni. 

A skeleton, supposed to be his, lies entombed in the wall of the south choir aisle, under 
the opening into Marwick's Hole. 

Earl Rognwald was canonised, 1192. 

During the winter of 1263, the body of the brave but hapless Haco of Norway lay under 
Cathedral consecration, but in the spring of the following year it was taken to Norway to be 
laid beside the remains of the old Norwegian kings. 

Margaret, the Maid of Norway, grand-daughter of Alexander III. of Scotland, is often 
spoken of as being buried in the Cathedral, and her grave, according to tradition, was under a 
slab of gi-ey marble near the south-east pier of the choir ; but, dead or living, the poor 
princess was never in Kirkwall. She died at sea, 1290, and her body was taken back to 
Bergen under the charge, in addition to her Norwegian suite, of Bishop Dolgfinnr.t 

A letter from the Bishop of Bergen, written twenty years after the event, relates the 
circumstances of the return voyage. 

The tomb of Bishop Thomas Tulloch was between the two pillars on the south side of the 
choir. Sir Henry Dryden says : — " It had elaborate buttresses at the angles and seven niches 
on the face, and must have been a rich work of art, cut in gi'eenish freestone not of the country." 
As late as 1848 the base of the north side was in situ. " From fragments it ai)pears to have had 
a canopy. Under-ground was an arched tomb, in which the bishop lay, with a chalice and 
paten of beeswax and i>astoral staiF of oak." " These articles are now in the Museum at 
Edinburgh, and ix)rtions of this tomb are in the room over the south chai)el." 

This must have been the handsomest piece of monumental work within the Cathedral ; 
but instead of its receiving any repair, the fragments, as they became detached, were carried 
away and utilised for other purposes. When the wall round the Town Hall was taken down, 
in 1890, large i)ortions of this tomb were found embedded in the masonry. 

Principal Gordon says that the tomb was covered to its full length with a plate of copper, 
and adds : — " A i)arty of soldiers sent by Cromwell to Kirkwall, in order to be a check upon 
the inhabitants, robbed the tomb of the copper, as a shred of the whore of Babylon." 

At this tomb it was customary to rejmy borrowed money and to cancel bonds. William 
Sinclair of Warsetter is held bound to pay Harie Aitken, Commissary, and Hugh Sinclair of 
Garth, 5000 merks " upon ane day betwixt the sun rysing and down going thairof, within the 
Cathedral Kirk of Orkney, callit St. Magnus Kirk, in Kirkwall, at the buriall place of umql. 
Bischop Thomas Tulloch."? 

The whole floor of the choir having been, at the reseating of the. church, raised to the 
evel of the top of the altar stei)s, many ancient monuments are lost to view. Perhaps one of 
the most interesting of these is on the east side of the north-east pillar of the choir. It is 
inscribed : — " Here Lyes Captain Patricio, of the Spanish Armada, who was wrecked on the 
Fair Isle, 1588." "Captain Patricio Antolinez commanded 243 soldiers on board El Gran 
Grifon, one of the ships of the Spanish Armada. This vessel, chartered from Rostock, waa 
commanded by Juan Gomez de Medina, and was wrecked on the Fair Isle." § 

* Saga. t Br Anderson. :!: Reg., 18th Aug. 1624. § Tudor, p. 434. 



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CATHEDRAL AS BURIAL-PLACK. 51 

The wreck of auch a large vessel, with so many men aboard, was a sore trial to the people 
of the Fair Isle and little pleasure to the poor Spaniards. 

The story of their escape, as told by the commander, is recorded by Melville, minister of 
Anstruther, in his diary. He says that as many as escaped the cruel rocks and seas had for 
six or seven weeks suffered great hunger and cold, till, procuring a vessel from Oikuey, they 
were able to get away. That they called at Kirkwall on their way south, this siuij^le inscrip- 
tion records, and it furnishes a reason for their putting in, but undoubtedly there was a more 
pressing cause. They required to lay in provisions to take them to Calais, which then 
belonged to Spain. From their condition when they reached Anstruther, our townspeople had 
been either unable or unwilling to give them much assistance. Compelled to land in Fife, the 
Laird of Anstruther and some others of the county gentlemen entertained them for a day or 
two, while the commander rei)aired to Edinburgh and paid his respects to the King. 

Melville gives the names of the principal officers as " Joan Gomez de Medina, Generalle 
of twentie houlkes, Capitan Patricio, Capitan de Logoretto, Capitan de Luffera, Capitan 
Mauritio, and Seignom* Serrano." 

Of soldiers and sailors, there were two hundred and sixty, chiefly " young beardless men.*' 

It is touching to notice that, while these poor fellows bore their own misfortune bravely 
enough, believing theirs the only wreck of the fleet, when they learned the fate of their com- 
ndes all round the coasts of Scotland, Ireland, and England, they broke down entirely^ 
Medina himself giving way to a passionate outburst of sobbing. 

The Spaniards proved themselves not ungrateful to the men of Fife, for, some time 
afterwards, Don Gomez showed great kindness to an Anstruther crew whose ship was 
arrested at Calais. He took the men to his house, enquired for the Laird of Anstruther and 
the minister, and ** sent home many commendations." 

The remarkable style of knitting, peculiar to the Fair Isle, and some dark Spanish, 
countenances, contrasting with the fair Scandinavian complexion of the bulk of the islanders,, 
are regarded as memorials of this shipwreck. 

Of the tombstones still open to inspection, the oldest is to the memory of William 
Henryson, Treasurer of Orkney, who died lOth Dec. 1582. His wife's initials, " M.B.," are 
also on the stone. 

Another sixteenth century stone is recessed under the east window of the south navp 
aisle—" Heir lyis Ulliam Maine, Burgdis in Kirkwall, 1592 ; His spouse, Mariorie Thomsone,. 
1609 ; and nvne of their children." Probably one of the survivors of this large family waa 
Thomas Maine, who was a bailie of Kirkwall from 1619 to 1638. 

Earl Robert Stewart was buried in the Stewart's aisle, 1590, and in a search for his grave 
that of his brother. Lord Adam Stewart, was discovered.* Earl Patrick was buried in 
Edinburgh, whei-e he was beheaded. 

In October, 1648, William Douglas, Earl of Morton, was buried here, and his son Robert,, 
who succeeded, wished to erect a suitable monument. " My Lord Morton, his brother, Mr 
John Douglas, presented a desire in my Lord's name unto the Session, That seeing his. 
Lordship had ane purpose to erect ane tomb upon the corp of his umquhile father in the best 
fashion he could have it : Tharefore, understanding that there were some stones of marble in 
the floore of the Kirk of Kirkwall, commonly called St. Magnus kirk, quhilk would be very 
suitable to the said tomb ; therefore requested the favour of the session to uplift the said 
stones for the use foresaid : Whereunto the session condescended with this provision, that the 
places thereof be sufficiently filled up agane with hewen buriall stones." t While engaged ia. 

* Petrie's Notes, Antiq. Museum. t S. R., 22Qd Apnl 1649. 



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52 



KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 



raising troops for Montrose, Robert, Earl of Morton, died 12th Nov. 1649, and the Eai-1 of 
Kinnoul a few days later, and the remains of both must have been laid in the Cathedral. 

In 1676, Bishop Honyman was buried beside the tomb of Bishop TuUoch. 

Bishop Mackenzie " was interred in S. Magnus Kirk in Kirkwall within the commone 
court place of the same, commonly called the counsel house, which no person hath been 
interred hitherto." * 

As might be expected, the choir was reserved : — " My Lord Bishop and session discharges 
the beddal, or under officers, to breik any ground within the choir for burial quher the peiple 
sits and hiers the word without special libertie asked and given from my Lord Bishop, 
minister, and elders, and, that nane be permitted to be buried within the said quire except the 
persone related to the dead, pay somequhat 
more considerable than in any other place of 
the church." t 

In Low's account of Kirkwall, 1774, the 
population of town and parish is given as 1500 
souls, and one hundred years earlier it was, of 
course, much smaller. Thus, in the seventeenth 
century, the nave of the Cathedral served as 
the cemetery for all who would pay the neces- 
sary fees. 

Heads of families claimed for themselves 
and their children sjmces in the nave which had 
been the burial-places of their ancestors. 

The Session had before them, 25th May 
1670, a claim put in by David Craigie of Over- 
sanday for the space between the third and 
fourth pillars on the south side, reckoning west- 
wards from the transept, "in resj)ect that his 
brother, the late Hugh Craigie of Gairsay, had 
left in legacy to the Kirk the sum of five pound 
sterling, and that his father, mother, and fore- 
said brother all lie buried there." 

The claim was sustained on condition that 
he would "hold up the glasse window above 
the said burial-place." 

In 1721, John Covingtrie of Newark, then 
" Lord " Provost of Kirkwall, claimed the space 
"betwixt the second and the third pillars, 
reckoning downwards from the middle of the church, on the second pillar whereof stands his 
father's monument." 

"The Session, having viewed the ground," granted him the space for which he asked, 
including the recessed arch in the south wall. 

Concerning this arch, Sir Henry Dryden remarks : — " This had over it an effigy, or at 
least a carved slab. The arch is segmental, with angular impost and good mouldings, and is 
surmounted by a pediment. It is about the date of 1300. Close over the arch is a shield 
which appears to bear 3 guttes reversed (points downward) within a bordure of pearls. Under 
it is one line of inscription obliterated. To whom this was erected is uncertain." Sir Henry, 
♦ T. B., 17th Feb. 1688. t S. IL, 19th Oct. 1670. 




Tombstone Erected by John Covingtrie. 



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CATHEDRAL AS BURIAL-PLACK 



53 




Main Door, West Front of Cathedral. 



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54 IvlUKWALL.IN Ttlfi OH^NISYS. 

however, regards it as probable that this tomb was prepared for some member of the 
Stratherne family. 

The obliteration referred to was likely to be the work of one of the Session's lessees whose 
circumstances rendered the inscription inappropriate. 

On the floor, between two pillars on the south side, are two elaborately carved stones, 
traditionally held to mark the last resting places of a bishop and an earl. 

On the other side, we have a relic of Robert Stewart's rebellion. ** Heir Lyia William 
Irving of Sebay, Schot out of the castil, in his Majesty's S.V., 1614." Though in his Mtgesty's 
service, his loyalty was more than doubtful, and Caithness regarded his death as a just 
judgment. 

Of the seventeenth century names inscribed on wall and floor, in many instances nothing 
now is known but what is recorded upon the stone. Baikie of Burness, Drummond of 
Baloughie, Richan of Linklater, Louttit of Lyking, Covingtrie of Newark, Smith of Braco, 
Blair of Little Blair, Young of Castleyards, Traills of many places, Kaa, Prince, Cuthl)ert, 
Winchester, and Forbes were, however, men of mark and civic power in their day and 
generation. 

After the fashion of the time, we have a few quaint rhymes. Under the names of 
Drummond of Baloughie and some of his grandchildren, we have : — 

" They did lye down with sighs and cries, 
To joy and Bliss they shall arise." 

On the stone of Thomas Taylor, merchant, burgess of Kirkwall, we find : — 

*• Corps rest in peace into this womiy clay, 
Till Christ shall raise the to a glorious day. " 

On JiM^ed Black's tombstone we read : — 

" Corps rest in peace withiu this ground 
Until Archangel's trumpet sound ; 
Soul joy above till thy Creator's micht 
Both reunite to reign with saints in licht." 

" John Kaa, somtym Baily of Kirkwall, was married with Agnes Louttit," and the widow 
records that 

*' Affnes 9 children boor unto her mate, 
6 died before their sir by cruel fate." 

After giving the names of the six, the epitaph states that " James, George, and their dear 
sister Margaret survived to comfort their mother." And it is pleasant to record, even after 
two hundred years, that this "dear sister" made a good marriage. "Thursday, David 
Covingtrie, mercht., was married to Margaret Kaa, onlie daughter to umql. John Kaa and 
Anna Louttit, Spouse." * 

On a square board, hung cornerwise to represent an escutcheon, along with some queer 
devices and scriptural texts, we have : — " Below doth lye if ye wold Trye, come read upon this 
brod. The corps of on Robert Nicolsone, whose soul's alive with God. He being 70 years of 
age, ended this mortal life. And 50 of that he was married to Jean Davidson, his wife. 
Betwixt them 2, 12 children had, whereof 5 left behind. The other 7 with him's in Heaven, 
whose joy shall never end." 

This quaint piece of work may almost with certainty be regarded as an act of filial duty 
on the part of James Nicolson, the painter of the " horologe brod and of the two sundials 
furnished by James Adamson. 

♦ T. B., Oct. 10, 1G80. 



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CATHEDRAL AS BdRIAL-PLACE. 



55 



No work of human hands has a more monotonous existence than a tombstone. There it 
stands recording the name of the occupant of the grave below. The monuments of contem- 
poraries and successors speedily crowd around it, and at length a generation arises to whom 
the epitaph conveys no information. The memory of the man has gone, and only his name 
remains. At last the old thing decays into illegibility and crumbles away or is removed. 
This !b the natural history of tombstones. 

But one stone on the north wall, eighth from the west door, has had a little experience 
out of the usual graveyard course. James Adamson, mason, petitioned for permission " to sett 




North Aisle, Nave, St. Magnus Cathedral. 

Up ane hewen stone at the back of the pillar where his wife and her father lyes interred. But 
my Lord Bishop and Session would not permit him to sett it up at the pillar, lest the pillar 
sould be wronged thereby, but permitted him if he pleased to sett it up at the north wall, 
which was opposite to the said pillar."* Th«re it was set up, and in due season James 
himself was laid below it. After it had stood for nineteen years, Patrick, the son of the man 
who carved it, removed the stone and sold it, " having hewen off the letters off it." This 
having come to the ears of the Session, the stone " was appointed to be arrested and Adamson 
to be charged against next day," when he was ordered to put up " the same stone and no other, 
and to have his father's and grandfather's names engraven on it." Patrick, seeing no help for 
it, restored the stone, but in the inscription which he carved he takes credit to himself for the 
filial act of putting up a monument to his father's memory. A son's attempt to raise money 

♦ Oct. 1670. 



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66 kirkwaijl in. the Orkneys. 

by selling his father's tombstone is probably unique in the history of sepulture and of trade. 
And Patrick's conduct cannot be excused on the ground of youthful thoughtlessness, for at 
this time he had been five years married to Ursulla, one of the twelve children of Robert 
Nicolson, immortalised on the above-mentioned ^ brod." 

The third stone east from this marks the grave of the amiable David Forbes, Notary 
Public, Town Clerk of Kirkwall, and Treasurer of St. Magnus Church, of which he was for 
many years an elder. Among the papers preserved in the Sheriff Court and Town Hall are 
many documents in the beautiful quaint old penmanship of this man. A determined foe to 
anything like jobbery in the handling of public business, he was yet a singularly retiring man, 
only coming to the front at the call of duty. 

Under date 1st Dee. 1684, is entered in the Session records — " Whilk day, David Forbes 
being dead, my Lord Bishop, Minister, and Session gave a large testimonie of his faithfulness 
and diligence during the tyine of his service as Treasurer, and ordains that David Forbes have 
his burial free, in respect of his faithfulness to the church." 

On this north wall there is a marble tablet to the memory of George Oiiumd, of the Fair 
Isle. It is of comparatively recent date, 1813. Mr Omond, grandson of Mr Reid, master of 
Kirkwall Grammar School, and afterwards missionary in the Fair Isle, established himself in 
business in Kirkwall, and was a very successful merchant. His son, Robert, was for a time 
President of the College of Surgeons, Edinburgh, and John, Doctor of Divinity, was Free 
Church minister of Mcmzie. Some of his grandsons have distinguished themselves in science 
and others in literature. 

Another mural ttiblet commemorates the services of Malcolm Laing. the historian. 

On the floor is a monument to the memory of William Balfour Baikie, African explorer, 
son of Captain Baikie, RN., banker, Kirkwall. "The monument is in the style of the 
thirteenth century, with three recessed arches in each side and one in each end. They contain 
shields of arms of England, Scotland, Orkney, Baikie, Traill, and Hutton. The main portion 
of the tomb is of Orkney freestone of two colours, and the detached shafts are of Shetland 
serpentine. The work was executed by Orkney sculptors from drawings by a Shetland 
architect." * 

The epitaph, composed by his friend, the late Colonel David Balfour of Balfour and 
Trenabie, is a biography in miniature :—" William Balfour Baikie, M.D., R.N., F.R.S., F.S.A. 
Scot., born at Kirkwall, 27th August 1825. The Explorer of the Niger and Tchadda, the 
Translator of the Bible into the languages of Central Africa, and the pioneer of Education, 
Commerce, and Progress among its many nations. He devoted life, means, and talents to 
make the heathen savage and slave a free and Christian man. For Africa he opened up new 
paths to light, wealth, and liberty ; for Europe new fields of science, enterprise, and benefi- 
cence ; he won for Britain new honour and influence, and for himself the respect, affections^ 
and confidence of the chiefs and people. He earned the love of those whom he commanded 
and the thanks of those whom he served, and left to all a brave example of humanity, 
perseverance, and self-.sacrifice to duty. But the climate from which his care, skill, and kind- 
ness shielded so many, was fatal to himself, and when relieved at last, though too late, he died 
at Sierra Leone, 12th December 1864." 

Across the nave from Dr Baikie's cenotaph is a monument to another Orcadian explorer, 
DrRae. 

John Rae was born at the Hall of Clestrain, in Orphir, 30th Septeniber 1813. At the age 
of sixteen he -entered the University as a student of medicine. After a successful curriculum, 
he joined the fludson Bay Company's service. For ten years he had had the charge of Moose 

* Dryden, p. 65. 



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CATHEDRAL AS BUKIAL-PI.ACE. 



»7 



Factory, when, in 1845, he was sent at the lie.id of an expedition to explore the Arctic coast 
and connect the work of Sir E. Perry with that of Sir John R«)ss. The survey embraced seven 
hundred miles of coast line, and in two years it was successfully completed. While engaged 
in another coast survey, he came upon a party of Esquimaux, from whom he obtained informa- 
tion and relics which showed that the last of the Franklin expedition had perished of cold and 
hunger. On his return to England he found that he had unwittingly earned £10,IK)0, which 
had been offered by Government for definite proof of the fate of Sir John Franklin and his 
men. A later explorer got from the Esquimaux the story of the last of that expedition. " We 
saw a band of weary white men travelling southward, and as they walked they fell, and where 
they fell they lay, and where they lay they died." 

Rae was admirably adapted for the rough work in which he delighted. Possessed of a 
splended physique, indomitable courage, and thorough self-reliance, he Wiis able to inspire 
those under his command with the confidence that their labours and hardships were certain to 
end in success. He traversed 1500 miles of previously unexplored country, often dragging his 
own sledge and supporting himself and his party by his gun. He died in London on the 22nd 
July 1893, and, in deference to his own wish, was buried in St. Magnus Churchyard. 




Doorway, North Aisle, St. Magnus Cathedral. 



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CHAPTER VI. 

The Bishops Palace. 

^N£ of the two castles to which Buchanan refers in his description of Kirkwall is the 
Bishop's Palace. 

Of the Bishops of Orkney before the See was removed to Kirkwall, with the 
-exception of William the Old, the Sagas make no mention. 

Earl Paul, son of Earl Thorfinn, sent to Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury, a cleric 
whom he wished to be consecrated bishop. This was Bishop Ralph, concerning whom 
Lanfranc's successor, Anselm, ** wrote to Earl Hakon, Paul's son, exhorting him and his people 
to obey the bishop whom now by the grace of God they had." * 

Bishop Roger was consecrated by the Archbishop of York. Then came another Ralph, 
■and in 1102 William the Old. Where those early bishops resided is not shown, but necessarily 
they had a residence at Birsay. Egilshay, too, was favoured by some of them as a place of 
abode. Here William the Old received Bishop Jon of Athol, and here also there came to the 
«ame venerable prelate his kinsman, Swein of Gairsay, a manslayer, seeking sanctuary. 

But with the building of the Cathedral arose the need of an Episcopal Palace in Kirkwall. 

Who the builder of the original palace was cannot now be ascertained. Probably William 
the Old, on the removal of the See from Birsay to Kirkwall, prepared, near his church, a 
•dwelling for himself and his successors. This venerable priest, after the consecration of the 
Cathedral, 1152, accompanied Earl Rognwald to the Holy Land, and we may imagine, if we 
•choose, that his house was erected in his absence, and that when his earthly pilgrimage was 
over, 1168, it was there that he died. 

Of the next Bishop, William II., little is known but the date of his death, 1188. 

" When Bishop William the Second was dead, Bjarni, the son of Kolbein Hruga, was 
made bishop after him. He was a very great man, and a dear friend of Earl Harald." f 
Bjorn or Bjarni, the Skald, was a native Orcadian, born probably in the island of Wyre. His 
father's name is still preserved, if in a mutilated form, in the ruins of the stronghold which he 
built in that island, *' Cobbie Row's Castle." 

This prelate wrote, among other poems, the " Lay of the Jomsburg Vikings," hence his 
title, the Skald. 

Palnatoki, a celebrated sea rover, had established himself, somewhere between 941 and 991 
A.D., in a stronghold named Jomsburg, on the southern shore of the Baltic. The laws under 
which he ruled his followers were very strict. No one was admitted into the community 
under fifteen or over fifty years of age. Every member must have shown that he did not fear 
to face two men equally as strong and well armed as himself. No one without their leader's 
permission could be absent more than one day from Jomsburg, into which no females were to 
be admitted. 

• Anderson, Intro., 72. t Saga, 193. 



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THE bishop's palace. 5^ 

Palnatoki's band became famous, and it was reckoned an honour to belong to it. But, in 
a rash expedition against Norway, under Palnatoki's successor, the Jomsburg vikings were cut 
to pieces. Thirty of them were taken prisoners by Earl Hakon, and the manner in which they 
faced death might well inspire our poet priest. 

*' The prisoners, being seated on a log of wood, with their legs bound together by a rope, 
withies or osier twigs were twisted in their hair. A slave was then placed behind each to keep 
his head steady by holding fast the withies twisted into a band for that purpose. Th& 
executioner was no less a personage than Thorkell Leire, one of the most renowned Norwegian 
chieftains. 

** Thorkell began his sanguinary ta.sk by striking off the head of him who sat outmost on 
the log. After he had beheaded the next two, he asked the prisoners what they thought of death. 

" * What happened to my father,' replied one, * must happen to me. He died, so must I.' 

" Another said that he remembered too well the laws of Jomsburg to fear dying ; a third 
declared that a glorious death was ever welcome to him, and that such a death was preferable 
to an infamous life like Thorkell's. 

" * I only beg of thee,' said a fourth, * to be quick over thy work ; for thou must know that 
it is a question often discussed at Jomsburg, whether or not a man feels anything after losing- 
his head. I will therefore grasp this knife in my hand ; if, after my head is cut off, I throw it 
at thee, it will show that I still retain some feeling ; if I let it fall, it will prove just the 
contrary. Strike, therefore, and decide the question without further delay.' Thorkell stnick 
off the man's head with a stroke of his battle-axe, but the knife instantly fell to the ground. 

" * Strike the blow in my face,' said the next ; * I will sit still without flinching, and take 
notice whether I even wink my eyes ; for we Jomsburg people know how to meet the stroke of 
death without betraying an emotion.' 

" He kept his promise and received the blow without showing the least sign of fear, or sa 
much as winking with his eyes. 

" Sigurd, the son of Bui the Thick, a fine young man in the flower of his age, with long 
fair hair, as fine as silk, flowing in ringlets over his shoulders, said in answer to ThorkelVa 
question—-* I fear not death since I have fulfilled the greatest duty of my life, but I must pray 
thee not to let my hair be touched by a slave or stained with my blood.' 

** One of Hakon's followers then stepped forward and held his hair instead of the slave,, 
but when Thorkell struck the blow, Sigurd twitched his head forward so strongly that the 
warrior who was holding his hair had both his hands cut off." 

This practical joke was so relished by Eirick, the son of Earl Hakon, that he secured from 
his father the lives of the remaining twelve Jomsburgers, one of whom was a Welshman.* 

Bishop Bjarni's relish for such themes showed the churchman a true son of Kolbein the 
viking. 

It was Bjami who in all probability built the quaint little church in Wyre near his 
father's castle. 

When Earl Harald was summoned to Norway to answer on a charge of conniving at 
treasonable practices, the Bishop accompanied his friend to the court of King Sverir. 

It was in his days that ** God manifested Rognwald's merits by many and great miracles," 
and, with consent of the Pope, he had the saint's " holy remains exhumed." 

The Saga states regarding Bjami that "he was well mannered as a youth," and th& 
biographical facts which are preserved would show him to have been a courteous and cultured 
gentleman, beloved by the Earl, respected by the King, and trusted by the Pope. He was 
wealthy^ too, and had possessions both in Orkney and in Norway. And he used his wealth. 

♦ Mallet, North. Ant. 



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60 KIUKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

towards completing the Ciithedral, for, accorcUng to Sir Henry Dryden, this is the period of 
the "Second Style" in St. Magnus. " At this time the two chapels were built, and probably 
the transepts were roofed." 

Bishop Bjarni died, l2J23, and Bishop Jofreyr was consecrated. For years this prelate was 
never outside the walls of his palace, having been such an invalid as to necessitate the 
appointment of a " wise and prndeiit helper" to perfonn the duties of the episcopate. On his 
death, 1247, he was succeeded by Hervi, who was consecrated and died within a year. 

Bishop Henry I., who followed, 1248-1269, was a man of mark. 

Haco of Norway, on his expedition against Scotland, 1263, put into Elwick Bay. The 
King, leaving his fleet, became the guest of the Bishop in his Place of the Yards, and 
persuaded the prelate to accompany him on his ill-starred voyage. 

" Ere he left these friendly islands there came a portent that might have disturbed a less 
resolute leader. At Ronaldsvo there fell a great darkness, so that there was only a thin bright 
ring instead of the round sun. It has been calculated by Sir D. Brewster that there was an 
eclipse of the sun, which, at twenty-four minutes past one on the oth of August, was annular 
at Konaldsvo." * 

When the Norwegian Armada reached the Clyde it was seen to be so much stronger than 
any force which the Scots could at once raise to meet it, that King Alexander III. professed 
to desire a peace. In response to his overtures, five commissioners, of whom Henry, Bishop of 
Orkney, was one, were sent to the Scottish Court. They were honourably received and 
dismissed with a promise that terms would shortly be sent. With the Scots time was 
everything, for the autumnal gales were approaching ; but neither Haco nor his ambassadors 
penetrated the Fabian policy of Alexander. Meanwhile the Norsemen gratified their instincts 
and wasted their strength in reckless piratical adventures. Bute was sadly wasted. " The 
habitations of men, the dwellings of the wretched, flamed. Fire, the devourer of balls, glowed 
in their granaries." 

By and by a series of storms, so disastrous that the Norwegians attributed them to magic, 
wrecked Haco s fleet. " Now our deep enquiring sovereign encountered the horrid powers of 
enchantment. The troubled flood tore many fair galleys from their moorings and swept them 
anchorless before the waves. The roaring billows and stormy blast threw shielded companies 
of our adventurous nation on the Scottish strand." 

This gale, so fateful to two countries, was on the second of October 1263. 

To protect these "shielded companies" from the men of Kyle, Haco, under great di.s- 
ad vantage, was compelled to land a small force. 

The struggle was fierce while it lasted — on one side a handful of men whose occupation 
and delight was war, and on the other an undisciplined, badly armed, but constantly 
increasing crowd of determined peasantry, with homes to defend and wrongs to avenge. 

This is known in Scottish history as the battle of Largs. But ** we hear in the earlier 
accounts of no commander to the Scots force, nor is it recorded that any of the great 
feudatories of the crown were present. This silence is made more emphatic by the eminence 
given to the rank and splendid equipment of Sir Pierce Curry, the only man whose name can 
be identified on the Scots side." t 

Buchanan says that Haco " was defeated by Alexander Stewart, the grandfather of the 
first of that name who sat on the Scottish throne." 

Torfaeus tells that not more than eight hundred Norwegians were landed, who were 
instantly cut to pieces, and that Haco from on board his fleet beheld the disaster, but was 
prevented by the tempestuous weather from sending any assistance. 

• Burton, ii. 32. + Biu-ton, ii. 35. 



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THE bishop's palace. 61 

Nevertheless, the affair at Largs was as fertile in results to the nations engaged as if it 
had been a pitched battle between two great armies. 

With the shattered remains of his fleet, Haco sailed northward, death still following. A 
galley with all her crew was engulfed in the Pentland " Swelchie." Tlie King and Bishop 
Henry landed on South Ronaldshay and crossed to Scapa, while what was left of the fleet 
found shelter in Houton Harbour. Having resolved to spend the winter in Kirkwall, Haco 
took for himself the upper storey of the Bishop's Palace. But his health had given way with 
his fortunes. While a measure of strength remained, he interested himself in the affairs of 
state and. in the offices of religion, but, when he was fairly stricken down, tho lesvsons of the 
priests and the stirring adventures of his own piratical ancestors divided the attention of the 
dying warrior, and the last sound of which he was conscious was the reading of the chronicle 
of King Sverir. * 

For a short time the body lay in state in the Palace, after which it was removed to the 
Cathedral, where it was guarded during the winter by the nobles of the suite watching two by 
two in turn. In spring the remains were removed to Bergen and committed to the filial care 
of King Magnus. 

Bishop Henry survived his royal friend for sijc years, and when he went to his final 
resting-place in the Cathedral he was succeeded in the Palace, 1270, by Peter. 

This Bishop was one of the Commissioners appointed by King Eric to negotiate a 
marriage between him and Margaret, daughter of Alexander III. of Scotland. 

Of Dolgfinnr, who followed, 1296, little is known but the name, though he occupied the 
Palace for over twenty years. In his time Margaret, the Maid of Norway, King Alexander's 
grandchild, died on her way to Scotland to assume the Cr(»wn, and it is ])robable that 
Dolgfinnr accompanied her remains to Bergen. The disturbances in Scotland which followed 
upon this nntimely death may have attracted the attention of the historians of Norway to the 
neglect of the earldom and bishopric of Orkney. This was the time that witnessed the heroic 
struggle, the base betrayal, and the shameful death of the patriot Wallace, and which saw the 
gallant Bruce a fugitive in the wilds of the country which yet should hail him conqueror and 
king. 

Of the public and private life of William III., who succeeded Dolgfinnr, 1310, .somewhat 
more is known. In 1312, alcmg with Earl Magnus, the last of the Angus line, we find him at 
Inverness renewing the treaty of Perth, which had been concluded between Alexander III. 
and Magnus Hakonson, 1266. 

Some years after his accession, Bishop William got into trouble with his metropolitan, the 
Archbishop of Trondheim, on account of his reckless indulgence in certain uncanonical 
practices. A visitation of the diocese was appointed to inquire into his doings. It was found 
that as to his amours no guilt could be brought home to him since his elevation to the 
bishopric. It was shown, however, that he took more pleasure in such sport as Orkney 
afforded than consisted with the dignity of his episcopal position, and this to the neglect of the 
spiritual wants of his people. Thus, heretics practised idolatry and witchcraft in the very 
shadow of his Cathedral. Worse than this, his extravagant hcmse-keeping caused him to 
appropriate to his own uses teinds which should have gone to Trondheim, and Peter's Pence, 
which were much wanted at Rome. Nor was he sufficiently strict in causing the people of 
Shetland to forward their annual dues to the shrine of St. Sunniva at Bergen. 

When the Archbishop appointed a collector to look after his i)ecuniary interests, the 
collector found a lodging in the Palace dungeon. 

From the fact that the last mention of him to be found is 1328, and the first mention of 

* Torfaeus. 



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62 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

his successor is 1369, it may be inferred that, though not deposed, he was suspended, and the 
management of the See given to another. But, though Archbishop Olaus regarded wilful 
William as but a prodigal son of the church, the bisho[>'s character and habits were of a kind 
to make him highly popular iimong the islanders. 

During this episcopate the independence of Scotland was finally established, and Bruce is 
said to have dedicated to St. Magnus Cathedral the sum of five pounds yearly, to be paid out 
of the customs of the port of Aberdeen. 

The reason for this is given by Wallace : — " The day wherein King Robert Bruce gave 
that great and memorable defeat to the English at Bannockburn^ there was seen rideing 
through Aberdeen a horseman in shining armour, who told them of the Victory, and thereafter 
was seen rideing on his horse over Pighlland firOi : whereupon it was concluded (sayeth 
Boetius, who tells this story) that it was Saint Magnus, And upon that account the King, 
after the victory, ordered that for ever after, five pound Sterling should be paid to St. Magnus 
Kirk in Kirkwall out of the customs payable by the Town of Aberdeen" 

The same writer quotes a receipt showing that this tax was paid as late as 1593. 

Bishop WHliam IV. got the See somewhere about 1369. It may be remembered that 
when, in 1379, Henry St. Clair was invested in the earldom of Orkney, Haco of Norway made 
It a condition that he should ** enter into no agreement with the bishop." As Bishop William 
had been in oflSce long before Earl Henry came to Kirkwall, it is probable that the church- 
man had made himself obnoxious to the King. The next notice of the prelate is in 1382. 
" Then was heard the mournful tidings that Bishop William was slain in the Orkneys." 

Another William, a Henry, a John, and a Patrick successively occupied the Palace, and 
joined their silent predecessors in the Cathedral, leaving behind no memory of their work. 

After Bishop Patrick's death, Bishop Thomas Tulloch 
was presented to the See. I 

Eric the Pomeranian, who now ruled in Denmark, im- ^ ^ i m^^ 
patient of the neglect of the St. Clairs in the matter of I 

homage, resolved to have a representative in the islands I \ , *^ ^ / rr i ! 

who should uphold Danish authority. Accordingly he ap- \)k J ^ ^ 1 

pointed Bishop Tulloch his commisvsioner, 1420, giving him ' ^ ^^^ 

the Palace of Kirkwall with its pertinents. 

The Bishop undertook to hold the Crown lands of Orkney 
for the Scandinavian kings, and promised to tidminister law 
and justice according to the ancient usages.* 

He came to Orkney in 1422, and in the year following 
he was relieved of the secular rule, which was given to David 
Menzies of Wemyss.t Arms of Bishop Tliomas Tulloch, 

The choice proved an unfortunate one, and, after five from Remains of Tomb, St. 

years of misrule and oppression, Menzies was compelled to Magims Cathedral, 

abandon his oflSce, and Tulloch was reinstated. The Bishop 

now had the task set him " to search the archives, records, and all other evidences," to see 
whether the claim of the St. Clairs to the Orkney earldom was valid. 

This search he undertook and completed, tracing the descent of William St. Clair back to 
the very first of the earls, and publishing the results of the labours of himself and colleagues 
in a " Diploma, or Deduction, concerning the Genealogies of the Ancient Counts of Orkney, 
from their First Creation to the Fifteenth Century : Drawn up from the most authentic 
Records, by Thomas, Bishop of Orkney, with the assistance of his Clergy and others, in 

* Anderson, intro., 79. t Ibid., 69. 






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THE bishop's palace. 63 

consequence of an Order from Eric, King of Denmark, to investigate the Bight of William 
Sinclair to the Earldom." * 

Bishop Thomas was buried in the Cathedral, across the choir from the grave of William 
the Old, and his tomb is often referred to in contracts as a place agreed upon by parties for 
the repayment of debts and the cancelling of bonds. 

Thomas was succeeded in the bishopric by his cousin, William Tulloch, of whom it may 
safely be said that no churchman ever enjoyed a greater share of Royal favour. In Orkney he 
was Vicegerent for the Scandinavian monarch, in Scotland he was Lord Privy Seal, and in 
Copenhagen, " Tulloch, Bishop of Orkney, a Scotsman and a prelate of high accomplishments 
and great suavity of manners, enjoyed the friendship and esteem of Christian, King of 
Denmark and Norway." t 

If Eric had been doubtful of the loyalty of William St. Clair, Christian had no less reason 
to be dissatisfied. After this king had been thirteen years on the throne, Bishop William was 
good enough to apologise for the negligent Earl on the ground that, having been appointed one 
of the regents of the kingdom during the minority of James III., his presence was required at 
the Scottish Court, and therefore he could not come to take the oath of allegiance. 

But the St. Clairs, if they ever knew of Bishop TuUoch's good offices on their behalf, 
forgot them, and as soon as one of the name came to reside in the Castle of Kirkwall, he shut 
up the amiable prelate in prison. This, as has been seen, was the first of a series of events 
which led to the marriage of Margaret, Princess of Denmark, to James III. of Scotland, and 
the impignoration of Orkney and Shetland, 1468. Thus William VI. waa the last Bishop of 
Orkney under Norwegian consecration, and a papal bull, issued August 1472, placed this See 
under the jurisdiction of St. Andrews. In 1477, Bishop Tulloch was translated to the Scottish 
See of Moray. 

Lord Sinclair's rental, 1497, affords many proofs that, if Bishop William looked after 
King Christian's interests, he did not neglect his own. '' And the King and erle ever had the 
scattis of all the bischoppis land in this parrochinn,| quhill of lait that bischop William 
stoppit the samen." Again, in Sanday— ** The forcop, the levis, the scattis that the bischop 
takis suld be the Kingis." 

*' Thairof § the bischop takis the full scattis, and nevir a word thairof in the auld rentale." 

" Thairof || the kirk takis the scat quhilk is nocht in the bischoppis auld rentale." 

Andrew, the first Bishop under Scottish rule, was a man of much influence at Court. To 
him Kirkwall probably owes her Charter of 1486 making the town a Royal Burgh under the 
Scottish Crown. The chief object of this charter " seems to have been to secure the preserva- 
tion of the Cathedral by committing the charge of it, with funds for upholding it, to some 
local authority." H In 1490, Bishop Andrew got a charter erecting the whole bi^opric into a 
regality, thus making himself and his successors independent of the jurisdiction of the 
earldom. Eleven years later this charter was confirmed by another. 

Edward Stewart, who succeeded in 1511, was a man of illustrious descent and high 
character. He was also a man of taste, with means sui£cient to gratify the ezpensftfe' pleasure 
of Cathedral building. 

It is stated by Wallace that " he enlarged the Cathedral Kirk to the East all above the 
Grees." 

Of his east window, Barry says : — " There is an elegant window in the same style, form, 
and proportions, though inferior in point of size, with that which has been so much and so 
justly admired in York minster in England." 

♦ Barry, App. i., 399. t Tytler, iv. 215. J Deemess. § Langta. || Lemsgarth. IT Peterkin* 



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64 



KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 




Arms of Bishop Stewart, from St. 
MagQus Cathedral. 



Stewart's successor, Bishop Thomas, established an endowment for the support of 
choristers.* 

Bishop Maxwell was the next occupant of the 
Palace. ^' In the year 1536, when James V. made his 
famous progress through the islands belonging to his 
crown, his majesty was nobly entertained by this bishop 
at his own charges, and at this time the king was 
pleased to give the town of Kirkwall a confirmation of 
its royalty." f 

Tradition points to a house on the west side of the 
Laverock as the dwelling of Bishop Maxwell at this 
time, and the bed in which His Majesty slept was long 
preserved. It might easily be proved that at the time 
of the royal visit there were no houses on that side of 
the street, the whole of which was occupied by the peat 
braes and kaill yards of the houses on the east side. 

The old bed may have been used by the king, for in 
his time the royal wanderer was the more or less 
welcome occupant of many a bed, but the palace was his home. Barry, without quoting 
authority, says so, and Buchanan, who was almost contemporary, leaves no doubt as to its 
being not only habitable, but capable of accommodating a 
large retinue. ** He (James V.) first sailed to the Orkneys, 
where he quieted the disorders and placed garrisons in two 
castles, the King's cjistle and the Bishop's." 

Burton puts it : — " The fleet sailed along the east coast 
until it reached Orkney, where the hospitalities of the 
Bishop were welcome." 

Peterkin says :— " During his stay in Kirkwall he was 
hospitably entertained in the Bishop's Palace." 

That no other house in Kirkwall was ever known as 
the Bishop's Palace is abundantly proved by the records of 
sasine. These commence about one hundred years after 
the visit of James V., and they forget nothing in the early 
history of a tenement that can help towards its identifi- 
cation. The houses of the dignitaries are all noted as the 
house " of old called " the Provostrie, the Thesaurerie, etc., 
and had Bishop Maxwell ever possessed a house in the 
Laverock the fact would have been recorded in the sasines. 
Bishop Maxwell put up stalls for the clergy at the east 
end of the choir, and adorned them with curious carving, 
hung in the Cathedral Tower. 

Maxwell was succeeded by Robert Reid, in whose episcopate the splendour of Romish 
rule in Kirkwall culminated. He was born at Aykenhead in Morayshire, and was educated at 
St. Salvator's College, St. Andrews. His father, John Reid, was killed in the battle of Flodden. 
Before coining to Orkney, Reid had been Subdean of Moray, Abbot of Kinloss, and Prior 
of Beauly. In 1533 he was sent by James V., along with William Stewart, Bishop of Aber- 
deen, on an embassy to Henry VIII. to negotiate a peace, which was arranged. "On 

♦ Keith. t Keith. 




Arms of Bishop Maxwell, from 
Old Gateway in Victoria 
Street, Kirkwall. 

He also had a set of three beUs 



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THE bishop's palace. 65 

various occasions he received from King Henry gifts of silver vessels/'* In 1535, and again in 
the following year, he was in France on missions concerning the marriage of James V. of 
Scotland to Magdalen, daughter of Francis L 

"The marriage was solemnized the first of Januar. (1537) in the church of Nostredame in 
Parise. They took their leave of the Frenche king about the end of Aprile, and landed at 
Leith the 26th of May. Frome thence they were conveyed with great pomp to the Aljbey of 
Halyrudhous. But she, being consumed with an hecticke fever, ended her dayes the 7th. or 
10th. of Julie immediately following. Her death was dolorous to men of all sorts. Then 
beganne first the use of mourning or doole weeds in Scotland." t 

In his offices of Abbot and Prior, Robert Reid was active and generous. In 1538 he 
erected a spacious fireproof library at Kinloss, and in 1540 he built the nave of the church of 
Beauly. As Bishop of Orkney, he meditated vast designs for the good of his church and the 
benefit of his people, only some of which he was able to carry into effect. Architecture and 
horticulture were his hobbies. He brought from France a gardener, wiio had lost a foot in a 
naval engagement between the French and Spaniards near 
Marseilles. This man was an expert in the planting and 
grafting of fruit trees, and was also skilled in surgery. 

But public duties gave the Bishop little leisure for 
private enjoyments. Five years after his appointment to 
the bishopric he was made a judge in the Court of Session, 
and a few years later saw him Lord President. Yet he had 
the interests of his See always at heart, and, whether he 
himself were in Kirkwall or in the south, the improvements 
which he had designed were in constant progress. He 
extended the Cathedml westward, lengthening the nave by 
three arches, thus making the church take the form of a 
Latin cross, the western limb being in the eyes of severe 
critics a little too long. In making this extension. Bishop 
Reid showed such regard for the beautiful work of his 

predecessors, that he had the ancient doorways at the west . r t»- i t> j r r\iA 

* . , ' - ,,.,.,. Arms of Bishop Reid, from Old 

taken down, stone by stone, and rebuilt m their present Gateway in Victoria Street, 

position. The gable having been removed westward, and Kirkwall. 

the walls built, the roofing of this part of the fabric was 

in process when the work was stopped by the death of the builder, and his design was never 

thoroughly completed. 

Contemporaneously with the enlargement of the Cathedral, the Bishop reorganised the 
whole ecclesiastical establishment, placing the several endowments on a clear and proper 
footing. He appointed seven dignitaries, seven prebendaries, thirteen chaplains, six choristers, 
and a sacristan. In filling up the various offices, if the names form any criterion, Reid seems 
to have encouraged native talent. The dignitaries were Malcolm Halcro, provost ; John 
Tyrie, archdeacon ; Nicholas Halcro, chantor ; Alexander Scott, chancellor ; Stephen Culross, 
treasurer ; Peter Houston, sub-dean ; M.'ignus Strang, sub-chantor ; and for these he provided 
official residences near the Cathedral. With remarkable minuteness the careful Bishop laid 
down the duties and emoluments of all of them, evidently believing that the constitution he 
was giving his church would last for ages, but he was scarcely cold in his foreign grave when 
the Reformation reduced his grand design to ruin. 

Perhaps more important, and certainly more enduring, were his eflForts on behalf of the 
• Shaw, Hist, of Moray. f Calderwood, i. 112, 

K 




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66 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

youth of Kirkwall. Besides putting the Grammar School upon a proper footing, his educa- 
tional schemes included a college, houses for which were erected close by his palace. " He 
was a great Builder, for he caused build a stately Tower to the North of the Bishop's Palace, 
where his Statue, engraven in stone, is as yet remaining set in the wall. He greatly enlarged 
the Cathedral Kirk, adding three Pillars to the former Fabrick, and decoring the Entry with 
A Magnificent Porch. He moreover built St. Olau's Kirk, in Kirkwall, and a large Court of 
Houses to be a CoUedge for the Instructing of the Youth of this Countrey in Grammar and 
Philosophy." * 

But the eighteen years of his episcopate were all too short to carry into execution his 
philanthropic wishes, and he left behind him much unfinished work. 

Bishop Reid saw the beginning of the Reformation, and was one of those who believed 
that by vigorous action on the part of the Church the Lutheran heresy could be stamped out. 

In 1550, we find our Bishop, with many of the nobility and clergy, in Blackfriars* 
Church, Edinburgh, sitting in judgment upon a poor heretic, Adam Wallace, who was con- 
demned to be burned on the Castle HilLf 

This persecution had the usual result— some timid ones recanted, some went into exile, 
and some vindicated their principles at the stake, while every act of severity weakened the 
influence of the persecuting church. **Mr William Johnstoun, Advocat, fled out of the 
countrie. Reid, Bishop of Orkney, bought his houss, being confiscated, with a small summe."} 

In February 1558, Reid was one of eight Commissioners sent to Paris to witness the 
marriage of the young Queen Mary to the Dauphin of France. To more than one of the 
embassy this voyage was disastrous. " They losed two ships not farre froine the raid of 
BuUoigne. None of the passingers were safe, except the Erie of Rothes and the Bishop of 
Orkney, who were received into a fischer boate and convoyed to land. The marriage was 
solemnized in Parise with great magnificence in the church of Nostredame, the 24th 
of Aprile 1558. The Commissioners being dismissed frome Court, the Erie of Cassils, 
the Earle of Rothes, the Lord Fleming, the Bishop of Orkney, besides others of 
inferiour ranke, died in France, not without suspicion of poysoun. Lord James, Pryor of 
Sanct Andrews, had by all appearance licked of the same box which dispatched the rest ; 
howbeit, he outwrastled by reasoun of the strong constitution of his body or vigour of his 
youth." § 

The Prior of St. Andrews was the Queen's half-brother, afterwards more famous in 
Scottish history as the Earl of Moray, leader of the Protestant party. Already the doctrines 
of the Reformation had taken hold of the young man, and many an argument he had with his 
venerable friend regarding the dogmas of the Romish Church. To these disputes the good 
Bishop on his death-bed refers with grim humour. "The Bishop <»t Orkney being driven 
backe by a contrarie winde, and forced to land again at Deepe, perceaving his sickness to 
increase, caused make his bed betwixt his two coffers. L(»rd James, who was ever at debate 
with him for maters of religiuun, went to visite him. He, finding him to ly otherwise than 
the honour of the countrie required, said unto him, * P^y, my Lord, how ly yee so heere in this 
oommoun hous ? Will yee goe to your chamber V He answered, ' 1 am weill where I am, ray 
lord, so long as I can tarie, for I am neere to my freinds,' meaning his coffers and the gold 
therin. * My lord,' said he, * how long have you and I beene in plea for purgatorie. I thinke 
I sail knowe ere it be long whether there be suche a place or not.' Whill Lord James exorted 
him to call to minde God his promises, and the vertue of Christ's death, he answered, * Nay 
my lord, lett me alone ; for you and I never agreed in our life, and I think we sail not agree 

• Wallace. t Calderwood, i. 266. J Calderwood, i. 108. § Calderwood, i. 331. 



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THE bishop's palace. 



67 



now at my death, therefore lett me alone.' The Lord James departed to his lodging, the other 
shortlie after out of this life." * 

*' Robert Reid, Bishop of Orkney, was a man far in advance of his time, and it is to him 
that Edinburgh owes the foundation of its famous university." He left 8000 merks wadset on 
the lands of Strathnaver '* to build a college in Edinburgh, having three schools, one for bairns 
in grammar, another for those that learn poetry and oratory, with chambers for the regent's 
hall, and the third for the civil and canon law, and which is recorded by the Privy Council 
of Scotland (1569-1578) * as greatly for the common weal and policy of the realm.' "f 

He was buried in the chapel dedicated to St. Andrews, generally known as the Scota 
Chapel, in the Church of St. James in Dieppe, and in 1872 the French Inspector of Historical 
Monuments put up a brass tablet to his memory, t 



P 



\ 



Ci'>//f /// /'^'Hi //«" ^-^('/////c'<yc //All. »<" 



?i/e fV.i cf^hUt/fi 



0\ 



vJ\ ('(/// ff^H-a/ /// pace 



Tablet in Church in Dieppe to the memory of Bishop Reid. 



401 



Thus, in discomfort and in exile, died this excellent man, cut ofi* in the midst of his work. 
Like his predecessors, he found delight in adorning the magnificent Christian temple 
committed to his charge ; but of those who followed him no one was found magnanimous 
enough to complete the work on the Cathedral which he began. And though he was the 
founder of <mr most famous Scottish university, if we would see his monument we must 
seek it in the gloom of an obscure chape], where a mural brass, put up at the expense of a 
foreign Government, marks his grave. § 

Meanwhile, to show her displeasure at the marriage of Mary to the Dauphin, and perhaps 

recognising our Bishop's part in the function, England sent a fleet, under Sir John Clare, to 

harass the coasts of Scotland. " He sailed to the Orkneys to burn Kirkwall, an Episcopal See 

• Calderwood, i. 331. t Old and New Edinburgh, iii. 26. % Tudor, p. 251. 
§ Photo, procured through the kindness of the late Father Henderson. 



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^8 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

«Dd the only town in that country, but when he had landed a considerable part of his force, 
a violent tempest suddenly arose and drove the fleet to sea, where, after contending a long 
time with the storm, he returned to England. All the men he disembarked on the island were 
slain by the natives." * 

The mention of Kirkwall as an Episcopal See in connection with this invasion would show 
that the writer considered the destruction of our Cathedral as the primary object the English 
admirul had in view, and this may be regarded as one of the narrowest escapes the venerable 
pile has had during its long history. 

Adam Both well, who succeeded Reid, was the son of Sir Francis Both well, one of the 
judges of the Court of Session. His sister, Janet, married Sir Alexander Napier of 
Merchiston, and became the mother of John Napier, the celebrated inventor of Logarithms. 

Both well was the last of our Romish prelates. The Reformation, which had burst upon 
Scotland in a revolutionary storm, made little or no stir in Orkney, and this was largely due 
to the tact of the Bishop. He preserved the vested rights of the clergy then in office, and 
allowed them to make the most they could for themselves of the lands belonging to their 
respective churches : — " Thomas Richardson, prebendary of St. Catherine's Stouk, with 
consent of Adam, bishop of Orkney, gave and granted to Gilbert Balfour of Westray and his 
45on, Archibald Balfour, the lands of Touquoy and others in Westray, and other lands in 
Sanday and Stronsay." t And so with the rest of them — Alexander Dick, provost ; 
Hieroninius Tulloch, sub-chantor; Gilbert Foulzie, archdean— all "sett "their temporalities 
to the best advantage. 

Thus he got the clergy with him to a n»an, and he was nearly as successful with the laity. 

In his " Answers to the oftences layed to his charge," " For the First he answered, That it 
is true, that, in the 58th year of God, before the reformation of religion, he was, according to 
the order then observed, provided to the bishopric of Orkney ; and, when idolatrie and 
superstitioun were suppressed, he suppressed the same also in his bounds, preached the Word 
and ministered the sacraments ; planted ministers in Orkney and Zetland, dispouned benefices, 
and gave stipends out of his rents to exhorters and readers ; and, when he was commissioner^ 
Tisited all kirks of Orkney and Zetland twise."^ 

To these visits, and his exhortations in every church in the diocese, must be largely 
attributed the quietness with which the islanders accepted the change. 

That he was not able to convert every one to his views, a recent writer § on the subject 
43hows us, but so nearly complete was his success that the Reformation in Orkney may be 
described as utterly eventless. 

There must have been at this time a very general snapping up of unconsidered trifles by 
Bishop Bothwell and his subordinates. 

Besides the lands, the revenues of which formed the proper support of the church, there 
were many special endowments of altars and chaplainries dedicated to particular saints. 
Saints Barbara, Catherine, Christopher, and John had houses in different parts of the town, 
'but these fell to the Corporation, as does every ownerless tenement. 

Within the Cathedral, however, the gorgeous ritual of the Church of Rome, under such 
prelates as Stewart and Maxwell and Reid, entailed a costly paraphernalia in gold and silver. 
Private bequests, too, can be traced. Alexander Sutherland of Dunbeath, by his will, dated 
at Roslin, 15th Nov. 1456, leaves a silver chalice " to Sanct Maunis altar in Kirkwall, and the 
•chalys to be giltit." 

Sir Alexander Sinclair, 1506, leaves his " red cote of welwote to the hie altar of the Ryrk 
of Orkney." 

* Buchanan. f Peterkin. f Calderwood, ii. 530. t Craven Hist., 1558-1662, p. 6. 



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THE bishop's palace. 69 

Certainly those who had the opportunity, and could face the theft, would find such things 
interesting and valuable souvenirs of the ancient worship. However it went, the last ounce of 
the old Cathedral plate disappeared at the Reformation. 

The opposition referred to by the historian of Episcopacy in Orkney is given by him in 
the Bishop's own words : — " quhen thai* wer all gathered, and inquyret be certain off my 
messingeris sent to thaime to that efFek, giflF yai wald be content off mutatioun off religion, 
quhilk thai reffussit, and that notwithstanding I cloisset my kirk dorris and hes thoild na 
mess to be said thairin sensyme, qhowbeit thai wer sua irritat thairbe that, efter thai haid 
requyret me sindrie tymes to let thaime in to that effek, at last gaderet together in gret 
multitude, brocht ane priest to ane chapell hard at the scheik of the schamber quhair I was 
lyand seik, and thair causset do mess and marye certaine paris in the auld maner. This was 
donne on Sonday last, quhiJk I culd not stoppe without I wald haiff committet slauchter.'* 

By allowing the Sinclairs to have their own way he disarmed their opposition. 

It was this Bishop who, at four o'clock in the morning of the 15th of May 1567, in the 
great hall of Holyrood Palace, married Queen Mary of Scotland to James Hepburn, Earl of 
Both well. ** The Bishop of Orkney alone could be found, who preferred the favour of the 
Court to truth, all the rest loudly exclaimed against the marriage." t 

But when Bothwell fled before a nation's wrath, the Bishop joined in the pursuit. " On 
the eleventh of August a commission was issued to Murray of TuUibardine and Kirkaldy of 
Grange to pursue the earl and his accomplices by sea or land, with fire, sword, and all sort of 
hostility, and fence and hold courts of justice wheresoever they shall think good. The 
notorious Bishop of Orkney, who waa also a Lord of Session, accompanied the expedition, to 
act no doubt as assessor in case of the capture of the fugitive." 

" Kirkaldy and Tullibardine at length descried the object of their search on the eastern 
coast of Shetland. An exciting chase ensued, in which Bothwell's light vessels, filled with 
desperate men thoroughly acquainted with the navigation of those dangerous seas, had the 
decided advantage. At length, to lure their enemies to destruction, they dashed through the 
narrow and intricate channel of Bressa Sound. The manoeuvre was successful. Kirkaldy, 
who led the pursuit in the largest ship belonging to the expedition, crowded all sail and 
followed the fugitives ; but, striking on a sunken rock, his vessel filled so rapidly that he and 
his companions had barely time to save their lives. The leap which the Bishop of Orkney, in 
particular, made from the deck of the sinking ship was long remembered as a feat of singular 
ability.": 

'^ The Bishop, being last in the ship, and seeing the boat loosing, called to them to stay 
for him, but they, being suflSciently loaded, would not hear him, and seeing no other remedy, 
he leapt into the Boat, having on him a Corslet of proff, which was thought to be a strange 
jump, especially not to have overturned the Boat." § 

It was Bishop Bothwell, too, who crowned Marjr's son, James VI., at Stirling, 29th 
August 1657. " Mr. Knox made an excellent sermon before the coronation. After sermon, 
the Bishop of Orkney sett the crowne on his head. The erle of Morton and the Lord Hume 
tooke the oath for him that he sould maintain and defend the religioun then preached and 
professed in Scotland, and pursue all such as sould oppugne the same."|| 

As has been seen, the Bishop twice visited all the kirks in the islands ; and he gives as 
his reason for leaving Orkney ^4nfirmitie and sicknesse contracted through the aire of the 
countrie and travells in time of tempest." 

It is commonly said that before his final departure he made an excambion of the 

* Some of the Sinclairs instigat be the Justioe Clerk (Craven, p. 6). t Bachanan. 
:;: Hosack's Queen Mary, i. 371. § Wallace, p. 72. || Calderwood, ii. 384. 



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70 KIRKWAIX IN THE ORKNEYS. 

• bishopric lands with Robert Stewart, natural son of James V., for the Abbacy of Holyrood. 
With regard to this, however, " He denyed that ever he dimitted to my Lord Robert his office 
or anie part thereof ; but that the said Lord Robert violentlie intruded himself on his whole 
living with bloodshed and hurt of his servants ; and, after he had craved justice, his and his 
servants' lives were sought in the verie eyes of justice in Edinburgh ; and then was 
constrained of meere necessitie to tak the abbacie of Halyrudhous by advice of sundrie godlie 
men." * 

Such a statement, coming from a bishop of the Scottish Church and judge in the Supreme 
Court of the realm, cannot be lightly set aside. 

Bothwell was the last bishop in possession of the old Palace. His predecessor's un- 
finished work had left a large part of the building uninhabitable ; he himself required to 
spend much of his time in Edinburgh, where he had a stately mansion ; and Earl Robert, who 
next came into possession of the bishopric, preferring to build a palace for himself, left the 
Place of the Yards to go to ruin. 

Bothwell's Edinburgh residence, which has a two-fold Orcadian connection, is thus 
described : — " A doorway on the east side of Byre's close aflfbrds access to a handsome, though 
now ruinous, stone stair, guarded by a neatly carved ballustrade, and leading to a garden 
terrace, on which stands a very beautiful old mansion that yields in interest to none of the 
private buildings of the capital. It presents a semi-hexagonal front to the north, each of the 
sides of which is surmounted by a richly carved dormer window, bearing inscrif)tions boldly 
cut in large Roman letters. That over the north window is : — * nihil, est. ex. omni. parte. 
BEATUM.' The windows along the east side appear to have been originally similarly adorned ; 
two of their carved tops are built into an outhouse below, on one of which is the inscription, 
* Laus. Ubique. Deo.,' and on the other, * Feliciter. Infelix.' " 

" The name of the Bishop of Orkney appears at the bond granted by the nobility to the 
Earl of Bothwell immediately before he put in practice his ambitious scheme against Queen 
Mary ; so that here, in all probability, the rude Earl and many of the leading nobles have met 
to discuss their daring plans. Here, too, we may believe both Mary and James to have been 
entertained as guests by father and son, while at the same board sat another lovely woman, 
whose wrongs are so touchingly recorded in the beautiful old ballad of * Lady Ann Bothwell's 
Lament.'" f 

Lady Ann was the grand-daughter of the Bishop, and her betrayer was Sir Alexander 
Erskine, son of the Earl of Mar. 

Bishop Bothwell's Edinburgh mansion was afterwards the dwelling of Sir William Dick 
of Braid, Sheriff of Orkney, who farmed the bishopric rents from 1638 to 1646. 

Bothwell married Margaret Murray of Touchadam, and his son, John, who succeeded him, 
was created Lord Holjrroodhouse in the peerage of Scotland, 1607. 

Adam Bothwell died in 1693, and was buried in Holyrood Chapel, where his tomb may 
still be seen. The very long epitaph begins :— " Hie reconditus jacet nobilissimus vir 
Dominus Adamus Bothuelius, Episcopus Orcadum et Zetlandiae : Commendatorius Monasterii 
Sancti Crucis : Senator et Consiliarius Regius : qui obiit anno jetatis suae 67. 23 die Mensis 
Augusti Anno Domini 1593." 

Eastward from the round tower of the Place of the Yards stood a square tower which 
belonged to the garrison side of the palace. This contained the Massy More or dungeon, and 
it has bequeathed its name to its surviving neighbour under the corrupted form, "Moosie 
Tooer."t 

These two towers were joined by a wall pierced by an arched gateway, the entrance to the 
* Calderwood, ii. 631. t Wilson's Memorials of Edinburgh, ii. 6. t Marmion, Note 2 Z. 



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THE bishop's palace. 71 

courtyard. This arch, known as the "Water Gate," was removed as an obstruction in 1877, . 
and is now to be seen built into the east wall of the Palace, so that it appears as an integral 
part of the building to which it had formed the approach. From Low's description of the 
Palace, 1774, it will be seen that the square tower, which he nevertheless figures, had been 
demolished before his time :— " Near the Cathedral to the S., we see the ruins of what they 
call the round tower, or the old Bishop's Palace, said to be built by Bishop Reid, together with 
some other buildings which he designed for a college, in which the youth of the town were to 
be taught the branches of learning then in vogue, now turned into dwelling-houses." 

There was no square tower then ; but in 1667, though going to ruin, it was still a place of 
strength, and the authorities, dreading invasion, turned it to account. 

Copy of a document docketed : — 

** Collectors nomioat for collecting the Moneys for Ammunition and for regulating the church and 
castle, the 14th. May 1667." 

" Kirkwall, the 14th. May 1667. 

** The Commissioners and Justices appoint David forbes and David Halcro to be collectors above 
the Castle, Robert Richan and George Mowat to be Collectors be low the castle, and the collectors to 
go speedily about it, As they tender his Mastie's ser\ice and security of this place. And as they would 
not oe proceeded against by the Commissioners in case of Refuseall. 

*' Item, they ordain those that have arms to fix them. And those that wants arms to provide 
them in arms before the 29th. of this Instant May, which is the day to be the Rendeyvous, ilk man 
under the paine of fourty shillings Scotts, and to be committed to prison while they pay the same, 
and ordains this to be published through the Toun by Touk of Drumn to-njorrow. Sic like the 
Commissioners and Justices recommend it to the Commanders of the three Companies to sie the works 
at the shore and betwixt the Church and the Place and above the Toun head with fealls, and to view 
the Bishop's decayed house that the doores and windows liiay be dOcured,* as also the 'Back gaite of the 
court, and to be careful! that the Cannon be mounted on the Square Tower. 

* ' And for that effect that they condescend on some fitt person for overseeing the works, and to 
give him reasonable encouragement, etc., etc."* 

Signed by Pa. Blair, Jamks Murray, William Young. 
• J. W. Cursiter's Papers. 



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CHAPTER VII. 

The EarPs Palace. 

JATRICK STEWART, who had succeeded to the earldom in 1591, obtained in 1600 a 
l^^ grent of the bishopric, and at once began to build what is now known as the Earl's 
Palace. 

This, when finished, " formed, with the old bishops' towers and house, a complete square 
of buildings extending from east to west about 240 feet, and from south to north above 200, 
with an open area or close in the middle." * 

The " Newark in the Yards " was an exceedingly handsome building. Sir Walter Scott, 
who visited the ruins in 1814, thus describes it :— "It is an elegant structure, partaking at 
once of the character of a palace and castle. The great hall must have been remarkably 
handsome, opening into two or three huge rounds or turrets, the lower part of which is 
divided by stone shafts into three windows. 

'* It has two immense chimneys, the lintels of which are formed by a flat arch, as in 
Crichton Castle. There is another very handsome apartment, communicating with the hall, 
like a modern drawing-room, and which has, like the former, its projecting turrets. The hall 
is lighted by a fine Gothic-shaped window at one end and by others at the sides. It is 
approached by a spacious and elegant staircase of three flights of steps. Any modern architect, 
wishing to emulate the real Gothic architecture, and apply it to the purposes of modem 
^lendour, might derive excellent. hints from this room. 

" The exterior ornaments are also extremely elegant. Architecture seems to have been 
Earl Patrick's prevailing taste. Besides this castle and that of Scalloway, he enlarged the old 
Castle of Birsay. 

'* To accomplish these objects, he oppressed the people with severities unheard of even in 
that oppressive age, drew down on himself a shameful, though deserved, punishment, and left 
these dishonoured ruins to hand down to posterity the tale of his crimes and of his fall. We 
may adopt, though in another sense, his own presumptuous motto—' Sic Fuit, Fst, et Frit J** 

Earl Patrick seems to have had a chapel in his pahice. The Earl of Caithness reports : — 
" Upon the 29th we planted our^battery against the New Wark, and ane tower thereof, callit 
the Chapel Tower, from whence they sent us many shots." 

Splendid though he had made it. Earl Patrick's enjoyment of his palace was short-lived. 
Indeed, although it was built by an earl, the Newark in the Yards, except for a year or two, 
was, during its brief history, the abode of the bishops. 

The General Assembly of 1580 was held at Dundee, and " in the fourth sessioun the office 
of bishops was damned, as followeth : — Forasmuche as the office of a bishop, as it is now used, 
and commounlie taken within this realme, hath no sure warrant, authoritie, nor good ground 

♦ Peterkin. 



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74 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

out of the Booke and Scriptures of God, but brought in by the foUie and corruption of men's 
inventioun, to the great overthrow of the true Kirk of God, the whole Assemblie of the Kirk, 
in one voice, after libertie given to all men to reasoun in the mater, none oppouning them- 
selves in defence of the said pretended office, used and termed, as is above said, unlawfull in 
the self, as having nather fundament, ground, nor warrant in the Word of God ; and ordeaneth 
that all such persons as bruike, or hereafter sail bruike, the said office, to be charged simpliciler 
to dimitt, quite, and leave off the samine, as an office whereunto they are not called by 
God."* 

In 1606, James VI. so managed the Scottish Parliament as to have the office restored. 
" His Majestie, with expresse advice and consent of the saids whole estate of Parliament, was 
careful to repone, and restore, and redintegrat the said estat of bishops to their ancient and 
accustomed honour, digniteis, prerogatives, privileges, livings, lands, tithes, rents, thrids, and 
estate, as the samine was in the reformed Kirk, most amplie and free, at any tyme before the 
Act of Annexatioun." t 

But while an Act of Parliament had abolished the rule of bishops in Scotland, it takes 
more than an Act of Parliament to restore that rule. Nearly sixteen hundred years before the 
passing of the above Act, the Apostle Peter being then, as is said, Bishop of Rome, consecrated 
other bishops, laying his hands on them. These passed the apostle's touch on to others, and 
thus for fifteen hundred years the bishops of the Romish Church could trace their conse- 
cration back to the apostle. At the Reformation, apostolic succession still continued where 
Episcopacy remained the form of church government, as in England. 

But, in Scotland, prelacy had been abolished for twenty-six years, and now, though 
bishops were nominated, bishops could not be ordained. In all the land there was no one who 
could " imprint that indefinable, indelible sanctity of character which is communicated by the 
imposition of a true bishop's hands." 

In this juncture, the Archbishop of Glasgow and the Bishops of Brechin and Galloway 
went to London to procure the ri vetting of the broken link in the mystic chain of apostolic 
succession. 

In olden times the English primates had claimed spiritual supremacy over the Scottish 
Church, and to prevent any such encroachment on our national independence, the paternal 
touch of Canterbury or of York was dispensed with, and the fraternal hands of the Bishops of 
London, Ely, Rochester, and Worcester were imposed instead. J 

This ceremony was conducted in the Bishop of London's Palace on Sunday the twenty- 
first day of October 1610. 

Isaac Casaubon, one of the greatest scholars of the day, a native of Geneva, but at that 
time, by invitation of the king, resident in England, enters the event in his diary : — " This 
Lord's day, by God's blessing, was not ill spent. For I was invited to be present at the con- 
secration of two bishops and an archbishop of Scotland. I witnessed that ceremony, and the 
imposition of hands, and the whole service. O God, how great was my delight ! Do Thou, O 
Lord Jesus, preserve this Church, and give to our Puritans, who ridicule such things, a better 
mind.'' § 

The three consecrated Scotsmen were then sent back to confer the like privilege upon 
their expectant brethren at home. 

But by this time Presbyterianism had taken such hold in Scotland that the Episcopacy 
now introduced made very slight change. In St. Magnus Cathedral, the Bishop was little 
more than minister of the first charge. He presided at meetings of the Session, which con- 

* Calderwood, iii. 469. t Calderwood, vi. 496. % Aikman, iii. 333. § Calderwood, vii. 161. 



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THE earl's palace. 75 

sisted of my lord bishop, the minister, and elders. At the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, 
which was taken by the members of the church seated at tables, the bishop and minister 
served alternately. In the Session records we do not read of any confirmations. 

James Law, minister of Kirliston, was installed Bishop of Orkney. As a parish minister 
he had shown his brethren of the clergy that he was a man of ability. Once and again the 
Qeneral Assembly had placed him on commissions requiring tact and courage. 

In 1589, some of the Catholic nobility in the north rose in arms against the king and in 
defence of the ancient church. " The erles Huntlie, Crawfurd, and ErroU came from Aber- 
deene to the Bridge of Dee, accompanied with three thousand men, and resolved to fight. 
The king was skarse accompanied with a thousand, yitt feare seazed upon the most part of 
Huntlie's factioun when they heard the king was in persoun in the fields. Huntlie had made 
manie to believe that he had a commissioun for gathering his forces. ErroU would have 
foughten ; Huntlie feared. Manie of the barons of the north left them." * 

Mr James Law was appointed one of the commissioners who should " summon before 
them in Edinburgh the erles, lords, barons, freeholders, and speciall trafliguers and counsellers 
to the said noblemen." 

In 1600, Law was named as one of those who should " give advice to his Majestie in all 
affaires concerning the weale of the Kirk." This placed him upon terms of intimacy with 
King James. 

When he came to his diocese, the new bishop found the palace of his predecessors a ruin 
and the revenues of the church in secular hands. But he speedily brought Earl Patrick to 
terms. Their first recorded arrangement is a contract, dated 21st Jan. 1607, by which Patrick 
Stewart gives Law the Newark in the Yards, and binds himself to make " the said house 
water thight, and wind thight, and commodiously habitable," and to deliver it to the Bishop 
before " the first day of October nixt to come." 

That it should take seven months to make this new house " commodiously habitable," 
would show that the building was not completed till 1607, though the Earl had occupied a 
part of it before that year. 

By the same contract, Law resigned to Earl Patrick the whole bishopric lands and rents 
in Orkney and Zetland for an annual payment of four thousand merks. 

As Bishop of Orkney, Law could not avoid seeing the oppressions of the islanders under 
Earl Patrick, and with quiet determination he set himself to compass the punishment of the 
Earl and his expulsion from Orkney. He accordingly collected, noted, and arranged for' 
production, when necessary. Earl Patrick's acts of iiyustice. In November 1608, he presented 
to the king his "most humble and serious supplication in favor of this distressed and 
oppressed people." t 

This led to enquiries, followed by the Earl's summons to Edinburgh in 1610, and his 
execution in 1614. 

The earldom and bishopric had hitherto been so mixed as to cause confusion at times, 
but when the king confiscated Earl Patrick's estate, Law gave up to the Crown the old 
bishopric lands. As an equivalent for these, the King granted the Bishop, for himself and his 
successors in office, the parishes of Holm, Orphir, Stromness, Sandwick, Shapinsay, Walls, 
Hoy, and the half of St. Ola. 

This was to guarantee the bishops an annual income of 8000 merks. If the revenue 
exceeded or came short of that sum, the bishop or the exchequer made good the difference. 

"The bischop of Orknay, be his factors, sail haife his power to resave, intromitt, and 
uplift fra the tennentis of the grund, the haill rentis, dewties, fermes, tynds, customes dew for 
• Calderwood, v. 65. t Pet. Notes, App., 69. 



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76 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

any pairt of the landis and rowmes laying within the haill parisches of Holme, etc., and he is 
to pay the difference, if any, betwixt the sum received and the sum of 8000 merks ; and 
should the rental fall short, at the rates of i>ayment therein mentioned, he is to get the 
deficiency made ui)." * 

But Law's administrative genius did not limit itself to ecclesiastical matters. 

The Stewart earls had abolished the Town Council of Kirkwall. In 1611, when Earl 
Patrick was a prisoner in Edinburgh, "his Majesty directit and appointit the Reverend 
Fadder in God, James, Bishop of Orkney, to repair to the aaidis bounds, and hes establishit 
him with full power, commissioun, and authority to take trial and notice of the griefs of the 
saidis poor peoi)le, charging all and sundry, his Majesty's lieges and subjects within the bounds 
of Orknay and Zetland, to reverence, acknowledge, and obey the said Bishoi)."t 

Accordingly, by virtue of his commission, " he elected and api)ointed the bailies of the 
town from a leet given in by the inhabitants." J 

It was fortunate that Law was in Kirkwall at the time of Robert Stewart's little rebellion, 
1614. 

" The steiple of the church of Kirkway was first besieged, which after a little time was 
yielded ; then the Earl of Cathyness went about to demolish and throw doun the church ; but 
he was with great difficultie hindered by the Bishope of Orknay, who wold not suffer him to 
throw it down."S 

Having placed Church and Council once more upon a secure footing, this astute prelate 
left Orkney to become Archbishoj) of Glasgow. 

But while Law and a few others could well uphold the Episcopal status, the position of 
the Scottish bishops at this time was not one of dignity. 

At a convention in Linlithgow, 1606, held by desire of the king, among other business, 
their place in the mongrel form of government under which the Church had fallen was laid 
down by the bishops themselves :— " Siclyke, the whole bishops declared, that it was not their 
intention to usurpe and exercise anie tyrannous or unlavtrfull jurisdiction or power over the 
brethrein, nor to engyi-e themselves anie wise unlawfuUie in the kirk's government, or anie 
part thereof, farther nor sould be committed to them by the presbyteries, provinciall synods, 
and General! Assemblies. And if it sould happen to fall out that they, or any of them, sould 
be found to do in the contrare, then, and in that cace, they were content to submitt them- 
selves to the censures of the Kirk as humblie as anie other of their brethrein of the 
ministrie."|| 

" About the end of December, the Abbot of Halyrudhous and Mr James Law, Bishop of 
Orkney, were sent to the King with the proceedings of the Linlithquo convention sett down 
in writt. The King was not content that the bishops were not freed from the presbyteries 
and sett over the provinciall Synods. 

" The Abbot layed all the blame upon the bishops, who de novo had voluntarlie submitted 
themselves to the jiresbyteries. Mr Law was sharpelie rebooked by the King." If 

Law was succeeded in Orkney by George Graham, Bishop of Dunblane. * 

* Pet. Rent., 1614, p. 149. t Pet. Notes, App., 66. X In 1612, Pet. Rent., App., 42. 
§ Pet. Notes, App., 57. II Calderwood, vi. 616. IF Calderwood, vi. 629. 

* " Graham was of the family of Inchbrakie, in Perthshire. The Grahams are of Anglo-Norman 
origin, and settled in Scotland dnring the twelfth centuiy. Monkish writers, however, assert that 
they can trace their descent back to Graeme, who is said to have commanded the army of Fergus U. 
in 404, was governor of the kingdom in the minority of Eugene, and who in 420 made a breach in the 
wall which the Emperor Severus had erected between the Forth and the Clyde, and which derived 
from the Scottish warrior the name of Graeme's Dyke.*' — Dr Taylor, author of ** Pictorial History of 
Scotland." Graham is very probably the Norse name Grim, which we have in Grimsby and 



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THE EARL*S PALACE. 77 

George Graham was born about 1565. He took his degree at St. Andrews, 1587. His 
first ministerial charge was Cluny, 1590, from which he was translated to Auchtergaven, 1595. 
Four years later he became minister of Scone ; in 1606, he was made Bishop of Dunblane ; 
and, 24th August 1615, got the See of Orkney. 

It is interesting, in this time of transition, to notice how the utterances of some of the 
clergy were rendered absurdly anomalous by unforeseen changes of circumstances. 

In 1604, at the Synod of Fife, Mr George Graham, then minister of Scone, said : — " I 
would he were hanged above all thieves, that presseth not to the uttermost to keep out of the 
Kirk the corruptions, pride, and tyranny of bishops " ; and two years later he was Bishop of 
Dunblane. Mr Adam Bannatyne, minister of Falkirk, perhaps in surprise at his accepting 
this bishopric, said : — " Mr George Graham, the excrement of bishops, has licked up the 
excrement of bishoprics." Yet, when the Bishop of Dunblane was translated to Orkney, Mr 
Adam Bannatyne was very glad to " lick up " the vacant benefice. 

Law had received the Earl's Palace from its builder by private contract, but in his 
successor's time an Act of Exchequer made it the Bishop's Palace. There is a lease of " the 
erledom of Orknay and Lordschip of Zetland, of the dait the fyftein day of May, the yeir of 
God, Im vie and twentie-twa yeiris, registrat in the buikis of Exchecker the samyn day and 
yeii* foirsaid, quhairintill the reservatioun following is sj)eciallie contenit, viz. : — Reserveing 
alwayes f urth of the said tak to the Bischope of Orknay and his successors the landis and 
teyndis assignit to him, with the houses, manor- place, and biggings callit the Yardis, to be 
bruikit, joissit, and used be the Bischopes present and to cum yeirlie at thair pleasour." * 

Graham got possession in 1615, and concerning its condition then, he says : — " Quhen I 
receivit the bishopric, I receivit the house, 'with some guid plenishing of beds and buirds, sick 
as the Earle hade." 

Bishop Graham kept a garrison in the Palace : — " Before the Generall Assemblie at 
Glasgow, I keipit it with a companie as a non-covenantar, and, efter that, from non-cove- 
nan tars." 

This Bishop put up the first fixed i)rivate seat in the Cathedral. Sensible of the require- 
ments of prelatical dignity, he erected a gallery for his family in the south-east corner of the 
choir, and adorned the front of it with carved work. 

In 1638, Episcopacy was again disestablished, and Graham, no longer bishop, gave up his 
house. " I dely verit it againe, according to the inventar I receivit it by, in omnibus to Robert 
Tullo, upon a charge of the committee. I left it in better order than he receivit it, but now I 
heare it is both ruinated by the wether, and not weill used be him, qrof ye will pardone me to 
be sorrie, for I was more than carefull both of the kirk and that house." t 

With regard to the last statement, it is explained that " for ye fabrick of the Kirk the 
Bishop upheld the quierj and the Bishop's dwelling-plaice, and ther is ane act off Parliament 
in anno 1633 for upholding off the bodie off ye Kirk." 

Robert TuUoch of Langskaill, who got the keeping of the Palace, tried to carry matters 
with a high hand. " The kirk-officer complained upon Robert Tullo of Langskill for offering 
to strik him with a quhinger becaus he was taking out two of his horses this morning out of 

in Grsemsav. If so, Grim had been one of the followers of Rolf the Ganger, who conquered Nor- 
mandy, and a descendant of his had come to England with William the Conqueror. 
♦ Pet. Rent., App., 104. t Pet. Rent. 

X Bishop Graham not only upheld the place of worship, but he was generous to the oongregation. 
He gave them two communion cups (see ante, p. 34). The date, 1636, on one of the collection 
plates, has given rise to the tradition that the two were presented by him. Apart from the im- 
probability of the Bishop ordering a plate with a Dutch inscription, the Session Records, as has 
been seen, give them a different history. 



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78 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

the kirk yard to put them in poynd." But Robert " refused that he offered any violence to 
the kirk-officer, but only to cut the horse halters." 

At the change from prelacy to presbytery, in 1638, Bishop Graham complains : — 
" Altho I was not plundered, yitt my house was evil pycked by these that had the charge of 
the keeping of it." * 

Concerning the same, Barry, quoting Keith, says : — "The General Assembly met at 
Glasgow, and, with rigour unsuitable to their office as ministers of a meek and benevolent 
Master, not only set aside, but excommunicated the episcopal order without mercy. This 
prelate, afraid of sharing the same fate, and dreading the i)enal consequences, resigned his 
office, which he declared to be unlawful, and that he was unfeignedly grieved at having held 
such an office so long in the church." On account of this submission, whether proceeding from 
conviction or from motives of prudence, he was only deiKxsed by the Assembly, and " thereby 
saved his estate and money on bond, which would have been all forfeited had he, like any of 
the rest of his order, undergone excommunication." 

George Graham, as a private gentleman, lived at Skaill, in Sandwick, but he was still a 
busy man. He had acquired wealth in spite of the hampering bargain which his predecessors 
made with the King, and which placed the later bishojw at such a disadvantage comjwired 
with the former prelates. He states, in answer to a question put by the Magistrates of 
Edinburgh : — " Understand that the old Bishopric of Orkney was a gi*eate thing, and lay 
sparsim throWt the haill parochines of Orkney and Shetland. Besyde his lands, he had the 
teynds of auchtene kirks. His lands grew daylie, as adulteries and incests increased in the 
country." + 

Although Graham's lands did not grow " daylie " through ecclesiastical mulcts, there is a 
tradition in the Melsetter family that the Bishop acquired Breckness in some such manner. 

Captain James Moodie, writing to his uncle. Captain James Moodie, Stewart of Burray's 
victim, says : — " William Moodie, in anno 1563, entailed his estate ujwn his son, Adam, and 
his airs, to return to Gilbert Moodie, Brother German to the said William, which failing, to 
his nearest airs male bearing the surname and arms of Moodie." 

" Yrafter, Francis, in anno 1628, grants several bonds \i\>on the lands of Breckness for the 
behoove of George Graham, then Bishop of Orkney, but the Bishop not being willing to 
appear, the bonds were in the name of another i)erson." 

After stating that the reversion of these lands was secured to Marion Crichton, wife of 
the Bishop, and his son, John Graham, he concludes : — " The truth of the matter is, Francis 
Moodie was too great a libertine and kept more concubines than was convenient, for which 
Bishop Graham of Orkney did summon him to appear before him, but he not obeying, the 
Bishop threatened church censure. Francis, being willing to preserve his pleasure, and well 
knowing the Bishop, it seems, made an offer of agreement which was pleasing to the Bishop, 
for the Reverend Prelate, like a good Pastor, willing to bear with infirmities, allowed Francis 
to continue in the peaceable possession of his sins, in lieu of which the Bishop possessed part 
of his Estate. The whole of which was transacted so clandestinely as gives just reason to 
everybody to blame the Bishop. The truth is, Francis Moodie never received money or good 
deed either from the Bishop or any body else for these lands." 

Bishop Graham, like every other moneyed man in Orkney at that time, put out his coin 
to usury, and Francis Moodie was a persistent borrower. In the year above mentioned, 1628, 
Moodie's affairs had got so desperate, that his wife, Marion Tulloch, widow of Arthur Sinclair, 
merchant, gave up to her husband's creditors her life-rent of lands in Deerness, St. Andrews, 
Holm, Stenness, and South Ronaldshay, with her house in Kirkwall.J 

* Pet. Rent., p. 259. t Pet. Rent., Bpric, 21. J Sheriff Court Registers. 



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THE earl's palace. 79 

The first bond over Breckness, as James Moodie showed, was in 1628, and this did not 
conclude the money transactions between Moodie and Graham. On the 25th January 1634, 
Francis Moodie of Melsetter borrowed from the Bishop £400 Scots, granting bonds over some 
part of his remaining property. Regarding this : — " James Moodie, Fiar of Breckness, being 
now (20th April 1636) of 21 years, remembering that in the time of my Minority there were 
diverse Bands and Obligations maed by me to ane Father in God, George, Bischope of 
Orkney and Zetland, by Francis Moodie, my Father, as Principal, and me as Cautioner, for 
£400 Scots, of date 25th day of January 1634 — Revokes the same at Kirkwall. Witnesses — 
Thomas Mayne, Merchant Burgess of Kirkwall ; Abraham Stevenson, indweller there ; 
Thomas Auchinleck, and Francis Auchinleck, his son." 

This revocation on the part of young Moodie was of no avails for within a year afterwards 
Breckness was in possession and occupation of the Bishop. " George, by the mercie of God, 
Bischop of Orknay and Zetland, grants discharge to Patrick Stewart of Gyre for arrears of 
Duties on his Lands of Gyre." "Witnesses at Breckness— David Graham of Gorthie; 
John Graham, my youngest lawful son ; Mr George Graham, Minister of Sand wick and 
Stromness ; and Mr Patrick Graham, Br. German to George Graham of Drynie ; and 
Lawrence Graham, son lawfl. to Laurence Graham of Callandair, my ser\dtor," * 22nd July 
1637. t 

The most distinguished in this the senior line of the Orkney Graemes were perhaps 
Sheriff Graeme and Captain Alexander Graeme, of the " Preston," afterwards Admiral Gramme. 

The Bishop's wife, Marion Crichton, died 1632, and was buried in St. Magnus Cathedral 
He followed, 1647. They left four sons and three daughters. 

David, the eldest son, had the estate of Gorthie, near Crieff ; Mungo died without issue, 
1645, and left his property to his brother, Patrick. This Patrick, the third son, took his 
degree at St. Andrews, 1630. When he had finished his divinity curriculum, his father set 
aside all Presbytery trials, and at once caused him to preach in public. + He was appointed 
minister of Holm, 1635, and was deposed by the Assembly, 1649, for his sympathy with 
Montrose. In his retirement, Mr Patrick Graham of Rothiesholm did a large money business, 
and became very wealthy. Besides his property in Stronsay, he had Papdale, in St Ola, lands 
in Sandwick, and two farms in Shapinsay. These had all been church lands, and the Bishop, 
in granting the feus, did not at once convey them to his son. " There is fewed yairof, be ye 
lait Bischop, to ye said Williame Sincler of Sabay, the lands of Burwick, Torwall, and 
Soulsetter, qlk were of old udal lands, pay and conform the rental, qlk ar now in ye hands of 
Mr Patrick Graharae of Rothiesholme." 

After the death of Patrick Smythe of Braco, Mr Graham of Rothiesholm bought from 
Patrick Smythe, merchant, Edinburgh, his father's extensive property in Holm, and changed 
Meall, the name of Braco's house, into Graemeshall. He married, first, Annas Stewart, and 
had six daughters, and, second, Margaret Sinclair, who survived him.§ 

" Mr Patrick Graham of Graemeshall died about the same time of night (midnight), and 
was interred in the tomb of the Kirk of St. John, 21 Jan." || 

Feb. 25, 1681, " Margaret Sinclair, relict of Mr Patrick Grahame of Graemeshall, depd. this 
life." 

John Graham, the youngest son, got Breckness, but in Sandwick " Thair is fewed yairof, 

be ye lait Bischop, to ye foresaid Patrick Smith, the lands of Southerquoy, comprehending 

* Sheriff Court Books, 
t If Bishop Graham did not rebuild the house of Breckness, he added to it, and a stone, carved 
with his arms and placed over the main entrance, was removed to Skaill by the present proprietor, 
William G. T. Watt, Esq. 

X Fasti. § Fasti. || T. B., Jan. 1675. 



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80 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

Skell and Gome ; the lands of South Uiiigar, and fyve farthing land in Aithstoun, with ye 
hill of Kiriia and links yrof, with the heritable bailliarie of ye haill parochen of Sandwick, for 
payment, conforme to ye rentall ; qlk lands are now in ye possession of Johne Graham of 
Breckness." 

In Stromness, " Thair \&- fewed yrof, be ye forsaid lait Bischop, to the forsaid Patrick 
Smith, 30 pennye land in Utter Stromness, twe pennye land and ane halfe in Inner Stromness, 
and ane pennye land and ane halfe in Quhome : qulk lands are all now in ye possessioune of 
Jon Grahme of Breckness." 

John Graham of Breckness married Margaret, daughter of James Stewart of Grasmsay, 
and their son, Harry, was perhaps the most prominent public man in Orkney in his day. He 
represented Orkney and Zetland in the Scottish Parliament, 1685-6. He built or enlarged the 
house of Skaill, and over the door, beside his monogram, he carved the lines — 

" Weak things grow strong by Unitie and Love, 
By discord, strong things weak and weaker prove." 

He married Euphan, daughter of Bishop Honyman. 

Long after Bishop Graham's death, his leases gave trouble to the church. At the Synod, 
20th Nov. 1662, " Compeired the Laird of Halcrow, and produced ane take of the vicarage 
teinds of the He of Walles, subscryved by the Bischope of Orkney, and his seale appended 
yrto, desyreing like way es the said take to be subscryved by the Deane and Chapt. Qlk the 
Chapt. refused to doe, in respect yt yr is fourscoir merks scotes money belonging to the 
stipend, and provision of the Kirk of Walles and the ministers serving the cure yrat." 

At the same meeting, "Compeired" William Monteith of Belelly, as representing the 
heirs of Patrick Monteith of Egilshay, "and produced ane take of the vicarage teinds of 
the Isle of flotta, and oyr vicarage teinds yrin contained, the said take subscryved by the 
Bischope of Orkney, and his seale appended yrto, and desyred that this said take might be 
subscryved by the Deane and Chapt., as aforesaid. Qlk they refused to doe," for a similar 
reason. 

Arthur Buchanan of Sound made a like request regarding the " teinds of Papla," but " the 
Bishop* had given an express countermand, aye, and whyle Patrick Smyth of Bracco, heritore 
of the saids lands, and the said Arthure Buchannane of Sound, were Iiard before himself." 

" Compeired Archibald Stewart of Burray, and produced ane precept of Clare Constate, 
subscryved by the Bishop." On this occasion, the Dean, Mr Edward Richardson, as minister 
of South Bonaldshay and Burray, protested, on behalf of himself and his successors, that the 
subscribing of the precept might not prejudice their rights in " Lands of Leith, and houses 
belonging yrto, comonly called the Provest's lands." 

Captain Robert Stewart of Eday had a lease of the teinds of Ireland and of Orphir, which 
the Dean and Chapter refused to sign, as injurious to the interests of the parish ministers. 

After Graham's demission, there was a brief revival of Episcopacy, and, in 1639, Robert 
Baron, Professor of Divinity in Marischal College, Aberdeen, was appointed Bishop of Orkney, 
an honour which so alarmed the good man that he fled the country, and died at Berwick 
without consecration.t 

As has been seen, the keeping of the Earl's Palace was for a time committed to Robert 
Tulloch, and it was " not weill used by him," 

In 1641, a tack of the lands and revenues of the bishopric was granted by Charles I. to 
Robert Leslie, brother of Lord Lindores, with the right "to bruik and enjoy the haile 
Castles, Riggings, Yards, etc., whereof the late Bishop of Orkney was in possession." 

* SydserflF. t Fasti. 



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THE earl's palace. 81 

In 1643, the earldom was granted to Lord Morton for a fictitious debt of £30,000 stg. In 
this grant it was insisted that the infeftment should ** no ways be extended to any Lands, 
teinds, or any other whatsomever, belonging to the late Bishopric of Orkney at the late 
abolition." 

Meanwhile the revenues of the bishopric had been assigned by Leslie to the Magistrates 
of Edinburgh, who now got a tack of the earldom rents from Morton, and thus the Town 
Council of that city had the whole county in their possession. 

In 1647, Morton got a lease for nineteen years of the EarFs Palace from the Edinburgh 
Magistrates at a nominal rent of thirty-three shillings and fourpence Scots yearly."*^ Here 
Morton died, and was succeeded by his son, Robert, as tenant of the Palace. 

To this palace, Robert Douglas, Earl of Morton, invited that glorious rebel, the Marquis 
of Montrose, when he was about to make his final effort on behalf of the Stuarts. 

Some 200 men were sent over from Holland under command of the Earl of KinnouL 
In Kirkwall, Morton naturally regiirded himself as supreme, an assumption which Kinnoul 
refused to admit. A seriims rupture might have resulted, but both earls died within a few 
days of each other, in November 1649. Early the following year, Montrose came over and 
spent a month in preparation, during which time he occupied the EarFs Palace.t Then, 
having secured most of the boats to be found in the islands, he embarked at Holm, carrying 
with him 2000 men across the Pentland Firth. Very few of the gentlemen of Orkney joined 
Montrose. Smith of Braco, writing to his son, mentions Stewart of Burray, Mr Patrick 
Graham of Qnemeshall, John Graham of Breckness, George Smyth of Rapness, Hew Halcro 
of that ilk, George Dnimmond of Blair, and Patrick Monteith of Egilshay, as friends who, 
along with himself, had submitted to CroniweH's rule. He wants the earliest information of 
the appearance of a change in the Government, '' for I desyre nather to be first nor last in 
taking cours." 

Bishop Graham's eldest son, David, is not in the above list, as he resided on his estate of 
Gorthie, in Perthshire. Total disaster overtook Montrose. At C^orbiesdale, near Invershin, his 
little army was cut to pieces, and he found himself a fugitive in the wilds of Sutherlandsbire. 
Macleod of Assynt, a former friend, found him in a state of starvation, and sold him to the 
Covenanters for 400 bolls of meal. He was, of course, condemned to death.]: 

As part of the.seBtenee, hie ^head,->" affixed oo an iroxi pin, wa^ to be set up on the west 
gavel of the new prison of Edinburgh, one hand to be set on the port of Perth, the other on 
the port of Stirling ; one leg and foot on the port of Aberdeen, and the other on the port of 
Glasgow ; the trunk of the body to be interred in the Boroughmuir, by the hangmen's men, 
under the gallows." 

When Montrose heard his sentence read, he replied :— '^ I am beholden to you that, lest 
my loyalty should be forgotten, ye have appointed five of your most eminent towns to bear 
witness of it to posterity." § 

*' There is a chamber far away, 

Where sleep the good and brave ; 
But a better place ye have named for me 

Than by my father's yiave. 
For truth and rlsht, 'gainst treason's might, 

This hand hath always striven ; 
And ye raise it for a witness still 

In the eye of earth and heaven. 
Then nail my head on yonder tower, 

* Pet. Notes, 61. + Pet. Notes, 52. 

X Napier's Life of Montrose. § Wigton Papers, quoted by Ayton. 



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82 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

Give every town a lirab, 
And God who made shall gather them : 
I go from you to Him !" 

When the Restoration made it possible to collect these fragments and bury them in St. 
Giles Church, in Edinburgh, there was a great muster of the Graham clan, and Mungo of 
Gorthie, our Bishop's grandson, carried the head, still fixed on its " iron pin " — a fact which has 
received heraldic record in the Gorthie arms. 

The clergy of Orkney were enthusiastic Royalists. They deputed James Atkine, minister 
of Harray and Birsay, to draw up a letter, addressed to Montrose, expressing their loyalty. For 
this they were all deposed, and Atkine was excommunicated. There were, however, two 
exceptions — James Morrison, of Evie and Rendall ; and Patrick Waterstoun, of Stronsay and 
Eday. When the Restoration came, the deposed ministers were reinstated, and were in a 
position to vent their spleen on the Cromwellians. In November 1662, " In presence of the 
Synod, Mr James Moreson, minister at Evie and Rendall, appoynted to appeare bef(»re the 
Deane and his assessors, eft the dissolving of the efternoone*8 dyet at the Deane's chamber, 
thair to give in his ansrs to this Queries, qlk ar to be layed to his charge, relaiting to his going 
forth of the place in the tyme of Montrose, his coming into Orkney, according to the eight 
article subscryved by the Bp. of Orkney,* for his tryall yranent. The said Mr James, appear- 
ing, reseaved all the charges, and did returne his ansrs yrto in wrett, and subscryved under 
his owen hands. All qlks wer sent to the Bp." After examination, the Bishop's finding was 
that, "if yr wer no further informatione, he might continew his ministrie upon good behavior." 

But there was further information. '* Thair wes produced ane Act of Parlt. in flavors of 
Mr James Moresone and Mr Patrick Waterstoune, appoynting to them the sowme of ten 
thousand merkes Scotes for the causes contained in the said act. The tenor qroff followes : — 
At Edr., the twentie-nine day of May, sixteen hundred and ffyftie yeirs. The estaites of 
parliament now publiclie convened in this flFyft sessione of this sacond trienniall parlt. Taking 
to yr consideration the supplicatione given in to them by Mr James Moresone and Mr Patrick 
Waterstoune, distressed ministers of Orkney, hubly. schowing, That, qras the honorable 
Comissione of the General Assembly, taking to consideratione the excessive charges and 
expenses the saids supplicants have beene put to by the Presb. of Orkney, ever since the entrie 
of the Reformatione, for speaking in defence of the treuth and discovery of the enemyes' 
concerns from tyme to tyme, hath modefyed unto the saids supplicants as eft is devysed, viz. : 
— To the said Mr James Moresone, the sowme of sex thousand mks., and to the said Mr 
Patrick Waterstoune, the sowme of ffoure thousand mks. money, to be payed to them out of the 
stipends vacant within that presbytrie, without prejudice alwayes to the plantation of Kirks 
yr."t 

A "perfyte and just double" of this Act was sent to the Bishop, but Morrison kept his 
pulpit till he was deposed for social oflFences three years after Sydserffs death, 

Waterstoun was a man of more pronounced character than Morrison. When Charles II. 
came to the throne, the minister of Stronsay lifted up his voice and denounced the King and 
his ancestors. For this he was imprisoned in Kirkwall, but his offence was too heinous for 
local judgment, and he was sent to Edinburgh, being passed on "from Sheriff to Sheriff," till 
he reached the capital. lie afterwards went to Holland, and died there, 1662. 

Atkine, the writer of the letter to Montrose, had fled to Holland to escape the wrath of 
Cromwell, but at the Restoration, he got from the Exchequer £100 stg. on account of his 
sufferings, was made rector of Winifrith, iu the see of Winchester, and in 1667 was consecrated 
Bishop of Galloway. 

^ Sydaerff. t Synod Records* 



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THE EARL*S PALACE. 83 

Cromwell did not overlook the fact that Kirkwall had welcomed, or at all events had 
harboured, the great Marquis, so he established here a strong garrison, to be maintained at the 
expense of the inhabitants, and erected military works to command the town and shipping. 

In 1660, Qeneral Monk, who was at the head of the array, marched southward with the 
silent intention of placing Charles Stuart on the throne of his fathers. The Scottish Presby- 
terians, foreboding trouble, sent one of their number in Monk's train to attend to the interests 
of the Scottish Church. James Sharpe, minister of Craill, was an able man, and he possessed 
the full confidence of his party. Zealous for the cause he advocated, he crossed to Holland, 
and saw the Prince at Breda. Charles, to prevent opposition in Scotland, was ready to- 
promise anything, and Sharpens letters to his party were very encouraging. 

But, in 1661, Episcopacy was re-established ; the broken chain of apostolic succession was- 
again linked up by the consecration in Westminster Abbey of four ministers ; and Sharpe, the 
Presbyterian delegate, returned to Scotland Archbishop of St. Andrews. Great was the wrath 
of the Scottish ministers at the overthrow of their Church, and universal was the detestation 
in which the people held the perfidious prelate. ** The great stain," says Sir Walter Scott, 
" will always remain, that Sharpe deserted and probably betrayed a cause which his brethren 
entrusted to him, and abused to his own purposes a mission which he ought not to have under- 
taken but with the determination of maintaining its principal object." 

And now, Thomas Sydserff, who before the Commonwealth had been Bishop of Galloway, 
was promoted to the See of Orkney. Though eighty years of age, and unable to come north, 
he devoted himself with energy to the business of the diocese. From his correspondence, he 
appears to have been a liberal-minded man, endued with a spirit of toleration to differing 
sects, greatly in advance of his time, and, indeed, greatly in advance of the vast majority of 
the clergy of any time. 

He appointed Mr Edward Richardson, minister of South Ronaldshay and Burray, his 
dean, and with his commission, dated 12th Sept. 1662, he sent him a list of "Instructions" 
under thirteen heads. "2nd Article. We ordaine and appoynt our Dean, Mr Edward 
Richardsone, at his meeting with the ministers of Orkney, to require them, and every ane of 
them, to tak and subscryve the oath <»f alleagance prescryved by the laite Act of Pailt., and yt 
they also acknowledge and declair under yr hands yr approbatione of the government of the 
church as it now stands, established by Archbps. and Bps., and this to be done before they 
be admitted to be members of this Commission." 

During his year of office, the Dean kept Sydserff fully informed on ecclesiastical matters in 
the islands, and sought his advice in all cases of difficulty. The clergy had, without exception, 
taken the required oaths, and Mr Morrison, who had not subscribed the famous letter to 
Montrose, was dealt with in a spirit of judicial fairness, which surprised and disappointed most 
of the brethren. The Bishop must have felt it strange to issue instructions regarding parishes 
of which he knew nothing but the name. 

He lived at Wright's Houses, a short half-mile from the West Port of Edinburgh.* 

"W'righouss, 1 Octr. 1662. To remember the Deane and his assosiates of Mr James 
Guild his payment to his predecessor ffor the Manse of Sand week and gleib of Stromness, 
with the vicarage of the forsd. parisch of Stromness, be repayed to him ayr at his transporta- 
tion or removall by any intrant qtsomever. Sic mhr.^ Thomas, Bp. of Orkney." , 

At his death, Sept. 1663, Bishop Sydserff left a sum of 400 merks to the Cathedral, which 
he had never seen. This money was held by his executor, Dr John Sydserff, till September 

* Wright's Houses was a sreat rambling mansion belonging to a branch of the Napiers of 
Merchiston. Its site is occupied by what was Crillespie's Hospital, now one of the schools of the 
Edinburgh Merchant Company. 



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84 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

1669, when Arthur Baikie, having business in Edinburgh, got from the Kirk Session twelve 
rix-dollars to prosecute the ciain). 

In November, Baikie, who was an elder, was back in Kirkwall, and as he did not report 
to the Session the expenditure of the dollars, the probability is that he got the money from Dr 
Sydserff without an appeal to law. There is no further reference to this legacy in the Church 
records. 

The Town Council had taken some sort of licence from the Lord Protector, and at the 
Bestoration the Earl of Morton, making use of this fact, procured the disfranchisement of the 
Corporation. The Magistrates were declared rebels, and their goods and gear ordained to be 
confiscated. The civic rulers, however, did not defer to Morton, and in May 1662, in a 
petition to the Privy Council, the Earl states that "the inhabitants of Kirkwall doe still 
continow in their insolencies, and exercises the full liberty of a royall burgh, and as yett 
kepes up their pew or seat in the Kirk as Magestrattis"; and he craves that "the saidis 
inhabitants might be discharged to exerce the magistracy of a royal burgh, and ordained to 
demolish their seat in the Kirk." 

Patrick Craigie was provost at the time, and on him devolved the responsibility of 
defending the rights of the burgh. He did so most loyally. "Patrick Craigie, pretended 
Provost, did, in ane hostile, seditious, and tumultuary manner, pass throw the town with tuo 
persons beating drums and proclaiming a fair to be holden at the said burgh, as a burgh 
royall." Accordingly, " the Lords of Privy Council ordains letters to be direct to messingers 
at arms to denunce the said Patrick Craigie rebell, and to put him to the horn, and to ordain 
all his movable goods and geai* to be escheat for his contempt and disobedience." The 
struggle lasted for nine years, till at last, in August 1670, the Crown again recognised 
Kirkwall as a " royall burgh with seaport." 

As has been seen, Lord Morton rented the Earl's Palace from the Magistrates of 
Edinburgh, and he ^eld it during the time in which he was attempting the suppression of the 
Town Council of Kirkwall. But the city of Edinburgh had, in 1662, " freely surrendered to his 
Majesty the Bishopric of Orkney," receiving in compensation an impost of " 8 pennies upon 
every pint of French wine, and 16 pennies upon every pint of Spanish and Rhenish wines, 
aquavitse, and other strong liquors that shall happen to be vended or sold in all tyme coming 
within the Burgh of Edinburgh, liberties and privileges thereof, and lands holden of them."*** 

In spite of this, when Andrew Honyman, Bishop Sydserffs successor, came to Kirkwall, 
1664, he was denied access to his official residence, which was occupied by Morton's adherents. 

For seven years the intruders held the palace against its rightful owner, but in 1671 the 
Bishop obtained decree against the Earl of Morton, Buchanan of Sound, and others to cause 
them to remove.t 

Andrew Honyman was bom and educated in St. Andrews, and had been minister of the 
second charge in the College Kirk there. His colleague in the first charge was Bobert Blair, 
and, as a solemn duty, we find the two of them attending a witch-burning at Craill. Hony- 
man was afterwards Archdeacon in the Cathedral, and was thus brought into close contact 
with Archbishop Sharpe. t 

Among the Presbyterians there were some fanatics whose hatred of the Primate sought 
expression in murder, and an attempt at his assassination in Edinburgh nearly brought 
death to our Bishop. Honyman, while in the act of stepping into Sharpens carriage, received 
in his arm a poisoned bullet which was intended for his friend, and though the wound was 
not immediately fatal, the effects of the poison were permanent. 

In his time the spire of the Cathedral was burned, and it was largely by his exertions and 
• Pet. Rent., App., 460, t W. D. Baikie's Papers. t A. Lang's St. Andrews. 



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THE earl's palace. 85 

through his influence in stimulating the efforts of the townspeople that the building waa 
saved. 

**The Englishes," in the time of Cromwell's occupation, had wrought havoc among 
the fittings of the church, and we find this prelate petitioning the Session that his pew *' may 
be transformed in a better forme, and repaired more compendiouslie after the first forme it 
had in his predeeeasor's, Bishop Graham's, time." 

Bishop Honyman was the first to cause a register of the dead to be kept in KirkwalL 
He died in 1676, and was buried in the Cathedral, " in the place where Bishop Tulloch's tomb 
had been erected." He was much loved and respected by all classes of the community. * 

Sir William Honyman of Armadale, Bart., grandson of the Bishop's first wife, Euphan 
Cunningham, was afterwards Commissary of Orkney, and Robert, son of his second wife, Mary 
Stewart, heiress of Qramsay, became proprietor of the Stewart estates, t 

Half a year after the death of Honyman, Murdoch Mackenzie was elected Bishop of 
Orkney, Sept. 1676. He was a scion of the Qairloch family, his father being a natural son of 
John Mackenide of Qairloch. t 

Another writer puts this somewhat differently :— " Murdo Mackenzie, D.D., successively 
Bishop of Moray and of Orkney and Zetland, died at his episcopal palace at Kirkwall in Feb. 
1688, being near a hundred year old, and yet enjoyed the perfect use of all his faculties until 
the very last." § 

" This, however, is evidently a mistake, as it is stated at p. 162 of the same work that he 
was born in the year 1600, descended from a younger branch of the house of Qairloch, in 
Ross-shire, his direct ancestor, Alexander (apparently grandfather), having been third son of 
John, second Baron of Qairloch, who died in 1660, by Agnes, only daughter of James Eraser 
of Foyers, in the same Coimty. 

" The following data of this venerable Prelate's ecclesiastical career, taken from a MS., 
* Fasti Ecclesise Scoticanse,' may prove interesting :— A.M. of King's College and University of 
Aberdeen, 1616 ; received episcopal ordination, it is said, from Bishop Maxwell of Ross. But I 
would place it at an earlier date, probably about 1624, as that Bishop was not consecrated till 
1633, and Mr McKenzie is recorded to have been chaplain to a Scottish regiment under Qustavus 
Adolphus, King of Sweden, during the war in Qermany, which must have been between June 
1630 and Nov. 16th, 1632 (the period of his death in the battle of Lutzen, in Saxony). 

" On his return to his native land, he was made Parson of Contin, a parish in Ross-shire, 
the exact year I have not ascertained, but it must have been between 1633 and 1638, as he was 
a member of the famous Qlasgow Assembly (which met on Nov. 21st , 1638, and abolished the 
Established Church of Scotland), appearing on the roll as one of the clerical representatives of 
the Presbytery of Dingwall. Translated from Contin to Inverness, in 1640, as first minister of 
the collegiate charge of that town and parish. Admitted to the first charge of the town and 
parish of Elgin, April 17th, 1646, and retained that living after his elevation to the episcopate, 
having his residence there at the seat of the Cathedral and Chapter of the diocese of Moray, 
his successor as Parson of Elgin not having been appointed till July 1682. For nearly 24 
years it is, therefore, evident that he conformed to Presbyterianism, and even at Chnstnuus 
1669 he is said to have been so zealous a Covenanter and 'precisian' as to have opposed the 
keeping of all holy days at Elgin, and to have searched the houses in that- town for any * Yule 
geese ' as being superstitious ! 

" On the re-establishment of Episcopacy by King Charles II., the Parson of Elgin, how- 
ever, readily complied with the new order of things in Church and State ; although, after all, 
it was only a return to the same form of Church government in which he had been originally 
* Wallace, p. 77. t Fasti. t Graven, p. 66. § Keith's Scottish Biflhope, p. 228. 



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86 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

educated and ordained. He was nominated to the Bishopric of Moray by Royal Letters 
Patent, January 18th, 1662, and consecrated to that See on May 7th following, in the Abbey 
Church at Holyrood Palace at Edinburgh (together with five other Bishops elect) by the 
Archbishop of St. Andrews, primate and metropolitan, assisted by the Archbishop of Glasgow 
and the Bishop of Galloway. The form used was that in the English Ordinal, and the 
Consecration Sermon was preached by the Revd. James Gordon, Parson of Drumblade, in 
Aberdeenshire. Bishop McKenzie's signature to documents still in existence was as Bishop of 
Moray, * Murdo. Maruien,' and also * Murdo, B. of Moray.' And after an Episcopate then of 
nearly 15 years, he was translated to the more wealthy Bishopric of Orkney and Zetland on 
Feb. 14th, 1677, which he held for about 11 years, dying in the 89th year of his age and 26th 
of his Episcopate." * 

Though Mackenzie was perhaps the most popular of the Orkney Bishops, as a Presby- 
terian minister he had had his troubles. " His settlement at Inverness was attended with 
such violent opposition as to call for the interference of the General Assembly. Again, at 
Elgin, the Town Council had a hard fight before they could induct him, and so bitter was the 
feeling, that after a couple of months of it he told the presbytery that he would not stay by 
reason of the troubles." 

He was able, however, to live down the opposition. The story of the geese is given by 
the Rev. Mr Shawt : — " He had been accounted a superstitiously zealous Presbyterian and 
Covenanter, and so much an enemy to the Keeping of holy days that it is commonly said at 
Elgin that at Christmas 1659 he searched the houses in that town that they might not have a 
Christmas goose. But Bishopric cured him of these blemishes, and he soon deposed some of 
his clergy for nonconformity." 

There still lingers the tradition that on his landing at Scapa, when the " Bishop cup" was 
handed to him filled with strong ale, he drained it at a draught and asked for more. 

The only trouble about the story is that, if ever this famous cup existed anywhere outside 
of Buchanan's pages, it had been lost to Orkney long before the advent of Bishop Murdoch. 

The Rev. James Wallace, his contemporary, says : — " Buchanan tells a story which is still 
believed here and talked of as a Truth. That in Scajya (a place about a Mile from Kirkwall 
to the South) there was keept a large Cupp which, when any new Bishop landed there, they 
filled with strong Ale and oflFered it to him to drink ; and if he happened to drink it off 
Cheerfully, they promised to themselves a Noble Bishop and many good years in his time." 

The story, as Buchanan tells it, is this : — " They have an ancient goblet which, that they 
may have the higher authority for their revels, they pretend belonged to St. Magnus, who first 
introduced Christianity among them. Its amplitude so far surpasses the dimensions of 
common drinking-cups that it might pass for a relic of the feast of the Lapithae. 

" With this they prove their bishop upon his first appearance among them. He who 
empties the cup at one draught — which, however, rarely happens — they hail with the greatest 
applause, and from this, as from a joyful augury, they anticipate a prosperous ensuing year." 

When Mr Wallace met Bishop Mackenzie at Scapa, he knew nothing of the Bishop cup 
but Buchanan's story. 

Though Mackenzie had been a warrior in his youth, and even as Presbyterian minister 
had been somewhat bellicose, time had mellowed him down before he reached Kirkwall, and 
the text of his 6rst sennon in the Cathedral, " Let the peace of God rule in your hearts," had 
Jbecome the rule of his life. 

He was "a most worthy Bishop and greatly beloved for his hospitality, peaceful disposi- 
tion, piety, brotherliness, and prudent government." 

* Major-Gen. A. S. Allan, Notes and Queries No. 127, June 4th, 1864. t History of Moray. 



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THE eael's palace. 87 

Occasions for special display of hospitality sometimes occurred, as on the fourth of April 
1678, when Greorge Balfour of Pharay married Marjorie, second daughter of the Bishop, and 
again on the fifteenth of May in the same year, when John Kennedy of Kermunks married 
Jean, the eldest daughter. And it would be easy to furnish the great hall of the old Palace 
with guests, beginning with his nearest neighbours, Robert Honyman of Graemsay and William 
Buchanan of Rusland, who lived next door to each other in the " Long Tenement " next the 
round tower of the old Bishop's Palace. A very brilliant party the reverend old gentleman 
could gather round him on such occasions, and for the time the gentlemen would doubtless 
forget their private feuds. Mr Patrick Graeme of Graemeshall was recently dead, and James,, 
who succeeded him, could not meet Robert Baikie of Tankemess on the same side of the 
street without creating a breach of the peace ; while Mudie of Melsetter would draw upon 
Douglas of Egilshay in the Cathedral itself. 

The gifted historian of the Episcopal Church in Orkney tells of the vigour which this 
octogenarian overseer exhibited in visiting the scattered churches in the mainland and islands, 
and there is abundant proof that he took his full share of the Cathedral services. 

When he might well have spared himself and allowed Mr James Wallace to preach, he 
sometimes preferred to occupy the pulpit himself. 

On the 13th of July 1681, " Being Wednesday, Bishop Mackenzie preached a sermon in 
remembrance of a fast and humiliation for the threatening drought in the south of Scotland, 
and for a gracious determination of this ensuing Parliament in Scotland which is to be at 
Edinboro' the 28th July inst, wherein the Duke of York was to sit viceroy." 

The text was very appropriate to the first part of his subject : — " If I shut up heaven that 
there be no rain," &c. It would be very interesting now to know what the preacher said in 
the second part of his discourse. 

The peculiar graciousness of the Duke of York in Scotland is thus described by Sir Walter 
Scott :— '* Blind to experience, the Duke of York continued to attempt the extirpation of the 
Cameronian sect. All usual forms of law, all the bulwarks by which the subjects of a country 
are protected against the violence of armed power were at once broken down, and officers and 
soldiers received commissions not only to apprehend but to interrogate and punish any persons 
whom they might suspect of fanatical principles ; and if they thought proper they might put 
them to death on the spot." 

But Bishop Mackenzie was far removed from those scenes of persecution, and no religious 
strife disturbed Orkney till some time after his death. 

During the last year of his life he was in feeble condition, and his public appearances 
were so few that they were noted with interest by the townspeople. 

Under date, 5th June 1687, Thomas Brown, N.P., records in his Diary—" Bishop 
Mackenzie came to hear sermon in the afternoon." 

On the 18th of July^ same year, he attended his last meeting of Session. The members 
had an important case before them. "Compeared Helen Paplay for imprecating Wm. 
Grimbister, who, since her imprecation is feebly, confessed that when he called her a witch 
she answered and said so might he thrive, and bruck his health." 

" Friday, at six at night (17th Feb. 1688), Murdoch, Bp. of Orkney and Zetland, departed 
this life, being nea;r ane hundred yearss of age or thereby,* and was interred in S. Magnus 
Kirk in Kirkwall, within the commone Court place of the same, commonly called the Counsel 
House, which no person had been interred hitherto." With great solemnity Mr Jame9 
Wallace preached the funeral sermon, his text, 25 Gen. 8 v., " Then Abraham gave up the 
ghost and died in a good old age, ane old man full of yeires, and was gathered to his people." 

• Probably 87. 



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88 KIR^WAUt IN THfi'OEKNfiYS. 

In his laBt will the Bishop remembered his Cathedral—" 9th Oct 1693, Mr John Wilson, 
minister, delivered in face of Session the sum of two hundred merks in name of Sir Alexr. 
Mackenzie of Brownhill, eldest la^-ful son to the late Murdo, Lord Bishop of Orkney, left by 
the said Bishop for pbus uses, for the which the Session tendered their hearty and humble 
thanks, and for the honour and respect they bear to the memory of the foresaid Reverend 
Father in God, they give and grant full liberty to his children and grandchildren and theirs to 
JMiry in the Session house of St Magnus Church, where the corps of the foresaid Bishop lies." 

Andrew Bruce, D.D., formerly of Dunkeld, was appointed to Orkney, 17th August of the 
same year. Though he never resided in his diocese, he exercised the functions of bishop and 
translated Mr Pitcairn from the second charge in Kirkwall to the charge of South Ronaldshay 
and Burray. Mr John Cobb, whom he nominated for the Cathedral and who was appointed 
7th July 1689, was probably the last presentee in Scotland under Episcopacy as by law 
established. Bruce retired to his former parish, Kilrenny, where he died 1699. 

Colonel Robert Elphingston of Lopness was now appointed Chamberlain of the bishopric 
at a yearly salary, of £200. 

He sent his family to Kirkwall before he came himself. " Monday, the 14th July 1690, 
Clara Van Ovemiear, spouse to Robert Elphingston of Lopness, with her retenew, came from 
Holm to Kirkwall and lodged in Anna Moncrieff's, being ten in number, herself, bairns, and 
servants." ♦ 

A month later the Chamberlain followed :— *' Monday, at night between 10 and 11, the 18 
Augt. 1690, Robt Elphingston of Lopness came to Kirkwall from his journey from Edr., and 
entered his present dwelling house in the pallace within the yeards lately possest by Bp. 
McKenzie." 

" John Elphinstone of Baberton, 3rd son of Robert, 3rd Lord Eiphinstone and younger 
brother of James, 1st Lord Balmerino, left a son, Ronald Elphinstone, who married Janet 
fialcro of Brugh and settled in Orkney." His son, Robert, who in early life was page to 
Prince Henry, eldest son of James VI., left an only son, John Elphingston of Lopne.Hs, and it 
was John's son Robert, a Colonel of Militia, who now took possession of the Earl's Palace, f 

This foolish, overbearing man, riding on his commission, issued the following circukr to 
the gentlemen of Orkney within a week of hb arrival :— 

Kirkwall, 23rd Aufft. 1690. 
BiR, — It bath pleased their Majesties to appoint me by their commiMion under the Great Seal to 
be their Stewart and Justiciar of the ylands of Orkney and Zetland, as Ivkewayes of the BLshoprick 
now annexed by Act of Parliament to the Stewartrie, whairfore I desire that ye wold be pleased to be 
at Kirkwall upon Fryday nixt, heine the 29th inat. , to heir the intimation tbairoff and attend what 
farder orders snail be dely vered by, Sir, your affectionate Servant, Robbrt Blpuingstok. 

For his respected fremde. 
Be pleased to cause intimation to all the persons concerned. 

In the same autocratic manner he addresses the magistrates : — 

" Provost and Bayles of the Brugh of Kirkwall, receave into your prisone house the person of John 
Hemiger. Keep and detaine him tWein upon his owna proper expenses ontiU my farder orders, snd 
this shall be ane warrand subs, with my hand att Kirkwall the nynteen day of November 1690. 

" RioBSBT Elphingston." 

Thomas Brown does not tells ns wlio occupied Lopness at this time, but he shows how 
the tenant was treated :— ** Monday ye 6 Oct 1690, Robert Elphingston of Lopness his com* 
mand his brethren, John and William, with Sebastian Henderson and the tenants upon the 
lands thei«,i;pigtei;fiillie^eQfdied the<hai#se ofXopness.*' 

• Brown's Diary. f Burke. 



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THE EARLS PAL AC K. 89 

Seeing that Episcopacy had been disestablished a year before Elphingston came north, it 
could not be expected that the Kirkwall ministers should escape his interference. 

"Saty., Robert Elphingston caused Robt. Arskyne to make intimation to Mr John 
Wilson, minister, that he should cist from preaching the Word." * 

As Chamberlain, Elphingston collected the bishopric rents, and his girnel house was part 
of the Palace, probably a part of which there are now no remains. 

Under the girnel there was cellarage which could be turned to account for many purposes. 
In February 1691, during three days, horses from Stenness discharged their lojided panniers 
into this store room. On the twenty-second of January of the above year, "Providence 
ordered that ane hundred and two palaig whales were chased ashore betwixt the south of 
Ireland in Stenhous and the Bridge of Waith, which number or yrby was intromitted with by 
Robt. Elphingston of Lopness, and brought to Kirkwall— I mean ye spick of them— and put 
in the laigh house under the girnal house in the Palace of the Yeards possessed by him, the 
3rd, 4th, and 5th of Feb. yrafter."t 

In those days, people made their own oil and candles, and the blubber of a hundred 
porpoises would illuminate the Palace for a considerable time, though Clara Van Overmear 
and her " retinew" would find the boiling of the *' spick" rather smelly work. 

After a time Elphingston's affairs became hopelessly involved, and he ^* fled the kingdom 
without ever accounting for a farthing." J 

Elphingston and his family were probably the last occupants of the old Palace. In 1699, 
the University of Aberdeen got a tack of the bishopric, and appointed William Menzies of 
Raws, Writer to the Signet, their Chamberlain. This gentleman would appear to have 
managed the estate from his Edinburgh office, with the result that, in 1705, his clients had to 
prosecute for arrears a number of persons who would have paid regularly to a resident factor. 
The list of defaulters reads like a directory of Orkney :— 

"Ann, by the grace of God, Queen of Great Brittain, France, and Ireland, Defender of the 
faith, !io our liovites, our Sheriffs in that part, Conlly. and Seally., Speally. constitute, greeting. 
Forasmuch as it is humbly meaned and shown to us by our Lovite, Mr Georce Fraser, Subprinll. of 
tne CoUedge of Aberdeen, and Mr George Gordone, professor of the Oriental Languages in ye said 
CoUedge. That where upon the third day of May one thousand seven hundred and live years, George 
Baikie of Tankerness " (and some sixty others) ** were orderly denunced Rebells and put to the Home 
be vertue of Letters of Homins raised, used, and execute agtt. ym at ye saids Complrs. Instance as 
Tacksmen of the rents of the Bishoprick of Orkney, Conforme to the Tack made and putt Betwixt 
tne Lords of Thesaury and Exchequer and ye sds. Complrs., dated the fourteenth Day of July, mdc. 
and nynty-nyne years, Regratt. in the Books of Thesaury and Exchequer the twenty-eight day of 
July yrafter, for not paytt. making to the sds. Complrs. of yr Seall. portiones yrof , Ilk ane of ym for 
yr own pairts, as is after divyded, viz. : — the sd. George Baikie of Tankemes, the sowme of two 
hundred and seventy -four pounds five shill. sixpennys ; the sd. Mr John Cobb, fourty-four pounds 
four shill. ; the sd. David Traill, ^ve pd. eight shill. eight pennies ; NicoU Voy, three pd. eighteen 
shill. eight pennies ; Patrick Kynaird, sixty-six pd. fourteen shill. three pennies ; James Couper, 
eight pa. seven shill. ; James Grahame of Grahameshall, nine hunder and seventv-five pd. sixteen 
shill. ten pennies ; John Pavis, in Lentoun, fyfteen pd. three shill. ; Thomas Heddell, thirty pound 
eighteen fehill. four d. ; William Heddell, in Quoymerries, fifty pound four shill. four d, ; James 
Cuming, in Slae, for the aires of umqll Kaithorine Smith, sixty-one pound ten shill. ten pennys ; 




pennies ; James Beatone, two pd. fourteen shill. eight pennys ; Patrick Monteath, two pd. six shill. 
eight pennys ; Edward Broun, fyve pd. ten shill. six pennys ; Adam Caird, in Kairstone, twenty^ 
ftrve pd. eight pennys ; David Broun of Don, eight pd. thirteen shill. seven pennys ; Kaithorine 
Lonttit, three pound thirteen shill. four pennies ; George Johnstone, there, four pd. nine shill. two 
pennies ; Patrick Ir\'ing, nine pd. four shill. four pennies ; John Couper, three pound nyne shill. seven 
{tennies ; George Leask, nine pound eight shill. ten pennys ; the sa. Wm. Louttit, thirty-seven pd. 

♦ T; B., 25th Oct. 1690. t T. B. t Fund Process, Part II., p. 51. 



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90 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

eleven shill. fyve pennies ; John Duncan, one pound seventeen shill. six d. ; John Cureitor, nynteen 
pd. eleven shilL two pennies ; James Gordone of Kairstone, one hundored and fourteen pd. ten shill. 
six pennies ; John Broun, four pound five shill. seven pennies ; Ms^nus Irving, sixteen pd. two shill. 
three pennies ; David Irving, six pd. seventeen shill. two pennies ; Thomas Irving, seven pd. ten shill. 
ten pen. ; and the sd. John Irving, in Burwick, eight pd. nine shill. eieht pen. ; VVm. Moar, twenty 
pd. twelve shill. eight pennies ; more be him, eight pound eighteen shill. ; Hary Irving, one pd. nine 
shill. ; Pat. Irving, fourteen pd. seven shill. ; Adam Kirknes, twenty-nine pd. six shill. two pennies ; 
Margtt. Randell, one pd. ninteen shill. ; Magnus Baikie, nine pd. four Miill. four pennies ; Hugh 
Kirkness, nine pd. seventeen shill. ; Magnus Marwick, three pd. eight shill. ; David Kirkness, twenty- 
two pil. twelve shill. two pen. ; Adam Kirknes, twenty-fyve pd. seventeen shill. six pen. ; Oliver 
Liuktattor, seven pd. eight shill. four pen. ; John Sabistone, one pd. six shilL ten pen. ; James Moar, 
one pd. fyfteen shill. six pen. ; Alexr. Johnstone, fyve pd. nine shill. ten pen. ; Alexr. Hourstone, 
twelve pd. thirteen shill. ; Wm. Hourstone, four pd. thirteen shill. two d. ; and the sd. Hugh Baikie 
of Barnes, three hundered and twenty-eight pound ; Captt. James Moody, six hundered and seventeen 
pd. nine shill. ; Jean Halcro, Relict of umqll. Mowatt of Swenzie, thirty-nine pd. thirteen nynteen* 
shill. eleven pen.; David ^rskyne, mertt. in Kirkll., twenty-three pound six shilL eight pennys ; 
John Covingtree, Bailly in Kirkll., Fifty -four pd. twelve shill. two d. ; Andrew Young, Comysr. of 
Orkney, for George and Hugh Redlands, sixty-one pd. ten shill. ; Andrew Young of Castleyairds, 
ninty-three pd. fyve shill. six pennys ; John Spence, tnirty-two pd. four shill. ; Wm. Traill, mertt. in 
Kirkll., twenty-six pd. eleven shill. six d. ; Margaret Elphistone, eight pound three shill. ; and the 
ad. Barbara Hcndersone, Relict of umqll. Gilbert Measone, in Kirkll., twenty -one pd. three shill. ten 
pennies. " 

All these persons were to be apprehended and imprisoned till payment should be forth- 
coming. 

In 1705, Sir Alexander Douglas of Egilshay got a tack of the bishopric and farmed the 
rents for nine years. As he did not live in the Palace, it may be fairly assumed that the 
building was no longer habitable. 

Thus this beautiful mansion, Earl Patrick's pride, has from the time of its foundation till 
it stands a tenantless ruin, a history of less than one hundred years. 

Douglas of Egilshay was followed in succession as farmers of the bishopric revenues by 
Graham of Breckness, Captain Moodie of Melsetter, Robert Honyman of Graemsay, John 
Covingtrie of Newark, John Hay of Balbethan, Andrew Ross, and Lord Dundas. 

The rent generally ran about £200 till the Dundas family got it in 1775 at a rent of £50, 
to continue during His Majesty's pleasure. 

This lease, at a mere nominal rent, was granted by George III. on the condition that the 
lessee held the income of the bishopric in trust for public improvements.t 

The lease continued till 1825, since which time the bishopric revenues have been collected 
by Chamberlains of the Crown. 

A recent author | expresses righteous indignation at the unroofing of the Palace and the 
sale of the slates by the Chamberlain, Andrew Ross, and he has his information from an 
account still preserved in the office of Andrew Gold, Esq., the present Chamberlain of the 
earldom : — 

" Accompt of Sclates Taken off My Lord Morton's House in Kirkwall : — 

1746, March.— To .3400 Sclate, at £8 per thous., is, Scots £27 4 

To 103 foot rigging, at 3/ per foot 15 9 

£42 13 
'* Kirkwall, 1st June 1745. — Received payment of the above forty-two pounds thirteen shillings 
Scots from Dr Hugh Sutherland. — Andrew Ross." 

The writer proceeds, " Other houses in the town are said to have been unroofed in a 
similar fashion." 

Some of the Earls of Morton had been occupants of the Palace, and then, as has been 
* This error is in the manuscript. + Balfour, Odal Rights and Feudal Wrongs, p. 77. t Tudor. 



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THE earl's palace. 91 

shown, they rented it ; but in no other sense could the Newark in the Yards ever have been 
called Lord Morton's House. Lord Morton's House was the large tenement on the east side of 
Albert Street, built by Buchanan of Sound, and the la.st sentence quoted above explains the 
whole transaction. This house, then known as Lord Morton's Great Lodging, having become 
ruinous, Dr Hugh Sutherland, Town Treasurer, bought from the Earl's factor s«)me of the 
material to be ajiplicd to the building of the Town Hall. 

Lord Morton, at the request of the Town Council, granted stones for the same building 
from the old Castle, which was earldom property, but the Palace was bishopric and beyond his 
control. 

In 1849, Government was approached concerning the disposal of the ruined Palace : — 

** Unto the Right Honourable The Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury, The Memorial of 
the Conjmissioners of Supply, Justices of the Peace, ajid Landed Proprietors of the County of 
Orkney, and of the Magistrates and Town Council of the Burgh of Kirkwall. 

** The Crown is possessed of three extensive public buildings in the town of Kirkwall, all situated 
within a short distance of one another. 

** The first of these > is the Cathedral of St. Magnus, which is justly considered to be one of the 
finest and most interesting relics of Ecclesiastical Architecture in Great Britain. It is now in course 
of being repaired with great skill and judgment by Mr Mathison, the Architect of the Board of Woods 
and Forests in Scotland, under whose superintendence it promises to become a lasting ornament to 
this part of the kingdom. The second is the Castle of the Bishops of Orkney, an ancient and massive 
structure, which, with the exception of (me castellated round tower resembling that of Aymer de 
Valence at Both well, is completely ruinous. The third is the Earl's Palace, or * Place,' once the 
residence of the family of Stewart/ Earls of Orkney, which have been extinct for about 250 years. 
This last is an exceedingly beautiful building. Sir Walter Scott, both in his Diary and in the Novel 
of the Pirate, describes it with much admiration, and suggests that its peculiar style might be success- 
fully adopted by the Architects of the day for purposes of modern splendour. Several eminent 
architects have examined it since Sir Walter Scott visited Orkney, and all of them warmly concur in. 
his opinion. Your Memorialists would beg specially to name Mr Bryce, Mr Billings, and the late Mr 
Nixon, and they might also refer to many Noblemen and Gentlemen, distinguished for their taste for 
the fine arts, who have lately visited this part of the country and expressed equal admiration of the 
Buildine. 

** The work now publishing by Messrs Billings and Bum on the Baronial and Ecclesiastical Anti- 
quities of Scotland (part xv.) contains a description and an illustration of it, to which your Memorialists, 
respectfully best leave to refer. 

** The Earl's Palace is now stripped of its roof, but the walls remain almost entire, and being 
uncommonly strong, and the masonry of the best and most solid description, the building could he- 
restored without incurring much expense or trouble if the works were commenced soon. Should they 
be delayed for any considerable time, this will be rendered much more difficult, or perhaps impossible^ 
realising the description of Sir Walter Scott — 

* Where nods their Palace to its fall. 
Thy pride and sorrow, fair Kirkwall.' 

It is with a view to prevent the fall of this noble pile, and to secure the more complete restoration of 
St. Manius, that your Memorialists now address themselves to your Lordships. 

** ft has already been noticed that the neighbouring Cathedral of St. Magnus is in course of being 
repaired, and it is important to observe that there is only one serious obstacle to the attainment <? 
that most desirable object. Within ten yards of the front of the Cathedral, and between it and the 
principal street of Kirkwall, there is situated the County Jail and Court-house, a strong and sufficient, 
but at the same time most unsightly, modern building, and the General Prison Board for Scotland are 
urgently pressing upon the County the necessity of erecting an addition to it. In the event of this 
being done, the prison, which even at present interferes with the Cathedral, will nearly altogether 
exclude the view of the principal or western front from the opposite street. Now, in order that the 
ground in front may be wholly cleared, and that the Earl's Palace may be restored and preserved, 
your Memorialists would respectfully propose to give up the Jail and Court-house, with the surround- 
ing ground, to the Crown, and also to give a considerable sum of money for restoring the EarPa 
Palace, on condition that your Lordships will convert the latter building into a County Hall, Court- 
house, and Jail, according to the plans and elevations prepared by Mr Mathison, and which accompany 
this Memorial. The dimensions of these plans were taken by Mr Mathison upon the spot, and the 
walls being nearly complete, the most part of the chimneys entire, and the raglets of the gables* 



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92 KIRKWALL IN THEj ORKNEYS. 

clearly marked, your Memorialists are satisfied, from personal knowledge and inspection of th^ 
building, that the elevations exhibit a faithful representation of the palace as it originally existed. 

** The expense of restoring and fitting up the Earl's Palace in the manner proposed is estimated 
at about £2500, and the rent of the Earl's Palace and the piece of enclosed ground in which it is 
situated is £7 per annum. With a view to meet this expense, your Memorialists are prepared to 
contribute the value of the present Jail and County Buildings, to be given up by them to the Crown, 
which is estimated at £600, together with a further sum of £1000. There will then remain only a 
sum of £900 to be provided by your Lordships. By entertaining this proposal, therefore, you will, at 
an expense of less than £1000, obtain the complete restoration of a very beautiful national building, 
remarkable for the historical associations connected with it ; and it is important to observe that the 
mere operation of putting the building in a state of pennanent repair would cost the County 
£1000, and that once restored and converted into public offices, the County of Orkney will undertake 
to maintain and preserve it in perpetuity free of expense to the Crown. Farther, the present prop(raaI 
will enable your Lordships, for the tnHing additional sum of £500 or £600, to get an ample space of 
clear ground in front of the Cathedral, so that its magnificent proportions may be seen in every 
direction and to the best advantage. 

" Your Memorialists place implicit confidence in the experience, ability, and good taste of the 
professional Gentlemen employed by the Commissioners of Woods and Forests, and are willing to leave 
the repairing of the Earl's Palace and fitting up of the Jail and Public Offices entirely in their hands ; 
and tliey venture to hope that, under the circumstances, your Lordships will be pleased to give your 
early and favourable consideration to the present proposal. '^ 

This was signed, in name of the memorialists, by James Baikie, Convener of the County. 

At a " Special meeting of Commissioners of Supply, Justices of the Peace, and Landed 
Proprietors of the County of Orkney and Magistrates of Kirkwall, held at Kirkwall, 22nd 
Jany. 1849, James Baikie of Tankerness, Convener of the County, in the Chair, 

" Mr Robertson read to the meeting a Memorial of the Lords of the Treasury praying for 
the restoration of the Earl's Palace at Kirkwall, and that it might be converted into a County 
Hall, Court House, Public Offices, and Jail. 

" Mr John Baikie moved that the Memorial should be adopted, and that the Convener 
of the County should transmit it to His Grace the Duke of Sutherland with a request that he 
will be ple<a.sed, in addition to the great services he has already rendered to this County, to 
present it to the Lords of the Treasury and to give it his support. Mr Scarth seconded the 
motion, and it was unanimously adopted." 

For some reason, good or bad, the Commissioners of Woods and Forests refused to listen 
to the prayer of the memorialists. And this seems to be a convenient place for stating a 
strong grievance which our county has against the British Government. 

The old bishopric lands were not granted by the Crown for the support of the church. 
They had been given to the church, piece by piece and time after time, by pious, or, as some 
would say, superstitious adherents. Earl Rognwald's endowment t was doubtless the largest. 

The bulk of these dedications are so much older than our oldest rentals that the gifts 
cannot be traced to the donors, but one or two of the most recent are recorded. 

In " The coppie of My Lord Sinclairis Rentale that deit at Flowdin," under the heading 
** Insula de Hoy," we read, " Benith the hill was ane uris terre of the quhilk the first erle 
henrie gaif to the vicar iiijd-terre for the uphald of ane mess in hoy a day ilk oulk for ever."* 

Of Garth in Evie it is recorded " the quhilk Johne of Quendaleis gransire callit guidbrand 
aucht, and gave the said iiijd-terre to the kirk of Evie for a mess to be said ilk fryday." 

Thus the bishopric lands belonged to the church in absolute right as fully as any property 
can belong to a private citizen. But circumstances favouring, the Crown confiscated the 
whole, selling portions now and then when money was wanted for such a purpose as the laying 
out of a public park for the people of London. And yet Government remains persistently deaf 
to any appeal for assistance that comes from Orkney. 

* Pet. Bent., i. 31. t Saga, chap. Ixii. 



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THE EABL S PALACE. Qp 

" While Britain parades her maternal care and lavish liberality even to her distant 
dependencies, Orkney has been neglected by every public officer except the tax gatherer. 
Twice has its right to the income of its own State Property been officially recognised ; once bjr 
a lease from George III. in trust for its public improvements, 27th July 1776, and again by ^ 
Treasury Warrant for the same purpose from George IV., 3rd March 1826 ; but the first was 
diverted to the sole use of the lessee ; and the second was evaded by a shuffle of Government 
Offices, and repudiated on the lawyerly quibble that the British Commissioners of Woods and 
Forests are not bound by the obligations of the Scottish Exchequer. Instead of due protection 
in return for the taxation and duty of subjects, a County which contributed 6000 seamen to 
the British Navy, was denied one gunboat to guard its own shores from the repeated insolence 
of privateers. 

" Conscious that Orkney was but a pawn which might some day be redeemed by the 
rightful owner, Scotland, like a temporary tenant, scourged the precarious holding with unfair 
cropping and stinted outlay ; and Britain, her assignee, discovering its capacity to produce an(l 
to endure, has followed the same profitable precedent of chronic hard usage. Even though 
Scotland may have reduced Orkney to * the skeleton of a departed country,' Britain has still 
found profit in gnawing the bones." * 



APPENDICES TO CHAPTER VII. 
I.— Government of Orkney after the Impignoration. 

In 1468, Orkney and Shetland were given to James III. in pledge for the payment of his 
bride's dowry. 

Three years afterwards, James, by an Act of Parliament, united the islands to the 
Crown. This was a mere formality, seeing that they still belonged to Denmark ; but the King 
evidently looked upon the earldom as personal property, as he decreed that it should not 
henceforth be given to any one but a lawful son of the sovereign. 

In 1489, Henry, Lord Sinclair, a son of William, the last of the St. Clair Earls, got a 
commission for collecting the King's rents, and in 1501 this commission expanded into a 
nineteen years' lease. Lord Sinclair died at Flodden, 1513, and the lease was continued to 
his widow. 

In 1630 the islands were given in feu to James, Earl of Moray, but ten years afterwards 
they were again annexed to the Crown. 

In 1542 they were conferred by the Regent Arran upon the Earl of Huntly, who kept 
them for thirteen years, when he was deprived by Queen Mary. 

In 1566 Mary gave a grant of the earldom to her natural brother Lord Robert Stewarts 
but revoked it two years later and gave it, with the title of Duke, to James Hepburn, Earl ot 
Bothwell. 

In 1580 Earl Robert Stewart was reinstated by James VI., but on account of hja 
oppressive rule, and for disloyalty to the King, he was deprived in 1686. 

In 1587 Sir John Maitland of Thirlstane, Chancellor of Scotland, and Sir Ludovic 
Ballenden, Lord Justice-Clerk, got a tack of the earldom revenues, but in 1591 the irrepres- 
sible Lord Robert was a^ain in possession, and shortly afterwards he got a separate grant of 
the bishopric lands. This was continued to his son, Patrick, in 160^). 

In 1606 the bishopric was given to James Law, who, for the Earl's Palace, the patronage 
of all the churches, and a certain fixed revenue, compounded with Patrick Stewart for the 
bishopric rents. 

Meanwhile Earl Patrick had borrowed large sums of money from Sir John Amot, whe 
for security had himself infeft in the earldom, and this infeftment was ratified by Parliamept, 
1606. 

* Balfour'B Odal Rights and Feudal Wropgs, p. 76. 



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94 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNBTS. 

In 1612 the King bought up Sir John Arnot's right, and again the earldom was annexed 
to the Crown, Bishop Law naving the management as Commissioner. 

In 1614 a Contract of Excambion passed between the King and the Bishop, the latter 
resigning the whole of the old bishopric to the Crown, while James guaranteed Law and his 
successors an annual revenue of 8000 merks out of the rents of seven and a half parishes. 



11. —The New Earldom. 



In 1614, a lea.se of the earldom was granted to Sir James Stewart of Kilsyth, afterwards 
Lord Ochiltree. " For his oppressive rule and for tampering with the weights he was deprived 
and condemned to a long imprisonment." * 

In 1622, Sir John Buchanan of Scotscraig was Farmer-General ; in 1624. Sir George Hay 
of Kinfauns, who was followed by Napier of Merchiston and William Dick of Braid. 

In 1643, '* King Charles the First, in the midst of his troubles, granted these islands to 
William, Earl of Morton, under the name or in the form of a Mortgage redeemable by the 
Crown on payment of thirty thousand pounds s^ierling." t 

Under the (commonwealth, Morton was deprived ; but, in 1662, Charles II. renewed the 
grant to George, Viscount Grandison, as trustee for the Morton family. 

In 1669 this grant was reduced in an action raised by the Lord Advocate, Sir John Nisbet 
of Dirleton, and the earldom was again annexed to the Crown. 

In 1707 it was restored to Morton by Queen Anne, under redemption, for £30,000 as 
formerly. 

By Act of Parliament, 1742, the right of redemption was withdrawn, and a charter was 
passed under which Morton was in f eft. 

In 1766, Sir Lawrence Dundas, for £60.000, purchased from James, Earl of Morton, the 
Earldom of Orkney and Lordship of Zetland, obtaining at the same time a charter from the 
Crown. 



III.— New Bishopric. 



Bishop Graham succeeded Law, 1615, and held the see till 1638, when Episcopacy was 
disestablished. The rents were then farmed by Sir William Dick. In 1641, Robert Leslie got 
a nineteen years' lease. The year following, Leslie assigned his lease to the Ma^strates of 
Edinburgh, who procured a charter from the Crown, which wa^ subsequently ratihed by Act 
of Parliament. 

Baikie of Tankemess and Buchanan of Sound farmed the rents under the Town Council 
of Edinburgh from 1652 to 1656, when the latter died, and the former continued tacksman till 
1660. 

1662, Episcopacy re-established. 

1688, Revolution followed by the final disestablishment of Episcopacy in Scotland. 

1689, Robert Elphingston of Lopness collects the rents at a salary of £200. 

1702-4, William Menzies of Raws was Chamberlain of the bishopric for the University of 
Aberdeen, which had got a lease in 1699. 

1705-14, Sir Alexander Douglas of Egilshay farmed the rents. 

1715 and 16, Graham of Breckness. 

1717-21, Captain James Moodie of Melsetter. 

1722-26, Robert Honyman of Graemsay. 

1727-31, John Covingtrie of Newark. 

1732-41, John Hay of Balbethan. 

1742-60, Andrew Ross. In 1760 the lease was renewed to Mr Ross during His Mcgesty's 
pleasure. 

1775, the Dundas family got the bishopric at a rent of £50, and held it till 1825, since 
when it has been retained by the Crown. 

* Fund Process, ii. 7. + Barry. 



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CHAPTER VIII. 

Town Hall. 

fT is impossible now to show when municipal government became effective in Kirkwall, but 
till it did become effective there was no such thing as x)ersonal freedom enjoyed or even 
understood by the inhabitants. In the old Norse days every man was bound to have a 
master, the Earl himself acknowledging the superiority of the Norwegian King. Service on 
the part of the man secured the protection of the master, who, possibly himself a despot, 
suffered no one else to oppress his adherents. A masterless man became an outlaw and an 
exile. 

After the building of the Cathedral, the double town was ruled by the Earl and the 
Bishop. Every man residing between the Castle and the Shore was the Earl's man, and all 
above were vassals of the Church. Thus the division of the townspeople into " Up-the-gates " 
and " Down-the-gates " dates from the twelfth century. 

The charter creating the little town a Royal Burgh, and therefore giving it a municipal 
constitution, was granted in 1486, but then and long afterwards the occupants of the Castle 
and of the Palace were too strong to tolerate popular government. 

There is documentary evidence, however, to show that there was " Ane Burrow court 
holden at the said Burgh be Henry Sinclair, Proveist ; James Reidpest and Gilbert Sclaitter, 
two of the Baillies," 21st. Oct. 1549. 

" Letters of Homing be Queene Marie, daitit at Edinr, the 17 Feb. 1565," were sent to 
Patrick Bellenden, " Proveist of the. said Burgh." 

The Stewart Earls, Robert and Patrick, sat as Provosts in the Burgh Courts with the 
Bailies and Councillors. 

We know of " ane burrow court holden be Lord Robert Stewart, Proveist ; David Scollay, 
Jon. Sklaitter, Thomas Cumming, and William Bothwell, Baillies ; Nicol Sinclair, Deanagill ; 
Archibald Chalmers, Thesaurer ; with the Counsall and Magnus Paplay, Clerk ; at which 
tyme Gaivein Tailyeor was admitted Burgess and Gillbrother be ym, 22 Sept. 1567." 

We have also a sitting of "Patrick, Earl of Orkney, Proveist," with the Bailies and 
Council, 20th Jan. 1604. 

There is no direct evidence to show where those old provosts held their meetings. A 
house at the Shore still bears the name Tounigar, and possibly it may have been the Town 
Hall, the quarters of the Town Guard, and the prison. In the days, not very long gone by, 
when criminals were whipped through the town, the scourge was first applied at the comer of 
Shore Street, a few paces from ^ the House called Tounigar." 

But the Parliament House of the Stewart Earls occupied the site of the present Com- 
mercial Bank, and as late as 1648 we find official work being transacted there. "James 
Baikie, for a protestation in the Parliament Cloase, one Pound Scots."* 

* Sheriff Court Books. 



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96 KIEKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

Nearly two centuries bad elapsed from the granting of the charter before Kirkwall 
asserted her position among the Scottish towns by sending a Commissioner to the Convention 
of Royal Burghs. This was a kind of burghal parliament. Hill Burton says :— " When we 
first make acquaintance with it, it is called the Court of the Four Burghs, Edinburgh, 
Berwick, Sterling, and Roxburgh, and it seemed to have retained its old name when other 
burghs joined. The laws of the Four Burghs are more complete and compact than any other 
fragment of ancient legislation in Scotland. The power which this body had is attested by its 
marvellous tenacity of life. By degrees it absorbed all the royal burghs of Scotland. Under 
the name, ' Convention of Royal Burghs,' it continued to adjust questions about the internal 
constitution of the separate corporations. This function was superseded by the Burgh Reform 
Act of 1833 ; but the Convention still duly meets every year in Edinburgh, as if to keep the 
institution alive and ready for action should old powers ever revisit it."* 

One reason, doubtless, for Kirkwall's delay in joining the Convention is to be found in the 
fact that, down to the year 1611, Orkney continued to "bruicke its awen lawes" as a 
dependency of Denmark. It was during the proceedings against Earl Patrick Stewart that 
the Privy Council " took upon itself to abrogate the Scandinavian laws and usages and to 
declare that the law of Scotland only should be tolerated in Orkney and Zetland." f 

*' Forsameikle as the Kingis Mjyesty and his predecessors of famous memory, with the 
consent and authority of thair Estates of Parliament, has statute and ordainit that all and 
Btindry the subjects of this Kingdom sould live and be govemit under the lawis and statutes 
of this realm allenarly, and be no law of foreign countries as in the actis maid thairanent at 
length is conteinit; nochtwithstanding, it is of verity that some persons bearing power of 
Magistracy within the boundis of Orknay and Zetland has thir divers yeirs bygane maist 
unlauchfully tane upon thame, for thair own private gain and commodity, to judge the 
inhabitants of the said countries be foreyne lawis ; Thairfoir the Lordis of secret-council has 
dischargit, and by the tennor hereof discharges the said foreign lawis to be no further usit 
within the said countries of Orknay and Zetland, bot to use the proper laws of this Kingdom 
to His Majesty's subjects in all thair actions and causes as thai and ilk ane of thame will 
answer upon the contrair at thair heichest perril." ^ 

This Act of the Privy Council was practically an assertion that the impignoration of 1468 
was now beyond redemption on the part of Denmark, and that Scotland had finally annexed 
the islands. 

At a meeting of the Convention of Royal Burghs, held in Edinburgh, July 1669, James 
^oncrieff, Commissioner from Kirkwall, represented that the town was created a Royal Burgh 
hf James III., that this was ratified by James V., and that their charter was renewed by 
Charles II., 1661, but, through the oppression of the Earls and the poverty of the place, they 
could not till now attend ** the burrowes meetings." Kirkwall was then enrolled a free Royal 
Burgh. 

Perhaps the Town Council was emboldened to join the Convention of Royal Burghs by 
their Jiaving recently acquired a Tolbooth with accommodation for Council chambers and prison. 

In 1669, Arthur Baikie of Tankerness, Burgh Treasurer, took from Qeorge Linay, only son 
oi Oliver Linay, a lease of " the house at the foot of the Strynd with its yaird stretching to the 
lane§ leading to Pabdale, togidder with the haill beds, buirds, ambries, presses, furmes, locks, 
keyes, and others presentlie within the said house." || 

* The historian refers the student of municipal history to Sir James Marwick's valuable work, 
"Records of the Convention of Royal Burghs, with Extracts from other Records relating to the 
afifairs of the Burghs of Scotland." — History of Scotland, ii. 90. 

t Pet. Notes, App., 92. t Pet. Notes, App., 63. § Now King Street. 

II On the sill of a oack window of Dr Logie's house we have the initial letters, 0. L. 



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TOWN HALL. 97 

In a sasine of Arthur Buchanan of Sound, dated 13th July 1659, this house is described as 
" the Tenement of land of old callit the- Ridgeland, sometyme pertaining to George Smyth of 
Rapneas, now to Oliver Linay, merchant." It formed the southern boundary of Buchanan's 
property. 

The new Tolbooth was fii-st taken for a year and a half, at an annual rent of '* fyftie merk 
guid and sufficient money of this Realme of Scotland," Baikie undertaking to ** uphold the 
ruiff of the said house water thight during the said space, and at the oxpyreing of the said tak 
to have the said tenement in als guid condition, at the sight of honest newtrall men, as at his 
entrie thereto, and shall flitt and remove therefra without any proces of law." 

This was the first of many bargains which the Council made with the Linay family about 
this house. 

What business Oliver Linay carried on does not appear. Alexander Linay, barber, and 
therefore, in a rough way, surgeon, witnesses a deed, 19th March 1631. 

From George Linay this house passed to his sister Anna, wife of Patrick Murray, N.P. 
" Thursday, about five in morning, Anna Linay, spouse to Patrick Murray, Notr. Publick, was 
delivered of a man child, who was baptised Francis." * 

16th Dec. 1709. — "The Magistrates and Council appoynts Bailly Richan, James' M*Kenzie, 
Robert Pottinger, and David Strang to treat with Marion Ritchie, relict of umqll. Francis 
Murray, anent what she will take for her life rent of the Tolbooth." 

In four months the committee were able to report that they had purchased from Mrs 
Murray her liferent interest in the Tolbooth for one hundred merks Scots, and quitting her of 
Cess on the double tenement of land occupied by her a little below the Broad Sands." t 

For holding Council meetings and Burgh Courts the dwelling-house of a Kirkwall mer- 
chant might be .suitable enough ; but as a prison it proved a sad failure, as witne.ss the numerous 
esciipes recorded. Thomas Brown tells that on a Sabbath afternoon in time of sermon, two 
men. Read and Gome, imprisoned for theft, " made their escape out of the Tolbooth of 
Kirkwall. Read was that same afternoon apprehended and placed therein in the langirons. 
Gome went over the Ferrie."t 

The langirons of the Kirkwall Tolbooth have not been preserved, and possibly no 
description of them exists, but we may form some idea of the difficulty of flight with such 
encumbrances when we read that the langirons used by Earl Patrick Stewart were stated at 
the trial of Alyson Balfour, " ane VVich," to be fifty stone weight. 

From the insanitary condition of prisons generally, "jail fever" was known as a specific 
malady all over Europe, and deaths in our Tolbooth were not uncommon. 

" About the latter end of March 1678, Alexander Mowat of Lynzie was captured and put 
in the Tolbooth of Kirkwall for the payment of 200 merks or thereby, and upon Saturday abt. 
4 in the afternoon he departed this life in the Tolbooth, being the 13th April, and was buried 
in St. Magnus Kirk on Tuesday yrafter." § 

In Brown's diary, 3rd Sept. 1681, we have a reference to Patrick Craigie of Wasdale as 
being a prisoner in the Tolbooth, and on 26th Feb. 1682, "Sabbath morning, about 7 or 
yrby, Pat. Craigie, sometyme Provost of Kirkwall, depd. this life in the Tolbooth of the said 
Burgh." 

On the other hand, Baikie of Tankerness chose to remain a year in the Tolbooth on a 
question of debt, and was seemingly none the worse for his incarceration. || 

" The Magistrates and Council appoynts the Clerk of Court to writt a letter to Robert 

Baikie of Tankerness, to see what course he would fall upon for payment of George Baikie, his 

• T. B., 23rd May 1678. t C. R., 13th Ap. 1710. $ May 1687. 

§ T. B. II C. R., 28th Augt. 1710. 



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^8 KIRKWALL IN THK ORKNEYS. 

father, his tolbuith mealla * in regard his said father has been neer a year in prison, and no 
part of his Tolbuith mealis payed, nor no oblidgement granted therefor, and to demand ane 
ansr. from ye sd. Tankerness, Yr., in writt, s*) yt. the Magsts. and Councill may be satisfied." 

In 1703, on the 23rd of April, George Richan of Linklater placed in the hands of Mungo 
Buchanan, N.P., "The Bill eftermentionate, qreof the tennor followes :— 10£ Star. Edr., 16 
March 1703. Upon thriedayes«ight of this my only bill, pay to Geoi^geRichane of Linklater, 
or ordour, Ten pound Starling value on accompt with him," (fee. This bill was not met. But 
it was a mere flea-bite compared with another debt incurred the same year. 

In 1709, the year of the imprisonment, there is an acknowledgment given by Robert 
Baikie, beginning, " Forsameikle as George Baikie of Tankerness, my father, and I, by Bond 
19 Jany. 1703, to Sir Samuel McLellan of Edr. or to Robert McLellan of Bavelay, then 
Stewart of Orkney, for £2961 Scots," &c. Baikie offers, by way of security, to infeft " in 
Holland in Stronsay, Skelwick and Gairth in Westray, and Saverock and Quoys in St. Olla.'* 

Doubtless it was in this connection that Tankerness went to prison, and as the assets were 
undoubtedly good, the confinement must have been made necessary by the laird's obstinacy in 
<K)nnection with some obnoxious point in the transaction. This seems all the more probable 
43eeing that he refused to pay his Tolbooth fees. There would be no charge for board, as his 
meals would be supplied from his own house. 

The longest period of imprisonment recorded in Kirkwall is that of Sir James Sinclair of 
Mey, who died in the Tolbooth after nine years' residence within its walls. 

When such prolonged terms of confinement were possible, prison regulations + required to 
be judiciously framed and carefully attended .to. 

Under these rules the gaoler could add to his pay pretty substantially by his perquisites ; 
while in the Tolbooth a prisoner who could afford to pay for it was allowed an amount of 
luxury which nowadays would not be tolerated. 

"11th March 1680.— It being complained to the said Magistrates and Counsell that ther is ane 
great abuse done in the tolbuith by these quha are imprisoned ther, by keeping women and men- 
servants both night and day in with them as if it were ther owen dwelling-houses, and in keeping and 
makine use of pots, pans, speets, raxies and utheris as if the same were ane comon cooke's nous, far 
beyond the order kept in oyer Jay Is or tolbuiths, qch, if not prevented, may rise to ane greater prejudice 
to the place. Therefore, these are discharging tne JajUor to suffer any persone or persones to stay m 
ye sd tolbuith after 8 hours in the evening (except these quham are prisoners), and to suffer none to 
enter into ye sd tolbuith to make visites before 8 hours in the morning or efter 8 hours in ye evening." 

On the other hand, it was not at all an uncommon thing for a prisoner to appeal to the 
Council to be set at liberty, as he had no means of supporting himself and his family. When 
the prisoner*s offence was not heinous, such a petition was usually granted, but even then some 
unfortunates left the gaol burdened with debt to their keeper. 

The Tolbooth yard was used by privileged burgesses for storing lumber. " Oct. 14th, 
Tuesday, Thomas Brown (Town Clerk) delivered the key of the Tolbuith to James Baikie of 
Tankerness for putting in some Timber of the pryse broken up at the aire of Kirkwall." 

But the Council Chamber was naturally the most interesting part of the Tolbooth. In 
the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries cases were taken up and adjusted by the Burgh 
Courts which now would inevitably go to the Court of Session. At the ordinary meetings of 
Council, matters of very grave public importance often cropped up; and for the orderly 
conduct of business a table of strict standing orders and general regulations of tedious length 
was prepared. J 

One of the most important functions of Royal Burghs was the regulation of trade by the 
granting of licenses to all classes of traffickers. This lay in the hands of the Merchant Guilds 
* Fees. + See Appendix I. t See Appendix IL 



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TOWN HALL. 99 

a corporation within the corporation having its own Dean and Councillors. The Guild drew 
a sharp line between trading and mechanical pursuits, and where the two would tend to com- 
bine, insisted on having them separated. Thus three clasnes of handworkera— dyers, butchers^ 
and shoemakers— could only be admitted Guild brethren by leaving the mechanical part of 
their business entirely to hired operatives, themselves attending solely to buying and selling * 

The Kirkwall Dean of Guild granted tnuiing licenses to all the merchants of Orkney, and 
without his ^* ticket" no man might sell any kind of commodity. Infringements of this law 
were smartly dealt with, and the buyer was liable to punishment where the seller could n«>t be 
got at. The treatment of offenders sometimes i»assed the verge of oppression. 

A Kirkwall doctor purchased, for surgical uses, from a foreign vessel, some caddis (lint), 
and he was severely fined, the captain having no ticket from the Guild Court. 

The "un free- traders" gave great trouble to the Royal burghs individually, and to the 
Conventitm. This Court assessed each of the towns in its membership, and the Corporation of 
Kirkwall was expected to recoup itself from the fines of the unfree traders. 

In 1698 our burgh was gt-oaning under an assessment of twelve shillings per pound, which 

could not be collected, and after the manner of the time a party of soldiers was quartered on 

the town's folk. In the circumstances they lay their case before their Member of Parliament, 

Sir Alexander Hume : — 

Kirkwall, 18 Auffust 1698. 

Right Honourable, — We did presume, at the advice of our good and tnistie friend, Sir William 
Crai^e of Gairsay, to Imploy your Hon. to be Commissioner for our Brugh to this present Current 
Parliament, and we hear to our great Vitisfactione that vou have accept of the same, for which we doe 
render due and heartie thanks : We desyre to Informe Yor. Hon. ^hat past at the last Convention in 
Pearth, anno 1697, concerning this poor bnigh, that it was at 12 sh. in the taxt roll, for which there 
la a partie lyeing upon us now, and yet we are not able to pay the third pairt of that taxatioune : 
And at that tyme there was condescension made betwixt the royal Burrows & Mr John Buchan, agent 
for them, for the unfrie tradera. Efter which tyme he wrotte to us to take ane subtack from him, 
and to Improve the unfrie traders for our best use for the sowme of two thousand twentie thrie 
pounds ten shillings six pennies, and that for Orkney and Zetland, which sum we were not able to 
nndergoe, sieing we ly at sntch a distance from Zetland, neither did we accept of any tack at that 
time or since ; And now ther is a partie come to quarter for sixteen pounds starling upon the account 
of unfrie traders due since Lambes 1697, and we have no Inclinatione to Ingadge with the unfrie 
traders upon that acct. unless we get a seperatione of the sowmes betwixt Orkney and Zetland, 
Because its notourlie knowen by the travillers to both countreys that Zetland may pay the two part 
of the sowme, and that we doe not. resolve upon, any.accompt tojniddle with Zetland's ptpportione in 
regard to the distance of place. But, Hon. Sir, it is or desyre that our proportione for Orkney may 
be separat from 2!etland'8 proportione and modified proportionablie to the esteate and conditione of 
the small number and poor unfrie traders within this countrey. And then we shall endevour as farre 
as we can to sett quarterlie payment to the agent of the Bnrrowes of the proportione for Orkney as it 
shall be modified, out for Zetland we resolve not to meddle with it upon any termes. My Lord, this 
our earnest desyre is recommendit to your care, and expects you will be myndfnll in this affair which 
is our present concernment, And we shall ever wish all prosperitie and happines to you and all yours, 
and shall continew Your Most Humble and Obedient Servants. 

Honourable Sir, if ther be not a reasonable ease srantit to us for the unfrie traders within this 
countrey, we cannot upon any accompt meddle with the same, And in the meantyme, for our better 
Infonnatione, crave your Hon. advyce heiriu with the first occasion how we shall walk. 

Printed forms intimating what the Convention required from individual burghs were 
issued, and subjoined is the subject of the above complaint : — 

I, Mr John Buchan, Agent to the Boj/al Burrows, In Obedience to an Act of General Convention 
of Burrows, holden at Edinburgh the 18th of November 1697 years, Ordaining me to srant Subtacks to 
the Boyal Burrows, and then to accept of the same in the Terms and upon the Conoutions mentioned 
in the said Act, Do therefore hereby Assign and Dispone to and their Successors in Ofiice, 

the whole Fines and Compositions payaole by the Unfree-Traders and others having Benefite by 
Trade within Orknay i&;"Z^tliuid, as also, the Fynes of Free Men, Loading and Livermg at Unfree 

♦ Hill Burton, ii. 93. 



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100 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEyS. 

ports, and Partners with Unfree Men in ships, or loadning, Conform to the Acts of the General 
Coin^eiitioji at Dundee in Juli/ 1692, The Act of Communication of Trade in anno 1693, several Decreers 
of the Lords of Session, Proclamation of Privy Council (upon a Taxt Roll of the Unfree Traders of the 
respective Shires), and Act of the late Convention at Perth in Juiy last 1697, And to the said Acts, 
Decreets, and Proclamation as far as the samen can be extended to the said Stewartrie. For the 
which Causes, The said and their foresaids are oblieged by the said Act, 18 November 1697, to 

pay to me, my Heirs, Executors, or Assignies the Summ of Eightie-four Punds Scots Money quarterly, 
beginning at LammeHa last, Aye and until the summ of Two Thousand and Twentie-thrie Punds Ten 
Shilling and Six Pennies Money foresaid, resting be the Unfree Trailers within the said Shire for Cess 
and Missive Dues, from Lambm^jw One thousand six hundred and ninety-two to Whiteminday 1697, 
inclusive, be payed in to me and my foresaids, with Annual rents, from the Term of MartinmoHH last ; 
As also (for the Term of LamhmeHH last, and in time coming, dureing the last Tack set to me at Ptrthy) 
They and their foresaids are oblieged to pay the cess and Missive Dues, Corresponding to the Taxt 
Roll of the said Shire, in manner specified in said Act of Burrows, Consenting to the Registration 
hereof in the Hooks of Council ana Session, or any other Judges Competent, therein to remain ad 
Juluram rei mtmoriam, and Constitutes My Procurators. In Witness Whereof, I have Sub- 

scribed these presents at Edinburgh, the Elleventh day of January One thousand six hundred and 
ninety -eight years, before thir Witnesses, George Buchan, my son, and Alx. J. Paterson, my 
Servitour. (Signed) Jo. Buchax. 

(Signed) Geo. Buchan, Witnes. 

(Signed) Alx. J. Paterson, Witnes. 

If Kirkwall was punished by having a party of soldiers quartered on it, the Dean of Guild 
and his Court were sometimes able to turn the men to account. A list of unfree traders was 
given to the officer in command, and he sent his men to take free quarters in the houses of the 
delinquents : — " Sergeant Blair, by warrant from the Magistrats of Kirkwall, you are heirby 
ordered to quarter upon the forenamed persones, unfree traders, qll further order. Subt. at 
Kirkw.iU the sixteen day of Septr. 1698.— Geo. Spence, Clk." 

A party had been sent to South Ronaldshay, and Sir Archibald Stewart of Burray 
put in a protest addressed to " William Young, Bailie, or in his absence, ane of the Magistrats 
upon the place": — 

Sir, — I am told by my tennauts in Southronaldshaw that your brongh hath ordered quartering on 
them as unfree traders. This is to advais you that ther is non of them hath any tred farther than to 
sell what oylle and fishes they tack with ther own hands out of the seas and then sells them whear 
they can get the best price, or then ipveth it to me for ther land de^ ty, and I know no law forbids 
me to dispose of my rents any place I pleas. If ther be one of them have any further tred I am weell 
pleased all the extremity of the law be used asainst them, but you'll exous me not to suffer my 
teonants to meet with injustice from any body if I can help it. If ye proseed to poimd I shall not 
opos you, bnt expects reparation from the Counsell, to whom (cost what it will) I will mean my selfe 
befor the least of them sufier wrong. I desire ye will communicat this to the rest of your number and 
let me have your answer by this berer, which will oblidj, — Sir, your reall friend and Servant, 

(Signed) Arch. Stewart. 

Burray, the last day of Agust 1698. 

The answer returned by bearer was : — 

Kirkwall, Last Augt. 1698. 

Honourable Sir, — Wee receaved yours wherein ye wrotte to us anent some of your teneuts in 
Southronaldshay. Yesterday ther came four or fyve men of that ylle to toune and spoak to us (whose 
tennents they were wee know, not), and desyres to be admittit friemen within our brugh. But, efter 
comouning with them, they and wee could not aggrie as to ther friedome, so that we desyred them to 
goe home and take ther hazard as others, and as to what traide they have, whether export or import, 
wee are strangers to itt as yet. But, if they be found to come within the compass of unfrie tredders, 
they w ill be liable according to law. This, with or. humble service to yorself , Lady, and faniallie, 
is all from, Honourable Sir, yor most humble Servants. 

The separate burghs being controlled by the Convention, the Dean-of-Guild and his 
Court were not altogether free agents in dealing with these unlicensed merchants. 

4th Oct, 1714.— "There was presented in Council by John Covingtrie, Bailie, their late 
Commissioner to the Convention of Royal Burrows held in Edinburgh in July last, ane act of 



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TOWN HALL. 101 

the said Royal Burrows in favours of this Burgh, conjoining ane gift of the Unfree Traders 
of Orkney and Zetland for three years preceding the said Act and four years thereafter, and 
Impouring the Magistrates of this Burgh to pursue the Unfree Traders in Orkney and Zetland 
for their Unfree Trading, and to compone, transact, and agree with them thereanent for the 
foresaid space, and apply what shall be recovered for behoove of the said Burgh." 

The trading licenses varied in degree from the humble Chapman's ticket, which was much 
the same as the hawker's license of the present day, to the double qualification of Burgess' 
and Guild Brother's ticket, which gave all the liberty in trade that the burgh could bestow. 

The cost of the licenses varied not only according to the kind of ticket granted, but also 
according to the means of the applicant, who generally assessed himself. 

On the 17th August 1698, William Halcro, merchant in Orphir, oflFered £50 Scots for his 
" freedom "—£36 " in hand," and a bond for fourteen to be paid at Candlemas. Two days 
later, James Millar, merchant in Birsay, oflFers 10 rix-dollars down, which was accepted ; John 
Stewart, Orphir, £48 ; David Flett of Gruthay, £40 ; John Flett, his brother, £30. Alex- 
ander Sutherland, St. Margaret's "Houp," offered £20, and "the Magistrates and counsill 
(having taken the sd. Alexr. his mean conditione to their consideratione with the offer made) 
they accept of his sd. offer in respect of his mean stock." 

While the Council was willing to consider the poor man's case, they dealt smartly with 
anything like uppLshness. At a Court held 11th March 1670, John Richan, who came of a 
wealthy family of dyers, " declared he was not frie to declare whate trade he would take him 
to, which being considered, the saids Magistrate gave him till Lambes to give his positive 
answer, and ordained him to give fourtie pound Scots, ayr be bond or money." 

One clause in the burgess oath points to what might have been an easy evasion of a Guild 
Brother's duty—" I shall not colour unfreeman's goods under colour of my own." 

These tickets had reference in some degree to the geographical range of a merchant's 
business. 4th Nov. 1709, " Those who have trade only to Inverness or Zetland should have 
only chopman's ticquets, and for a lesser sum than those who pack and peill in foreign com- 
modities to Leith or further, and have guild brothers' ticquets." 

Complimentary tickets were also granted. 

The clerk was instructed to WTite for " Harrie Moncrieff a gentleman Burgess ticket in 
Latiii," 18th March 1702. 

" The quhilk day,* the puts, abovenamed t doth enact and ordaine that no persone or 
jKjrsones be admitted f rieman burges efter the date heirof gratis, ay, and whill the brugh be 
outred and fred from their publick debt, and that becaus of the great burden and debts the 
brugh is now resting, and yt. uther weightie concerns to be exped, which by all appearance 
will stand great expenses. —/S'tc Sub,^ Tho. Wilsone, bailie ; A. Baikie, bailie; D. Monceibpf, 
bailyie." 

The rule was not adhered to. 

The freedom of the burgh has been given to many illustrious visitors, including one 
member of the Royal Family, Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh. 

Among distinguished names of recent date, there are enrolled, W. E. Gladstone, Alfred 
Tennyson, W. H. Smith, First Lord of the Treasury ; Viscount Peel, and Lord Wolseley. 

The most magnificent presentation recorded was that to Sir Lawrence Dundas in 1768, 
when the burgess ticket was given in a silver box " made upon the town's expense." 

At the election of a member of Parliament for the Northern Burghs, each of the others 
sent a Commissioner to that burgh in which the election was to take place. In June 1709, 
Andrew Young of Castleyards, one of the bailies, was sent to Tain as Commissioner from 
* 19th March 1670. t Bailies and CJouncillors. 



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102 KIRKWALL IN% T«£'Q&KN^TS. 

Kirkwall, taking with him a blank burgess ticket to be filled in with the name of the 
successful candidate. 

In April 1784, during the civic reign of Provost Riddoch, Kirkwall was the returning 
burgh, and here the Commissioners for the Burghs of Kirkwall, Tain, Dingwall, Dornoch, and 
Wick did "freely and indifferently elect and choose the Right Honourable Charles James 
Fox, a burgess of the Borough of Kirkwall, to attend and serve in the ensuing Parliament of 
Great Britain for the said class or district of Boroughs above-mentioned." 

In this remarkable election there were two candidates. Fox and John Sinclair of Ulbster. 
Fox was proposed by Provost Riddoch, who was supported by Colonel Ross as representing 
Tain, and Duncan Munro from Dingwall ; while John Sutherland, Wick, and John Gordon, 
from Dornoch, voted for Ulbster ; consequently Fox got in by three to two. 

The state of public feeling in Kirkwall over this contest, as shown by the public records, 
has been given at length by a recent writer,* but it may not be out of place to notice here the 
])olitical necessity that made Fox contest the burghs. 

Lord North, whose arbitrary dealings with the American colonies had brought on the 
War of Independence, was at the time the most unpopular man in England, and it was feared 
that Fox, who had lately been in coalition with North, would share that unpopularity, and so 
find himself without a seat in the new Parliament. 

In Westminster, three candidates — Lord Hood, Mr Fox, and Sir Cecil Wray — competed 
for two seats, Admii*al Hood and Sir Cecil Wray were on the Ministerial side ; Fox repre- 
sented the Opposition. The polling began on the first day of April, and continued till the 
seventeenth of May. It was the longest and fiercest election contest that ever took place in 
England, and the history of its progress from day to day has been preserved. The Ministerial 
candidates had not only the sympathy but the active support of the King, George the Third. 
All the Court servants were ordered to vote for Hood and Wray ; every tradesman patronised 
by the King was compelled to take the same side, and a body of two hundred and eighty 
Guards was marched down to poll for the King's friends. 

On the other hand, the Prince of Wales exerted all his influence in favour of Fox. 
Ladies took part in the work. The beautiful Duchess of Devonshire canvassed for Fox. 

** Arciiyed iainatohlesa beauty, Devon's fair 
In Fox's favour takes a zealous part ; 
But oh ! where'er the pilferer comes, beware, 
She supplicates a vote and steals a heart." 

Lady Buckinghamshire took the field for Hood and Wray. She had more weight — 
avoirdupois — than the Duchess, and the opposite side had the bad taste to call her Madam 
Blubber. Her successes are also recorded : — 

" A certain lady I won't name, 

Must take an active part, sir, 
To show that Devon's beauteous dame 

Should not eneaffe each heart, sir. 
She canvassed afi, both great and small, 

And thundered at each door, sir ; 
She rummaged every shop and stall, 

But the Uuchess was still before, sir." 

Lord Hood brought up a party of sailors to protect his voters, which they did by 
knocking down those on the other side. This was very effective for a day or two, but the 
Duchess was equal to the occasion. At that time the Sedan chair was the most fashionable 
mode of conveyance for short distances, and there was in the West End of London a small 

* Mackintosh, Curious Incidents, 244. 



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TOWN HALL. 103 

army of chairmen, mostly Irish. These were easily induced by a beautiful, fashionable, and 
liberal patroness to favour her cause, and, falling upon the sailors with their chair poles, 
they drove them from the field. From this time faction fights became a daily feature in the 
struggle. When at length the poll was declared, Fox stood next to Hood, and though by 
Provost Riddoch's influence he had already been elected for the Wick Burghs, he naturally 
preferred to sit for the constituency whieh had fought so hard for him. 

George Ross of Cromarty was elected 1786, and was followed the same year by Sir 
Charles Ross of Balnagowan. 

Some of the demands of the Royal Burghs seem not only unreasonable, but unworkable, 
looked at under modern light. " The Council appoint to be published through the town, by 
tuck of Drumb to-morrow, that Act concerning traders and merchants having trade to reside 
with their family within Royal Burrows at least eight months of the year."* 

" As far back as the year 1719," a definite proportion of the cess imposed upon Kirkwall 
by the Convention of Royal Burghs was collected from Stromness. The proportion was one- 
third, amounting, one year with another, to about £200 Scots— £16 13s 4d stg. t 

The excuse for this assessment was that " the inhabitants of Stromness reap great benefit 
from foreign trade," which was by statute the exclusive privilege of the Royal Burghs. For 
twenty-three years Stromness paid this tax, the Convention rating Kirkwall a third higher 
than would otherwise have been done. " In 1742, Alexander Graham, a public-spirited man, 
with two or three more of the traders of Stromness, thought fit to refuse to pay their shares of 
the cess laid on for that year, which encouraged the other inhabitants in like manner to with- 
draw their payment." 

" Upon this the Burrow of Kirkwall, having brought an Action against the Recusants 
before the Stewart Court for the payment of the Stent imposed upon them respectively, they 
obtained Decreet against them." 

The defenders went to the Court of Session, where it was decided that " the Burrow of 
Kirkwall could not by Law impose any part of the Cess on the inhabitants of Stromness." 

Kirkwall, now suffering under excessive taxation in having to pay the third imposed upon 
Stromness, a])pealed in 1745 to the Convention of Royal Burghs. On this the Convention 
ordered their agent to join with the Magistrates of Kirkwall in pursuing the inhabitants of 
Stromness, " concluding for Payment of the Values of the Goods which had been imported or 
exported by them unlawfully " since 1742. 

All Scotland was interested in the struggle. The only parallel case had been a futile 
attempt on the part of Greenock to escape from the tyranny of Glasgow. J 

The Convention, by their agent, having gone into Court, this became really the test case 
on which depended the retention or the loss of the peculiar privileges of the Royal Burghs. 
They asserted that " the Law still continues as it did before the Union, that the privilege of 
foreign trade belongs to the Royal Burrows only, and to such as have purchased a Communi- 
cation of Trade from them. And as it is impossible to conceive any thing more unjust than 
it would have been for the Legislature to have deprived the Royal Burrows of their privileges, 
and at the same time to leave them subject to the heavy burdens to which they had been 
formerly liable ; so it is to be observed that it is expressly provided by the 21st Act of the 
Union that the rights and privileges of the Royal Burrows in Scotland as they now are shall 
remain intire after the Union, and notwithstanding thereof." 

♦ C. R., 9th Oct. 1717. 

t CJase for Stromness, Court of Session, favoured by J. W. Cursiter, Esq. 

X Not only Burghs of Reality and of Barony, but merchants and shipowners all over the country, 
were deeply interested in having the monopoly of the foreign trade taken from the Royal Burghs. 



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104 KIRKWALL IN THEf ORKNEYS. 

The position of Stromness, as stated for Alexander Qraham and those who adhered to 
him, was : — 

*' The inhabitants of Stromness, by their position upon the Pentland Firth, have been frequently 
iinder a kind of necessity of dealing in foreign commodities, upon occasion of sliips putting into their 
harbour for want of provisions and other necessaries, which the crews of these ships could not purchase 
in any other way than by barter or exchange of such commodities as they have on board. And as it 
would have been barbarous and inhumane in the respondents to have refused such commerce, they 
came under the necessity of disposing of such inconsiderable quantities of foreign commodities as 
came into their hands. 

" These trifling and accidental purchases long since afforde<i a handle to the Magistrates of Kirk- 
wall, imder the colour of the statutes made against unfree traders, to oppress and harass the 
itihabitants of Stromness. To be freed from these vexations, the inhabitants of this village were 
uduced, in the 1719, to undertake a considerable proportion of the annual taxation laid upon the 
Bur^h of Kirkwall, in order to have a Communication of Trade ; which taxation, though unable, they 
continued to pay till the 1742. 

" But at last, finding this taxation, which was above £200 Scot a yearly, to })e a burden too heavy, 
apd quite unequal to any profit they had upon the occa«ional tratfick they had before mentioned, 
they withdrew the pavnient thereof. 

" This oflfende<l the Burgh of Kirkwall to a gvait degree, and provoke<l them to vex and harass 
the respondents in various shapes, particularly by two processes before this Court, from which the 
respondents were relieved by your Lordships' justice. 

*' But though the respondents gained the law, the expences of their defence made them rather 
chuse to submit to reasonable terms, if such could be ha<l, than to be longer subject e<l to an unequal 
fight with the Common (iootl of a Royal Borough. And, therefore, in the 1751, they made proposals 
to the Convention of Boroughs that they were willing to pay for the Communication of Trade a sixth 
part of the taxation of the Burgh of Kirkwall, providing that should be their fixed proportion in time 
to come, and that they should not be subject to the caprice of the Burgh of Kirkwall, or to the 
influence that Burgh might have on the Convention of Boroughs, to alter or increase that proportion 
at their pleasure. Bnt these reasonable terms were not listened to ; and the Convention would grant 
to the respondents the Communication of Trade upon these two conditions only : — let. The re- 

rndents paying up all bygones to the Burgh of Kirkwall from the year 1742, at the rate they paid 
t year. And, 2dly, that they should relieve the Town of KirkwaU of one-third of what was 
then charged on them or might be charged upon them afterwards in the Tax -Roll ; with poorer to 
the Convention to increase or diminish this proportion accordingly, as trade should increase or 
decrease in their respective places. 

** These conditions were so severe as to be equal to an explicit denial of the Communication of 
Trade. For how could it be expected that the respondents, who were no body corporate, could under- 
take to pay several years' bygones for a trade which others who were now dead and gone had the 
benefit of, and which amounted to a sum too considerable for the pockets of these villagers ? Or, 
2dlv, how could the respondents, who have no representative or vote in the Convention of l^ronghs, 
as Kirkwall has, submit to an arbitrary increase of their proportion of the taxation at the pleasure of 
the Convention? And thus the respondents were unjustl}' debarred from the Communication of 
Trade," 

The Court of Session decided in favour of Stromness, and the Convention of Royal 
Burghs, now fighting for dear life, took the case to the Honse of Lords. It was heard on 
Monday the I6th of January 1758, and the finding was practically that Kirkwall must hence- 
forth cease from taxing Stromness. In point of fact, and freely admitted by counsel for 
Stromness, the cess was laid on, not by Kirkwall, but by the Convention of Royal Burghs. 

It is worthy of notice that Stromness, in resisting taxation by the Convention of Royal 
Burghs because she had no representative in that Council, was asserting the principle on 
which, some twenty years later, the American colonists took their stand, and inspired by which 
they fought their way to independence. 

Though the ordinary duties of a Town Conncil are not generally interesting, there were 
occasions when the Magisterial work of Kirkwall was stirring, and even picturesque. Such an 
imposing function as the riding of the marches occasioned some excitement in the town : — 

" Kirkwall, the twentie-fourth day of Juli, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Six yeires. 
" Sederunt — David Traill of Sabay, provist, with three bailies and eight councillors. 



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Tv>WN HALL. 105 

" The quhilk Day the Magistrates and Council, with a great many of the respective Burgesses 
and several others of the communities having all met and convened at the Tolbooth of the foresaid 
Burgh, in obedience to their sederunt of the 12th instant, and proclamation following thereon appoint- 
ing and ordaining the haill Council, Burgesses, and others respective persons withm Bui*gh to meet 
and be in readiness and furnished with horses and furniture to attend the Magistrates for riding and 
viewing the Town's Marches this day. And after meeting in Council, the saids Magistrates, Council, 
and Community convened, went from the Tolbooth of the said Burgh to the Market Cross of the 
same. And having their horses in readiness standing there, they did all mount at the said Cross, and 
did ride from that forward through the North Common loan about both the quoys called St. 
Katherine's Quoys, and from that to the House of Weyland, where they halted a while on horseback ; 
at which House of Weyland, George Spence, Clerk of the said Burgh, held forth to the Provost, 
Bailies, and Council that the bam of Weyland was built upon the freedom of the said Burffh, and 
thereby encroachment was made upon the foresaid privileges, to which it was answered by the said 
Dvivid Traill of Sabay. Provost, that it was well enough known that the said bam was built upon the 
privileges foresaid, but that those who had built the said bam, and had thereby encroached as said 
IB, had long before now agreed with the Town therefor. 

*' And thereafter the saids Provost, Bailies, Council, and Community did all of them ride forward 
to the shore of Camess northward, being beyond the holm called Thievesholm, and went beneath the 
floodmark of the said Ness and fenced an Admiral Court there in Her Majesty's name and in name of 
the Provost and -Bailies of Kirkwall there present -as admirals of that boumls, as havina rights thereto 
by several charters under the Great Seal, two of which charters was produced and publicly read with 
a ratification of the same, and of two other charters in favours of the said Burgh by the parliament, 
which ratification is dated the day of sixteen hundred three score ten years. And caused 

search (after fencing the said Court) if there were any wreck goods there. And thereafter the saids 
Provost, Bailies, Council, Burgesses, and Community did all of them again mount their horses and 
did ride along the Marches belonging to their Bur|^ Southward to the outer dyke of Pabdale ; on the 
east side thereof there the said George Spence, Clerk, did hold forth that encroachment was made 
upon the privileges of the said Town there by flitting out of the head dyke a great way from the old 
bow or old head dyke eastward. Whereupon the Magistrates and Council caused the officers of Court 
break down a part of the said divot and feal of the said dyke so built upon their privileges, and 
appointed Alexander Baikie of Pabdale, who being then and there present, to remove that dyke which 
he or his predecessors had encroached upon the Town's privileges, and discharged the said Alexander 
from any farther encroaching upon the privileges of Kirkwall in any time coming. Whereunto it was 
answered bv the said Alexander Baikie that he craved a certain day might be assigned him for pro- 
duction of his charters to the effect his bounding might be known. The Magistrates assigned the said 
Alexander the day of for that effect. And after the saids Magistrates and Council 

their interruption at the dyke upon the east side of Pabdale, they all went forward to the dykes of 
Whiteford southeastward, and from that southwards to the Meadows of Laires, and southward from 
that to that part of the hill called Daillspott, being near to the extremest part of the hill called 
Kirkwall Hill, belonging to the Burgh of Kirkwall, towards the South, and did there cause their said 
clerk fenae-ane Town Coiupt-in Her •Majesty's name^ and authority and in name* and aithority of the 
saids Provost and Bailies. And immediately after fencing, the said C«nirt went forward on horseback 
to the outfreedom of Fea, Cannagill, Clova, and the lands of Scajia, M-hich bounds westward from the 
south bounding of the said hill called Kirkwall Hill, and thence back again northward to the dykes 
of Cannagill, Fea, Clova, the lands of Scapa and the Parish, riding alrms the east side of the said 
dykes to the Bum of Ae»Bdail]. And from that about the Lands of Quoyoanks, and about the three 
quoys or crofts called* Rouisquoy, Buttquoy, and Quoyangrie, belonging to the said Bui*gh, and from 
that down the South loan to the Broad Sands of Kirkwall. And from thence down the street to the 
Market Cross of the said Burgh. There the saids Provost, Bailies, Council, Burgesses, and Com- 
munity did light from their horses, and went up to the Cross and did drink Her Majesty's health, 
and aiter drinking thereof, the Magistrates, Council, Burgesses, and Community went to the 
Tolbooth of the said Burgh, and there continued their meetins as to their riding of their marches of 
the West Hill, called Whytefuird Hill, with the Marches of tne other lands belonflrinff to the Burgh 
lying to the south-west and north-west thereof, till to-morrow, beins the twentynfth instant, and 
appoints the whole Council, Burgesses, and Community of the said Bui*gh to wait and attend the 
saids Magistrates the said twenty-fifth instant with horses in good order, at the said Market Cross, 
at ten of the clock, at the tuck of drum. 

" Kirkwall, 2dth July 1706, the quhilk day the Magistrates, Council, Burgesses, with a great 
many others of the Community of the said Burgh, did meet and convene in obedience to their Sederunt 
vesterdav anent riding of their marches to the south-west and north-west of their Burffh. And 
having their horses in readiness, all saddled, standing at the Cross, they did all mount their norses at 
the Mercat Oro8»»-aiMi'Tode« forward 'up the -street to the Head of' the Town. And from that south- 

• Now Brandiequoy. 



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106 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

ward to the quoy called Homersquoy, where is a part of the lands belongiDff to the Burgh and is 
included in the charters thereof there. The Magistrates and Ck)uncil appointed their officers of court 
to make interrogation there by down casting a part of the south dyke thereof, and thereafter rode 
from that northward to the lands of Glaitness, also a part of the Burgh's privileges. And from that 
westward to the Slapp of Cross/ and from that westward a little to the eastward of the Meadow of 
Rossmyre. And from that northward to the dykes of Ranibuster. And from that eastward along 
the shore to the dykes of the qaoys, where they dismounted their horses, and where they did cause 
fence ane Town Court in Her Majesty's name and authority and in name and authority of the Provost 
and Bailies of the said Burffh. 

** And having mounted their horses, they went forward Southward along the dykes of quoys 
Saverock, Hatstain, Yairfey, and Gren, and southward to the Slflfip of Muddisquoy, and from that to 
the east and north-east to the aire of Kirkwall, and forward to the Town, and up the street to the 
Cross, where they did all dismount their horses and went up to the Cross and drank Her Majesty's 
health there, and thereafter went into the Tolbooth and caused call the roll of the Burgesses within 
Burgh, and did fine and amerciat such of them as were found absent who did not give attendance 
upon the Magistrates this day in riding the marches foresaid, ilk ane of them in the sum of ten pounds 
Scots money. 

But there were other occasions on which the Magistrates called for a muster of the com- 
munity. In time of war the burgesses were liable to be frequently summoned to a weapon 
show at the Ba'lea, to have their arms and accoutrements inspected, and absentees were apt 
to be reg'arded and treated as outlaws. 

In cases of sudden alarm the Council took measures for the protection of the town : — 
'* Kirkwall, 11th Feb. 1725, the which day the Magistrates and Council, considering that John 
Oow, now taking upon him the name of Smith, has been for thir severall days in Karston 
Roads, Commander of a ship carrying thirty-two Guns, and that yesternight he had robbed 
and plundered the house of Mr Robert Honeyman of GraBmsay, judge it necessary to put 
themselves in the best pouster of defence they can for the safety of the town and country, and 
for that end they doe appoint that this night the Town Officers appointed at last Lambas 
Mercate order twenty-four men, furnished with Good and Sufficient Arms, to keep guard this 
night at the Tolbooth, and in time coming as long as the Magistrates and Council shall think fitt." 

The Magistrates and Council are particular as to the pirate's name — " John Gow, now 
taking upon him the name of Smith"— because the rover was known to them, being the son of 
one of their guild brethren. 

" 17th April 1710, compeired in Council William Gow, merchant in Stromness paroch, 
and desyred to be admitted Burgess and Guild Brother of this Burgh, and referred himself to 
the Magistrates and Councill anent what he should pay for his freedome. The Magistrates 
and Councill appoints the said William Gow to pay for his freedome the sowm of Thretty 
Pounds Scots money, and appoints him presently to grant bond therefor to the Thesaurer or 
his successors, payable at Martinmas nixt, and they have presently subct. ane Burgess and 
Guild Brother Ticquet in his favours." 

The phrase " Merchant in Stromness paroch " is interesting as supporting the tradition 
that Gow's house was not in the town of Stromness, but on the other side of the harbour, 
where part of Messrs Copland's shipbuilding yard is still known as '* Gow's Gai'den." 

In adopting the alias Smith, the pirate simply used the English translation of the Gaelic 
name Gow. 

The " Greyhound " man-of-war conveyed the crew of the " Revenge " to Londoti, and the 
Council, by way of thanks, conferred the freedom of the burgh on Captain Peter Solguard, 
Lieutenant Edward Smith, and Doctor Hendry Swan of that ship, " and appoint the Clerk to 
have ane Honorary Ticket ready for each of them, to be delivered at Six of the Clock after- 
noon at a Glass of Wine in the Dean of Guild's house." 

* Corse. 



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TOWN HALL. 107 

dth March 1725, the Council signed a declaration as to the manner of the capture of the 
*' Revenge," ^* recommending the captor, Fea of Clestrain, to the Government for the premium 
allowed by law in such a case." They also request Colonel Munro, M.P. for the Northern 
Burghs, to " petition the Government for about Two Hundred Stand of Small Arms with 
Amonition and some Ball for the use of the Burgh." 

After seventy years of service as Council Chambers and prison, it occurred to the Earl of 
Morton that the old Tolbooth was out of date. He thought that " prisoners could not be 
securely warded without appearance of hardship or cruelty." Accordingly, 2nd June 1740, 
he " ordered two hundred pound sterling of the fine decreed by the Lords of Justiciary to be 
payd by Sir James Stewart of Burray to the said Earle, to be applied towards building a new 
Tolbooth or Prison in the Town of Kirkwall." * 

The fine is said to have been imposed on Sir James for pursuing and firing into a boat in 
which Lord Morton was crossing Holm Sound. Vedder tells how the Provost of Kirkwall, 
with a party of four men, went over to Burray in search of a deserter, whom they found and 
hurried into their boat, thinking they had escaped the notice of the laird. But Sir Jamea 
saw them and gave chase. Not able to overtake, but having them within range, he took a 
flying shot at them with a musket charged with slugs, and " lodged its contents in the civic 
dignitary's seat of honour." The person struck was John Riddoch, but fortunately the distance 
was too great for serious injury. But the Earl of Morton was crossing Holm Sound at the 
time, and making out that Stewart fired at him^ prosecuted the irascible laird of Burray and 
got substantial damages. 

In thanking the Earl for his munificence, the Magistrates and Council ask the further 
favour of " liberty to win some stons out of the old ruinous Castle for building said Tolbooth."" 
This also was granted, but the condition was added "that you, by an act of your Town 
Council, declare the princll. hall in this intended building to belong equally to the Sheriff for 
keeping his Courts as to the Magistrates and Council for holding theirs." 

After some discussion, and with much reluctance, the Council accepted Morton's gift of 
money and stones, and ceded his condition. 

They drew up "a Memorandum to Mr Andrew Ross, Sheriff-Depute of Orkney, who 
intends for Edinburgh, that he get a draught or model of such a house as will not exceed £d(X> 
sterling." 

Thus the Town Hall, a fine building in its day, was erected on the Kirk Green. 

After the demolition of the Castle, 1615, the Sheriff Courts sat for three years in the 
Earl's Palace, the last of them there dating 3rd November 1618.t They were then transferred 
to the Cathedral, where they were held till the Earl of Morton made this new provision for 
them. 

The ground floor of the new building was used as a prison and guard-house, above which 
was the Court-room, used also as an Assembly-room, with a retiring room off it, afterwards 
used as a Public Library, and in the third storey was the Masonic Hall. 

The Court-room and prison were ancient institutions, but the Assembly Hall was a new 
feature, and is an important landmark in the social history of Kirkwall. 

Fea, writing in 1775, says : — " Here we have perhaps as brilliant an appearance of Ladies 
as any of an equal number in Britain, without exception, both as to figure, education, virtue, 
and every other amiable qualification which adorns our neighbouring Ladies of a more 
Southerly Latitude, notwithstanding their boasted superior advantages. Neither are our 
Gentlemen, especially those who have seen a little of the world, at all inferior, either in mental 
or bodily qualifications, to any of their Southerly neighbours." 

* Tudor, p. 233. t Peterkin, Memorial, 1818. 



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TOWN HALL. 109 

Malcolm tells how the gentlemen came in late in scarlet vests and top boots, and whence 
they adjourned to those heavy suppers, where rounds of boiled beef smothered in cabbage, 
smoked geese, mutton hams, roasts of pork, dishes of dog-fish and welsh rabbits, were washed 
down with strong home-brewed ale and etherealised by several large bowls of rum-punch. 

With such a supper in prospect, the outlay for the Assembly would be comparatively 
light. The bill for a ball, Dec. 1784, is :— 30 bottles punch, £1 10s ; to 6 bottles white wine 
negus, 15s ; ten dozen apples for the ladies, 3s 4d ; and for three musicians, 10s. 

John Malcolm, who gives the above description, was a son of the Rev. Mr Malcolm, of 
Firth and Stenness. He joined the army, and at Waterloo was lieutenant in the 42nd High- 
landers. When peace came he retired. After a long absence, Malcolm revisited the Kirkwall 
ball-room : — 

" About the centre of the Broad Street stands a quaint-lookine building, containing a masonic 
lodge, the county jail, and the town hall, which also serves for a ball-room. Ascending tlie well- 
known stair, I hear the inspiring strains of the violin. With what strange and mingled feelings of 
pleasure and pain do I once more enter the old hall, the scene of so many happy niffhts in my early 
youth ! It is still the same as of yore, thoueh to my eyes it does not now appear a place of such vast 
dimension as it then did. At the very first glance over the room I behold some of my old sweethearts 
or Lammas sisters ; but the rogues have got the start of me, and are all married. But what have we 
here ? As I live, the identical old ladies who were old ladies twenty years ago, still blooming like 
perennial roses, occupying the same favourite corner which they occupied then, while so many of 
the young had passed away. 

** But the night wears apace, the matrons adjust their shawls and arise to depart, the younger 
n3nTiphs follow in their train, the music ceases, the sound of their foot-falls die away, and their voices 
wax faint in the night. One group only lingers behind the rest, and urge me to be one of their party 
at supper ; but, no, no ; excuse me, dear ladies ; I am well acquaint with the excellence of your 
tables, of the matchless ales breWed and bottled by your fair selves, of your delicious smoked geese 
and cabbage and your exquisite tempting mutton hams ; but though these elegant luxuries might tempt 
an angel from his sphere, I must forswear them all if I would not ensure the nocturnal visitations of 
troubled dreams." 

Many a happy evening was spent in that old hall, and many a lively flirtation enjoyed in 
its dark staircase and dusky nooks. 

The old ladies, also in their " favourite comer," had their pleasure and excitement. Whist 
and brag were the favourite games, and, if tradition is to be credited, much money changed 
hands. 

In Kirkwall at this time play often ran high, and it is very generally believed that the 
Fair Isle passed from Sinclair of Quendale to Stewart of Brugh over a game of ** brag." But 
Stewart of Brugh bought the Fair Isle as part of the bankrupt estate of Quendale, sequestrated 
1750. 

Malcolm, along with Sheriff Peterkin, conducted the 0?'hiey and Shetland Chronicle^ a 
very able but short-lived magazine, extending only to nineteen numbers. In one of these, 
Malcolm treats the card-playing and supper parties of Kirkwall to satire and parody :— 

*' Know ye the land where the goose and the grunter 

Are emblems of some who inhabit the clime, 
Where the natives contrive, through a long dreary winter, 

With cards and with crammins to pass away time ? 
Know ye the land of seceders and swine,* 

Where the flowers never blossom, the beams never shine ; 
Where potatoes and cabbaee are fairest of fruit, 

And the tongue of the tfde-bearer never is mute f' 

* As to '* seceders and swine," it is interesting to note that Malcolm's brother William, who had 
Bncceeded his father as minister of Firth and Stenness in 1807, seceded from the Established 
Church at the Disruption, 1843. 



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110 KIRKWAIrfL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

One reason for the freedom with which money was staked in those days lay in the fact 
that a journey to the south was, especially with ladies, a very rare event, and people spent at 
home the surplus coin which is now disbursed abroad. The probability also is that an annual 
balance of profit and loss over their games of chance would show but a small margin on either 
side. The assemblies ceased about 1840. 

The ancient gaiety of our little town is shown by the variety of trades and professions 
formerly pursued which could not now exist. The slowness and general difficulty of southern 
traffic served as an effectual protection for all home-made goods, and whatever could be pro- 
duced found a ready sale. All the cloth for ordinary purposes, linen or woollen, worn in 
Orkney, was woven in Orkney, and we hear of many prosperous weavers. These were, 
properly speaking, manufacturers, proprietors of numerous looms and employers of journeymen 
and apprentices. Fortunes were made by dyers. In 1691, William Farquhar, glover, purchased 
a house in town, and not merely sold but made gloves. When the peruke was the fashion of 
the day, Kirkwall had three " Pieriewig Makers "—William Watt, at the foot of the Strynd ; 
Thomas Dishington, at the Bridge ; and Alexander McRae, in the Anchor Close. And these 
did not interfere with the business of James Sinclair, barber, who made a competency out of 
the razor and scissors. In 1689, we have David Ferguson, now designated hat maker, and 
again hat dresser. 

For dancing and deportment, William Troup and his popular daughter, Mally, held classes 
in their own house in the Laverock ; and the young bloods had actually a French fencing- 
master. He, however, turned out an impostor. In 1708, Louis Deupaig, fencing-master, 
summoned Andrew Young of Castle Yards and James Nisbet of Swannay for fees. The 
defence set up was that Deupaig was unable to do the teaching which he had undertaken. 

Many of our old trades and professions have disappeared from among as. Changes in 
fashion have abolished some, while easy and rapid communication with the great commercial 
centres has rendered others unremunerative. The click of the loom is no longer heard, and 
our litsters have departed ; the Salter belongs to a far past age, and the heckler has become 
extinct ; hats and gloves are imported, and the man who wants a wig must go south for it. 
The fencing-master is an impossibility, and even the teacher of dancing finds the ground cut 
from beheath his feet by a successful system of co-operation in the form of mutual improve- 
ment quadrille parties. 

When the old Town Hall had served the community for almost a century and a half, its 
accommodation was found to be too limited for the business requirements of the day, and new 
County Buildings, containing a spacious Court-room with all the offices requisite for the proper 
administration and the conduct of county affairs, were erected in 1877. 

As a prison, the old Hall had been from the first a distinct failure. Sheriff Maconnochie, 
before leaving Kirkwall, 1827, writing to Provost Laing, states that he himself had seen 
gingerbread handed in through the windows, and adds that he has no doubt that spirits and 
other prohibited articles were also supplied to the prisoners. 

He suggests that a wall should be built to shut in the south and east sides. 

" A wretched woman, who was accused of poisoning her husband in Westray, and had 
been confined in the jail of Kirkwall since last autumn, put a period to her existence by 
strangling herself in the night betwixt the 17th and 18th of January. She effected her 
purpose by means of some small cord which most probably had been handed to her through 
the grate of her prison window. She had been rendered desperate, partly no doubt by a sense 
of guilt, but doubtless also by the unwearied annoyance of people from without, who, having 
access to the window of her dungeon, tormented her incessantly with intimations that she 
was to be hanged, etc, and the unhappy wretch sank under this mental torture. The jail is a 



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TOWN HALL. Ill 

disgrace to the county ; it is neither fit for confinement with security, nor as a place of 
punishment to the guilty ; and the jailor is nearly as good as the jail, for he did not visit his 
charge the day after the woman had strangled herself till one o'clock afternoon."* 

About fifty years ago an unfortunate woman, Jeannie Thomson, who went periodically 
insane, was, when the attack came on, confined in this prison, and it was one of the horrors of 
the town to see through the barred gates the raving maniac pacing up and down like a caged 
hyena. 

One prisoner, who had observed the jailor's careless habit of leaving the key in the lock, 
stood behind the door until his keeper had advanced into the middle of the room, then 
slipped out, locked the door and went off a free man, the astonished jailor being left a 
prisoner. 

Even the grated windows in the upper storey could be negotiated. A hawker, known as 
"Cheap Tea," bent a bar in a window on the east end of the building, tied a blanket and 
coverlet together, slid down to the window sill below, swung himself to the top of the wall 
and escaped. 

The diflSculty was not to get out, but to keep out, for re-capture was almost inevitable. 

In the early part of the present century, Robert Millar was gaoler, bellman, and lamp- 
lighter. 

A petition from this pluralist to the Co uncil will serve to show the state of the prison 
and the kind of bargains the civic rulers made with their officials : — 

**5th Augt. 1837, Unto the Honourable the Lord Provost, Magistrates, and Town Council of the 
Burgh of Kirkwall, the Petition of Robert Millar, Jailor of that Burgh, 

** Most respectfully and humbly sheweth that it is with extreme reluctance the Petitioner submits 
to your gracious and favourable consideration the following brief statement where¥ith he would not 
trouble your Honours but from dire necessity. 

** The Petitioner has long been and officiated as Jailor of Kirkwall, an office attended with much 
danger, risk, and responsibility, besides a vast deal of slavish drudgery from the situation of and 
want of suitable conveniences for the Prison, at the very inadequate Salary of no more than the 
trifling sum of Five Pounds Sterling merely, a rate much below that paid in other places, where 
Jailors have not only assistants but tne whole work performed within the Jail or Walls surrounding 
it, from which small allowance falls to be deducted, at lesist such has been hitherto done, £2 12s 6a 
Sterling, for his using a hand Bell through the Streets of the Burgh in the way of serving the PubUo 
by advertisement, so that the whole that he is in receipt of from the Burgh in this way amounts to 
no more than £2 7s 6d, which, with £3 as Town Officer salary, almost the whole of which duty he 
uniformly fulfils, makes his emoluments extend to no more than £5 7s 6d, which can do but very 
little indeed to the support of his Bedrid Mother, 94 years of age and closely confined to bed for the 
last four years, his wife, and five helpless children and himself ; while, tho' a Sheriff Officer and Con- 
stable, and, thank God, blessed with health and strength, he cannot avail himself of employment in 
either of these capacities, whether in Town or Country, his situation of Jailor requiring his close and 
undivided attention. 

** That the Petitioner trusts your Honors will take his very clamant case into your serious con- 
sideration, and allow him a suitable remuneration for his services by extending his Salary adequately, 
and dispensing with any charge for his using a Bell, a recent Exaction which is but very trifling of 
itself, and in no way interferes with his other duty ; for he feels that without a considerable addition 
to his Salary he would be sacrificing his own and his family's interest were he to continue to hold office 
longer. 

'*May it therefore please your Honors to consider what is above set forth to enlarge the Peti- 
tioner's Salary, so as to make it of suitable and adequate amount, and to dispense with any tax or 
charge against him for his trouble in advertising with a Bell through the streets of the Burgh. 
According to Justice & your Wisdoms answer, Ac. (Sign^) Robekt Millar." 

This petition gives a strange insight into the insanitary condition of Kirkwall Jail so late 
as 1837. The jailor's work was made so much heavier because there was no surrounding wall 
to furnish a corner into which he could scrape the filth of the place. At length the Council 

* Ork. and Zet. Chron., Jan. 1826. 



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112 KIRKWALL IN THEORKJJEYS. 

put up a wall, gathering stones wherever they could most easily be found, even from the 
broken monuments in the Cathedral. 

With his petition Millar sent in an account, and the Council appointed a committee to 
consider and report on both. 

One charge was £l 9s for straw for the prison for 14^ years. On this the committee 
remarked : — " The Petitioner may have procured straw occasionally for prisoners' beds, but 
that he paid out money for any is not very probable, and these claims are entitled to no 
favour." 

The low salary given to the jailor was a relic of the old style of prison management. 
Some corporations gave their jailor no salary at all, and yet found keen competition when a 
vacancy occurred. 

In the good old days when the gentlemen of Kirkwall adjusted their quarrels in the open 
street with sword, walking cane, or fist, the Tolbooth was a fashionable resort, where the 
jailor was host and the inmates were paying guests. They had their table supplied each 
according to his taste. The charges were possibly higher than in ordinary hotels, but the 
exclusiveness was worth paying for. 

In those days the jailor made a good thing out of his boarders. But poor Millar, with 
ancient pay, had to put up with modern charges, for instance : — " 8 July, To hording and 
attendance on Henrietta Cormack or Sinclair, from this date up to the end of the 21 Augt., 
being 44 dayes, at 6d per day, £1 Os 2d." " To Apprehending and Boarding Jean Thomson 
when She was last Lewnatick and confined to Jaill, 6s." 

As has been seen, the jailor procured straw for the prisoners' beds, but even if, as the 
Council suspected, he did not pay for it, his profits must have been small indeed off board at 
sixpence per day. 

But what of the boarders ? Imagine a poor lunatic prisoner locked up in a cell with no 
comfort but some straw in a corner, and her guardian or keeper, home for the night, 
half-a-mile away from his charge. And in this connection the following comes from a 
gentleman holding high office in the prison department of our Local Government. 

After Millar's time, an Inspector visited Kirkwall prison, and, shocked to find no one 
present in charge, sought out the jailor in his own house. He knocked loudly on the door. 
A window above was immediately opened, and a wi*athful fa;ce looked down on the visitor 
with ** , it, what the do you want ?" 

" I am the Inspector of Prisons." 

" And how the am I to know whether you're a Inspector or not T 

Down went the window, and thus ended the interview. 

At first sight it seems hard that Millar should have to pay such a tax as £2 12s 6d for his 
bell, but the answer of the committee explains this :— " It has somehow or other altogether 
escaped the Petitioner to notice that, as a compensation for any extra services about the 
town, he was allowed the exclusive privilege of the hand bell at the very low rate of £2 12s 6d 
per annum, when it could have been let by auction for more than double that sum, and it is 
certainly the source of considerable emolument to him. The hand bell of the Town of Strom- 
ness is let for £5 a year, and the same privilege ought to be more productive in this Burgh." 

After the Sheriff Courts and general county business had been for years established in 
the new and commodious County Buildings, the Burgh Courts and Council meetings were 
still held in the old Town Hall. But, in 1884, it was resolved to provide more suitable 
accommodation, and on the 20th August of that year the f oui^dation ^stone of the; new Town 
Hall was laid with Masonic honours by the Grand Master of Scotland, the Earl of Mar and 
KeUie. 



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TOWN HALL. 113 

The Municipal Buildings in Broad Street are in the Scottish baronial style, and were 
built by Messrs Samuel Baikie & Sons, from plans by Mr T. S. Peace, architect. 

When these were finished, the old Hall, which had outlived its usefulness, was cleared 
away, and its site and that of the old Quard House, which had preceded it, is marked by a 
granite shaft and a drinking fountain. 

For centuries the Town Council was a close corporation. The Councillors elected the 
Bailies. When the Provost's term of oflfice expired, if he cared for re-election and if he were 
popular, he might sit for many years. Should a section of the Council desire a change, the 
names of two of the Magistrates, " added " to that of the sitting Provost, formed a leet of 
three, on which the votes were taken. When a vacancy occurred at the Board, the place was 
filled by the admission of a fresh member on the invitation of the majority of the Council. 

The only representative members were the Deacons of the four incorporated trades, each 
of whom had a seat in the Council ex officio. 

The elections in Kirkwall, and in most other burghs, took place on the 29th day of 
September. This was a relic of mediteval times, when tutelary saints and guardian angels 
were universally recognised, and as the Councillors are the guardian angels of the town, they 
were and are elected on the festival of St. Michael and All Angels.* 

In keeping with this idea, down to time well within the memories of living men, the 
election of the Magistrates of Kirkwall always took place in the nave of the Cathedral. 

But, in 1852, during the provostship of James Spence, Esq., of the Commercial Bank, the 
Council, by an Act of Parliament, was put upon a new footing. The Provost, the foxur 
Bailies, and twelve Councillors resigned, and twelve in all were elected to form the new 
Municipal Court. 

Those polled in were Messrs John Mitchell, Peter Cursiter, James Spence, Alexander 
Bain, William Sinclair, David Warren, James Walls, James Baikie, David Marwick, George 
Robertson, George Petrie, and John Dinnison. The Council being thus formed, Mr Spence 
was unanimously re-elected Provost ; Mr Mitchell, first Bailie ; Mr Bain, second Bailie ; Mr 
Cursiter, Dean-of-Guild ; and Mr Warren, Treasiurer ; and the Act of 1852 is still the 
constitutional basis of the Council. 



APPENDICES TO CHAPTER VIII. 



I.— Some certain Instructions for the Keeper op the Tolbooth to be seen Revised, 
PUT IN Order, Rectified, and Authorised by the Provost, Bailies, and 
Council of Kirkwall. 

1. Imprimis, that the said Keeper have all the rooms therein, either Magistrates', wherein 
Court or Council sits, or where civil prisoners remain incarcerated, with their tables, forms, 
and other plenishing, neat and cleanly kept. 

2. Item, that the said Keeper, bv himself or another in his name, for whom he and his 
cautioner shall be answerable, be reader at all times and upon all occasions, as well by night 
as by day, with the keys of the foresaid Tolbooth, to answer the Magistrates as need shall 
require. 

3. Item for regulating the said Keeper his attendance of the said Tolbooth. having 
prisoners therein, upon days whereon neitner Court nor Council is holden, he shall be only 

* Book of Days, ii. 389. 



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114 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

obliged to attend with the keys from the hour of eight in the morning to nine, and from eleven 
to twelve in the midday, and from four o'clock to eight in the afternoon, except upon extra- 
ordinary incident, absolutely necessary and most urgent occasions, or by a particular order 
from a Magistrate. 

4. Item, that while the Council i« sitting the keeper remove all persons, as well prisoners 
as others, from the chamber perpendicular above the Council Chambers into the next room, 
for so long time as the Council sits, returning the prisoner or prisoners thereafter to tiieir 
room again. 

5. Item, that the keeper, by himself and his servants, for whom he is to be answerable, 
as said is, attend the said Tolbooth door at the passage foot, from the opening thereof to the 
closing of the same, that no person or persons enter the said Tolbooth with any weapons 
offensive and visible. 

6. Item, that the like attendance be given that neither ale, beer, or any other liquor 
whatsoever enter the Tolbooth but what is bought from the Keeper, he always ajfifordinfif the 
same as good and at the same rate as others do, an also pipes and tobacco by pennywortns as 
the Magistrates shall enjoin, either by weight or measure. 

7. Item, that at whatever hour of the day the Keeper shall happen to receive, by order or 
mittimus, any prisoner, burgher, or stranger, he shall not book him with the clerk until four 
o'clock in the afternoon passes, and before the chap ol live he shall nt)t fail but book him or 
them peremptorily, that tne booking money may be paid without any question, although the 
prisoner should that same night be set at liberty. 

8. Item, that an inhabitant burgher, being prisoner, shall have liberty to bring in his own 
meat and drink from his own house, but not so to a stranger, the Keeper being able to furnish 
in manner foresaid. 

9. Item, that the Keei)er, from each prisoner once committed, booked or not booked, for 
turning of the key, shall have from a burgher six shillings and eighti)ence Scots, and from a 
stranger thirteen shillings and fourpence money foresaia, and that he shall exact no more 
except who pleases gratuitously to give the same. 

10. Item, when any prisoner is suspected, by assistance and compliance with any person 
or persons, to be endeavouring his escape, immediately the Keeper shall the more closely 
keep up the said prisoner, and incontinently acquaint the Magistrates or Magistrate to the 
effect he may receive order how to carry and deal with such a prisoner upon such an attempt. 

11. Item, that the Keeper have in his dwelling-house, for the serving of the Tolbooth, 
sufficient beer or ale, or any other necessary above nominated whereof he craves to have the 
benefit of selling within the said Tolbooth, if he pleases to undertake the same. 

12. Item, tnat the said keev)er demean himself pleasantly and circumspectly to all 

Prisoners entering the said Tolbooth, according to their civil deportments, under pain of 
eprivation, with what mulct or punishment the Magistrates shall fai-ther please to impose. 

13. Item, that the said Keeper shall each Sabbath day diligently attend the said Tolbooth 
door by the first knock or toll of the first bell, both forenoon and afternoon, for receiving of 
the Magistrates and Council under pains foresaid. 

14. Item, that the said Keeper, under the pains foresaid, presume not nor take uix)n him 
to receive any prisoner or prisoners whatsoever within this said gaol, by any mittimus from 
any other judge, or from the hands of any Messenger-at-Arms, without the authority and 
special Wan*ants of one of the Magistrates of the Burgh interponed for that effect. 

16. Item, that if the said Keeper shall happen at any time to meet with any accident of 
prisoners to make breach either of doors, windows, stachelis, or any other part of the said 
Tolbooth, for making escape, that so soon as he shall know of the same that he acquaint the 
provost or any of the bailies, dean of guild, or treasurer, that the same may be remedied with 
all convenience under the pain aforesaid. 

16. Item, that no women shall be permitted to bide in the Tolbooth with their husband 
or husbands after eight o'clock in the evening, except upon the case of sickness or such like, 
and that such women when they come in be rancellecf before they come near to their husbands, 
that they have nothing that may further the escape of the prisoner.* 

• Favoured by J, W, Cursiter, Esq, 



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TOWN HALL. 115 



II. — Standing Orders of the Town Council. 

Imprimis, that the Magistrates and Councillors meet punctually at and within the 
Tolbooth every Sabbath Day before the third bell, both forenoon and afternoon, that they 
may go to the church in order accordingly. 

2. Item, that the Council day be Friday in each week, and that the Council diet of 
meeting the said day be betwixt and eleven, and to continue till twelve and no longer, except 
upon extraordinary occasions, and the Court diets upon Tuesday and Saturday be accordingly. 

3. Item, that none of the Ma^strates, Dean of Guild, Thesaurer, and Councillors absent 
themselves willfully upon the said Council days^ being in town and in health, without a 
relevant excuse sent bjr themselves, either in writing or by one for them, showing the neces- 
sity of their absence^ without any aavertisement to he given to them to that effect. 

4. Item. Likewise that whensoever any accidental Council Meeting shall happen upon 
any extraordinary day, that the said Magistrates and whole Council meet in like manner upon 
advertisement given to them. 

5. Item. After meeting at the Council table, that neither Magistrate nor Councillor take 
occasion of discussing about their own proper affairs, neither yet talk loudly nor confer upon 
impertinent discourse, but to attend to the public affair in hand for the time, and to give their 
best judgment thereanent. 

6. Item. Also that, upon meeting at Council table, none remove without giving notice 
and getting liberty from the table. 

7. It., that if either Magistrate or Councillor be concerned in any particular at the said 
table, that he remove himself till the matter be debated among the rest. 

8. It., that none of the Magistrates or Councillors offer to take speech in hand at the said 
Council table to any person that shall happen to appear, but the provost or the Clerk, or as 
the said provost shall appoint it. 

9. It., that none of the officers, nor no person else, except Magistrates and Councillors, be 
permitted to be within the Council chamber while the Council is a sitting. 

10. It., that no money be received upon the account of the public, but what is delivered 
to the Thesaurer and disbursed by him accordingly, and bookea by tne Clerk as well as by 
him. 

11. Item, that all bonds, as they are received by the Clerk or by any others in his name^ 
the same shall be likewise delivered to the Thesaurer for recovering payment thereof, ana 
that the Clerk keep a particular double thereof, subscribed under the Tnesaurer his hand, till 
he deliver the principal, and that the Clerk keep an account accordingly as with the money. 

12. It., that the Clerk and Thesaurer sit and compare their accounts, both of money and 
bonds, in presence of the said Magistrates and Council, publickly, quarterly if required, that 
the same may be approven of and attested accordingly. 

13. It., that tne Dean of Quild and his Councu deliver up what bonds and money they 
happen to decern and receive to the said Thesaurer, and that the Clerk keep an account 
thereof accordingly. 

14. It., that the Dean and his said Council produce their books of Acts and accounts 
upon demand to the great Council, being required thereby that the same may be revised, 
considered, and approven accordingly. 

15. Item, that the Dean of Guild act nothing of himself without his Council, and that 
neither he nor his Council act nor do anything of concernment or importance without the 
advice of the great Council, otherwise the same to be null. 

16. It., in all baillie courts within Burgh, where there are business of concernment or 
importance, that nothing be done there anent as to the decernitor thereof, as also as said 
decernitor of such decreets or any other decreets, no extract to be given forth till the Council 
be acquainted, there with. 

17. It., that no bailie give judgment to any person within Burgh until first the Magistrates 
be acquainted thereof and allow the same. 

18. It., that no infeftment be given, except by the Clerk of the said Court, otherwise the 
same to be null, and that the Clerk keep a register for that effect, and that he make the 
reddendo of each charter ready when required. 

19. It, that no apprentice within Burgh, either merchant apprentice or handicraft, have 



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116 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

any benefit of their indentures, except their indentures be booked in the Dean of Guild books 
and make |)ayment therefore in manner aftermentioned. Item for each wright apprentice, 
Joiner or Carpenter. 

It. for each tailor and glover and saddler. 

It. for each shoemaker. 

It. for each mason, slater and glazier. 

It. for each weaver. 

It. for every baxter, hatmaker and pewterer.* 

20. It., that all burgess tickets formerly granted either to guild brothers or simple burgess 
be called in and made forth conform to the said Magistrates, whereby the same may be sub- 
scribed by the provost, bailies, and guilds whereof they are guild brothers, and other burgess 
tickets be subscribed only by the present bailies and Clerk for the Council, the disobeyes 
against lawful dictates be holden and repute as no burges and liable to the fine contained 
in their ticket. 

21. It., also that all burgess tickets to be granted hereafter be subscribed accordingly, and 
the town's small seal set thereto, but where guild brothers' tickets are, the great seal to be 
a])pended if retiuired. 

22. It., that no residenter or stranger be made freeman and guild brother until first he 
reside and abide in the jJace actually within burgh for the space of two years or one at least. 

23. It., that no burgess be admitted or chosen Councillor before he has been a year or two 
residenter and actually trafficking as a made burgess. 

24. It., that none be put u{)on leet to be a Magistrate without he has been two years a 
Councillor, and actually trafficking and residing within burgh. 

25. It, that none be put upon leet to be chasen Provost or Dean of Guild without he has 
been a year a bailie. 

26. It., that none be leeted, chosen, or admitted as provost, bailie, or Dean of Guild 
without he actually reside and traffic within burgh. 

27. It., that no clerk be chosen within burgh but he which actually resides and gives bond 
and surety for his fidelity, and the said bond lie amongst the town's evidents, and that he be 
obliged to keep such books and registers as are or shall be delivered to him without blots or 
blanks in year and day, and that he keep a minute book. 

28. It, that this present Magistrates, Dean of Guild and Council apnrove of, allow and 
corroborate, all the markets made by their predecessors until the same oe revised and cor- 
rected, unless what has been unwarrantably done without the public consent of the 
Magistrates then in office. 

29. It., that the month before elected yearly all books and accounts be called in and 
cleared, sustained and subscribed, to be ready to be delivered to the succeeding officiants when 
elected. 

30. It, that no heritor, by servitors or tacksmen, of any tenements within burgh shall 
build or repair the houses of the old streets or enlarge the same until the Magistrates or Dean 
of Guild be advertised thereof, that so his Majesty s high street, loan, or other free passages 
be not encroached ujx)n. 

31. It., that all inhabitants within burgh, that any mechanic work be wrought, that they 
€mi)loy none except those who are mechanic free workmen within burgh. 

32. It., that no heritor set houses to incomers without the Magistrates' special consent.t 

* The charges were not fixed. They varied according to the ability to pay. 
t Favoured by J. W. Cursiter, Esq. 



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KIRKWALL.- 




RBFBRBNOe, 



1. aobtrtNieoUim'iko, 118 
f. SeoUaftland . „ 
9. WiUiam Davidion „ 
U. OanTMland . . 110 
5 aemdimm'i land , „ 

6. Qrwt Lodging . „ 

7. Provoit BM/a ho. „ 

8. Edward SeUta^a ho. „ 

9. Cdpt. Bnehanan't 

ho, . .190 

10, BuUer 8torthou»e „ 

11. Tounigar „ 
if. OoekhaU . „ 
25. JoAiiPottin^tAo. ,, 
U. J<m€tOwrtttUr^aho. „ 



15. 0alUrUfaird» , 120 

16. Ktlda^t Tawem . 121 

17. ThtBamparU , t, 

18. TraiU'aFoUp. . 120 

19. Thelwnt , 128 

90. John (hUhbtrt^t ho. „ 

91, ThiOinuU . . 127 
ft. Ortdgie qf Ov€r- 

•amda^ . 188 

95. Halero^ Crook . „ 
14. MowatqfPow . „ 

96. PotHngerqfHobbiattr „ 

96. Covingtrteqf Newark „ 

97. SkipptrBmkU . „ 

98. CraigU 0/ Qaknay . 187 



99. StorthouH <tf 
Cliekimin . 
90. CUckimin 
81. Riper' » houm . 
89. Irvinga qf Sebaif 
88. SineUMraqfBrugk 
8U, MargaretOromairtie 
86. St. Olt^aOiurdi . 

86. The Shed 

87. Be9. P. Wateratoun 

88. Lang SUan 

89. Diahington'a land . 
kO. out Qvaxd ho. pard 
Ul. St. Ola'a bridge . 
h$. (HlbertNiabet^aho. 



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140 
156 

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160 
160 
164 

II 
167 

168 

160 



43. Joa. WUkina&nUho. 
ttk. Drummond^a ho. . 
hS. John Spence . 
Ifi. JMater^a Smithp . 
U7. Rtv. J. Wallace . 

68, Summer houae 
U9. Croaa Houae . 

60. 0. TraUl, Quen- 

dalt . 

61. TheDoocot . 

69. Parliameni Cloae . 
68. Jamea lianaon 
6U. John Kaa . 

66. Bailie Young 
66. Ualero qf Crook . 



IS' 

II 
170 

II 

II 

176 
178 

177 
178 
170 

II 
180 

II 
181 



4f . MEDDLE. 



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CHAPTER IX. 

The Streets — Shore and Ra^nparts. 

\ING JAMES the Third's Charter represents the town as consisting of two parts, the 

g. Burgh and Laverock. These were divided by the narrow vennel, in the middle of 
Bro'ad Street, which bounded the property of the Earl on the south and that of the 
Church on the north. But the Records of Sasine, dating from 1682, make a threefold division : 
— the Burgh, from the Shore to the Bridge ; the Midtown, from the Bridge upward till it 
includes the houses surrounding the old Palace garden ; and the Laverock, up to the new 
Scapa Road. 

In 1677, eighty-three persons in Kirkwall held burgess tickets, and were all engaged in 
business. There were ninety-four ratepayers, and the rating value of the town was £2393* 
Scots on a gross rental of £3190. On an assessment of two shillings per pound in the above 
year, the largest ratepayer was Arthur Buchanan of Sound, £14 14s, followed by Arthur 
Baikie, over £11 ; Margaret Grott, widow of Patrick Prince, £10 ; and Robert Richan, £9. 
Then there is a drop to six pounds paid by two householders ; three paid £5 ; four paid £4 ; 
eight paid £3 ; sixteen paid £2 ; thirty-one paid £1 ; and the rest paid in shillings. 

In the earliest valuation rolls the houses of the wealthier burgesses are generally de- 
scribed as being *' under sclait ruiff," but the greater number were ** under thack miff," while 
many are described as " partly ruinous," and some as '' ruinous, without ruiff." The larger 
dwellings had ofl&ces at the back, such as kitchen, brew-house, and byre, which were always 
thatched, and every habitation required its kail -yard and peat brae. These open spaces 
secured the ventilation that saved the undrained, unscavengered streets and closes from 
endemic disease. 

The Burgh, the oldest part of the town, occupies the site of the ancient Rctish hamlet. 

The Shore was the gateway to the town, and in the viking days it saw some rude entrances. 
In autumn, when the galleys returned from their yearly cruise, wild scenes were witnessed. 
As soon as the keels touched the strand, discipline yielded to nature, and the men, so long 
cribbed, cabined, and confined, broke loose and spread themselves all through the hamlet. 
Mothers, wives, and sweethearts had their first attention ; then came the inevitable carousal. 
Longfellowt gives two life-like pictures, afloat and ashore :— 

** In the forehold, Biom and Borck 
Watched the sailors at their work — 

Heavens ! how they swore. 
Thirty men they each commanded, 
Iron-sinewed, homy-handed, 
Shoulders broad and chests expanded, 

Tugging at the oar." 

* £199 8s 4d stg. f Saga of King Olaf. 



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118 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

'* When they landed from the fleet, 
How they roared along the street, 

Boisterous as the gale. 
How they laughed and stamped and pounded, 
Till the tavern roof resounded, 
And the host looked on astounded. 

As they drank the ale." 

Shore Street was bounded on the east by Weyland, or rather by a lane which ran inland 
between the Burgh and that farm, giving Pabdale access to the beach. At the comer of this 
lane, on the site now occupied by the North of Scotland Company's cattle sheds, stood, in 
1677, a house belonging to Robert Nicolson, glazier, which was let out to a number of tenants. 
Since then this site has had several owners, and at least one odd transfer. In 1827, Janet 
Flett sold it to William Balfour, Esq. of Elwick, for an annuity of £5 stg., and in this case the 
annuitant had not the best of the bargain. 

The double tenement west of Nicolson's house, now belonging to Messrs Flett & Sons, 
merchants, was owned and occupied by the Rev. James Douglas. It was " of old called Scol- 
lay's Land," having belonged to the ScoUays of Tofts. When Barbara, daughter of James 
Scollay, married Mr Douglas, this house was part of her tochergood. 

The manse adjoined the Bishop's Palace, but the minister had let it to Governor Watson, 
Cromwell's representative in Orkney, who paid Mr Douglas a yearly rent of £48 Scots. 

Mr Douglas had a somewhat chequered career. He was the son of Archibald Douglas, 
minister of Glenbervie,^ and had the parish of Douglas before coming to Kirkwall in 1648. 
In 1660, along with the rest of the Orkney ministers, he was deposed by the General Assembly 
for subscribing an address to the chivalrous Marquis of Montrose. In 1659 the sentence was 
taken off, and he was settled in Lady Parish, Sanday.t A pension of " fifty merks allowed by 
Parliament, 2l8t June 1661, on account of his sufferings and losses," rewarded his loyalty ; and 
his re-translation to Kirkwall the same year restored him and his wife to '* ScoUay's Land " on 
the Shore. 

Mr Douglas died 27th August 1678, and was buried in the Cathedral.^ 

After the death of Mr Douglas, this property reverted to the ScoUays. 

On end with ** ScoUay's Land," southward, were two houses belonging to William David- 
son, writer. Commissary Depute. 

Davidson lived in Albert Street, and, judged by his church-going— the recognised test in 
Kirkwall— was a good man. In July 1678, the Lord Bishop and Session grant *' for himself, 
bedfellow, and family," the front seat under the Magistrates' loft, charging for it a yearly rent 
of £4 Scots. 

Like many another good man, he sometimes lost command of his temper, and suffered 
accordingly. **Wm. Davidson, writer, was put to the Tolbooth of Kirkwall for not finding 
caution to underli the law for ryving a discharge of ye superior dewtie granted by Capt. 
Andrew Dick to Margaret Scollay, relict of Wm. Douglas of Midgarth, anent her different 
lands in Stronsay. ' § 

Davidson left Kirkwall in 1687 under circumstances suggestive of flight. On the second 
of January 1688, George Traill of Quendale applied for " the seat under the Magistrates' Loft 
now vacant through Wm. Davidson's away going." || 

He was evidently in such haste that he had not time to dispo.se of his property, and these 
houses were seized by Robert Scollay, merchant, on the ground that he was heir to the man 
who sold the houses to Davidson. 

But " by Stat. 1663, c, 6, the provost and bailies of royal burghs have power to value and 

• Craven's Hist. Ch. in Orkney, p. 69. t Fasti. t T. B. § T. B., 16th July 1678. II S. R. 



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THE SHORE. 119 

Bell ruinous houses when the proprietors refuse to rebuild or repair them," '"'and the Magistrates, 
stretching this statute to its utmost limit, ousted ScoUay and took possession of Davidson's 
houses. 

Next to Scollay's land, westward, was the tenement '' of old called Cant's lAnd.*' 

Cant is an old name in Kirkwall, though it never was common. In '* My Lord Sinclairis 
Kentale that deit at Flowdin," David Cant appears as one of four burgesses witnessing James 
Craigie's lease of the island of Wyre, 1504. John Cant appears as cautioner in a money 
transaction for Magnus Tait, 10th April 161 7.t 

In 1671 this house was owned and occupied by Margaret and Isobel Cant. With a 
change of ownership, the north part of Cant's land came to be known as Kirkness' land. 

On 27th April 1799, Alexander Stewart, merchant, bought that " tenement under thatch 
roof, being the southermost part of the land called Cant's Land." 

On end with Cant's land, southward, was Sandison's land. This house was built by John 
Sandisou, weaver, from whom it passed to his son Walter. Christian Fea, widow of Walter 
Sandison, married John Irvine, smith, and died 1670. Irvine thought to have retained quiet 
possession of the house, but the Magistrates interposed. " Seeing yr is no laughfuU air 
appearing aither after John or Walter Sandisons' instructing or producing ane reall right to 
the said house or tenement, therefore the saids provost and bailyiea, as thir incumbencie and 
dewtie alloweth thame, quher such lands or tenements are within thir precinct, not haveing 
laughful air or successor to enter i)ntlie or imediatlie after the decease of the former heritor, 
to be careful in securing the samen to any quha shall happin to appear as air or successor to 
the real heretor thereof." 

In point of fact, the Burgh remained in possession of Sandison's land and the a^oining 
Davidson's houses until the present century, when these proi)erties were sold by the Town 
Council to Mr David Drever. 

Still westward, on a site which had previously belonged to Sinclair of Clumlie, was the 
"Great Lodging" of the Kendalls of Breck. This commodious family mansion stood on 
the east side of Long Close. Between the " Great Lodging " and the sea was a smaller house, 
" without a yard," which in 1677 belonged to Provost Arthur Baikie. 

The Sheriff Court books show that there have long been Kendalls in Kendall, and for 
many years this family took a very active part, as councillors and bailies, in conducting the 
municipal business of Kirkwall. 

Mitchell Kendall, the first of the family who can be traced as connected with this house, 
and who probably built it, brought home his newly wedded wife, Margaret Moncrieff, relict of 
Edward Elphingston, skipper, 2nd August 1686, and here their eldest son, William, was born, 
14th October same year. 

Above the Kendall's " Great Lodging." and forming the north-west corner of the Thwart 
Close, was the house of Edward Scollay, skipper, and his wife, Marjorie Kendall, daughter of 
the next-door neighbour, the Laird of Breck. After the death of Marjorie Kendall, Scollay 
married Mary Baikie, relict of John Smith, merchant, and granted her life-rent of this house ; 
and so it happened that, two hundred years ago, the Thwart Close was known as Mary Baikie's 
Close. 

In the life of Edward Scollay, two mishaps are recorded. " Oct. 9th, Thursday morning, 
about two or three, there was a great stress of wind, whereby the ship whereof Ed. Scollay is 
skipper drave with her anchors in Papa Stronsay on the shore." In December of the same 
year, in a severe northerly gale, " Patrick Fea's ship and Edward Scollay's, lying in the track 
of the Oyce, they were both blown very near to Pickaquoy." I 

♦ Bell's Diet, and Digest, under Burgh, Royal. t Sheriff CJourt books. J T. B, 



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120 KIRKWALL Iir THE ORKNEYS. 

On the shore, west from Provost Baikie's small house, and forming the north-west corner 
of the Long Close, stood a " double tenement of land " belonging to Captain Buchanan of 
Busland. Still westward, two houses retain old names — the Butter Storehouse and the 
" house called Tounigar." The former of these, as the name implies, was the depdt for the 
batter skatt paid as superior duty by the owners of land within the earldom. Orkney butter, 
two hundred and fifty years ago, was not famous for its excellence, and skatt butter was 
simply sold as grease. Take a description of it by one of Cromwell's garrison : — 

** Have you ever been 
Downe in a Tanner's vard, and have you seene 
His lime-pits, when the tilthy muck and haire 
Of twenty hides is washed and scrapt off there ? 
Tis Orknay milk in colour, thicknesse, smell, 
Every ingredient, and itt eates as well. 
Take from the bottom up an handful on't, 
And that's good Orknay butter, ^e upon't." 

It afterwards became one of the grievances of the skatt /p&yeTs that, while their ancestors 
Bent in stuff somewhat like that described above, they had to pay, weight for weight, in good 
batter. 

Tounigar, containing within it the ideas taum and gtiard, may perhaps occupy the site of 
the first Tolbooth of the burgh. The history of the house, as far as ownership is concerned, 
can be traced back into the sixteenth century, but the origin of the name seems to be beyond 
leach. In 1665 it was sold by Douglas of Spjmie to Mitchell Kendall of Breck, and the 
sasine shows that it had been " aired be NicoU Hardie, cordonr., Edinr., efter the decease of 
Thomas Hardie, his father, and Catherine Dundas, his mother, and was conqueist be them 
from umql Pat. Sinclair and Marion Flett, his spouse, who acquired the same from certaine 
brethren and sisters of the Curse ttera." ♦ 

Behind the Butter Storehouse and Tounigar stood the house " of old called Gockhall," 
which, in 1677, belonged to Thomas Dishington, precentor. A hundred years earlier it had 
belonged to John Dishington, Sheriff of Orkney and Zetland. There is no record of the 
family which " of old " built or first occupied this house. They and their dwelling may or 
may not have called forth the old rhyme — 

" Befa', befa', whate'er befa', 
They'll aye be gowks in yonder ha'. " 

Gockhall had attached to it a large yard, which came into the possession of the late Samuel 
Laing, Esq. From him the western portion was bought by John Heddle, who sold it to 
Captain Thomas Heddle, grain merchant. 

West from the yard of Gockhall was a house which had belonged to John Pottinger, 
skipper and chief owner of the " bark Sampsone." In September 1637, Pottinger, along with 
Thomas Drever, became cautioners that William Paplay of Neirhouse " shall not molest ane 
noble and potent Lord John, Earle of Carrick." In 1677 this house belonged to William 
Buchanan of Rusland. 

Next to this, and now forming part of the Queen's Hotel, was the house of "Jonet 
Cursetter, relict of umql Thomas Johnstoun, sailler." 

These two tenements had for the southern boundary the " gallerie yairds." The house of 
old called the Gallery is represented by the house of the Traills of Woodwick, now the pro- 
perty of Mr Robert Garden, merchant ; so that Jonet Cursetter's ground, reaching back to the 
north wall of the Gallery, left very small kail-yards for the houses on the east side of Bridge 

Street. 

• Sheriff Court books. 



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THE RAMPARTS. 121 

The Queen's Hotel has long been an inn. In 1803 it was occupied by Robert Sinclair, 
vintner, who borrowed from George Shearer, tacksman of Rothiesholm, £120 on a bond over 
this property. In 1824 it fell into Shearer's hands, arid it was bought from him by Benjamin 
Hewison, in whose family it still remains. 

The three tenements at the west end of Shore Street are built on the peat brae of Traill 
of Sabay, whose house was at the corner of Harbour Street. This space remained vacant till 
about 1820, when Greorge Omond, merchant, put up the place afterwards known as Kelday's 
Tavern. 

At the foot of what is now Bridge Street, the Shore met the Aire— the long spit of shingly 
beach which shut off the Oyce from the open waters of the bay. 

The sea front of what is now Harbour Street was anciently known as the Ramparts, and 
the name gives the history. Here fortifications were constructed for the defence of the burgh 
against " the common enemy." As to the structure of these bulwarks we are not left in 
ignorance, and the provision for maintaining them is frequently referred to in the burgh 
records. 

In 1703, when the Duke of Marlborough was busy with the French in the Low Countries, 
the Town Council were also busy in their preparations to resist foreign invasion. The 
Provost, David Traill, was living out at Sabay when, on an alarm, he was summoned to town. 
George Spence, town treasurer, enters : — " Item to Hairie Delday's sonne for goeing to Sabay 
and Grahamshall with two letters for getting carriadges to the guns, 6s." 

The Provost came to town, and immediately took action. 

**The Magistrates and Counsill present, taking to their consideratione that the rampart or 
bulwark at the shoar of Kirkwall is almost ruinous, and tha^ the great guns or Cannons lying there 
thir Carriadges are old, rotten, and useless, and that fitt and necessar it is that the said rampart or 
bulwark, with the great guns and thir cariadges, be repaired and looked to, so as that this Bru^h 
may be in a better posture of defence against the comon enemie in caice of invasion : Therefore the 
saids Magistrates and Counsill present finds it convenient, and statuts, enacts, and appoynts that this 
efteruoone the said rampart or bulwark, and the saids great guns with thir Cariadges, be viewed and 
inspected as to what conditione they ar for the present, to the effect speidie and tymous course may 
be taken for repareing of the rampart or bulwark, and for repareins of the cariadges of the great guns 
both att the shoar and Mount, and for that effect appoynts the Magistratts and Counsill present to 
attend this eftemoone with two wrights for viewing the said rampart, guns and cariadges, and that 
the Stewart depute of Orkney be supplicat pre«fentlie for his giving ordour to the tennents withn the 
parish of St. Olla and the nixt adjecent paroches for giving thir assistance for cutting and carrieing 
teall and divott to the said rampart and bulwark for repareing thereof, conforme to use and wount. 

♦* 12th June 1703. (Signed) David Teaill." 

After St. Ola, the neighbouring parishes were called upon to do their share : — 

" Paid to Joseph Jack, officer, for ffoing through the parish of Firth with the Stewart depute's 
ordour for Inbringing the parishioners there with spaids, shoveUs, and horses to repare the rampart, 

** Item to Joseph Jack when he went to Holme to bring in that paroch with horses to help the 
rampart, Ss." 

** Item to thepyners, officers, and others that helped to bigg and level the ramper the day the 
Holme people earned the feale, to buy 6 pynts aille, 128." 

** Item paid for 8 pynts aille to the pyners, officers, and wrights at dismounting the great guns at 
the ramparts, 128." 

" Item given for a pynt of aille to Thomas Foubister and John Sabiston, wrights, when they were 
appointed to view the timber for the carriadges, 2s." 

" Item to John Nisbet, Dean of Guild, for two pieces of oak to be Tumblers to the great guns, 
and for a piece of oak to be ane axeltrie, £13 6s 8d. 

*' Item paid to John Nisbet, Dean of Guild, for a piece of oak to be a Cariadge to the great gun 
at the Mount, 168." 



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122 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

Anything that could l>e made useful in the defence of the good town the Magistrates 
regarded, not as public property i)erhaps, but as at the service of the Council, its owner 
receiving for it market value. Francis Halcro, dyer, had in his possession a piece of oak, 
"lyeing besyde him useless," which he would not sell. The oak was seized, and Halcro, 
along with a reprimand, got the price put upon it by two wrights sworn to do justly. 

The Magistrates were often badly off for ammunition, and we find many applications to 
persons of influence to get supplies from Government. 

The price of gunj)owder in Kirkwall in 1672 was 2s sterling i)er pound. In July of that 
year, Wm. Laughton sold to Bailies Thomas Wilson, Patrick Traill, and David Moncrieff, 
probably for the use of the guard at the approaching market, 4 lbs. of "pouther," which 
came to £4 16s Scots. 

For the defence of the Burgh, in addition to the great guns at the llampart and the gun 
at the Mount, small arms were freely distributed among the townsmen, and in time of war a 
s[)ecial tax was imposed "by consent of the indwellers, which stent is to be employed for 
buying ammunition and other necessary charges for defending this town against the comon 
enemie." In 1666, when the Dutch were the " comon enemie," the order was issued : — 
" Therefore, this is ordaining all within the town to make reddie i>ayt. of thir proportions to 
Patrick Traill and John Kaa, collectors above the Castel, and to John Caldell and Thomas 
Dishington, collectors appoynted below the Castell." The stent w^as collected and the powder 
was bought. 

"On ye 11 of May 66, the ball, of ponder yt was received from peitter winchister was 
weighed ; neat weight of pouder, seventie-two pound half-pound ; (jlk ponder and weight was 
taken out and weighed at the sight of Harie Erbry, Thomas bakie, and Arthur bakie, and qlk 
we doe Heirby attest, dait and place forsd." Then follow the three signatures and : — " Ye 
half ball, or eniptie cask, qlk we had wt. ye i>ouder, wyed 13p. 14oz. just." 

Patrick Traill got it in charge, and accounts for it thus : — 

" Charge of puther lx)ught and recead wt. ye money yt belonged to the inhabitants of Kirkwall 
since May 66. It., at ye sight of harie Erborey and tho. baikie, ye said day, viz., ye 11 March 66, 
yr was dclyt. me, from peitter Winchister, ane half ball, of pouther, wye<l just 72 punds ; also, on the 
10 of Aprill yi-after, I bought and recead 38 punds weight of pouther, 1 lOp. 

Disch. on the day of May 66, two guns fired 004p ^p 

Also on the 29 of May,'* 3 guns fy red, spent 006p 

also yrafter, ye nixt month, at severall tymes, uthr 3 guns fired, qlk spent uthr 6 pund 006p 

also, on ye 2 of August 66, delyt. tho. dishiiigtone, pr. order, to keep ye gaurd, 4p pouther 004p 

also, on ye 11 of August, yr was fyred two gims 004p 

being qn peitter winchister 's frigate came in. 

qrafter ded. to pat. craigie for his companie ... 006p 

at first 4p., yrafter 2p. 

delyt. to James baikie's company, 4p 004p 

to tho. Wilson's company, 4p 4p 

038p 
Yrafter sent to the Mount ane half firkin of pouther, coutainand about 20 or 22p weight 022p 



qlk was not spent 060p 



Sua remains to compt for to make up the above wreatten charge, 50p pouther 50p 

but I have at psnt. remaining upwards of 60p pouther, because I preserved cai-thages of pouther that 
belonged to peitter winchister. " 

In 1703 the muskets distributed among the townspeople belonged to the Earl of Morton, 
and were got from him on a petition being sent requesting the use of them : — 

* King's birthday. 



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THE RAMPARTS. 123 

** For the Right Honorabill the E^rle of Mortoune, etc., the humble desyre of the Inhabitants of 
the toune of Kirkwall unto your Lo/, 

" Humblie Sheweth, — It is not unknowine unto yor Lo/ the great dainger that we have beene at 
this many yeires bygone by pirosie, as also our great sufferinKS by taiking our ships by sea by the 
comoune enemie, anoplundenng your Lo/ Houses, Islands, and Lands, quhairein we ar concerned of our 
haill stocks, stuff, and furniture, appropriating it to the comoune enemie the samyn at thair disposal, 
to our great damage and I^ss, qch renoares us now not aible to serve his Ma'tie nor defend our selves 
as then we war, etc. 

" Thairfore we humblie Begg that yor Lo/ wold be graciouslie pleased to suffer yor depute heire 
and give power to him to deteine in his keeping, for the defence of his Ma'tie, the countrey, and this 
poore toune qrin we are present inhabitants, the small guns that yor Lo/ left within the saniyne 
toune, qrby we may be ay the more aible to serve his Ma'tie and to defend our selves, etc." 

Following upon this we have " Ane list of the Inhabitants within the Brugh of Kirkwall 
who are presently to receave from Mr Henry Leggat, Stewart and Justitiar Deput of Orkney, 
the muskets or small arms aftermentioned, which annes are presently in the custodie of the 
said Mr Leggat, to be keeped by the saids Inhabitants, and to be cleared and dressed by them, 
and accordingly restored back to the said Stewart deput when requyred." 

Sixty- three were given out, seven persons receiving two, one presumably for a grown-up 
son or a man-servant. One of those who received two was Alexander Fraser, gunsmith. 

And this defence of the town was not ineffective, for at least on one occasion the guns 
of the Hampart and Mount put to flight one of the ships of the "common enemy" which had 
put into the bay for hostile purposes. " In his* time, warrs being betwixt our King and the 
Hollanders, a Hollands Privateer came and assaulted the town of Kirkwall : shooting 
many Guns at it ; but, by the providence of God, none was killed or hurt, though, by the 
Guns from the Town and Mount, the ship of the Enemie was much damnified and had several 
of their men slain." t 

Thoughtless people were not sufficiently careful of the Burgh bulwark. It was recom- 
mended to the Magistrates ** to take notice of such as carrie off muck from the town, espeaci- 
ally from the Rampart, which exceedingly weakens the same." X 

The first house on the Rampart was built by Sir David Sinclair of Swinbrucht, son of 
William, Earl of Orkney, and brother of Henry, Lord Sinclair, who got a lease of the earldom 
in 1501. It was in the middle of what is now Harbour Street, and it dates from the latter 
half of the fifteenth century. When Sir David was in Orkney, this was his town house. In 
the sasines it is entered as '^ of old called the Inns." § 

** The Testament of Sir David Sincler of Swynbrucht. In the name of God, Amen, be it kend til 
al men and be knawin yat I, David Sincler of Swynbrucht, knyt, seik in my bodye, nevir ye less hail 
into my mynde, maks my testament in manr. and form as efter foUowis : — Item in ye fyrst, I leif and 
commendis my saule to God Almychtie, in quhaiis protection and defenss I do cal ye blyssit virgen 
Mare and al ye sancts in hevin. Item, I leir my boaye to be erdit in Sanct Magnus Kyrk of Tyng- 
well. Item, to protec and defend my Testament, I chuse and order descreit men, ytis to say, Richard 
Lesk and Thorrold of Brucht veray executors of this testament, the qlks sal dispone my geir, bayth 
wrettin and ounvrettin, as yai vil answer befor God. Item, I leif nathing to my Lorde Sincler hot ye 
of Zetland for this year pnt., to the qlk Lorde I geive and leiile all ye lands yat I poscessit 
after my fadir deide, in Zetland, and my best silver stope, wyt twelfe stoppis incluseit in ye same, wt 
my schipe callit ye calvill, wt hir ptinents and twa saddelis. Item, I leife to my Ladye Sincler my 
myd stope of silver, wt twelft stoppis incluseit in ye samen. Item, I leife to ye sone and aire of 
Henry, Lord Sincler, my best silver stope, wt sex stoppis incluseit in ye samen, and wt all the move- 
abill oests yt are contenit in ye lands aftir assignit to my Lord his fadir. Item, I leife to my Bruder, 
Sir Wm. Sincler, Erie of Cathtness, my Innes in Edinbrucht wt ye pertinents. Item, I leife to Sir 
WilUiam Sincler, ye knycht, my Doublet of clotht of gold and my gray satin gownde, wt thre ostreche 
feddirs. Item, I leife to Ollave ortsone my blak gownde of dames wt silver buttones. Item, I give 

* Bishop Honyman's. t Wallace. if C. R., 5th May 1724. 
§ English county families were content to call their town house their ** Inn," as Lincoln's Inn^ 
Grey's Inn ; but Scottish lairds made the most of small things, and dubbed theirs " Inns." 



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124 



KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 



and leife to Gertrude tnv gret silver belt and ane pece of clotht of gold ye lyntht of ane flanders ellin. 
I leif to Win. Flete and his Bruder, Christe Flete, my littill schipe, wt al geir, and al my lands in 
Orknay, wt my Inns in Kirhoail, etc." 

Among other bequests, he leaves to James Sinclair, "Capitaine for ye tyme in Dingvill," 
all his moveable property in Ross, "excep my red cote of welwote, ye qlk I leife to ye hie 
altar of ye Cathedral Kyrk of Orknay." 

He leaves to each of his sons one hnndred merks land, and each of his daughters fifty. 

His executors are well left. Thorrold gets Glaitness, Lingrow, Pabdale, and Brucht ; 
Richard Lesk gets twenty merks laud and '* my Inglis schipe wt al geir." There must have 
been something unusual about the purchase of that ship, for one item is— "xv. merks I 
ordaine to be paiet to ye Inglisman yat saulde me ye schipe." 

" Item, I leife to Magnus Sincler my blew doublet, ye breist set wt preciouss standLs ; and 
my hude, set wt precious standis ; and my golden chenye, ye qlk I weirr dailly." 

He leaves a chalice to St. Magnus in Dingwall. 

" Item, I give and leife to my sister dwelland in Orknay all my guds yat are in Pappay 
And Housbe." 

" Item, I lefe to Sr. Magnus Halcrowe, twa nobills and ye boke of gude maidess." 

" Item, I give to St. George^s alter in Rosskryill* my golden chenye, ye qlk is callit ane 
collar, ye qlk chenye ye Kying of Denmark gave me." 

He leaves all his " brutal bests that is in Oxvoe " to his nephew, ** Henre Sincler." 

" Item, I leife ye fructs of my lands of this yeir's cropt to ye puir folks." 

There are many other bequests, both of money and goods, showing great wealth ; and the 
will concludes :— " Giftin at Tyngwell, ye yeir of God 
MD. and sex yeiris, ye aucht day of ye visitation of 
our Ladye." 

Sir David Sinclair's Inns was a large mansion, 
and, next to the Castle and Palace, must have been 
the most important house in the town. 

From 1506, when by bequest it became the 
property of William and Christopher Flett, we know 
nothing of the Inns for more than one hundred years. 
It was too large for any ordinary family, so it was 
divided into two parts, each being enough for the 
requirements of a wealthy burgess. 

Some of the occupants of the Inns have been 
leading men in the town. On a putt stone at the 
back of the St. Ola Hotel are the initials P.T., with 

the date 1639. In his will, Alexander Taylor, 1629, refers to his brother Peter as owner of 
the house called the Inns, and Peter Taylor must have rebuilt or repaired the eastern portion 
of the old mansion. 

Meantime, three generations of the Grotts of Odness — Nicol, William, and Hew — had 
owned the other half, when, in 1647, the last-named sold it to John Cuthbert and Margaret 
Chalmers, his spouse. Cuthbert put up a new house on the site, and for his western boundary 
he had the Girnell " newly built." A putt stone from this tenement, inscribed " I.C., M.C., 
1643" — John Cuthbert, Margaret C!)halmers — is preserved in the house now called the Store- 
house, but where the latter stands there was, in Cuthbert's time, a passage between his 
dwelling and the Girnell-house. 

* Roskilde. 




Putt Stone at back of St Ola Hotel. 



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THK RAMPARTS. 



125 




Putt Stone preserved in Storehouse. 



Of John Cuthbert we know a good deal, and we can surmise more. He was Gimell- 
keeper to Sir William Dick of Braid. He was probably the father-in-law of the Rev. Mr 
Wallace, and he certainly was much respected in the church. He got from the Session a seat 
in the stalls for " himself and bed-fellow, their heirs and 
successors." His monument is in the north nave aisle. 

A carved lintel stone over a doorway at the back of 
the Inns is inscribed " D.M. 1669. I.A." The persons 
indicated here are David Moncrieflf, skipper, and Isobel 
Anderson, his wife, widow of Patrick Smith of Braco. 
Having made a competency and retired from the sea, 
Moncrieff was successively Councillor, Bailie, and Dean- 
of-Guild. The Orkney Moncrieffs were a branch of the 
Perthshire family, Moncrieff of Moncrieff. 

The Bailie had a brother, Harry, also a Kirkwall 
skipper, and on a failure in the direct line of the Perth- 
shire Moncrieffs, Harry's son, Thomas, succeeded to the 
baronetcy. The former Sir Thomas seems to have at 
one time intended to mark his connection with Kirkwall 
by doing something for the church. At a meeting of 
Session, 6th Sept. 1710,* " Mr Baikie reported that the 
Lady Moncrief, elder, had told him that her husband, Sir Thomas Moncrief of that ilk, had 
mortified 500 merks to the Kirk of Kirkwall, and that the said Sir Thomas, being present, 
confirmed it and desired to cause speak to his nephew thereanent. The Session appoints a 

letter to be written to Moncrief, 

1 yor., and appoints to write to Nicol 
Spence, agent for the Church, to 
inform himself anent the nature of 
that mortification, and to take care 
that it be made effectual." 

Apparently, however, it had 
not been made effectual, for, nearly 
five years later, t **the Session, 
considering that Sir Thomas Mon- 
crief, who mortified some (money ?) 
to this church, as we are informed, 
is now departed this life. Therefore appoints a letter to be written to his heir, this present 
Laird of Moncrief, to know what it is, and if it so be to receive it, and appoints to speak to 
his brother, Harie Moncrief of Rapness, that he may please to write alongst to his said brother 
in favours of this Session." In a week there was a reply from Rapness that he would forward 
the letter " under his own cover " ; and there the matter ends. There is no trace of the money 
ever having been received by the church. 

Bailie Moncrieff of the Inns was a member of the Orkney Golf Club. James Dickson, 
writing from Kirkwall, 1685, says : — " Ye will remember to bring with you one dozen of 
common golf ballis to me and David Moncrieff," J The Ba'lea seems at that time to have 
been the home green of the Kirkwall players :— " Gentlemen of Kirkwall have been in the 
use of diverting themselves, when they thought proper, on a piece of ground called the 

* S. R. t S. R., 13th April 1715. 

X ** Golf," by Horace G. Hutchison, Badminton Series, p. 15. 



'»r 



•^^^.- - 



rd * I u 'j y' J" •*/'-•" 




Lintel Stone over a Doorway at the back of the Inns. 



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126 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

Bailey of Kirkwall, adjacent to the lands of South Pabdale, at the golf or other 
diversions."* But for a week's outing, the Kirkwall players resorted to Sanday, and had 
their foursomes over the plain of Fidge. Their yearly festival was held on the sixteenth of 
April, St. Magnus Day. As there were then no hotels in Sanday, the annual dinner of the 
club would take the circuit of Stove and Elsness, Newark and Lopness, and round the 
hospitable board of Fea or Traill, Stewart or Elphingston, the members would fight their 
battles over again as long as they could see each other.t There were many of his name in 
Kirkwall in David Moncrieff's time— Anna, wife of Harie Erburie, merchant, Broad Street ; 
Jean, wife of Andrew Young of Castleyards ; Margaret, who married Edward Elphingston, 
skipper, and afterwards Mitchel Kendall of Breck ; Thomas, merchant, Kirkwall ; and 
William, student of Divinity. 

David's only daughter, Barbara, married Alexander Hunter of Nearhouse, and went south 
with her husband. + 

After Bailie Moncrieff's death, 13th Jan. 1691, his 
house passed into the hands of Alexr. Dalmahoy, Col- 
lector of Customs. 

In taking down a house in 1891 for the erection of 
the Orkney Club, a lintel above a fireplace was found 

with the initials, "H.N., A.T., 1760." § These refer to Harry Nisbet, who married Anna 
Traill, daughter of George Traill of Holland, 1751. Harry was for a time keeper of the 
Girnell, in succession to his father, John Nisbet. 

In the account of the pundlar process, a high tribute is paid to the memory of John 
Nisbet as a just man. He was the first Gimell-man who dispensed with the old weighing 
instruments and bought and sold by beam and scale. 

Harry's son, William, desired to go to Jamaica, and on the security of this house he 
borrowed from James Stewart, merchant in Kirkwall, a sum of £100 stg. Under this bond 
Nisbet sold his house to "John Scollay, of Kingston, in the County of Surry and Island of 
Jamaica." 

In the Scollay titles, 1788, the southern boundary is given as the Little Sea, perhajis the 
first time the Oyce is so named in a legal document. 

In 1810, Peter Scollay, weaver, Kirkwall, succeeded his elder brother in this property, and 
still the Peerie Sea was its southern boundary. 

The eastern part of the Inns, as we have seen, belonged in 1629 to Peter Taylor, and it 
remained in possession of this family for a considerable time. In 1695, James Baikie of 
Tankemess had it, and sold it to Marjorie Halcro. At that date it is described as *' being ane 
sclaite house, build and biggit upon ane pairt of the ground and Land of old called the Inns." 

Marjory Halcro, relict of George Spence of Oversea pa, with her son, John, grant sasine to 
Thomas Linay, carpenter, of the " Tenement of Land and odal yaird and peit yaird belonging 
thereto," and it remained in possession of this family for over a hundred and twenty-five 
years. In 1695 the southern boundary was the Pottinger's yaird, ** of old called the Culrsetter's 
yaird." Down to the beginning of the present century, the whole of Harbour Street was 

* Mackintosh's ** Curious Incidents," p. 242, from Burgh Records, 1783. 

t Golf on the Ba'lea had been long a thing of the past, and the reference to it on the occasion of 
the sale of Pabdale in 1783 was simply with a view to guard public rights. After having been extinct 
in Orkney probably since " the Forty-five," the game was revived in Kirkwall in 1884 by Angus 
Buchanan, Esq., of the National Bank. His enthusiasm attracted players, and his energy rendered 
golf possible by creating a course out of a piece of marshy ground lying conveniently near the town. 

It T. B., 8th Sept. 1687* 

§ The stone was so saturated with soot and smoke that it could not be again used for building 
purposes. 



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THE RAMPARTS. 127 

occupied by four tenements, two of them occupying the site of the Inns. But as time passed 
and population increased, the peat braes between the houses were built upon. 

In 1895, the whole of "the Ground and Land of old Called the Inns*' was in the hands of 
one proprietrix, Mrs John Geddes, of hospitable fame, and the space contained an hotel, a 
steamboat-office, a club-house, and a dwelling-house. 

The Ramparts terminated eastward in the Girnell. In John Cuthbert's titles, 1647, his 
western boundary is given as "the King's New house or Girnell,"* and here we have an 
approximation to the date of its erection. On the east end a dwelling-house was built about 
the beginning of the present century. 

Nearly in front of the Girnell is the jetty known as the Corn-slip, a name which 
commemorates the time when the grain rents were landed here. For the proper handling of 
the corn, a kiln was erected on the west end of the Girnell. 

In 1818, the Town Council "of new" ratified, approved, and confirmed John Traill 
Urquhart's right to the piece of waste ground lying at the west end of the shore of Kirkwall, 
" commencing at a point at a distance of 40 feet of rule from the covered way leading into the 
Kiln-hogy of the Girnel House belonging to Lord Dundas." 

The Girnell was one of the most important institutions in the county. There were two, 
the Earl's or King's as the case might be, and the Bishop's. When rents and scatt were paid 
in kind, the Girnell was the receptacle for the oats, here, meal, and malt that were annually 
brought in by the tenants. The oil and butter payments were, as has been seen, rendered at 
the Butter Storehouse. The keeper of the King's Girnell was Chamberlain of the Earldom, and 
the duties of his office were not light. He received the rents, and what he could not turn into 
money in Orkney he shipped and sold in southern markets. But bad years were of frequent 
recurrence, and these gave the Girnell-man much trouble. He could not see people starve 
while he had provisions ; yet, in a place where money was scarce and the means of procuring 
it limited, bad debts, for which he was responsible, were numerous, and prosecutions were 
frequent and often fruitless. " Att Kirkwall, the Day of Apryll, One Thousand Seven 

Hundred and Thrie years, The quhilk day ffor sameikle as William Liddell, William Fea, and 
John Covingtrie, three of the present Baillies of the said Burgh, did, by their decreit of the 
date after mentioned, Deceme and Ordaine the persons after exprest to make payment and 
satisfactione to Andrew Young of Castleyards, receiver of Her Ma'tie's rents of the Stewartrie 
of Orkney, of the soums of money underwritten as the pryces of malt and meall taken up be 
them out of her Ma'tie's Girnell crops, Jajvij.t and One years, ilk ane of them for their own 
parts in manner after devysed." Then follows a list of ten debtors, ranging in the Girnell 
books from £6 to £56, and representing a total of £264 3s 2d. To cover the costs, Mr Young 
got decree for " two shillings in ilk pound for expenses of plea." 

The price of meal and malt paid into the Girnell was fixed in the Fiars' Court, but the 
price of what was given out depended upon the state of the markets, which might vary 
between the times of the paying in and the selling out. And in the dealings of private 
individuals this distinction required to be observed. In 1629 two burgesses bought a quantity 
of malt from James Baikie of Tankerness, who prosecuted for girnel price, when "The 
defenders, being deeplie and solemnlie sworn. They depone both of them that what malt they 
received was all taken out upon payment of the fiar pryce of the Countray, without ever 
mentioning the girnell pryce." 

The Bishopric Girnell, which in the days of the later prelates was in the Palace, had 
experiences similar to that of the Earldom. " Forsameikle as it is humblie meant and showen 
To us Be William Young, Keeper of the girnell of the Bishopric of Orkney, that the persones 

♦ Sheriflf Court Books. t mdoc. 



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128 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

after named ar Justlie resting awing and adebted to the pursV the particular sowmes of 
money underwritten, and that for malt taiken up be them out of the said girnall/' and decree 
was granted. 

The year 1699 seems to have been very severe upon the poorer inhabitants of Kirkwall, 
and we find the Town Council and the Kirk Session purchasing grain, for distribution, from 
Sir William Craigie of Gairsay, who then farmed the Crown rents. Sir William, on the 6th 
May, grants receipt of £300 Scots, and on the 12th June of the same year, his wife, in her 
husband's absence, acknowledges receipt of £199 15s Scots, to account "of ane quantitie of 
Bear and Meall received by saids Magistratts,- minister, and Counsell of Kirkwall." 

The year 1730 was a bad one in Orkney, and we find the Council taking a sum of £300 
out of the charter chest to buy in a stock of meal for winter. 

In 1731 times were still hard, and the Earl of Morton's Gimel-man had orders to sell meal 
to the inhabitants of Kirkwall at half a merk per boll below the fiars' prices. The years 1739, 
1740, and 1741 were bad years in Orkney, and many died of want. In 1765, a "year of great 
famine," the Free Masons subscribed largely towards buying meal for the poor. 

That corn riots wefe not unknown in times of scarcity, the following petition goes to 
prove : — 

** 10th February 1800. 

" Unto the Honble. His Majesty's Justices of the Peace for the County of Orkney, the Humble 
Petition of the Deacons of the Four Incorporations of the Burgh of Kirkwall, for them- 
selves, and in name and by desire of the respective Freemen and Members thereof, 

" Most Respectfully Sheweth that at no time is the interposition of Magistrates so necessary as 
during Public Scarcity. 

** That at present there is a great dearth of Oat and Com Meall in the Country, the little to be 
got advancing in the price and attended with difficulty in procuring it, whereby, if it is of any long 
continuance, our Trade and Manufactures will be ruined. 

** Notwithstanding whereof, the Petitioners are very certain that vast quantities of Grain are 
now hoarded up and Monopolized in Orkney by diflferent persons, which is Wicked in the time of 
Calamity, and is intended by them to be Shipped immediately to other parts beyond this jurisdiction 
for the gain of an additional price, thereby taking the Bread out of the mouths of their own Laborious 
Poor at Home and sending it to the Inhabitants of Another Country for filthy lucre, which is a sin. 

** That the Petitioners are informed that the Legislature has vested your Honours with Authority 
on such an Emergency to prevent the Exportation of Victual beyond your own jurisdiction, or to 
provide remedy against Dearth. 

'* That the Petitioners are anxious to prevent any combinations or rising of the people on this 
occasion, and consider it to be their duty to Entreat and Beseech of your Honours, with all convenient 
speed, to take such measures for preventing the Exportation aforesaid, or for supplying the Necessity 
of the Poor, or otherwise as to your Wisdoms shall seem proper. 

" And your Petitioners shall ever Pray. 

(Signed) Oliver Scott. 
Jambs Cobban. 
Lawrence Shanon. 
James Fraseb." 

There is a tradition that on one occasion, when the Girnell-man was holding on for higher 
prices, George Eunson, Extraordinary Officer of Excise, headed a crowd, broke open the door 
of the Qirnell-house, sold meal to those who could pay for it, placed the money where it would 
be found by the Girnell-man, secured the door, and came away. 

In such times the exportation of grain from the county was prohibited, and the trans- 
portation of grain from one port to another was carefully watched. 

"Forsameikle as be his Majestie*s proclamation,* Intituled proclamatione Dischargeinff export 
and allowing Import of victuall, Dated at Edinr. the nynth day of November last bj-past, -^1 kynds 
of viotuall, either mealle, whyt, ryes, oats, pease, barley, or bear, malted or not malted, or anv other 
graine or victuall whatsomever, Is most strictly prohibited and discharged to be exported mrth of 

• 19th April 1699. 



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THE BAMPARTS. 129 

this Kingdome by any persones whatsomever, either by Land or Sea, efter the date forsaid of the said 
proclamation, under the paines therein and eftermentioned, viz., the forfaulture of the victuall oflfered 
to be exported for the use of the poore of the bounds where the samen shall be attached and seased, 
or the value thereof where the same is proven to be exported, and Lykeways of the forefalture of the 
horse, shipe, boat, or other veshell whereby the same shall be attempted to be exported, and also of 
the value of ten pounds Scots money over and above for each boll that shall be found to be exported 
or offered to be exported, and proven or attached and saisd as said is, to be payed by the awner, 
skipper, or exporter ; And that such as shall be found transgressing, and have not to pay the foresaid 
paine, shall be punished in their bodies by imprisonment, to be fedde with bread and watter or 
scourgeing at the discretione of the Judge/' 

The above is the opening and about a fifth part of the petition of "John Stewai-t of 
Burgh, in the Illeand of Sanday," for permission " to transport the quantitie of two hundreth 
and eightie bolls beare from the ylleand of Sanday, in Orkney, upon ane bark or veshell, to 
some port or ports within this Kingdoine, to be sold for the use of His Majestie's subjects 
within the samen allenarlie." 

The tenement at the east end of the Ramparts, bounded westward by the Inns, belonged, 
as far back as can be traced, to Patrick Smith of Braco, son-in-law of Bishop Graham. It 
afterwards came into possession of Patrick Traill of Elsness, who, in 1677, had upon that site 
"twa large double tenements under sclaitt roof, pntlie possest be himself, betwixt the king's 
hie street towards the/>ter and shoir on the north, the king's hie street on the east, &c." 

Patrick Traill, skipper, is his familiar title before 1668, in which year he bought Elsness 
from John Qrott. He married, 1654, Elspeth Pottinger. Traill had been for some time in 
partnership with his father-in-law, for in 1656 the two of them sold a ship ** for their common 
interest." 

A part of Patrick's journal,^ still extant, shows that a good business man needs not be 
trammelled by conventional modes of spelling. On the 9th of January 1677, Traill engaged 
John Mitchell to quarry stones for the building of the House of Elsness, and enters the 
contract : — "' I agredit wt John mechell to brak as may stones as will Bowld my houss at 
ellsnes, and I ame to geve hymes 18 lib. ; geiven hym in hand 12 shelling in arnsest. He is to 
entor his wark the 6 of febuarie nixt." 

" The 6 Apryll 1676, Shiptte aboard of the good fortton, of Kirkwall, Pat. Traill, mester. 
Item from the leday sonnd,t twentie barall of bowtter and twall barall of oyll," &c. 

Besides the " Good Fortune," which he himself commanded, he had a half share of the 
sloop Elizabeth, under the charge of John Dishington. 

Patrick Traill was a man of strong family affection. His note-book has many references 
to wife and children. Mrs Traill took advantage of her husband's foreign voyages to get some 
of her home-spun cloths dyed abroad. " 17 Apryll 1676, I reseivit from my wyf 36 elles of 
whyt stouff to be dayed, and 4 elles of whyt stouff to be dayed skarlott." He never made a 
voyage without bringing nice presents home with him. ** For ane night gowne and 3 night 
capess of selk, seven rix Dolleres ; for 2 par showes to John, £2 12s ; for 2 par to barbra,t 15s ; 
for 1 hatt to John, £1 16s ; for 1 pond tobaka, 8s ; for 3 pond suger, £1 10s ; for ane shieft to 
my wyf, £7 ; for ane par of gloves to my wyff, 12s ; for ane par to my doughter, 8s ; for ane 
houd to my wyff, £4 3s." " Remember to bring hom to hellen Stewart § 2 elles of grein say." 

Like other wealthy men, he advanced money on mortgages. In 1688, Patrick Traill of 
Elsness obtained " decreit against Marjorie Halcro, relict of George Spence of Overscapa, to 
flitt therefrom that he may enter thereto." || 

He was a member of the Orkney Golf Club, and many a festive night the old House of 
Elsness witnessed when the jovial skipper and his guests returned from the plain of Fidge. 

* Favoured by J. Barnett, Esq. t Margaret Buxtoun, widow of Arthur Buchanan of Sound. 
X Married, 1686, James Fea of Clestrain. § Daughter-in-law. || H. L. 

S 



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130 KIRKWALL IX THE ORKNEYS. 

He died, October 1690, and his tenement on the Ramparts passed to his second son, 
David. 

In 1684, David Traill raariied Catherine Skene, widow of James Sinclair of Sabay, and 
became known as Traill of Sabay. 

In 169<), he cleared away his father's *Hwa double tenements," and built on^ large house 
on their site. From its size, or from some peculiarity of style, it was regarded with disfavour 
by the townspeople. Thomas Brown records* :— " Monday, betwixt 11 and 12 of the day, 
there was a storm of wind at the north which beat in the new built house on the shore done 
4it direction of David Traill, called his Folly, and whereof, with that stress, there was almost 
the whole north side of that house broke down." 

Having got the Sabay estate, Traill naturally claimed the Sabay pew in the Cathedral — 
the St. Clair's loft, " on the right side of the pulpit " — but the claim was opposed by some of 
the numerous Sinclair clan, and was refused. He, however, got the Dick's loft, on the 
opposite side of the choir. 

David Traill of Sabay was in Edinburgh, in 1714, with a purpose of marriage ; and Nicol 
Spence, agent for the Kirkwall Presbytery, certified, for the proclamation of the banns, that 
he was single, his wife having died seven years previously. The second Mrs Traill was Jean, 
daughter of Robert Bruce of Auchinlay, and she, poor lady, died at sea, between Orkney and 
Leith, 25th June 1722. Undeterred by two bereavements, he took to himself a third wife, 
Barbara, daughter of Robert Baikie of Tankerness. Like all the other Traills, Sabay took an 
active interest in municipal affairs, and was Provost of Kirkwall from 1712-1718. We learn 
incidentally that he enjoyed his pipe, as he writes to his " Cussine," William Traill, Dean-of- 
Guild, to send him " ane pound of good Tobacco, and an quarter pound white soap." 

David Traill died at Leith, 1726, and a letter from a friend of the family records the fact 
that in sickness and in burial he had been ** well seen to." 

After David's death, the Sabay estates got into difficulties. Peter Blair, writer, Edin- 
burgh, directs a letter to Patrick Traill of Sabay requesting payment of £40 stg., and asking 
for further instructions. Traill replies, stating that his affairs are at a crisis, and he un- 
nerved and distressed. 

In this connection, but whether as cause or effect of poor Sabay's distress, we notice a 
letter from Thomas Mackenzie, April 1736, to James Traill, yr. of Sabay. t Mackenzie pur- 
posed coming out with his brother on some business, but he is " afraid their coming out may 
prove an April errand if his (J. T.'s) father be not sober." 

In 1767, John Baikie was appointed, by the Court of Session, factor on the estate of Sabay 
for Andrew Young of Castleyards and his lady, at whose instance, as creditors, the roup of the 
estate was proclaimed at the Mercat Cross, 25th September, by James Spence, writer.J 

In the following February, Sabay was purchased by Sir Lawrence Dundas, who engaged 
himself to allow Elizabeth Douglas, relict of Andrew Young, an annuity of 400 merks. 

In 1769, Traill's Folly was sold by public roup in Edinburgh, and was knocked down to 
the bid of Samuel Mitchelson for William Groat, merchant, Kirkwall. 

Nothing can better illustrate the advance in the value of house property in the Burgh 
than the history of this place. Groat paid £55 for Sabay's house ; his grandson sold it to 
Thomas Balfour of El wick for £220. In 1802, the property, " partly ruinous or waste, lying at 
the shore of Kirkwall, commonly called Sabay's houses," was bought by David Drever, farmer, 
Newark, at the price of £375 ; and in 1888, Drever's heirs got from Mr Dunnet, the present 
proprietor, £1550 for the site. 

As has been seen, the northern boundary of this tenement was, in 1677, "the king's hie 
* 8th Deo. 1690. t H. L. papers. t H. L., 27. 



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THE RAMPARTS. 131 

Street, towards the pier and shore." This pier could only have been a boat landing ; the little 
trading vessels, of which at that time Kirkwall possessed a considerable fleet, could make no- 
use of it. From recorded lawsuits, we learn something of the handling of cargo in those days. 

In 1678, Edward Elphingston, as factor for Patrick Traill, merchant, shipped on board 
•* the good shippe called the Howcare, of Kirkwall, Edward Maxwell, master, ane suflScient 
punchione or hogshead " of sack. It was packed in sand in the hold, but when it came to be 
hoisted up to be sent ashore, the sand round the cask was found to be wet. A hole had been 
pierced in the end of the cask and had not been properly plugged. Mr Traill was on the 
beach when his wine w€us landed, and having been told what had been observed on board the 
ship, he called a cooper and summoned one of the Bailies and the Dean-of-Guild as witnesses. 
John Knight gauged the cask, and found that it wanted eighteen pints of being full, whereupon 
proceedings were taken against Arthur Baikie, John Kaa, and others, owners of the vessel. 

In their charter parties, the ancient mariners of Kirkwall sometimes got considerable 
licence as to the port of discharge. 

Alexander Thomson, skipper and part owner of the ** Hark Sampsone," chartered her for a 
voyage, 16th November 1624, her destination being "the Port in Norrowaye, wind and 
weather serving, where the veasell can lie at ane laidberrie." ♦ 

" William M*Kindlay, Master and part owner of the ship James, of Kirkwall, freights the 
said ship to James Laing, Mercht. in Eday." 

The " James " was to lie in Calfsound " three work weather days for receiving on board 
her full loddening of Meall, Here, or other Victual, and therewith first conveniency of wind 
and weather to sail to the ports of Arundall and Fleckry in Norway, and in each of these porta 
to ly 6 work weather days for unloadening the outwards cargo and reloadening with Oak 
Timber or other merchandise." 

Some of Kirkwall's old time ships had rather odd names. In 1631, Francis Mudie of 
Melsetter paid Thomas Lindsay of Grail 1000 merks for the bark " Godsend." 

" William Flett, skipper of the bark callit the flying heart," undertakes to bring from 
Staxigoe, in Caithness, 50(K) slates for James Baikie of Tankerness, and to deliver them on 
the shore of Kirkwall for 40 merks, March 1634. 

The '^bark callit the gift of God," Magnus Flett, skipper, was chartered by John 
Linklater, merchant, to run a cargo to Leith from " the Port of Papa Sound or Linga, as the 
weather shall serve, reserving to the skipper to carry four bolls victual of his own, and all 
passengers having but their kists," February 1638. 

David M^Leliand, who came to Kirkwall as ** servitor to Mr John Dick," and afterwards 
became proprietor of Woodwick, bought one-third of " the bark callit the Lamb of God, for 
176 rix dollars, at 58 shillings Scots money the piece," March 1637. 

William Gordon, merchant, Kirkwall, chartered " the bark callit the blessing," Thomaa 
Midhous, master, to load at Papa Sound, and go to any port in Scotland or Norway that he 
may fix, for £146 Scots, 20th January 1638. 

On the 28th May 1633, Harie Henrysone chartered "the bark callit the James, of 
Kirkwall, to come to the most convenient port of North Ronaldsay and lie four wark 
wethcrly dayes for the taking in of twentie chalder of beir." After that the '* James" was to 
go to Papa Sound to be loaded up by Harie's brother, and thus freighted to proceed to Bergen 
and lie eight days to discharge. For this the brothers were to pay £210 Scots " within the 
space of fortie aucht houres efter the delyverie of the same loading." 

Quite a considerable list of seventeenth century shipping might be made up — the 
" Robert," Cuthbert Wilson, skipper ; " Jonas," Edward Pottinger ; " Nicolas," John Pottinger ; 
* A loudberrie is a rock, with one side perpendicular, forming a natural pier. 



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132 KIKKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

*' Elizabeth," Patrick Traill ; " David of Sabay," Patrick Traill, younger. Besides these there 
are references to many vessels, the names of which are not given. 

On the 10th June 1690, ** Tuesday morning, Patrick Fea's ship was chased ashore at the 
«ast side of Deerness, near to the house of Skeall yr, bi a ship alleged to belong to the French 
King, and great skeath sustained yrby to the passengers, especiallie bi James Morisone and 
others/'* 

Besides war risk and sea risk, there were other dangers attending the southern voyage. 
Mr John Watt, "practioner of physick," was in 1689 prevented from going south on account of 
■** Pirates at sea." This made it necessary even for peaceful traders to carry arms. "The 
Three Brethren, of Kirkwall, lately built for William Traill, mercht.," was sold by him to 
Archibald Stewart of Brugh, f " with her haill tows, anchors, sails, masts, roes, oars, float-boat, 
€ompasses, glasses, and other furniture and appurtenances, with all moveables on board the 
«aid ship excef)t two pieces of cannon," 19th August 1740.X 

The pier opposite Traill's Folly, poor as it was, served Kirkwall till the beginning of the 
present century, when a determined and successful effort was made to get proper wharfage 
accommodation for the local .shipping. Subscriptions were a.sked, and Malcolm Laing headed 
the list with £l(X).§ The guineas poured in, and, with over £1800 in hand, the Trustees felt 
themselves entitled to proceed with the work. 

The laying of the foundation stone, 11th April 1809, was a function of high Masonic 
ceremonial, and Major West, who commanded a piirty of soldiers in Kirkwall, was asked to 
line the street. The pier was finished in 1811 and formally opened, as is shown by a short 
minute in the Masonic books :— " Brethren to dine at brother Eunson's, first walking in 
procession to the new erected pier." 

In 1812 the first harbour- master. Skipper John Laughton, was appointed at a salary of 
£25, and it was agreed that the office could be held only by a person of sea-going experience. 

The West Pier was begun in 1813, the money being raised partly by feuing portions of 
what were known as Kirkwall Hill and the East Hill. 

The lengthening of the pier, and indeed all the harbour works, have been carried out 
without Government aid. One result of this is a direct injustice on the part of the Treasury, 
which, on any appeal for a grant for local purposes, uses Kirkwall's spirit of self-help as an 
argument for tightening the purse-strings, while, on the other hand, it lavishes money on 
districts in Scotland and Ireland where the people are too indolent to use piers and boats 
built for them at the public expense. 

The south wall of the harbour, or the face of the "Rampart," was built by private 
enterprise. The older inhabitants of Kirkwall remember woodyards and buildings along the 
sea front. On the 22nd of August 1812, William Traill, merchant, bought at public roup from 
the Town Council the frontage from the new pier to the " corn slip," with a width of twenty- 
four feet, " computed from a distance of twenty-two feet on an average from the front of the 
buildings "—the houses of Harbour Street. "The said William Traill is Bound and Obliged 
to have substantial outside walls built and raised next to the said Harbour, equal in height to 
the top of the New Pier, against the term of Lammas next to come in the year 1813." 

♦ T. B. t S. R. t Sheriff Court Books. 

§ For a full list of subscribers see Mackintosh " Glimpses," p. 319. 



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CHAPTER X. 

Bridge Street, 

/HAT part of the main thoroughfare of Kirkwall dow known as Bridge Street was, with 
*- the Shore, the oldest part of the town. 

On the west side of the street, the tenements were bounded by the Sands and 
Oyce. Counting southward from " Traill's Folly," at the comer, the neighbours were, in 1677, 
Craigie of Oversanday, Halcro of Crook, Mowat of Pow, Pottinger of Hobbister, Covingtrie 
of Newark, " the airis of John Baikie, skipper," and Craigie of Qairsay. 

In 1698, Oversanday having removed to Broad Street, the Rev. George Spence, on his 
retirement or dismissal from the united parishes of Birsay and Harray, took Craigie's house in 
Bridge Street. He was a son of George Spence of Overscapa, and in the troubles that followed 
upon the disestablishment of Episcopacy, he became somewhat conspicuous. 

He was ordained in 1682. *' Mr George Spence, Student in Divinitie, was admitted to 
the function of the ministry by Murdoch, Bi^op of Orkney, with the Reverend brethrene of 
the Presbitrie thereof, for the united kirks of Firth and Stanehouse." * 

^ He deserted the charge, and transported himself to Birsay, for a better stipend, about 
1692 " ; " and entered (Intnider), 10th July. On being declared an intruder by the Committee 
of Visitation, and accused of immorality, neglect of ministerial duty, and x>artiality in disci- 
pline, he demitted, 14th June 1698, and lived privately till the Rebellion in 1716, when he 
proclaimed the Pretender ; for doing this, and on other accusations, he was deposed, 11th 
Jan. 1717." t 

He was a man of violent temper, and had to appear before the Presbytery charged with 
a very aggravated assault on John Nisbet, merchant, Birsay, an old man and a kind friend. 

Though deposed, Mr Spence helped to keep the fragments of the Episcopal congregation 
in Kirkwall together till his death in 1720. 

During the latter part of his life, his own means had become exhausted, and he drew upon a 
fund provided by the Scottish Episcopal Church to meet such cases. His wife, a daughter of 
George Ritchie, Chamberlain of Orkney, got £20 for her husband's funeral, and his annuity 
was continued to her. % 

Spence's neighbour southward, William Halcro of Crook, was a "son of Harie Halcro of 
Aikers. He bought Crook, in Rendall, from William Craigie of Gairsay, 1676." § 

When Mr Spence was tried for rebellious practices, Halcro was one of the witnesses. 

An arch still spans the entrance to the close which formed the passage to these two 
houses. In former times such arches were very common in Kirkwall, but they have, one by 
one, been removed, till now very few remain. 

In the beginning of the present century, Halcro's house was the Ship Inn, kept by 
William Scollay. Here Sir Waltei: Scott dined on the 12th of August 1814. 

♦ T. B., 7th June 1682. t Fasti. % Craven. § H. L. 



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134 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

The party, which had come in the Lighthouse yacht, consisted of Robert Hamilton, Sheriff 
of Lanarkshire ; William Erskine, Sheriff of Orkney and Zetland ; Adam Duff, Sheriff of 
Forfarshire, Commissioners of Northern Lights. Of " non-Commissioners," besides Scott, were 
Mr David Marjoribanks, son of the Provost of Edinburgh ; and the Rev. Mr Tumbull, 
minister of Tingwall. **But the official chief of the expedition is Mr Stevenson, the 
Surveyor— Viceroy over the Commissioners — a most gentleman-like and modest man, and 
well known by his scientific skill." * 

On the day above indicated, the four lawyers called on Mr Malcolm Laing at Pabdale, 
and afterwards visited the Castle, the Bishop's Palace, the EarFs Palace, and the Cathedral, 
" which greeted the Sheriff's approach with a merry peal." 

After all this, " we dine at the inn and drink the Prince Regent's health, being that of the 
day ; Mr Baikie of Tankerness dines with us." 

It is still believed in Orkney that Scott was disappointed because he received little or no 
attention from the Orcadians. From his journal it would appear that the only hospitality 
iextended to him was at Clestrain, in Orphir, by Mr Rae, Lord Armidale's factor. In Shetland, 
on the other hand, the party from the yacht had been honoured guests in many houses. 8th 
August, " We go to pay our farewell visits of thanks to the hospitable Lerwegians and at the 
Fort." Besides enjoying the pleasure of private dinner parties, the visitors had a public 
banquet given them, to which Sir Walter looks forward with evident zest. " We are now 
going to dress for dinner with the Notables of Lerwick, who give us an entertainment in their 
Town-hall. Oho." "Are hospitably received and entertained by the Lerwick gentlemen. 
They are a quick, intelligent race." 

In Kirkwall, on the other hand, there was no private hospitality, no Town-hall banquet, 
and the only entertainment of which a record is left was given in Scollay's Inn at the visitors' 
expense. It is almost reasonable to infer that Scollay's cuisine was too much for the Wizard's 
digestion, for on the very next day, in a rhyming epistle to the Duke of Buccleuch, he gives 
his well-known ludicrous description of the town : — 

" We have now got to Kirkwall, and needs I must stare, 
When I think that in verse I have once called it fair ; 
Tis a base little borough, both dirtv and mean- 
There is nothing to hear, and there's nought to be seen, 
Save a church where, of old times, a prelate harangued, 
And a palace that's built by an earl who was hanged." 

But Erskine was busy that day— trouble with his substitute, Mr Maconnochie ; Hamilton was 
gouty ; Scott was solitary ; and these little things undoubtedly affected the tone of the 
epistle. 

If Kirkwall was bad, Strom ness was worse ; Scott could find no beauty even in the 
picturesque situation of the capital of the West Mainland. ''Stroraness is a little, dirty, 
straggling town, which cannot be traversed by a cart or even by a horse, for there are stairs 
up and down, even in the principal streets. We paraded its whole length, like turkeys, in a 
string, I suppose to satisfy ourselves that there was a worse town than the metropolis, Kirk- 
wall." 

The yacht party stayed ashore the night of the 12th, and next day young Marjoribanks 
went shooting on Wideford Hill. The bag was a good one, though the visitor's share is not 
recorded. " Marchie goes to shoot on a hill called Whiteford, which slopes away about two or 
three miles from Kirkwall. The grouse is abundant, for the gentleman who chaperons 
Marchie killed thirteen brace and a-half, with a snipe." 

* Scott's Diary. 



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BRIDGE STREET. 135 

'' I have little to add, except that the Orkney people have some odd superstitions about a 
stone on which they take oaths to Odin. Lovers often perform this ceremony in pledge of 
mutual faith, and are said to account it a sacred engagement. It is agreed that we go on 
board after dinner, and sail with the next tide.* The Magistrates of Kirkwall present us 
with the freedom of their ancient burgh." With regard to this presentation, and the reception 
generally of Mr Scott, it must be remembered that as yet he was not known as the author of 
the Waver ley Novels. 

South of the Ship Inn is the house which of old belonged to Patrick Mowat of Pow. 

Mowat of Pow's neighbour on the south was Robert Pottinger of Hobbister, one of the 
bailies of Kirkwall. His house is described as ^' under sclaitt roofe except the kitchie." 
Hobbister had as a tenant Qeorge Hardie, chirurgeon. Little is known of this surgeon, and 
that little is shady. Provost Arthur Baikie had his eye upon him on account of a queer 
lawsuit in which he had contrived to involve, along with himself, Margaret Buxtoun, Lady 
Sound, widow of Arthur Buchanan. 

In the beginning of the present century Bailie Pottinger's house belonged to Captain 
Henry Leask, who was married to a daughter of Alexander Logie, merchant. 

*' Henry Leask, Shipmaster," London, thereafter residing in Kirkwall and thereafter in 
Portobello, ''with consent of Isabella Logie, his spouse," disponed this house to the Rev. 
William Logie. And by and by it proved a welcome refuge when the reverend gentleman 
fled, with his family, from a burning manse. 

In the old valuation roll the next house southward belonged to David Covingtrie, 
merchant, w^ho, with his stepmother, Helen Kircaldie, occupied part of it, while part was let 
to James Murray of Pennylands, Commissary or Sheriff of the Bishopric. "The earlier 
Coviugtries belong to a time of which we can get very little accurate history. William 
Covingtrie settled in Orkney in 1613, and married Jane Taylour."t 

Covingtrie introduced what must at that time have been a new business in Kirkwall 
•* William Covingtrie, baxter," witnesses a deed, 1st December 1616. Baikie of Tankerness 
was evidently interested in the new speculation, and about this time Tankerness Lane is 
sometimes referred to as the ** Baxter's Close." 

In its beginning the baking business was not a financial success, and William Covingtrie 
frequently appears in the Court books as a borrower. 

His eldest son, John, however, brought up in Baikie's warehouse, laid the foundation of 
the family fortune. " John Covingtrie, Servitor to James Baikie, Mercht.," witnesses a deed 
at North Strynzie, registered 1st June 1631, the other witness being Wm. Cargill, "Master of 
the graraer scoole of Kirkwaa." But still the baking business went on, for, 24th May 1663, 
Edward Sanders, baker, married Catherine Covingtrie. 

John Covingtrie married Jane Kirkness, and had an only son, David, afterwards of 
Enhallow. John married again Helen Kircaldie, who survived him and died in her stepson's 
house.! David Covingtrie of Enhallow was Chamberlain to Murdoch, Bishop of Orkney. 

His son, John Covingtrie of Newark, was Provost of Kirkwall from 1718 to 1730. By 
way of enlarging his property in the town, he got an Act,§ July 1724, from the Dean-of-Guild, 
allowing him to extend his back yard into the Oyce as far as he thought fit, and to make it 
the same width at the west as at the east. He also got permission to take some rubbish, 
which obstructed the passage to the Long-gutter, to help to fill up his yard. On the 18th 
April 1730, he reported that he had extended his yard and built his dyke, and that he 
had got permission from the Dean-of-Guild to put " a large door upon the south dyke of said 

• This was on the 13th. t Burke's History of the Commons. J T. B., 7th June 1681. 
§ Date of Act, 9th June ; registered 25th July 1724. 



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136 KIRKWALL IN THE" ORKNEYS. 

yeard for the convenience of taking in horses with loads of peats and other carriages/* In 
making this extension he was opposed by William Liddell of Hammer, whose property lay on 
the other side of " the running bum called the Hempow." LiddeU's interference was resented 
by the Dean-of -Guild, Wm. Traill, who brought a complaint before the Council. The Dean's 
action was sustained ; the Council ^* doe not only homologate and approve of the said Act sua 
past by him, in the haill heads, articles, and clauses thereof, but also promise and agree to 
redress the said affronte and indignity done to the said dean of Guild and their authority." 

On the 30th August 1727,' the Magistrates and Council signed a Commission appointing 
Covingtrie to go to Tain to elect a member of Parliament for the Northern Burghs. " The 
Provost is not to Charge the Council with anything for his pains and Trouble as their 
Delegate, but is to do the same and goe to Tain upon his own charges. They appoynt Donald 
Groat, one of the Councillors, to goe alongest with and attend the Provost, for which they are 
to Gratify him for his pains and Trouble upon his return." Colonel Robert Monro* of Foulis 
was elected, and the Kirkwall delegates returned, the Provost bringing with him a bill drawn 
by him and accepted by the new member, " payable to the said John Covingtrie at the terme 
of Whitsunday next following the date t of the said Bill, within his own dwelling-house in 
Kirkwall, for the sum of Three Hundred and fifty Pounds Sterling, with ane note subjoyned 
to the foot of the said bill, subscrived by the said John Covingtrie, of the tenor following : — 
Kirkwall, 23rd Septr. 1727. The above accepted Bill of 3^£ Str., altho payable to me, is for 
the use and behoof of the Burgh of KirkwaU and common good thereof." This was signed by 
John Covingtrie, and as witnesses by James Traill, Patrick Traill, George Traill, Wm. Traill, 







Wm. Liddell, Wm. Traill, And. Young. There was thus no intention to appropriate the 
money. This was duly paid to Covingtrie, who remained indebted to the town for several 
years till principal and interest amounted to £430 5s lOd. % 

It was in the civic reign of John Covingtrie — Provost Torfe of the " Pirate "—that Gow 
came to Orkney and plundered the Hall of Clestrain, and the Novelist gives our Chief 
Magistrate, possibly by accident, a character for prompt and fearless action which he well 
deserved. 

John Covingtrie was succeeded by his son, David, who did not add to the wealth of the 
family. In November 1760, inhibition, at the instance of Sir Lawrence Dundas of Kerse, 
was served on David Covingtrie that he should not disp4-)ne 
or wadset any of his property in consequence of his debt 
£1415 13s 2d Scots due to Sir Lawrence. 

About this time he did dispone to Thomas Traill of Frotoft 
the yard which his father had reclaimed from the Peerie Sea, "having the Sands or Oyce 



)ne /""V-v 

nft ^ C 



• Colonel Monro was killed at Falkirk, 17th January 1746, and his body was brought to Novar 
for burial. The tombstone was supplied from the grounds of a neighbouring laird on the opposite 
side in politics. This gentleman, on being twitted by a friend for his inconsistency in erecting a 
monument to his political opponent, replied that he would be glad to lay tombstones over Novar and 
all of his way of thinking. 

t 7th September 1727. % For a history of this transaction, see Mackintosh's "Glimpses." 



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BRIDGE STREET. 137 

north and west, and the passage or footpath between my gardens and the said yard on the 
east." 

David Covingtrie of Newark was succeeded by his brother, Thomas, minister of Cross 
and Borness, the last of the Orkney Oovingtries. The minister's daughter, Elizabeth, married 
John Balfour of Trenabie, and their son, John, came into possession, May 1797. In June of 
the same year the Ck)yingtrie mansion in Bridge Street was purchased by Alexander Logie^ 
merchant. 

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, houses of any importance in Kirkwall had 
their kitchens built among the office houses at the back ; and while much of the property 
under consideration has been rebuilt, the old Provost's kitchen, with its capacious fireplace^ 
suggestive of lavish hospitality, still remains. 

IiQgie, the new proprietor, entered into partnership with James Spence, and the Logie- 
Spence firm, as general merchants, became one of the most important in the town. 

About this time Mr Logie also acquired the tenement to the south of Covingtrie's land^ 
which in 1677 had belonged to " ye airis of John Baikie, skipper." 

Alexander Logie died in 1817, but the business was retained by the junior partner, who 
in 1826 purchased Skipper Baikie's house from Logie's heirs and added it to his premises.. 
The necessity for this extension lay in the fact that Spence, finding his capital accumulating, 
had begun to advance money on interest. The old Covingtrie dwelling continued to be the 
shop, and the house of " ye airis of John Baikie " was the bank. The bank was a success^ 
but it had to be prudently conducted. On one occasion Mr Spence advanced to a gentleman 
in town the sum of £1000 sterling, but when the same gentleman returned for a further loan 
of £5000, though the security was good, the amount was large, and Spence placed his client in 
the hands of the Manager of the Commercial Bank of Scotland. Then Mr Spence was. 
appointed agent in Kirkwall for that bank, 1826. He died at Eastbank, April 1864, aged 
seventy-eight years. His son and grandson, both Jameses, successively held the agency. 

The southern boundary of the bank is given in 1826 as "the close and house which 
formerly pertained to David Craigie of Gairsay, and which was afterwards rebuilt by William 
Faterson, Surgeon, or by Alexander Paterson, Banker in Thurso, and which now belong to 
William Watt Bain." 

Craigie's 4u)use, .'with its yacd,^ extended south to the: Bridge. "William Craigje of 
Gairsay hath ane double tenement qrof ye north side of the close is ruinous, and sua much as 
is built under sclaitt roofe, p'ntlie possest be Captaine Peter Winchester, is worth in yeirlie 
rent fourtie pound." 

When this house was entire it must have been one of the finest in Kirkwall, seeing that a 
time-worn half of it was let at a rent of forty pounds per annum. 

The first of the Craigies appearing in the Court books is Magnus Craigie, merchant, 
Kirkwall, who married Elizabeth Paplay. The old merchant had evidently a lucrative 
business, and having made money, he knew how to use it. In 1616 he lent Captain Thomas 
Knightson £1400, and this would go to show that his son had a good start in life. William, 
following in his father's footsteps, increased his patrimony by money lending. In 1622 he 
bought Pabdale, to which, two years later, he brought home his wife, Margaret, daughter of 
Hew Halcro of that ilk, with a tocher of 2000 merks. Among the witnesses of the marriage 
contract was Thomas Traill, " son lawful to George Traill of Wasnes." 

In 1640 he bought Gairsay, and was dead before 1652, when his son, Hugh, then of 
Gairsay, along with Arthur Buchanan of Sound, was returned as Member of Cromwell's 
Scottish Parliament. 

This Parliament, which anticipated by more than half a century Queen Anne's Act of 

T 



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138 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

Union, is quite ignored by that zealous Royalist, Peterkin, who says : — " The election of 1617 
was the first which took place in Orkney, and there is no evidence on record, as far as yet 
discovered, that there was another during the troubled times which followed in the reign of 
Charles I., until the Kestoration in 1660." 

Craigie and Buphanan were detained by bad weather, and were unable to hear the debate 
on the Union question. They only reached Edinburgh the day after the vote had been taken, 
but their names were added to the list of those who held that the Scottish and English 
Parliaments should be united. *' The which Union was subscribed by the Deputies of Orkney 
and Zetland, who, by storm at sea, came not to Edinburgh till a day after the election." * 

Having represented Kirkwall under the Commonwealth, Hugh Craigie was returned 
■Commissioner to Charles the Second's first Scottish Parliament, 3rd December 1660. 

An election in those days was not the expensive and troublesome business that it is in 
these. Twenty-nine of the " Barons," one a deputy from Shetland, met in Kirkwall. " The 
which day, George Smith of Eapness wes chosen preses, and five of their number being 
present upon the lite, Hugh Craigie of Gairsay was chosen Commissioner for His Majesty's 
Parliament. 

** It was ordained by the unanimous vote of the table, after report made by the committee 
of their number appointed for ye effect underwritten, that their Commissioner, Hugh Craigie of 
Gairsay, shall have allowed to him, for his charges and expenses in prosecuting his commission, 
ilk day, ten shillings sterling, corapting from the day of his transport over Penthland frith 
untill the day of his return over ye said ffrith. As also for ye better enabling him to render 
himself in a condition suitable to other members of Parliament of his rank, there is hereby ten 
pounds sterling allowed him for helping to defray ye expenses of his apparell requisite for that 
effect ; and yt by and attoure oyr contingent charges which our said Commissioner shall be 
put to after compt given in to us by him. (Sic subset,) Geo. Smith, Preses." 

That a Member should have from his constituency an allowance for dress seems at first 
sight somewhat peculiar, but in the old Scottish Parliament a Commissioner could not appear 
in ordinary attire. Lords, Commons, and Clergy sat in one hall, and consequently required 
distinguishing robes. 

As early ns 1455, in the reign of James II., an Act was passed concerning " The manner of 

arrayments for the Parliament" : — 

** Item. As touching the habites of the Earles, Lordesof Parliament, Commissioners of Burrowea, 
and Ailvocates sail have and use at all Parliamentis and (General Council-times : it is statute and 
ordained, that all Earles sail use mantilles of browne grained, open before, furred with quhite lyninSy 
and lyned before, ontwith ane hande breadth to the belt stude, with the samin furring, with little 
hudes of the samin claith, and to be used upon their shoulders. And the other Lonles of Parliament 
to have ane mantil of reide richt-swa opened before and lyned with silke or furred with cristie, gray, 
griece, or pnrray, togidder with ane hude of the samin claith, (urred as said is. And all Commis- 
sioners of Burrowes, ilk ane, to have ane pair of Clokes of blew, furred fute side, open on the richt 
shoulder, furred as effeires, and with ane nude of the samin, as said is. And quhat Erie, Loixl of 
Parliament, Commissioner of Burrowes, that enters in Parliament or General Councel, but the said 
habite furred, sail fortli-wilh pay th«re-after ten pound to the King, un- forgiven. " 

In 1659, Hugh Craigie bought the island of Wyre from David M'Lellan of Woodwick. 

William Craigie, who succeeded, maintained his father's dignity and followed up his use- 
fulness, both in the municipal and in the national councils. He was twice returned to 
Parliament, 1681 and 1689. He farmed the bishopric rents. "Sabbath, William Craigie of 
Gairsay arrived at Kirkwall from his journey from Edinburgh, who had been there from the 
middle of Oct. last past, who has a commission for being Stew^art principal and tacksman of 

* Scottish Acts, vol. vi. , part 2, p. 794. 



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BRIDGE STREKT. ISO" 

this county, and also the excise and customs of ye same, for five yciris space, the sd. yeir being, 
the first/'* 

In 1690, he received the honour of knighthood. Craigie wtvs thrice married. His first 
wife, Margaret Honyman, died while her husband was in Edinburgh attending Parliament. 
On the 18th of March 1689, as a preparation for going south, Gairsay made a settlement of his 
affairs. His eldest son, William, inherita the estate ; David has 3<X)() merks ; Andrew, 2000 ; 
Hugh, 1500 ; Henry, 1500 ; Margaret, 4000 ; Eupham, 2000— in all, 14,000 merks ; the interest 
meanwhile to be paid to Margaret Honyman, spouse, for their education and upbringing* 
Lady Gairsay's own tocher was 7000 merks. She died, 3rd May 1689 ; and on Ist Feb. 1690,t 
"William Craigie of Gairsay was married to Anna Grahame, relict of John Buchanan of 
Sandsyde, at the kirk of St. Andrews, and the brydal bolden at the said house, and in respect 
that it is observed bi traditions, no persones that is married in the kirk of Deerness hath any 
good success or thriving, and therefore they went and was married in the sd. kirk of St. 
Andrews by Mr John Shilpes, minister at the said united kirks." 

The tradition was that couples married in the Deerness kirk were never blessed with 
progeny ; but the probable reason why Anna Graham chose to go to St. Andrews was that 
only three months had elapsed since she had deposited the mortal remains of her late husband 
under the floor of the kirk of Deerness. 

Anna Graham died, 21st April 1692 ; and on the 8th of September, the same year, Thomas 
Brown records that "Gairsay, with his Lady, Margt. Hamilton, came to Kirkwall upon 
Thursday." 

Here, strangely enough, Brown is wrong in the name. She was Anne Hamilton, daughter 
of Sir Robert Hamilton of Silvertonhill and his wife, the Hon. Anne Hamilton. J 

On 12th June 1699, in the absence of her husband, she grants a receipt to the Town 
Treasurer for payment of the price of meal purchased from the Girnell-house. It begins : — 
" I dam Anna Hamilton, Lady Gairsay, grants me to have receaved, in name of Sir William 
Craigie of Gairsay, my husband, and as having commission from him, from James Kaa, one of 
the baillies of Kirkwall, in name of the Magistrates, Minister, and Counsell of Kirkwall, The 
sowme of Ane hundreth nyntie nyne pounds fyveteen shilling Scots," etc. And it is boldly 
and beautifully signed, " A. Hamilton." 

Whether Gairsay was unfortunate in business speculations does not appear, but in 
January 1703 he found himself in prison on letters of caption procured against him before the 
Lords of Council and Session by Sir Archibald Stewart of Burray. The amount of his 
obligation was "nine hundred eightie-one pounds threttein shills. elleven penneyes Scotts 
money." 

Stewart had Craigie arrested in Kirkwall ; and about this arrest the Laird of Burray 
complains that, though he had " dely vered him as prisoner to William Fea, ane of the puts. 
Baillies of this Burgh, Nevertheless, by Collusion betwixt the sd. Gairsey and William Fea, 
the sd. William Fea let the sd. Gairsey slip away and goe home to his owen house." 

Whatever caused this trouble, it did not affect Sir William Craigie's character, for he waa 
ap]x>inted to go with Mr Baikie, minister, to the General Assembly in March 1704 — the first 
elder of Assembly sent from Kirkwall. 

The Craigies, living as they did in Pabdale, or Gairsay, or Broad Street, allowed the 
Bridge Street house to go to ruin, and in 1733 David Craigie of Gairsay "Sett in Tack," to 
William Liddell of Hammer, " Fifty foot in length of ground, on the end of the said David 
Craigie his yeard in Kirkwall." The Council grant liberty to enclose this ground, " the samen 

* T. B., 14th April 1686. t T. B. $ Foster^s M.P.'s for Scotland. 



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140 



KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 



being first sighted by the Magestrates, the samen not to be don any ways prejudicial! to the 
watter race from the Bridge of the Burgh to the oyce." 

Liddell of Hammer was now Dean-of-Quild, and was able to secure for himself such an 
extension as he had opposed when the applicant was John Covingtrie of Newark. Straining 
his Act to its limit, he built close up to Covingtrie's yard, blocking his south door. 

These old encroachments on the P^rie Sea are the buildings separated Irom the* walls of 
the gardens of the Bridge Street houses by the footpath leading from the Lane of Mounthoolie 
down to the West Pier. 



;-^ - ^ ^ ^S. y3^ ..^^'^t. fr^-^. .^. 




Houses on South of Craigie's Close, demolished 1882. 

Sir William Craigie's tenant, Captain Peter Winchester, was probably the son of Peter 
Winchester wbo, in 1638, was Collector of Excise in Kirkwall. 

The name comes from the southern shore of the Moray Firth, where it has been well 
established for four centuries and a half. John Winchester, an Englishman, came to Scotland 
in the train of James I., and was Bishop of Moray from 1438 to 1453.* The Bishop's sons or 
nephews established themselves in the neighbourhood of Elgin. 

When Peter Winchester came to Orkney a young man, he had some odd experiences. A 
laughing fiend, under cover of friendly guidance, told him that when he accepted hospitality 
from an Orcadian he must eat all that was offered him or be prepared to fight his host, who 
would take any refusal of food or drink as an insult. Under this belief he one day found his 
feet under the mahogany of a kindly Stromness family, and continued eating on and on as he 

* Shaw, History of Moray. 



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BRIDGE STREET. 



141 



was asked. His entertainers, no doubt very much surprised at his voracity, kept plying him 
with viands till at last, on a fresh helping being offered him, he alarmed the household with 
an angry shout — " O, damn it, no more ; I must fight him." 

Captain Winchester was a devout churchman, and had a seat ** under the stair leading to 
Capt. Dick's loft." In 1669, on returning from a long voyage, he was brought before the 
Session under somewhat peculiar circumstances. Patrick Stewart, one of his sailors, on going 
home was somewhat puzzled to find his wife nursing a very young baby. The wife assured 
her husband that everything was correct. The credulous mariner was quite satisfied till that 
disagreeable creature, a good-natured friend, told him to go and look for a father to his child. 
Stewart did not do so, but had the slanderer up before the Session. The captain of the St 




Large Fireplace in House on South of Craigie's Close. 

Peter, being cited as a witness, swore that Stewart sailed with him from Elwick Bay on the 
last day of March 1668. As the baby was bom 9th March 1669, the ecclesiastical court 
imposed a fine on the sailor for leaving home too soon, and placed his wife on the stool of 
repentance. 

The St. Peter was a trader in times of peace and a privateer during war ; thus each 
return to Kirkwall was hailed by the Town Council as an opportunity for replenishing the 
Burgh's stock of gunpowder. 



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142 KIRKWALL IN THU ORKNEYS. 

Captain Winchester was twice married. His first wife was a daughter of James Baikie 
of Tankerness. A handsome memorial stone, perhaps the finest monumental work in the 
Cathedral, erected to her memory, is still to be seen on the wall of the south nave aisle. 

In March 1676, Winchester married Helen, daughter of Walter Stewart, minister of South 
Ronaldshay, and widow of the Rev. William Cochrane, minister of Cross and Burness, and 
they had a daughter, Sibilla. In September of the following year. Captain Peter Winchester, 
Richard Dennison, skipper, and over fourteen others were drowned about two miles ofE 
Fraserburgh. * 

From an entry in the note-book of Patrick Traill of Elsness, skipper, it would appear that, 
after her husband's death, Mrs Winchester had the disposal of some of the stores of the St. 
Peter frigate. " 23 of may 1678, bought from hellen stewart 105 ells of french canfes at 17 
shelling per ell, geven her in money 63lbs. ; and brandie, seven pyntes at 30sh. the pynt, 
lOlb. lOsh. ; summa is 73lb. lOsh." 

Helen Stewart, the second Mrs Winchester, after four lonely years, married John Traill 
of Elsness. 

When the north side of Craigie's Close became utterly ruinous, it was acquired by 
William Patterson, t surgeon in Kirkwall, who built on it the present house. Patterson 
granted a bond over his house to his nephew, Alexander Patterson, banker, Thurso, who 
by-and-by became proprietor, and who sold it to James Stewart of Brugh. There had been 
a passage to the Oyce between Covingtrie's yard and Gairsay's, and right-of-way was claimed 
by the owners or tenants of the house on each side of it, but, in 1814, Peter MaxweU, owner 
of the southmost house on Covingtrie's ground, sold his ^* right of servitude of the said 
passage" for £24 to Marion Strong, relict of James Stewart. 

William Watt Bain, writer and procurator- fiscal, and Janet Scarth, his wife, next acquired 
this property. 

The death of Mr Bain renders somewhat interesting a dream of Mr Clouston, at that time 
occupant of Caldale. Awaking from his first sleep, he told Mrs Clouston that he had seen 
a ship come sailing up to the house, and out of it came Mr Bain. He said, too, that he had 
seen Dr Duguid and the Rev. Mr Logie in the house. In Orcadian dream-lore, to see a ship 
sailing on the land portends death. 

The previous afternoon Mr Bain had gone out to have a shot, and did not return. Search 
parties went to look for him, and in the early morning one of these parties came upon Mr 
Bain, alive they at first thought, as the body was in a sitting position, his gun lying beside 
him. They carried the body into Caldale House, and sent for the minister and the doctor^ 
and thus, in a couple of hours, the three persons dreamt of were in the dreamer's presence. 
Mr Bain's son, Alexander, succeeded to the business and the house. He was a long time 

* Craven's History of the Church, p. 67. 
t Mr Patterson dispensed his own medicines and supplied other practitioners. From an account 
sent in to Mrs Allan, evidently a nurse and herself occasionally a patient under treatment of the surgeon, 
the medicines commonly in use in 1775, and their prices, may be seen : — " English Saffron, 2 Drops 
yrself , 6d ; Palm Oil, 6d ; A Glass of Cephalic Drops, 8d ; A Vomiting Draught, 6d ; A Cardiac Draught, 
6d ; A Glass Nitrous Drops, 8d ; Honey, 1^ lbs., Is ; A Blistering plaister for yr side, 6d ; A Box of 
Cerate, 6d ; A Pectoral Mixture for a woman in Egalshay ; Bitter Stomachic Ingredients for ale, 
Is 8d ; Stomachic laxative Ingredients for ale, 28 ; Stomachic Ingredients for Spirits, Is ; A pot of 
Conserve of Roses, Is 3d ; Volatile Camphonited Liniment, Is 3d ; Balsamic Linctus, Is ; A glass of 
healing Solution for your hand, Sd ; Peruvian Bark, 8d ; Camphorated Spirit of Wine, 6d ; Cream of 
Tartar, 1 oz., 3d; CordialJulep, Is; Stomachic laxative Pills, Is ; Cardiac Anodyne Mixture for 

David Spence child, ; Healing Ointment for Child in Pabdeall, ; Two Purging Powders, D. 

Spence, ; Four Fever Powders for do., , &c.. &c." These, many times repeated, made up & 

bill of £4 lis 4d. It shows that in some cases Mr Patterson made no charge. 



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BRIDGE STREET. 



143 



Provost of Kirkwall. After his death the business was continued and the house occupied by 

his partner, the late Mr John Macrae, who succeeded Mr Bain as procurator-fiscal. 

The south side of Craigie's Close had early gone 
to ruin. A house was built on the site by Robert 
Oarrioch, wright, and afterwards rebuilt as business 
I>remises. Some of the old Craigie monograms are 
j»reserved in the walls of the new building. 

The space southward to the burn was acquired by 
Captain John Gibson of Corse, whose brother George, 
dyer in Kirkwall, succeeded to it in 1811, and the 
following year sold it to Alexander RusseU, merchant, 
Shapinsay, one of the leaders of the Secession party 
in Kirkwall. In 1815 the whole area was occupied by 

a dwelling-house, office-houses, and small garden. The houses presently standing have been 

built since that date. 




Monogram, 25 Bridge Street.* 




Monogram, 25 Bridge Street.* 
' Favoured by Mr Gibson, draper. 



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CHAPTER XI. 

Bridge Street, East Side. 

JKJRKILL the beginning of the present century, there was no house at the corner of Bridge 
gjjj^ Street and Shore Street, and the space where the corner house now stands was the 
peat-brae of the house opposite. 

The next house southward hid belonged t<> Johh^'Cuthbert before he built his new dwelling 
on the Ramparts. In 1677, it was liferented by Helen ScoUay, "sometyme relict of umqule 
Thomas Baikie, now spous to James Maxwell, skipper.'' Its boundaries then were " the street 
on the west, the tenement p'ntlie possest be Jonet Cursetter on the east, Patrick Traill of 
Elsness' peat-yard on the north, and the houss pertaneing to Magnus Paplay on the south. 
The late Mr John Cursiter, who built the house now on this site, thought he had good ground 
for his opinion that this was the old '* Clickimin.'' Hemmed in as it was, without the pos- 
sibility of expansion, the only extension of premises practicable was the erection of fresh 
buildings elsewhere. Thus, on the roadway between the corner of Shore Street and the 
present Harbour Office, stood the Storehouse of Clickimin, long since cleared away as an 
obstruction. 

At the beginning of the present century, Clickimin belonged to Barbara and Helen Fea» 
daughters of Patrick Fea of Airey, who " mortified " this tenement, along with their property 
in Stronsay, for the educational and parochial requirements of that island. 

These ladies, who may be termed the last of their race, had in their youth seen their 
kinsmen holding a position and exerting an influence second to nond in-the islands. 

Perhaps the best known branch of the Feas is the Clestrain family. 

In May 1720, James Fea of Clestrain, ** late Lieut, in 73rd Regt. foot,'' has an action for 
divorce against Ann Jane Maria Harriet Corbet.* 

By disposition, dated Egilshay, 22nd Angust 1720, James Fea of Clestrain dispones in 
favour of James, his eldest son, his lands of Clestrain, with houses, <S:c., in Stronsay. At the 
same time he provides for his other son, John, and his daughters, Elizabeth, Barbara, Helen, 
Isobel, Jennet, and Ann Feas. 

In 1725, James Fea, younger of Clestrain, was living in Carrick, in Eday, when Gow's 
ship, the " Revenge," went ashore on the Calf Holm. There is little doubt that, but for this 
accident, the pirate would have paid his old schoolfellow such a professional visit as he had 
recently made at Clestrain, in Orpbir. Fea quite understood this, and laid his plans accord- 
ingly. It was a case of strategy vtnm strength. At first he had only James Laing, merchant, 
Calfsound, and William Scollay, skipper, on whom he could rely for active assistance. 
Accordingly he temporised, and even sought consideration at Gow's hands : — " Carrick, 
Saturday, 13th, 1726. Sir,— I have sent this bearert on board, intreating that, upon old 
acquaintance, you'll be pleased to forbear the usual compliment of a salutation because of my 

♦ H. L. t Laing. 



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BRIDGE STREET, EAST SIDE. 145 

wife's indisposition. Had she been well, I should have come on board myself." And the 
letter concludes : — " No more, but that 1 am your old school commerad. (Sic subscribttar} 
James Fea." 

When Fea had succeeded in decoying ashore and securing the best part of the buccaneer 
crew, and when his own friends had gathered in force, the letters from Carrick assumed a 
different tone: — "17th, 8 of the clock, Mattin. Sir,— I received yours from on board the 
'Revenge/ dated 16th instant, 1725. I am surprised that a youth of your education should 
not have better manners than to chalenge me upon a lye. You confidently assert, what I have 
already refused, that they are carpenters here. Your informer is certainly a rogue. I am 
sorry I ever wrote you ; but I thought you had been such a man as a boy. I pray you 
seriously to consider qt a thing it is to burn everlastingly." He goes on to exhort the pirate 
and his crew to seek "forgiveness by the merits of a crucified Saviour," and winds up : — 
" This is the last you may expect from me. (Sic subscribiturj James Fea. You'll be a prize 
this night or nixt day to those that will treat you more harshly." 

As showing how promptly the islands mustered for the capture of these miscreants, it haa 
only to be noticed that, on the 13th of February, Fea wrote asking forbearance at the hands of 
Gow, and on the 18th, " Clestrain went on board, and several of his friends with him, to con- 
gratulate his success, and to witness his possession. The late commander, Mr Gow Smith, 
was brought alongst with them, who, in presence of these honourable gentlemen, viz., Sir 
James Stewart of Burray, Barronate ; Captain Archibald Drumand ; Robert Stewart, eldest 
son to Robert Stewart of Eday ; William Fea of Milnfield ; James Fea of Whitehall ; Mr 
Archibald Pitcairne, merchant ; Mr Francis Wilson, Comptroller of the Customs ; Mr Thomas 
Baikie, land-waiter ; James Traill of Westove, and several oyrs, declared that the said 
Clestrain was the man whose prisoner he was, and wished the said Clestrain an happy enjoy- 
ment of the said ship, and more contentment than ever he had into her. Whereupon the said 
James Fea took instruments in the hands of Alex. Mowate, nottar-publict, craveing the 
benefite of the law made anent apprehending of pyrates may be extended to him because of 
the reasons foresaid." * 

With regard to the " benefite," Tudor says : — " Fea, for the capture of Gow, is said to 
have received £1100 from Government, £300 for salvage, and £400 from the merchants of 
London for relieving them of such a pest." He adds, however—" Fea is said to have been 
mined through the numerous suits that were trumped up against him in the courts for his 
share in Gow's capture." 

" In 1739, Feb. 20, James Fea of Clestrain and Janet Buchanan, spouse, let all their lands 
in Eday for seven years at £30 stg." 

In the Rebellion of 1746, Fea acted as go-between, in the interest of Prince Charles, with 
the Orcadians. Captain Moodie of Melsetter writes to his agent in Edinburgh :— " I believe, 
if you'll enquire concerning Robert Strange or Strang, ingraver, late apprentice to Mr Cooper, 
at Edinburgh, which Strange was an engineer in the Rebel army, it can be proved by him and 
others that Clestrain was at the Pretender's son's camp at Falkirk, establishing his credit with 
the Pretender's son, and managing the Orkney affairs." t 

Fea was enthusiastic, but unsucccessful. He collected arms in his house of Sound, and 
sent them to the Aire of Kirkwall, whence they were carried off by the rebels. He gave them 
a quantity of brandy, which had been seized by Mr Baikie, officer of Excise, and which 
Clestrain had compelled Baikie to retain till Ardloch's arrival in Kirkwall. Mackenzie of 
Ardloch was sent by the Prince, at Fea's instigation, with a party to raise men and money* 
They landed in Walls, and looted Melsetter, the laird being a Hanoverian captain. 
♦ Pet. Notes, 222. f G. Petrie*8 Notes, Ant. Mus. 

IT 



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146 KIRKWALL IN THK ORKNEYS. 

After Ciilloden, Captains Lloyd and Williams landed in Shapinsay, and burned the 
house of Sound, which Fea had through his wife, Janet Buchanan. The party entered the 
chamber of Mrs Fea, Lady Sound, allowing her to throw on a petticoat and loose gown— no 
time for more— placed her in a chair under guard of some of the crew, one of whom held a 
naked cutlass to -her breast. There she was forced to sit and see her house burned, and her 
effects carried off or destn>yed. Personally, she was roughly handled, and her ankle was 
•dislocated. 

She raised an action against the parties cm the ground that the house was her own. 

As to the ankle, it was stated for the defence that Mrs Fea was a " very stout, heavy 
woman," and that her ankle was dislocated by her own weight while they were helping her to 
the manse of Shapinsay after her own house was burned. 

It appears that after the Jacobite troubles were over. Government did intend to do some- 
thing for Fea and his wife. 

The Barons of Exchetjuer, writing from Edinburgh to the Lords Commissioners of His 
Majesty's Treasury, 23rd January 1756, say* :— 

** May it please your Lordships, 

'* III obedience to your Lordships' Commands, signified to us by Mr Hardinge in his Letter dated 
the 26th of June last past, we did, on the 6th day of August, inform your Lops, that, in order to make 
effectual the Sum of £158*2 pounds thirteen shillings which his Majesty, out of his Royal Grace and 
Favour, intended to grant to James Fea of Clestron and Janet, his wife, to pay the arrear of Few 
dutys due from the estates of Sound and Claistron, it would be necessary to oitler them payment out 
of the Produce of Crown Rents and Casualties, and not out of the Compositions of Few duties ; and 
as to that part of the said Letter where in your Lops, were pleased to Kefer to our Consideration a 
proposal made by the late Lord Advocate in his Supplemental memorial therein mentioned. That the 
saio James Fea and Janet, his wife, should Resign the Lands therein mentioned, which hold of the 
Bishopric of Orkney, and that a New Grant thereof should be made to them and their heirs of the 
said Lands, subject to the yearly- payment of such Reasonable and moderate Few-duties as the said 
Lands may be able to affoard. " 

The Barons farther report that, after careful examination "of all facts and circumstances 
which might serve to give light into this affair," they would recommend **the payment yearly 
of twenty-five Pounds Sterling for the Lands of Clestron, Sound, Eday, and Sandside, and 
twelve Pounds Sterling yearly for the Lands of Miness and Waltness as contained in a Sasine 
granted to Arthur Buchanan of Sound, anno 1666, w^hich Few-duties are in our oppinion 
reasonable and moderate, and such as the Lands can afford." + 

This was in 1756, and Fea died the same year. His brother, John, who succeeded, 
resigned to his sisters all his lands, and gave them life-rent of the third part of 12,0(X) nierks 
Scots, the other two-thirds to go to his natural sons, Alexander and Henry, of whose 
upbringing the ladies were to take charge. 

Another Fen, James, of Whitehall, kinsman and contemporary of Clestrain, was one of 
Orkney's benefactors. 

In his evidence in the great Pundlar Process, " George Traill of Hobbister depones that 
James Fea of Whitehall was the first that began to burn Kelp in the Country, and brought a 
Man from Peterhead J for that purpose, and that he thinks that the kelp Trade brings in a 
great deal of Money to Orkney, and that the Gentlemen and tenants would have been very 
poor if that Trade had not been." 

Valuable as this industry has proved, its introduction met with considerable opposition. 
In every age and place people are to be found who feel themselves impelled to resist all 
progressive movements, and, in 1722, such hide- bound obstructionists were not wanting in 

* Papers in possession of Mrs Skae, 7iee Traill of Weetove. 
t Mrs Skae's papers. X In 1722. 



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BRIDGK STREET, EAST SIDE. 147 

Orkney. " They were certain that the suffocating smoke which issued from the kelp-kilns, 
would sicken or kill every species of iish on the coast, or drive them out to the ocean far 
beyond the reach of fishermen ; blast the corn and grass on their farms ; introduce diseases 
among the human species, and smite with barrenness all sorts of animals/' * 

For some years Whitehall was the sole kelp-burner in Orkney, but when his neighbours 
saw that there was money in the business, some of the more enterprising of them followed his 
example, till to the eye of the passing mariner the smoke from the kilns distinguished Stronsay 
from the other islands, and gave it the appearance of an active volcano. 

After forty years' suppression, conservative wrath burst out in what is traditionally 
known as the Kelp Riot. 

*• On the 28th Oct. 1762, At an adjourned Session of Court, Sentence was given against Patrick 
Fea, Dinnatonn, in Stronsay, and John Fea in Cleat there, in a criminal prosecution by William 
Spence, Procurator-Fiscal, upon complaint of Thomas Balfour of Huip. That the said Patrick Fea 
had upon Sundav, 16 May last, at Church door of Stronsay, caused call a meeting of the inhabitants 
of Stronsay at Millfield on Monday following, the 17th May, at 9 o'clock a.m., and, headed by sd. 
Patrick Fea, had destroyed the Tang and Kelp upon the shores, and the Tang and Kelp instruments 
belonging to Thomas Balfour, Br. German to William Balfour of Trtinaby ana others ; and upon the 
20th May, the Stewart Depute having granted warrant to the Stewart and Baillie officers to appre- 
hend and bring before him the said Patrick Fea and the other rioters, that the said officers were 
deforced ; that the sd. Shf. Depute, upon 22nd May, granted warrant to John Riddoch, Stewart 
Substitute, to proceed to Stronsay with such a number of men in arms as necessary to execute said 
warrant, who, naving proceeded to Stronsay with such party of men to execute said warrant, and 
come to the house of sa. Patrick Fea about 1 1 o'clock at night of said day, and knocking at doors and 
getting no access, the doors were opened and the said Patrick Fea apprehended ; but the prisoner's 
wife fainting, and other disorder in the house, he had given him liberty on the promise of presenting 
himself where and when he should be called for in the Island. That next day, 23rd May, having 
apprehended four or five more prisoners and carried them to the ground of Holland, on his way to 
apprehend the other persons contained in his warrant, that when the said John Riddoch came to the 
sd. ground of Holland, they observed a body of men and women at some distance, to the uuml)er of 
60 or thereby, all armed with batons, upon which the sd. Stewart Substitute desired the sd. William 
Balfour of Trenaby and the sd. Sh. Substitute's party to remain with the prisoners, and he, John 
Riddoch, and the Baillie of the Island went towards the mob to persuade them to disperse, and read 
his warrant before them and the Act of Parlt. against such mobs, and commanded them in H.M. name 
to disperse, but they refused. He then ordered William Balfour and the party with the prisoners to 
proceed to the house of Holland for their safety, which they did, he, John Riddoch, keeping before 
the mob to keep them back ; while so occupied he observed Patrick Fea, at the head of another mob 
armed with batons, etc., running towards the Sh. Substitute's party, said Patrick Fea crying to the 
mob to follow him and spare none ; that though called on to stop in the King's name, and reminded of 
his, John Riddoch's lenity, and his, Patrick lea's promise, the sd. Patrick Fea said he had come, and 
those with him, to revenue the treatment his wife and family had got from him and his party last 
night ; that the said Patrick Fea grappled with him, the said John Riddoch, and struck him with his 
baton twice over the head, b}' which he was wounded to the effusion of blood, and several of his 
party struck to the ground by the said Patrick Fea and others of the mob, and the prisoners rescued ; 
and although he, John Riddoch, had a cocked pistol in his hand, loaded, and a small sword by his 
side, and his whole party arms, yet neither did he fire his pistol nor draw his sword, nor did he allow 
any of his party to fire when they cried out for his orders to fire in their own defence. 

*' In mitigation, it was pleaded that the sd. John Riddoch and his party had transgressed their 
power by beating and cutting the sd. Patrick Fea in the head, and the said «fohn Fea in the hand, to 
the efiiision of blood, and so it was lawful to resist them ; and. Moreover, for the sd. Peter and John 
Fea, ' it is added that it is the common opinion of Orkney and others that the burning of Tang in this 
Country has not only been the cause of oad crops of corn these three years past, but also that the 
same has been prejudicial to their persons and cattle when in a sickly condition, and made them in a 
worse condition, and some of the cattle dyed by the smoke thereof, and for want of wair the fish have 
ffone from the shores, and the lempods growing upon the rocks, being sometimes the food of the poor, 
for want of wair blades, their covering, have fallen from the said rocks by the heat of the sun, so that 
the poor people were deprived of that part of their food, and the generality of the farmers in this 
country conceived that they had a right to preserve their own interest by opposing their burning of 
kelp ; and if the said Peter and John Fea have done anything against the ouming of kelp, it waa 

* Percy Anecdotes — Industries. 



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148 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

from no ill-will, but for the preservation of their interest, which they thought the Law allowed them 
to defend, and they deny that they were assembled riotously and tuinultuously to the disturbance of 
the public peace before Mr Riddoch came to the Island, but when they were informed of his intent 
there, the said John Fea came to him and offered to come with him to Kirkwall as his prisoner, and 
desired to know the time ; and all that the said Patrick and John Feas further intended was to 
defend themselves against Thomas Balfour, Brother to William Balfour of Trenaby, who threatened 
to shoot three or four of the Inhabitants of Strousay, and said that then the rest would drive before 
him and his party like sheep.' " 

It came out in evidence that William Balfour had struck Richard Angus, who had Thomas 
Balfour under him on the ground, that Thomas Balfour had met Richard Angus on his way to 
the crowd with a cocked pistol presented to him in one hand and a drawn sword in the other, 
whereupon he, Richard Angus, had dit»armed him. 

One witness deponed that while Patrick Fea and Mr Riddoch were striking at each other 
with staves, he saw William Balfour make a stroke at Patrick Fea with a sword, and it was 
that stroke which drew blood. 

'* The jury found it proven that the said Peter and John Feas were guilty, art and part, in 
tumultuously and riotously assembling with a number of other persons, and in sloakiug some kelp 
kilns and carrying away the kelp instruments, and likewise unanimously found that the said Peter 
and John Feas were riotously assemble<l, with a number of other persons, on the ground of Holland, 
and that Patrick Fea. did attack and invade the person of John Riddoch, Stewart Substitute, by 
taking him by the breast and beating him over the head with a staff, but found it not proven that the 
said John Fea was guilty of any act of violence, and lastly found that the persons who were appre- 
hended by order of Mr Riddoch were rescued, but not proven by whom. 

(Sifljned) James Baikie, Chanc'or." 

'* Peter Fea was sentenced to pay £140 Scots, and John Fea £60 Scots, and to remain in the 
Tolbooth of Kirkwall till paid, and on pajTnent of his tine by John Fea, and finding caution to keep 
the peace for three years under penalty of 300 merks, to be set at liberty ; but Patrick Fea, on 
payment of the sum, to be taken and remain in custody' of an officer of court, aye and while he shall 
stand for the space of an hour bare headed, and having an extract of the above mentioned verdict and 
this present sentence featened to his breast, at the most patent door of the church of Kirkwall, the 
church of St. Andrews, the church of Deei-ness, the church of Firth, the church of Orphir, and the 
church of Sti-onsay, and that immediately before Divine Service, and as the congregation shall be 
convening at each of the said Churches, and ordains the said Peter Fea, before 1st March next to 
come, to lodge in the hands of the Clerk of Court execution under the hand of the officer who shall 
have him in custody, and who shall be witness to the fulfilling of this sentence, bearins that he has 
so performed the same upon the oath of the officer, with certification ; that if he shall fail in lodging 
such execution he shall be banished the Islands of Orkney for 3 years, and in the case aforesaid he is 
hereby declared and adjudged to be Imnished accordingly^ under the pain of being whipt by the 
common Hangman if, within the space of 3 years from sd. Ist March, he shall be found within the 
Islands. And this is pronounced for doom. (Signed) Andrew Ross." 

In the wretched state of Orcadian agriculture in the eighteenth century, little money 
could be made by farming ; but after the introduction of the kelp trade, places on the coast 
where tang could be cut or gathered became valuable. It is said that some favourably 
situated farms rose from £40 of rent to £300. 

As to the price from year to year, Tudor says : — "Between the years 1740 and 1760, the 
price was about 45s a ton, and about £2(XK) yearly brought into the islands ; 1760-70, £4 4s a 
ton, and £6000 yearly ; 1770-80, £5 a ton, and £10,000 yearly ] 1780-91, nearly £6 a ton, and 
£17,0(X). During the long French war the price rose as high as £20 a ton ; and even as late 
as 1826, 3500 tons, the largest ever produced in one year, were made in the islands, and sold at 
£7 a ton." 

The following table* shows the quantity of kelp shipped from Kirkwall, and the ports 

of destination, during half-a-dozen years of the French war, when the trade was coming to 

its best : — 

* Favoured by T. W. Ranken, Esq. 



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BRIDGE STREET, EAST SIDE. 



149 



' Account of Kelp Shift from Kirkwall in the following Periods, viz. :— 
**FoR WHAT Ports sent, and Quantities. 



Periods. 


Glas- 
gow. 


Dun- 
dee. 


Leith. 


New- 
castle. 


Sun- 
derPd. 


Whit- 
by. 


Stret- 
ton. 


Lon- 
don. 


Bris- 
tol. 


Liver- 
pool. 


Hull. 


Totals. 


1789 

1790 

1791 

1792 

1793 

1794 

1795. ... 


296 
199 
303 
479 
275 
333 
486 


266 
96 
25 


155 
162 
239 
309 
199 
224 
250 


1455 
1050 
1079 
1480 
1179 
1484 
976 


140 
90 

70 

78 
70 


60 
105 
213 
100 
104 
114 


75 
135 
30 
40 
39 
62 


55 
40 

36 


60 
60 


170 

7o 

60 


110 
394 
365 
342 
247 

60 


2156 Tons 

2315 

2632 

2128 

2115 

2504 

2018 



" Highland kelp is preferred at Liverpool ; but at Newcastle, and on the east coast of England, 
the Orkney kelp is preferred." — SicU. Acct. 

It was probably to facilitate the transport of kelp that carts came into use in the islands. 
In 1793, there were thirty-seven in Sanday. 

South from Clickimin was a house which, in 1677, belonged to Magnus Paplay, weaver. It 
afterwards came into the possession of the Burgh, and part of it was at one time occupied by 
Peter Wick, town piper ; thus it is still popularly known as the Piper's House. The chief 
duty of this official was to traverse the whole length of Kirkwall every morning before six 
o'clock, and rouse the sleepers with the skirl of his pipes. 

The last of our pipers, James Wallace, felt that in his bargain with the Council he had 
been to some extent outwitted : — 

" Unto the Hounourable the Magistrates and Town Council of Kirkwall, the petition of James 
"Wallace, Town piper in Kirkwall, 

" Humbly Sheweth, — That at the time of the petitioner's agrement with the Hounourable Magis- 
trats and Councile of Kirkwall as pii>er, which was in Angus 1812, Did not agree for a Pair of Shoes, 
nor was it Ever thought on or meintoned ; But I have been often Told by the Leat piper's sous that 
he got a pair of shoes anualy, and it is very well knowen to your Honours that I have as great need of 
a pair of Shoes as He had ; for I am Shure that I go out }il&ny a Dark morning, and coms in with weet 
feet. 

" May it therefor please your Hounours to take this petition into consideration, and grant your 
petitioner's Request ; and your petitioner Shall Ever pray. James Wallace." 

South of the Piper's House was the town residence of the Irvines of Sabay, an offshoot of 
the Irvines of Drum. As early as 1369, William de Irvine, son of the Laird of Drum, was 
resident in Kirkwall.* 

Among the ciiarges in the indictment of Earl Patrick is this :— 

** Also, the said Patrick, Erie of Orknay, tressonabillie persuadet, induced, counsallit, and com- 
mandit William Sinclair of Etha, Henrie Sinclair of Touquhy, Mr Robert Hendersoun, William 
Irving of Sabav, and many uther gentilmen of the saidis countries of Orknay and Zeitland, to sub- 
Bcryve and delyver to him ane Imnd, callit band mutus, and thairby obleise thame selffis and thsir 
ains, that they sould serve and manteine him aganis all and quhatsumeuir persones, without any 
reservatioun of ws, and that they sould nevir heir nor knaw his hurt or skaith, bot sould reveill it 
within twentie-foure houres without ony exceptioun of impossibilitie or distance of place, contrarietie 
of wind, wedder, or vther impediment, vnder the pane of tynsell of lyfe, landis, and guidis ; conteining 
also this clause, * that gif it hapued that the contravening of this band be ony of the saidis subscryveris 
sould nocht cum to the Erie's knawledge, quhile efter the committeeis decease, it sould be liesum to 
him to try the samyn, efter thair daithe, aganis thair airis, and pwneise thair saidis airis, as he mycht 
haif done the principall offendour ; and that the said probation of thair contravening of the said band 
sould be sufficient be tua witnessis,' byndand lykwayis the saidis gentilmen and vthers of the cuntrie 

♦ *♦ The St. Clairs of the Islss," by Ronald St. Clair. 



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150 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

to be judged by the said Erie, and nevir to seik to King, counsell, nor session ; quhilk band the said 
Erie hes debaited to be lauchfull, and has contest the ressaving and haveing thairof, althocht it be 
maist vnnaturall, iniust, tyrannical, impossible, and tressonable, bindand men to impossibilities, and 
inioyneing to them in caice of contra ventionn the paynes of treasone." 

This charge was brought against Patrick Stewart in 1610, but poor William Irving did not 
live to see the end of the trial His death, in 1614, added a fresh clause to the indictment : — 
'^Dureing the tyme of the quhilk assault maid to the said castell be the said leutennent, 
James Richiesone, William Irving, Andro Adameson, and William Robertson, his Maiestei's 
faithfull subiectis, war maist tressonabillie slane.*** Irving was buried in the Cathedral, where 
his tombstone still records the nature of his death : — " Heir lyis Villiam Vrving, Sone to 
Vmql. Villiam Virving of Sabay, Being Schott out of ye Castel, In His Maiestie's S.V.S." 

In 1616, William Irving's widow, Elizabeth Thomson, borrowed from her daughter, 
Elizabeth, one hundred merks. In 1617, William Irving of Sabay owes his father-in-law, 
William Sinclair of Tolhop,t 700 merks, and gives Sabay as security. In 1619, disputes, 
raised by Robert Bannatyne of Groundwater, husband of William Irving's daughter, Barbara, 
and involving James Stewart of Graemsay, crippled the estate. In 1622, William Irving, now 
of Sabay, revokes grants made in his minority to Magnus Sinclair and Marjorie Irving, his 
spouse. 

This William died without issue, and Sabay passed to his sister, Marjorie, and her 
husband, Magnus Sinclair. 

The Sinclairs were at that time undoubtedly the most extensive landowners in Orkney 
outside the pale of earldom and bishopric. They held the greater part of Deerness, much of 
St. Andrews and of Holm, Orphir from Coubister to Smoogro, Clumlie, and properties in the 
north and south isles. They mated with the highest in the land. Upon the seventeenth day 
of May 1580, "compeired personally Magnus Sinclair, in the Close of the Yards, wtin the 
towne of Barkwall, for observing and fulfilling of ye heids of ane contract of marriage betwixt 
John Sinclair, eldest son to the said Magnus and Marie Stewart, Brother Dochter to ane 
nobill and potent Lord Robert Stewart, fewar of Orkney and Zetland " ; and Magnus gave 
the young couple the lands of Braebuster and Tolhop. 

Magnus Sinclair and Marjorie Irving seemed to have preferred Sabay to their town 
house, which was in a ruinous condition before it came into possession of their heirs. 
" Robert and James Sinclairs of Sabay hath ane great ludgeing, sometyme pertaining to the 
Sinclairs of Sabay (the twa pt. qrof is without roofe, and the rest qrof p'tlie under theack 
roof and p'tlie under sclaitt roofe), p'ntlie possest by James Linay, cordiner, and uthers." 

The Sinclairs disponed the old house to Hutcheon Cromarty and his wife, a daughter of 
Bessie Irving, younger sister of William, who was "schott," and from them the Sabay 
mansion passed to their daughter, Margaret Cromarty, and her husband, Walter Fearne, 
htster. 

The term " litster," for dyer, has become obsolete in Orkney, but in the Fair Isle we still 
have a trace of it ; the pot in which the women mix their pigments for dyeing their home-spun 
yarn is still called the lit-pot. Robert Monteith of Egilshay, in his " Description of Orkney 
and Zetland," mentions a lichen which the Shetlanders " scrape off the stone to make the Lit 
they call the Corker Litt." The litsters of Kirkwall, in the seventeenth century, were a very 
important class, and many of them acquired wealth. 

In the old days, when trades had special privileges secured to them by law, they were 
more exclusive and jealous of each other than they now are. The litsters, it would seem, 
sometimes bought webs straight from the loom, dyed them to their own taste, and then sold 

* Pet. Notes, App., p. 51. t Toab. 



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BRIDGE STREET, EAST SIDE. 151 

them, perhaps by retail. Hence an Act of the Scottish Parliament, 1467 :— " It is seen speede- 
fuU that lit be cryed up and used as it wont to be. And that na Litster be Draper, nor bye 
claith to sell againe under the paine of escheit." 

Walter Fearne, a ferry louper, was not much of a man. His wife may not have been the 
most prudent of women, but he should not have driven her to the Session for redress of 
undoubted wrongs. 

" Coinpeired Margaret Cromartie, spous to Walter femes, litster, and complained upon her 
husband for abusing her, and sometyuies in his rage beating her, and giving her nothing of his 
wining, neither suffering her to live in peace with him, nor bedded with her since lambes, and 
permitting his servants to vex her, keeping them against hir will," **and desyred my lord bishop to 
bring them to reconciliation again.'' 

'* Compeired the said Walter, and declared that her deportment and carriage whs the onlie cause 
of thir variance, and that he was sorrie therfor, neither did he allow his servants in the least to speak 
roughlie to her or abuse her. " 

*' Mv Lord Bishop and Session, having heard them both and considered the matter : Therefore 
My Lord Bishop admonished them of their dewtie, and exhorted them to live more peaceablie, and to 
continue in love and amitie, as becomes married persons. Wherupon the sd. WaU^r took his wife 
by the hand, and each of them promised not to be heard any more in publick anent that particular." * 

In part of the Sabay mansion, Fearne had as a tenant Alexander M'Rae, peruker, whom 
he had to summon for rent in 1689. 

In 1692, the Rev. John Wilson and Isobel Traill, his wife, acquired this property from 
Walter Fearne. 

Mr Wilson came to Kirkwall from Aberdeen, May 1683, and was appointed minister of 
the Second Charge in January of the following year. Within three months he was translated 
to Stronsay and Eday, and in two years was recalled to St. Magnus. " The whilk day,t Mr 
Wilson was admitted second minr. of Kirkwall, with the special advice and consent of My 
Lord Bishop, who was patron thereof." In 1689, he was appointed minister of the First 
Charge, in succession to Mr Wallace. By this time Presbyterianism had been established, but 
Mr Wilson remained a staunch prelatist ; so, on Saturday, 25th October 1690, "Robert 
Elphinston caused Robert Arskyne to make intimation to Mr John Wilson, minister, that he 
should cist preaching the Word, and for so doing God in his ain time will visit him with 
some signal judgment." J Mr Wilson, however, kept his pulpit for some time longer, suffering 
much annoyance and some indignity at the hands of the local representative of secular 
authority. " The proclamation for a fast was proclaimed by Lopness, to be published in the 
kirk of Kirkwall, without enquiring the consent of Mr Wilsone." § 

Elphingston^s object, apparently, was to show that the Episcopal clergyman was a dis- 
affected person. But "Mr John Wilson went (5th Jan. 1691) || to the house of Robert 
Areskine, clerk for the pnt. to Robert Elphiston of Lopness, now Stewart of Orkney and 
Zetland, and demanded ane copy of the Act of Assembly and Counsell anent the forsds. fast, 
which he would not have, and protested in the hands of Thomas Brown, notar publict, that 
he might be free of all inconveniency that might follow yrupon, in regard he was ready to 
comply wt. authoritie." 

This irritating interference was unceasing. Colonel Elphingston stretching his authority 
to the utmost. The minister of the second charge obeyed the order of the Steward, and re- 
signed ; but, finding that the petty tyrant was exceeding his powers, he applied to the PriA^ 
Council, who " rei)oned him " to his charge.lT But the struggle still continued, and Mr Cobb, 
lacking the courage of Mr Wilson, gave up the contest, and retired, 1692. Four years later 
he was re-ordained by the Presbytery of Glasgow, and was appointed to Stronsay and Eday, 
Mr Cobb's settlement in the Cathedral by Bishop Bruce had been the last appointment in 
♦ S. R., 2l8t Sept. 1689. t S. R. , 20th Dec. 1687. J T. B. § T. B., 18th Jan. 1691. || S. R. IT Fasti. 



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152 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

Scotland under an established Episcopacy, and in his Xorth Isles' charge he was the first 
minister indacted in Orkney under the new regime. 

As his successor in the second charge, the Kirk-Session and heritors, now bishopless, 
chose Mr James Young, still an Episcopalian. 

In June 1694, Mr Wilson was deprived of his charge by the Privy Council, and ceased 
officiating in St. Magnus. Mr Young continued in office till September of that year, when he 
also was removed, and went as chaplain on board one of William and Mary's ships of war.* 

For eight years Mr Wilson, as a preacher, kept silence— a silence which he told the 
Presbytery was to him worse than death. On Sunday, 3rd January 1703, he surreptitiously 
entered the Cathedral pulpit, of which he still claimed half, but was forcibly ejected by Mr 
Baikie, then high priest of Kirkwall, ably assisted by his wife. On this occasion it is evident 
that Mr Wilson made no effort to hold the fort, or he might have given his assailants some 
trouble, and perha^xs have created a diversion in his favour by an api)eal to the pews. 
Nothing could more clearly bring out the meekness of Mr Wilson's character than his conduct 
in this fracas. 

But, unable any longer to keep silence, he next month oi)ened his own house to an 
Episcopalian congregation, and for a few years this little conventicle was a very prickly 
thorn in the side of the presbytery. He left Kirkwall before 1707, for in January of that 
year he had a meeting-house in Edinburght ; and, in 1712, he presided over a congregation in 
Haddington. 

As a clergyman, Mr Wilson is worthy of the admiration of all denominations. True to 
his own party, he was able to give credit to opponents for at least honesty of conviction, and 
for working along with his church towards a common end. In a i)oetic effusion, referring to 
sectarian troubles, he says : — 

** These contraries will last but for a while ; 
There is a land beyond that azure sky 
Where none lament, all ai-e in melody." 

Mr Wilson's widow was alive and in Kirkwall in 1721, an annuitant on the fund provided 
by the Scottish Episcopal Church for indigent clergy and their widows.t 

We incidentally learn something of the condition of the Sabay mansion in the BiU'gh 
Records, 20th April 1711 :— " In obedience to ane Act of Parliat. Lately come to this Countrey, 
granting new Duties upon houses haveing twentty windows or more, wee fynd the House of 
Mr John Wilson, Late Minister, hath twenty-ffyve windows, a pt. of which haveing yrin 
fiyftein windows, is possest by James ffea of Clestren ; a pt. yrof, haveing eight windows, 
standing waste ; and a pt yrof, haveing two windows, is possest by John Millar." 

The next owner of this house was William Traill, Town Treasurer. Mr Traill, a grand- 
son of the first Thomas Traill of Holland, was a prosperous merchant and a thoroughly 
representative burgh official of the early part of the eighteenth century. 

The business of the town was as well done then as it is now. The work of the Council, 
and especially of the Magistrates, was much harder and vastly more responsible then than 
at the present day. 

The Provost, or, as he is designated in the old records, the Lord Provost, and Bailies 
were constantly called upon to decide cases which would nowadays certainly go to the Court 
of Session, and their equity was seldom impugned. Yet the Council's transactions, read by 
the light of the Treasurer's accounts, are more like the records of a convivial club than the 
minutes of a municipal corporation. 

• Fasti. t Fasti. t Craven's Ep Ch. in Ork., pp. 44 and 45. 



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BRIDGE STREET, EAST SIDE. 153 

Business, however, went pleasantly ; there were full attendances at the weekly Council 
board ; and when special business called for evening committees, it was always a case of 
" happy to meet." 

It is perhaps somewhat in keeping with what we know of Treasurer Traill's warm-hearted 
character that we find the following entry in the Session records* :— 

*' After prayer, William Traill, called, compeared, and being asked if he was the father of Ann 
Sabist-on's child, wt. whom he was now contracted, acknowledged he was the father of her child ; 
beins exhorted, was appointed to make satisfaction, conforme to the order of the Church ; promised 
obecuence, and craved that, in regard he was contracted in order to marriage wt. the said Ann, they 
might be absolved upon their first public appearance ; he being removed, the Session thought it 
reasonable, upon the account of their oeing to be married shortlie, as foresaid, to «'ant the request of 
their being absolved upon their first appearance, if they be found penitent, and appoints them to- 
appear publicklie next Lord's day before the congregation ; and he being called in, gave, iii pios usus, 
to the bees, a guinea.'' 

In those days, a man who came with a guinea in his hand generally made a better bargain 
than Traill did, but evidently the rebuke from the pulpit had no terrors for him. He was 
married within a fortnight of his censure. 

A glance at Treasurer Traill's disbursements shows the jovial manner in which the work 
of the Burgh was conducted in the brave days of old. The municipal year began on the 29th 
of September ; and, in 1731, the expenditure from that time till the end of December is given 
below : — 

Sept. 29th. — By 9 bottles Rum, 6 bottles Clearet, 3 bottles brandie, 3 Mutchings lime 
Joyce, two pound Eight unce Suggar, & Six Bisket, Given the Magis- 

trats A; Councell the Election day — all is 

By 40 pints ale & 4 bottles brandie, given the Deacons & treads said day 

— all is 

Oct. 6th. — By two bottles white wine & ane bottle of Brandie, to the Magistrats 

when they made William Johnston burges 

By six bottles Rum, ane bottle brandy, 1 pd. 12 once Suggar to them, with 
a choping lime Joyce & 2 bottles wnite wine, when Windbreck was 

made Purges — all is 

9th. — By cash given John & Thomas Stewarts, conforme to the Provost's 

warrand 

15th. — By a bottle brandy to the Magistrates the day Baillie Fea came to present 

Clestran's letters, is ... 

16th. — By 31 bottles Rum punch, one bottle Clearet, & one pynt ale, when Mr 

Gillon & Collector Drummond were made Bursesses .. 

Nov. 19th. — By a bottle brandy to the Magistrats & Councell the day Foulis't letter 

was read 

20th. — By 13 bottles Rum punch, 5 bottles white wine, 8 ounce Suffgar, ane bottle 
Brandy, and 3 pints milk, to the Magistrats, to treat Mr Hay when he 

came home from the Convention of Burrows — all is 

By cash to the officers, on Baillie Geo. Traill's warrand 

Dec. 17th. — By ane bottle brandy, to the Magistrats & Councell, when Stenes & Cha. 

Grame was sent for to Councell 

18th. — By cash to the officers, on Baillie Geo. liddell's warrand 

By 32 Bottles Rum punch, 4 bottles white wine, 6 unce Suggar, & 3 pints 
milk, to the M!agistrats the day Stenes, Charles Gneme, & Hans 
Heilman were made burgesses 12 9 

Six " Bisket " is the amount of solid food which accompanied all this liquor. 
There are two interesting entries in the next year's accounts : — 

March 2nd. — By 8 bottles Rum punch, to the Magistrates and Coimcell, when they gott 

Sir James Sinclair's obligation for his tolbooth meallst £2 8 

April 3rd. — By a bottle brandy, to give Sir James Sinclair of May & the Magistrats in 

Hugh Gyer's house 12 

• 23rd Aug. 1711. t Colonel Monro of Foulis, M.P. t Dues. 



£15 6 





6 8 





1 16 





8 6 





2 8 





12 





10 





12 





8 1 
1 10 






12 
12 







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154 KIRKWALL IN THE OUKNKVS. 

Hugh Oyer was Town Clerk at this time, and the Magistrates had taken Sir James 
•Sinclair out of prison to eiyoy an evening's sociality in a private dwelling. 
The entry under 2nd March 1732 refers to this :— 

**Sir James Sinclair of Mey, Bart., grants obligation to the Mafistrats of Kirkwall and their 
Oaoler, for Tolbootb Meils, from the 24 Au^^ust 1723 to 24 Febr. this Instant, Year 1732, the sum of 
£1051 5s Scots of Gaol Fees, at lOs Scots per diem, for my extraor()in&ry accommid^tion within the 
Tolbooth of Kirkwall, use of the Council Room there, with diverse easements for £1095 Scots thereof, 
my Bills, dated 31 Dec. 1729, drawn upon Patrick Dunbar of Bowermadden, 1st and 2nd, {»ayable to 
Tlobert Kaa, Treasurer of the Burgh of Kirkwall, for my gaol fees, from 24 Augt. 1723 to 24 Augt. 
1729, inclusive, were protested for non-acceptance. Therefore, but any prejudice to the foresaid 
Bills, I bind and oblige myself, my Heirs, etc., not only to pay to the Magistrates of Kirkwall or 
Assignees the foresaid sum of £1095 Scots, but also £456 5s Scots, as mv gaol fees from said 24th day 
of Aufc^ust 1729 to 24 Feb. this iust., year 1732, extending both the said sums to the sum of £1551 5s, 
4ind that betwixt this and the Term of Lambas next, with the sum of £310 Scots of Liq. Expenses, in 
case of failure with ^ rent from this date till paid.' 

In the case of Sir James Sinclair of Mey, the sins of the fathers were visited on the son. 
His grandfather, Sir William, had burdened his estates very heavily, and in this condition left 
them to posterity. Sir James, the father of our prisoner, could do nothing to relieve them, 
And in 1694, by order of the Court of Session, they were put up to roup. Only the Ross-shire 
prop)erty sold — Cadboll and others — and Sir James's cousin, the Earl of Cromarty, com- 
I>Ounded with the creditors for Mey by paying £1000 stg. to clear off their claims on the 
land. For this, however, he held a bond over the property, which, thus burdened, came to Sir 
James of the Tolbooth. Beginning life in an utterly impecunious condition, and inheriting 
the extravagant tastes of his family, he added to his troubles by marrying the tocherless 
daughter of Lord Duffus, a lady of expensive habits, by whom he had four children. In 1719, 
he borrowed £6300 Scots from Sir Patrick Dunbar of Bowermadden, who, at the same time, 
bought the Earl of Cromarty's bond of £1000 stg., with accumulated interest. On the 23rd 
August 1723, Sinclair and Dunbar signed an agreement in Kirkwall as to repayment, and the 
day following, poor Sir James entered the Tolbooth, to remain till his death, fifteen yeai-s 
afterwards. 

But the author of " Ye Towne of Wick in ye Oldene Tymes " throws a lurid light upon 
the prisoner in Kirkwall jail :— " In 1721, the sister of the Laird of Stirkoke was pregnant to 
the Laird of Mey, a married man ; and the minister, fearing designs against the child, called 
a si)ecial meeting of the Session in order to take her judicial confession. It came out that the 
Laird had provided a nurse to attend her, and also a man-servant to carry off the child as 
soon as it was born. The nurse was ordered out of the parish ; and when search was made 
for the man, it was found that he had taken flight to Orkney, The Laird was also discovered 
in another county in close custody for debt." 

For six long years after this evening in Hugh Oyer's house, Sir James remained a 
prisoner in Kirkwall Tolbooth, his bills still unpaid. On 16th September 1738, his son and 
successor. Sir James Sinclair of Mey, took on himself the obligation granted by the deceased 
prisoner, " my said father being now dead, and his 
corps decently taken care of, from the 26th March last 
to this day, within the Tolbooth of Kirkwall." 

The Corporation of Kirkwall found constant f JJ ^f^'*\ 

occasion for conviviality, and Treasurer Traill records 
their bouts with the most circumstantial honesty. 
After the election of 1732, "34 bottles Rum Punch, 

10 bottles white wine, and a bottle of Brandy " were consumed by the Council at a cost of 
£17 16s 6d, while the Deacons and Trades were allowed £7 lis, and the officers, £1 lOs. 




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BRIDGE STREET, EAST SIDE. 155 

Then there was "a bottle brandy to the Magistrats and Councell the first day the 
provost met after he was choisen." 

As already seen, the festive gathering was sometimes held in a private house. 

" By cash, paid Baillie Fea's wife for wine drunk by the Magistrats when they made Sir 
James Stewart and Clestran burgesses, £28 4s." 

" By cash, paid David Strang for honny and aquavitey drunk by the Magistrats, con- 
forme to warrand, £1 68." 

" By 4 bottles wine to the Magistrats, which was drunk in Donald Groat's house, £4 Ss." 

That such lavish expenditure could be tolerated is at first sight surprising, but it must be 
borne in mind that the accounts were not published, that the people looked on it as use and 
wont, and that in those days the Council contributed the bulk of the rates. 

The CounciFs liquor bill for less than three months, 29th September to 18th December, 
came to £48 12s Scots. This is only £5 14s 4d stg., but in those days a pound Scots could 
go farther in the purchase of exciseable liquors than a pound sterling can now. Take, for 
instance, the following entry in Treasurer TrailFs accounts : — " 34 bottles rum punch, 10 
bottles white wine, and a bottle of brandy— all for £17 168 6d Scots"— £1 9s 8.}d sterling. 

The keeping of the Burgh accounts was more troublesome then than now, and there was- 
no remuneration for the work. It was not till December 1838 that the Council saw fit to 
grant the inadequate sum now attached to the office, which is simply a recognition of service,, 
ot a salary. 

After passing through several hands, Samuel Laing's among others, the mansion of the 
Irvings of Sabay was, in 1837, sold by Thomas Smith, Laing's factor, to Thomas Flett, junior^ 
vintner, in whose family it still remains. The sign of the hostelry then established waa an 
anchor, and the passage from the street to the back court of this house is still popularly known 
as the " Anchor Close." 

The tenement south of Sabay^s land had been in early times a stately dwelling. It was 
the town house of the Sinclairs of Brugh, and from the description it would appear to have 
. been a square enclosing a court overlooked by a balcony. 

In 1677, it was already in a ruinous condition. " John Kennedie of Stroma hath the 
fabrick or ludgeing called the gallerie, sometyme pertaining to the Sinclairs of Brugh, sua 
much as is habitable yrof, p'ntlie possest by John Johnstone, betwixt the king's hie street on 
the west, the loan towards St. Catherine's quoyis on the east, the great ludgeing pertaining to 
the Sabays on the north, and the ruinous land pertaining to Arthur Sinclair's air on the 
south." 

The Kennedies were hereditary constables of Aberdeen for more than two centuries, 
dating from 1413, and held extensive lands in that county. In 1652, an unfortunate dispute 
arose between John Kennedy of Carmunck and a neighbour, Forbes of Waterton. The 
tenantry on both sides took up the quarrel, and Forbes was killed. Kennedy then sold his 
house and lands in Aberdeen, came north to Caithness, and, in 1659, got from the Earl of 
Caithness a wadset of Stroma, which became the principal residence of the family. The 
" Gallery " was held by John of Carmunck on a charter from the Town Council. In Kirkwall, 
Kennedy soon came to be a trusted public man. In 1677, Arthur Baikie of Tankemess and 
John Kennedy of Carmunck were appointed arbiters in a division of the estate of Halcro 
between the two daughters of Hugh Halcro of that ilk — Jean, who married Alexander Mowat 
of Swinzie, and Sibilla, wife of James Baikie of Burness. 

In 1678, John Kennedy, yr. of Carmunck, married Jean, eldest daughter of Bishop 
M'Kenzie. Some of their descendants are still to be found in the South Isles, particularly in 
South Ronaldshay, where they had property. 



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1S6 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

The traditions in Stroma as to the arrival of the Kennedies and their final departure are 
somewhat remarkable. 

Among a community which regarded a house as sufficiently furnished if it contained a 
couple of box beds, a table, and some '* creepies," the amount of carefully packed household 
stuff brought by the new-comers caused much astonishment. 

The sti-angers were at once set down as pirates, bringing the spoils of many years to the 
lonely island for the secrecy and security they could not find elsewhere. 

Even when they came to be recognised as reasonably honest, they were still regarded as a 
peculiar people. Instead of going to a decent grave when they died, and being buried out of 
sight like other folk, they must needs build a tomb for themselves, that their dust might not 
mingle with the common clay. Of this mausoleum, Pope, minister of Reay, writes :— " In this 
island there is a vault built by one Kennedy of Carmunks. The coffins are laid on stools 
above the ground ; but the vaults being on the sea edge, and the rapid tides of the Pentland 
running by it, there is such a saltish air continually as has converted the bodies into mum- 
mies — inasmuch, that Murdo Kennedy is said to have beat the drum on his father's belly." * 

In 1721, William Sinclair of Freswick acquired Stroma, and to this day the islanders are 
deal* as to the nature of the transaction. 

William Sinclair, with a document ready prepared, having a tracing of the last deceased 
Kennedy's signature appended, went with two witnesses to the burial vault. Putting a pen 
into the dead man's hand, Sinclair guided it over the tracing on the deed. 

Sinclair's two friends conscientiously witnessed the signature, and Stroma became the 
property of the Laird of Freswick. 

To complete the tradition, it is stated that one of the witnesses, after years of remorse, 
finding his life utterly unendurable, committed suicide, and the other on his deathbed told the 
ugly story. 

Kennedy sold the Gallery to David Drummond, one of the Bailies of Kirkwall, and 
. Christian Graham, his spouse. In 1683, Drummond granted liferent of this house to his 
second wife, Janet Forbes. 

In the days of Drummond's magistracy, the town had a difficulty with that troublesome 
person, Captain Andrew Dick, Chamberlain of the Stewartry ; and, 3rd February 1681, " David 
Drummond, Baillie, and David Craigie, Provost, took the journey from Kirkwall to Edin- 
burgh, ujion ye complaint given in bi Capt. Dick against them before the Privy Counsall, 
their day of compearance being 24th Feb. 1681." + 

It is satisfactory to know that Dick was expelled from Orkney shortly afterwards. 

From David Drummond the Gallery passed to George Drummond of Blair-Drummond 
and his wife, Marjorie Graham. The Drummonds were Perthshire men, and probably came 
north with Bishop Graham, who was very clever in providing for those of his household. 

George Drummond, having money at command, increased his wealth in the usual easy 
manner. In March 1650, we find him and Marjorie Graham lending money to Mudie of 
Snelsetter. 

In 1707, the Gallery was in possession of James Burdon of Feddell, another Perthshire 
man, who had married Mary Drummond. 

In 1718, the old house was bought by James Traill, writer, Edinburgh, who the same year 
purchased Woodwick and North Eonaldshay. He had married Margaret, daughter of John 
Traill of Elsness, and when, in 1730, he retired from business, he rebuilt the Gallery, and 
settled down in Kirkwall. 

The feu-duty was £5 16s 8d Scots, "with the service of the Burgh, used and wont, by 

♦ Calder. t T. B. 



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BRIDGE STREET, EAST SIDE. 



157 



Scotting, Lotting, Taxing, Stenting, Watching, and Warding with other9 the inhabitants and 
neighbours within the samen, conform to the practice and custom of the samen Burgh." 

Mr Traill entered the Council, September 1730, and was made Provost the same year. 

In the conduct of municipal business, as shown by the Burgh Records, the Traills have far 
outnumbered any other family name. Indeed, there were sometimes so many of them in the 
Council that it became difficult to bring out their several identities in recording the sederunts. 
The Traills upon this Council were : — " James Traill of Woodwick, Provost ; Patrick Traill, 
Bailie ; William Traill, Dean-of-Guild ; William Traill, Thesaurer ; and William Traill, 
brother to Woodwick." 

Sharing the fate of all unsalaried servants of the community, the Traills experienced the 
ups and downs of public favom*. A local rhymster records a time of unpopularity : — 

** Traills up the town, Traills down the town, Traills in the ipiddle ; 
De'il tak^ the Traills* guts for strings to his fiddle." 

At the back of his house, Mr Traill planted trees and made a large garden. This garden 
was for about a century the finest in our islands. His trees, being sheltered, grew to be the 
best in Orkney, but the exigen- 
cies of commerce have caused 
their removal. He erected a 
little summer house of undrest 
stones. A mere glance shows 
that these do not belong to the 
neighbourhood. 

It was now just five years 
since the capture of Gow the 
Pirate, and it was Mr Traill's 
whim to procure some of the 
ballast of Gow's ship, the " Re- 
venge" ; so, with consent of the 
Xiaird of Eday, he had them 
brought from the Calfj Holm. 




Lintel over Front Door of Gallery. 



They are still preserved by the present proprietor of the Gallery. 

Mr Traill was an excellent business man, and, though retired from professional work, 
engaged actively in commercial dealings with the Continent, especially with Holland and 
Norway. 

A letter, bearing slightly on the building of his house, may be given here : — 

" 18th April 1730. 
" To Mr Thomas Bell. 

** Sir, — I desire the favour, if you goe to Holland this summer, you'll buy and brin^ home with 
you, for my wife, the following particulars, viz. : — half piece of Hollands for Shifts, 26 LUs, at 24 or 
25 Styvers per ell ; 6 pound weight of Bohea tea, at 3 Guilders or thereabout ; 2 pound unspun 
cutton, half a pound g«x)d cinnamon, one hundred weight good head lint, and two iron potts, one of 
20 pynts and tne other of 12 pynts ; and if you do not Goe yourself, you'll commission tne above for 
me to be brought home along with your own goods. I herewith deliver you E^;ht Guineas of Gold 
for purchasing the same, and if they arise to more or less, we shall cleir at meeting. Wishing you a 
safe voyage and a happy return, — I ever am, Dear Sir, your obliged Comrad and Humble Servt., 

(Signed) Jas. Tkaill. 
" Sir, — You'll please further to brins home in your ship, for my own use, six wanscott planks of 
2 in. thick, and six of 1 J in., being for wmdow casements ; this is the commission I mostly regard. 

Ja. Traill." 

Like a ladjr's letter, the postscript is the most important part. 



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158 KIRKWALL IN XHE ORKNEYS. 

James Traill died, 1733. His only son had long predeceased him, and now the Gallery 
passed to a nephew, John, son of George Traill of Westness and Margaret Ballenden of 
Stenness. John Traill married Mary, daughter of John Balfour of Trenaby. He wrought 
great changes on his uncle's house, probably built the wingfi, and certainly put up the lint«l 
over the front door, on which he recorded the date of his alterations, 1763. 

One of the Westness Traills, William, married, 1789, Mary, eldest daughter of Sir George 
Colebrook, Baronet, and widow of Count Adrien de Peyron. Their son, George William 
Traill, entered the Indian Civil Service. 

A biography of Brian Hodgson,* who joined the service as Traill's assistant, gives much 
insight into the character of the senior : — 

** Few influences exercise a more permanent effect on a young Indian civilian than the character 
and conduct of the first officer under whom he serves. The new-comer's standards of work and his con- 
ceptions of duty to the people around him receive an impress at starting which is seldom afterwards 
efiaced." 

This held especially true " eighty years ago, when civilians joined their first appointment 
as mere lads." 

" A working District Officer turned out a series of working assistants ; a sporting District Officer 
made sportins assistants ; a District Officer with a taste for revenue administration trained the men who 
were destined to conduct the land-settlement of provinces ; while a District Officer who did what was 
right in his own eyes, with as little regard as possible to the central control, produced a useful, stub- 
bom breed, who were prepared to fight for their own measures, or mistakes, against all the authority 
of district Secretariats and Boards. 

** Brian Hodgson was fortunate in his first master. George William Traill, then Commissioner of 
Kumaun, formed one of the group of strong-handed administrators whom Lord Hastings' conquests 
developed. * 

'* It was a time that called forth strong men. Lord Hastings had remade the map of India, and 
he needed civilians with courage and independence of resource, to convert his disorderly conquests 
into peaceful British provinces. Among these administrators of the transition stage, Traill occupied a 
foremost place. One of the first fruits of the Haileybury system.t he arrived in India in 1810, and, 
after five years' service, was appointed, in 1815, assistant to the Honourable E. Gardener, the political 
officer with the Nepal expedition. In 1816, Gardener was promoted to be first Resident at the 
Court of Nepal, and Traill succeeded him as Commissioner of Kumaun. 

** George William Traill looked upon Kumaun as a principality of his own, to which he had suc- 
ceeded by conquest. He had been on the spot when it had been taken over from its previous rulers. 
During twenty years, one Governor-General after another let him have his own way, for on the whole 
it was a way of righteousness ; and he set an example of personal government to succeeding Commis- 
sioners of Kumaun which was only broken down in our own day. The Governor-General mi^ht be 
ruler of India, but Traill was * King of Kumaun.' The stamp of personal independence which he 
gave to its a<iministration survived for seventy years, and its last great Commissioner, General 
Kamsay, was still known as ' King of Kumaun,' even under strong Viceroys like Lord Mayo and Lord 
Northbrook. Traill ruled absolutely till 1835, and he trained up successive assistants in the habit of 
thinking that a frontier administrator knew what was good for his tenitory much better than any 
distant central authorities. 

** Traill spoke and wrote the local language, dispensed with all formalities, settled cases in court 
like the father of a family, and encouraged every one who had a complaint to put it in writing and 
drop it into a slit in the court door, of which he kept the key. Answered niva voce^ in court or out. 
He was of active habits, and went everywhere throughout the province, hearing and seeing all for 
himself. His cheerful, simple manners and liking for the people made him justly popular." 

In 1823, Traill published a Report on Kumaun, which was re-published in 1851 by order 
of the Lieutenant-Governor of the North- Western Province. 

He retired from the service in 1836, and, returning home with ample means, purchased 
Wyre and Rousay, except a small portion which was not in the market. He died unmarried, 

* '* Life of Brian Houghton Hodgson, British Resident at the Court of Nepal," by Sir William 
Wilson Hunter, K.C.S.L, M.A., LL.D., &c., &c. 
t Entered Haileybury, 1808. 



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BRIDGK STREET, EAST SIDE. 159 

1847, leaving his property to Lieutenant-General F. W. Traill Burroughs, whose mother waa 
daughter of Chev. de Peyron and Mary Colebrook. 

General Burroughs entered the army as a youth, and did heroic service in the Crimean 
War and in the Indian Mutiny, service which has not been sufficiently recognised. It cannot 
but be galling to the man who entered by the breach and opened the gates to see comrades 
who entered by the door wearing the Victoria Cross, while the hero who admitted them 
remains undecorated. The story of the storming of the Sikandarbagh, by Colonel W. Gordon 
Alexander,* places General Burrouglis' work in a true and proper light : — " Burroughs, my 
Captain, would stand up close to the edge of the bank, behind which, as it had a gentle slope, 
the rest of No. 6 Company obtained some shelter ; but he drew a continuous fire by that 
manoeuvre, not only on himself, but on all in his neighbourhood, for as I was kneeling a little 
to his right rear, I was in a position to judge, and kept on telling him so. As I afterwards 
discovered, Burroughs had made up his mind to be first in, when we began to see that the 
breach was being driven through that face of the south-east bastion exactly opposite where 
we were. As he persisted in standing up and I continued to remonstrate, he waxed very 
short-tempered, and so did I. When Burroughs and I saw the hole getting slowly practicable, 
we kept watching Sir Colin and Colonel Ewart for the signal to storm. When the signal was 
given Bun-oughs had only to jump down on to the level ground, whilst I had to rise off" one 
knee, and the rest of No. 6 Company, being all stretched out on their faces, took a little 
longer to rise. Burroughs thus got a start of a dozen yards. On reaching the hole he had bent 
his head and actually succeeded in jumping in, knocking his feather bonnet oflf in performing 
this harlequin's feat. Private Dunlay and two, or perhaps three, more men of No. 6 Company 
were pushed up aft«r Burroughs. Colonel Ewart now came up, and I and a private gave him 
a leg in, for, with the exception of Burroughs, every one was helped in. I followed Ewart." 

Captain Burroughs, with his followers, opened the gates for the army to enter ; but he 
was severely wounded, and though he was recommended for the Victoria Cross, he never got 
it. Colonel Gordon Alexander adds : — " I do not believe that there was another officer there 
who could have performed the same feat ; where such a leap merely knocked off Burroughs' 
bonnet, either Cooper or I would have knocked out our brains had we tried it." 

Mary Traill, of the Westness family, married Dr Keith Spence, and went with him to 
America. Their daughter Harriet married the Rev. Charles Lowell, and was the mother of 
James Russell Lowell, American Ambassador in England, and author of the " Biglow Papers." 

After serving the Traills as a town house for more than a century, the old Gallery was 
converted into an hotel ; and though the rooms were small and the conveniences limited, it 
was a huge improvement upon any hostelry that Kirkwall had previously possessed. In 
189(), with extensive additions, it was turned into business premises by its present proprietor, 
Mr Robert Garden. 

The site to the south of the Gallery, now the property of Mr William Slater, wine 
merchant, belonged, in 1677, to " Margai-et Cromartie, relict of umql. George Coupar, smyth, 
ane great pairt yiof is without roof, the rest, under a sclaitt roof, is possest be hir selfe." 

George Cooper was dead in 1678, and Patrick Traill of Elsness purchased from the widow 
some part of the stock of the late smith, as the following extract from the skipper's note-book 
shows : — " August the 16, 1678.— Item, bought from Margret Cromartie, in Kirkwall, nyn 
moskets. Item, 3 Stokes, and ane littell barrall off ane gon ; paid to her for them twall pond 
scottes ; thay ar lying in my ouper Lafft." 

Margaret Cromartie's property passed through several hands, and in the beginning of the 
present century it had fallen into the possession of the Town Council, from which body it was 

* Recollections of a Highland Subaltern. 



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160 



KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 



purchased in 1818 by Patrick Gorie and Elizabeth Drever, his spouse. It is described as 
" that piece of ground and houses lately built thereon, being part of the Poor House yard 
betwixt the Poor House and the property belonging to Wm. Traill, Esq. of Wood wick.'' 

In 1677, the southern boundary of this property is given as St. Ola's church and church- 
yard, which had formerly occupied the whole space between the " Qallerie " and the Bridge. 

The church was built by Rognwald Brusison in honour of his uncle, Olaf the Holy, killed 
at the battle of iSticklastadt, 1030. It was the first Christian church erected in the little town 

after the Norse occupation of the islands, 
and it is only after Rognwald's building 
was put up that the name Kirkwall ap- 
pejirs in history. 

Near the little Pictish hamlet there 
had been, before the Norse immigration, 
a Culdee chapel, and it is just possible 
that on this ancient site Brusison built 
his church. Be that as it may, taking 
the date of the building as somewhere 
about 1040, we have here the oldest site 
and the oldest erection in Kirkwall of 
which a definite history exists, and this 
history has now been continuous for 
eight centuries and a-half. 

After it had been for a hundred years 
the only church in town, Rognwald 11. 
began the building of the Cathedral. St. 
Olafs was possibly a wooden structure, 
now falling into disrepair ; and this would 
give point to Rognwald's vow to " build a 
stone minster at Kirkwall in the Orkneys^ 
It was to St. Olafs that the exhumed coffin 
of St. Miignus was brought till the new 
building was ready to receive it. In this 
church Bishop William the Old officiated, 
and from this church, in solemn proces- 
sion, priests, warriors, and villagers fol- 
lowed the sainted remains of the murdered 
Earl to their resting-place in the magnifi- 
cent pile dedicated to his memory. 

It can readily be seen that two such 
temples as St. Olafs and St. Magnus' were beyond the requirements of Kirkwall at that time, 
and accordingly, by the rule of the survival of the fittest, the former was doomed to decay. 
In the middle of the sixteenth century, it was restored by Bishop Reid in view of his 
contemplated extension of the Cathedral. 

But before 1677, St. Olaf was again a ruin. On the 15th October of that year, the Session 
" ordain to summon Jean Covingtrie for alleged scandalous conversing with John Dunbar, a 
souldier, she being seen in St. Ola's Kirk with him after eight hors at night." 

* This doorway was taken down, stone by stone, and rebuilt in its present position by Mr John 
Reid when he bought the property. 




Doorway of old St. Olafs.* 



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BRIDGE STREET, EAST SIDE. 



161 




1 



*• The witnesses, viz., Anna Johnston, Robert Murray, Kirk bedall ; and Thomas Disching- 
toun, Session Clerk, being examined, declared that they saw the said Jean and John in the 
old kirk after eight hors at night, in a private comer thereof, but knew not what they were 
doing there at such a tym of night.'' 

Again the old church was repaired and turned to account, this time as a poorhouse. It 
might seem surprising that, in the seventeenth century, Kirkwall should be possessed of such 
an institution ; but, truth to tell, neither the 
Magistrates nor the people wanted it ; they 
had it forced upon them by an Act of Parlia- 
ment, which they passively resisted for at 
least five years. 

" The King's Majesty,* considering the 
many good Laws and Statutes made by 
himself and his Royal Predecessors for sup- 
pressing of Vagabonds, Beggars, (ind Idle 
persons, who are a great burden and reproach 
to the kingdom ; and considering that the 
effect of all these good Laws has been f rus- 
trat, because there has been no place pro- 
vided wherein such poor people might be 
set to work : For remeed whareof. His 
Majesty, with advice and consent of His 
Estates of Parliament, Statutes and Ordains 
that the Magistrates of the Burghs follow- 
ing, betwixt and the term of Whitsunday 
next, 1673, provide Correction-houses for 
receiving and entertaining of the Beggars, 
Vagabonds, and Idle persons within their 
Burghs, and such as shall be sent to them 
out of the Shires and Bounds after-speci- 
fied." Then follows a list of thirty-two 
burghs, beginning with " Edinburgh^ for the 
Town and Shire of Edinhurgk^^^ and ending 
with " Kirkwall^ for Shire of Orkney and 
Zetland:' 

But 1677 still saw Kirkwall without the poorhouse, which should have been opened 
before Whitsunday 1673. 

Perhaps the Magistrates continued to evade the law by making use of a clause in the 
Act which provided for aged and infirm paupers, " that they give them a Badge or Ticket to 
ask almes at the dwelling hoases of the Inhabitants of their own Paroch only, without the 
bounds of which they are not to beg." 



Aumbrie of old St. Olaf's, now in St. 
Episcopal Church. 



Ola's 



** The qnliilk day,t forsameikle as it is complained upon and regrated by divers and simdrie 
inhabitants within this Incorporation, that there are many vafi;abond8 and beggars increasing in this 
said place, both from the landwart parrochs and Isles, as also from other countries, quhairby the 
place is mightily oppressed : Therefore, and in remeid thereof, the said magistrates and councillors 
present hath ordained ane roll of the toun's poor to be taken up and ane badge grantit thame of lead. 



• Charles II., 4th Sept. 1672. 



t C. R., 26th June 1674. 



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162 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

stamped with the toun's arms, which is ane schipp, with the toun's motto, and none be allowed or 
tollerated to remain or reside within the said toun except those quha shall have the said bad^e ; and 
for the better obtempering heirof, it is appointit that James Laugh ton, bellman, goe through the toun 
and putt out all those quha have not the said badge." 

The Kirkwall bailies evidently regarded all paupers as "aged and infirm,'' and hoped 
to save the expense of a house by a liberal distribution of badges. 

Under this Act of the " Merrie Monarch," the pauper's lot was not a happy one. The 
authorities were to see " that they do not at all resort to Kirks, Mercats, or any other place 

where there are meetings, at Marriages, Baptisms, 
Burials, (»r upon any other publick occasion." 

Any one who chose could have a young pauper 
as a servant, free of wages. Indeed, the Act of 1672 
estaMished a species of slavery in Scotland which 
lasted down to the beginning of the present century. 
" It is always hereby provided that it shall be lawful 
to Coal-Masters, Salt-Masters, and others who have 
Manufacturies in this kingdom, to seize upon any 
Vagabonds or Beggars, wherever they can find them, 
and put them to work in their coal-heughs or other 
Manufacturies, who are to have the same power of 
correcting them and the benefit of their work as the 
Masters of the Correction Houses." 

Under this sanction, sturdy beggars were hunted, 
Beggar's Badge. seized, and sent under ground for life. They were 

subjected to whatever treatment was considered 
necessary to preserve subordination. Picked up in a similar manner, wives were provided 
for these unfortunates, and the children born in serfdom succeeded their parents in the pits. 
They changed ownership as the works passed from one proprietor to another by inheritance or 
purchase. 

To sell a man for cash might not have been tolerated, but a case is on record where a 
miner, having been recognised as translated from one county to another, explained that his 
new master, on a visit to the auld place, took a notion to him, and so " he was kniffered awa' 
for a powny"— a good man bartered for an indifferent horse. 

It was given to the Commissioners of Excise to see poorhoases established, and they had 
the power to inflict a smart punishment for delay. ** In case the magistrates of the saids 
Burghs, or any of them, shall not provide and have in readiness the saids Correction -ho uses 
betwixt and the said term of Whitsunday next, they shall incur the pain and penaltie ofjtve 
hundred merks Scots money, and that quarterly until the Correction -houses be provided." 

Though for some years the Kirkwall Magistrates succeeded in evading the law and 
in escaping the fine, they were at last brought to book, and Rognwald Brusison's church, 
rebuilt by Bishop Reid, was transmogrified into a workhouse. 

This statutory demand was also met :— " Each of which houses shall have a large Closs, 
sufficiently enclosed for keeping in the said poor people, that they be not necessitat to be ■ 
alwayes within doors, to the hurt or hazard of their health." 

For nearly a century St. Olafs had been nominally a poorhouse, when the Magistrates 
thought fit to let it as business premises to William Groat, who renewed his tack, 18th March 
1767, at a yearly rent of £8 10s stg. Their next tenant was Mr James Erskine, and from him 
we learn its condition : — 



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RUIDGE STREET, EAST SIDE. 163 

" Kirkwall, 5th June 1783. 

** Unto the Honble. The Provost ami Town Council of the Burgh of Kirkwall, The Petition of 
James Erskine, Merchant in Kirkwall, 

" Humbly Sheweth, — That your Petitr., having taken a Tack of the Poorhouse of Kirkwiill, with 
the Yard and pertinents belonging thereto, and having pos9esse<l said house for the space of two yeara, 
he 6nds it will be impossible to continue in it another year upon account of the insufficiency of the- 
Roof, and the Walls oeing so Open that in a VVindie I^ight it will blaw out Candles going past it, 
and in the Roof it is so Open in many parts that by every Shuer of Rain the water comes in upou hia 
eoods, by which means he has already lost severall valuable articles ; He is therefore under the 
Necessity of applying to your Hours., Craving that you may appoint proper persons to Inspect and 
Return you a Report of sd. house, so as you may know the necessary repairs it will take to put the 
same in a Tenantable Condition. 

** May it therefore please your Honrs. to consider this petition, and upon finding what is above 
set forth to be true, to appoint proper persons to inspect said House and Ordain such Repairs to b® 
made as is necessary to put the same in a Tenautable Condition, before the season of the year Elapses. 
And your Petitr. shall ever Pray. (Signed) Jameh Erskine. 

To his petition be added a letter, same date, which shows the state of the Puorhouse 
Close : — 

" Kirkwall, 5 Jime 1783. 

** Gentlemen, — Being some days aso Informed by some of the Magistrates that I aru not at liberty 
to put a Gate upon the Poorhou«e Yard without liberty being first asked and granted by the Council — 
In this I therefore ask it as a favour that you allow me to fix a Ribed Gate or Door at the Entry from 
the Street to the Poorhs. Yard, and another at the lane, with a Tirlie for the conveniency of foot 
passengers, either of which may be opened at pleasure for the use of Carts, etc., and will likewise 
serve to prevent Cattle passing that way, which m the Winter time makes the Entry to the Poorhouse 
allmost impassible. I would also beg leave to mention that part of the Poorhouse Yard facing out by 
the Pump Well, as it is of very little Service to the Yard, and Intercepts the view throw the Street 
to the Shore ; if it's agreeable to yon, I will take it away upon my Own Expence, and big the Dike 
up again upon a square with the well. Your complyance herin will particularly oblige, — Gentlm.^ 
your mo. Oot. Servt., " (Signed) Jamks Erskine." 

Mr Erskine's reason for shutting out cattle, that they made the entry to his warehouse 
impassible, can easily be understood. In those days almost every well-to-do household in 
Kirkwall had a cow. The whole herd of down-the-gate kye were grazed on the East Hill. 
When the beasts were driven home at night, each animal, as soon as it came to town, took 
the shortest cut to its bjrre ; and so all those belonging to Mr Er.skine's neighbours, up street 
and down, would come his way. His petition plainly shows that the passage was unpaved^ 
and in wet weather would certainly be deep in mud. His proposal was a liberal one, to put a 
gate at each end, that might be opened for the ptissage of carts, but shut against the tranipling^ 
of cattle, with turnstiles for the convenience of foot passengers. And in this light the Council 
viewed it : — 

** Kirkwall, 6th June 1783. — The Magistrates and Council, having Considered a Letter from 
James Erskine, Mercht., of date the fifth Instant, and Addressed to them, Craving a Liberty of 
putting up. doors or Gates at the Entry to the Poorhouse Yard, pos-sessed by him, from the street, 
and in the passage of said yard from the East Loan, between St. Catherine's Quoy and Mr Dishing- 
ton's Kaillyard, in manner mentioned in said Letter, They Find That these passages or Entrys are 
Commontys and previledges belonging to the CommonU' in Generall, and that therefore thev Cannot 
be shut up or appropriate to any particular purpose : But as the request by James Erekine Can be of 
no loss or detriment to the said Community, and as the Council understands from whence the severall 
Libertys and requests in said Letter proceed. They authorize him to put a Riblnsd Door or Gate upon 
the passage next the Street, with a Latchet or Sneck to Open ana fasten it at pleasure, so as the 
Community may pass and Repass at all reasonable Hours on foot or with Carts and Carriages ; And 
Also Authorize him to make another Gate and door at the above passage, facing the said Loan, with 
a Sneck to Open it as Occasion requires, for the Benefit of Carts and Carriages to pass and repass ; 
As Also to make a Tirlie on said passage for the Conveniency of foot passengers, as all are mentioned 
in said Letter. But with the Express Provision that all the Gates and Doors be made and finished at 
the sight of the Dean-of-Guild and his Council, and that at the Expiration of the said James Erskine's 
Tack, these Gates and Doors and Tirlies shall remain entire ana in the said Condition they are at 



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164 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

the said Period, for the Behoof and ConveDiency of the Lieges, and he is not to be at the Liberty of 
Altering or Deinolishiug any part of them during his Tack or when it Expires : And the Magistrates 
&nd Council having considered the request of Mr Erskine's Letter in the end of it, of Removing that 
part of the Poorhouse Yard between Westness property and the Pnmp Well which Jetts out towards 
the Street, they are of Opinion That the Removal of said Earth may be of Service to the Com- 
munity, as well as to Mr Erskine in particular. They therefore allow him to carr^' oflf said piece of 
Oround till it Comes with the Line of said Well, and then to build a ^Straight Wall of Stone Betwixt 
Westness' said property and the said Pump Well, the outmest side of said new Wall next the street 
beinc upon a Straight Tjine with the south side of said Pump Well next said Street ; And That this 
WorK is to be tinished and Carried on at the sight of the Dean-of-Guild and his Council also ; And 
Ordain these presents, with the Letter on which it proceeds, to be recorded among the Sederunts of 
the Council. (Signed) John Riddocii." 

A house, now the property of the U.P. Church by bequest of Mr John Reid, wood 
merchant, was built upon the part of the poorhouse yard which Mr Erskine had levelled ; and 
while the pump has disappeared, perhaps beyond the memory of living men, the well remains 
covered by the pavement at the north-west corner of this house. 

In 1818, the yard to the east of the poorhouse was feued in two portions, the part nearest 
the house to James Allan, mason, and the other half to William Laught<m, blacksmith. To 
utilise his feu, Laughton required to borrow, and he got £100 from the Incorporation of 
Hammermen. 

From St. Olaf s Church to the Burn of Pabdale had been part of the churchyard. When 
Mr Erskine got permission to put up his gates and tirlies, the south wall of the Poorhouse 
"Close was the north boundary of Mr Dishington's kail-yard. This large space, the greater part 
of the old Burgh burial ground, was in the days of the early Dishingtons unbuilt upon, 
■except that there was, on the south side of it, a double tenement, having its south-west corner at 
the Bridge. But such an extent of street frontage was too valuable to be left unoccupied. In 
1812, Robert Scott, Deacon of the Incorporation of Tailors, bought from the Town Council 
^*all and whole that ruinous house or Tenement called the Shed, with the small piece of 
ground or yard thereto belonging, having the Poorhouse Close north." The ruinous house 
had in the days of its prosperity been an inn. The " Shed " was rebuilt by Mr Scott, and is 
now occupied as business premises by Provo.^t Spence. 

The small house on the south end of this has its site on a bit of the closo which separated 
the *' Shed " from the house next the Bridge. 

In 1660, the house (it the corner, now Mr Maxwell's shop, was occupied by a man who 
had the knack of attracting public notice wherever he went. The Rev. Patrick Waterstouu, 
A.M., minister of Rousay and Egilshay, was, in 1645, translated to Stronsay and Eday, the 
Earl of Morton rleeming him worthy of a better stipend than his former charge allowed him. 
He kept this living for fifteen years, till, in 1660, he was depo.sed by a committee of the 
Presbytery " for contempt, separating from the Church, and often deserting his charge."* He 
came to Kirkwall, and lived from March to August in the house under consideration, when he 
was removed to the Tolbooth **for treasonable speeches against his Majesty and many of his 
progenitors ; and on a complaint from the Commissioners of Trade to Parliament, they gave 
authority, 2oth January 1661, for his being carried to Edinburgh." In the words of the Act, 
he is **to be sent south from Sheriff to Sheriff, till he reaches Edinburgh, there to be in- 
carcerate." t After getting out of prison, Mr Waterstoun went to Holland, where he died, 
1662. 

From the above, we can easily perceive the inspiration of his treasonable speeches. He 
was a Cromwellian, opposed to the Restoration of the Stuarts, and he sought refuge in a 
country entirely in sympathy with his principles and preaching. 

* Fasti. t Acts vii., App., 5. 



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BRIDGK STREET, EAST SIDE. 165 

The first of the Dishingtons in Kirkwall was John, Sheriflf of Orkney and Zetland, whose 
house was " Gk)ckhall/' near the Shore. 

In 1595, the SheriflF's son, Andrew, was appointed master of the Grammar School. In 
1599, he became minister of Stromness ; in 1601, he was translated to Rousay and Egilshay, 
and, about 1613, to Walls and Flotta. . He left a son, John, who was served heir, 1644. * 

In 1648, John Dishington was appointed master of the Grammar School, an ofiice which 
he held till his death in 1681. 

John's brother, Thomas, was the first of the Dishingtons who occupied the house at the 
Bridge, which he acquired under a wadset from William Pottinger. The boundaries in 1677 
were the running water south, St Ola's kirk and yard north, common passage to St. Catherine's 
Quoys east, the Bridge west. 

Thomas Dishington was precentor and Session Clerk for many years, and as such he was 
called upon to do occasional odds and ends of congregational business. 

" The Session t taking to their consideration the desolate estate of this congregation for 
want of a minister, and feiring that the people will wander abroad on the Sabbath day: 
Therefore they ordain Thomas Dishington to reid the prayers ilk Sabbath night until it please 
God they get a minister, for which they promised to satisfie him." J 

" The Thesaurer is ordained to acquyt and discharge Thomas Dischingtoune, Clerk, of his 
wife's kirklayr. and bells, in compensation for his paines in keeping a register hitherto of all 
persones who dies, Ordaining him also to keep and perfect ane exact compt. of the samen for 
the future, Together with ane accompt. of what bells, great and small, shal be rung for everie 
persone, and to give ane accompt therof once in the yeir, and the said Thomas is to refer his 
pains to the Session for the future." § 

We have abundant proof that he was universally respected in town :— " Ther was no 
Session, because God hath removed Thomas Dishington from this lyfe to a better." || 

Another occupant of this house, Thomas Dishington, was, in 1730, master of the 
Grammar School. 

In 1803, Catherine Dishington, only lawful daughter of the deceased Lieutenant Andrew 
Dishington, R.N., eldest son and heir to Andrew Dishington, shipmaster in Kirkwall, eldest 
son and heir of Thomas Dishington, sometime schoolmaster there, was served heiress to her 
great-grandfather. Catherine died soon afterwards, and her estate went to her relative, 
Robert Dishington, barber and wigmaker. 

But wigmaking in Kirkwall was now, through the fluctuations of fashion, no longer the 
lucrative business it had been, and, in 1808, Robert raised money by selling to John Guthrie, 
Wright, the east end of the kail-yard, 37 feet north and south by 22 feet east and west. About 
the same time he got an advance from John Traill of Westove, and granted a bond over his 
house, and in 1826 the property was sold on behalf of Mr Traill's grandson. 

Perhaps the most interesting of the Dishington family was Andrew, who, in 1768, was 
appointed assistant to the Rev. Robert Tytler, minister of Stronsay and Eday. The same 
year he was recommended for Lady parish, but unfortunately it came to the ears of the fathers 
and brethren that he had made an irregular marriage, for which they had to deal with him. 

Having acknowledged his fault, "the Presb. were of opinion that to proceed to the 
highest censure would be a punishment too severe, while suspension for a limited time would 
not serve any good end ; considering his situation as an assistant minister, they unanimously 
agreed, therefore, that be should be sharply rebuked by the Moderator, which was done 
accordingly, and the case dismissed." 

♦ Fasti. t S. R., 7th Mar. 1668. t Pet. Rent., App., 60. 

§ S. R., 14th April 1670. i! S. R., 2nd June 1682. 



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166 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

In 1778, on the solicitation of Sir Hew Dalrymple, who had -.heard him preach in Edin- 
burgh, he was presented by Sir Lawrence Dundas to the parish of Mid Yell. After receiving 
the presentation, he had no means of forwarding it to the Presbytery of Burravoe, as it was 
now the depth of winter. Just then, most remarkably, the Shetland packet from Leith, 
through stress of weather, put into Papa Sound on the way north, and the document was 
transmitted. "A packet is despatched for Shetland (from Leith) on the first Wednesday 
of February, April, June, Augt., October, and December, and the returns generally arrive 
about the eighth or tenth of the intervening months ; postage, 6d." * 

In 1804, Dishington was translated to Stronsay, where he died, 1819. 

Dalrymple*s appeal on Dishington's behalf is a curiosity in its way. 

Letter of Sir Hew Dalrymple to Sir Lawrence Dundas. 

"Dalzell, May 24, 1775. 

** Dear Sir, — Haviii£ 8{>ent a long life in pursuit of pleasure and health, I am now retired from 
the world iu poverty and with the gout ; so, joining with Solomon that * all is vanity and vexation of 
spirit/ I go to church and say nfiy prayers. 

* ' I assure you that most of us religious people reap some satisfaction in hoping that you. wealthy 
voluptuaries have a fair chance of being damned to all eternity ; and that Dives shall call out for a 
drop of water to Lazarus, one drop of which he seldom tasted when he had the twelve Apostles in his 
cellar, t 

" Now, sir, that doctrine being laid down, I wish to give you, my friend, a loophole to creep 
through. Going to church last Sunday, as usual, I saw an unknovm face in the pulpit, and rising up 
to prayers, as others do upon like occasions, I began to look around the church to find out if there 
were any pretty girls there, when my attention was attracted by the foreign accent of the parson. I 
gave him my attention, and had my devotion awakened by the most pathetic prayer I ever heard. 
This made me all attention to the sermon ; a finer discourse never came from the lips of a man. I 
returned in the afternoon and heard the same preacher exceed his morning work by the finest chain 
of reasoning conveyed by the most eloquent expressions. I immediately thought of what Agrippa 
said to Paul— * Almost thou persuadest me to be a christian,' I sent "to ask the man of God to 
honour my roof and dine with me. I asked him of his country, and what not ; I even asked him if 
his sermons were his own composition, which he affirmed they were ; 1 assured him I believed it, for 
never man had spoken or wrote so well. * My name is Dishington,' said he, ' I am an assistant to an 
old minister in the Orkneys who enjoys a fruitful benefice of £50 a year, out of which I am allowed 
£20 for preaching and instructing 1,200 people who live in two separate islands ; out of which I pay 
£1 5s to the boatman who transports me from the one to the other. I should be happy could I con- 
tinue in that terrestial paradise, but we have a great Lord who has many little people soliciting him 
for many little things that he can do and that he cannot do, and if my minister dies his succession is 
too great a prize not to raise up man}' powerful rivals to baulk my hopes of preferment.' 

" I asked him if he possessed any other wealth. * Yes,' said he, * I married the prettiest girl in 
the island ; she has blessed me with three children, and as we are both young we may expect more. 
Besides, I am so beloved in the island that I have all my peats brought home carriage free. 

** This is my story — now to the prayer of my petition. I never before envied you the possession 
of the Orkneys, which I now do cmly to provide for this eloquent, innocent apostle. The sun has 
refused your barren isles his kindly influence — do not deprive them of so pleasant a preacher ; let not 
00 great a treasure be for ever lost to that damned inhospitable country, for I assure you were the 
Archbishop of Canterbury to hear him, or hear of him, he would not do less than make him an arch- 
deacon. The man has but one weakness, that of preferring the Orkneys to all the earth. 

" This way and no other you have a chance for salvation. Do this man good and he will pray for 
you. This will be a better purchase than your Irish estate or the Orkneys. I think it will help me 
forwanl too, since I am the man who told you of the man so worthy and deserving, so pious, so 
eloquent, and whose prayers may do so much good. Till I hear from you on this head, yours in all 
meekness, love, and benevolence, H. D. 

" P.S. — Think what an unspeakable pleasure it will be to look down from heaven and see Rigby, 
Mastertoii, all the Campbells and Nabobs swimming in fire and brimston while you are sitting with 
Whitefield and his old women, looking beautiful, frisking and singing ; all which you may have by 
settling this man after the death of the present incumbent." 

* Old Almanac, lent by Professor Johnston. t 12 hhds. of claret. 



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BRIDGE STREET, EAST SIDE. 167 

In the Valuatioo Roll of 1677 we find that "Thomas Grotsetter hath ane pairt of ane 
tenement beyond the langntaine under ane theak roofe. Francis Craigie and Andro Langskaill 
hath the rest of the said tenement." The ** Lang Stean " was the bridge across the Bum of 
Pabdale, opposite the end of the close now known as Bridge Street Wynd. It was literally a 
long stone, its ends resting on the opposite banks of the bum, while it was supported by two 
small piers in the bed of the stream. This little bridge carried the bulk of the passenger 
traffic between the town and the East Hill. 

The " tenement under ane theak roofe " was the guard house of the soldiers doing sentry 
work at Croni well's Fort. From this a straight cut across St. Catherine's Quoys and Weyland 
would be covered in a few minutes by the party going on duty at the Mount. The southern 
part of the wedge which divides the ways at the foot of East Road is still described in the 
sasines as the " Old Guard House yard." 

In constructing their guard house the soldiers used the churchyard wall as their quarry. 
' The Magistrates present declared that they were willing that the churchyard dyke should be 
rebuilt as formerlie, Provyding that the stones of the former Dyk, which were taken away by 
the Englishes, wherewith ther Back Guard and forts were builded, being now in my Lord 
Bishope's possession, were restored for this effect." * 

Dr, afterwards Colonel, Thomas Balfour of Elwick bought from the Town Council "that 
piece of waste ground lying at the Burn of Papdale between the Guard House Yard and the 
Yard of Robert Dishington." A space of eighteen feet was to be left for the burn, four feet 
for a ditch between thi» property and Dishington's, and seven feet for a road " between said 
waste ground and the Guard House gardpil." 

" The Provost, Robert Laing, informed the Council that in his opinion Dr Thomas Balfour 
of Elwick had encroached upon the Road leading from the Long Stone by the Dykes of 
Pabdale, and along the yard formerly belonging to Alexander Grotsetter, by laying earth 
thereupon and rendering the same impassable, and he was also informed that Dr Balfour 
intends to build a house upon a part of the said Road." f 

Captain William Balfour sold this plot to George Robertson, Congregational minister, who 
built a house upon it. The conditions seem to have been modified. Robertson built close up 
to the wall of the old yard, and the road, or rather passage, from the East Hill to the town 
was brought between his house and Dishington's. 

From the Robertsons this house was bought by Samuel Reid, merchant, afterwards for a 
long period of years Provost of Kirkwall. From him it passed to John Bruce, Surveyor of 
Taxes, whose son, Dr John Bruce, in 1888 bequeathed it, along with some property in Ireland, 
to the University of Edinburgh. 

North from this house, Nathan Goldberg, a German, erected a large warehouse, which is 
now the place of meeting of the Salvation Army. 

It do0s.not require the memory of the oldest inhabitant to recall the open ^burn running 
underthe Lang Stean, and, fifty years ago, Gilbert Logic, the last of the Kirkwall litsters, 
dyeing in its waters. After passing under the long stone footway, the burn of Pabdale 
turned sharply to the west and ran under the Bridge. Now neither burn nor bridge is to be 
seen, the former being covered, making the latter undistinguishable from the rest of the street. 

The particular point in the course of the streamlet chosen for the erection of the bridge 
shows the object for which a bridge was first put there. It was erected at the south-west 
corner of St. Olaf s churchyard, so that mourners burying their dead and worshippers attend- 
ing service might not be excluded from the sanctuary whenever a spate raised the waters of 

* S. R., 12th Oct. 1674. t C. R., 10th April 1790. 



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168 



KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 



the burn above the stepping stones. Showing that this was its original object, it is, in the old 
records, usually styled "St. Ola's Bridge." 

In the east parapet of the old bridge was a stone with the Burgh arms carved upon it. 
This was preserved by P. S. Heddle, Esq., late Town Clerk, and was afterwards secured by 
T. S. Peace, architect, who placed it in the front of the new Town Hall. 

The lower part of the burn of Pabdale, from the Bridge to the Peerie Sea, was known as 
the " Hempow,'' and Bridge and Hempow form the southern boundary of old Kirkwall. Any 
house between there and the Shore is described in the Records of Sasine as '^ lying in that 
part of the town called the Burgh." 




Stone with Burgh Arms, from the old Bridge. 



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CHAPTER XII. 

Bridge to Long Gutter. 

/HAT part of Kirkwall from the Bridge as far southward as to include the houses bound- 
^' ing the garden of the Bishop's Palace is known in our Records of Sasine as the 
" Midtown," above which is the Laverock. 

But this threefold division of the town is comparatively modem. When Rognwald 
Brusison buUt his castle and his church there were no houses between them. When James- 
IIL granted his Charter, 1486, there was no Midtown ; that deed recognises only the Burgh 
and the Laverock, the domain of the Church. From the original position of the old '^ Cross ^ 
at the north extreme of the Castle precincts, it seems probable that the market established 
under the Charter was anciently held in the space between the Castle and the Burgh. But as 
population increased, the market stance was required for homesteads, and gradually what is 
now known as Albert Street was built. This street was divided into two unequal parts by an 
open runlet, formerly known as the Long Gutter, starting from the watershed at the head of 
Laing Street and joining the Hempow at the foot of Albert Lane. 

As far back as our records take us, the first house above the Bridge on the west side of 
Albert Street belonged to Gilbert Nisbet, and after him, in 1691, to Robert Alexander, sailor. 
Excepting a long list of proprietors, it furnishes no history. 

Sometimes a house in Kirkwall fell to a son who had settled abroad or in the south, and 
who could not come north to look after his property. In such cases the Provost, or one of the 
BaUies, might be asked to sell it and remit the price. This house had such an experience in 
the present century. It was inherited by James Kelday, who is designated " Wind musical 
instrument maker, St. Mary's, Whitechapel, County of Middlesex." 

The back portion of the tenement east of the above was, as late as 1802, occupied by a 
flaxdresser, Joseph Wilkinson. 

The land south of this, on both sides of the close, belonged to a family of Drummonda 
which, for five generations, son succeeding father, carried on a weaving business. While they 
themselves probably wrought at the loom, they trained apprentices and employed journeymen. 
Two hundred years ago the Drummonds were the most extensive cloth makers in Kirkwall. 

Then, and for long afterwards, cloth-working was the staple industry of the town. To 
preserve the purity of the streams in the immediate neighbourhood, the fulling of the cloth 
was done at a distance, and the waulk-mill of Kirbister, in Orpbir, cleansed and shrank many 
of the webs of the Kirkwall manufacturei-s. 

Hutcheon, the second of the Drummonds, was cited before the Session, 5th July 1686, for 
sending his man to Holm with a web upon the Sabbath day. He " compeared, 12th July, and 
positively declared that he knew nothing of his man's going to Holm, and therefore desired 
that the boy might be examined whether or not he knew of the Sabbath breaking—all which 
the boy denyed, but declared that he went with Thomas Hepburn with fish to his mother. 

z 



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170 



KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 



The Session, considering their breach of the Sabbath, has ordained both of them, to witt, 
Bobert Grot and Thomas Hepburn, to be whipped." 

Hutcheon Drummond sold the part of his tenement next the street to Hugh Clouston, a 
member of the Kirkwall Town Council, and from bim it was bought by David Covingtrie, 
1692. 

Covingtrie granted liferent to his wife, Marie Elphinstone, with succession to their 
daughters, Jean and Katherine, *^ of all and haill the said David his hall with the little pantrie 
or studie yrin, Inner chamber nizt thereto, with half of the haill yaird and pertinents thereof, 
and of all and haill his foir chope or foir booth now erected in ane ffyre-house or Laigh hall 
lying on the east end of the laigh fire house sometyme possest by Agnes Spence, relict of 
John Drummond, weaver, disponed to said David by Hugh Clouston,^ litster.'' 

The back part of this tenement nearest the Hempow was, in the beginning of the present 
century, owned and occupied by John Spence, flaxdresser, and between him and his brother 
heckler, Wilkinson, was the smithy of John Folsetter. 

The close south of the Drummonds' property is now known as John White's Close, from 
one of Kirkwall's old worthies of recent years. For many a day Mr White occupied a stool at 
the window of his workshop engaged 
in shoe making. He was a genial 
friend, unostentatiously pious, and 
a pillar of the United Presbyterian 
Church. 

South of John White's Close, in 
1677, leaving space for a kail-yard 
and peat-brae, was the house of the 
Brouns of Weyland, the last of whom 
to inhabit it was Lieutenant Broun. 

We have a notice of " ane Bur- 
gess Bill granted be Thomas Buch- 
anan, Proveist ; Thomas Lentron, 
and Jon. Baikie, Baillies, to Leive- 
tennent Magnus Broun, subct. be 
ym and Andro Ellis, yr Clerk, In 
name of the Counsall, daitit 18 day 
of July 1637." 

From Broun this house passed 
into possession of Sinclair of Camp- 
stane. In 1673, Edward Sinclair of 
Campstane and Elizabeth Wilson, 
his spouse, sold it to Mr James Wallace and Elizabeth Cuthbert, his spouse, for 1200 merks. 

Mr Wallace's property forms three sides of a square, the front doOr, with its very 
hospitable motto, facing the street, but recessed. 

Wallace graduated in Aberdeen, 1659, and was presented to Lady Kirk, in Sanday, 
somewhere about 1666, from which parish he was translated to Kirkwall, 16th November 1672. 

" Whilk day my Lord Bishop of Orkney his presentation. Collation, and Institution in 
favours of Mr James Wallace was read and published be David Forbes, Nottar Publick, in the 
audience of the Magistrates, Counsellers, and Eldars, and some brethren of the Presbyterie, 
after which Mr John Gibsone, having made ane exhortation, did admitt the forsaid Mr James 
Wallace to be minister at Kirkwall, and delivered to him the church bible and the keyes of 




Doorway of House which belonged to Rev. J. Wallace. 



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BBIDQE TO WNO aUTTER. 171 

the kirk doore as use is, and afterwards was received by the hands of the saids Magistraits^ 
Counsellors, and Eldars of the Session."* 

At a meeting of Session, on the following week, " My Lord Bishop declared to the eldars 
presently conveined that Mr James Wallace, present minister at Kirkwall, was to preach 
twice ilk Sabbath, and to catechise 

once in the weik, viz., upon Wed- y^^^^fnr ^ • 

nesday weiklie, besides other parts ^^ / ////\ ^ ILf / Oi%^/ .^^ 
of the ministerial function in publick y"^^^ Jc^S^^^^^ /l^^^'^^^C^ 
and in private." / T /^ ^)^" 

At the same meeting the Session / y^ — - — '^^ ^ ^^ 

agreed to give him £24 Scots for V^^^^^x^ 
house rent. 

Mr Wallace was the last Episcopal minister of the Cathedral who died in office. His 
successor, Mr Wilson, as we have seen, was removed after the establishment of Presbyterianisnu 
He had been nearly two. yeacs^ minister in St. Magnus when, Sunday, 9th August 1674, he 
*Mid intimate that the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was to be administrate upon the 
twenty-third of August instant" 

Next day the Session met and "sent Thomas Wilson of Hunclett, James Baikie of 
Bumess, and John Caldell to My Lord Bishop, to have his Lordship's advise anent the forme 
of the administration of the Sacrament and ezpences of the Elements, Who reported that for 
the forme his lordship declared that he, with the minister, would advise thereon ; and for the 
ezpences of the Elements he advised them to follow the practice of other churches, who collect 
for that eflfect." 

'* Augt. 14, pro re nata, Mr Wallace and eldars being conveened for setling debates and 
variances amongst the people before the administration of the Sacrament, Have ordained all 
the eldars betwixt the head of the tonne and castle, with the Clerk of the Session, to appease 
all animosities in their precincts ; and Ordains the eldars betwixt the Castle and the Shore, 
with David Forbes, to settle all differences in tber bounds, and to give in the names of the 
recusants, and to give in ther report to the next Session. And the Minister and eldars present 
doe declare all persones who will not be reconciled to be debarred from the Sacrament." 

At next meeting " the eldars reported that they had gone throw the toune and had settled 
all differences they knew or got notice of." Then ^ the Session recommend to the Magistrates, 
viz., Tankemess, Elsness, and baylie Moncrieff, to be present on the gries and other 
convenient places of the church for observing good order to be kept the tyme of serving the 
tables." The preparation sermon was preached on Saturday by Mr James Oraham, minister of 
Evie. The sermon before the Communion, known as the action sermon, was preached by 
the Bishop, after which " the first three tables were served by my lord Bishop, The second 
thrie tables were served by Mr James Wallace, The third thrie wer served by Mr James 
Graham, the fourt thrie by My Lord Bishop, and the threttein by Mr James Wallace. The 
fourtein table, which was the last, was served be Mr James Graham." " The Thanksgiving 
sermon was preached be Mr James Wallace." 

This was Mr Wallace's first Communion in Kirkwall and Bishop Honyman's last, and it 
shows how easy, as far as forms were concerned, was the coming change. 

Episcopacy had been denuded of ritual, and was in outward form identical with modem 
Presbyterianism, so that with the withdrawal of the bishop the revolution was accomplished. 

In the Session and Presbytery Records there is material for a very complete biography of 
Mr Wallace during the twenty-two years of his ministry in Orkney. His seat in church was 

•S.R., 12th July 1686. 



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172 



KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 



lialf of the pew under the stair leading to the Dick's Loft. He married Elspet Cuthbert and 
had a number of children, some of whom predeceased their parents. 

" Whilk day, ♦ in presence foresaid, compeared Master James Wallace and desyred that 
the Session would allow him that pairt of the kirk that is immediately over anent that pillar 
of the steeple which is nixt to the quire toward the south, to be a burial place to his familie, 
and libertie to erect a monument over hia children that are buried yr, and affix it to the said 
pillar, which desyre the Session thought verie reasonable, and with on consent grantit the 
jsame." t 

The year following he laid his wife beside their children. 




Conimunion Cups from Mr Wallace's Bequest. 

In those days, when the church exercised judicial functions, not only in ecclesiastical 
matters but also in the secular affairs of its members, punishing offenders with fine and 
imprisonment, a minister sometimes incurred the odium resulting from a strict discharge of 
duty. Mr Wallace had incurred the wrath of the arch villain of Kirkwall, and on a December 
night, 1681, "about 11 or thereby, Edward Rynd, Weaver, assaulted Mr James Wallace, 
minister of Kirkwall, in his dwelling-house for his life, had he not been hindered by the 
neighbours thereabout, and was that night placed within the irons within the Tolbooth at ye 
command of Bailie David Moncrieff, for the which deed the said Edward is to be banished the 
Country, beside further punishment for so hynous a crime." | " Therefore he was ordained by 
My Lord Bishop and Session to stand five dayes in the pillarie professing his repentance." § 

Rynd had been guilty of a shameless assault on a kinswoman of liis own, and had been 

* 5th May 1684. 

+ That stone now stands seventh from the west door of the seventh nave aisle. 

t T. B. § S. K., 10th April 1682. 



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BRIDGE TO LONG GUTTER. 173 

before the civic court. The Magistrates had been so puzzled by the unprecedented case that 
they docketed the indictment—" This to be thocht upon." 

But the Session had no difficulty in the matter. They took from the scoundrel all the 
money the bailies had left him, and clapped him into Marwick's Hole. 

Mr Wallace may be said to have died in harness. He presided at a meeting of Session, 
12th November 1688, and one week later the entry is, "No Session, Wednesday 19th, by 
reason of Mr Wallace death.'* 

" Tuesday morg., betwixt two and thrie or yrby, Mr James Wallace, ane of the ministers 
of Kirkwall, depd. this lyfe, and was interred in Saint Magnus Kirk there on Thursday, 20th 
Sept., nizt to the place where his wyfe was interred neir the carved stone set at the pillar on 
the south side of the choir. Mr Jn. Wilson, second minister, taught his funeral sermon, his 
text was 14th Job, 10 v., " For man dieth and wasteth away, yea, man giveth up the ghost, 
and where is he ]" * 

" Mr Jame.s, son of the late Mr James Wallace, minister, came, in presence of the 
Ministers, Magistrates, and Elders of the Session of Kirkwall, and gave into the hands of the 
Thesaurer ane hundred merks money mortified by his umqi. father in testament for the use of 
the church of Kirkwall. The Session appoint and ordain that two cups for the sacrament 
should be bought, and Mr Wallace name engraved on them." f 

His " Description of Orkney " shows him to have been a scholar and a man of observation, 
while such of his business transactions as are recorded prove him highly honourable in all his 
dealings. The disposition of his house is somewhat peculiar : — " The said Mr James himself 
and Elizabeth Cuthbert, his spouse," gave this property to their sons, " with ane speciall 
provision that in case it should happen the said James or the said Andrew in anie ways to 
misbehave or miscairie in anie act or doed materiall, or to undertack actions disadvantgeouse 
or contrair to credit or civil reputation, then and in that cais it should be lasome to anie of 
their said parents alive at the tyme to redeem the said by paying an angell of gold, or sex 
pound thretteen shillings four pennyeis Scotts." 

It was scarcely in keeping with " civil reputation " that, in 1700, Dr James Wallace should 
publish an edition of the " Description of Orkney " without any reference to his father's work, 
and with a sycophantic dedication by himself to the Earl of Dorset. 

The year after their father's death the house was sold by James Wallace, with consent of 
Andrew, to William Liddell of Hammer, " together with all the timber work not moveable, as 
possest by Mr James Stewart, Commissary of Orkney." 

The first of the Orkney Liddells was Francis Liddell, A.M., a younger son of Liddell of 
Halkerstoti, " ane man of gud reputatioune both in lyfe, conversatioune, and doctrine." J He 
took his degree at the University of Edinburgh, and was— probably in 1627— appointed 
assistant and successor to Mr Swentoune, minister of Birsay and Harray. 

His grandson, George, who married in 1662 Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Traill of 
Holland, was the first Liddell of Hammer. George Liddell of Hammer, " heritor thereof," 
contracts, 28th November 1661, to marry Elizabeth Traill "before the 1st of January to come, 
and to infeft her in his lands in Hammer, in Twatt, and in Sabiston, all in Birsay, Thomas 
Traill to pay in tochergood 1000 merks." § 

The next Laird was William, who married Margaret, daughter of Harry Grahame of 
Breckness, a granddaughter of Bishop Honyman. It was he who bought the house of Rev. 
James Wallace. At this time the next house southward, " of old called the Cross House," 
at the corner of the lane, belonged to the Paplay family, and in 1703 Barbara Paplay, 

* T. B. t S. R., 14th July 1681. J Fasti. 

§ Favoured by Mr Thomas Hutton Johnston, late of the Register Office, Edinburgh. 



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174 



RIBKWALI. IN THE ORKNEYS. 



^ only or at least appearaad air to umql Magnus Paplay, her guidser,'' sold it to William 
liddell 

(George, eldest son of William Liddell of Hammer, was, on 1st October 1703, contracted 
to Anna, daughter of the deceased William Rendall of Breck. Hammer settled upon the 
bridegroom his lands in the West Mainland, with ^the houses on both sides of the close 
presently possessed by the said William Liddell in Kirkwall/' Liferent was of course reserved 
for the said William and Margaret Graham, his spouse. The bride's brother, Thomas Rendall 
of Breck, gave 1000 merks as his sister's tochergood. 

William Liddell was Stewart Depute of Orkney, but for a long time he stood aloof from 
municipal work, as his name appears for the first time in the sederunt, 11th September 1730. 

On that day the Council *' mett In obedience to an order and appoyntment of the Lords 
of Councill and Session contained in ane Decreet, bearing Date at Edinburgh the Eighteenth 
of July last, for electing and making choice of 
a new Dean of Guild, Thesaurer, and Councill 
conforme to the Sentence and Sett of the 
Burgh." At the previous Michaelmas there 
had been some irregularity in the election of 
the Town Council. But on the 18th April 
1730, "the Magistrates and Councill, consider- 
ing that they have received coppys upon a 
Summonds of Reduction at the Instance of 
William Rendall of Breck, Andrew Young of 
Castleyards, and William Liddell of Hammer, 
Intending to reduce ye election of Provostry 
and the election of Dean of Guild, Trcsr., and 
Council ye second day of December last, altho 
both the saids elections are most regular and 
in terms of the sett of the Burgh, Therefore the 
Magistrates and Councill Do look upon and 
judge these proceedings as a mainfast aifront 
done to ym as office-bearers in the sd. Burgh, 
and a vioalation of and incroachment upon the 
just rights and privileges of the samen, And 
Do therefore earnestly desyre the favour of, 
and most pressingly recommend unto John 
Covingtrie of Newark, present provost of this 
Burgh, that he would take the Trouble to Send 
up the sds. Coppys to Peter Blair and Alex- 
ander Jollie, the Town's agents, and invite 
them to imploy Able and Sufficient Lawyers 
for the Defence of that Cause, the Honour 
of the Burgh and the Credite of the Magistrates and Councill being much concerned 
therein." 

The Magistrates lost the case, however, the election was reduced, and a new Council 
chosen, Uth September. At the general election, eighteen days afterwards, along with William 
Liddell of Hammer, sat his son, who is designated ^^ Mr George Liddell, Merchd." In all the 
sederunts the father is plain William, while the son is always Mr George, pointing to the fact 
that young Liddell had attended a university. 




Tombstone in Cathedral to George Liddell 
of Hammer. 



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BRIDGE TO LONG GUTTER. 175 

Id October 1733, William Liddell's daughter, Elspeth, married William Traill, first of 
Frotoft, and the Cross House seems to have been given as part of the bride's tocher. Here their 
son, Thomas Traill of Frotoft, lived and flourished as merchant, Councillor, and Provost. He 
married Robina, daughter of Robert Orant, merchant, Kirkwall, and granddaughter of the 
Rev. Alexander Grant of South Ronaldshay. In 1821, Thomas Traill leaves to "Anne, only 
surviving daughter procreated betwixt him and Mrs Robina Orant, his Spouse, the house at 
the comer of the Long Outter, formerly belonging to William Liddell of Hammer.** At the 
time of the bequest Jane Traill had been for ten years Mrs Watt of Breckness and SkaiU, and 
thus, from 1821 to 1866, this house became the town residence of the Watts of Skaill. 

Long before the Cross House passed to the Watts, Liddell of Hammer had sold Mr 
Wallace's manse. In his garden the minister had erected a summer house with a dove-cot as 
upper storey. This Liddell retained, and in the dozen transfers of the neighbouring property 
the summer house and " dowcot " are reserved, and go not with Mr Wallace's house, to which 
they formerly belonged, but with the Cross House. A few years ago the present owner, Mr 
James Ferguson Flett, discovered in the inner end of the summer house a recess which had 
been built up, and which had without doubt been meant for the concealment of contraband 
goods, hence Liddell's reservation. 

The first of the Watts who appears in the Kirkwall records was '* Mr Jn. Watt, that came 
from Edinboro to be schoolmaster of the Orammar School of Kirkwall." ♦ Mr Watt was at 
that time a student of medicine, aud when, two years later, he would have gone south to 
finish his studies, he was prevented by *' pirates at sea making the voyage dangerous." On 
completing his curriculum, he settled in Kirkwall as a physician. He married, 1690, 
Margaret Kirfcness, '^ on lie daughter in lyfe to umql. David Kirkness and Helen Wilson, 
Spouse." + 

His eldest son, John, went to Jamaica and acquired wealth. An interesting description 
of his plantation and stock is contained in a letter to his cousin, William Watt, merchant, 
Kirkwall, dated 20th September 1764 :— 

" Dear Cousine, — I did expect to corned home by Capt. Murray, and spoke to him accordingly, 
and had my Ticket out of the office, but a great bargain threw up, which will detain me some years 
in Jamaica. I sold my property in Westmoreland, which amounted to about £2000 ste., which I had 
in good Bills of Exchiuige. With that I purchased a pleasant seat in this parish, called Dongarvon, 
300 acres of good sugar Land, 2 miles from the sea ; has a beautiful prospect of the neighbouring 
Windmill Estate, a good House ready furnished, 16 Mares, 10 head of cattle, 29 seasoned Working 
Neffroes, 10 of wch. are carpenters and sawyers, wch. cost me £3500 Currency, and 20 new negroes 
wch. cost me £1100 Currency — in all, £4600 Currcy. I am working a Gang of 40 of them out in 
falling and clearing Land for the planters, and 5 carpenters I hire out at £3 per month each, wch. will 
bring me in £1000." 

At this time there were numbers of enterprising Orcadians planters and, of course, slave- 
holders in the West Indies. Watt mentions Laing, Mowat, and other Orkney people. A 
letter from John Mowat, son of the Key. Hugh Mowat, of Evie, describes another estate :— 

" Orkney Hall, Jamaica, 10th May 1766. 
" Dear Brother, — I shall, according to your desire, ffive you as phun a description of my Planta- 
tion as I can. It is most pleasantly situated upon a River named Thomas Biver— sood land, Black 
mould on a clav, and with proper strength would make a good sugar Work ; it's well timbered with 
variety of timber, the principal is Mahoffenie and Cedar ; I having 1380 acres in the new purchase 
and 350 acres by my wile adjoining to said land, beside 80 acres in Witherwood, the most fertile part 
of the Island ; each acre is valued at £40, which is the pro^rty of my childrrai, and I am Guardian 
for them. I have at present 36 negroes, besides stock, but m order to improve the land in possession, 
I would require 70 negroes and 70 head of cattle." 

* T. 6., 22nd August 1688. t T. B., 3l8t Jan. 1690. 



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176 



KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 



John Mowat died in 1800, and it is quite probable that his descendants are in Jamaica to 
this day. 

William Watt, probably a brother of John, the physician, also settled in Kirkwall about 
1690. He married a daughter of ScoUay of Odness, and lived in one of the Castleyard houses. 

The ScoUays of Odness were believed to have had the gift of second sight. Towards the 
end of the last century there were three of that family, two sisters and a brother, all deaf and 
dumb. The sisters lived in Kirkwall, and when Richan of Rapness and his boat's crew were 
drowned going out to Westray, they were seen to be in great distress, wringing their hands 
and pointing seaward. The brother lived at Skaill with Mr Watt, and every now and then 
he would look out an extra supply of silver and see it polished, and would have a spare room 
or rooms prepared for occupation, and this restlessness was speedily followed by the arrival 
of unexpected visitors to the number indicated by ScoUay. So it is said. 

William Watt's son, also William, acquired wealth as a merchant, and became a leading 
man in Orkney. He was a keen Jacobite, and in 1746, along with Sir James Stewart of 
Burray, was sent to London by Capt. Moodie of Melsetter. 
After a short imprisonment, he was liberated and came 
north, the bearer of the Act of Oblivion in favour of the 
Orcadian adherents of the Stuarts. 

He married, 1729, Katherine, daughter of Mr John 
Gibson, minister of Evie. Their second son, John Gibson 
Watt, settled in London as a surgeon, and amassed a con- 
siderable fortune, which he devoted to the founding of Watt's 
Hospital, London. 

The oldest son, William, as his father had done, went to 
the manse of Evie for a wife, and married, 1756, Jean, 
daughter of Rev. Hugh Mowatt, by whom he had a largo 
family.* 

In 1775, he married a second time, Margaret Graham, 
daughter of Robert Graham of Breckness and Skaill, sister 
of Patrick Graham of Breckness, who sold the estate to his 
brother-in-law, William Watt. 

William Graham Watt, eldest son of this marriage, took 
to wife, 1811, Ann, only daughter of Thomas Traill of Frotoft. 
He died, 1866, and was succeeded by his eldest son, William 
Watt Graham Watt, who married Barbara, daughter of the 
Rev. William Logie, D.D. 

He left the estate of Breckness, subject to his widow's life-rent, to his nephew, William 
George Thomas Watt, son of his youngest brother, Robert Graham Watt, by Elizabeth, 
daughter of George Dale, Newcastle-on-Tyne. 

Returning to the Bridge and the houses on the east side of the street, we see a gable, the 
windows in which look straight down towards the pier. In 1677 this house belonged to 
William Mudie, merchant. 

Mudie's daughter, Jean, married Alexander Geddes, skipper, who makes frequent appear- 
ances in our records. 

" August 23rd, 1682, bying Wednesday, Alexr. Geddes arrived at Kirkwall from Holland 
with his vessel or ship quhrin was ye Great Bell of Kirkwall returned after ye casting yrof at 

* The family of the late William Watt Bain, writer, Kirkwall, through his mother, Catherine 
Watt, now represent this branch. 




Arms of the Watts. 



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BRIDGE TO LONG GUTTER. 



17T 



Rotterdam." Four years after this. Captain Geddes gave the order for a new vessel, which 
was so expeditiously built as to surprise the people of Kirkwall :--*' 23rd Augt. 1687, Tuesday, 
Alexr. Geddes his new vessel or ship, built upon the air of Kirkwall, was hailed from the 
shoar to the road there, which ship was begun and entered to be built from the kiell and 
upward by Thos. Orchard, James Halcro, and other carpentei-s, 14th Sept. 1686." This vessel 
does not seem to have been very lucky, for within three year* of her launching, we find her 
twice driven ashore in gales, once at Pierowall and again on Ellyerholm. 

After retiring from the sea, Geddes entered the Town Council and became a bailie. Ha 
was survived by his widow. 

In those days ladies saw to the manufacture of their own napeiy : — 

** I, Jean Geddes, relict of umquel Alexander Geddes, late Bailie of Kirku'all, grants me to have 
received from David Traill of Seba the quantity of five stone and one pound of Lint, at five lbs. ten 
shilling pr. stone, is twenty-two pound sixteen shilling Scotts, of which I grant this recent, as witnesa 
my hand at Kirkwall the nynth day of Apprile 1702. (Signed) Jban Mudik." 

This receipt and the beautiful signature show Mrs Geddes to have had an education, at all 
events in writing, exceedingly good for a girl in the middle of the seventeenth century. 

Long before 1702, Bailie Geddes' house had passed into other hands. A lintel over a 
doorway in the north wall, inscribed "16, G. T., A. B., 84," records the fact that George Traill of 
Quendale bought it, and on its site had built a handsome residence. He married, 1674, 
Elizabeth Irving, who died 1681, and whose tombstone is now in the south nave aisle, near 
the transept. 




Stone over Doorway in Lang Stean Close. 

In 1682 he married Anna, daughter of James Baikie of Tankerness, and two years later, 
as the lintel tells, he built this house for her. 

Mr Traill was Provost of Kirkwall in 1690, and again from 1695 to 1698. He had a dis- 
pute with the Council on the 3rd of September, the last day of his appearance in the chair. 
The subject under discussion is not minuted, but the Provost thought fit to leave town in a 
huff. 

At a meeting in the Tolbooth, 20th September 1698, Bailie Kaa in the chair, "The 
Magistrates and Counsill present all, in one voice, appoynts That a letter be write and sub- 
scry ved and sent presentlie to Rowsay to Provist Traill to see wither or not he will accept to 
be Provist of this Burgh for the Inshewing yeir, as he was Lawfullie the last yeir, and if he 
wOl subscrive his accepting at his coming to Kirkwall, And behave as Provist, or if the 
Magistrates and Counsill shall proceed and ellect ane new provist." 

2a 



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178 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

The Provost's reply exhibits much orthographical ingenuity : — " Quandel, the 22 daye of 
Sept. '98. — Qentelmene, I thincke strange yt ye should have desyred meie till have continoud 
prowist for this yeir, when yt ye reffused meie suche an small request the Last yer, for I tould 
you befor I went oute of toune yt I wold nott except of the prowistrie for this yer ; therefor 
I wish from my verie hert ji) ye may choyese on yt may be for the good of the plese. — Your 
weel wishing ffriend, G. T." He then proposes Kaa and Sabay to be added to the list, and 
gives his vote for Bailie Kaa. The Council elected David Traill of Sabay. 

Near Quendale's house, at the side of the biu*n, there had stood a large mansion, *' of old 
called the Dowcot," with offices and pertinents. Before 1677, however, it had gone to ruin, 
and its grounds were occupied by a humbler class of tenements. " Magnus Moir, weaver, 
hath ane tenement, possest be himself and uthers, near to the Long Stone, betwixt the running 
burn and the loan towards Pabdale on the east, the rest of the haill building or Fabrick of old 
called ye dowcot on the west." " Agnes Linay, relict of umql. Thos. Moir, weaver, hath in 
liferent ane pt. of sd. land, of old called the dowcot, p'ntlie possest by herself and uyrs, under 
s. thack roofe. James Morrison hath the rest of the said tenement or Fabrick, being small, 
little houses, under theack roof, possest be se'all persons." 

Among the "several persons" was James Fea, pyoner. Nowadays our streets are 
swept by town-appointed scavengers, but fonnerly each householder was responsible for his 
own front. The pyoner was the professional street-cleaner at the service of any one who 
chose to em]>loy him, and he also cleared away ashes and refuse from the backyards of the 
few who kei)t their premises tidy. To show that there was a livelihood to be made by the 
pyoner : — " Kirkwall, 19th Nov. 1677. — Conforme to order of the Magistrates, the persones 
undernamed were poyndit for not Dighting the Street on Saturday last, being ye 17 Nor. 
Instant." Then follows a list of fifty defaulters, and so scarce was ready coin in Kirkwall, 
that only thirteen were able to pay their fine of four shillings Scots, and the rest were actually 
subjected to jKiynding. Among the articles seized were — " Wm. Gyre, a choppin stoup ; Robt. 
Pottinger, a pair of shoone ; Capt. Drummond, a brass candlestick ; John Ross, ane pewter 
plaitt ; James Maxwell, ane Mutchkin stoup ; Magnus Good, a new pynt stoup ; Wm. 
Richane, a browne coat ; Francis Murray, a red petticoat." 

Another occupant of one of the small thatched houses on the site of the ancient Dowcot 
was George Sinclair, " borrowman." The " borrow " is of course a hand-barrow, for as yet no 
wheeled vehicle of any kind had been trundled through the streets of Kirkwall. One of 
Sinclair's neighbours is designated a "burden bearer," evidently a lower grade of public 
carrier, seeing that the possessor of a hand-barrow was necessarily an employer of labour as 
well as a worker. 

Having built his house, George Traill bought from Robert Morrison a " third part of the 
tenement of old called the Dowcot," and " Twa pairt of the ruinous house over against the 
gait of the said tenement lyand betwixt the said house called the Dowcot and the running 
burn passing under the bridge." From Thomas Moir, weaver, he purchased a kail-yard 
adjacent to his own, so that he secured for himself the greater part of the space between the 
Lang Stean and the corner of the road at Queen Street. 

The Dowcot is one of a number of Kirkwall houses that has left a name but no history. 
It would be interesting to know something of the lives of the couple, evidently in affluent 
circumstances, whose house got a name so suggestive of billing and cooing. We only know 
that their name was Raynuir, and this, with the position of the Dowcot just opposite the old 
Guardhouse, might suggest that Mr Raynuir was an officer of high rank in CromwelFs 
Kirkwall garrison. 

Traill's house, now that he had bought up the "Dowcot" property, must have been 



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BRIDGE TO LONG GUrfKR. 17* 

a very desirable residence, with its yard stretching down to the clear running Pabdale 
burn. 

In 1712, " William Traill, sone to Quendall, hath ane tenement of land possest by hiuiself«- 
under sclaitt roof, upon the east syd of the street nixt the bridge of Kirkwall." 

" George Traill, Chamberlaud of the Earldom, hath ane house under sclaitt roof possesst 
by himself on the East gavell of the said William Trail his house, both of which houses have 
office houses on the south syde of the closs." 

The present Commercial Bank occupies a site of historic interest. Here a cluster of 
houses, forming three sides of a square, enclosed a space known as the Parliament Close. 
" By the original mortgage from Norway, it was settled that the Norwegian laws and customs 
were to continue in force during the non-redemption of the islands from Scotland, and the 
Scottish Legislature, by a subsequent Act, continued the Scandinavian law, so that the 
government of the islands was vested in the Earl, in conjunction with a sort of h)cal 
Parliament exercising all the functions of a legislative iissenibly, a judicial tribunal, and a 
jury." * This little square had been the seat of <uir local Parliament, and down to the middle 
of the seventeenth century public business was transacted here.t 

In 1677 the northern part of the Parliament Ch»se was occupied by Helen Scollay, 
" soraetyme relict of the umqle Thon)as Baikie, Skipper, now spous to James Maxwel^ 
Skipper." 

James Maxwell sailed a vessel, the " David and James," of the burden of 27 Orkney 
chalders, which belonged to George Scott of Giblieston, tacksman of the earldom for five 
years, commencing 1670. It is said that Scott lost by his tack owing to war and bad seasons. 

" It was deponed by Magnus Irving, Mrcht., Kirkwall, that during the war with the 
States— 1672-1673— the said George Scott his ship, laden in the country with Orkney here,, 
bound for Leith, was driven into Deersound by a Dutch Privateer, and was blockd. there sa 
that she could not make her voyage, and lay there till her cargo became perished and was 
thrown into the sea, the value of the cargo, @ £84 p. Ork, Chalder, was £2189." 

Mrs Maxwell's dwelling house was " under sclaitt roof, ye kitchen yrof under theack roof."" 
This portion of the square was valued at twenty pounds, and, besides the proprietrix, it waa 
occupied by several tenants. The southern half, of five pounds less value yearly, was occupied 
by Barbara Traill, " relict of umql Magnus Baikie, Skipper." 

After the days of Maxwell and Baikie, the whole Parliament Close came into possession 
of another skipper, James M*Kindlay. His vessel was the " James," and he was part owner. 

In the middle of the last century the southern portion was occupied by William Suther- 
land, wig-maker. 

When the Directors of the Commercial Bank bought this property from Dr Omond of 
Monzie, the south-east comer of the ancient Parliament House had degenerated into a stable. 

Between the Parliament House and 

the Long Gutter there were, in 1677, only 1^5*^^553^^^^^;?^^^^^ 

three houses where now there are four. ^^"^ >i ^==.-— '"_- 

The first above Parliament Close was 
owned and occupied by James Manson, 
Messenger-at-Arms, a man whose name is often seen in the old documents of the Court- 
house. 

Long before Manson's occupancy, however, it had belonged to Malcolm Hartsyde, whose 
daughter married Sir John Buchanan of Scotscraig, Kt., Sheriff of Orkney and Zetland. 

In 1615, Sir John Buchanan bought from Lawrence Sinclair of Aith, with consent of 
* Pet. Notes, App., 28. t See anit, p. 96. 




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180 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

about a dozen other Sinclairs, " twelve footts of weast ground betwixt ye sd. Jo. Buchanan's 
house and John Baikie his house.'' 

About 1622, Buchanan got a subtack of the " Erledome of Orknay and Lordschip of 
Zetland " under Lord Napier of Merchiston. 

Leases of Church lands were easily procured in those days, and such leases, by judicious 
management on the part of the lessees, grew into charters giving absolute ownership. Thus 
the new tacksman acquired Foreland, near Kirkwall, also property in Shapinsay. Bishop 
Graham says : — " Sir Johne Buchanane coft the lands of Sound and Shapinshaw fra James 
Tullo, was enterit be me, and now being dead, Harie Aikin, son-in-law to the said Sir Johnei 
hes sauld the same to Thomas Buchanan, now Shireff of Orknay,* who is not enterit unless 
he hes shortlie de novo taken a new holding of the king, qlk I think he either hes done or will 
doe. His lands in Shapinsaw payis for wan thing and uther fyve or sixe hundreth poundis 
yeirlie, and will be worth the half of yat or yrby to himself." t 

Scotscraig, the Buchanan estate in Fife, was named from the famous wizard, Michael 
Scott of Balwearie. This property left the Buchanan family by the marriage of a daughter to 
a son of the Earl of Mar. 

Thomas Buchanan was Provost of Kirkwall from 1636 to 1647, inclusive. He left Sound 
and some house property in Kirkwall to his eldest son, Arthur, while to John he gave Sand- 
side and to William, Russland. 

The money to buy these lands was acquired by James Buchanan, merchant, Edinburgh, 
brother of Sir John and father of Thomas. 

In the end of last century the house of Sir John Buchanan was in possession of the 
Brebners. In 1830, Isabella Mainland, spouse to George M^Beath, succeeded her mother, 
Anne Brebner, " sometime mantuamaker in Kirkl., spouse to Patrick Mainland," merchant, 
and in this family it still remains. 

The next house southward was a double tenement belonging to John Kaa, merchant, " ye 
ane halfe under a sclaitt roofe j)ossest be himselfe and uyrs." This was the upper half of the 
tenement, and it was built in 1655, the year of the marriage of John Kaa and Agnes Lou tit. 
A stone, bearing the inscription, " I. K., 1655, A. L.," preserved from this house, was built into 
the front of its successor by Mr Warren, a subsequent owner of the property. A tombstone 
in the north aisle of the Cathedral nave bears the inscription : — " Here rests the corps of ane 
Pious and Honest man, John Kaa, somtym Baily of Kirkwall. He was married with Agnes 
Loutit, 1655." 

Several generations of Kaas took an active part in the business of the Town Council and 
Kirk Session. 

John's daughter, Margaret, was married to David Covingtrie ; and, 6th November 1684, 
** Thursday, about 3 in the afternoon, James Kaa, Merchant Burgess of Kirkwall, was married 
to Margaret Richan, only lawful daughter to Robt. Richan of Linklater, procreate betwixt 
him and Isobel Ballenden." 

The name Kaa has long been extinct in Kirkwall. It is purely Danish — an imitation of the 
familiar cry of the rook, the exact equivalent of the English name Caw, and similarly pronounced. 

The other half of this tenement was acquired by Bailie James Young, son of Andrew 
of Castleyards, and here he lived with the wife whom he married in 1679. Thomas Brown 
enters in his Diary, 11th December 1678 : — " James Young, Keeper of the King's Girnel, was 
contracted to Elspeth Forbes, onlie daughter to David Forbes, Notary Public." 

* The office of SheriflFin Scotland dates from the reign of Alexander I., in the beginning of the 
twelfth century, and was held in Orkney by the earls or their deputies. See Appendix to this oiapter. 

+ Pet. Rent, iii. 18. 



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BRIDGE TO LONG GUTTER. 181 

The house at the corner, having "the com on passage called the lang gutter on the south," 
belonged in 1677 to Halcro of Crook. It had at one time been church property, and in 
1596 it was sold to Hew Halcro of Aikers by Malcolm Sinclair of Quendale, " chaplain to St 
Ninian*s Altar in the Cathedral Kirk in Kirkwall."* 

The kail-yard of this house, unlike the yards of the houses below, did not go back to the 
Pabdale boundary, but had "the house of the deceased James Linay on tha east." This 
break in the middle of Laing Street is noticeable at the present day. From Halcro this 
tenement passed to Stephen Paplay, who had also the property over the way, which after- 
wards belonged to Liddell of Hammer. 

The Kaas afterwards bought Halcro's house, and parted with their old dwelling, which 
fell into the hands of the Town Council. It subsequently belonged to Covingtrie of Newark, 
Laing of Strenzie, and Murray of Noup, the last of whom sold it in 1802 to Thomas Warren, 
an immigrant from the south, to whose heirs it and the tenement south of it now belong. 

Perhaps the best known occupant of the house at the corner of the Long Gutter was the 
late Mr George Petrie, Sheriff Clerk, a man of keen antiquarian instinct. Some of the results 
of his investigations are preserved in MS. in the Library of the Scottish Society of Antiquaries. 

The Long Gutter was an open ditch running from the brae head in Laing Street across 
the main street down the lane till it joined the Hempow. The part above the street was 
formerly known as Warren's Walk,t from the proprietor of the house at the foot of it, and the 
lower part was popularly called the Lane of Mounthoolie, from the house at its south-east 
comer. The unsavoury name prepares us for such an order as the following : — 

** Kirkwall, ye twentie- third day of June 1703. 

" Sederunt— John Nisbet, Dean of Guild ; William Young, his baillie ; Wm. Traill and Andrew 
Young, counsillors. 

** The sd. day the Dean of Guild and his baillie and counsill, taking to ther consideratione That 
the close and Loan called the Long Gutter, with that piece of the Street opposite to James Mansone 
his house, is bagd up with gutter and other filthines, and that several other places of the street is 
abused with gutter and other filthines, Therefore the Dean of Guild, his baillie and counsill, appoynts 
and ordaines the officers of Court to charge the haill Inhabitants, from the Bridge to Baillie Harie 
Moncrieff his house,t to clenze and dight the sd. Long gutter betwixt and frydday nixt, and appoynts 
James Mansone bis famallie to cleanze and dight the street opposite to his house agsd. the sa. tyme, 
and appoynts all other persones within Brugh to be charged for clenzeing the street forgainst their 
houses agsd. the sd. day, ilk persone under the paine of Ten pounds Scots money. 

(Signed) J. Nihbett." 

Though the people living in the Long Gutter were accustomed to unwholesome surround- 
ings, some of them lived to a good old age. James Linay, who lived in the middle of this 
" Loan," behind Halcro of Crook's house, was dead in 1677, but his widow survived him till, 
" 7th June 1687, Elizabeth Tait, Relict of James Linay in the Long gutter, departed this lyfe, 
being, as was supposed, ane hundreth and thrie yeirs of age." § 

James Foubister, cordiner, was Elspeth Tait's neighbour. The two semi-detached cottages 
standing east and west, facing the lane, had their kail-yard and peat-brae stretching back to 
the lands of Pabdale. 

The houses at the head of Laing Street are not in the Long Gutter, but stand on the east 
slope of the hill. They belong to Warren's heirs, and are comparatively new. So is the house 
at the back, which was built and occupied by Mr Richard Spence, a man locally famous in his 
day as an architect. 

Somewhere near the head of Laing Street, shortly after the visit of the Haldanes, the 

Independent congregation had their first meeting house. 

* Baikie's papers. 

t Li old Kirkwall any bit of street having a flagged pavement was known as a " Walk." 

i Peace, publisher's, premises. § T. B. 



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182 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 



APPENDIX TO CHAPTER XIL 

In 1567, Sir Gilbert Balfour, appointed by Queen Maiy, was Sheriff of Orkney. 

In 1597, Edward Scollay of Strynzie sat for Earl Patrick as Sheriff of the county. After 
the execution of this nobleman the tacksman of the earldom lands became Sheriff of Orkney 
and Zetland. 

Sir John Arnot, to whom Earl Patrick had mortgaged his estate, was bought out by the 
King, who appointed Sir James Stewart Chamberlain and Sheriff. Harie Stewart of Carlougie 
was his depute, and he s^it from 1615 till May 1622, when Sir John Buchanan became 
tacksman. 

Mr John Dick, acting as depute for his father, Sir William Dick of Braid, held his first 
court 4th February 1628. 

Edward Sinclair of Essenquoy sat for John Dick, 4th August 1630, and was himself 
afterwards Sheriff. He held his last court 15th April 1634. 

Harie Aitken, who had acted as depute for Essenquoy, is in a charter, 2nd February 
1638, styled Sheriff and Admiral Depute. 

Aitken and Thomas Buchanan of Sound sat together as deputes, 2nd August 1641. 

In the time of the Commonwealth, Patrick Blair of Little Blair was Sheriff. 

In 1669 the county was erected into a stewartry, the first Stewart being George Scott of 
Giblistone. He was succeeded by Captain Andrew Dick in 1675 ; Charles Murray of Hadden 
and Sir Robert Milne of Bameton, 1681 ; William Craigie of Gairsay, 1686 ; Robert Elphin- 
ston of Lopness, 1689 ; Sir Alexander Brand, 1693 ; Robert Douglas, 1696 ; Samuel Maclellan, 
1697 ; William Menzies of Raws, W.S., 1702 ; Sir Alexander Douglas of Egilshay, 1705 j 
Graham of Breckness, 1715 ; Captain Moody of Melsetter, 1717 ; Hon^man of Graemsay, 
1722 • Covingtrie of Newark. 1727 ; John Hay, 1732 ; and Andrew Ross, 1742 to 1746. 

In 1747, George II. wisely enacted that the sheriff of a county should be an advocate, and 
George IV. made the same law apply to the sheriff-substitute. 



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1. Jamu BaiJtU ^ Bunum . 

f . FwrgatOTf 

8. John Mmifn , . „ 

i. Jwmu AdMnmm • m 

6. Sinclair qf Buettquojf . 185 

6. Staintgatr't Land . . IM 

7. WiUiam Davidmm . .187 

8. 9rwA Lodging .... 180 
SL Bolero <^ Crook .198 

10. TheJUd^land. ... 194 

11, Rev. WUlioM Broad^oot . . IM 
U. B/n. Th4ma» TraiU . 197 
18. Botanic Garden qf KirkwaU . „ 
14. SUWarU qf Bwnrap . .816 



15. /«>6«< PorUrJkId . 

16. lfo«n(Aoo^M . 

17. Patrick Prince, HeU 

18. Houee dedicated to 

Barbara 

19. Moneri^ qf Bapneee 
to. Patrick TraiU 
81. David Forbee , 
88. Buehanan'e Oreat Tatrd 
88, Birthplace qf Matcolm Laing, 

the Hietoriam 
8A. Robert Henrf eon 
86. Oaetle Hotel . 
86. TheOaetU 



904 



806 
80« 



807 

80S 



818 



CaetU^garde . 

<Hd Fleeh Market 

Provoet Biddoch 

Kinnaid^e Bfnithg 

Old Breio-houH 

The Provoetrie. 

The Theeaurerie 

Bub-chantrg and Arehrdeanerg 

Residence qf the Chancellor . 889 

Qrammar School . . 801 



888 



886 
827 



Old Town HaU 
The Ludgeing . 
Hag Blrick'e houee 
School Wgnd . 



886 
879 
888 
848 



81 . MEDDLE. 



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CHAPTER XIII. 

Long Gutter to Strynd. 

JOUTH of the Long Gutter, on the east side of the street, was the house of James* 
Baikie of Burness. The old Burness mansion formed three sides of a square, entered 
through an arched gateway, facing which was the front door. Its yard stretched back 
to " the lane leading towards Pabdale/' On the other side of the street, with a width equal to 
the frontage of his dwelling-house, he had a " muckle yaird " reaching to the Oyce. Still 
retaining this place, Baikie bought the house '' of old called the Thesaurerie," and went to 
live in Broad Street. Baikie was one of those judicious men who knew how to make the best 
of both worlds. He was a successful business man, a magistrate, and an elder of the kirk. 
He died 1679, and his tombstone in the south nave aisle is perhaps more suggestive of serious 
thought than any other in the Cathedral. His widow, Sibilla Halcro, daughter of Hew of 
that ilk, in 1681 married John Sinclair of Braebuster under a dispensation from Bishop 
Mackenzie. 

In 1704, the Burness mansion at the Long Gutter was acquired from Hugh Baikie bjr 
" Bess Baikie," widow of Rev. Thomas Mackenzie, of Shapinsay, who the year following made 
it over to her two sons, Murdoch and James. 

From the Mackenzies the house of the Burness Baikies was purchased by Mr Gilmour, 
tanner and leather merchant, Edinburgh, who pulled down the old place and erected the 
present house on its site. In putting up the new houses, Mr Gilmour added largely to the 
amenity of this part of the town by withdrawing his frontage several feet, and thus widening 
the narrow street. 

When an agency of the Union Bank was started in Kirkwall, this was its first office. The 
old Burness site is now the property of Samuel Reid, Esq. of Braebuster, who has here his 
office, while his business premises occupy a considerable part of the old garden. 

When the Laird of Burness lived at the corner of the Long Gutter, his next neighbour up 
the street was William Laughton, a good man and a public-spirited burgess. Laughton had 
much house property in the town, part of which came to him by his marriage with Barbara, 
daughter of Magnus Pottinger, skipper. 

In the olden time, to meet emergencies, the town, with an empty treasury, was often 
obliged to draw upon the good nature and the heavy purses of her wealthier burgesses. 

If the cess, or land tax, was not levied and forwarded with reasonable punctuality, a 
party of soldiers was sent to quarter on the town's folk. To avoid this expense and humilia- 
tion, deficiences were sometimes made up by those who could advance ready money. The 
security was good, and the interest high. 

In 1674, Laughton sends the Town Council an account for sums thus advanced, which 
had run on from 1658 :— 



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184 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

" A Not op Depursients Defursed be William Laughton to tub Town of Kikkwall." 

** Item for the first stent, £8. 

** Item to Balzie Willsone and George Spence, to send to the provost — voluntarlie, £12.* 

** Item to Andrew Comer and David Forbes, colls. — voluntartie, £11 128. 

" Item, 3rd May 1672, to Babdes Thoa. Willsone and Patrick Traill and Balzie Moncrieff, two 
pounds of pouther ; more to them, 22 July, two pounds of pouther, at 2/ sterling per pound, is £4 lOs 
(Scots). 

** Item, January 20th, 1674, for stent, the last year, £14. 

" Item to Mr James Reid, £6 13s 4d."t 

Laughton's whole " Depursients " amounted to £131 4s 2d. He asked no interest, or, as 
he would have called it, annual rent ; he took off all the " voluntarlies " and a good deal more, 
reducing his claim to £54 6s 8d. 

Laughton died 3rd February 1681, and in 1714 his house belonged to James Manson, who 
lived just across the street. In the Valuation Roll of that year is an entry : — ** James 
Manson, Elder, hath ane tenement under thatch roof, commonly called Purgatory, on the 
east side of the street. Item, he hath another tenement, possest by himself, commonly called 
Hell." 

There is a vague tradition of a fire being the origin of these euphonious titles, indicating 
that when Hell was in blazes, Purgatory was uncomfortably hot. But houses similarly 
named are to be found in other parts of Orkney, and Hell and Purgatory are always near 
each other. 

" Purgatory " was demolished in 1894, and the houses now occupying the site were put up 
by Mr Peter Shearer, who built in line with Mr Reid's frontage. 

In William Laughton's time, the house south from his, which had belonged to John 
Martyn, merchant, was rented by Laughton for business premises. Though Martyn seems to 
have taken no active part in public work, he was a man in good social position ; for in 1633 
he married Margaret, daughter of James Henryson of Clet. In 1635 we find him lending 
money to James Tulloch of Breck, Westray. He had a son. Captain Martyn, R.N., who 
when he died left money, for which several claimants came forward. " John and Magnus 
Broune, writers in Kirkwall, compeared, and craved ane extract of their baptysms, whereby 
it might appear they were lawfullie begotten in the bed of marriage by their umql. father 
and mother." J This was for the purpose of proving heirship. " Robert Smith, indweller 
in Sanday, desires a testimonie of his mother's baptism, whereby his relation to Captynd 
Martyn might be instructed." § 

In the last Book of Cess and Stent for 1765, William Fife's heirs are entered as paying 
one pound of cess on Martyn's house and Hell ; but Purgatory is certainly meant as the house 
next to Martyn's. The Valuation Roll of 1714 places Hell on the other side of the street. 

Next to Martyn's house was that of James Adamson. This man was a mason, and in his 

* This was Provost Patrick Craigie, who was then, 1661, in Edinburgh on Burgh business. 

t This last was in 1660, and as Mr Reid was appointed to the second charge in August of that 
year, this is evidently his first Instalment of stipend. The Session of St. Magnus seems to have been 
as impecunious at that time as the Tomii Council was, for Mr Reid's ordination dinner remained an 
outstanding debt for fourteen years. The account was sent in 2nd November 1674, when ** George 
Spence, Baillie of St. Ola, alledged that the Session of Kirkwall was restand to him fifteen pounds 
Scots for ane dinner made be him on Mr James Reid his admission to be conjunct minister at Kirk- 
wall the eight day of November 1660, at the minister and eldars' direction, as he alledges." The 
si^ificance of the last three words in the above minute lies in the fact that Mr Lennox, who was 
minister of the first charge in 1660, had been succeeded by Mr Douglas in 1662 and by Mr Wallace in 
1672 ; and as in the fourteen years which had elapsed since the day of the dinner, some of the elders 
had died, the validity of Spence's claim is made to rest upon his own allegation. The Session certainly 
seemed inclined to dispute the old account, and no voucher for its payment exists. 

t S. R., 25th Jan. 1703. § S. R., 16th Feb. 1703. 



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LONG GUTTER TO STRYND. 185 

day had the best of the trade going in Kirkwall. He was largely employed by the Kirk 
Session. He broke out windows in the north choir aisle, that the people sitting under the 
lofts there might have light. When the town clock was playing fantastic tricks with the 
public time, Adamson got an order for a couple of sundials, that the town's folk should not be 
misled as to the hours. 

James Adamson was succeeded in his house and business by his son, Patrick, of whom 
little is known except his attempt to sell his father's tombstone.* 

In the seventeenth century the most prominent of the Sinclair clan was Edward Sinclair 
of £ssenquoy, whose town house was in Albert Street, next to Adamson's. 

Essenquoy was the estate in Holm, of which the manse was the manor house. Tbia 
property had belonged to the Sinclairs for several generations. In 1605 William Stewart of 
Egilshay, '*ane honourable man, set the land of Menes, in the Isle of Egilshay, to Hew 
Sinclair, lawful son to Oliver Sinclair of Essenquoy and Roberta Stevenson, his spouse." 

Oliver Sinclair, the father of Edward, lived in town, having apparently leased to the 
Church his mansion house in Holm. In July 1615, Sibilla Stewart, widow of Rev. Qilbert 
Bodie, gave up ^' the vicarage of Holme and the house of Asquoy, called the Manse." t She 
had stuck to them as long as she could, for poor Bodie, her husband, had been drowned in a 
loch in Holm as long ago as April 1606. He it was who, for a vote in the General Assembly 
of 1698, was called by a voter of a diflFerent way of thinking, " a drunken Orkney asse." { 

In 1617, Edward Sinclair and Robert Henryson of Holland were '*ellectet Commissioners 
to the approaching Parliament to be halden the xxvii. day of May next conform to ane 
warrand, and protested that ane reasonable stent myt be maid for ther advancement and 
mantenance. Qrupon the Shrefi-depute, wt. advyse and consent of the gentlemen and free- 
haldaris, condescendit, and be voittis grantit the sume of ane thousand merkes money." 

This is the first parliamentary election in Orkney, and Peterkin says "There is no 
evidence on record, as far as yet discovered, that there was another during the troubled times 
which followed, until the Restoration in 1660." 

Edward Sinclair was Provost of Kirkwall from 1622 to 1636. He married Ursulla 
Foulzie, daughter of the famous churchman, after whom they named their son Gilbert. 

The sale of their house in Kirkwall marks a decline in the fortunes of this family. In 
1633, with consent of his wife and son, Edward Sinclair borrowed money from James Baikie 
of Tankemess. With interest at ten per cent., the acceptance of a loan was almost certain to 
be followed by the ruin of the borrower. In 1674 James Baikie of Tankemess sued Ursulla 
Foulzie for £157 lis Scots as " Dewties" on her late husband's lands in Deerness and St. Ola, 
the duties being the interest on the mortgage. 

Gilbert Sinclair, walking in his father's footsteps, continued borrowing from any one who 
would lend, with the result that his houses and lands changed ownership. Sinclair's house in 
Albert Street was sold, " with advyse, consent, and assent of William Sinclair of Sabay," to 
Edward Cock and Margaret Baikie, his spouse. 

The Cocks were from Sanday. In 1585, Mr James Cok was presented to Lady Parish in 
that island, and before 1624 his son Thomas was minister of Cross and Bumess. Thomas 
succeeded his father in Lady Kirk sometime after 1627. He married Janet Andrew, and had 
several sons. James Cok of Bea appears in the Court books as borrowing 250 merks from 
Elizabeth Baikie, widow of William Irving of Gkiirsay, 1649. Oliver Cok of Kirkhous owes 
Oliver Fea £86 13s 4d in 1650. On the other hand, Edward Cock, merchant in Kirkwall, 
appears as lending George Maxwell, skipper, 560 merks ; Patrick Gordon, Westove, £100 ; 



• See ante, p. 66. t Sheriff Court Books. t FastL 



2b 



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186 



KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 



-^ *" " 




1 



and he and his wife, Margaret Baikie, contribute to the ruin of Gilbert Sinclair of Essenquoy 
and Anna Ballenden, his spouse, by lending them £1000. In 1627 Edward Cock was made 
a bailie, and remained in the magistracy for a number of years. 

Since the days of the Cocks, the town house of the Sinclairs of Essenquoy has been 
successively owned by Dr Hugh Sutherland, John Reid, merchant, bis nephew George 
Omond of the Fair Isle, and his heirs. Its site is now occupied by the business premises 
of Messrs Robertson & Co., the present head of which firm is Bailie William White. 

On the south side of Edward Sinclair's close, 
the house now belonging to Mr Robert Flett was, 
in 1677, the *' land and tenement callit Stainsgair's 
land." This ia one of those names, like Twatt and 
Heddle, over which one puzzles as to whether the 
man was named from the land or the land from 
the man.* Stainsgair is, or at least in 1596 was, 
in South Ronaldshay, but at that time it be- 
longed to a family of another name, and with not 
a very good record. It is given as " pertaining to 
the Couplands, the ane brother hangit, the other 
banishit for theft." 

Little is known of Stainsgair, but he was 
certainly in comfortable circumstances. Oliver 
Stainsgair's daughter, Grissell, married James 
TuUoch of Noss, 1620, with £100 of tocherguid.t 
The name is well known in Orkney at the present 
day under the form Stanger. 

In 1677 tlie Stainsgair's land was liferented 
by "Christanc rusle, relict of umqle Thomas 
Wilson of Hunclet." 

Wilson of Hunclet was in his day a pro- 
minent public man. He became a bailie in 1654, 
and remained in the Council till his death in 
1676. He was an elder in St. Magnus, and a pillar of the church. In 1669, when there had 
been no cc^nniiimion in the Cathedral for twenty-two years, Mr Wilson, as an elder, moved 
the celebration of the Sacrament. 

Chri>tia!i Russell, or Rusland, was the happy widow of two husbands, neither of whom 
had clK'^i^ho'l any thoughts of postmortem jealousy. She lived in Thomas Wilson's house, 
and she liferented " the tenement of old callit the Newark or foundation of the college under 
sclaitt roofe," from George Smith, her first husband. 

In IGSn tlio house of Wilson of Hunclet came into possession of Patrick Traill, merchant, 
and his wife, Elizabeth Baikie. 

Three years later there was trouble in the house of Traill :— 8th August 1689, " Saturday 
momin-, Oonige Traill, second son to Patrick Traill, merchant in Kirkwall, went from this to 
DeersouiHl, aid sailed with the English man of war without libertie asked from his father or 
mother, upon some discontentment passed between him and them." J 

* The Sheriff Court books very clearly decide this knottv point. A man's family name followed 
by the territorial alias, will be found recorded in a registered aocument, followed by another deed in 
which the family name is dropped and the name of the town land substituted. 

t Court Books. J T. B. 



Stone at Sinclair's Property. 



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LONG GUTTER TO STBTND. 187 

From the Church Records it appears that George wished to marry a servant girl, and 
his parents objected However, the young couple went south, Traill by the man-of-war and 
the girl by the ordinary means of transport, and they were married in Edinburgh. 

From Patrick Traill this house passed to his son, David, whose daughter, Elizabeth, 
married Andrew Munro, and had her house as part of her dowry. 

Their son, Dr Andrew Munro, afterwards occupied this house, and was long a medical 
practitioner in Kirkwall He had houses at the Thwart Close, and was for a time in 
prosperous circumstances. But his wealth took wings and fled, and his property was sold. 
Miss Munro, after her father's death, occupied a small house, still standing, at the back of the 
family dwelling house. 

The house south from Stainsgair's Land was new in 1677, and " sua much as is fineshed " 
was occupied by William Davidson, writer and Commissary-Depute, from whom it received 
the name Davidson's Land. It belonged to Arthur Baikie, and it was for a time occupied by 
Mr William Baikie, the founder of the old Kirkwall library. 

In 1772 it was sold to James Fea of Clestndn and Grizel Ross, his wife, by Janet Douglas, 
relict of James Baikie of Tankemess, " Tutrix sine qua 7W7i to Robert Baikie, her only son.'' 

Fea had been a surgeon in the navy, and when he retired he published a book entitled, 
** The Present State of the Orkney Islands considered, with An Account of their advantageous 
Situation and Conveniences for Trade ; the Improvements they are capable of, etc. The 
Whole Calculated to shew by what means their usefulness to the British Empire and the 
happiness of their own Inhabitants may be increased. By James Fea, Surgeon. Holy- Rood 
House. Printed in the Year mdcclxxv." A quotation or two, to show what Kirkwall was 
towards the end of last century, may not be uninteresting :— 

*' The main Island, called Pomona, is of a very irregular shape. On the narrowest part of this 
Island is situated the Town of Kirkwall and Parish of St. Ola, a populous and pretty large Town, 
containing about 1500 inhabitants. It is situated in a Bay called Kirkwall Bay, in a very low and 
marshy ground, in which the inhabitants would have but an uncomfortable habitation were it not 
that the Tide comes up very near the back of the Town and effectually carries away the filth, which 
in such a situation behoved to be very noxious. 

'* The Church, formerly the Cathedral of St. Magnus, is an elegant Structure, finished in the 
Gothic taste. We had formerly a Castle of very ffreat strength, which was taken and destroved by 
OUver Cromwell, who carried the &;uns into England. One of them is still to be seen, which was 
taken up about twenty years ago oy Capt. Evans, and which was supposed to have fallen off the 
Catamaran in shipping. It is an 18 pounder, and when first taken out was as soft as Cheese. No 
remains of this Castle are now to be seen, it being entirely pulled down and a new Prison built with 
the materials. This is a very neat buildins, the expence of which was defrayed by James, late Earl 
of Morton, out of the Fine which the Lords of Justiciary laid on the unhappy Sir James Stewart of 
Barra for assaulting the Earl. 

" There is also a very elegant Mason Lodge and an Assembly Room, neatly finished at the 
expense of Sir Lawerence Dundas, who generouslv gave £100 for that purpose. 

** In Kirkwall is also a very good inn for the entertainment of strangers, where any Traveller 
may be very agreeably lodged. 

'* The mhabitants in general are very polite, hospitable, and kind to strangers ; but I am sorry 
to say, that so little is industry encouraged in our Country, that no means can be assigned by whicn 
the lower class of j^eople get their bread. By Reason of having no employment, they must live %'ery 
wretchedly ; they become indolent and lazy to the last degree, insomuch that rather than raise 
Cabbage for their own use they will steal them from others, and instead of being at nains to prepare 
the Turf, which they have for the mere trouble of cutting up and dr3ring, yet, ratner than do so, 
they will steal it from those who are richer or more industrious than themselves. Thus they pass 
their days in wretchedness, in ignorance, and in wickedness. Every Saturday, which day they are 
privileged to beg, a Troop of miserable ragged creatures are seen going from door to door, cdmost 
numerous enough to plunder the whole Town were they to exert themselves against it in an hostile 
manner, at least if their valour was in proportion to their distress. 

" Formerly, indeed, there was a Poor-house erected for the maintainance and employment of 
some of these poor creatures ; but it is now entirely disused for that purpose, having been lately used 



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188 KIRKWALL IN THE OBKNEYS. 

as a shop and warehouse. As it is impossible to give a good reason for letting such an useful institu- 
tion go to ruin, I shall not give any, but content myself with a bare recital of the fact. This 
Poor-house was in former times the parish Church of St. Ola. 

** One advantage, however, results from this miserable state of our inhabitants, namely, that they 
are obliged to live very much on vegetables. Indeed, these, and a small fish called the black pellack, 
constitute the whole of their food. By these Vegetables they are prevented from lieing exterminated 
from the face of the Earth ; for, being situated pretty far to the north, having the sea continually in 
their neighbourhood, and withal so very indolent and inactive, a plentiful use of animal food would 
soon cut them off by bringing on the Scur\'y and other putrid disorders, but of these the Vegetables 
they eat from mere necessity are an happy preventative." 

Dr Fea speaks very highly of Orkney kelp, and he had a special interest in that article, 
for it was a relative of his who introduced the manufacture into the county. 

He condemns the Orcadian methods of farming and stock breeding, recommends greater 
enterprise in herring, cod, and whale fishing, and records the fact that " a proposal was lately 
made to Mr Kidderminster, the great fishmonger at London, to deliver him annually in 
Orkney 95,000 lobsters at Id each. But this he did not accept, as it hath been found by 
experience that these fish which are caught in shallow water and a strong Tide are so exceed- 
ingly rich that they cannot bear confinement, or the brackish water on the coast of England ; 
and, therefore, in long voyages, vast numbers of them die and become good for nothing." 

* * At the north end of the town is a fort built by the English during Crom well's usurpation, 
ditched about with a breastwork and other fortifications, on which they have some cannons planted 
for the defence of the place. 

" The gentlemen in Kirkwall, as well as the nteaner sort, have adopted the English dress, 
excepting that the latter wear boimets instead of hats, which are knit chiefly at Kilmarnock in 
Scotland, and are exceeding cheap for the convenience of the islanders. 

" Football playing is the principal diversion of the common people, which they practice with 
great dexterity. 

" The fair, called Lammwt fairy is held by charter in the beginning of August, and is one of the 
privileges of the town of Kirkwall. On this occasion the people from all the islands, as well as from 
the mainland, resort to the town, together with numbers of merchants from Banff and Murrayshire, 
Caithness, etc., with goods of various kinds suited to the demands of the coimtry people. To prevent 
quarrels, which frequently happened, and often proved very fatal to many of the parties on these 
occasions, it has been thought proper by the provost and magistrates to form a body of militia, 
composed of the inhabitants, who are regularly* trained up in the use of arms and other military 
exercises ; this is called, in the provincial dialect, Weapoii-shawing. 

** Thus the public tranquility is maintained, and the merchants, as well as the country people, 
may sell without molestation their commodities, the latter vending the articles manufactured by 
themselves, as blankets, stockings, linen cloth of different qualities, cattle, horses, etc. But the 
firths and other inlets are the principal checks on violence and depredations, for upon the least alarm 
of that kind the ferries are stopped and the delinquents taken and punished. 

" The entertainment for the gentlemen is golf, bowling, fishing, fowling, curling on the ice in 
hard frosts, and such like manly exercises. Cock fighting at times is also pnictised, and the few 
eame-cocks kept in the island are not inferior to those of England in point of spirit and courage. Our 
bull-dogs are equally fierce, and it is probable that this courage is more owiiig to the climate than to 
the nature of the animal, for if conveyed into foreign regions they degenerate. 

" The power of the admiralty-court is in these islands very great, the jurisdiction of that court 
taking cognizance of all trespasses committed in ports, harbours, creeks, and within flood mark. 
The deputy is styled the King's justice general up(yii the secu% and nothing relative to his jurisdiction 
can be interferea with, in the first instance, but by the Lords of the admiralty. There are other 
causes resorting to his court such as piracies, seizing prohibited or fraudulently-imported goods, 
breaking arrtatments or attachnients ana resisting his precepts, procuring passes and certificates in 
maritime cases other than from the admiralty, transporting beyond the seas traitors, rebels, disorderly 
persons, fugitives, in defiance of justice ; throwing sand or ballast into harbours, taking away buoys, 
cutting cables, committing murder within the jurisdiction of the court, punishment of offences 
committed within his jurisaiction by mai'iners, etc." 

** This is a proper place to give some singular instances of longevity in our islands. 

** George Paplay, born in the island of Westra, died at the very great age of 129 years. 

*' Mr Martin relates his knowins a gentleman in the island of Stronsay wlio had a son in the 110 
year of his age, and he knew one William Muir who died at the age of 140. 



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LONG GUTTER TO STRTND. 189 

" When Mr Martin was in the Hebrides or Western Islands of Scotland he says be- knew a man 
of the name of Gillouir M 'Grain who had kept 180 Christmasses in his own house." 

Dr Fea has no doubt as to Mr Martin's veracity. 

The Doctor's book furnishes abundant internal evidence that it was not written in 
Kirkwall. It shows, moreover, that even as a youth he could not have been acquainted with 
the topography of the town. In 1775, the year of publication, and for nearly a hundred years 
afterwards, there was enough of the old Castle left to fix its site. 

Again, his description of Saturday evening mendicancy is much exaggerated. Long 
before his day the authorities had the beggars under complete control. The Council " ordains 
the Lockman to go through the town every Saturday and take notice of such vaging persons 
as trouble the Burgh, and take his whip and beat them furth of the privileges of the town." * 

Andrew Strang, tacksman of Lopness, bought Davidson's Land from James Fea of 
Clestrain. Lopness has a kelp shore unsurpassed by that of any farm in the islands, and, 
considering the prices then current, Andrew Strang could well afford a town house. 

In 1802, William Strang succeeded his father in Lopness, and in "All and whole the 
Tenement of Land and houses thereon, lately built and repaired from the foundation, called 
Davidson's Houses, with the yard lately enclosed with a stone dyke." The kelp business was 
still flourishing, but young Strang had acquired expensive tastes. He had been for some time 
in a London office, and required to spend a part of each year in the great metropolis. 
Accordingly, we soon find him bonowing from his stepmother a sum of £360, and giving a 
bond on this property. This was redeemed by the help of David Geddes, Esq., residing in 
Stromness, and William Strang paid off his obligation by marrying Miss Geddes. But, some 
years later, he granted a fresh bond to James Shearer, merchant, with the result that, in 1823, 
Davidson's house passed into the possession of the bondholder. The property now belongs 
to Messrs Cursiter Brothers, and is occupied as an hotel. 

South of Davidson's house was the "Great Lodging" of Arthur Buchanan of Sound. 
Its yard originally included the site of the present Union Bank. On the west side of the 
street, Buchanan had another great open space extending to the Oyce, and having a frontage 
equal to that of his Great Lodging with its adjoining yard. In 1676 this whole property had 
a valued rental of £195. 

Buchanan was a large land owner. In 1668 he bought Towquoy, in Westray, from Robert 
Stewart of Ethay for 8000 merks, and two years afterwards sold it " to William Monteith and 
Marie Monteith, his spouse, second lawful daughter of umql. Patrick Monteith of Egilshay." 

When Arthur Buchanan's widow desired her terce, the property of her late husband was 
scheduled, and Arthur Baikie prosecuted the widow's claim. 

The estate comprised lands in Kendall, Evie, Birsay, Harray, Sandwick, and Firth on the 
Mainland, also a great part of Shapinsay, of Stronsay, and the whole of North Ronaldshay, 
Besides this there was a large amount of house proi)erty in Kirkwall. 

Arthur's daughter, Marjorie, married her cousin, John Buchanan of Sandside, 1669. His 
widow, Margaret Buxtoun, life-rented the " Great Lodging " and some other houses in town. 
She afterwards married Captain James Mackenzie, and survived him. 

When Arthur Baikie transacted business for Margaret Buxtoun, many letters passed 
between them, those of the lady exhibiting a beauty of penmanship, rare in those days, and 
which contrasted strangely with the merchant's crabbed hand. 

** Sound, 6 June 1676. 
" I was in the toun yisterdaye, and thought to have seen you, and to have spoken to you anent that 
particular I ordered the bearer to speak of a month agoe, for, truly, Sir, there is non in the Cuntry I 

*C. R., 27th June 1694. 



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190 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNETS. 

will use that freedom with or relayes so much upon as your self in this or enything else concemes me, 
therefor I intreat that you will doe me the faver to let me have fyve hundreth merks till whitsunday 
nizt ; but I hope, god willing, to paye it sooner, and what seurtie I can give you ye shall have ; your 
ansuer I expect wiui the bearer ; no more at put. , but your good health and bedfellow's shall ever be 
wisht be her who is, Sir, Your oblidged friend and servant, Maroabet Bxtxtoun." 

Baikie, as was his habit with all his letters, covered the blank side of this one with very 
closely written memoranda. He has items numbered up to 15, and then follow miscellaneous 
jottings on various matters of public business. Item No. 7 is " to call for the proses and 
dilegense contra ladie sound and geo. hardie wth yr accomplisches, and considder qt course be 
taken yrin, in regard ladie sound is going off the cuntraye emediatlie." 

Probably in the County Buildings may yet be found the " process and diligence contra " 
the Lady of Sound and George Hardie, chirurgeon, with their accomplices ; but whatever the 
ease may have been, it is obvious that there was a scandal, and Baikie's suspicion evidently 
was that Lady Sound wanted the 600 merks to take her out of Orkney. 

Sound's town-house formed three sides of a square, and in 1673, in Margaret Buxtoun's 
lifetime, the south wing was let to George Ritchie, Bishop Honyman's chamberlain and 
gimell-man. 

At this time Ritchie was a widower, and here arose one of the most gossip-satisfying 
scandals that ever interested Kirkwall. The story, which had better be given in the words of 
the Session-Clerk, goes to show how, in the seventeenth century, the good women of Kirkwall 
took charge of the morals of their neighbours. On Monday, 22nd December 1673 : — 

" The Session was closed with prayer. After the Session, the minister went, along with Over- 
■anday, accompanied with John Caldell, Patrick Traill, Yr., William Mudie, and the Clerk, for 
examination of Jean Graham, spouse to Oversanday, who, in presence aforesaid, did declare as follows, 
viz., that upon the fourtein oi October last, being Tuesday, about eight hours at nieht, as she was 
coming out of William Young's house,* she and Barbara Moncrieff, spouse to the said William, being 
in the close, did see Elspeit Ballenden coming in by alongst them, and went up to George Ritchie's 
chamber, whereupon William Young's wife did putt upon her, and said, ' Look, for this is not the 
first tym.' Afterwards the said Jean declared that she went down to Captain Drummond's,t and 
Btayea with her husband ther, and supped, and neir ten sent ane servant to try if the said Elspeit 
wes come home, who returned and tola that she wes not come. And having sone home with hir 
husband, she sent another servant about eleven hours, who also declared that Eupeit was not come 
home as yet. Whereupon Oversanday, being suspituous of the said Elspet because of some reports of 
her, desired his said spouse, about twelve hours at night, to tak a servant alongst with hir and eoe 
downe to baylie Moncrief s wife,$ and wait with hir uutill the said Elspet came home, to examine her 
where she had bein. And both of them stayed in the said Elspet's chamber till daylight in the 
morning. At which tym Elspet came, and the said Jean asked hir where she had bein all night, said 
that she wes with Marjorie Coventrie § ; whereupon the said Jean did rise and went away to try the 
truth. Then the said Elspet did call her back again to tell the tinith ; and after she had declared her 
being in George Ritchie's chamber all niffht, before hirselfe, baylie moncrief s wife, and diverse others 
who were also present, the said Jean did reprove her sharplie ; whereto Elspet replyed that she was 
alse honest a woman as hirselfe ; at which uncivil compansone the said Jean confessed she gave her 
ane cuffe onlie, and no more, which the said Jean declared to be true with ane oath, adding that ther 
wes no more wrong or violence offered or done to the said Elspet, as baylie moncriefTs wife and the 
rest of them that wer present can testifie to be of veritie." 

** In presence foresaid, compeired Issobell Andersone, spouse to david Moncriefe, bailie (her 
husband also being present), and declared in all poynts conforme to oversanda's wife's declaration. 
Adding that the forsaid Elspet ballenden abused the abovenamed Jean with base words, at which 
words the said Jean gave the forsd. Elspet onlie a little cuffe, and saw no more violence offired to hir 
any wayes." 

And now the frail Elspet, being badgered weekly by the Session, apparently sought to 

* Castleyards. 

t Captain David Drummond married Christiam Graham, daughter of Mr Patrick Graham of 
Grahamshall, 13th January 1673. They lived in the house called the Gallery. 
X Harbour Street. § Bridge Street. 



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LONG GUTTER TO STBYND. 191 

make away with herself. " Ifc was reported that the said Elspet, since her confession befor 
my lord bishop, was sick and vomiting blood, being alledged to have drunk a potion of 
physick.** The ecclesiastical tribunal held the unhappy woman dangling before the public 
gaze, till, at their meeting on 5th January of the following year, " it was reported to the 
Session that Elspet ballenden went away privetlie from this towne on Friday last. Desyres 
the eldars to search and enquyre diligenlie whither she is gone.'' By next meeting it was 
discovered that the fugitive had gone to Stromness. A letter was accordingly sent off, post 
haste, to Mr George Honyman to arrest and send her back to Kirkwall. She had, however, 
taken ship for the south. Having traced her to Leith, " Ordaines to writt ane letter to the 
comon Session of Edinburgh in reference to Elizabeth Ballenden, who is reported to be ther," 

Towards the end of May she ventured back, but was immediately pounced upon by the 
elders ; and, on 4th June, " It was reported that Elspit Ballenden was again turned fugitive 
to the discipline of the church in going back again with James Graham's veshell, with which 
she came hither." With this the poor creature disappears from our local history. 

Buchanan's house, with its two great yards, next became the property of the Earl of 
Morton, and his lordship, not yet having yard enough, applied for more, and got it. " The 
Earle of Morton, who now lives in this place, desires the ferm of the meikle kirk yard."* This 
was the space on the north side of the church, in which till long after this time there were 
no interments. 

The church never lost sight of the value of this part of the churchyard. " Ordains David 
Seater to keep up the kirk yard deik, to take the grass thereof for his paines." 

Sometimes the Session kept it in their own hands. Beasts might be grazed in it at 
fourteen shillings per head, the money to be paid to the Session.t " Tankerness to have the 
grass of the meikle kirkyard for three pounds Scots." J The tenants were strictly protected 
in their rights. " Four-footed beasts " found trespassing were forfeited. § 

In 1769, Morton's Great Lodging was sold to Thomas Lindsay. Lindsay was a notary 
public, and came to Kirkwall as clerk to Andrew Ross, factor for the Earl of Morton. 

In the " Pundlar Process," " James Spence, Writer in Kirhwall, and Town Clerk, depones 
That Thomas Liiidsay^ Merchant in Kirkwall, is a Counsellor of the said Burgh, and is 
Nephew to the Defender's Doer ; at least he is habite and repute so." 

William, brother of Thomas Lindsay, was a linen manufacturer, and he was engaged by 
Mr Ross to introduce this industry into Orkney. He did so and made a large business, 
employing many looms in Kirkwall and in the West Mainland. The Factor made his tenants 
cultivate flax, and William Lindsay saw to the steeping, dressing, heckling, spinning, weaving, 
and bleaching. Birsay, from its excellent water supply, possessing as it does the nearest 
approach to a river that Orkney can show, was Lindsay's bleachfield. Lindsay became 
wealthy, bought Caldale, and lived there. 

" Thomas Johnston of Beay Tenant to the Earl of Morton, depones That he knows of none 
in the Parish of Birsay, where he lives, that have either the L^se or the Knowledge of Stones, 
Pounds, or Ounces excepting the Relict of Thomas Heddal, who was a Dealer in that Parish, 
and William Lindsay, Manufacturer there, who used such Weights." 

Thomas Lindsay married Anne, daughter of Henry Rose, Collector of Customs in Zetland, 
and a large family of sons and daughters romped through the Earl of Morton's Great 
Lodging. Some of them died in early life, and the sons who reached manhood did not wed. 
One of these, Harry, was engaged to Miss Ann Balfour, and on his death that lady put up a 

• S. R., 2nd Mar. 1713. t S. R., 27th Feb. 1688. 

: S. R., 15th May 1693. § S. R., 29th Aug. 1692. 



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192 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

monument to his memory in St. Magnus Churchyard.* Mr Lindsay had two daughter 
Margaret, who married Mr Balfour Stewart, and Catherine, who became the second wife of 
Andrew Strang, farmer in Lopness. 

Mr Watt of Skaill, writing to Mr Craig, of the Grammar School, about the Lindsays, 
Jan. 1848, says : — " I perfectly remember their deaths taking place, but cannot name the 
dates. Thomas died in his own house in Kirkwall. William died at Caldale. Both of them 
had for years previous to their deaths been confined to their houses by infirmity. I remember 
seeing them both in that state. In William's I once was entertained with Punch made in a 
Teapot The last time I saw Thomas I called to introduce Sir Charles Ross of Balnagowan." 

Dr Groat, the next proprietor of the Great Lodging, and the builder of the house that 
now occupies the north and east sides of the site, was descended from the Groats of Caithness. 

Somewhere in the reign of James IV., 1488-1513, three brothers, Malcolm, Gavin, and 
John Groat or Grot, supposed to be Hollanders, came to Caithness. 

In 1496, John got a grant from William, Earl of Caithness, of a pennyland in Dungalsby, 
In 1609, Donald Groat of Warse was killed in a fray in Kirkwall. The Groats for a time 
farmed the Pentland ferry, t The ferry was out of their hands in 1626, for in that year Hew 
Halcro of that ilk granted to Edward Ireland and Helen Grot, his spouse, " Tack of the 6 
penny land of Burwick, ane penny land of Gossegair, and Ferry of Pictland Firth for three 
years." It reverted to the Groats, and in 1741 William Sinclair of Freswick acquired from 
Malcolm Groat the ferry-house and the Groat lands in Dungalsby. In 1749, Malcolm Groat 
of Warse is addressed by Donald Groat, merchant, Kirkwall, as cousin. This Donald seems 
to have come over the ferry in 1709, for in 1767 he depones that he had known Orkney for 
about forty-eight years. 

Malcolm Groat of Warse, writer, Kirkwall, died 1772, and a mural tablet of white marble 
in the south nave aisle of the Cathedral gives the names— Malcolm Groat of Wards ; his 
relative, Donald Groat, Esq. of Newhall, chamberlain of the bishopric ; and Dr Robert Groat 
and William Groat, sons of Donald— with the statement, " They all died during the eighteenth 
century." 

Dr Robert Groat, named above, is designated physician, London. 

In 1828, Dr Robert, who rebuilt this house, died in Bath, where he had gone for the 
benefit of the waters, and the following year Alexr. Graeme Groat sold the property to Dr 
Duguid, son of the Rev. John Duguid, of Evie and Rendall. The minister was a man in 
advance of his times. He married Miss Jean Bremner, and as child after child was born in 
the manse, he vaccinated them with his own hand, and having thus demonstrated his 
confidence in the new safeguard against smallpox, he was able to induce his parishioners to 
submit to similar treatment. In simple ailments, with no doctor resident in the parish, the 
clergyman dosed his people, who had perfect confidence in his skill. Thus Alexander Duguid, 
from his childhood made familiar with elementary medical and surgical practice, took 
naturally to such studies. He was a keen and careful observer of nature, and became an 
authority on the fauna and flora of Orkney. He married Elizabeth Annie Mackenzie, a 
direct descendent of the Bishop. Mrs Duguid was buried in the south transept chapel of 
the Cathedral, where the venerable Murdoch had been laid, this privilege having been 
granted by the Kirk Session, 9th October 1693, to Bishop Mackenzie's "children and grand- 
children and theirs." 

* It is of white marble, and was at the time of its erection without doubt the most beautiful piece 
of work in the burying ground. It is now going to ruin, but the inscription is still quite legible. 

t In Caithness it is commonly said that the oriffin of the family name was the ** groat " that was 
charged as freight for each passenger crossing the ferry. Qrote, however, is a common family name 
in Holland. 



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LONG GUTTEB TO STRYND. 193 

In 1872 Dr Duguid died, and the following year the house was sold to Mr John Cursiter, 
merchant, who did much to improve the interior. Mr Cursiter was a man of enterprise, and 
established for himself a very extensive business. Long before Kirkwall had a water supply 
by gravitation, Mr Cursiter had his laboratory at Junction Road furnished with an abundant 
flow, led in pipes from the slope of Grainbank. 

Messrs Macrae & Robertson, solicitors, the present owners and occupiers of what represents 
the Great LodgiDg of Buchanan of Sound, purchased the place from Miss Cursiter in 1892. 

The house lately occupied and owned by Mr Anderson, bookseller, popularly known as 
" Solomon," now the property of Mr Morgan, watchmaker, represents part of the Buchanan 
mansion, and therefore does not appear in the older rentals. 

The tenement south of the last had belonged to the Halcros of Crook, but had been 
purchased by Arthur Buchanan, whose widow, in 1677, had the liferent of it. " Item, ye sd, 
relict lyferents ane uthr double tenement, ye most pt. yrof under sclaitte roofe, and ane pt. 
yrof towards the street, ruinous, without roof and walls, qch ptained of old to the halcrois of 
Cruik, betwixt the said great tenement on the north, the waste ground and tenement 
sometyme ptaining to umql Oliver Linay and now to Patrick Murray, not. publick, on the 
south, the lane towards Pabdale on the east, and the hie street on the west." 

In the valuation of 1712, the Crook mansion belonged to Mungo Buchanan, notary 
public. Among its tenants was Mr Murdoch Mackenzie, who had been a teacher in the 
Grammar School, but who is better remembered now by his chart of the Orkney Islands. 

This house afterwards belonged to Honyman of Graemsay, from whom it passed to John 
Reid, one of Kirkwall's prosperous merchants. The Rev. George Reid, who had been master 
of the Grammar School, was, in 1743, sent as a missionary to the Fair Isle. After labouring 
there for nine years, he was presented by James, Earl of Morton, to the parish of Nesting, in 
Shetland. Before leaving Orkney he had, in 1730, married Isobel, daughter of Patrick Traill, 
merchant, and grand-daughter of George Traill of Holland. They had a son, John, and four 
daughters. One of these daughters married an Omond in the Fair Isle, and John Reid, 
having no son, left this and much house property besides to his nephew, George Omond, who 
came to live in Kirkwall. 

Besides the usual condition, that George should pay his uncle's funeral expenses and 
debts, the properties were burdened with certain annuities to the testator's sisters. Two of 
these, Rosa and Margaret — or, as they were named in the Records of Sasine, Rosie and 
Peggie— were liferented in this house, which, judging by the number of tenants, must have 
yielded a very good annuity to the ladies. 

In 1801, when Omond took possession, these tenants were — James Smith, writer ; 
T. Flett, J. Scarth, W. Patten, merchants ; J. Anderson, S. ScoUay, A. Priest, shoemakers ; 
P. Flett, post ; J. Foulis, sailor ; J. Spence, heckler ; J. Eunson, weaver ; and J. Sinclair, book- 
binder. If each of these represented a family, this tenement was somewhat crowded, and for 
continuous din during the hours of labour, must have been as cheerful as a factory. The 
scratch of the writer's pen could scarcely have been heard outside his door, but the noise of 
the lapstones and the looms would penetrate every corner of this human hive. 

George Omond died, 1st February 1813, and left his property to his two sons— John, after- 
wards Dr Omond, Free Church minister, Monzie ; and Robert, afterwards M.D., Edinburgh, 
and sometime President of the College of Surgeons. To the latter fell the house under 
consideration. It was still held, however, by his grand-aunts in liferent. They laid out no 
money on the place, and the house and its inmates deteriorated together. The writers, 
merchants, and well-to-do artizans found more comfortable quarters elsewhere, and only such 
tenants as could afford no better accommodation remained. Thus, in one of the apartments 

2c 



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194 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

of the decayed dwelling, we find a couple who eiyoyed a hand-to-mouth existence. The man 
was a maker of lamps, and, from the material in which he wrought, was known as " Brassy." 
Sometimes, when " Brassy " had finished a lamp to order or on speculation, his wife managed 
to smuggle it out and sell it. On such occasions she invariably returned in a state of intoxi- 
cation. Then there was war. One day, after the couple had passed through the ordeal 
of a mutual explani&tion, a neighbour met them, and seeing the woman with two very 
expressive black eyes, asked the husband why he did not murder his wife outright. " Brassy" 
calmly replied that he had often thought of doing so, but considered it a pity that a man of 
his ability should swing for a creature like her. His ability was admited in his own day, and 
among Orkney cruisies none were considered so elegant as those made by " Brassy." 

Dr Omond sold this tenement to the directors of the Union Bank of Scotland, who put 
up the handsome edifice which now occupies the site. The Kirkwall agency was opened, 15th 
August 1855, by the late Robert Scarth, Esq. of Binscarth. The office was the house at the 
corner of the Long Gutter, formerly the residence of the Baikies of Burness and of the 
Mackenzies of Groundwater, and now part of the business premises of Samuel Reid, Esq. of 
Braebuster. The inception of the bank, however, goes back to Mr Scarth's father, who in his 
shop in the Laverock received deposits for the banking house of Sir William Forbes in 
Edinburgh. 

Occupying the site from the Union Bank to the foot of the Strynd, was the house " of old 
called the Ridgeland."* As far back as it can be traced, it belonged to George Smith of 
Rapness, then to Andrew Smith of Hurteso, two brothers of Patrick Smith of Braco. It next 
belonged to Oliver Linay, whose daughter, Anna, brought it as part of her dowry to her 
husband, Patrick Murray, notary public. From Murray the Magistrates rented this house to 
be the Tolbooth, and for nearly a hundred years it did duty as a Town Hall and Prison. 

When a new Town Hall was built on the Kirk Green, the Council sold the old Tolbooth 
to Robert Morrison, Procurator-Fiscal, whose daughter sold it to Mr Robert Grant, merchant, 
then tenant of a house in the Strynd. Mr Grant was the son of the Rev. Alex Grant, translated 
to South Ronaldshay in 1699 from Fala and Soutra, in Haddingtonshire. It would almost seem 
that love led the minister northward, for shortly after his induction he was married to 
Sibilla, daughter of James Baikie of Burness. When Mr Grant came to his new charge he 
found that the superstitions of Orkney differed from those of the Lammermoors as widely as 
the habits of fishermen differ from those of upland shepherds. He complained that he had 
been twice interrupted in administering baptism when taking a girl before a boy, because his 
parishioners believed that by so doing he would give the girl a beard, which she did not want, 
while the boy would be robbed of his capillary birthright. He also tells that none of his 
people will marry except under a waxing moon and during a flowing tide — a notion not yet 
extinct in Orkney. 

Mr Grant, proprietor of the Ridgeland, gained some distinction as a sportsman among his 
fellow-townsmen. "Robert Grant, son of the deceased Mr Alexander Grant, minister of 
South Ronaldshay, obtained decreet from the Sheriff for 2/- Scots from each reekt in the 
Parish of St. Ola, in terms of Acts or Regulations of the County of Orkney, for having shot 
an aerne or Eagle in the Parish, of which he had delivered head and feet and wings to the 
Baillie of said Parish, in order to be presented to first head Court, and now craves the Sheriff 
to ordain the Baillie to obtain for him from each Reek-house in the parish, except Cottars, 
who have no sheep, the sum of two shillings." J This was probably the last eagle shot in St. 
Ola, and the last paid for under the old " Acts or Regulations." 

Along with his house, Robert Grant bought from Margaret Morrison, as its peat-brae, 
* Arthur Buchanan's titles. t Inhabited house. J S. R., 18th July 1732. 



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LONG GUTTER TO STRYND. 195 

*' the just and equal half of that piece of waste ground upon the north side of the old ruinous 
Castle, extending to three score and eight feet of rule from east to west and twenty-eight feet 
of rule from south to north." 

In 1791, Thomas Traill of Frotoft married Robina Grant, and in 1821 their son William, 
then of Frotoft, was served heir to the property of his grandfather. Mr Traill rebuilt that 
part of the old Ridgeland which faces Broad Street. 

Provost Traiirs house was acquired by Dr Logie, minister of the first charge in the 
Cathedral, at whose death his son, James S. S. Logie, M.D., purchased it from the trustees on 
the estate. Of the present proprietor, we shall only say that in a town which has been 
singularly favoured by a long succession of highly-gifted medical men, he has for many years 
held a position universally acknowledged as second to none on the list. 

In 1703, Robert Morrison built the houses in the middle of the King's Passage, as the 
S trynd was anciently called. The site had belonged to his father, James Morrison, a man who 
held much property in Kirkwall. Besides having houses in different parts of the town, Quoy 
Angrie and Butquoy had been his. The son, however, had not the gift of keeping together 
what the father had gathered, and when he built these houses his own money was not sufficient 
to complete the work. But he was treasurer of the church, and the ecclesiastical coflFer was 
handy. Robert died, leaving to his daughter his goods and gear, also his liabilities. An 
audit of the treasurer's accounts showed that he owed the church £65 12s, '* by and attour a 
bill of £60 " ; so the Session came down upon Margaret Morrison. And her troubles did not 
come singly. This debt to the church she had not foreseen ; but another, which was not 
unexpected, became due at the same time. She had had a misfortune — so the neighbours 
called it— and besides being shaken up for her father's lapse, she was fined and set upon the 
stool of repentance for her own. However, the author of the misfortune, John Watt, wright, 
married her, and the Session having granted them time, they wadset the houses to the Town 
Council and paid what was owing to the Cathedral " box." The upper house subsequently 
became the property of the Town Council. This middle part of the Strynd had "of old 
belonged to the Chaplainrie of St. Salvator." 

We have seen that, about the middle of the eighteenth century, one of Robert Morrison's 
new houses had been occupied by Mr Grant, After him came John Traill, Captain of 
Marines, and his wife, Eliza Grote. In 1785, Traill entertained a Royal guest in his modest 
little mansion. Prince William Henry, Duke of Clarence, afterwards William IV., entered 
the navy in 1779, and on a visit to Kirkwall called upon his old shipmate. The following 
note, found by W. G. T. Watt, Esq. of Skaill, on opening a long unused desk, gives an account 
of this visit : — 

" KirkwaU, 20th July 1785. 
** Prince William Henry, third son of King George the Third, landed in this town from on board 
the Hebe, Man-of-War, and sifter viewing the Church, Palace, and the lensth of the Town, He went 
to Captain John Traill's house, where he saw Mrs Traill and her three Daughters, with whom he 
conversed Frankly, Eat and Drank with them, and after being an hour in the Captain's, he returned 
to the ship without goeing any other way ; this was the only place in Scotland where he landed. He 
was the nrst of the Royal Family that visited the Scots Dominions" [here in a different hand], 
" except the Duke of Ciunberland, in the Rebellion, 1746." " He settled on John Moodie, who had 
been an officer of Marines on board the same Ship, but thro' mismanagement was broke, fourty pound 
p. annum, untill he gott him made an officer of invalids." 

As Captain Traill had only one daughter, the Mrs Traill referred to above was probably 
Mrs Thomas Traill of Holland, and the daughters, Isabel, Jean, and Margaret, ranging from 
twenty-two down to fifteen years of age. Captain Traill died the following year at the age of 
fifty-eight ; his daughter lived to be eighty-five. 



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196 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

A dozen years after the royal visit, the house in the Strynd was occupied by the Rev. Mr 
Broadfoot, first minister of the Secession Church in Kirkwall. 

Here, in 1807, was born his eldest son, Greorge, of whom Sir Robert Peel said in the 
House of Commons : — " He obtained the applause of every civil and military authority in the 
country, and his prudence and skill as a civilian were only equalled by his ardour and bravery 
in the field. He was the last of three brothers, all of whom had died in the service of their 
country on the field of battle." 

James was killed in the first Afghan war, 2nd November 1840. In the same war, William 
was killed in Cabul, 2nd November of the following year. 

After distinguishing himself as an administrator no less than as a soldier, George fell at 
Perozeshah, December 1845. On his tomb is inscribed, " The foremost man in India." 

Major Broadfoot's death was noted in both Houses of Parliament as a public calamity, 
and pensions were granted to his sisters. 

Writing to one of these ladies. Sir Henry Hardinge says :— 

**He might have refrained from further conflict after his first wound, which threw him off his 
horse by my side. But, guided by his noble courage, as long as he could sit his horse he felt he 
could be most useful at a most critical moment of the battle ; and at the close of the assault on the 
enemy's batteries, he received his mortal wound at the very moment of our success. There was a 
prospect of buildine a church at Ferozpoor when I left India, which I hope will shortly be carried 
into execution, on tne inside walls of which I have ordered a tablet in gun-metal to be erected as a 
testimonial of my personal friendship. . . . The monument ordered by the officers of the Madras 
army will be an honourable and lastmg testimonial to his fame, whilst my more humble tribute, as a 
personal friend, will, on every Sab)>ath day, remind every young officer of the meritorious life and 
heroic death of the most accomplished officer of the Indian army near the spot where I attended his 
burial. The perpetuation of his fame will be secured in the Presidency, ana near the spot where he 
devoted his life to his country ; and in Madras, which army can claim the honour of lending Broadfoot 
to Bengal, his memory will survive as long as the British power in India.'' 

In 1731 the Magistrates of Kirkwall were able to do a kindly act in the disposal of Robert 
Morrison's upper house. Mr Traill rented his house from the Town Council : — 

'* The said day,* the Magistrates and Council, considering that John Carson, teacher of Mathe- 
matics in this Town, has been very usefull in the place for Education of Youth, and being resolved to 
^ve him some encouragement, they agree that he shall have the use and possession of the upper part 
of the houses in the Strynd which sometyme belonged to Robert Morrison, merchant in Kirkwall, 
wadsett by Margaret Morrison, his daughter, with consent of her husband, to this Burgh, and that 
for the haill space and years he shall continue in this Town teaching a school free of any rent. Signed 
in name, presence, and at appointment of the Magistrates and Council, by the Provost and by the 
Stent Masters, in token of their acceptance. 

Ja. Traill, Patt. Traill accepts, Geo. Traill accepts, Wm. Traill accepts, 

Wm. Traill accepts, Gkorok Liddell accepts." 

But the value of this gift was considerably minimised by the state of the house, which, 
seven years later, Carson had to bring before the Council : — 

** To the Honourable Magistrates and Town Council of Kirkwall, the Humble Petition of John 
Carson, Accomptant, Teacher of Navigation, &c., 

** Humbly Sheweth, — That the School House which your Honours, out of ypur Boimty, sranted 
to yor Petitioner is very much out of order and going to Ruin for want of xhatch, &c. , To that 
Degree that your Petitioner, when it rains, hath not a Dry Table to teach at, nor a Bed to sleep in, 
but is forced to sit up at a fire all Night, To the Impairing of his Health. 

** May it Therefore please your Wisdoms To consider the Premises and Order such Reparations 
To be made as may Prevent the Ruin of sd. house. And yor Petitioner shall, as in Duty bound, 
pray, &c. Jho. Carson. 

"Oct. the 6th, 1738." 

♦ C. R., 12th Feb. 1731. 



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LONG GUTTER TO STRTND. 197 

This petition received prompt attention. On the back of it is noted :— 

<< Kirkwall, 6th Octr. 1738.— The Magistrates and Councell appoint William Traill, Treasr., to 
bny Stra and Simmons, and what others is needful!, for Thatchmg and makins the within hoose 
watertight, and Imploy men for thatchinn^ the same, and to pnt the charge to the Town's acoompt. 

(Signed) Ja. Baikib.^' 

This house was afterwards in such good condition that it was chosen by the Rev. Thomas 
Traill of Tirlet to be his manse. Mr Traill was presented to the second charge in the 
Cathedral in 1775, and, after a six years' ministry, he died on New Year's Day, 1782, in the 
thirty-third year of his age. His son, Thomas Stewart Traill of Tirlet, Professor of Medical 
Jurisprudence in the University of Edinburgh, was bom in this house, 29th November 1781. 
On a visit to Kirkwall he showed Dr Logic the window through which he first saw daylight It 
is the east window of the upper flat. Thus it will be seen that a mutual gable separated the 
two manses. Secession and Established, and a comparison of those old houses with these now 
occupied by the ministers of the two churches, will show how very much more highly people 
of the present day appreciate the work of the ministry than did their grandfathers a century 
a^o. 

A small section of garden near the head of the Strynd was, in the middle of the eighteenth 
century, the Botanic Garden of Kirkwall. Neill refers to it in Ids " Tour " : — " Having been 
informed that a Dr Sutherland (l^i^g ^o deceased), a pupil of the great Boerhaave, was in the 
frequent practice of resorting to a small glen, called the Quills of Scapa, to gather simples, 
which he dispensed in his medical practice, curiosity led me carefully to examine the spot. I 
observed a large bed of bistort (polygonum bistortaj, a remnant, I presume, of the Doctor's 
dispensatory." It may be stated that Mr Thomas Neill, of Canonmills House, Edinburgh, 
was married to Jean, daughter of Patrick Traill of Elsness, hence his interest in Orkney, and 
that he was a leading member of the Royal Botanical Society, hence his interest in " the little 
kail-yard possest by Hugh Sutherland, M.D." ♦ 

In 1677, between the Long Gutter and the Castle, there were only six houses on the west 
side of the street. On the south side of the Long Gutter lay a large space of waste ground 
stretching back to the Oyce. This " muckle yard, pertaining; to Burness," was sold by Hugh 
Baikie to David Traill, merchant, Kirkwall. In the street end of the yard, TraiU, in 1714, 
built a house which he called Mounthoolie. 

Across the lane lived Liddell of Hammer, and so it came about that Traill's son, William^ 
and Hammer's daughter, Elspeth, saw much of each other, and when the young man had just 
completed his twenty-third year he married Miss Liddell. He was the first Traill of Frotoft 
His son, Thomas Traill of Frotoft, sold Mounthoolie to William Smith, merchant, Westray. 
Smith was unfortunate in business, and in 1804 this tenement was seized by John Mitchell^ 
writer, on behalf of two creditors, Anne and Jane Park, merchants, Newcastle. Having been 
exposed to auction, the house was bought for the trustee by George Omond. Mitchell's son, 
John, after having been Town Clerk of Kirkwall for some years, went to the office of Sir 
James Marwick, City Clerk of Glasgow, and sold this property in 1870 to George Garrioch, 
vintner. There was then a parapet wall in front, which, if it improved the appearance of the 
house, narrowed the street considerably. This wall Garrioch removed, not as an obstruction to 
the street, but as an obstruction to business. Under the present proprietor, Mr A. Mitchell, 
Mounthoolie is known as the Imperial Hotel. 

At the foot of the lane are some houses built on the Burness yard, and named, from the 
old Town Clerk, Mitchell Square. 

* Records of Sasine. 



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198 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

The southern boundary of Mounthoolie was a house which in 1677 belonged to the heirs of 
Patrick Prince. In 1707, William Fea bought it from Magnus Prince. The next owner, 
James Manson, had also the house on the oppasite side of the street, and was thus the proud 
proprietor of " Hell " and " Purgatory." " James Manson, elder, hath ane tenement yr, under 
sclaitt roof, possest by himself, commonly called Hell." Compared with " Purgatory," " Hell" 
wa« the better property, its valued rental being twelve pounds, while the other place was 
rated on eight. 

This house, a few years later, came into the possession of Dr Blaw, grandson of the Rev. 
William Blaw, of Westray, the zealous Sabbatarian who hanged his cat for killing a mouse on 
Sunday.* As this was by no means a common name in our islands, it may almost be assumed 
that the first of the family in Orkney was Edward Blaw, who came as a writer and notary 
public. In 1627, on the 3rd of June, Edward Blaw, N.P., signs a declaration made by two 
" parochinaris of St. Olaw, becaus we cannot wrytte ourselffs." t 

Dr Blaw, above named, took a very active part in public matters while he lived in Kirk- 
wall. The doctor's sister, Marion, lived in "Hell" with her husband, William Manson, 
Wright. In 1789, their son, William, in the Records of Sasine designated master mariner and 
again comptroller, purchased the house from his uncle and granted liferent of it to his wife, 
i^izabeth, daughter of William Balfour of Trenabie. 

In 1806, William Balfour, Esq. of Elwick, Captain R.N., married his cousin, Mary 
Balfour Manson, and the house passed into the possession of Mrs Balfour and her husband. 

The property south from " Hell " had been at some far back date dedicated by its pious 
owner to St Barbara's Altar in the Cathedral ; and when, at the Reformation, Saint Barbara 
ceased to be recognised as proprietriz, the Burgh took possession of this and the other 
religious endowments in the town as ownerless houses. In 1828 this site was occupied by a 
•* Tenement of land, sometime ruinous, with the Byre on the west end thereof." It then 
belonged to John Traill Urquhart. Captain Balfour bought the ruins, and on the site built an 
addition to his own house. 

It seems very remarkable that a family domiciled in Orkney from the days of Queen 
Mary should, till two generations back, have taken no share in public business. While the 
work of the county was carried on in Kirkwall by Baikies and Traills, by Youngs and 
Moncrieffs, Richans and Strangs, Craigies and Liddells, Kaas, Rendalls, Princes and Paplays, 
the Balfours remained in the islands and took no interest in matters municipal. This is all the 
more remarkable, seeing that by the conditions of sale and purchase in the olden time they 
were compelled to be burgesses of Kirkwall. AH the landed proprietors of Orkney — some of 
them titled — were merchants. Their rents were paid in kind, and, before they could dispose 
of their grain, butter, malt, and oil, they required a licence from the Dean-of-Quild in 
Kirkwall. Without this licence they were " unfree traders " — smugglers in fact. 

" The very ancient family of Balfour, long heritable Sheriffs of Fife, derived their name 
from Balfour Castle in that county, built upon their earliest possession in Scotland, the vale 
or strath of the Or, a tributary of the Leven." { Their first recorded ancestor was Siward of 
Northumbria, who lived in the reign of Edward the Confessor. Of him Shakespeare makes 
Malcolm Cahnmohr say :— 

'* Gracious Ensland hath lent us good Siward, 
An older ana a better soldier none 
That Christendom gives out." 

• Fasti. t Pet. Rent., iii. 36. J Burke's County Families. 



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LONG GUTTER TO STRYND. 



199 



Siward's son, Osulf, was father of Siward " cui dat Edgar rex vallem de Or et Maey pro 
capite Ottar Dane." From this comes the pictured pun of the otter in the Balfour arms. 

Next came Octred, who gave his son a recognisable Christian name, Michael In 1253, 
Duncan, twelfth Earl of Fife, gave " consanguine© suo Michaeli de Balfour/' in exchange for 
Pittencrieff, the much more valuable lands of Munquhanny. 

The Balf ours of Balfour and Trenaby 
have not only satisfied the Herald's Col- 
lege that they are the descendants of the 
Northumbrian Siward, but they have 
established their right to be regarded as 
the main stem of this ancient family. 

The foundation of the Balfour estate 
in Orkney was a gift of church lands. 
In a charter granted 1560, Adam Both- 
well, Bishop of Orkney, conveyed to 
Gilbert Balfour and Margaret Bothwell, 
his wife, the lands of Kirbister, Nolt- 
land, Bu' of Noltland, Bakka, Fribo, 
Garth, Clet, Uea, Rackwick, Akerness, 
and Mabak, all in Westray.* 

In 1565, Balfour got in feu the lands 
belonging to St. Catherine's Stouk, and 
the charter was signed by all the digni- 
taries of the Church. As most of them 
survived the Reformation, their names 

are interesting as the last Bishop, Dean, and Chapter of Romish appointment :— Adam, Bp. 
of Orkney ; James Annand, Chancellor ; Alexander Dick, Provost ; William Peirson, Rector 
of Cross ; Francis Bothwell, Treasurer ; Thomas Richardson, Preb. St. Catherine's ; John 
Graham, Rector of Lady Kirk ; Gilbert Foulsie, Archdeacon ; MagniLs Halcro, Precentor ; 
Hieronimus TuUoch, Sub-chantor. 

In 1567, Gilbert Balfour received from Queen Mary a grant of Westray, Papa Westray, 
and Pharay. Sir Gilbert Balfour was Master of Queen Mary's Household, SheriflF of Orkney, 
Fowd of Zetland, and Captain of Kirkwall Castle ; and as he had obtained these honours 
when Henry, Lord Darnley, was King Consort, it is not surprising that when Bothwell in his 
flight came to Orkney he should receive small favour from Balfour. 




Arms of the Balfours. 



Letter of Queen Mary and Her Husband to Sir Gilbert Balfour, Comptroller of their 
Household, relative to the Hawks of Orkney and Zetland, 1566. 

" ComptroUar, We greit you weill. It has been the ancient custume, observit of lang tyme 
bygane, that yeirlie our falconaris resortis to the boundis of Orknay, Zetland, and utheris the north 
cuntreis, ffor hamebringing of the haulkis thairof to ws, and sua we have send thir berars this instant 
yeir ; thair expenssis is accustomat to be paid furth of your office ; and sen ye ar in the cuntrie 
yourself, we pray you not onlie to ansuer thame thankfullie of thair accustomat dewitie and expensis, 
hot als tak ordour how they salbe reddelie and thankfullie ansuerit of the halkis within the saidis 
boundis, quhilkis ar als necessair for ws as ony uther the lyk thinff, alsweill for our awin pastyme as 
for the gratificatioun of our freindis. This we doubt not bot ye will do. Subscriuit with our hand at 
Edinburgh the xxvij. day of Aprile 1666. t Marie R., Henry R." 



♦ Pet. Rent. 



t Peterkin in Ork. k Zet. Chron., May 1826. 



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200 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKKETS. 

Sir Gilbert Balfour died unmarried, and was succeeded by his nephew, Michael of 
Munquhanny, who took up his residence in Noltland Castle, 1588. After him came Michael, 
whose grandson, Patrick, held Noltland when Montrose came to Orkney in 1650. Patrick 
Balfour was a staunch Royalist, and though his age prevented him from crossing the Pentland 
Firth, he incurred the wrath of Cromwell's Parliament for the help he rendered in raising 
troops and for the hospitable shelter he afforded to the fugitives. For this he was fined to an 
extent which sadly crippled bis estate. His wife was Barbara, daughter of Francis Mudie of 
Melsetter. They were succeeded by their eldest son, George, the last occupant of Noltland 
Castle. 

The wedding feast of George Balfour of Pharay and Marjorie Baikie, though it took place 
in the seventeenth century, is still in Westray a tradition of splendour crowning the ruins of 
old Noltland with a halo of glory. 

The bridegroom, who is said to have stood six feet two inches in his stockings, was 
hospitable and popular. The guests filled the Castle, which at the wedding feast resounded 
with the boisterous hilarity becoming the age and the occasion. Then came a succession of 
gBdes that prevented the visitors leaving the Island. But George Balfour, as a host, was all 
that his friends could wish. He proved that it was a very queer day indeed that he could not 
make a good night of ; and the revels were kept up for weeks, till at length the angry steward 
announced to the astonished party that every beast in the byre had been slaughtered for them 
except the bull. Then '' kill the bull " calmly replied the master of the feast The bull was 
slain, and after this sacrifice the storm went down and the wedding guests departed. 

William, the eldest son of this marriage, had an only child, a daughter, who married 
Archibald Stewart of Brugh, and with her Pharay passed to the Brugh estate. 

But George Balfour took a second wife, Mary Mackenzie, daughter of the Bishop, and 
their son, John, got Trenaby. 

The fines inflicted on Patrick Balfour, and the festive proclivities of George, quite account 
for the fact that on 4th March, 1707, Robert McClelland, Chamberlain of Orkney, gets " decree 
of poinding against John Balfour, eldest son and heir-apparent of George Balfour of Pharay 
and Mary Mackenzie, relict of the sd. deceast Gkorge Balfour, and John Read, grieve in 
Noltland, to poind the moveables on the 12d land of Noltland" for £112 4s Scots, as interest 
on principal sura of £1870 6s 8d, for which a bond had been granted, 3rd Oct. 1704.* 
Notwithstanding this reverse of fortune, John Balfour of Trenaby gave five sons a good start 
in life. 

William, the next laird, married Elizabeth Covingtrie, heiress of Newark. In September 
1747, he gave £50 sterling to Archibald Stewart of Brugh to raise an action for reduction of 
the Orkney weights. This action came on ten years later. His eldest son, John, as a youth, 
joined the Civil Service of the Honourable East India Company. At the age of twenty-four 
he returned home invalided. In London the medical staff of the Company sat upon him, and 
declared that he had no more than a couple of years to live. He recovered, returned to India, 
successfully shook the Pagoda Tree, retired, purchased the Honyman property in Orkney, 
endowed the Balfour Hospital, and died in Curzon Street, Mayfair, London, at the age of 
ninety-two, long after the last of his medical doomsmen had been laid in the mould. 

John Balfour's brother, Thomas of Elwick, was a remarkable man. He graduated in 
medicine, but is best known as Colonel of the North Lowland Fencibles, a corps largely 
recruited from Orkney. Colonel Balfour frequently appears in the public records of Kirkwall, 
as he had many dealings with the Town Council. From the Burgh he purchased building 

* H. L., Sheriff Court Papers. 



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LONG GUTTER TO 8TRTND. 201 

sites wherever they were offered for sale, from the Shore and the Bridge up to the Broad 
Sands. He married Frances, daughter of Earl Ligonier, a lady who possessed an astuteness in 
business matters quite equal to that of her husband. At one time the Colonel undertook the 
management of Lord Duffus' property, and went to live in Burray. Here, in 1778, his daughter, 
Mary, afterwards Mrs Brunton, was born. Her novels, ** Discipline " and " Self-Control," werft 
much appreciated in their day. 

The late Dr Paterson, who disapproved of novels, felt himself safe in recommending Mrs 
Brunton's works to his niece " when she required a little relaxation from more serious, 
reading.'' At the present day these works are not asked for at the public libraries by persona 
taking an alterative course of light literature. 

In Burray, Colonel Balfour was visited, about 1780, by Principal Gordon of the Scots 
College, Paris, who says : — ** The principal farmer, a Captain Balfour, has carried on improve- 
ments with success, but has few imitators ; it is hard to drive the Orkney people out of their 
old ways." 

The Fencibles were militia raised during the French war for purely local defence, and 
each regiment had a territorial title. Thus the North Lowland was the 8th Orkney and 
Shetland Regiment of Fencibles. This corps did not remain at home, but did duty in any 
part of the British Isles where its services were required, and in the winter of 1796 the 
Fencibles were quartered at Carrick-on -Shannon, Ireland being then exceedingly disaffected 
and hoping much from the French. 

The officers at that time were :— Major Commanding, Thomas Balfour ; Captains, Robert 
Baikie, J. Malcolmson ; Lieutenants, Robert Sinclair, Robert Nicolson, Andrew Strang, Ja. 
Archibald, Alex. Fraser ; Ensigns, K. S. Scott, Geo. Omond, J. Baikie ; Surgeon, Robert 
Qroat. 

Colonel Balfour was proud of his regiment, and composed for it the accompanying march, 
entitled, " March of the Orkney and Shetland Fencibles." 

The Colonel's eldest son, John Edward Ligonier Balfour, Captain in the 9th Infantry, was 
killed at Alkmaar, 1799, in the twentieth year of his age. 

The second son, William Balfour of Elwick, Commander in the Royal Navy, succeeded to 
his father's property, and to the large estates of his uncle, John Balfour of Trenaby, H.E.I.C.S. 
He married first his second cousin, Mary Balfour Manson, grand-daughter of his uncle, David 
Balfour, W.S., Edinburgh, and second, Mary Margaret Baikie, and had seven children by the 
first marriage and five by the second. 

The Captain was a thoroughly kindly man, though his naval training had made him 
somewhat of a martinet. In his passages between Kirkwall and Shapinsay he always took 
the helm of his yawl, and his two boatmen, George Reid and Thomas Liddell, had no say in 
the management One day, with a rising wind, the men knew that the Captain was carrying 
too much sail, but they could make no remark. Nearing the land, the danger from sudden 
gusts became greater, and both men quietly got out their knives. As they had anticipated, a 
squall came which would have capsized them, when in a trice they cut the halliards, and the 
sail coming down by the run, boat and lives were saved. 

At the pier the Captain stept ashore without a word, and the men having seen everything 
snug in the yawl, took the luggage up to the house, hoping to avoid the master. But the old 
gentleman was waiting for them, and, after they had tossed off a glass of grog, he gave them a 
pound to divide, but made not the slightest allusion to what had taken place in the bay. 

As Provost of Kirkwall, Captain Balfour was much esteemed by the Council, and great 
regret was expressed when, on the 16th of August 1836, he resigned the chair. 

In 1843, when the Eaxl of Kinnoul was Lyon King, and James Tjiler of Woodhouselee, 

2d 



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Maech op the Kirkwall, Orkney and Shetland Fencibles, by Colonel Thomas 
Balfour, from MS. of Robert Nicolson, jun., dated January 2nd, 1805 * 



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* Favoured by James Bamett, £sq., Crown Chamberlain. 



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LONG GQTTER TO STRYND. 203^ 

Lyon Depute, William Balfour, Captain, R.N., was declared head of the Balfour family^ 
whose ancestors had been minor barons for more than four centuries previous to 1587. * 

Captain Balfour was succeeded in the property by his son, David, W.S., the gifted author 
of some valuable works on Orcadian history. Apart from their historic interest, David 
Balfour's writings have a fascination for the reader on account of their beautiful literary style. 

He was for many years Colonel of the Orkney Volunteers. He built Balfour Castle, 1847, 
and died without issue in 1887. 

Colonel James William, late of the Black Watch and afterwards of the 7th Dragoon 
Guards, Captain Balfour's eldest son by the second marriage, succeeded to the bulk of the 
property. 

When the Balfours gave up the house in Albert Street it was taken by Sheriff Robertson, 
a man whose name even yet is held in kindly remembrance by many of the poor of Kirkwall, 
The Sheriflf left " Hell " for airier quarters at Butquoy, of which he was the first tenant, and 
the late Mr Peter Sinclair Heddle, solicitor. Town Clerk of Kirkwall, purchased the northern 
portion and established in it an agency for the Bank of Scotland. Her Majesty's Commis- 
sioners of Customs and Excise bought the southern part, which is now the Custom House of 
the Port of Kirkwall. 

This house, in ancient times dedicated to Saint Barbara's Altar, having at the Reformation 
become Burgh property, was sold to William Irvine of Sabay. It afterwards came into 
possession of Thomas Moncriefif, from whom it passed to his brother, Harry MoncriefT, skipper, 
better known as Moncriefif of Rapness, " brother german to Sir Thomas Moncrieff of that ilk^ 
Baronet." The Skipper was a flourishing man, and a power in Orkney in his day. 

In 1715, the Kirk Session appeal to Moncrieff of Rapness to speak to his brother. Sir 
Thomas, about some money which the Baronet's father was supposed to have left to the 
Cathedral. Harry promised to forward the Session's letter under his own cover, but the money, 
if ever promised, was never received. Rapness did not remain long in the Moncriefif family. 
The next Harry seems to have had no purpose in life but to waste his estate, and in this he 
succeeded most thoroughly. 

We learn incidentally that he was somewhat careful in the matter of dress. The Session 
gave him permission " to line that part of the pillar in the head of his seat with timber to 
preserve their clothes from the wall." t 

His wife died, 1741, and she had " a good solid funeral." There were consumed seven 
dozen and four bottles of claret, besides sherry, brandy, and a barrel of ale ; but when, eight 
years later, Rapness himself died, a letter of David Moncrieff, advocate, Edinburgh, to Andrew 
Young of Castleyards, shows a dififerent state of matters : — 

" Dear Sir, — I this day received yours with an account of Rapness' death, and I heartily thank you 
for the care you have takeu of his Funeralls, and they shall be paid as soon as yon send me the note 
of them. Only 1 beg one favour of you, that you would confirm yourself Executor-Creditor to him, 
and sell any little furniture or moveables he has and pay the funeralls as far as that will go, and what 
is deficient I shall pay. I would be glad you would enquire what money his plate, etc. , are pledged 
for, and if it will be worth while to redeem them ; as for the house, it belongs to my nephew, and I 
beg you would sett it to the best advantage. 

** I beg my compliments to your lady, and am. Dear Sir, Your most afifec. Cousin and most humble 
Servant, (Signed) D. Moncbieff. 

" Edr., 19 Jany. 1749." 

Young made the necessary enquiry, and his letter in reply throws a side light upon a 
seamy system of pawnbroking practised in our town in the middle of the eighteenth century. 

* From diploma in possession of Colonel Balfour of Balfour and Trenaby. 
tS. R., 17th Feb. 1724. 



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i1 



204 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

The three golden balls of Lombardy had not then been suspended over any door in Kirkwall 
to indicate that those who required it could have temporary accommodation within. 
Borrowers of small sums had recourse to their neighbours, who sometimes advanced money on 
the security of chattels of more value than the amount of the loan : — 

*• KirklL, 26th January 1749. 
" Dr. Sir, — ... I took ane Inventry of all his Houshold plenishing, which I caused apretiat, 
a Copy whereof you have likeways. I did not insist for his Srvtt. her making oath on the verity of 
it nntill I have your opinion theron. I have reason to think that the appretiators have put too low a 
value on some things, therefore, if you think proper, shall putt it all to a publick Roupe. It seems 
his Servtt., Christian Heddall, gott a Disposition from him in the year 1746 to seall portions of his 
plenishing for paytt. of one hundred and eighty poimds Scots, a copy whereof you have inclosed. 
She has aggreed to give up the spoons, which I suppose you'll choise to have as they are marked 
with his Favt and Moyr names. You'll observe from the Inventary they are valued as Bullion, 
notwithstanding they are in ffood case. The most considerable part of his silver plate is impignorate 
for money he borrowed at different times from Thos. M*Kenzie, a mertt. in this Town, and likeways 
his Go]d Watch and a large Diamond Ring, a note of which you have also. The Tankard is in very 
;ood Condition, and has on it the Arms of your Family en^aven ; the Spoons, Caster, and Mustard 
)ish is likeways in pretty good Order ; and as to the Watch and the Ring, I cannot putt ane 
Estimate on them as I am a Stranger to the Value of these things — the watch looks pretty well and 
ffoes well. There is also six Silver Spoons, in pretty good Condition, pledged for £45 Scots, due to 
Wm. Traill, Mertt. here, a note whereof you have ; and there are three hu'ge new Peuther Plates, 
weight 19i lbs., in one Margt. Mowat's custody for £9 Scots. These are the wnole that I can possibly 
ffett accott. off save a pair of Shirt Buttons which is in James Stewart's Custody, pledged, as he savs, 
for 15 sh. ster., but could not produce me any Document ; the Buttons are in Bristol Stone, wt. his 
Lady's hair sett in Gold, the value whereof I don't know. This Stewart goes under the Character of 
a great Rogue, and if there has been any dealings betwixt Rapness and him, he has certainly imposed 
upon him. In my present Situation I cannot make a legal inquiry into these matters without your 
orders, So that I shall wait for whatever Resolution you shall come to anent your Uncle's afibirs. 
Have sent you wt. the oyr Accots. a Charge of Doctor Hugh Sutherland, who attended him during 
his sickness, amounting to £5 6 sh. stg., which I believe is a very moderate and just accot., as I know 
he attended him all the time. Make my compliments to My Lady Monorieff, and am, etc. 

" P.S. — I forgot to inform you, amongst oyr things. That Linklater, who is your Uncle's principall 
Cr., Came down to his house some time before he died and forcibly Carried off a Silver hilted Sword, 
which he still keept, notwithstanding your Uncle Sent for it Several times." 

This creditor was George Richan of Linklater, to whom Rapness and Braebister were 
mortgaged for 10,000 merks. Evidently the sword had been so handsome that Linklater had 
resolved to secure it for himself, and doubtless Mr Young would get fair value for the weapon 
when he realised the assets. 

The plenishing of the house was valued at £24 178 5d. 

In 1771 Sir William Moncrieff sold this house to Andrew Young of Castleyards, along 
with ** twa halls, twa chalmers, and twa sellars, with the yaird of the samyn on the south side 
thereof." 

After passing through many hands, the houses on the site of the **twa halls and twa 
chalmers " were bought by the late William Peace, bookseller and publisher, who, in 1860, 
established, on the opposite side of the street, the Orkney Herald newspaper, the Liberal 
organ of the island constituency. The business of the paper was transferred to the present 
office in 1875. 

The " yaird of the samyn " has been detached from this property, and now belongs to the 
Tait Trust. 

In 1677, the next house southward, now represented by two houses at right angles to each 
other, was occupied by Patrick Traill, son of Thomas Traill of Holland. His wife was Elspeth 
Baikie. Patrick Traill was afterwards Dean-of-Quild. A letter of his will show at once the 
literary style of the business men and the value of our native commodities two hundred years 



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LONG GUTTER TO STBYND. 205 

ago. There is no address, but from the memoranda on the back of it the receiver was certainly 
Arthur Baikie of Tankerness : — 

*« Leith, the 15 ApryeU 1672. 

** Honnered Coussing, having the ocasion of this berer, I tought feat to aquont you bay alyn what 
our contray goades is sould for at present : — Item, the boutor at twentie-four pond the barall, the oyll 
at twentie-eaught pond the barall, the feaders at tyn pond the stoan, connin skenes * at 13 lb. 16 
shilling the hnnder, hydee is Low, tallow at 13 pond the hnnder wyght, and thes is the reates in the 
saouth from your friend ; ye shaw it to oversanday or James bakie and william young, as ye leikes or 
think fitofto, for, being in hast, I could not wreat to all ; if my pepers be com to your hand show my 
wyff what shee sail do in it ; remember my heartlye Loav to your oeadfellow and all them frendes in 
generall. I rest, sr., your cousing at command to serve yon. (Signed) Pat. Traill. 

" I have wreat no more bot on to my sweit heart." 

To Patrick succeeded William, Treasurer and Dean-of -Guild. 

The tenement south from what was TrailFs house occupies the site where ** of old " stood 
" the houses perteining to the Chappell of the Blessed Yirgine Marie in the Laverock." In 
1676, David Forbes, Notary Public and Town Clerk, lived here. This was an excellent man 
in all the relations of life. Though he has been gone for more than two hundred years, our 
public records are full of evidence as to the care and sagacity with which he did his work in 
the burgh. He was Treasurer of the Church and an elder. His last attendance at the Session 
of St. Magnus was 13th October 1684, when he concurred in passing a somewhat severe 
sentence. There were before the tribunal four breaches of decorum in different stages of 
acUustment. Something in the case of James Liddell, who '* compeared with Jean Wallace 
and confessed," had excited the wrath of the judges, and the erring man was ordained ^* to go 
to Stronsay and to Cross Kirk in Sanday, and stand two days in each church in sack cloath, 
and afterwards to return here and stand two dayes upon the pillar, and to bring a testimonie 
from the ministers of each congregation." 

Forbes died on Sunday, 30th November, and was buried in the north nave aisle beside his 
wife, Margaret Henderson, whose epitaph, probably written by her husband, describes her as 
a pious and virtuous woman. Their seat in church was under the Magistrates' loft. They 
were survived by at least one daughter, Elizabeth, wife of Bailie James Young, keeper of the 
King's girnell, brother of Andrew of Castleyards. 

Bailie Young succeeded his father-in-law in the occupancy of this house. Like most of 
the Kirkwall houses, it stood with its gable to the street, and in 1690 there was a house behind. 
" Tuesday, 29th July 1690, Andro Lyell, Notary Public, was married to Elspeit Brown, eldest 
daughter of Thomas Brown, Notary Public, bi Mr Jon. Wilson, Minister in Kirkwall." 

"Thursday, 14th day of Augt. 1690, Andro Lyell, with his wyfe, flitt to the house 
possest t by them pertaining to Baillie Young on the west end of his dwelling house."t 

Young was succeeded in his dwelling house by his son, Andrew, and he, in 1764, by 
Andrew Dick of Wormadale, ** nearest and lawful heir by the mother's side of the deceast 
Andrew Young, Commissar of Orkney, his uncle." 

In 1803 this property, then in a very ruinous condition, was exposed for sale by public 
roup, Edward Gorie being auctioneer, and was knocked down at £510 to Dr John Heddle^ 
Surgeon of the Forces. The new proprietor at once gave his mother, Mrs Elizabeth Flett, 
widow of John Heddle, a liferent interest in the houses he had purchased. 

Dr Heddle's father was John Heddle, Town Clerk of Kirkwall. He married, 177S| 
Elizabeth FJett, daughter of John Flett, merchant, Cletts, South Ronaldshay, in which island 
the Fletts had held knds from a very remote period. John Heddle and his wife had sixteen 
children, the eldest being John, " Surgeon to the Forces." Dr Heddle is believed to have been 

* Babbit skins. f Occupied or rented. :|: T. B. 



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206 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNI£YS. 

the first officer who ever picked up and threw overboard a live shell, though since his time the 
feat has been performed more than once. In his case the margin of time was so narrow that 
the shell, bursting just as it struck the water, destroyed several of the Doctor's fingers. When 
the British garrison evacuated Goree, Heddle stuck to the place, and, with the help of the 
natives and a few white people who adhered to him, beat off the enemy, with the result that 
the Doctor negotiated the terms of the evacuation. Being a non-combatant, all he obtained 
from the Government was a reprimand for not being in his place in the rear with the wounded, 
though the British had retreated without the loss of a man. The Trustees of the Patriotic 
Fund, however, voted him a piece of silver plate and an address of thanks for his conduct. 
He died unmarried, but left three illegitimate children, one of whom was killed in Western 
Africa fighting under Sir Charles Macartney. There are Heddles yet on the west coast of 
Africa.* 

Dr Baikie enjoyed at Sierra Leone the hospitality of one of them :— "To Mr Heddle I 
stand especially indebted ; hb house was during the whole time my home, a large and airy 
apartment was set aside for me for writing in and for receiving deputations from the coloured 
population, and all my enquiries were most kindly furthered." This was, in 1854, on the 
Doctor's way home from his first expedition to the Niger. His second expedition proved fatal 
to himself, and here, in Mr Heddle's house, he died, 12th Dec. 1864. 

In 1817, Robert Heddle, Paymaster of His Majesty's Royal African Regiment of Foot, 
succeeded to the property of his brother, Dr John. Mr John Tait, merchant, bought the house 
in Albert Street from Robert Heddle of Melsetter, and built a new house on the site. He 
also erected a storehouse at the foot of his yard, and as this encroached on the Peerie Sea, he 
was called to account by the vigilant magistrates ; but as Mr Tait had set his house back from 
the frontage of the former tenement, thus widening the street, he was graciously allowed to 
build the sea wall of his storehouse in the water. This is now represented by the office of Mr 
T. S. Peace, architect. 

Mr Tait left his property to the Session of the United Presbyterian Church. 

From this house, as far as the double tenement at the south-west corner of Albert Street, 
was ** Buchanan's great yard.*' 

Before 1665, nearly a half of this yard, on the southern side, had been acquired by David 
Kirkness, merchant. 

In 1676, David's widow, Helen Wilson, had a double tenement on this site. In Kirk- 
ness' title it is described as " of old pertaining to the Chaplanrie of Sanct Salvator, situate 
within ye cathedral kirk of Orkney, Lyand contigue within the town of Kirkwall, having ye 
ground sometyme pertaining to ye heirs of ye umqul Sir William Sinclair of Warsetter, Knyt, 
and now to Mr Arthur Buchanan of Sound, on the North." From this the inference is fair 
that Buchanan's "great lodging" had been the town house of the Sinclairs of Warsetter. 

On 4th March 1690, Mr John Watt, "practitioner of ffysick," sometime master of the 
Grammar School, was married to Margaret Kirkness, and this house became theirs. 

The Watts sold it to Bailie David Traill. From him it went to Sinclair, tacksman of 
Rapness, who sold it to George Traill of Holland. In 1760, Robert Laing, merchant, acquired 
" George Traill's double tenement of houses, high and low," and here, in 1762, was born one of 
Kirkwall's most distinguished sons, Malcolm Laing, the historian. Here, also, was un- 
doubtedly written so much of his History of Scotland as was not written in Edinburgh. 

On the death of his father, 1805, Malcolm Laing sold this house to Sheriff Nicolson and 
his wife, Elizabeth Balfour. From them it was bought by Robert Baikie of Tankemess. 

* InformatioD received from J. G. Moodie-Heddle, Esq. of Melsetter. 



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LONG GUTTER TO STRYND. 



207 



In his last will and testament, the Laird of Tankerness left, in liferent to his daughters, 
Mary and Frances, the choice of one of two dwelling-houses in case his heir did not make 
choice within six months of the testator's death as to which he wished to retain. The houses 
were that part of Tankemess House, which was of old the Sub-chantry, and Malcolm Laing's 
house, purchased from Sheriff Nicolson. 

If either of the ladies married, her share was to go to the other. Mary Baikie took to 
matrimony, marrying first, Lieut. William Sinclair Robertson, 95th Regiment of Foot, and 
second, Lieut. Jeremiah Skelton, R.N. Thus, Miss Frances Baikie became sole liferentriz. 
After her death it became the town house of the Heddles of Melsetter. 

The late John Heddle sold it to T. H. Sclater, druggist, for an annual payment of £60, this 
sum covering, in twenty years, principal and interest. The purchaser, taking advantage of the 
position of the house, standing, as it does, back from the line of the street, built in front a row 
of one-storey shops, let all that he did not require for his own purposes, and largely from these 
rents paid for the property. 

Buchanan's piece of ground on the west side of the street, though reduced in size by 
David Kirkness' purchase, was still so large as to be known as the " great yard." After the 
Laird of Sound, it had successively belonged to the Earl of Morton, Thomas Lindsay, and 
Magnus Lindsay, when, in 1803, Lindsay's Trustees, William Lindsay of Caldale and the Rev. 
George Barry, put it up to auction at an upset price of £400. ** At the outrunning of the 
sandglass" it was knocked down to Dr Groat for £500. In 1821, the Doctor sold the northern 
half to Andrew Henderson and Margaret Mackenzie, his wife, and the southern to James 
Fotberingham, tidewaiter, and Elizabeth Wilson, his spouse. Fotheringham apparently did 
not feel inclined to build, and he sold his portion to James Spence, shipmaster, and Anne 
Rendall, his wife. That such an important site should be unbuilt on till 1821 shows the slow 
growth of the town. Mr Henderson's part of the property now belongs to Mr David B. Peace, 
and Captain Spence's to the widow of the late Mr James Gumming, merchant. 

In 1630, the house at the south-west corner of 
Albert Street belonged to Robert Henryson of Holland. 
With its pertinents it occupied the space from "the 
king's castell on the south," to "the yard now ptaining 
to Sir John Buchanan of Scotscraig on the north." On 
the betrothal of his eldest son, William, to Margaret 
Graham, daughter of the bishop, 17th November of the 
above year, Robert Henryson gave this house to the 
young couple. The bride's tocher was 6000 merks. 

The Thesaurarie had been set in tack by Cuthbert 
Henryson, Treasurer of the Cathedral, to his son, 
Robert, and this also was given to William and his 
wife for all the time the tack should run, and, along 
with the house, the reversion of North Ronaldshay. 

The Henryson estate was considerable. William 
had to pay to his brothers and sisters as under : — To Helen, £1000 Scots within one year and 
a day from the father's death ; Harrie, £1000 in two years ; Beatrix, 1000 merks in three years ; 
Robert, 1000 merks in four years ; Bessie, 1000 merks in five years ; and Margaret, 1000 merks 
in six years. 

Henryson's house in Albert Street was bought by James Baikie, on a title which was not 

• The letters on each side of the shield, " V " and ** H," are the Treasurer's initials, William 
Henryson. On the tombstone are his wife's initials, ** M.B." The date is 1682. 




From Tombstone in Cathedral.' 



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208 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

quite satisfactory, but Baikie was just the man to run a risk for the chance of a bargain. 
Here he carried on the business which rapidly made him the wealthiest commoner in Orkney. 
He left the house in liferent to his wife, Barbara Smith, and in fee to their son, George. On 
his mother^s death, in 1672, George Baikie went through the form of surrendering the place to 
the Magistrates and rebuying from them on a valid title. The place was then sold to George 
Mowat of Pow, who built a new house on the site. 

Mowat's two sons, Patrick and John, successively owned and occupied it. The former 
borrowed money from David Traill, one of the Holland family, granting a bond over this 
tenement, and, the latter accepting the difference between the bond and the value of the 
property, Traill became owner. 

From him it was acquired by Andrew Liddell, shoemaker, who let two-thirds of it to John 
Biddoch, Stewart Clerk of Orkney. Liddell was, in his day, a pillar of two churches. He 
was treasurer of St. Magnus, but, when the Secession movement began, he left the Old Kirk 
and took a prominent part in starting the New. 

Liddeirs daughter, Margaret, sold her father's house to John Traill of Westove, whose 
brother, Walter, minister of Lady Parish, Sanday, succeeded to this and the rest of John's 
property. 

" Mr Traill was a man of singular benevolence and kindness of disposition." * He had 
been minister of Bressay for a short time, when, in 1791, Sir Thomas Dundas presented him 
to Lady Parish in Sanday. In 1789, he married Miss Margaret MacBeatk In 1810, he 
demitted his charge, and Mr Logie was appointed to succeed him. 

In 1824, Mr Logie was called to Kirkwall. In 1825, Mr TraiU married Miss Catherine 
Watt, and on the presentation of Lawrence, Lord Dundas, he resumed his former charge. To 
retire from pastoral work for fourteen years and then to go back to the old congregation, is a 
unique experience in clerical life. 

Many instances could be recalled of Mr Traill's liberality in money matters. Mr Grant, 
in the neighbouring parish of Cross and Burness, sometimes appealed for a loan to his 
wealthier brother in Lady Kirk, and the loans apparently came to be regarded on both sides 
as gifts. On one occasion Mr Grant stood in urgent need of a considerable sum of money, 
and, as usual, came to Mr Traill, who, after the interview, said to his wife, " Per George, I 
have this morning made a great saving. Father Grant asked the loan of eighty pounds and I 
had only forty to give him." 

A pair of ardent lovers whom cruel parents debarred from marriage, engaged a boat to 
pick them up out past Cromwell's Fort, and fled to Sanday to be united. Mr Traill, who was 
related to one or perhaps both of the fugitives, and knew the whole circumstances of the case, 
sympathisingly complied. The knot had scarcely been tied when the pursuers arrived at the 
manse. Mr Traill, as he expected, was angrily attacked for his share in the business, but his 
philosophical return was the simple question, " Per George, what could I do but marry the 
poor things 1" 

After the death of Mr Traill in 1846, this place was bought for the site by Mr Iverach, 
chemist, who built the present houses. 

At the foot of the Strynd, and at the comer of the churchyard, was a space anciently 
known as the King's Yards, and afterwards as Castleyards, and here, early in the seventeenth 
century, stood a cluster of four houses, three in line facing the street and one behind them. 
The largest of these was bought from Douglas of Spjmie, Lord Morton's factor, by William 
Young. Young waa Morton's girnell man, and as the Earl got a wadset of Orkney in 1647, 
that year was probably the date of William Young's arrival in Kirkwall, and of the purchase 

♦ Faati. 



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LONG GUTTER TO STRYND. 20& 

of this house. He also bought a house on the other side of the street within the precincts of 
the Castle. He died an old man, 10th June 1675, having lived to see, at all events, four great- 
grandchildren. 

In the Valuation Roll of 1677, his house is thus described :— " William Young his airis 
hath ane large double tenement qrof the largest part under sclaitt roofe pntlie possessed be 
Andro Young." The western boundary is given as " the weast ground and calsey at ye back 
of ye cross qr ye cross stood of old." So long ago as 1677 the original position of the Cross 
was something beyond memory, and only known from documents. 

At this time Castleyards consisted of at least two sides of a close, which was probably 
entered through an arched gateway.* Very likely the mansion formed three sides of a R<iuare> 
a style of house-building much in favour with the wealthy burgesses of those days. 

South from Young's double tenement was a house which, in 1676, belonged to the heirs 
of Patrick Prince, and was occupied by William Watt, " i)erriwig maker." It is described as 
" of old pertaining to Mr John Stewart, Reidar." It had also belonged to Patrick Halcro, the 
traitorous ringleader in Robert Stewart's rebellion. The third house in Castleyards belonged 
to Margaret Seater, and the fourth to the burgh. All these Andrew Young acquired, making 
himself the sole proprietor of the Yards. He also bought Scatter and Holland from Douglas 
of Spynie, and thus laid the foundation of the landed estate of the family. 

There were three Andrews in succession, and each of them in turn might be described as 
the most prominent man of his day in Kirkwall, best known to government and most relied 
on for county business. 

The first Andrew was an elderly man when his father died. In 1660, he had seen his son 
William married to Barbara Moncrieff, and had given him eighteen hundred merks. In his 
will, dated 1662, thirteen yeai*s before his father's death, he states, i)erhaps for the old man's 
benefit, " As regarding my worldly meanes, goods or gear, any thing God hath blest me with 
hath been acquired by myself and my loveing spouse, Marion Meason, our own industry." 
He then constitutes his wife his sole executrix. She was to have life-rent of all his i)roperty^ 
"And her sone shall not come to enjoy any part thereof so long as she lives, except what his 
good behaviour towards her and her o^iie good will shall allow him. And if at the sight of 
Patrick Blair of Littleblair, that our said son, William Young, after my decease, shall come 
short of paying all duty and filial respect to his mother," he gave his executrix permission to 
leave a sum of 500 merks to any of her friends. To all this William, now two years married, 
signs as consenting. But William predeceased his father, and so was not affected by the will. 
He was evidently a good business man, a bailie and burgh treasurer, and though he died in 
the prime of life, he had made money enough to buy Orquil in 1674. William Young and 
Barbara Moncrieff had four sons and a daughter. Their eldest son, William, died in infancy^ 
and the second son, Andrew, became heir to his father and his grandfather. 

WTiile Andrew the elder was keeper of the king's girnell, his brother, Thomas, was 
receiver of the bishopric rents. David Forbes, Kirk Treasurer, reported that he had received 
from Mr Thomas Young, twenty-five meills of malt, t 

Thomas Young married Helen Traill, of the Holland family, widow of Thomas Kirkness^ 
skipper. Kirkness must have been fairly successful in some contraband business, for an 
entry in the Session Records, 29th April 1672, refers to " the illegal wonne geier, wonne in her 
first husband, Thomas Kirkness, his tym." 

The marriage of the second Andrew of Castleyards apparently took place in the south, 
and it came as a surprise to his friends. Thomas Brown enters under date 3rd June 1687 — 
" Friday night, about 12, Andro Young of Castleyards, with Thomas Young, his brother, and 
• Ante, p. 133.. t S. R., 28th July 1669. 



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210 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

Andro Young, son to Bailie Young, took boat from Kirkwall to Sanday to ship by that ship 
which was loading with bear, bound for Leith." Then, 30th July—" Saty.— It was declared 
by Bailie James Young that his brother, Andrew, was married to Jean Moncrieff/' On 
August 31st — "At night, Andrew Young of Castleyards, with his wife, Jean Moncrieff, 
entered their dwelling-house and actual residence in Kirkwall." 

Under date 13th May 1688, Brown enters — "Sabbath night, about 10 or yrby, Jean 
Moncrieff, spouse to Andrew Young of Castleyards, was brought to bed of a man chyld, and 
yrafter baptised upon the 17 day of said month, quhois name is Thomaa." This son probably 
died in infancy, but they had another, William, who planted the trees in Caatleyard's garden. 
He died unmarried and disinherited.* 

After the death of his first wife, Andrew Young married Margaret, eldest daughter of 
William Mackenzie, commissary, and grand-daughter of Bishop Murdoch. In granting her 
life-rent of his property, he makes a reservation, " that my eldest son of the second Marriage 
Surviving for the time, or the heir of the eldest son, if any, shall have my haill silver work 
with my new house Clock, the Pitors in my Dineing Roume, and my Chist of Drawers and 
Scrutore, and sword and pistols, and two best guns to pertain to himself without any 
division." 

It was ordained that Mrs Young, " being personally present," should take " deliverance 
for her self, and in name of her children, of the keys of the chists and cabinets, ane chair, ane 
candlestick, ane Horse by the Head, ane Cow by the Lug, and other Symbols of the 
Pleanishing, uttincills and Domicills, necessary to the Praemises." 

In leaving his property to the eldest son of the second marriage, Mr Young provided for 
his other children : to James and Charles, 1000 merks each ; to Mary, his eldest daughter, 
1800 merks ; to Sybilla, his second daughter, 1000 merks ; and to Barbara, Christian, and 
Elizabeth, each 800 merks. 

The eldest daughter, Mary, married John Riddoch, eldest son of George Riddoch of 
Bleroch. He was a writer in Edinburgh, and came to Kirkwall in 1732 as Sheriff-Clerk on a 
commission from George, Earl of Morton. The second daughter, Sybilla, married James 
Gordon of Cairston. 

Castleyards was the busiest man in Kirkwall of his day. As keeper of the girnell, he 
required to be continually giving out meal on credit, and as money was very scarce in Orkney 
among the bulk of the people, he had difficulty in avoiding bad debts. Frequently the 
girnell-keeper had to cit€ a number of his customers before the Burgh Court. Young kept 
his books carefully, and gave in a yearly account of his intromissions. As receiver of rents 
for Alexander Brand, tacksman, 1693, his salary waa £266 13s 4d Scots. The following year, 
as collector for their Majesties William and Mary, he paid to the Session £200 as a gift from 
the Crown. 

All kinds of offices of trust were thrust upon him. The Commissioners of Supply, 
" haveing hade sufficient tryell and experience of the qualifications, honesty, and fidelity of 
Andrew Young of Castleyards, and of his fitness for officiating," appointed him their Clerk 
and Collector of Cess. 

While Episcopacy prevailed in the Cathedral, Castleyards wrought very pleasantly with 
ministers and Session, and got from them any favour which they could reasonably grant In 
1689, he obtained permission to erect a seat for his servants " at the back of the dask, with 
this special provise that it stoppt not the passage to the Graham's Loft." 

Even after Presbyterianism waa fully established, we find him receiving favours. In 

* T. W, Ranken. 



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LONG GUTTER TO STRYND. 211 

March 1703, he asked and obtained pennission to break open a door in the mutual wall 
between his backyard and the kirkyard. 

'* In reference to the desyre of Andrew Young, the Session having taken the same at this time to 
their consideration, do, with^the advyce of the magistrate present, there being no more of them in 
tonn, give Libertie to the said Andrew Young to Break out a door on the foresaid Dyke, having 
entrie through the church yaird, as also to big a stare at the nucke of his house,* qrby they may have 
access to the church yaird in order to their passing to the sd. Door, with this special provision, that 
he and his shall be oblidged to keep up the sd. stare, and to make it unaccessible to beasts." 

It is observable that the only Magistrate at that meeting was Bailie William Young. 
But Andrew fell out with the Church, and on one occasion, in language more forcible 
than elegant, he expressed his opinion regarding the clergy of Orkney : — 

" The qlk day t it was rei^resented that Andrew Young of Oastleyards had most basely slandered 
and cursed the ministers of this Preerie. and of the whole Synod, bidding God damn them for a pack 
of knaves. The Presbyterie thought fitt to deferr this untill Mr Robert Douglas came to the town." 

And then they thought fit to defer it altogether. Mr Douglas, who was evidently an 
important witness in the case, was the Earl of Morton's brother. 

The outburst was probably occasioned by the persecution which the episcopal congr^ga- 
gation was enduring at the hands of the Presbytery and Synod. 

But Mr Young was obliged to fall back upon the Session in time of need. Representa- 
tions were made to the Government that he had been ** accessory to the late rebellious 
practices J in this place," and he had to beg from the kirk a certificate of loyalty. This the 
Session granted, being obliging enough to sacrifice truth in order to secure the safety of their 
townsman. 

From the unsettled state of the country, and the number of fugitive Jacobites on the 
move, such certificates were required by all travellers as necessary passports. Thus, " on acct* 
of rebellious practices of some," the Kirkwall Presbytery, 1716, granted certificates of loyalty 
to George Gibson, David Strang, and George Richan, who purposed going south. The same 
year the Presbytery sent no representative to the Assembly " on acct. of dangers from rebels.'* 



-Q^?jdn^n^>tj (W^oii^ 



Young was Provost of Kirkwall for a couple of years, and he occasionally found Council 
work trying to the temper. On the 17th August 1711, he reminded the Council that in April 
of the previous year, when he was Dean-of-Guild, he had been grossly insulted by George 
Bichan of Linklater, who had interrupted him in the discharge of the duties of his office. He 
admits " that he, the said Provost, did grapple with the said George Richan, for which he 
declares himself sorry, and regrats that he did not rather accept of the abuse without any 
resentment except a salute." He had been fined £100 Scots for the assault, and had given 
bond for payment. He wishes the Council to consider the provocation, and return the 
bond. This they agree to do, because, as they say, he was " intolerably provocked." 

* From this description, and the run of the churchyard wall, Andrew Young's house must have 

occupied the site of the old Custom House. 

t P. R., 11th Feb. 1709. X Proclamation of James VHL 



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212 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

Richan had at the same time been fined 500 inerks, but because he had rendered great 
services to the burgh, and to encourage him towards future acts of liberality, they reduced his 
fine to £20 Scots, the mere expenses of the case. 

But Castleyards was thwarted by the Council when he attempted to stretch his prero- 
gative. At a meeting of the Town Council, 5th May 1724, the Provost, John Covingtrie of 
Newark, " Represented that he had broake some Stones for Building upon the ground below the 
mount or fort lying on the East of the Harbour of Kirkwall, and that he was Interrujited by 
Andrew Young of Castleyards when the Boat's men came to carry home the saids stonas, and 
therefore desired the Judgemt. of the Council! in that affair. The Magistrates and Council], 
taking the same into their consideration, and being perfectly satisfied that the said mount or 
fort had been still in the possession of this burgh, By the Having a Great Gun mounted there 
for the service of the Government and for the safety of the Burgh in Time of Warr ; and also 
Considering that the Inhabitants of this Burgh have been still in use to break and carry away 
stones from the Ground below the said Fort, and between that and the Burgh, and that peacibly 
and Quietly, without any Interruption, past memory of man : Therefore, they, the saids 
Magistrates and Councill, una voce, are of unanimous opinion that the said Andrew Young of 
Castleyeards his endeavouring to hinder to breake or carry off any Stones from the said 
Ground is ane manifest Incroachment upon the just priviledge and possession of the said 
Burgh and destructive to the policy of the same : Therefore, they not only ordain and 
authorize the Stones lying there already broaken to be peacibly and quietly Carried off, But in 
all Time Coming Doe Impower and authorize the haill Inhabitants to breake and Carry off 
Stones for the benefite of building from the East end of the said Burgh to the utmost part of 
the said fort or mount, or in any other alongst the Shoare, where they have been in Imme- 
morial! possession ; and in case of any disturbance to the Inhabitants in Breaking or Carrying 
away the said stones, They doe unanimously agree that, upon application to any of the 
Magistrates, The oflficers of this Burgh shall be furth with Sent to put their Sentence in 
Executn., and ordains the haill Councill to attend the Magistrates for holding ane admirall 
Court on the said ground instantly." 

Young had bought Weyland, or a part of it, from Stewart of Brugh, in 1708, hence his 
attempt at interdict. 

Andrew Young died in 1734, and was succeeded in his property and in some of his 
appointments by the eldest son of his second marriage, the third Andrew of Castleyards. His 
widow, Margaret Mackenzie, died in 1760, and her son writes to his uncle. Colonel Mac- 
kenzie : — ** This serves to inform you that your sister, Margaret Mackenzie, my mother, died of 
a fever, Thursday last, and that your sister, Sybilla Mackenzie, after a long and tedious 
illness, died the day thereafter." 

Nine years before his father's death, this Andrew had married Barbara, daughter of 
Robert* Baikie of Tankerness, widow of David Traill t of Sabay. They were "cited for 
clandestine and unorderly marriage." The fault was that " on 10 April, at night, they unlaw- 
fully called a person to celebrate the marriage." The " person " was, without doubt, a deposed 
episcopal clergyman ; and whether father, or mother, or son was responsible for this enormity 
does not appear, but for the crime Young was fined £500 Scots. J With the advent of 
presbyterianism, religious persecution had not ceased in Scotland. 

Andrew Young and Barbara Baikie had one son and two daughters. The son Andrew, 
Captain in the 16th Foot, was killed at the siege of Belle Isle, 1762. 

In a letter to Colonel Mackenzie, announcing the death of his son, Mr Young writes : — 
" I am well informed that he behaved with remarkable bravery. His lot, poor man, was a 
* T. W. Ranken says James Baikie. t Dr Traill's Genealogy. { H. L., from Sheriff Court papers. 



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LONG GUTTER TO STRYND. 213 

hard one, and he has paid the last debt of nature, on an early year, in the service of his King 
and country and in an honourable way." 

In the same letter, he proceeds to say : — " My eldest daughter, Peggie, with the entire 
approbation of all my friends, is soon to alter her present state, and is to enter into a matri- 
monial one with James Gordon, eldest son to James Gordon of Kerston, an agreeable, sensible 
young man as any in the Country. He was educated in Holland, in the mercantile sphere, 
and prosecutes that business, which affords an income that will make them live comfortably." 

In 1747, Government thought fit to grant postal communication between Kirkwall and 
Edinburgh, and the organisation of the new system on this side of the Pentland Firth was laid 
on Castleyards. When Sir Lawrence Dundas acquired the earldom estate, it was to Andrew 
Young he wrote as the representative man of the county : — 

" London, 31 July 1766. 

** Sir, — I make no doubt but that you have been informed of the bargain I have concluded with 
the Earl of Morton for hie Estates in Orkney and Zetland. As my being proprietor of this Estate 
^ves me a considerable interest in the County of Orkney, I propose, if agreeable to the Gentlemen 
Freeholders there, that Mr Dundas, my son, shall offer his services as Candidate for Member of 
Parliament at the next General Elections. I shall be very happy to know that this will meet with 
your approbation, and that my Son ma}' expect your support and interest at the Election. One 
thing I can venture to assure you, that no person will be readier and have more satisfaction in serving 
the Gentlemen of the County than both he and I shall have upon all occasions. — I am, with very great 
regards, Sir, your most Obedient, hum. Servant, (Signed) Lawr. Dundas. 

** Mr Andrew Young." 

It would seem to those who have only bare statistics to found upon, that it had been one 
of the terms of the sale that the seat in Parliament should go to the family of the purchaser. 
At this time the sitting member was Sir James Douglas of St. Ola, one of the Morton family. 
He was a distinguished naval officer, and rose to the rank of Admiral. He was elected in 
1754, and was on active service abroad during a considerable part of his membership. He 
was knighted as the messenger who brought the news of the capture of Quebec, 1757. 

Had the earldom remained in Morton's hands, no doubt Sir James would have retained 
his seat ; but in 1768, the first election after the transfer, he withdrew, and Mr Thomas 
Dundas took his place. 

It has been seen that Captain Andrew Young had been killed in action, and when his 
father passed over to the majority, the male line of the Youngs became extinct. The family 
now came to be represented by Mary, the sister of the last Andrew of Castleyards, who had 
married Mr John Riddoch, Sheriff Clerk. 

The site of the South Block House of the Castle, which the Magistrates had bought from 
Andrew Young, had been turned to account as a flesh market. This was re-purchased from 
the Council by Mr Riddoch, and here he had built his dwelling-house. 

His garden extended to the Peerie Sea, and in 1770 he had permission from the Town 
Council to " flitt his wall " twenty feet back. After the manner of the time, his kitchen was a 
separate building. In 1805, he gives to his son, James, " All and whole the said John Rid- 
doch's Kitchen or Brewhouse, at the back of his dweUing-house, and on that place where the 
Old Flesh Market stood, and to which he had right from the Magistrates and Council of 
Kirkwall." 

The north boundary is given as the " Ruins of the Old Castle of Kirkwall," and the south 
his dwelling-house. This exactly fixes the site of the Old Flesh Market as that occupied by 
the business premises of Messrs Peace & Low, while Provost Riddoch's house, now that of the 
widow of the late Provost Peace, occupied the waste ground belonging to the South Block House. 

In conveying the kitchen or brewhouse to his son, John Riddoch is styled Sheriff- 
Substitute. In those days the duties of Sheriff-Clerk, Sheriff-Substitute, and Sheriff-Officer 



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214 



KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 




Stone from the Earl's Palace, t 



were strangely mixed, and we find Mr Riddoch at times engaged in dangerous work. At the 
kelp riot in Stronsay, when swords were out and sticks and fists were active, Mr Riddoch kept 
his wits about him, and made his arrests without violence.* Sometimes he got scant fairplay, 
as when a reckless man, aiming low, took a sitting shot at him, with an uncomfortably 
accurate aim.f 

As already stated^ James Gordon, yr. of 
Cairston, married Margaret Young, niece of Mrs 
Riddoch. In this connection, Mr Riddoch made 
considerable advances of money to assist Gordon 
in his business enterprises. These speculations, 
however, proved so unsuccessful that Gordon's 
estate was put up for sale in Edinburgh, and Mr 
Riddoch holding bonds over the property, to 
avoid further loss, bought Cairston. 

There had been Gordons in Orkney for a long 
time. In 1589, ^ William Gordon, Captaine of 
the Castell of Kirkwall," witnesses Maijorie San- 
dilands' discharge to William Irvying of the rent 
of 300 merks payable by him. 

In March 1622, Patrick Gordon, in Sanday, 
grants an acknowledgment for £50 to William Gordon, merchant, KirkwaU ; and in April 
of the same year, Patrick Gordon, Cairston, receives a similar favour, to the amount of 
£24, from John Spence. Possibly, Patrick of Sanday was also Patrick of Cairston, but 
after this time the name is not so much associated with the North Isles and with Kirkwall 
as with Stromness and the West Mainland. 

The first of the family to appear in the " Rentals" is William Gordon, who, in 1642, § had 
a feu of How, Bu' of Cairston, Fewell, Nenerschaw, and Garsend. The family tradition as to 
the first Gordon of Cairston is that a young member of the Huntly family loved a maid of low 
degree. But the girl had a suitor in her own station of life whom she preferred. The scion of 
nobility could not challenge the lowly swain, so he simply stabbed him ; and when he saw his 
rival dead, he took flight to save his own life. He came to Orkney, and found employment as 
gardener to Buchanan of Sound. After some years, his family discovered his retreat, and 
unable, or perhaps unwilling, to have him back, sent him suflicient money to take a feu of the 
lands of Cairston. 

A more recent tradition regarding a member of this family is still afloat. It is said that 
€k)w, the pirate, while in Stromness, won the affection of Miss Gordon. The two plighted 
their troth at Stenness by joining hands through the Ring of Odin. This pledge w£is so sacred 
that, should the marriage be prevented by the death of one of the betrothed persons, the other 
could only be released from the vow by touching the dead hand which when living had been 
clasped through Odin's Ring. Accordingly, Miss Gordon went to London, waited the trial of 
the pirates, and after the execution, getting permission to see the body of Gow, redeemed her 
pledge. 

James, only son of John Riddoch, who had in 1763 been appointed Sheriff'-Clerk jointly 
with his father, died without issue, and the name in connection with Cairston and Castleyards 
became extinct. 

* See ante, p. 147. t See ante, p. 107. 

t This stone was built into what was Mr Biddoch's property, now Mrs Peace's, by Mr John 
Brace, jailer, who was a tenant of this house. 
f Pet. Rent., p. 16. 



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LONG GUTTER TO STRTND. 



215 



Until recently, the Hudson Bay Company's ships, when outward bound, made an annual 
call at Stromness. In Provost Riddoch's time, Henry Pollexfen, an official of high standing in 
the Company's service, strolled over from Stromness to have a look at Kirkwall. He was a 
gay widower, and he found Kirkwall so attractive that he allowed the Hudson Bay squadron 
to sail without him. He married Mary, eldest daughter of Provost Riddoch. They had no 
children, but Henry Pollexfen, a son by the first marriage, coming to visit his father and 
to salute his stepmother, found Castleyards so pleasant that he remained and married Mr 
Riddoch's second daughter, Margaret. The relationships were somewhat mixed, no doubt 
— ^young Henry being brother-in-law to his own father, and Margaret calling her sister mother- 
in-law— but that did not matter. They had a large family, the ninth child, Thomas, becoming 
the ancestor of the present Pollexf ens of Cairston. 

From the marriage of Andrew Young of Castleyards and Margaret Mackenzie, the late 
Captain Baikie and the present Balfours of Trenaby are descended from Bishop Mackenzie of 
pious memory. 

Christina Young, the prelate's great-granddaughter, married John Baikie, and Captain 
William Balfour married Mary Margaret Baikie. 

At the back of Castleyards, and midway up the Strynd, was the Kirkwall residence of the 
Stewarts of Burray. 

About the middle of the sixteenth century, " Burray, Hounda, Glowmesholme, Flottay 
and the Calf, Swethay and Swonney, were set in few be Adame, Bischop of Orkney, to Lady 
Barbara Stewart and hir airis, for payment yeirlie of £62 6s 8d, 24 pair cumingis, and 24 
maiss of Stra."* Lady Barbara was the daughter of the second Lord Levandale, and her 

nephew, Archibald Stewart, Lord Provost of Edinburgh, 
son of Sir James Stewart of Beith, inherited her rights. 
Archibald's nephew followed, and his only child, Barbara, 
married William Stewart, brother of the Earl of Galloway. 
Their eldest son, James, predeceased his father ; their 
second son, Henry, was killed fighting under Montrose 
at Auldearn, 1645 ; and their third son. Colonel William 
of Mains, disponed Burray to his brother Archibald, the 
youngest of the family. 

Archibald was a steadfast Boyalist, and, as such, 
had a most adventurous career. He joined the Duke of 
Hamilton in the King's cause, was captured, and escaped. 
He followed Montrose from Kirkwall in 1650, and was 
taken prisoner after the rout at Corbisdale. He was 
condemned to death, but again escaped. He joined 
Prince Charles in his attempt to regain his father's 
throne, and at the fatal battle of Worcester, 1651, he was 
taken a prisoner by Cromwell's men. After a captivity 
of several months, he once more escaped. When the 
B^toration came, Charles II. made him a baronet, a well- 
earned distinction.t 

His first wife, Isobel Murray, died in August 1683, 
and in September of the same year he married "Katherine Rowsay, his servatrix, and 
daughter to Patrick Rowsay, indweller in Stronsay." J 

In 1695, Sir Archibald bought the house in the Strynd at the back of Castleyards from 
♦ Pet. Rent., ii. 106. t H. L, t T. B. 




Arms of Stewart of Burray. 



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216 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

James Baikie of Tankerness, and it became the town residence of the Stewarts of Burray. 
The second Sir Archibald led an uneventful life ; but the third baronet, Sir James, had a 
history. He was a man of very violent temper. He quarrelled with the Town Council, with 
his neighbours, and with every one opposed to him on any subject. Vedder gives an amusing 
account of a shooting affair which took place on Holm Sound,* for which Sir James paid a 
very heavy fine. 

But the most serious assault of which he was guilty was the fatal attack on Captain 
Moodic of Melsetter. The motive for this act of violence is differently stated. Sir James and 
his brother Alexander, poaching on the Melsetter estate, had been caught by Moodie's 
servants, who took their guns from them. For this Moodie had ai)ologised, but political 
rancour rendered apology useless. Tudor makes the quarrel lie between Alexander Stewart 
and the Captain.f 

An account of Moodie^s murder was written by Robert Honyman, Sheriff of Orkney, 
within half-an-hour of the occurrence. From it we learn that at two o'clock in the afternoon 
of the 26th October 172.'), Moodie and Honyman were passing up Broad Street to attend a 
meeting of Justices of the Peace in the Cathedral. At Bailie Fea's gate t they were met by 
Sir James Stewart and his brother Alexander, who attacked the Captain first with sticks and 
then with swords. The gallant old seaman, how^ever, had i)lenty of fight in him, and kept 
them both at bay. Moodie's servant and the Sheriff got hold of Alexander Stewart, while 
the two young Honymans and the Stewart Clerk kept Sir James back. Then Burray, in his 
mad fury, called on his servants to shoot the Captain. One shot missed the intended victim, 
but, in the words of the Sheriff, " it lighted on my third son, Peter, and cutt the rim of his 
belly." Tradition has it that Sir James then called, " Fire again ; the damned Hanoverian 
has more lives than a cat " ; and the second shot proved fatal. The actual murderers escaped 
over the churchyard wall by the Castleyard stei)s, in at the back of Stewart's house, out at 
the front, and off to the Ferry. The instigators left town the same night before Mr Honyman 
could induce the Magistrates to arrest them. 

The first opjwrtunity of sending a letter south after Captain Moodie's death was taken 
advantage of by David Traill, yr. of Elsness, to write to his uncle, David of Sabay, and this 
letter shows that Alexander Stewart w^as the prime mover in the unhappy affair : — 

" Kirkwall, Ist Nov. 1725. 

" Loving Uncle, — This serves to acquaint you that your Lady and Daur. are in good health, as 
also that your friend, Alexander Stewart, Burray 's brother, had ane Incounter upon the Street, 
Tuesday last, and after some strokes given the old Captn. by Mr S., ane servt. of his hred two pistols, 
qrof the Captn. was mortally wounded, and died of his wounds yesterday morning. So you may 
ludge the event, after the unlucky misaccident happened, the murderer went of after qt maner the 
Dearer will inform you, and BuiTay and his Broyr. went of said night. So all good men should be 
upon their guard, but it's hard guarding against Pistols. 1 am sorry the Lyk should happened any 
gentleman by ane sneaking Servant boy. What turn this may give to affairs, I do not know, But the 
Lord work his own work. — I am, with all respect, Dear Uncle, your affectionate Nephew, 

David Traill. 

" Keep this to yourself from me, for it will be published by others. My kind love to Peter 
Blair." 

The Stewarts escaped to the Continent, but, after six years, the solicitations, and no 
doubt misrepresentations, of friends, procured for them a imrdon, and in 1731 Sir James 
returned to Burray. 

Twenty years after Moodie's murder, the Stewart brothers are said to have joined the 
army of " Bonnie Prince Charlie." The tradition goes on to tell that Alexander fell at Culloden, 

* See aiUe, p. 107. t p. 231. J Near the door of the Post-Office. 



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LONG GUTTER TO STRYND. 217 

but Sir James fled for refuge to his own little island kingdom. Certain it is that Captain 
Benjamin Moodie, son of the murdered man, found Stewart lurking in disguise near his own 
house. Sent to London, he was lodged in Southwark Jail to await his trial. He died in 
prison, and his death is perhaps the one magnanimous act of his life. Had he been tried for 
his share in the rebellion, condemnation would certainly have followed, and his estates would 
have been forfeited, while to escape sentence was to escape confiscation. 

In those days a prisoner could purchase anything short of escape ; so procuring a lancet 
or other pointed instrument, he bled himself to death, and his estate passed to the Earl of 
Galloway as nearest-of-kin. 

If the Stewarts were present at Culloden, they were the only Orcadian gentlemen there. 
James Fea of Clestrain, who. Captain Moodie said, was at the Pretender's camp at Falkirk, 
was home again before the final rout. 

Several, however, were punished who had not left the islands and who, according to their 
own showing, were most loyal to the House of Hanover. 

The following memorial is perhaps the best narrative that can be had of the state of 
Orkney in 1746. Five of the principal houses in the North Isles were burned, and thair 
owners were compelled to take to the rocks for safety. The story of Balfour of Trenaby and 
his four friends, hiding in the Gentleman's Cave in Westray, seems to have been founded 
upon the treatment these gentlemen received, as here described : — 

MEMOBIAL OF TRANSACTIONS IN ORKNEY IN 1746. 

The Case of Archibald Stewart op Brugh, John Traill of Elsness, John Traill 
OF Wbstness, William Balfour of Trenaby, and others. 

** On ocoMion of a dispute between the Ek^rl of Morton, us, and other Gentlemen proprietors of 
lands in Orkney, touching their weights, whereby they made their payments of corn, butter, etc., to 
the E^rl as their superior, Andrew Boss, his Lordship's Sheriff-depute, beins highly disobliged with 
them for attempting to redress their grievances on this article, threatened revenge against them, 
which he found means of executing, as appears from the following narrative. 

** In the spring, Mr Ross, the magistrates of Kirkwall, and other gentlemen, invited us and 
several other gentlemen to the town, to consult what measures should be taken for preserving our 
country from ruin. The rebels being then on the point of landing there, we, pursuant to the advice 
of our parish ministers* and other loyal neighbours, repaired to Kirkwall, which we found in pos- 
session of a small party of the rebels, detached from Caithness by Lord Macleod ; and the Sheriff 
havinig thus drawn us into the snare, sailed himself, with the Provost of the burgh,t to Zetland. So 
small a P<u*ty, however, jading it unsafe to continue in a country where thev had so few friends, 
retumea to Caithness and rejoined Lord Macleod, vowing to return with a reinforcement sufficient to 
-execute their vengeance on these islands. 

'* In this situation, being sensibly touched with the calamity that threatened our country, and 
deserted by our Magistrates, and having no Justice of Peace in the county to convocate the in- 
habitants to arm them for their defence, we judged it prudent to write a letter to Lord Macleod 
remonstrating against a demand of land-men from a country inhabited by sea-faring people only; 
that if he had been encouraged to expect a rising here, he haa been much misinformed, as the genius 
of these islanders led them to the sea service ; adding, by way of amusement and to cajole majijr vm, that 
had the demand been for sailors instead of soldiers, it might have been more successful ; concluding, 
by way of compliment and to divert their jealousy of our disaffection to them, that our deliverance 
could only come through the Prince. Mr Balfour carried this letter to Caithness, with instruction 
not to deliver it unless he found the rebels resolved to reland in Orkney, which by correspondence 
with some of their officers he discovered with certainty, and that they had ordered vessels for that 
purpose ; whereupon he delivered the letter to Lord Macleod, and by Ms address prevailed on him 
to lay aside the project. 

*' Though this, and only this, letter is the reason given out for the following violences, yet it is 
Bubmitted, u it ou^ht not rather, on the contrary, to be commended as a laudable, ingenious, and 
prudent expedient m such a dangerous conjuncture, and the more so still as it answered our plot and 
view by saving our country from the impending storm ; to which we add, that as there was not one 

* Cowan, Westray ; Covingtrie, Sanday ; Jamieson, Rousay. f James Baikie of Tankemess. 

2F 



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i218 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

man in the whole country that joined the rebels, which in some measure may be ascribed to our 
influence and example, so we, as well as every individual that suffered from the following violences, 
were educated in and made open profession of the Presbyterian religion established by law in Scot- 
land, and constantly attended the ordinances dispensed by the clergy thereof, and are distinguished 
even amongst our loyal neighbours for our attachment to the present blessed establishment in Church 
and State. 

** In the end of May 1746, Benjamin Moodie of Melsetter, lieutenant in Colonel Thomas Murray's 
regiment, a native of Orkney, and either a near relation or intimate acquaintance of every one of us^ 
was sent to Orkney with a command of a party of marines. What instructions he had from his R.H. 
the D. of Cumberland, we know not ; but after he had been some time there. Captain Thomas Smith, 
commodore of all his Majesty's ships on the northern coast, happening t<> stop at Stromness, an 
excellent harbour in that country, Mr Ross and his partizans had frequent conference with him on the 
subject of the treason charged against us, founded on the foregoing letter, which was painted in the 
most odious colours. Thus was the commodore plved during liis stay at Stromness, irom which he 
ordered a tender to wait on Mr Moodie to the North Isles, where we had our residence. Mr Moodie 
and his friends gave out that they acted by Mr Smith's orders, which is not presumable, considering 
his excellent character, unless he has been grossly imposed upon. Mr Ross issues a warrant, June 14, 
to the bailies of Westray, Rousay, Sanday, and Nortn Ronaldshay, commanding them to intimate to 
all the heads of families in these islands, convened for that purpose, a summons by Mr Moodie 
requiring us to surrender ourselves prisoners to him by the 20th of that month under the pain of being 
esteemed and treated as rebels, and bavins military execution done against our persons and estates. 

** Whereupon Mr Moodie repairs to Westray, and having delivered his summons to the minister, 
in the absence of the bailie, to be published b^ him, went and searched the houses of Cleat and 
Trenaby, where we, Archibald Stewart and William Balfour, reside ; and having taken two or three 
fowling-pieces and a cutlass, which were all the arms he found, he set out with his marines for North 
Bonalasay. 

" In his way thither (June 15), he happened to see a boat at some small distance, upon which he 
ffave orders to fire, and the bullets narrowly missed the men. They rowed up to him. Mr Traill of 
Westove, to whom the boat belonged, with his men, were made prisoners, carried to North Ronaldsay, 
and kept under guard for the greatest part of the day, and then robbed Mr Traill of what papers and 
letters he had in his pockets, which he has never returned ; and after intimating his summons, and 
the Sheriff's order relating to it, he repaired to Sanday. 

'* He went to the house of Elsiiess, in that island, and without waiting for the keys, which were 
offered to be brought to him, broke open every door in the house ; and he, with his marines, having 
rummaged it all over, and carried away what they had a mind on, left it open and exposed to every 
body, the servants having deserted it for fear ; and all this happened before the said summons was 
published in the island. 

*' Our creditors, seeing the hazard they would run if our estates were wasted, in conjunction with 
Thomas Balfour, son to Elizabeth Traill, relict of John Balfour of Trenaby, in behalf of his mother, 
gave in a remonstrance to Mr Moodie, setting forth the injustice of wasting a widow's life-rent for a 
crime alleged against her son, and also how much it would prejudice a great many innocent persons, 
creditors of these gentlemen, if the estates whereupon they had their securities should be thus 
destroyed ; and the creditors offered proper documents of their claims, and Thomas Balfour produced 
his mother's infeftment upon the house and lands of Trenaby. 

** Margaret Ballantyne, Lady Westness, mother to me, the said John Traill, and liferentrix of my 
house and lands of Westness, implored Mr Moodie's mercy, who gave her full assurance that every- 
thing pertaining to her should be in absolute safety, and promised an answer to the remonstrance m 
'two days, from whence they inferred protection, but were soon undeceived ; for, on the 24th June, he 
went with his marines and the tender down to the house of Westness, and having got William Traill, 
tenant in Eagleshay, who taking upon him to act as a magistrate, convened the inhabitants, and from 
them Mr Moodie and he pickt four of the ablest young men in the Lady Westness' life-rent lands, and 
then the captain gave orders to the marines to plunder and burn the house, which they did with all 
the rigour imaginable, not so much as sparing the outhouses and bams, so that the poor lady was 
necessitated to shelter herself and her family in a horse stable. William Traill assisted the marines 
and shared their proportion of the plunder ; the remainder, with the four captives, was shipt aboard 
the tender. 

*' Sailing from thence, they touched at the island of Eday, a part of the estate of Mr Fea of 
Clesteran, and being assisted by the said William Traill, from whence they carried off a great many 
young men and cattle, and from that steered their course for Westray, and produced to the bailie the 
sheriff's warrant for convening the inhabitants. Mr Moodie, with his marines, went to the house of 
Trenaby, which he caused to be plundered and burnt ; and before it was so, Thomas Balfour again 
repeated the above remonstrance, and at the same tim^ the lady herself, on doing so, was orderea by 
the captain to be driven away by his marines. They broke opei) ftlsp a warehouse belonging to Thomas 
Balfour and carried off his goods of several kinds, such as salt, (Jry-ioods, tobacco, etc. 



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LONG GOTTBR TO STRYND. 219^ 

" Their next inarch Was to Cleat, a hoi^se belonging to me, the said Archibald Stewart, which was . 
also plundered and burnt, and particularly a cabinet with paper, which the captain caused strike open, 
took out such as he had a mind for, and carried away witn him ; the rest were consumed by the 
flames. One circumstance is remarkable, namely, that when the house was on fire, a gentleman 
occasionally present, and commiserating the lady's misfortune, intreated the captain that, out of pity 
to her as his near kinswoman, and as a mother of 7 or 8 young children, would spare an outhouse that 
stood hard by, telling him that if it were burnt she and her numerous family would be entirely 
destitute of any habitation ; to" which he answered, for that very reason, by God, it must be burned 
too ! and which was done accordingly. 

' * The captain convened the mhabitants on the estates belonging to me, the said Archibald 
Stewart, denouncing fire and sword against all who should be absent ; when convened, he caused the - 
bailie ask at a few of them some questions touching our behaviour since the beginning of the rebellion, 
particularly whether we had attempted to raise any men for the Pretender's service, to which they 
answered in the negative, declaring that some of us in their hearing had made open profession of our 
allegiance and attachment to the present government, promising them our countenance, and which we 

Sive them accordingly. The baiue moved that these questions and answers should be put in writing, 
ut as these truths did nut serve the captain's purpose, he would not allow it to be done ; and as a . 
mark of his displeasure at such answers, caused seize every young man on the grounds belonging to us, 
Archibald Stewart and William Balfour ; some (of these) during the confusion found means to 
escape ; eight were committed prisoners to the tender, which occasioned their friends to make a pro- 
digious outcry, who insisted that if these men were to be examined, they should be so instantly,- 
and forthwith discharged ; to which they were answered that they were to be carried to Kirkwall 
to be examined before the Sheriff, and when that was done, they should be then at liberty. 

' * The plunder and prisoners beinff shipt, the captain saileci for North Ronaldsay, a small island, 
the property of me, the said John Traul of Westness, and by the assistance of one Strong, my overseer 
there, but who entirely depended more on Ross than me, and had been made to hope for a share of 
my estate for betraying me and his neighbours, convocated all the inhabitants, threatening fire and 
sword against all those who should be absent, and when convened, every young man on the island was 
seized and sent prisoner to the tender. 

'* From this island he sails aeain to Sauday. The bailie told him that he could not convene the 
people, for they had taken the alarm and fled either to the rocks or to the sea in small boats, but if 
he inclined to examine any particular person, he should endeavour to bring him to him. The captain 
condescended on a tenant of - me, the said John Traill, who was accordingl}?^ brought, and being 
interrogate concerning his master's conduct during the rebellion, and having received the same answer 

Sut to the tenants formerly mentioned, he was thereupon in great rage, and not only refused to put 
own his answers in writing, but immediately plimdered and burnt my house of Elsness without 
allowing my friends to carry away my papers or other valuable effects therein. The captain having 
here exposed part of the plunder to sale, he shipt the rest and sailed for the island of Stronsay, but 
the people there having taken alarm, he went to Kirkwall with his plunder and prisoners. 

*' On the 30th June, the plunder of the burnt houses Wivs sold by public roup in Kirkwall ; and 
seven or eight of Mr Moodie's tenants, whom he had brought from the farthest end of the country to 
assist at the devastation, drew their shares of the spoil. 

** In the year 1746, Mrs Balfour, elder of Trenaby, thinking she, a poor oppressed widow, and 
against whom no crime was ever alleged, had a very good title to the protection of the magistrate, 
joined by several of her tenants, presented a petition and remonstrance to Mr Ross, setting forth the 
violence already committed against them ana what they had still to fear ; that their servants and 
cottars had been forced away, and were still detained prisoners ; their cattle driven to barren moun- 
tains, and their goods hid and buried in caves and pits, to their vast loss and prejudice, and neither 
they nor their families in an hour's security from these lawless outrages, and therefore implorinc the 
protection of the sheriff, and that he would interpose his authority for their security. But Mr Ross 
refused to give any answer to them. However, a few days after, Mr Moodie writes letters to the 
ministers oFthese islands desiring them to assure their parishioners that, as he was fully satisfied of the 
innocence of the common people, every individual of them was in absolute safety, and had 
nothing to fear from him either to their persons or goods ; and yet, notwithstanding all this, 
in a few weeks after, at the very beffinnins of harvest, he sends out a small party and seized one 
William Rendall, a cottar or tenant of Burgh, and one Thomas Rendall, a tenant or cottar of Thomas 
Traill of Tirlet. The last of these two found means to escape, but the other was carried prisoner to 
Kirkwall, where he was kept in gaol seven or eight weeks. During his imprisonment, Mr Moodie 
plied him close, both by the hope of reward and the fear of punishment, to engage him to accuse his 



roaster. Burgh, or any other of us, of having attempted to inlist him or any of his neighbours for the 
rebel service ; but all proving to no purpose, and the fellow being unfit for military service by some 
infirmity in his legs, he was at last dismissed. And again, in the month of September, in the throng 
of the harvest, Mr Moodie came with his whole command to the isle of Westray, upon which the 
inhabitants, almost to a man, deserted their houses, left their cattle and corns to perish by excessive' 



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220 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKKETS. 

winds and rains, and fled to the rocks and caves for sanctuary, and some even hazarded their lives in 
small boats on the sea in most tempestuous weather. Some of them that fell in his way, or had 
trusted in his promise, he seized, and particularly two servants of Mrs Balfour, the elder, who wore 
then employed in taking in her corns ; one of them was detained under a guard for two days, the 
other was carried to Kii^wall and kept several weeks, till the harvest was entirely over ; and during 
all the harvest and winter he was sending out every now and then parlies into different quarters en 
the country, and seizing such persons as he had a mind, some of whom shared the fate of those already 
mentioned ; others, more fortunate, were rescued by the interposition of their piirish toinisters. Neither 
were the people all this time at liberty to travel from place to place or to come to Kirkwall to sell 
their commoaities or to buy their necessaries as usual, least their goods should be plundered and their 
boats seized, as happened to one from the island of North Ronaldsav, which being employed to carry 
in some coods belonging to the merchants in Kirkwall, was seized by Mr Moodie's order and put to 
public 8c3e. 

" One would readily imagine that the foresoiag scenes of cruelty and oppression would have been 
enoufi:h to glut the keenest revenge ; yet Mr Koss, not satisfied with his malicious representations, 
whereby he rendered us obnoxious, to the resentment of the government ; by prompting and egging 
up this same captain, a silly and insignificant boy, to be the instrument of wreaking his resentment, 
under the pretence, forsooth, of doing the government service, which appears by his acknowledging 
that he had art and part in these crimes, expressed in his letters to the bailies of the several islands, by 
his permitting so many innocent persons, who had been seized in consequence of his order, to remain 
in irksome and cruel confinement, just under his eye, notwithstanding of the petitions and remon- 
strances of their friends in their behalf ; by refusmg protection as a magistrate to people, and even 
to widows so inhumanely oppressed ; by industriously calumniating us on every occasion as not 
only of disaffected principles, and who had kept close correspondence with the rebels during the 
rebellion, and brought them into our country by our solicitation, but men of such malignant disposi- 
tions that our native country would never enjoy peace while we were allowed to live. A broad nint 
to this purpose he gives in a letter to the Presbytery of North Isles when talking of an opposition 
some of us with our neighbours had made to the settlement of a minister against the inclinations of 
the people. Another instance of the like nature is that, by his influence upon the commissioners of 
the supply of Orkney, the greatest part whereof are his creatures and at his devotion, he induced 
them to come to the most extravagant and illegal resolution perhaps ever heard of, whereby they find 
that we have been guilty of high treason, and therefore assess our lands in such a tax as they think 
fit to impose, from which they exeem all the rest of the country, and, as we are informed, they obsti- 
nately insist in forcing the payment of it. And, further, as he had meant to extirpate us root and 
branch, and to punish our families for our alleged crimes by depriving them, whilst in the greatest 
affliction, of the common nece-ssaries of life, he inhibited our tenants to pay their farms, or to give any 
sort of acknowledgment to us, and sent about to make up inventaries of^our moveables, forbidding our 
families the use of them on the highest pains ; which prohibition had such effect with some, that the 
victual brought in for the use of our families was taken back and otherways disposed of ; and yet, 
after all this, he has the impudence to aver that he was doin^ us all the good offices in his power, and 
that he had no hand in the outrage committed by the captain, notwithstanding that he procured the 
magistrates of Kirkwall, who are nis known dependants, to concur with him in granting a warrant for 
apprehending of us ; for we no sooner returned to Kirkwall, but we were committed to prison, from 
-vnience they thought it convenient to discharge us after two days' confinement, upon being threatened 
with an action of damages. This was the last, but a very important part of his malice. Here we 
must observe the reasons assigned for seizing us, as they are expressed in the warrant for that purpose. 
They say that it appeared to them that Commodore Smith had granted a warrant to Captain 
Christopher Middleton for seizing us, as being accessory to the late rebellion, and for burning and 
destroying our houses, etc. We wish that we nad been possest of the commodore's orders, which Mr 
Koss and the magistrates say that they had seen ; for, as we have a just title for reparation of our 
damages, we wish we had our redress against the commodore, who is sufficiently able to make restitu- 
tion ; for as to the other offenders, their situations are such that we have no reason to hope that we 
can operate our i^b'ef from them." 

This memorial at once abolishes the myth of the " Gentleman's Cave ^ and accounts for 
its origin. 

After Sir Lawrence Dundas bought the earldom lands from Lord Morton, he purchased 
the Stewart property from Lord Galloway. 

Meanwhile the house in the Strynd went to wreck ; and, in January 1766, Lord Garliea, 
son of the Earl of Galloway, sold the ruinous tenement " to Robert Symie, Sclater, for and in 
consideration of six pounds sterling." 



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LONG 0X7TTER TO STRTND. 221 

Symie built two houses on the site, and these remained in possession of his family till the 
middle of the present century. In 1849, Esther and Ann Drever were certified by Sheriff 
Eobertson as granddaughters and nearest heirs of Robert Symie. 

The site of the abode of Stewart of Burray is now the property of Mr Pollexf en, and 
forms part of his garden. 

The house at the head of the Strynd, on the south side, was, in 1677, occupied by two 
owners. Isobel Porterfield, widow of Thomas Sinclair, weaver, had the larger part, valued 
at £20 ; and John Paplay the other portion, valued at £8. 

The two families seem to have been more near than neighbourly, for, 4th May 1674, 
Isobel Porterfield was summoned " for alledged scolding, the last Sabbath day, with Jonet 
Paplay."* 

♦ 8. R. 



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CHAPTER XIV. 

Broad Street. 

(^"J^OUSE-BUILDING within the precincts of the Castle began at the south-east corner .♦ 
When, in 1591, Earl Patrick Stewart took possession of the Castle of Kirkwall, he 
realised the necessity of having in his employment blacksmiths superior in ability to 
any that Orkney could supply. Accordingly he brought from Falkirk, or rather from Abbots- 
haugh, a place near Falkirk, now effaced from the map of Scotland,! two brothers, William 
and John Kincaid. The two blacksmiths had married two sisters, Bess and Alison Hoy. 
Though conveyances of property are very meagre in their reference to family life, it may 
almost be read between the lines that Bess Hoy was not held in high esteem by the Earl, and 
that she and her husband did not always pull together. 

In 1594, William Kincaid died, and, instead of making provision for his widow, he left 
the bulk of his property to his sister Alison, wife of James Archibald, tailor in Falkirk. Mrs 
Archibald, thinking that property in Orkney was scarcely worth looking after, handed over 
her rights to her brother John. John had lent his sister-in-law £80, and, in 1695, Earl 
Patrick granted him decree to sell William's house, now occupied by the unfortunate Bess. 
8hould the price obtained exceed the debt, John was to hand over the surplus to his sister-in- 
law and take possession, the widow being ordered by the Earl to " demit as she will answer 
to us." 

This is the first approach to iiUe in this part of the town. These houses were built on the 
site of the old brew-house of the Castle, their exact position being at the corner of the lane 
opposite the present Post-Office. The smithy stood between the dwelling-houses and the 
Castle. 

The house put up for sale by John Kincaid found a purchaser in Captain Thomas 
Knightson. 

At this time there were in Kirkwall not a few skippers, but only one or two captains. 
The distinction marks the fact that the captain was a fighting man, and the skipper a trader, 
and the inference may be drawn that Knightson had commanded one of the Earl's ships of 
war. 

Besides purchasing her old house, the gallant captain married Bess Hoy. But prudence, 
possibly derived from experience of the Earl's temper, prevented Knightson from reinstating 
her in the quarters which she had been ordered to "demit." So immediately after the 
purchase, it is recorded that " Captaine Thomas Knychtsane, for myself, and takkand ye 
burding upon me for Bessie Hoy, relict of umql. William Kincaid, Smyt," grants the use of 
Bessie's house, "besyde ye Castell," to "John Kincaid and Alisoun Hoy, his spouse, the 
langest levand of thame." 

John Kincaid's house, with the smithy to the north of it, passed to a nephew, David. 

* Titles favoured by Mr W. P. Drever. t Ordnance Survey Gazetteer. 



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BROAD STREET. 223 

In 1613, Earl Patrick being a prisoner in Dumbarton Castle, and not likely to return to 
Kirkwall, Captain Knightson bought these, apparently for the sake of the site. David 
Kincaid*s son, William, sold to " Captane Thomas Knychtsane sa-mikll ground as extends to 
fourtie-thrie futtis in lenth f ra the north to the south, and threttie futtis in breid f ra the est 
to the west, boundit on the south syde from the vennal next adjacent to the land and tene- 
ment ptaining to William Guid, and on the north to the King's Castell." 

In 1616, Kincaid, with the help of Harie Aitken, Notary Public, procured a proper title 
for Knightson, the length being now " nyne scoir futtis " and the breadth fifty. 

The Town Council, which had been suppressed by the Stewart Earls, was, in 1612, 
reinstated by Bishop Law, and it assumed the right of superiority over the Castle grounds, 
the Crown authorities being either ignorant of this assumption or indifferent to such a trifling 
matter. In 1617, Knightson was elected Provost of Kirkwall. He was ousted by Harie 
Stewart, 1619, but was reinstalled the following year, and held office till 1621. Knightson 
died somewhere about 1622 ; the will of his widow, Bessie Hoy, is dated 1623. The Captain 
did a considerable business in money-lending both in Orkney and in Edinburgh. 

In 1622, Knightson's house and smithy became the property of Bobert Monteith of 
Egilshay. 

In 1635, Monteith, for 1000 merks, sold the Castle property to Andrew Smythe, brother 
of Patrick Smythe of Braco, and from him it got into possession of Bishop Graham. The 
Bishop, who, though keen in acquiring money, was liberal in giving — at all events to his own 
kith and kin— had promised, 26th June 1638, his second son, Mr Patrick Graham of Kothies- 
holm, a sum of 3000 merks. He redeemed that promise, 11th August the same year, by 
giving him " the two quoys beside St. Ola's church, which had belonged to St. Katherine's 
prebendary, als weill these houses buildit by umql. Captaine Thomas Knychtsone as remanent 
houses and biggings of the samen.'' 

North from Graham's two houses, probably where Mr Kirkness' property now is, was a 
rough bit of ground, known as " the Castle brae, extending to twenty-four foots of rule in 
breadth from S. to N." This was purchased from the Magistrates of Kirkwall in 1688 by 
John Graham of Grahamshall, who levelled it, thus clearing away what was possibly the last 
remnant of the earthworks which had defended the old fortress. With his new acquisition, 
Graham got a charter from the Town Council for the whole property. 

In 1710, Bailie Donaldson, for £1000 Scots, got infeftment from Graemeshall, and came 
down from his house in the Laverock to this the more fashionable quarter. Fashionable as it 
was, while the Donaldsons held this property, Kincaid's old smithy was busy as ever, and the 
ring of the hammer on the anvil enlivened Broad Street down to the middle of the eighteenth 
century. 

But Broad Street was not altogether dependent on the smithy for bustle and stir, 
Grasmeshall and Tankerness were near neighbours, only three houses separating their dwellings, 
but their meetings might have been more friendly had they resided on their estates in Holm 
and St. Andrews. 

*' Provist and Baillies of the brugb of Kirkwall. 

'* To our officers of the samen, conjunctlie and severallie, speciallie constitut, ffreitinff. fforsa- 
meikle as it is humbly meant and sbowen to us be Robert Morisone, Pror. Phiscall of the l^wn Court 
of the burgh of Kirkwall ffor her Majestie's Interest, that where James Grahame of Grahamshall and 
Robert Baikie of Tankerness did upon the nynteenth instant,* each of them with Kains in their 
hands, with many sad and heavy strooks upon the head, shoulders, armes, back, and other places of 
their bodies, Beat, Bloode, bruise, and abuse the one of them the other ; and a little thereafter the 
said Robert Baikie of Tankerness did, within the dwelling-house of John Sanders, Merchant in 

* August 1703, Sheriff-Court papers. 



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224 KIRKWALL IN rT&B ORENETS. 

Kirkwall, name and oall the said Jamea Grahame of Grahameehall yillane, knave, and raackall, 
whereby they and ilk ane of them have broken her Ma'tie's peace, and have committed ane mutoall 
blood weet battery and riot, the one of them apon the other ; and also the sd. Robert Baikie of 
Tftnkemess is guiltie of ane open and manifest ecandall in the highest degree ; and therefore they and 
ilk ane of them should be seveirly fyned and americat in peconial mulcts in example and to the 
tarrour to oommitt and doe the lyke in tyme coming." 

They were fined £10 Scots for breach of the peace, and Tankerness had to pay £50 more 
forthe"scandaU.'' 

The difference in the amount of the fines is very suggestive. The Ma^strates considered 
that two gentlemen might on occasion inflict on each other with their " Eains ** " sad and 
heavy strooks" under slight penalty, but when one called another villain and knave, it 
required that he should be dealt with more severely. The libel is five times more heinous 
than the assault, character being so much more valuable than personal comfort. 

Whatever may have been thought of James Graham's temper, his hospitality was 
undoubted : — 

" 7th July 1694. 
** Bailie Young, Kirkwall. 

" Sir, — The Knight went to Barray er Andrew cam out bee boat from Newark, with him his 
Ladie ; and soe just now 1 am goins to see him. My boat I have sent to Scapa, intreating, if able, 
that you. Bay lie Stewart, and your brother Andrew maye come out wt. her. You will alwavs have 
ane horse to rayd ther. Gorthie goes from this to Grahamstoun, haveing alreidie taken leive at 
Bnrray, for you may see the Lady nalcrow. Advertise Baylie Stewart and Andrew. Oversanday's 
wife also comes if able. Soe in hasto. — I am, yours, (Signed) Ja. Grahams." 

While the Town Council assumed the right to dispose of the Castle brae, the property to 
the north of it had fallen into the hands of William Young of Castleyards, keeper of the 
King's girnell. This tenement was " ane of the block houses of the castell, commonlie called 
the south block house." In 1669 this house was repaired by Andrew Young and let to his 
brother-in-law, David Moncrieff. 

In the lease it is described as " lyand in the precincts of the said old Castell, and boundit 
with the brea callit the castell brea, and the houses and yairdis pertaining to Mr Patrick 
Graham of Grahamshall also lyand within the precincts of the said castell on the south, the 
said old castell on the north, and the king's commone heigh streitt passand betwixt the said 
old castell and the castell yairdis and the tenements theirto belonging, pertaining to the said 
William Young, on the east pairtis thereof." 

Moncrieflf could scarcely have occupied the house repaired for him, for in the same year 
the south block house was rented by the Town Council to be used as the flesh market. 

A memorandum in the handwriting of Provost Arthur Baikie shows that the Magistrates 
secured the consent of the tenant to the proprietor's new arrangement : — " Memento in anno 
1676. Daved Forbes, N.P., this wtin wrait tak subvd. be umqil Wm. Young and daved 
moncrieff', anent ye fleshmarket in Kirkll., deat ye 9 of August 1669, qlk tak hes onlie on 
witness subscryving, viz., Rob. Asken." 

In 1697, the Magistrates bought from Andrew Young of Castleyards " his house called the 
flesh mercat, L3dng adjacent to ye croce of Kirkwall, in that pairt thereof called the Midtoun, 
formerly acquired by ye deceast William Young of Castleyairds from umql. Alexr. Douglas of 
Spynie, as factor and Trustee for ane noble and potent Earle, umql. William, Earle of 
Mortoun." 

The necessity for a flesh market is shown : — 

**At Kirkwull, the twentie-eight day of April, sixteen hundred and sixty -nyne years. The 
Quhilk day, in pnce. of the Provost, Bailies, and Gounsall of the brough of Kirkwall, they, after 



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BROAD STREET. 225 

serious and mature oonsideration, understanding the great abuse and prejudice comitted by fleshars^ 
inhabitants within this brough, and in particular in the killing and selling of yr. beives, sheep, swyne^ 
and uyr. fleshes of that nature, and finding by the ancient custome and practize of this brough, ilk 
beife, cow or ox, ought and should be buikit in yr. cullers marks and fra quhom they were bought, 
and the customes and dewties payit yrfor, conforme to the use and wount, beeing twa shillings Scotta 
for each cow, ox, or bull ; each swvne and sheep, sex penyis ; each stott or young quoyack, twelve 
pennyis ; and for booking to the Clerk, eight penny is. And seeiug that the said Fro vest, Bailyies, 
and Counsall have farmed and sett furth the said pettie customes and dews above wm. to Magnua 
Tail^eor, tailyeor, burgess of this brugh, with full and speall. power to him to uplift, ask, and receave 
the samein from all persones lyable in payment yrof. They therefore decern and ordaine the saida 
fleshars, and ilk ane of them, rexive. for ther awin pairts, to make payment and satisfaction to the 
sd. collector of qt. they shall hereafter be found lyable in under the paines and penalties speit. in the 
said act made thereanent, and sicklyke that no kyne, oxen, bulls, swyne, stott, qnoyack, or sheep be 
privatlie killed be any of thame, but in the open mercat, under the paine of foirfaulting the wnole 
carcas to ye use and behoofe of the poore, and ordaines the said collector to have the extract thereof 
for his warrand, and to proceed yrin as accords." 

After doing duty as flesh market for more than half a century, the old '* Block House ** 
was in 1775 purchased from the Town Council by John Kiddoch, Sheriflf-Substitute of 
Orkney, and the flesh market was moved back to the sliore of the Peerie Sea. 

On the site of the old block house and its yard, Mr Riddoch built his dwelling-house and 
offices. The warehouse of Messrs Peace <k Low stands on the site of " the said John Riddoch's 
kitchen and brew house, where the old Flesh Market stood, and to which he had right from 
the Magistrates and Council of Kirkwall." * 

The last bit of the Castle ground on Broad Street taken up for building purposes was 
that part lying north of the ruin. In 1706, Robert Morrison, who had built some of the 
houses in the Strynd, acquired from the Magistrates " the piece of waste ground lying to the 
north of the old ruinous castle, 68 ft. in length from east to west, and 28 ft. in breadth from 
south to north, reserving that the said Robert leave as much room upon the north side as & 
horse and kavet or horses with loads can pass through, consisting of seven foots in breadth 
for the said passage betwixt the new dyke to be built by the said Robert and the yard dyke 
possest by Marion Irving, relict of umql. Patrick Mowat, Merchant." 

Morrison had permission also " to intromit with and make use of the stones of the old 
dyke at the east of the piece of waste ground." As the eastern boundary was the Queen's 
High Street and the western the Oyee and sands, it is here shown that in 1706 the distance 
from this part of Broad Street to the Peerie Sea was sixty-eight feet. 

The kavet mentioned above evidently means panniers, and the word itself is allied to our 
word cubbie — a caisie with a close bottom which could carry grain. Cubbie Lane, then, is not 
inappropriate as the name of the western continuation of the Strynd. 

Morrison, doubtless, meant to build here, but, having fallen into pecuniary difficulties, he 
was unable to carry out his plans, and the Magistrates re-purchased the ground. 

From the Magistrates it was bought by Robert Grant, who lived almost opposite. In 
1832, it belonged to Grant's son-in-law, William Traill, Esq. of Frotoft. He sold it to John 
Dennison, merchant, who built on it the house which, with additions, is now the Castle Hotels 
the property of Mr W. H. Statham. 

The southern portion of Broad Street belonged to the Church, and was occupied by the 
houses of the dignified clergy. This, and indeed all the town south of the Castle, was 
ancieotly known as the Laverock,t but in our oldest Valuation Rolls the name is restricted to 
that part of the town south from the Bishop's Palace and its pertinents. 

* Sasine, 19th April 1806. 

t This name is recoflrnised in the Bargh Charter, ** All and haill our said Burgh and City of 
Kirkwall, and that part tnereof called Laverock." 

2g 



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226 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKKKYS. 

When, in 1544, Bishop Reid re-constitiited his Chapter, he appointed Malcolm Halcro, 
provost ; John Tyrie, arch-dean ; Nicolas Halcro, chantor or precentor ; Alexander Scott, 
chancellor ; Stephen Culross, treasurer ; Peter Houston, sub-dean ; Magnus Strang, sub- 
chantor ; and all these had houses in or near Broad Street. 

The mansion and garden of the Provost occupied the site of the present Town Hall, and a 
full half of the property south of it, jiow belonging to Mr James. Tait, while it extended west- 
ward to the Oyce. 

By virtue of his office, Malcolm Halcro was incumbent of South Ronaldshay and Burray, 
and had the teinds of these islands. Like other good churchmen of his day, however, he used 
his position to set in feu to his kinsmen portions of the lands from which his revenues were 
derived. 

There was a charter granted by Sir* Hew Halcro, Canon of the Cathedral Church of 
Orkney, and Mr Malcolm Halcro, Provost of Orkney, to their cousin, Hew Halcro, "of the 
lands of Holland, alias Halcro, and othens, particular lands lying in South Ronaldshay, quhilk 
charter is dated 1545, Jany. 20th." This charter was confirmed by Queen Mary, April 1548. t 

Provost Halcro was an amiable man with strong human affections, and though he should 
have been known as father only in a spiritual sense, he was father according to the fiesh of 
quite a large family of boys, all sons of one mother. 

Sheriff Nicolson, in his genealogy of the Halcro family, says : — " Halcro of that ilk is the 
most ancient family in Orkney. Halcro, Prince of Denmarke, possessed a great part of the 
Isles of Orkney and Zetland. His storehouse for receipt of rents stood at Tingwall, in the 
parish of Rendall. A great ]>art of the lands in Orkney and Zetland are held under titles 
derived from this family. The mansion from which they took their title is in Halcro, in 
South Ronaldshay." 

The only difficulty about " Halcro, Prince of Denmark," is to fit him into a niche in 
Orcadian history. He does not appear in the Saga, and historians pass him by without 
recognition. Even " the mansion from which they took their title " was known as ** Holland " 
till, says a good authority I on such matters, a member of the family changed the name to 
^'Halcro," about 1540. As late as the rentals of 1595, Holland is valued, but Halcro is not 
mentioned.§ 

Harry Halcro of that ilk married Lady Barbara Stewart, youngest daughter of Robert, 
Earl of Orkney, and got from the Earl wadset of lands in South Ronaldshay in security of her 
tocher good, which lands were redeemed by Earl Patrick Stewart in 1598. 

" Wydewall, Benorth the Burn, redeemed by my Lord frae Hary Halcro in anno 1598, 
which was wadset by my umquhill Lord to him for 100 mks. in tocher good with Barbara 
Stewart, the first year's payment to be of thQ crop 1599." || 

RonaldsvoQ, Akerhouse, and Lyths are also mentioned as having been similarly redeemed ; 
while, in the same island, Lady Barbara is stated to have " set " Grymness and Gossagair at so 
much rent '* because the land was dear." The Halcro family succeeded in getting possession 
of St. Salvator's Stouk lands in Sanday. 

This Henry Halcro, in 1580, got Enhallow in a charter from Sir Patrick Ballenden. 

Except that he founded a family, which for a considerable time took an active part in the 
work of Burgh and County, little is to be said of Malcolm Halcro. 

Succeeding Halcro in the Provostrie came William Mudy, who held office for about three 
years, when, in 1574, hQ was followed by Alexander Dick. 

In the days when ecclesiastical preferment was a matter of presentation, the previous 
character of the presentee was sometime^ left out of account ; but it seems somewhat remark- 
* An ecclesiastical title equivalent to Rev. f H. L. t H- L. § Pet. Rent. |1 Pet. Rentals. 



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BROAD STREET. 227 

able that the dignitary next in rank to the bishop should have against his name such aa 
indictment as Provost Dick had. On the 9th December 1561 he found bail to appear on 15th 
April following " for convocatioune and gaddering of our Souerane Jadies legis to the nomer of 
ii^xx. (80) persones in Sept. last, and sercbit and socht Henry Sincler of Stove and Mr 
William Mudy for their slauchter." ♦ 

Provost Dick, on taking office, found that his predecessor, Malcolm Halcro, had been too 
liberal in his gifts of church property. It is recorded in the General Register of Acts and 
Decrees, 24th July 1566, that Alexander Dick< Provost of Orkney, gets decree against Hew 
Halcro of that ilk to remove from certain lands belonging to the Provostry. 

South from the Provostrie stood the Thesaurerie, the residence of the Treasurer. At th& 
reconstitution of the Chapter, Stephen Gulross was appointed to this office, or perhaps 
confirmed in it, by Bishop Reid. 

The Reformation found Francis Both well in charge of the Bishopric revenues. Taking- 
advantage of the liberty which this religious change brought him, Both well married, his 
kinsman, the Bishop, taking eace that he should have the wherewithal to support a family. 
For this purpose St. Lawrence Stouk lay ready to hand, and, September 1592, " The 
Chaplainrie and Altarage of St. Lawrence was set in Tack to Mr Francis Bothwell for hia 
lifetime and his nearest heir's lifetime, and, after his decease, 19 years to his heir. Granted 
and signed by Adam Bothwell, Chaplain ; Adam, Bishop of Orkney ; Mr Ninian Halcro^ 
Provost ; Thomas Suenton, Archdean ; Adam Mudy, person of Walls ; Harry Colville, 
Chantor ; Hierom Tulloch, Sub-Chantor. To pay yearly to sd. Chaplain and his successors, 
£10 Usual money of Scotland, also to our Sovereign Lord and his successors' Chalmerlane ane 
Last of Victual yearly." 

In this nepotic grant it will be noticed that the second beneficiary, the Chaplain, was 
another of the BothweB clssa. 

Though the Reformation left Adam Bothwell in possession of the bishopric, it swept away 
most of the other dignities, and the old Thesaurerie ceased to be an official residence. 

Immediately south of the Thesaurerie were 'the Sub-chantry and Archdeanery, forming 
respectively the northern and southern portions of the square now known as Tankerness 
House. 

Under Bishop Reid's foundation, the sub-chantor was Magnus Strang. His duty was^ 
along with the precentor, to superintend the music of the Cathedral and the training of the 
choristers in the Sang School. 

Hieronimus (Jerome) Tulloch was the last sub-chantor. Though he allowed Gilbert 
Foulzie to secure his official residence in Kirkwall, he reserved for himself his fair share of 
church property. "The teindis of the said parochinnf of old was ane pairt of the sub- 
chanterie, quhilk dignitie was sett in take be umquhill Master Jerome Tulloch to his wyfe, 
Alisonne Lindsay ; quhilk take was disponit be hir, be adwyse of her husband, Alexander 
Muire, to the lait Earle of Orknay, who dyit in possession of the saidis teyndis, his take being 
expyred, and now the saids teyndis are payit to his Majestic." I 

The Archdean had very important duties to perform. He was the Bishop's Vicar, and aa 
such he visited the diocese and examined candidates for orders. 

The first official occupant of the Archdeanery was John Tyrie, and his successor, Gilbert 
Foulzie, was the last Romish Archdean under Adam Bothwell, the last Romish Bishop. 
Foulzie was also the first Protestant Priest of Kirkwall under the same Bothwell, the first 
Protestant Bishop. 

To Gilbert Foulzie the Reformation, from a worldly point of view, came as a boon. H& 
* Fasti. t Bumess. t Pet. Rent., 90. 



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228 



KIRKWALL IK THE ORKNEYS. 



not only secured heritable possession of the Archdeanery, but he was clever enough to secure 
the Sub-chantry also, and these he joined by additional buildings, making his mansion the 
square which we now see. Nor did he neglect his opportunity of seizing church lands. 
Bishop Graham reports :— " Patrick Smith hes a tak for some teynds of the Prebendarie of St. 
John, qlk I coft ip to the Bishoprick at a deir rate fra the heirs of Mr Gilbert Foulzie." 

Over the gateway of his enlarged mansion he plac6d the arms and initials of himself and 
his wife, M. G. F. and E. K., representing Master Gilbert Foulzie and probably E. Kinnaird, 
for the*arms are those of Kinnaird of Inchture. 




Gateway of Tankemess House. 

Between the shields is the following peculiar inscription :— ** Patrie Et Posteris, Nisi 
Dominus Custodi Erit Frustra Semen Nostrum. Serv. Et Ipsi. Anflo Salutis, 1574."* 

In 1576, Foulzie was appointed one of two Commissioners to plant churches where 
required in Orkney and Zetland. His death is approximately given as prior to 1595.t 

South of the Archdeanery, with a garden between it and the corner of Broad Street, was 

* Rev. Father Macdonald suggests that *' Patri et posteris " m&Y be a dedication to Foulzie's 
Father in Gkni — ^Bishop Both well — and his successors. *^Aiino salutis, 1574," doubtless marks the 
completion of the building. The body of the inscription is taken from Psalms cxxvi. 2, and xxL 31 of 
the Vulcate. The translation as dven by the Marc^uis of Bute to J. W. Gursiter, Esq.^ is—'* Unless 
the Lord keep [them], in vain shall our seed serve him." 

t Fasti. 



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BROAD STREET. 



229 



the residence of the Chancellor. Bishop Beid's Chancellor was Alexander Scott. The 
Reformation found James Annand holding the office. He was, by the General Assembly in 
1576, appointed Commissioner of the Church, to act along with his neighbour, Gilbert Foulzie, 
in planting churches where they were required. He died prior to 11th Dec. 1586. * 







1^ .^y< €L ,-i!!i^i£/'Ji.L!/'-XJjr5-y-4 j | 



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Inscription on Gateway, Tankemess House. 

Alexander Dick, the last Provost of the Cathedral, had sold the Provostrie, 7th May 1571, 
to William Gude and Margaret Camming, his wife ; but it soon again came into the possession 
of the Dick family. Here Sir William Dick of Braid laid the foundation of that colossal 
fortune which he spent so freely in the service of his country. 

From 1638, when Bishop Graham resigned the episcopate, Dick farmed the bishopric 
lands till 1646, in which year he received the honour of knighthood. In the first year of his 
tack he was elected Lord Provost of Edinburgh. In the Court books of Kirkwall we have 
frequent notices of his putting his coin out to usury. While Provost of Edinburgh he 
established an active trade with the Baltic and Mediterranean, and made, moreover, a profit- 
able business by the negotiation of bills of exchange with Holland. He was reputed the 
wealthiest man of his time in Scotland, and was generally believed by his contemporaries to 
have discovered the Philosopher's Stone. + 

He had ships on every sea, and could ride on his own lands from North Berwick to near 
Linlithgow. He was a zealous Covenanter, and, in 1641, he advanced to the Scottish Conven- 
tion of Estates 100,000 merks to save them from the necessity of disbanding their army ; and 
when, in the same year, the Scottish Parliament levied 10,000 men for the protection of their 
colony in Ulster, they could not have embarked the troops had not the ships been victuaUed 
by Sir William Dick. Scott, in the ** Heart of Midlothian," alludes to these loans when he 
makes Davie Deans say :— " My father saw them toom the sacks of dollars out o' Provost 
Dick's window intil the carts that carried them to the army at Dunse Law ; and if ye winna 
believe his testimony, there is the window itself still standing in the Luckenbooths, five doors 
aboon the Advocates' Close." 

But his hatred of " the Sectaries" was greater than his opposition to the Stuarts, and in 
1642 he advanced £20,000 for the service of ** King Charles." For this, when Cromwell got 
hold of him, he was fined £65,000, and was thrown into prison at Westminster, where he died, 

* Fasti. t Wilson'fl Memorials of Edin., ii. 8. 



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230 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNBirg. 

in 1655, of something suspiciously like starvation. Down to the last of the Scottish Parlia- 
ments we find his descendants petitioning for a restitution of these loans. 

Sir William's wife, Lady Anne MacKenzie, was a grand-daughter of the first Earl of 
Cromarty. As Lady Anne Dick, she was famous in Edinburgh society for her wit and 
repartee. In her youth she was a reckless romp. Dressing herself and her maid in male 
attire, she would sally forth from her home in Riddell's Close, going down the Lawnmarket 
and High Street of Old Edinburgh in search of adventures, and she sometimes found them. 
Some of her poetical pieces have been printed, and furnish curious specimens of the freedom 
of expression not only tolerated and perused but enjoyed, in those days.* 

Their son, John, occupied the '' Provostrie " for some time. He gave loans of money on 
his father's account, often advancing very considerable sums. He also acted as Sir William's 
substitute in the County Court. 

Living in a time when the penal laws were very severe, it may be interesting to look at 
Sheriff Dick in Court, t 

The last of this famjly whp took any part in Orcadian public business was Captain 
Andrew Dick. He farmed the bishopric rents for six years, beginning 1675. Captain Dick 
did not pull well with the Town Council. Thomas Brown, under date 4th Feb. 1681, records 
that " David Drummond, Bailie, and David Craigie, Provost, took the journey from Kirkwall 
to Edinburgh upon ye complent given in bi Captain Dick against them before the Privy 
Counsall, their day of compearance being 24th Feb. 1681." Captain Andrew resigned the 
office of Stewart shortly after Provost Craigie's return. This resignation and a lease the same 
year, 1681, of the Crown lands granted to Murray of Haddon, show what the Privy Council 
thought of the " complent." He left Kirkwall finally in 1686. " At Midday, Captain Andrew 
Dick sailed from Kirkwall Road for Zetland with his wife and most of his family (Monday)." X 
The wife's name was Francisca Nairn. 

The " Dick Loft " in the Cathedral was in the middle bay of the south choir aisle. Some 
little time before 1677 the old Provostrie had been demolished. On the northern part of the 
site a beautiful house was erected by Margaret Grott, widow of Patrick Prince. Till 1884 an 
oriel window in this house was a striking feature in the line of Broad Street. The boundaries 
of Prince's " great ludgeing under sclaitt roofe " are given as " the stryp running alongest the 
old brew-house on the north and the ludgeing ptaining to Harie Erbry, Merd., on the south." 
The name Prince is said to be Danish. At the time of James the Third's marriage, Fermon 
Pirence held high office at the Court of Christian of Denmark.§ 

Patrick Prince and his brother Magnus were successful merchants in Kirkwall, and the 
former held much property in the burgh. His wife, Margaret Grott, was the daughter of 
Malcolm Grott of Tankemess. Grott had large estates in Orkney. " 26th June 1590, Robert 
Earl of Orkney, Lord of Zetland," Ac, " for soumes of money payit and delyverit to us at the 
making hereof be Malcolm Grott of Tankemess have given, grantit, and disponit," &c., " the 
Land of Huipe, with the Holmes, in the Isle of Stronsay, Elsness and Lewisgarth, in the He 
of Sanday." 

While Margaret Grott remained in Kirkwall she was a person of much consideration. 
She carried on her husband's business with energy and success. She went south, however, 
having married John Baird, merchant, Edinburgh. On the tombstone erected by her to the 
memory of her first husband is inscribed, *^ Hier rests the corps of Patrick Prince, merchatit in 
Kirkwall, sometyme espoused to Margaret Grott, who left with her Edward, Harie, Magnus, 
Helen, and Catherine Princes." 

♦ Wilson's Memoriala of Edin., i. 169. t See Appendix. 5: T. B., 19th April 1686. § H. L. 



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BROAD STREET. 231 

On her deathbed the mother left the children of her first husband to the care of her 
second, and Mr Baird loyally took upon himself the charge. 

But Edward and Catherine had been in the custody of Helen Fea, sometime relict of 
Edward Grott, now wife of Edward Colville of Huip, who was very unwilling to part with 
them. Indeed, rather than give them up, she offered to take all the children, and to " seik 
nothing jnrfor except so much as the said Magnus Prince, their Uncle, should think meitt, fitt, 
and expedient." ♦ 

Harie Prince married a natural daughter of Patrick Smythe of Braco, and their son 
Magnus became Lord Provost of Edinburgh. 

One of the tenants of the Princes' house in Broad Street was the Lady Jacobina Hendrina 
Forbes. She wa^ a daughter of Patrick Forbes, Bishop of Caithness, who in his earlier days 
had been a regimental chaplain in the army of Holland. In that country he married a 
daughter of Colonel Erskine. They had a son, who was Commissary of Caithness, and a 
daughter, Jacobina Hendrina, who married Captain William Buchanan of Rusland, 2nd 
November 1672. After Buchanan's death, she espoused James Fea of Whitehall, but in her 
second widowhood she reverted to her first title, and was known as the Lady of Rusland. 

In 1702,t William Fea of Millfield bought from Magnus Prince, son of Patrick Prince, 
"his tenement of land, with yairds, etc., being the north pairt of the Tenement of Land 
pertaining of old to the Provostrie of Kirkwall," and granted it in liferent to Mary Lyell, his 
wife. It was while in this possession that Stewart of Burray and his brother Alexander 
sallied forth "out of the said Baillie ffea his gate" for the murder of Captain Moodie of 
Melsetter. 

Bailie Fea died here, 31st May 1741, and his' celebrated kinsman, James Fea of Clestrain, 
" sealed up the house till the nearest of kin be summoned." 

This tenement next became the property of Andrew Ross, Lord Morton's chamberlain, 
anathematised by Tudor for selling the slates of the Earl's Palace to roof the old Town Hall. 

ftoss got his commission, 29th April 1740, and at once proceeded to act upon it by 
appointing deputies. On the 19th of July he made Donald Groat of Newhall Bailie of Deer- 
ness ; 1st August, John Balfour of Trenabie, Bailie of Westray ; and next day, John Halcro 
of Crook, Rendall ; Patrick Fea of Kirbister, Stronsay ; David Nisbet, Firth ; James 
Sutherland of Windbreck, South Ronaldshay ; Patrick Traill, merchant, and Bailie of Kirk- 
wall, St. Ola ; and George Traill, yr. of Holland, Papa Westray. 

While Ross is debited with sins which he did not commit, he must be credited with 
virtues not sufficiently recognised. In his day he was the most advanced agriculturist in the 
islands, and he showed proprietors and tenants the newest methods. 

Using, perhaps abusing, his power as factor, he compelled his people to cultivate flax, 
while his nephew, William Lindsay, saw to the dressing, spinning, and weaving. Thus a very 
flourishing linen trade was introduced into Orkney. For a time this remained a very valuable 
monopoly in the hands of Ross and Lindsay, who soon found that it was more profitable for 
them to export the yarn than to weave it on native looms. Barry says that they yearly sent 
south as many as "twenty-five thousand spindles of excellent linen yam." Birsay, on 
account of its fine water supply, was their bleach-field. 

But it was not in the nature of the Kirkwall merchants to see a profitable trade like this 
go past their doors, and they struck in for a share. They could not, however, enforce the 
cultivation of lint, so they imported the raw material. " There are imported annually forty- 
two tons of flax into this country, which at an average may amount to three thousand pounds 
Sterling prime cost." J 

* 15th April 1680. f Fea's title reglBtered 6th Dec. 1707. t Barry. 



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232 KliiKWA^L IN TMfi.OIUCN^YS. 

This gave employment to a great number of flax-dressers. The hecklers and spinners, 
seeing the competition among the employers, made use of it to get their wages raised. Even 
under the improved conditions, the most expert girls could earn only sixpence per day by their 
spinning, but in the middle of last century sixpence per day was regarded as good pay for a 
woman. 

Though all the finest yarn went south, chiefly to Montrose, a considerable quantity of 
coarser fibre remained to give work to native weavers ; and in 1790, thirty thousand yards 
passed " the books of the stamper." But when the industry was at its height, it suddenly 
collapsed, the French war rendering the importation of foreign flax impossible. 

Boss farmed the bishopric rents from 1742 to 1776, and during that time he stands pro- 
minently forward as the most capable man in Kirkwall. 

The penultimate proprietor of this house was Dr Bremner, one of Kirkwall's many dis- 
tinguished medical men. Its last use was as a temperance hotel, and in 1884 it was cleared 
away to make room for the new Town Hall. 

This imposing structure, in the Scottish Baronial style, was built by Messrs Samuel 
Baikie & Sons from designs furnished by Mr T. S. Peace. The foundation stone was laid 
with Masonic honours by the Earl of Mar and Kellie, 20tli August 1884 ; and it was opened 
for public purposes in 1887 by Samuel Eeid, Esq. of Braebuster, Provost of Kirkwall. 

Within this building, besides Council Chamber and committee rooms, there is a large 
hall for public meetings, accommodation for the Post-Office, the Town Clerk's office and 
strong room, the Fishery Office, that of the Burgh and County Surveyor, and the Free 
Library. For this last boon, Kirkwall is largely indebted to the munificence of Andrew 
Carnegie, Esq. of Skibo, a Scottish- American gentleman, whose generosity in the establish- 
ment of free libraries is gratefully recognised throughout Scotland. 

The want of postal communication had been long felt before a service was extended to 
Orkney. Except as a favour done by sailors or travellers, private persons had no means of 
communicating with friends in the south. Public documents were conveyed by a special 
messenger at very great expense. The Pentland Ferry, the rights and revenues of which had 
been originally granted to the Groats, was no longer a monopoly, and boats could readily be 
hired on either side of the Firth. But what was really wanted was a regular subsidised 
packet between Caithness' and Orkney. 

The earliest recorded public movement towards securing a postal service was at a meeting 
of the Town Council, held 6th December 1709. '* The said day the Magistrates and Councillors 
having met, and considering that Mr Robert Douglas has now gone to London as Commis- 
sioner for this Brugh and others, doe therefore appoynt a Letter To be instantly writt and 
subscryved by the provost, and sent the first occasion to the said Mr Robert Douglas, putting 
him in mynd to act in that station as farr as possible for the weil of this Brugh, particularly 
hfi^t he endeavour to his power to have a post office established in this town upon the publick 
charges of the government." 

This had no practical result. In April 1711, the Convention of Royal Burghs memorialised 
the Commissioners of Trade in favour of the fishing industry : — " It will much facilitate the 
fishing trade if a pacquet boat were settled between John of Groat's House, on the Mainland 
n Caithness, and Kirkwall, or some other convenient place in Orkney." But Government 
was difficult to move, and the matter went to sleep for thirty years. 

In 1741, the following petition was sent from Kirkwall to the Member for the Northern 
Burghs :— 

" Memoriall for CoUonell Douglas anent Settling a Post Office at Kirkwall. 

" The Inhabitants of Orkney lye under great Inoonveniencys for want of a Regular Conveyance 



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BROAD STREET. 233 

of Letters, the post at present coming no further north as Thurso in Caithness. It is likewise a loss 
to the Commissrs. of his Matte's Revenue in the Customs k Excise that they have no way of corre- 
spondinff with their officers in that part of the Country. As also It is a jgreat Inconveniency for all 
trading oy sea, as there is a great resort of shiping to Orkney, for want of CDrrespondence from thence 
with their owners or merchts. It is therefore proposed, as a thing that would do very beneficiall to 
the Revenue and trading part of the nation in Grenerall, k this Countiy in particular, That a post office 
he settlerl in the Town of Kirkwall^ which is a Sea port and the Head Burgh of the County, and 
where the officers of the Revenue reside. For settling this office. The following Scheme is proposed : — 

Be Land. Be Water. 
Miles. Miles. 

From Kirkwall to Holmsound 5 — 

From Holm to Burray — 3 

The Island of Burray 1 — 

Over Watersound — 1 

From Thence to Burwick 5 — 

From Burwick to Duncansbay — 12 

From Duncansbay to Thurso 12 — 

23 16 

" By the following Computation, This may be performed for £27 6s 6d p. annum : — 

** Estimate foe sftTTLiNO a post bet. forsd. k Thurso. 

It is proposed that there shall be only one Runer from Kirkll. to Thurso weekly, who is 

to have 3/6 per week, inde yearly £9 2 6 

To the ferry fraughts of Holmsound and Watersound, weekly, 1/2 ; inde yearly ... 3 4 0* 

It is proposed that the Keeper of the Pentland Firth, on the Orkney side, shall 
transport the Runner weekly, as the weather forces, over the ferry to Caithness, k 
shall wait there till his return, k bring him back again, for which he is to have in 
full yearly 15 

The above sum, besides for the postmaster's trouble yearly. 

£27 6 6 

'* For effecting the scheme, it is proposed that the Government shall give the above sum to a 
proper person as postmaster for a short time, besides a proper encouragement to him, ft he to be 
accomptable to the Gk>vemment for the poastage of all the letters, and it is hoped that in a short time 
it will be able to defray the whole expence." 

Government took time to consider the matter, and, after six years, a commission, signed 
30th January 1747, by Alexander Hamilton of Innerwick, Esquire, Postmaster-General of 
Scotland, was sent to Andrew Young of Castleyards, constituting him Deputy Postmaster in 
Orkney. For his ** proper encouragement," he was allowed " Three-fourth parts of the Inland 
postage or duty on all letters both wayes between Edinburgh and Orkney, and that in full of 
all Sallaries to himself and substitutes for their care and pains, and for defraying the whole 
charge and Expence of Packet Boats and Runners between Orkney and Thurso in Caithness.'^ 

The frugal Government not only refused to accept any risk, but secured a margin of 
profit, leaving the loss, which was inevitable, to be borne by a private individual. Moreover, 
from that private individual, Alexander Hamilton, Esq., Postmaster-General, would exact his 
pound of flesh. 

It could readily be believed that a weekly mail from Orkney at that time and at the rates 
then charged would make a very light bag, so Mr Young seems to have allowed the letters to 
gather a while before he despatched them : hence the following : — 

" General Post Office, Edinburg, 26th May 1759. 
" Sir, — ^I am commanded by the Postmaster-General to Signify to you that it is observed you do 
not dispatch the Kirkwall Bag regularly from your office, insomuch that we have no letters here from 
Orkney but once a fortnight, and often it is three weeks before any arrive. This the Merchants 
justly Complain of, as the consequences must be very hurtfuL There can be no stop by the Ferrys at 
this season especiaJly, nor any want of opportunity of Conveyance from Thurso, as that Runner is 

* Correctly, £3 Os 8d. 

2H 



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234 ^ KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

alwise Dispatched twice a week ; yoa*l therefore let me know in course what is the reason of these stops 
that a prooer remedy may be provided. Tho' you should not dispatch a bag twice a week, yet once 
A week at least will alwise be expected, as there are two regular dispatches from this office. — I am. 
Sir, your most humble Sorn., (Signed) Wm. Jackson. '' 

The business of the Post Office was complicated by the fact that in its early days his 
customers required the Postmaster to give them credit. Here is an account per contra between 
the second Postmaster and the Kirk Session :— 

** Mr Andrew Young of CastleyardB, for his Brother's funerals, to the Session of Kirkll., Dr. 

To Ground Lair in ye Kirk, Best Cloath, etc. ... £1 I li 

By Cash allowed you for Postages of Letters over Pentland Firth, for the Presbutrie, as 

p. acct. given me by Mr John Yule, which he collected 6 8 

14 5i 

" Kirkwall, 4th Feby. 1761. — Received payment of the above Ballance of Fourteen shillings 6 ve 
pence and one-third of a penny Sterling, the same being Discharged, in name of the Session of Kirk- 
wall, by (Signed) Andbbw Liddell, K. Treasurer." 

In 1762, the running of the mails ceased to be a matter of speculation, and Andrew 
Young's commission was renewed on fresh terms. A salary of £23 was given for the Ptmt- 
master's service ; for boats and runners, twice a week, to and from Caithness, £30 ; for the 
management of byeway or road letters, £2— amounting in all to £55 stg. per annum in 
quarterly payments. When we see the arrival of a cartload of bags and baskets, forming an 
ordinary mail from the south, it seems an old-world story to look back to the days of a post- 
runner from Kirkwall. But there are still those among us who have joined the letter carrier 
at Kirkwall on a summer afternoon, tramped to Holm, sailed with him to Hurray, walked over 
to Watersound, crossed to St. Margaret's Hope, and next morning proceeded to fiurwick, 
whence the ferry boat started. Then from Huna, on the Caithness side, the passenger could 
join the mail coach. 

On the southern part of the Provostrie was the house of George Traill of Westness, the 
first Traill holding property in Orkney. 

The late Dr Traill of Woodwick, in his *' Genealogy of the Orkney Trailis," makes 
C^rge the founder of the Traill family in Orkney. The Doctor suggests that the name is of 
Norman origin, and that it is perhaps identical with that of Tyrell, " the unfortunate man who 
was unwittingly the cause of the death of William Kufus." As a link between the two, he 
quotes Fordun, who, referring at one time to Bishop Traill of St. Andrews, and at another to 
the unhappy regicide, names each of them Walterus Treyl. 

JMshop Traill, an alumnus of the University of Paris, was perhaps the most illustrious 
Scotsman of bis day. He lived in a troublous time, the reign of Robert III. Buchanan bears 
testimony to his worth as a churchman : — "A little after the death of Archibald Douglas, 
Annabella the Queen anfi Walter Traill, Archbishop of St. Andrews, died in rapid succession, 
from which a great change of affairs was universally presaged ; fur, as the military splendour 
of the country was supported by Douglas, the ecclesiastical authority and some shadow of 
ancient discipline maintained by Traill, so the Queen preserved un.stained the dignity of the 
Court."* 

As the Archbishop was a Romish prelate, Dr Traill does not claim to be descended from 
him, but only that the Orkney Traills are of the same stock—Traills of Blebo. The Doctor 
gives the crest and arms of the Traills of Blebo, and says—'' Their Orkney descendants have 
similar arms and crest.'' In Orkney, however, the early Traills do not seem to have used 

^ Vol. ii. 71. 



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BROAD STREET. 235 

these arms. For decorative purposes they preferred monograms, as seen on Plate III. of the 
work quoted. 

The Doctor finds that, about 1567, ^^ two of the younger sons of the house of Blebo went 
to the Orkneys.'' But the genealogist does not follow these two. He thinks he has historical 
evidence that Qeorge Traill came to Orkney with Earl Robert Stewart about 1680, but the- 
only authority that George was from Blebo is Sheriff Nicolson, whom Dr Traill had already 
described as *' quite untrustworthy.'' 

If George came with Earl Robert, he survived to be a retainer of the Earl's son, as he is> 
styled ^ Servitor to ane noble and potent Lord, Patrick, Earl of Orkney." 

The first of the family to appear in the Rentals* is John Trail, tenant of Mustarquoy^ 
who had, along with this farm, ^ ane quoy, pertaining Sanct Katherinis, the haill set be my 
Lord for 1 barrel butter, 4 poultry." The lord who "set" this farm and quoy was Earl 
Robert, and the probability is that John came north in the Earl's retinue, and was the father 
of George, who held a place in the household of Earl Patrick. 

Fn>m a study of the Commissary and Sheriff Court books, the conviction grows strong 
that G^rge Traill was Patrick Stewart's factor, and that during the Earl's long imprisonment, 
in remitting the rents, the factor very judiciously retained' in full his own salary. Indeed, it 
was the plea that the rents were not forthcoming as they ought to be, that furnished the 
opportunity for Robert Stewart's rising in favour of his father. 

Under the eye of his impecunious patron, Gkorge Traill could neither have made money, 
nor could he have kept any considerable sum had he got it ; but no sooner was Earl Patrick 
dead, than the "* servitor " bought one of the best houses in Kirk- 
wall and the estate of Westness in Rousay. More than that, he 
had capital to spare, which he freely put out to the use of those 
who chose to borrow at the *' annual rent of ten in the hundred.'' 
In 1616, he lent £300 to Malcolm Grott of Tankemess. 

His first wife was Jean Kennedy, his second Isobel Craigie, 
and '* it is an undoubted fact that George Traill died and left her 
a widow, with 13 children, in the year 1634." t 

Isobel Craigie did not at once give up her late husband'a 

money business. In 1636, she advanced 100 merks to Patrick 

iSSuVh^w^''^'' Murray of Woodwick. The sons also took it up. In 1632, 

"*' Thomas lent Gilbert Sinclair 400 merks. Even Robert, who 

was a merchant in Edinburgh, found Orkney securities good, for, in 1647, he obliged Patrick 

Bruntfield, Kirkwall, to the extent of £181. 

Undoubtedly, this money business laid the foundation of the wealth of the Orkney 
Traills, a family which has furnished more good men to the conduct of municipal work in 
Kirkwall than any other in the county, native or immigrant. 

George Traill's widow, who survived till 1661, married Hugh Halcro of that ilk, and, on 
his death, Edward Sinclair of Brugh. George's son, Thomas, was the first Traill of Holland, 
which he bought before 30th April 1650, as at Kirkwall on that date, under the designation 
" of Holland," Thomas witnesses a deed. 

The lairds of Holland, from their first settling in Papa Westray, have been alternately 
Thomas and George. Of the former name there have been four, of the latter three ; and but 
for the unfortunate circumstances which deprived this old and highly respected family of their 
estate, the next laird would have been the fourth George. 

In Papa, the second Thomas is remembered as the '* wicked laird." He was in league with 
♦ In 1696. t Dr Traill's Genealogy, Intro.. ix. t Favoured by Mr James Tait, 




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-236 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

the Devil, whose assistance he could at any time invoke, of course under the bond usual in 
such cases. When the fiend at length came to claim his own, Thomas Traill refused to yield 
liimself, and after a long and desperate combat, in which they used carnal weapons, the laird 
put his adversary to flight. If any one doubts the fact, let him visit the West Park, and he 
will see the place where the duel took place, a sterile spot in the midst of fertility. But it is 
not easy to circumvent Satan, and when Thomas, having died in his bed, was being carried to 
his last resting-place, a loud explosion within the coffin intimated to the horrified bearers that 
the Devil had got his due. 

From Traill his house in Broad Street was bought by Harry Erburie, who built on its site 
**ane large new tenement, sclaitt ruifed, estimat in yeirlie rent to fyftie pound." Like 
Margaret Grott's house, Erburie*s front was adorned by an oriel window. 

Erburie was one of CromweU's soldiers, who, when the garrison was withdrawn, got or 
took permission to remain behind. His first wife, Barbara Garden, perhaps came north with 
him, but his second, Anna Moncrieif, he married in Kirkwall. The retired soldier became a 
flourishing merchant and an active public man. 

When the Cathedral spire was burned. Bailie Erburie did what he could to save the 
building : — " Compeared Harie erbrie, merchant, and declared that when the steeple was 
fyring, He, at the request of the magistrates, lent seventeen salt hyds, which were laid upon 
the highest lofting of the steeple and upon the bells, for saving the said lofting and bells, 
and that .seven of them were brunt and ten damished, and desired payment therefor, viz., 
Eighteen pound scots for his said lost and damished hyds."* 

Harry and his wife, Anna MoncriefF, had three daughters, who all married well-to-do 
husbands in Kirkwall, and one son, John, who succeeded to his father's business. John was 
married in Sandwick to Margaret Murray, 1693. Young John Erburie was de.stined for a 
professional career, and at the age of fifteen he went to study at St. Andrews. At the Uni- 
versity, however, he fell into expensive habits, and contracted debts which hampered him to 
the end of his life. In deference to his classical training, he is in all public documents 
naming him, styled Mr John Erburie. 

Thomas Brown, in his diary, is very careful in his application of this title : — " Wedne.sday, 
Mr Jn. Watt, that came from Edinboro to be schoolmaster of the grammar school, was 
examined in the said school in presence of Mr Jas. Wallace, Mr Jn. Wilson, Mr John Shilpes, 
Mr John Herbrie, Mr Thos. Fullertoune, Gairsay, Oversanday, Stenhou.se, Tankerness, and 
several others." f 

As to young Erburie's debts, we find that Patrick Traill, mariner, met him in Leith and 
lent him £20, for which he took his "ticket," July 1692. This was sued for in Kirkwall by 
the son of the lender in 1698. Erburie admitted the debt, and said he would pay it when he 
could, but the Magistrates ordered him to square accounts in fifteen days under penalty of 
poinding. He had got, at different times, from William Lamb, merchant, Edinburgh, money 
or value to the extent of £436 stg., and, in security. Lamb, 1698, got saline of Erburie's house 
in Broad Street, with the usual formalities of " earth and stone, hasp and staple." This bond 
was redeemable by the i>ayment of principal and interest, " within the old church of Edin- 
burgh, at that part where the Earl of Murray's tomb is situated," Lamb to have forty days' 
notice. But the bond was not cleared off in St. Giles,' Edinburgh ; it was transferred from 
LaniVs Trustees to John Nisbet, merchant, Kirkwall. Among the witnesses of the transfer is 
John Watt, "Practitioner of Physick." Nisbet became proprietor, and the name Erburie 
became extinct in Orkney. 

♦ S. R., 24th May 1671. t T. B., 22nd Aug. 1688. 



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BROAD STREET. 



237 



Nisbet married Marjory Traill, daughter of James Traill of Westove, widow of Thomas 
Louttit of Lyking, and in 1704 granted his wife liferent of this property. 

In 1776, this house belonged to Robert Sutherland, from whom it passed to his son, 
Donald. From Sutherland it was acquired by BaUie James Traill, by the marriage of whose 
daughter, Elizabeth, it came into possession of Mr Traill Urquhart. 

South of the Provostrie was the Thesaurerie, the Treasurer's house, no longer represented 
by any distinctive building. It occupied the southern part of the site of Mr Tait's property 

and the northern part of Mr Baikie's. One 
of its earliest proprietors after the Reforma- 
tion was William Craigie of Gairsay. Gair- 
say's house below the Bridge was, as has been 
seen, going to ruin, and this may have been 
either the cause or the effect of its owner's 
occupancy of the Thesaurerie. 

Hugh Craigie, next of Gairsay, sold this 
tenement, along with "his thrie cowis worth 
of udal land in the town of Oversanday," to his 
brother David. 

The garden and peat brae extended back 
to the Peerie Sea, and, like the neighbouring 
houses, it had a jetty for boats. Thomas 
Brown, under date 6th December 1681, says :— 
*' Tuesday morning, There was a Pallaig whale 
which came to the shoir of Muddisquoy, or 
thereby, within the Oyce of Kirkwall, and 
about eleven of the same day, Thomas Flett, 
borrowman, towed the same from that part to 
Oversanday's back dyke." 

Gairsay's pew is described as "lyand in 
the mid ysland of the church on the east 
side of the pulpit." Oversanday's was just 
opposite. "David Craigie of Oversanday 
obtained libertie to bring out his seat in the 
church floor as far as the new latron, where 
ye precentor sitts, and to make it regular with 
it."* The lectern was at the eastmost pillar 
on the south side of the choir. This privilege was the more readily granted because, in 1674, 
" there was ane ewer or handsome pewter or stoup with a stroop sent from David Craigie 
of Oversanday, Provost, for the use of the kirk, qch was delivered to David Seattar, church 
beddall, and he ordained to keep it weall and cleanlie for the use of carrying water to 
baptismes." The name " Kirkwall " was engraved upon this stoup. 

Craigie married Jean, daughter of Patrick Graham of Grahamshall, she who kept the 
dreadful vigil in the chamber of the frail Elspeth Ballenden.t Two daughters, Barbara and 
Margaret, died young, probably at Grahamshall, as they are buried in Holm. Thomas Brown 
records the marriage of the Provost's only daughter, Anna, to William Rendall of Breck, 
February 1686. After the death of his brother Hugh, David Craigie went to live at Pabdale. 
" Wednesday, Anna Craigie, spouse to Wm. Rendall, Fiar of Breck, depd. this life in her 
♦ S. R., 14th October 1689. t See ante, p. 190. 




David Craigie's Tombstone, in St. Magnus 
Cathedi*a1. 



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238 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

father's house in Pabdaill, betwixt 6 and 7 in the forenoon or yrby, and was interred in St. 
Magnas Kirk in Kirkwall upon Friday the 3rd."* 

In 1669 Provost Craigie was elected Member of Parliament for Kirkwall, but, owing to 
his wife's severe illness, did not take his seat, and had to get a certificate of loyalty from the 
Kirk Session. He was again returned in 1681 and in 1685. 

When Oversanday went to Pabdale he sold the old Thesaurerie to Hugh Baikie of 
Burness, who removed to Broad Street from his old house at the corner of the Long Gutter. 

The first Baikie of Burness was James, nephew of James Baikie, first of Tankerness, who 
in 1667 bought from John Sclaitter his lands of Burness, Newbouse in Redland, Benyie- 
scart, &c. 

Burness had two sons, Hugh, who succeeded, and Thomas. In 1700, Hugh sold his town 
house to his brother, ^ Mr Thomas Baikie, minister, first in ordour at the Kirk of KirkwaU," 
and then the southern and northern boundaries were respectively the house of James Baikie 
of Tankerness and that of ^' Mr" John £rbnrie, merchant. 

Before purchasing, Mr Baikie asked the Magistrates, in absence of the Dean-of-Guild, " to 
cause appretiat the house." " Thairfore they appoynted William Young, one of the present 
Baillies, with WUliam Sutherland and David Traill, two of ther Councill, to take along with 
them thrie workmen, viz., a wright, a measone, and a sclaitter, and there to inspect the con- 
ditione of the forsaid Tenement, and to consider what sowme the same would take to repair 
it." 

The workmen were "* judicially swome," and they find that "The hall is totallie ruinous 
in Gavills and Syde- walls, and wanting Rooff and windowes," and so with the greater part of 
the house. They find generally that the value of the whole place was " ffyfe hundreth merks 
Scotts money," and that it would take other " ffyfe hundreth to make it a sufficient dwelling- 
house as formerlie it was." 

In 1724, Andrew Baikie of Hoy, son of Hugh Baikie of Burness, not meaning to reside in 
Kirkwall, gave up his pew to his uncle, Mr Thomas Baikie. 

The Rev. Thomas Baikie was ordained by the Presbytery of Aberdeen, 1697, and was the 
same year inducted in Kirkwall. In lieu of a manse he got £24 per annum.t He was a man 
of power in his day, and it was a day which required a powerful man to hold the first charge 
in St. Magnus. 

He succeeded Mr Wilson, who had been a very popular minister. Mr Wilson saw the 
change from episcopacy to presbyterianism. He was rudely prohibited by Elphingston of 
Lopness from officiating in the Cathedral as an episcopal clergyman, and while he stated that 
he voluntarily resigned in favour of Mr Baikie, he still claimed a pastoral relation to the con- 
gregation, and insisted that to him belonged half of the pulpit. Many of the congregation 
adhered to him and attended the meetings held in his house in the Anchor Close. Such meetings 
were no doubt illegal, and should have been suppressed by the Magistrates, but these gentlemen 
secretly sympathised with the persecuted prelatists, and some of them attended their con- 
venticles. The very beadle, who in Scottish churches usually represents standard orthodoxy, 
was at this time not above suspicion. Mr Baikie had been unwell for three weeks, and on 
Sabbath, 3rd January 1703, there was no pulpit supply for St. Magnus. Judge, then, of the 
surprise and horror of the invalid clergyman, when in his bed he heard the bells ring out their 
well-known peal calling the flock to assemble. Mrs Baikie, from the front window, saw the 
people streaming into the church, and possibly noticed Mr Wilson among them. She at once 
grasped the situation, and was equal to it. Hastily assisting her husband, not to dress — no 
time for that— but to shove himself into a decent quantity of clothing, Mrs Baikie, with the 
♦ T. B., l8t July 1691. t S. R., 2nd May 1698. 



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BROAD STREET. 239 

minister, crossed the Kirk Qreen, marched valiantly into the church, mounted the pulpit steps, 
dragged Mr Wilson out, dismissed the congregation, and saw the doors locked. Although he 
had carefully kept his night-cap on his head all the time, it is not surprising that the reverend 
gentleman was none tbe better for his outing. Next day there should have been a meeting of 
Session, but the clerk's entpr, w— " Noe^Sessioa, Because of the Minister's great tenderness." 
On thtd week foltowing, however, Mr Baikie wits present in his war paint. He '^ represented 
to the Session that David Seater, one of the kirk officers, did upon the third instant, being the 
Lord's day, at the desyre of Mr John Wilson, Lait Incumbent in this place, ring the bells, and 
8oe give occasion to the said Mr Wilson his intruding to the pulpit of KirkwlL that day, which 
was the cause of much confusion." 

'* Tbe Session referrs his censure untill the next Session Day." When that day came, they 
*' judged him to have forfaulted his place, and therefor hereby doe depryve him of his office 
and the benefite thereto Belonging, and discharges him from doeing any office about the 
Kirk." 

At the instigatitm of Captain Moodie of Melsetter, a charge of irreligion and blasphemy, 
uttered in sermons preached in March 1712, was raised against Mr Baikie. The Assembly 
took up tbe case, but departed from it, perhaps regarding the accusation as an act of revenge 
on the part of Moodie. 

On the occasion of a recent visitation of the presbytery to the church of Walls, the 
ministers were shocked to find that the housekeeper of Melsetter had in the house three 
unbaptised children, bairns of the Laird. Moodie was cited as a fornicator, hence his horror 
at Mr Baikie's irreligion and blasphemy. 

Mr Baikie married, first, Elizabeth Fea, daughter of Patrick Fea of Whitehall, who brought 
with her a tocher of 1000 merks. It was she who so valorously assisted her husband in ousting 
Mr Wilscm from the pulpit. They bad five sons and four daughters. His second wife was 
Elizabeth Traill, who had one daughter, afterwards the wife of Mr Yule, minister of the first 
charge. He died in 1740, in his sixty-eighth year of life and forty-fourth of ministry. Mr 
Baikie, his son-in-law, Mr John Yule, and grandson, Mr Robert Yule, occupied the pulpit of 
the Cathedral over one hundred and twenty years. 

In 1738, Baikie had granted liferent of the Thesaurerie to his wife, Elizabeth Traill, with 
succession to his son John. Immediately on the back of this, the young man, presumably 
unknown to his father, borrowed from Mr James Stewart, writer, Edinburgh, the sum of £20, 
granting a bond over the house, the interest to run from 10th March 1738. 

No interest was ever paid, and after thirty-five years the amount ainie to £57 28 9d. Baikie 
was never infeft in the house, and, to keep himself right, Stewart procured infeftment. But 
soon afterwards, Mr Stewart became bankrupt, and Baikie's house passed to Stewart's 
creditors. This complication led to additional expense. However, the account was at length 
put straight, and in 1787, the minister's great-grandson, Thomas Baikie of Burness, then 
residing in Janaaica, sold his house in Broad Street to Alexander Eraser, '* Land waiter in the 
Customs of Orkney." In the year following, Eraser transferred it to Robert Baikie of 
Tankemeas. About the same time, Burness was sold to James Stewart of Brugh. 

The Sub-chantry and Archdeanery, now known as Tankerness House, seem to have been 
rebuilt in their present form by Gilbert Foulzie, who had occupied the southern wing in his 
official capacity as Archdeacon. 

At the Eeformation, Foulzie managed to obtain possession of both of these official 
residences, and making some additions, he constructed for himself a very commodious 
mansion. From the date above the gateway, he had completed his improvements in 1574. 

His daughter, Ursula, married Edward Sinclair of Essenquoy, Provost of Kirkwall and 



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240 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNKYS. 

Member of Parliament. Foulzie's grandson, Gilbert Sinclair, married Anna Rallenden, but, 
whether from extravagance or other causes, he was in pecuniary difficulties all his life. Bishop 
Graham had a bond over his house, which he transferred to Smythe of Braco. 

In 1625, we find him borrowing considerable sums, and froni tliat time downwards his 
name constantly appears in the Sheriff-Court books as negotiating loans, some of them obvi- 
ously to wipe off previous advances. In November 1633, he borrowed £60() from James Baikie 
of Tankemess, and in the same month, jointly with his father, he took another loan of 10(K> 
merks from the same lender. In these circumstances it is not surprising that Gilbert Foulzie's 
mansion became Tankemess House. 

Baikie is one of the oldest Orcadian family names, and is a Norse equivalent of Burn or 
Burns. 

According to Torfseus, Paul Baikie was King Haco's pilot, 1263. The present family trace 
themselves back to Magnus Baikie, who held lands in Birsay in 1532, and who claimed descent 
from the above-named ancient mariner. Thomas Baikie inherited Magnus' property, and 
lived on it, but his sons, James and John, came to Kirkwall. 

James was bom in 1590, and starting in life without special advantages, certainly without 
much capital, he died the wealthiest man in Orkney. 

As a merchant he was very successful. Money was scarce in Orkney in those days, but in 
Shetland plenty of coin was left by the fleets of foreign vessels, principally Dutch, which 
annually visited the islands. But Shetland was not a producing country, and it drew its 
supplies from Orkney. Thus Baikie and others found a ready market and ready money for all 
their produce. Having acquired a command of cash, he advanced loans on mortgages, and as 
at that time the rate of interest was ten per cent, on the best securities, bis capital rapidly 
increased when the interest was paid, and his lands when the interest failed. 

It was shortly after one of these loans, so often fatal to the recipient, that the Tankemess 
estate fell into his hands, and similarly, as has been seen, Tankemess House. 

Along with Buchanan of Sound, Baikie farmed the Bishopric rents from the city of 
Edinburgh from 1652 to 1656, when, on the death of Sound, Tankemess remained sole tacks- 
man till 1660. 

On the 16th of January 1675, " James Baikie of Tankemess departed this life about mid- 
night or thereby, being Saturday, and was interred in the South side of the Kir^ of St. 
Andrews, where there is a tomb built by Arthur Baikie, his son, now Tankemess, upon 
Wednesday, 20th January 1675."* 

Arthur was the second son, Thomas, the elder, having died without issue, 1674. 

Possibly the former proprietor, certainly his successor, found Tankemess House somewhat 
too large for full occupation, for in the Valuation Roll of 1677 it is recorded that Thomas 
Brown, messenger, and Thomas Stewart, N.P., had '* twa chalmers " in Arthur Baikie's house. 

Arthur Baikie was one of the ablest public men that has ever taken part in the municipal 
govemment of Kirkwall. He had two objects constantly before him, his own interests and the 
interests of the burgh. The two generally went hand in hand, but when they clashed, public 
interest went to the wall and allowed the Baikie interest to have its way. On one occasion 
the Magistrates and Council of Edinburgh were appealed to that the duties on liquors con- 
sumed here might be granted to the town for the common good, and a voluntary assessment 
was made to defray the expenses of Provost Baikie in going south to procure this privilege. 
The Town Council of Edinburgh granted the favour asked, and gave Baikie a license to that 
effect, leaving blank spaces to be filled up by the Town Council of Kirkwall. But here the 
worthy Chief Magistrate, seeing an opportunity for enriching himj^lf, took it, and, to the 

♦ T. B. 



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BROAD STREET. 241 

disgust find indiguatioD of the inhubitants generally and of the merchants particularly, brought 
home the document with his own name inserted as the licensed receiver of the liquor duties. 
A petition was immediately drawn up and forwarded to the Lord Provost of Edinburgh : — 

** My Lo., unto your Ic, humbly meines and shewes, we, your servitors, David Drummond, 
merchant in Kirkwall ; Harie Herberie merchd. yr. ; Frances Murray, Collector ther ; William 
Muddle, merd. ther ; Patrick Traill, elder. Skipper ; and Patrick Traill, yor. , merd. ther ; Alexander 
Smith, merd. ther ; David Forbes, Town clerk ther ; Mai'grat Grott, relict of umqi. Patrick Prince, 
merd. ther ; Nicoll Ewenson, Tailyour ther ; Thomas louttit, merd. yr. ; William Linklater, merd. 
yr. ; Geo. Traill and John Caldell, merd. yr. ; John Richan, merd. yr. ; Geo. moad, wright ; and 
Robert Potinger, merd. ; James Baikie, George Spence, and David MoncrieiT, Bailyes of the sd. brughe 
of Kirkwall ; Harie Herberie, Thesaurer and Dean-of-Gild of the sd. brughe, for ourselves and in 
name and behalfe of the remanent toun Counsell and Communatie of the sd. brughe, and uther 
merchands and venteners yrin. That qr. Arthur Baikie, present Proveist of the sd. brughe of Kirkwall, 
has caused charge us, and ilk ane of us, for our owne parts, and according to the quantities and 
qualities of liquors vented and sold be us wtin the sd. hrughe, to mack payment to him of the pettie 
impost of all wynes, brandies, seek, and uther sicklyke liquors sold and vented be us within the said 
brughe, and also of the plack of the pyiit of all ale sold be us within tlie samyn brughe, Conforme to 
ane gift thereof, allead. procured be him from your lop. upon the day of 

yeares. And whereupon he has lers. of horning, and therewith caused charge us, in manner forsd., 
within certaine short space nixt aft-er the sds. charges, under the paynes of horning and poyudiug, 
tending for our alleac. disobedience to denounce us rebells, and put us to the home." 

After setting forth the injustice of the charges made by the Provost, the petitioners show 
how sore they felt that Baikie should have secured his privilege by the use of their own 
money. Not only had they been " cessed in ane certaine sou me of moie. for procureing and 
obtaineing the sd. Gift, but als. an uyr. soume of moie. towards the defraying the Charger's 
expenses in staying at Edinr. the tyme of the obtaneing yrof. Notwithstanding of all which 
the sd. charger did, in a most baise and unhandsome manner, fill up his owne name yrin, and 
thereupone charge us in manner forsd. Swa that we, haveing not only payed for procureing 
the said gift, but for the sd. Charger his attendance at Edinr. the tyme of procureing thereof 
in manner forsd. The sd. Charger was iu pessimajide to fill up his name in the sd. Gift, and 
far more to charge us therupone," etc., etc. 

Arthur Baikie's audacity in this transaction commands admiration. There was no false 
pretension here. The Magistrates of Edinburgh had handed him a blank charter, signed by 
their authority, and he filled it up as he saw fit. 

The Provost was head and shoulders above his fellow-townsmen in regard to the sagacious 
handling of all kinds of business, and he was prompt in everything he undertook. When in 
his walks abroad he discovered any matter requiring future looking to, he at once made a 
memorandum of it, and saw to it himself or brought it before the Council, as the case required. 
He did much business for the church, even importing timber from Norway at the Session's 
desire. 

January 30th,* ** Arthur Baikie of Tankerness departed this life at Leith, and was interred 
in the Greyfriars' Kirkyard at Edinboro." Since his day, many Baikies of Tankerness have 
taken an active part in the municipal business of Kirkwall, but among them all there has not 
arisen a greater than Arthur. He was succeeded by his son James.t Arthur's brother, 
William, by a large donation of books, chiefly theological, laid the foundation of the public 
library of Kirkwall. " It was ordained that a press should be builded at the expenses of the 
Session for the books mortified by Mr William Baikie and others to the church of Kirkwall." t 

Robert Baikie of Tankerness was returned Member for the County in 1780, but was un- 
seated, 1781, on the petition of his opponent, Charles Dundas. He again contested the county 
in 1784, but was defeated by Thomas Dundas. 

* 1678, T. B. t In 1686, James Baikie received a grant of arms. J S. R., 17th Dec. 1689. 

21 



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242 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

The state of feeling in Kirkwall at the time of these elections is brought out in the trial 
of George Eunson, Extraordinary Officer of Excise, in 1786, for assault on Robert Blair, 
shoemaker. Eunson having been convicted, raised an action against the Magistrates of Kirk- 
wall for wrongous imprisonment, which elicited a " Memorial for John Weir, Thomas Traill, 
Captain John Traill, and Thomas Jameson, Baillies of the Burgh of Kirkwall ; and James 
Erskine, J(»hn Reid, Alexander Stewart, and Samuel Murray, Counsellors of the said Burgh." 
The memorialists, after a very uncomplimentary biography of George Eunson from his school 
days to the raising of this action, state that ** Mr Baikie of Tankerness, having lost two 
elections, the one in 1780 and the other in 1784, he and his friends were determined to be 
revenged against those who voted against him. For this purpose they came to the resolution 
of informing against somo of the Memorialists as Notorious Smugglers, expecting that such 
information would ruin them and their families." 

"Mr Baikie and his friends, finding they would fail in this attempt, thought of another 
expedient to harrass the Memorialists, and that was to get George EuAson made a Custom- 
house Officer. They accordingly procured a Commission for him, but previous thereto they 
gave him this injunction, both in word and write, that whatever he did he should take care of 
their friends, the plain meaning of which was that whatever goods he should seize, he should 
take care not to touch any of those belonging to Mr Baikie or his political Connections. This 
iT\junction George Eunson scrupulously adhered to ; for, in several searches that he made in 
the Town of Kirkwall, and particularly that through the shops, of which particular notice was 
taken in a former memorial sent to Ednr., he took care not to trouble or molest any of Mr 
Baikie's connixtions, altho' he endeavoured to harrass and distress those who were opposite in 
principle to them. In a late examination respecting his conduct as an officer, it has been 
proved, even by one of Mr Baikie's own friends, that he said to him that if he happened to 
see anything of his he would endeavour to get out of the way. His partiality, and the extra- 
ordinary manner in which he acted towards some of the memorialists, being represented to the 
Commissioners of the Customs, they thought it necessary first to suspend him and afterwards 
to take away his Commission from him." 

In 1818, Robert Baikie of Tankerness was succeeded by his son, James, an advocate 
living in Edinburgh. James Baikie borrowed from James Spence, merchant, a sum of £1000, 
and granted a bond over his property, 15th April 1818 * 3rd January 1822, he increased his 
debt to £5000, when Spence placed him in the hands of Alexander Macartney, Esq., manager 
of the Commercial Bank of Scotland, who took a bond over the Tankerness estate. This 
transaction led to the establishing of a branch of the Commercial Bank in Kirkwall under 
the agency of Mr Spence. 

South of Tankerness House, and terminating Broad Street in that direction, was the 
official residence of the Chancellor of the Cathedral. 

In the Valuation Roll of 1677, the Chancellor's house is thus entered :—" The airis of 
umqle Patrick Menteith of Egilshay hath ane great tenement under a sclaitt ruiff, with some 
ruinous houses to the west pairt of the close yrto belonging, betwixt the street on the east, the 
sands and oyse on the west, the land pertaining to Arthur Baikie of Tankerness on the north, 
and the comm(m school passage from the school to the sands on the south." 

And here it may be permitted to remark regarding this southern boundary, that had the 
old name. School Wynd, been retained, a piece of burgh history would have been commemo- 
rated which is now apt to be forgotten. When the Grammar School, built by Bishop Reid, 
sufficed for the education of the youth of Kirkwall, the Sands of the Peerie Sea served as 
playground, and this common passage was the way down which, after the manner of their 
* The date of registration in the Court books. 



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BROAD STREET. 243 

kind, the boys of Kirkwall for many generations ran whooping and shouting to tbeir mid-day 
sports. Though the old name of the lane has been long forgotten, the title of the recreation 
ground died hard. Indeed, it was transferred to the playground of the new Grammar School, 
which old boys now living knew as *' Craig's Sands." 

Egilshay had formerly belonged to the Stewarts. William Stewart of Egilshay, "ane 
honourable man," gave a twelve years' lease of the lands of Meness to Hugh Sinclair^ July 1605. 

In 1614, Robert Monteith had a charter of Egilshay and Work. He was the first of the 
family to hold property in Orkney. His father, Patrick Monteith, **of Fair Isle," appears as 
witness to a charter by Alexander Irvine, Dunrossness, 7th August 1595.* Whatever may have 
been the origin of the Monteiths' title to the Fair Isle, their tenure was of brief duration. 
When, in 1588, disaster befell the Spanish Armada, the island belonged to Andrew Umphray 
of Burra, and early in the seventeenth centnry, Sinclair of Quendale was proprietor. 

" A Description of the Isles of Orkney, from the MS. of Robert Monteith^ Laird of EgiUha 
and GairsOj dated Kirkwall, Sept. 24, 1633," along with a fuller *^ Description of the Isles of 
Shetland " from the same pen, was afterwards embodied in Sir Robert Sibbald's work on the 
Topography of Scotland. Monteith's descriptions are fairly accurate, but some of his statements 
savour of the superstition of the age. " Sometimes they " — the Shetland fishermen — ** catch 
with their Nets and Hooks Tritons and Mermaidsy but these are rare, and but seldom seen." 

Monteith incidentally shows how the merchants of Kirkwall wete able to accumulate coin 
at a time when coin was somewhat scarce in Scotland :— " The greatest Advantages Shetland 
hath is from the fishing of Herring and Cod, which abounds so there that great Fleets of the 
Hollanders come there, and by the order of the State's General begin to take Herring upon 
St. Joh7i's day. And all the Summer the Inhabitants of Shetland, besides the Herrings they 
take, are constantly employed in taking Cod and Ling, which they sell, and thus in time of 
Peace they do flourish. In the Winter time they feed strongly upon Fleshes, for the country 
affords many Cows, Sheep, and Swine, and plenty of Fowles. The country affords but little 
Com, and much of that often shaken by the Violent Winds, so that they must be supplied 
from Orkney." 

From the date at Kirkwall, these descriptions must have been written in the Chancellor's 
Manse. Robert Monteith ** eoft a tak f ra William Ballantyne and his airis of the subdeanery 
of Orknay." Moreover, he secured for himself the rents of the Prebendarie of St. Peter, 
which constituted the stipend of the teacher of the Grammar School, so that the school was 
in 1620 without a master, but ** suppleit be the ridar for the present, quha hes nothing for it." t 

Monteith's first mfe was Katherine, daughter of David Bosweli of Kinghorn, and his 
second, Katherine Nisbet. 

Though we frequently find him in the money market borrowing from Hew Halcro, James 
Baikie, and others, he does not seem to have been impecunious, for, when his eldest daughter 
married, her tocher good was 10,000 merks. X Indeed, we find him lending as well as borrow- 
ing, so that we must regard him as a speculator on ** 'Change." 

His son, Patrick, who succeeded him, left three daughters, Marjorie, Mary, and Margaret, 
the "airis" referred to in the Valuation Roll. Marjorie married William, son of Alexander 
Douglas of Spynie ; Mary married William Monteith of Towquoy,§ and sold, 1670, for 7000 
merks, her share of E^gilshay to her brother-in-law ; Margaret, the third daughter, died 
unmarried, 1679, and Marjorie's husband became Douglas of Egilshay. 

♦ ShetUod County Families, F. J. Grant, W.S. t Pet. Rent, Doo. 36. 
t Reg. Sh. Ct. Books, 4th Aug. 1641. 

§ In 1668, Robert Stewart " off Ethav " sold Towquoy to Arthur Buchanan of Sound for 8000 
merks, and, in 1670, A. B. sold to Wm. Monteith. 



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244 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

" When Episcopacy was restored in 1606, Alexander Douf^laR, minister at Elgin, was made 
Bishop of Moray, and held the See for seventeen years. He conveyed the lands of Spynie, as 
well fts Morriston and Burgh Briggs, to his son, Alexander Douglas, retaining for himself and 
his successors the precinct round the palace." * 

In 1662, **A Commission was granted by John, Earl of Middleton, His Majestie's Com- 
missioner for the Kingdcmi of .Scotland ; William, Duke of Hamilton ; William, Earl of 
Morton.; and Sir Andrew Ramsay of Abbotshall, Knight, Provost of Edinburgh, to Alexander 
Douglas of Spynie,t to be their Factor and ('hamberlane and Bailzie of the Earldom of 
Orkney, Lordship of Zetland, and udal lands thereof," with instructions ** to prosecute and 
follow forth all actions of reduction of Vassals, Infeftments of the said Earldom, Lordship and 
udal Lands, and uyr wayes to quarrell and impugn the samyne as accords."! His chief aim 
-was to feudalise all the udal lands in the earldom. 

Douglas came to Orkney, and, as the representative of Lord Morton, took up his abode in 
the Palace of Birsay. But, riding on his commission and taking advantage of the non-resi- 
dence of Bishop Sydserff, he also seized the Earl's Palace in Kirkwall ; and one of the first 
cares of Bishop Honyman when he came north in 1664 was to prosecute Douglas of Sjiynie 
and Patrick Blair for possession of his Palace. Alexander Douglas died when Provost of 
Banff, in 1669,S and, as has been seen, his son William l)ecame Douglas of Egilshay in 1679. 
About the same time the Rpynie estate was sold to James Brodie of Wliitehall, a cadet of the 
family of Brodie of Brwlie. 

Sir Alexander was the next Douglas of Egilshay, to be followed by another William. The 
provision made by the latter for the widow of the former shows the reciuirements of a dowager 
of good position at the beginning of the eighteenth century. " 6th Feb., William Douglas of 
Egilshay, etc., for as much as Dame Janet Scot, Relict of Sir Alexander Douglas of Egilshay, 
has assigned to me, William Dougla.s of Egilshay, a yearly jointure of 1000 merks for 16 years, 
commencing from this present year, 1725, binds myself to pay to the said Janet Scot, or her 
order, at the House of Egilshay, yearly, the sum of 100 merks, with six Lis})unds good and 
sufficient white wool for the said s])ace of 16 years, at W^hitsunday, and to commence this year, 
172.% also to provide the said Janet Scot and her Servants in sufficient bed, board, and 
maintenance at the house of Egilshay suitable to her degree and quality as the relict of the 
said Sir Alexander Douglas of Egilshay, with the service of spinning in the Isle of Egilshay, 
after former custom, when recjuired, for the space above mentioned, under penalty of 500 merks. 
Witnesses at Manor house of Egilshay, Robert Douglas, my Brother ; Mr Andrew Graham, 
Student of Divinity at Orkney ; and Hary Miller, Writer, Stromness, Writer of this Deed." 

A tradition exists that a Miss Douglas of Egilshay, having been pursued by some of 
Cromwell's soldiers, escaped into Tankerness House, and young Baikie, getting her into a boat 
at the foot of the garden, carried her safely home to her own island. Of course, the two were 
married, and lived happily ever afterwards ; thus Egilshay fell to the Baikies. The doorway 
at the foot of the garden by which the fugitives escaped still exists, a silent witness of the 
truth of the story. 

But the fact is that in 1737, nearly a century after Cromwell's death, James Baikie of 
Tankerness married Janet, " only child procreate betwixt William Douglas of Egilshay and 
Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Traill of Holland," and thus the island passed from Douglas 
to Baikie. 

In 1701, the Chancellor's house became the property of James Stewart, Commissary of 
Orkney, and a few years later it passed to Stewart of Burray. While Sir James was in exile 
on the Continent, it fell into such a ruinous condition as to call forth a remonstrance in the 

* Shaw's History of Moray. f Grandson of the Bishop of Moray. :|: H. L, § Shaw. 



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* ? r 







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(f 'i i ■" 









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Arms of Smyth of Braco. 



Arms of Bishop Graham. 




Arms of Robert MoDteith of Egilshay and Katherine Nisbet, 
his second wife. 



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BROAD STREET. 245 

fonn of a petition from the master of the Grammar School to the Dean-of-Guild, which 
" Humbly sheweth that there's an old House at the head of Broad Street, Belonging to the 
Honourable Sir James Stewart of Burrow, which is void and without any possessor,* Because 
of its insufficiency and almost ruinous condition ; also, by all probability, the west Side of it 
will shortly fall if not Speedily taken care of ; Which house stands close by the School Wind, 
where the Youth Committed to my Care Do frequently Expose themselves to Great Danger, 
as having occasion often to Pass and Repass that way ; Wherefore, to prevent any accident to 
the said youth, that it may be hastily taken Care of, is required and Intreated by, Sir, Your 
Most humble Servt., (Signed) George Reid." 

The Dean-of-Guild api)ointed four competent tradesmen to idew the house in question 
and to reiK)rt upon oath. They declared the building to be dangerous, so the Dean wrote to 
Lady Stewart on the subject, and it was repaired. 

On Burray's death, the Earl of Galloway, as next-of-kin, became owner of the Chancellor's 
manse, and his son. Lord Gairlies, in 1781, sold it to Robert Baikie of Tankerness. 

Separated from the house of the Chancellor by a jmssage too narrow for the modern 
purposes of street traffic, with its north gable to the Broad Street, is the house known as the 
" Chaplain's Chambers " — the chaplain being doubtless the clergyman in charge of the Chapel 
of St. Mary, in the Laverock. 

In 1(517, it was occupied by Mr Patrick Inglis, minister of Kirkwall, Prebendary of St. 
John, Prebendary of St. Peter, and therefore master of the Grammar School. \Mien, in 1634, 
the Act against plural offices among the clergy was jmssed, Mr Inglis gave up the school and 
the emoluments of St. Peter's stouk, which constituted the teacher's stipend. 

Mr Inglis' glebe, as seen from the windows of the Earl's Palace, was a Naboth's vineyard 
in the eyes of Bishop Graham. " The Room of Glatness, in the said parish of St. Ola, which 
lies upon the south shore of the Oyse, and pays yearly upwards of twenty bolls of malt, was 
the minister's glebe. But the said Bishop Graham, looking out at his window one day when 
Mr Patrick Inglis, minister of Kirkwall, and other ministers were with him, and viewing 
Glatness, said — * Mr Patrick, I must have that Room of Glatness from you, and 1 will 
give you the R(3om of Corse for it, because it lieth in mine eye ' ; whereunto Mr Patrick, 
whispering the Bishop in the ear, said — * Deil pick out that greedy eye, my Lord, that would 
take Gladness from me and give me Cross.^ But the Bishop accordingly did it, and after that, 
thinking the Room of Corse too good yet, took that away and gave the Room of Quoy Banks, 
which is not in value above £8 sterling yearly, and sometimes let below it. Thus the Bishops 
served their brethern." t 

After a ministry of over twenty years in Kirkwall, Mr Inglis was translated to Birsay 
and Harray in 1635. He died in 1639. His free gear, as returned by Helen Blaikietoun, his 
widow, amounted to £1123 12s. 

Shortly after the death of Mr Inglis, the Chai)lain's Chamber became the property of 
Arthur Baikie, and, except for a very short interval, when it belonged to Mr Riddoch, it has 
remained in the hands of Baikies ever since. In the Valuation Roll of 1714 it is entered 
thus : — " Robert Baikie of Tankerness hath an house under sclait roof on the east side of 
the street,! possest as a meeting-house, at the head of the Broad Street." 

In the titles of Arthur Buchanan of Sound, 13th July 1659, this place is carefully 
described : — " All and Haill the five chalmers called the Chaplain's Chambers, boundit and 
having the close entrie to the Sub-Dean's Lodging on the east, the Sub-Dean's Lodging on 
the south, and the remanent Chaplain's Chambers pertaining to George Inglis on the north.'* 
And it is this remanent portion which was the Meeting House. 

* Tenant. t M'Farlane MSS., Advocates' Library. X Now Victoria Street. 



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246 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

Throughout Scotland, from 1560 to 1688, episcopacy and presbyterianism had a fierce 
struggle for supremacy. The history of this Holy War may be summarised :— 

I. From 1560 to 1572 presbytery prevailed. The first General Assembly met in Edin- 
burgh, 20th December 1560. 

II. 1573-90 episcopacy ruled. This was the time of the " Tulchan Bishops." " Mr 
Patrick Constan, who looked to have been preferred to that bishopric* by the moyen of the 
Clerk of the Register, shooting short, preached against the course. In his sermon he made 
three sorts of Bishops — " My Lord Bishop," ** My Lord's Bishop," and " the Lord's Bishop." 
•* My Lord Bishop," said he, " was in time of Papistrie ; My Lord's Bishop is now, when my 
Lord getteth the benefice and the bishop serveth for a portion out of the benefice to make my 
lord's title sure ; the Lord's Bishop is the true minister of the Gospell." 

My lord's bishop was the " Tulchan bishop." " A Tulchan is a calve's skinne stuffed with 
straw to cans the kow give milke. For the Lords got the benefices, and presented suche a 
man as would be contente with the least commoditie, and sett the rest in fewes, tacks and 
pensions, to them and theirs." t 

III. 1502-1606, presbyterianism had its turn, and the Scottish parishes were grouped 
into Presbyteries and Synods. 

IV. 1606-38, another turn of the wheel brought about the re-consecration of bishops. 

It was, of course, impossible that men could really change their minds with every change 
of church government, but it became dangerous to express opinions derogatory of the new 
prelates. 

Thomas Hogg, minister of Dysart, had spoken against the Five Articles of Perth, and 
was summoned to appear before the General Assembly in 1619. But the Five Articles would 
have been allowed to take care of themselves had the reverend gentleman treated his ecclesi- 
astical superiors with due respect. The head and front of his offending was plainly put by 
Spottiswood, Archbishop of St. Andrews : — " * Mr Thomas, it cannot content you to declame 
vehementlie in your sermons against the estate and course of bishops, but also ye pray 
ordinarlie efter sermon against belligods and hirlings.' Mr Thomas answered that he prayed 
ordinarlie against belligods and hirlings in the ministrie, conforme to the common prayer 
conteaned in the Book of Discipline. The Archbishop replied— ' When ye pray against 
belligods and hirlings, the people applyes that prayer to us that are bishops.' The minister 
retorted that he could not be answeirable for the people's application of his prayers, saying 
that if the people had failed to the bishops, he had noe reason to trouble himself for the 
alledgit offence of the people. Then the Archbishope, in great indignation, said — * In short 
space that Book of Discipline sail be discharged, and ministers sail be tyed to sett prayers, 
and sail not be suffered to conceive prayers as they please themselves.' " 

Law, formerly Bishop of Orkney, then Archbishop of Glasgow, conferred privately with 
the stubborn Hogg, but without avail, and *' the clerk redd the sentence, which was that they 
had suspendid the said Mr Thomas from his ministrie, and had ordered him to goe to Orkney 
within the space of fourtie days thereafter, to be confeyned there during the King's pleasure 
and will." 

Banishment to Orkney was no doubt bad enough, but was a light punishment compared 
with what had been threatened by his judge in course of the trial : — " Mr Thomas, take heid 
to yourself, for ye perill your craige." { 

Another clerical exile in Orkney, the Rev. Wm. Fowler, minister of Hawick, gives 
expression to his sad musings :— 

♦ St Andrews. t Calderwood, iii. 206. t Calderwood, vii. 366. 



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BROAD STREET. 247 

"Sonet in Orkney. 

" Upon the utmost corners of the world, 

And on the borderis of this massive round, 

Quhftire fate and fortune hither hes me hurled, 

I doe deplore m^ grieffs upon this ground ; 

And, seeing rormg seis from rokis rebound, 

By ebbs and streams of contraire routing tyds, 

Ajnd Phoebus' chariots in their ways ly drowned — 

Quha equallye now night and day devyds — 

I call to mind the storms my thoughts abyds, 

Which ever wax and never dois decress ; 

For nights of dole, dayis joyes aye ever hyds. 

And in their vayle doith all my will suppress : 
So this I see, quhair ever I remove, 
I change hot seis, hot never change my love." * 

This gentleman was afterwards Secretary to Queen Anne, wife of James VI., and accom- 
panied the Royal household to England, where he died, 1612. His experience of Orkney was 
in 1687. 

In 1608, Margaret Hartsyde was tried in Edinburgh for stealing the Queen's + jewels. 
" It was a cause celebre, the real reason of the prosecution being, according to the gossip of the 
Court, that she had revealed some of the Queen's secrets to the King, ' wch/ says Balfour, ' a 
wysse chalmbermaide wold not baue done.' Although defended by the best men at the bar, 
the maid was found guilty, declared infamous, and banished to the Orkneys." % 

On the 24th of March 1663, Alexander Smith, A.M., minister of Colvend, Dumfriesshire, 
was, along with others, cited before the Privy Oouncil. Smith promised to give up his manse 
and parish and to desist from preaching. By this the good parscm must have meant that he 
would not preach in public. But having taken a house at Leith, he gave '' At Homes " for 
evangelistic purposes. For this he was condemned as a conventicler, his crime being aggra- 
vated by want of respect to Archbishop Sharp, a member of the Privy Council, and was " led 
by the town hangman to the Thieves' Hole, to be confined by irons on his feet and legs, where 
he continued three days, until the kindness of the citizens made the bishops ashamed. He 
was next removed to another room, where he fell sick, and was in danger of his life." 

Shortly after this, Mr Smith was banished by the Court of High Commission to an unin- 
habited island in Shetland, where barley was his only food, and wreck and sea-weed his only 
fuel. He was brought back in 1668, and committed to the Tolbooth of Edinburgh. After 
fourteen days' confinement, he was transferred to Orkney, and, to mark the heinousness of his 
offence. North Ronaldshay was selected as his place of exile. The order for bis banishment, 
dated at Edinburgh, 24th July 1668, runs :— " The Lords of His Miyest/s Privey Council doe 
hereby give and command ye, David Richardson, skipper of the ship called the James, of 
Brunt Hand, to receive the person of Master Alexander Smith, prisoner in the tolbuith of 
Bruntiland, as soon as he shall be offered be the Magistrates yrof, and ordains him, in his sd. 
ship, to transport the sd. Master Alexander Smith to Orkney, and to delyver him to Shrff. 
Blair, who is hereby ordered to send him to ye Island of Nortbronandshaw. And ordains 
and commands the said Mr Alexander Smith to confyne and keep himself within ye sd. 
island, as he will be answerable." 

The sheriff gave the skipper a receipt for the minister, and forwarded the reverend 
gentleman to North Ronaldshay. On his arrival, Mr Smith wrote a long and interesting 
letter to Sherift Blair, but he expressed no penitence. On the contrary :— " The poor inhabi- 

• Favoured by Rev. D. W. Yair, of Firth. t Anne of Denmark, consort of James VI. 

X Omond's Lives of the Lord Advocates, i. 101. 



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248 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

tants, so many as I have yet seen, have received me with much joy (as I apprehend). I 
intend, if the Lord will, to preach Christ to them next Lord's day without the least mixture 
of any thing that may smell of sedition or rebellion. If I be further troubled for it, I resolve 
to suffer further wt. meekness and patience.'' Mr Smith afterwards returned to Edinburgh, 
and died in his house on the Castlehill, 21st February 1673. 

V. 1638-1660, General Assemblies annually held, though Colonel Liburn— "Freeborn 
John"— with a file of musketeers, dissolved the meeting of 1663. 

VI. 1660-1688, episcopacy restored by the King's prerogative— persecution ; 400 ministers 
ejected, 1663. 

VII. From 1688 to the present time, presbyterianiam has been the established form of 
church government in Scotland. 

During the greater part of the struggle, Kirkwall adhered to its own peculiar episcopacy, 
which was simply presbyterianism with a bishop as minister of the first charge in St. Magnus 
and as moderator of the Presbytery and Synod. The church government was in the hands of 
the elders, and the communion was observed by the congregation seated at tables. 

But when episcopacy was abolished by law, and presbyterianism was by law established, 
there was trouble in Kirkwall. Mr Wilson, minister of the first charge, wag in 1694 deprived 
of his office by the Privy Council. In 1713, he took advantage of Mr Baikie's illness and the 
beadle's good nature to intrude himself into the pulpit of St. Magnus, from which he was 
ignominiously ousted by the invalid minister and his wife. Mr Wilson, however, found that 
he had many adherents in the town, and for a time he conducted an episcopal service in his 
house in Bridge Street. But the civil authority, which a few years previously had prohibited 
presbyterian meetings even on the hillsides, now declared episcopal services contraband, 
though held in private houses, and Mr Wilson left Kirkwall. The zealous Orcadian anti- 
presbyterians, however, were not to be coerced into attending the Cathedral. Though the 
form of worship there remained unaltered, there was a spice of oppression in the compulsory 
change of name, and this was resented and resisted by a pugnacious minority. Prominent 
among the episcopalian rebels was Robert Baikie ; hence, when Mr Wilson went south, and 
the old mansion of the Irvines of Sabay was no longer available for conventicles, the Laird of 
Tankerness placed the chaplain's chambers at the disposal of the persecuted remnant. 

Whether or not he drew a rent from the Meeting House, we have no means of knowing, 
but we do know that the town levied cess on the congregation, valuing their sanctuary at 
fourteen pounds yearly. Not only was Baikie determined to do his own worshipping in his 
own way, but, in the true spirit of Christian sectarianism, he spoiled the Egyptians when he 
could, and carried the war into the enemy's camp. Thus, when an absurd charge of sheep- 
stealing was trumped up against Mr Sands, minister of Birsay and Harray, Mr Baikie had 
something to say in the matter. Sitting at Birsay, three Justices— Craigie, Honyman, and 
Ritchie — had investigated the case and acquitted the clergyman. But Sands had been loud 
in his opposition to the episcopal conventiclers, so Mr Baikie, with two friends — Mudie of 
Melsetter and Patrick Grajme, yr. of Grajmeshall— sat in Kirkwall on Mr Sands, and con- 
demned him unheard. The result was that the minister of Birsay had to go south to be 
whitewashed, when the charge was seen to be so utterly nimious, that the Lord Advocate, 
Sir David Dalrymple, would not allow it to go to trial. 

The little congregation in the Meeting House, in spite of all efforts of Session and 
Presbytery to suppress it, continued, if not to thrive, at least to exist till after the Jacobite 
rising of 1715. In these days of religious toleration, when it is conceded that the Christian 
pilgrim may choose his church as freely as an ordinary traveller chooses his hotel, we would 
be moved to indignation by the treatment which the episcopalians received from the presby- 



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BROAD STREET. 24& 

terians in Kirkwall, but for the want of common sense evinced by the leaders of the persecuted 
party. Far from the centre of executive control, and patronised by the most influential of the 
local gentry, the rulers of the little Anglican synagogue became offensively aggressive. Mr 
Lyon, the episcopal clergyman, absurdly insisted that he had a right to examine the Grammar 
School, a claim which no other dissenting minister ever put forward. 

Again, he was so ill-advised as to make in the loyal burgh a very fussy demonstration in 
favour of the Pretender. " On Michaelmas Day, 1715, not a month after the Earl of Mar had 
set up his standard in Aberdeenshire, after divine service and sermon by Mr Lyon in the 
meeting-house at Kirkwall, he proceeded with several gentlemen to the Market Cross, where 
Mr Drummond read a paper proclaiming the Pretender King. Mr Spence, who was present 
with Mr Lyon, both of them in their preaching gowns, joined them in drinking the health of 
King James VIIL"* 

This proclamation, with the health-drinking, was all the part Kirkwall played in the 
" Fifteen,*' and the worst results were the temporary incarceration of a few of the episcopal 
rebels in the tolbooth of Kirkwall. The Provost — David Traill of Sabay — and his son were 
evidently disaffected persons, and the rest of the Council, perhaps fearing further inquiries^ 
tried to bring them .to reason, if not to loyalty. We have seen that Sabay's town house was at 
the east comer of the Ramparts, but at the time under consideration, he found it pleasanter 
to reside in the country, though it was in the depth of winter. 

l.Sth February 1716, **The Magistrates and Councill, considering That, because of the present 
Troublesome times, there was some time agoe a letter write by the Clerk at appoyntment of Two of 
the Baillies, and sent to the Provost, Desiring he might have come in to Town and Keeped Councill 
to Consert anent the Safity of the Oovemment and Burgh. To which letter the Provost returned an 
answer, which being now Kead in Councill, is not thought satisf^'ing. Wherefore they have instantly 
wrote ane oyr Letter, which is subscrived by the Magistrates present, and to be sent express to the 
Provost, Desiring againe he may come in. Call ane Councill, and take Joynt measures with the 
Magistrates and Council annent the Affaires of the Burgh with respect to the times. As also ane oyr 
Letter to the Provost his sone, Desirine that he, being one of the Town's Captains, may come in 
before Thursday next, when there is to be a Generall Randeyvous of the whole Inhabitants. And 
they appoynt the Clerk to Issue furth a proclamation, to be published by Tuck of Drumb through the 
Towne this afternoon. Advertising the haill inhabitants within Burgh, without exception, to have 
their whole airmes, as well Gunns as Swords, well Drest and in Good Order, to be sighted at & 
Generall Randezvous, by the Rexive. Town Captons, Lewetennents, and Eusignes — The up- the- way 
Companie upon the Broad Sands, and the Downe-the-Gate Companie upon the Aire of the Burgh — 
about Two of the Clock in the afternoon. The Magristrates and Council appoynt David Strang, 
Andrew Liddell, and Robert Morrison, three of their number, to go through the haill ToM'ue this, 
afternoon, and inquire where there's any Powder and Lead to be Sold, and to make a note thereof, 
and to Discharge any person who has any powder or Lead to putt away or Dispose upon any yrof 
without express order from the Magistrates, But that the same be all keeped for the use of the 
Inhabitants in Defence of the Government and Burgh.*' 

Three months later the Council demonstrated the thorough loyalty of Kirkwall in 
characteristic style : — " Nine pound eight shillings Scots " was the cost of " the Brandie^ 
shugar, etc., furnished at the Cross upon the King's Birth Day, the Twenty-eight of May." 

Mr Lyon continued in Kirkwall till 1717, and his treatment by the Presbytery furnishes 
an excellent example of how Christians love one another when they belong to different sections 
of the Church. He has left one contribution to the literature of the county — a letter in reply 
to an attack made upon him by Mr Sands, minister of Birsay. The personalities are now the 
only interesting points in the controversy. From them we learn the relative sizes of the 
belligerents. Mr Lyon writes : — " It might have satisfied your Modesty once to have 
expressed your judgment of my ill-furnished Head in a public Company without inserting it 

* Craven, Episcopal Church in Orkney. 

2k 



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250 KIKKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

here in your letter. Only I must tell you I have made it my business to fill the upper story 
of wi.y tali, high haildmg (you'll remember your own words) with solid and rational principles. 
You'll |)erhaps be obliged to turn souldier, but your height may be will not till the guage." 

^Ir Lyon's widow long survived the troubles of the Meeting House, and it is {ileasant to 
find that in straitened circumstances she was not entirely forgotten by those who had formerly 
adhered to her husband. 

A letter addressed to Andrew Young of Castleyards begins : — 

*• Dundee, 26th Dec. 1754. 
** Dear Sir,- -I'm favoured with yours of the 14th of Novr. last, and, according to your desire, did 
pay Mrs L^'on in this place five (Tuiiieas. Her receipt therefore is herein inclos^, & which sum was 
paid back to me by your Cuaine, Mr Jno. Young, at £4linr. upon the first advice. The old Gentle- 
woman seemed very glad at the receipt of the money, and nuide ample acknowledgements, aa it came 
in a most seasonable time, her circumstances being now far short of what possibly you have seen. — 
Your atfect. Cusine k Most Obedt. Servt., (Signed) AKCHifiALD Young."* 

The theatrical Jacobite display at the Market Cross gave trouble to the best friends of 
the e])iscopal cause in Orkney. It did more. It played directly into the hands of the presby- 
terian party, in so far that no man could leave Kirkwall for any part of Britain without a 
certificate of loyalty from the Session or Presbytery. In 1716 certificates of loyalty were 
granted to George Gibson, David Strang, and George Richan " on account of the rebellious 
practices of some." In May 1717, Andrew Young of Castleyards, who, in the troubles between 
Cathedral and Meeting House, had "damned" the presbyterian ministers as a "pack of 
knaves," learning that representations had been made to the Government of his having been 
"accessory to the late rebellious practices in this place," asked and received, on his going 
south, a certificate of loyalty from the pliable Session.t Thus, what i)ersecution could not 
accomplish, self-interest did, and episcopacy in Kirkwall, having become inconvenient to its 
adherents, died a natural death. 

The story of the Meeting House troubles has recently been told with an episcopal bias, 
natural in the circumstances.! No minister of the Established Church of Scotland would 
feel any pride in narrating the presbyterian side of that story. § 

Bishop Reid's College Buildings remained church proi)erty far into protestant times, and 
they were secularised in separate portions. Patrick Smythe of Braco acquired from his 
father-in-law. Bishop Graham, the detached school -house at the back, w^hich in his time 
contained " two chalmers and a stable." The stable, which had been a third " chalmer," was 
converted to suit Air Smythe's convenience. Patrick Smythe was in his day the busiest man 
in Orkney. He was Commissary or Sheriff of the Bishopric. Smythe and the Bishop were 
always on the best of terms, and Catherine Graham's husband got a good slice of the church 
lands. " Within the parochin of Holme there is fewed yrof be ye lait bischop to Patrick 
Smith of Bracoe the lands of Boescaille, Holmes, Quoybarnets, Lamon, Viggal, Maill, and 
certain lands in Vailley, Graves, Ackerbister, Westerbister, Hensbister be west and be east, 
with ye mylne of Holme for payment of the dewtie conteynit in his charter, qlk conforme to 
ye rentall." 

Concerning this the Bishop says :— " Manye hes coft bits of vdillands frae the vdelleris ; 
hes sold bits of vdillands to be holden of the Bishoi)e of Orkney and his successors ; not one 

* Favoured b> Mr T. W. Ranken. t See anltj p. 211. X Craven's Episcopal Church in Orkney. 
§ Churches, like dogs, have their day, and, with true sectarian instinct, the stronger will try to 
worry the weaker. Dissent is now donnnant in Kirkwall, and why should its history 1)e devoid of a 
** Meeting House " episode ? Not long ago the civic rulers, assuming a right of proprietorship in the 
Cathedral, tried, fortunately without success, to evict the E.C. Young Men's Guild from their meeting 
place, the south transept chapel of the Cathedral. 



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BKOAD STREET. 251 

of yame reserved or entered for great reasones moving me, only Patrick Smith lang agoe is 
both entered by me and confirmed be the King be my advyse ; gude reasones moving both 
him and me yrto/' ♦ 

Besides the above lands, Smythe had " a tak of the viccarage of Strom nesa " ; "a tak for 
some teynds of the prebendarie of St. John " ; and the Bishop says — " He disponed the 
vicarage of Sandwicke to a son of mine." 

He lived at Holm in the House of Meall, now Grsemeshall. Concerning the old house, 
A. M. S. Graeme, Esq. of Graemeshall, writes : — " There were three dates on the house, viz., 
on door, 1626 ; on fireplace in wing, 1659, which was perhaps the date of Patrick Graeme's 
marriage ; and on dormer window of kitchen, 1644.'' 

With the utmost respect for Mr Graeme's opinion, it is here suggested that the date, 1626, 
probably marks an addition by Smythe to the old house of Meall ; 1644, evidently an 
extension by Smythe ; and 1659, improvements by Patrick Graham of Rothiesholm, who* 
bought the Holm property from Smythe's son, and who named the house Grahau) shall. 

After the death of Catherine Graham, Patrick Smythe married Margaret Stewart, 
daughter of Henry Stewart, J?Tother of Jjord Ochiltree, and ^dpii^ of Hew Halcro of that ilk. 
Lord Ochiltree's connection with Orkney was not a happy one. He farmed the rents of the 
earldom, but for his oppressions and for tampering with the weights he was deprived and 
sentenced to a long term of imprisonment, t 

Smythe's third wife was Isobel, daughter of Thomas Anderson in Lundie. A stone 
erected to the memory of two daughters of this marriage stands in the south nave aisle of the 
Cathedral. 

Smythe had twenty-three legitimate children and at least three natural daughters. One 
of the latter married Harie Prince, and her son, Magnus, became Lord Provost of Edinburgh. 

Braco was drowned in the Stronsay Firth, and his death is thus recorded in the Family 
Bible :— "The 28 of April 1665, it pleased the Lord to remove my Father, Patrick Smythe^ 
being Saturday, coming from Stronsay in the night tyme." The body was recovered and 
buried in Papa Stronsay, where the spot is still known as Sir Patrick's grave. 

His eldest son was killed fighting on the Royalist side at Marston Moor, 1644. His 
second son also predeceased him. His third son, Patrick, who succeeded him, sold the Holm 
property to Patrick Graham of Rothiesholm, 1665, and bought his uncle's estate of Methven. 
In a rhyming letter, inviting Patrick Smythe to come to Brebuster, 3rd November 1665, 
occurs this couplet :— 

" As for vour sood uncle, leave him not in bands, 
For well hath he paid for your beves and your lands." 

This letter, still preserved in Methven Castle, is endorsed :— " Sheriff Blair's Letter from 
Brabuster when I sold my lands in Orkney, 1665." 

Braco's letters to his son, Patrick, so far as they go, form an excellent history of Kirkwall 
under the Commonwealth, and show how circumspectly the gentlemen of Orkney required to 
walk in the presence of Cromwell's Governors. 

From Huip in Stronsay, 28th May 1650, he writes to his son, " Patrik Smythe, Merchant 
Surges of edinburgh " : — 

*' Qubat husie trouble and vexation since your parting fra this, God knowes, and quhat burden I 
have had of these pepiU, and quhat charges they have put me to this tyme bygone, I am nocht abll to 
ezpres, for I wes extremely prest be them both for monev and rictuall, as I sail shaw at melting. I 
resauvit onlv fra you (since our parting) ane letter, ^uhairin ye shaw me in quat condition maters 
stood, and therefor desyn't me to cum south wt. all dihgence for taking cours wt. the same, quhilk I 

♦ Pet. Rent. t Pund. Proc., ii. 7. 



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252 KIRKWALL IN THE OUKNUYS. 

could on no wayis gett don albeit it bead stand inc on my Lyff, in respect these pepill Keepit sick ane 
strick ey oner nic and all my wa3'iH, that I durst attempt nothing but quhat wes for them, as ye mnst 
haue perseauit quhen ye was heir. I resauit a very kynd letter fra Louteuent geuerall l^esly, quhairin 
hie showes mo the daylie corispondence that is betwixt him and you. 8on, I intreat you, as ye Loue 
me and your auin weill, have ane speciall cair to Intertein that fauour and Loue that ye have of the 
Loutenent generall and with my goodbrother, the generall Quartermaster, * for I know they are both 
kynd to ther freinds. Upon the 19 off this moneth ther cam ane T-.etter fra Loutenent generall Lesly 
to the gentilmen in this cuntry, shauing off the agriement betwix his Matie. and the comissioners, and 
that his Matie. wes cum home, and, notwithstanding of all, he desyrit that we should be active in 
api*ehending all officars, that wes in this cuntrey or did cum to it, that Mer followers of James Graeme, 
and that we suld rid the cuntrey of all these pepell and not suffer them to have any siting heir, as also 
he desyrit that all gentilmen in this countrey sould cum south against the 10 day of Junii and copeir. 
l>efort the parliament or ther comitties. Conform to the quhilk letter, we mett ail in Kirkwall ye 22 
of this instant, and took the beat cours we were able for cleiring the cuntrey of these pepill and apre- 
hendiu|^ of sick as lay in our pouer to do ; and efter resuming at our meiting, we fand it wes a thing 
unposAible for us all to go south and so lay the heall cunti-ey opin to the invasion of piritis, foran 
shippis, and the pepell belonging to James Graeme, quha wes on our costis and daily cnming ashoir in 
ane part or other in the cuntrey and plundering our scheip and bestiall. So we resoluit and did chose 
out 8 off the ablest men in the cuntrey to go south for themselves and as comissioners for the rest of 
the cuntrey ; amongst the quhilk number they mead chuise of me for ane. I houp we sail all do our 
best to keip the tyme so neir as possibly we may, for, God- willing, I intend to taik my journey on 
Tuesday the 4 off Junii, and giff his matie. and the parliament or ther comittis be at aberdein (as I 
heir they ar), I intend to goe ther derekly and atend ther pleasour thair. So, giff ye find the court to 
be ther ye wilbe pleasit to meit me so shun as possibly ye can efter the said tent day of Junii, for I 
desyr very much to speak wt. you befor I meit wt. anie ther that, after advysement, I may taik the 
best and farest cours quhat to do ; the relation of all uther particullai-s I continue till meiting, quhilk 
I l>eseik the Lord may be happy to his glory and our auin salvation, and so I remain,— Your Louing 
father, (Signed) P. Smtthk off Braco. 

*' Houip, in Stronsay, ye 28 Maij 1650. 

*' ffor my Louing son, Patrik Sraythe, Merchant Burses of edinburgh, or in his absince, for m^' 
louing Cussing, Jhon Smythe, merchant Surges of the said Bruch." 

From instructions sent to his son in a postscrij^ to this letter, we discover that Smythe 
had money on loan in the south : — 

" Louing Sone, this berar, Mr Alexr. Wood, cam fra this so suddenly that I could nocht haive 
tyme to taik cours with him for the moneth and half monethis maintinancc grantit for his Ma'ties' 
Interteinment ; therefor 1 intreat you ather to pay to him or alloue him off the money hie restis you 
BO much, as I am deu to him for my self, my nevoy, and halcro, and Mr Patrik Gra;me for the said 
monethis maintinance as foUowcs :■ — for myself, for holme, 16 lib. iis. ; for St Olau, ISs 6d ; for Waes, 
2s ; for Stronsay, 18 lib. 158 ; Inde, 26 lib. Is 6d ; for halcro, for his Landis in South Ronaldsay, 16 
lib ; Georg Smyth, for his Lands in holme, 228 4d ; for Westray, 10 lib. 168 6d ; for his wo<lsett ther, 
10 lib. 6d ; for Stromness, 8s ; Inde, 22 lib. 7s 4d ; Mr Patrik Graeme, for holme, 4 lib. 98 8d ; for St, 
Olau, 3 lib. 13« 6d ; for Stronsay, 23 lib. 168 2d ; for Shapanshau,l98 4d ; Inde, 32 lib. 18s 8d. Suma. 
of all that 3'e ar to pay or allou to him is 107 lib. 7s and 6d, quhilk money ye will pay or allou to him 
as I have wreattin, and taik his resait thereon for euerie one off us, & Lett the resait bear for our pro- 
portion of all the particular Landis, and Lett the tickit bear that he, hauing pouer and Comission fra 
Sir Darell Carmichell for uplifting the same, discharges us thereoff ; and so shun as ye haue endit wt. 
him and gottin thir resaitis, send them all to me wt. the first occasion. I haue no border to wreat to 
you at the present than this trustie berar can shau, nather mynds to wreat any thing to yen till I hear 
fra you, quuilk I expeckit Long since. So, hauing no forder at present hot my fijue i-emembrit to 
your self & all freindis, & specially to the general quarter master, the major, good balgoun & Gorthie, 
— I remain. Your Louing father, (Signed) P. Smythe of Braco. 

" Burray, the 8 Junii 1651. 

** ffor my Louing Sone, Patrik Smythe, These." 

In another letter, he wishes to know how the cat is likely to jump ; plainly doubtful of 
the i)ermanency of the Commonwealth, he yet dares not show Royalist leanings : — 

" Louing Sone, hauing the occasion of this berar, I have thocht good to wreat to you, albeit I 
have Leitel purpoise except quhat I wreat formerly to you before the 23 off October with Benhom his 

* Stewart, a brother of Braco's second wife. 



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BROAD STREET. 253 

man, Wm. Sinclair (quba promisit to seik for you and delyuer my Letter to yourself), quhilk wee that 
ye would try diligently qunat wes the cours off the Kingdome for ther saftie in this tyme of so grait 
exegenoe, and wreat the same to me. I desyrit you to advyce wc. my twa noble reall freindis, 
Balgoun and the generall quartermaster, houe all went, and that ye wold be ther advyce do for me and 
the rest of our f reindis heir for our saftie as the rest of the Kingdome did : the freindis I wreat off is 
the Laird off Mains,* Mr Patrik and Jhou Grterae, Georg Smyth of Rapness, hew halcro off that ilk, 
George drumond off Blair, and Patrik Monteith of egilshau ; so I am confidant that ye will do what 
ye can heirin be ther advyce, qulia I knon will giff it you really' for our weall, for 1 desyre nather to 
be first nor last in taking cours ; foi-der, ye will try quhair ther is apeirance of best mercat for our 
comis this yeir, and to quhat place they ma3' be saniest transportit, for, godwiling, I will haue all my 
cornis redy against the nrst off March to be sent to the markit, and shall do my best to haue Uessellis 
fraughtit for transporting theroff as yon a<luertise me. I haue all my last yeiris comis and this yeiris, 
both to be sent to the markit, for I got Leit«ll or nane sold the Last yeir ; try giff the coledg of St. 
Andreus, or any other coledg, is to meit this yeir, and in quhat saftie youthis will be in ther, ft 
advertise me, for I wold glaidly haue my two neuoyis and sone to the colledg, giff they can go and 
cum in saftie and remain safly ther ; advertise quhat ye haue gottin or expeckis fra my tenentis besyd 
you, and in quhat cais they ar, and quhat monethly maintinance or cess is imposit on them this tyme 
bygone. So, hauing no forder for the present bot my heartly loue remembrit to good, kynd, reall 
liaTgoun k all his famalie, to Gorthie and his Lady (and advertise me houe they ar and houe all gois 
wt. them), and to my reall brother, generall quartermaster, and his Lady, and your self, and all utner 
freindis, — I remain, your louing father, (Signed) P. Smythe of Braco. 

" Meall, the 6 Nouraber 1651. 

** the hors ye sent me wt. my man is Leitel wurth ; my auin I Lent you wes far better. So, giff 
ye haue occasion to meit wt. the Major, ye will remeber. me hartily to him, and desyer him ather to 
send me my auin hors, or ane ather as good as he promisit to me be his Last Letter to me. 

'' ffor my Louing Sone, Patrik Smythe, merchant in edinburgh, to be found at Scon, Gorthie, or 
Dunkell, These." 

Smythe shows Jiow Cromweirs soldiers were raised and supported in Kirkwall : — 

" Fra James Gori, in Toftenes, ye 17 day, that he rested for his part of the outputting ane sojer, 
ye Last year, 6 lb. " 

** For ane troupe horse to put furth in July 1650, and for ane man to ryd on him, and for all 
charges yrto, besyd ane hat, sword, butt-hois, and spurs giffin to him be my sone, besyd quhat I 
resaivit fra the tenentis for the man." 

** Mair, for 3 swordis, 2 beltis, 2 musketis, and ane pick to my 3 sojers, 25 lib." 

** Mair Lent to the tenentis of Myrside and Wastward, ye 20 July, to put out John Shearer, yr 
sojer, for money and clothes, 20 lib. " 

" Mair, Lent to them the 23 day, to pay yr uther tua sojers, according as they agreit wt. them, 
28 lib. I7s6d." 

Writing from Meall, 18th December 1652, he says : — 

" Loueing Sone, yours of the deat from edinburgh, no day, I resaiuit fra Loutenant-Colenell 
blair the 16 off this Instant, upon the way betwix my house and Kirkwall, so that I head no tyme to 
stay to speik wt. him to Learn any of his occurrences be resoun off the coldness off the wether, that 
did so troubll me that I was glaidcl to gett away, f 

" This berar, egilshau,:!: is chargit for the payment to Mr Jhon dischingtoun off the dewties off the 
Landis off St. Peter's Prebendrie, Quhairoff hie hes ane feucharter and Infeftmeut off that Land, both 
off the King and the beueficit persone, and soe can no wayis, in equitie and Justice, be Lyable to pay 
any moir for the sd. Landis nor is continit in his feuchartour : this is done be his and our malicious 
enimies in this cuntrey, and Mr Jhon dischingtoun, schoolmaster, his name only usit herein as an 
seiser : he will schau you all the particullars himself, and in quhat stait and condition the mater 
standis in. I earnestly intreat you, my bairn, to do for him herein as ye would do for me, both be 
your self and any quhome ye haue any power, that he may nocht be wrongit herein, but that all 
ordinarie meinis be usit for his good : for he hes been and is to me as kynd and deutifull ane son as 
any man can have ; quhairfor I knou I neid intreat you no moir on his behalf." 

* William Stewart. 

t Plainly, Colonel Blair had just come across the ferry to Holm, and Smythe was riding from 
Kirkwall out to Meall. '* Sir Hugh's seat," near the top of the hill at Gaitnip, is probably named 
from Sir Hew Halcro, Canon of the Cathedral Church of Orkney. Here he would rest on his way to 
Kirkwall, and have South Ronaldshay still in view. 

X Patrick Monteith married to Smythe's third daughter, Marion. 



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254 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

In this letter he refers to large sums of money out at loan in the south, but with all his 
wealth he could not bear useless outlay : — 

" I entreat you, that ye suffer nocht my nevoy, Mr Patrick, and your brother, Mr Robert, to 
want quhat they stand necessarly in neid off, but giff them no money, for treuly money, as ye wreat, 
is hard to be head, and specially be me, quha can nocht do my auin affairs, hot must trust them to 
nthers." 

Smythe's business led him into numerous law-suits : — 

** Louing sone, yours, deatit from chanvie, the 30 May, I resaivit. As for anser therto, I am 
sorry that my Lord Siforth, his friendis, sould use you so unkyndly, seeing we haue deseruit better at 
ther handis ; hot, since it can be no better, do quhat ye can Lyally agamst them for procuring our 
awin, and stry ve quhat ye can to mak the chargis Licht on them, for I know the panis will be yours. 
Giff the Laird of plusoardin* be your friend, as you wreat hie is, I doubt nocht Dot he will preueall 
wt. the rest to do you reasone. As for georg dunbar, I am glaid he is weill and cum home and abll to 
satisfie for himself, quhilk I lone best. 80 my advyce is, giff he will pay you quhat is deu, that ye 
deall with no uther therin ; and as for that Jewell, no man, godwiling, sail haue it fra me till your 
forder order and aduertisement houe you and hie ar setlit : as for (^uha perseus for that 800 lib. 
aj^inst my Lord Morton, knoue it is perseuit in your unkll Jhon his name, James Baikie, David 
f inkead, and myn, ijuhairin I intreat you to be assistant to your pouer, as James Baikie sail wreat to 
you, for we haue al intrustit him wt. the doing theroff, and hes desvrit him to taik your advyce and 
assistance therin, quhilk 1 am conOdent ye wiU do. We haue head ane meiting heir, quhair we haue 
choein Robert Stewart off Bruch our comissioner to go to edinburgh and seik ane order for recktifieing 
of the valuation of our rentis, that it may be valuit as uther shyres in the nation ar, quhilk, giff it be, 
it wilbe fand that our present sesse wilbe as meikle on euerie 100 lib. as any other shy re in the nation 
is, and ther cannot justly any moir cesse be Ltvid on this shyr till that be done ; also, we haue giffen 
him comission to cause ansur to the Sumondis at Sir Androu dick his Listance against us to mak the 
arestit soodis belonging to my Lord Morton in our handis furthcumand to him, and we haue desyrit 
him to deall with the Judflris that both that sumondis and all uthers conseming those rentis, quhairin 
the uassells and tenentis ther Litrest may be referit to the Judges heir to be decemitt, in respect ther 
is so many that hes Intrest therin, and being so remot fra edinburgh, and many of them aluayis 
nnabll that they can nocht cum to edinburgh, and so ther salbe decreet giffen against us for nocht 
compeirand, quhilk is nowayis possibll for us to do for the reasone forsaid and many uthers quhilk 
may be shauen ; both thir, we expeck, will not be den3it to him giff they be richtly gon about, 
quhairfor I intreat you that if brugch cum to you and desyre your adv3'ce and concurrence heirin, that 
ye will giff it to him as ane freind to your cuntry and me, and your freindis in speciall, quha ar much 
concemit in both ; and giff he cum nocht for Laik off the payment off his channs be sum off our cuntiy 
men quha taiks nocht grait thocht quhat becum off the cuntry or them selms, I intreat vou to deaU 
quhat ye can for me, Mr Patrick, Breknes, and egelshau for getting ane ordour for recktineingoff our 
ualuation, as also that ye will cans ansur for us against Mr androu dick his sumondis. We salbe 
willing that he get decreit against us for quhat was in our handis the tyme off the arestment, quhilk as 
yit we can nocht declare till we try our tenentis quhat they haue payit, and quhen they payit it." 

This letter is sent south by NicoU Aitkin, " Scipper," and under the care of Aitkin went 
Braco's daughter to consult a physician : — 

'* Ye will deall wt. some honest skillfull man quha hes knouledge therin to do hir good, and 
quhat ye deburse heirin, or for any uther hir charges, I sail thankfully aloue the same to you at copt. 
Giff it pleas the Lord be this Instrument to grant hir helth and cuir off hir seiknes, ye will heast hir 
back to me again, for she hes head the heall charg of my house this Long tyme bygone, and I fear noa 
in hir absence it be nocht so richtly done as neid requyris. 

" Meall, 18 Junii 1653. 

'* I haue giffen your sister barbra sum Leitell mony, as much as I think will bear hir chargis till 
she cum to you, and sum moir. When she is redy to return, giff that be s^nt, ye will be pleasit to 
furnish hir wt. as meikll as wilbe hir charges in returning, hot giff hir no moir hot quhat she stands in 
neid off for that use." 

Barbara got better and married John Gibson, minister of Holm, who had been tutor to 
some of her brothers ; became a widow, 1681, and died, 1690, aged 59. 

♦Sir-Cteorge Mackenzie of Tarbat. 



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BROAD STREET. 255 

In 1653, Patrick's third wife, Isobel Anderson, was with him, but apparently was no 
housekeeper, or, what is more probable, was, according to Smythe's ideas, extravagant. 
Writing to his daughter-in-law, he says :— 

" I have resaivit ane Letter fra my Cussing, John Smyth, merchant in edinburjgh, quhairin he 
shaues me that your husband may expect at his return to gett ane call to be ane on the Judges off 
edinburgh, quhairoff I am sorry, bot wilbe much moir greuit giff, in thir dangerous and troublesome 
tymes, hie sail accept off any publick charge, quhairfor I earnestly intreat you to deal seriously wt. 
him that hie do not accept of any sick charge, bot only that he striue to Line quyetly and frugally till 
hie sie houe the world gois, and go about his auin and my affaires diligently, nocht omiting any 
friends' affairs intrustit to him, for aperrantly or it be Long ther wilbe som reuolution. The Lord 
God turn all to his glory and our comfort in cryst Jesus. Deir dochter, seik the Lord wt. all your 
heart, and intreit your husband to do the Lyk. Stryue both to Leiue frugally, deutifully, and 
louingly to all your freindis and nechbouris, and this will make you louit both of God and all good 
men. So, hauing no f order for the present bot my Inteir loue to your self and ail friendis, I continu, 
much houorit dochter, your Jjouing and deutifuU father to his pouer, P. Shythe off Braco. 

*< Meall, the 22 Junii 1653. 

" ffor my much honorit and Louing dochter, Anna Keith, spous to Patrick Smythe, younger off 
Braco." 

" Louing Sone, — Since my Last to yon, tua of yours I haue resaivit, ane theroff be your Unkll 
James, deatit the 3 November 1653, the uther be young Garsay, deatit the 12 decber. Last, quhairin 
ye shau me very Lei tell concerning my particullars, only sumquhat off that action of downes and 
others against me. Do ye your best therein and comit the event to the Lord almichtie, quha hes the 
heartis of men in his handis, and I houp in his mercie, as I am frie off any off ther 'goods, so hie will 
Liberat me off the prejudice theroff. I marvell that ye haue nocht acquient me quhat ye haue don in 
the rest of my affairs comited (under god) to you, and specially — 1, anent the tack off my teindis be 
the toun of edinburgh ; 2, my action against Malcolm Sinclair for ane discharge to me ; 3, anent the 
reneuing the Sumondis acainst halcro and His curators-, and sending the same to me to be execut, seeing 
I sent the former sumondis within my letter to you wt. ane soger heir, callit david thomsone, off the 
Inglish reemont, quha wes going south with Letters fra his captain, Soking. Heast to send me 
that ob. of fyve hnndreth mark giffen be Oliver Linay. I wold haue it that thereb}^ I micht cleir my 
bills of exchange. I suspeck your seasine of my landis heir be nocht deuly don, for it is only giffen at 
the house of Meall for all the Landis, and the Landis off ducro and cornquoy is nocht includit in that 
chartor of Union. Quhen ye haue advysit this, giff it be any defect, send back your chartour giffen 
be me to you, and 1 sail caus taik seasing thereon deuly on euerie ground of the Land quhair it is 
neidfuU. Lett me heir fra you houe all your and my affairs gois, that I may know tHeroff, for I sallbe 
glaid to heir that all go richt ; and that is all I can do, being auld, weak, and infirm with seikness. 
So, hauing no forder for the present bot my hartly Loue and deutie to your self, your bedfelou, my 
dochter, and to my sone and 2 dochters, to good reall Balgonn, his sone and Lady, to good Gorthie 
and his worthie Lady, and to all freindis, I continu. Your Louing father, P. Smtthe of Braco. 

" Meall, the 8 Februar 1654." 

Smythe was not personally popular in Orkney. He carried things with a high hand. 
Writing to his brother, Mr Robert Smythe, 12th October 1656, he says : — 

" That Captione whereof ye wreat is not as yet come to my hand, but I doe expect it daly ; if he 
and I agi'ie not (wch. we never will until I execute it), I shall obey you in the punctual execution, 
and shall send him to the next secure prisone, wch. is dingwall, ther being non in this shyre. The 
governour \a my great good freind, and the people bier are Laboring his being removed ; the trewth is he is 
ane able, just man, and most fit for the government heir, and therefor some would have him removed ; 
the great reason is he will nather drink, swear, nor Lie, nor countenance ther vitious deportment, nor 
plot ye subversione of honest men." 

Cromweirs governors sat on the bench in Kirkwall, but never alone : — 

" As for yt. order of the Counceirs, it can not be execuit against Mr Patrick untill ther be a 
Justice of peace to sit with ye Governour, and I am unwilling to detect his folly, wherunto his wyff, 
not his eenious, has forced him. The sumonds against Mr Patrick Grahame must be filled up, to maik 
arrested goods furth coming, viz., the four chalders bear and thrie barralls butter yearly, payable be 
him as his few dewty of Rothiesholm, also for so much yearly payable be my brother John for his few 
dewtie of hoop and stryinie, wherewith Mr Patrick is Intromitter as curator to the sd. John. 

** As for halcro, it shall be sent — I mean his reduction — altho' ther be no sutch decreet in record 



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256 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

but is maid up by the shirreff and gairsay, who died wonderfully ill with a chopine stoup in his 
hands. 

"As for my brother Andrew, if you knew his carradge to me, you woold blush, wherwith I will 
not acquant you until! I shaw you his hand for all ; this bearrer is suire, which makes me inlardc^e ; 
he is tne govemour's post sent south wth. depositions to the Councell of those skippers and pairtners 
that wer takene wh. yor brother Andrew, who are Lyk to get some satisfactione." 

The following letter shows how his personal friends leaned upon him in business : — 

** Verie worthy And assnrit frind, my hairtlie comendationes being remebrit. to yor selffe, bed- 
fellow, and all the baimes, plais uott that I am heir in Ronnaldsay, and haid of intentione to hawe 
sein yow at maell, but I protest to god I cannot haue ane hors heir that ar abell to Karie me downe 
to brughe ; Therfoir I will requyst you to com heir and spaik wt. me, becaus ye ar mor abell then I 
am, and may esier transport yor selfife be Land, or sie and tak ane hors out of Burray, for I suspect 
je will gaitt non in this lie abell to Karie you, for my intentione was to haue sien the Laird of maines 
m the by going if I haid comd to you. Sr., if ye be remembrit, 1 spake to yon concerning yt. purpois 
qlk is betwixt the Laird of maines and me, qlk I am content yt ye sail cutt and carue in yt erand as 
ye think expedient, according to my former wordis, for the Laircl is a man I will be very Loth to be 
hard wt., all dewtie being doone, for his man Laboures sume of the Land of it, and him selffe aittes the 
crais and mowes the middowes of it, and I pay the tynd of it ; ye may knaw quhat benefite I haue 
laid of it this lang tyme ; ye may spaik to the Laird if he be to keip the former rackening of yt. 
|Mce of land in Sandwick ; I will by and attour give him the kyndnes of thre farthing Land Lying 
in Lythes, rige and runrige wt. his awin Lands, qlk be tyme he may make the samyn as profitabell as 
so much Uthill ; if nought, doe therin as ye think expedient, I stand content yrwith ; forther, I will 
requyst you to Lduik out ane decreit and horning againes Edward of Flauis, Nicoll of Staine, and 
Allister clark, qlk I think I gaue to my sonne, and if ye haue them not, they ar in Wm. Spence his 
hands, for I haue wraittin to him for to Louik if he hes them, and to dely ver them to yor boy, and if 
they cane be gottin, send them to me, for I haue adoe wt. the samyn. Lykwayes, ye sail nott, yt I 
am informed that yt band of cautionrie was onformallie wraittin be androw Strang, qlk was ane stope 
in raising the suspentione, yr foir I will requyst yow, as my trust is in yow, to helpe and supporte me 
in defending the minor's condition, seeing I am not so abell for it as I wold, and desyres you to wraitt 
to Andrew EUies to draw up ane band of Cautionrie for Thomas Berstoune and William Scollay, and 
Laue blank for the cautioner's name, yt. I may haue the samyn to send south wt. this passage, and 
qt. ye give him for the samyn I sail content you bak againe at mitting. Lykwayes, I requyst yon to 
iiOaik out Mr Walter's* discharge, and bring with you. So hauing no f order, bott expecting yor coming, 
— I rest and sail remaen, Your Louing and Assured frind efter my poner, Halcro of that ilk. 

" Halcro, ye xiii. day of May 16fi). 

** To the verie worthy and my assurit frind, Patrick Smyth of Braco, thes." 



APPENDIX TO CHAPTER XIV. 



Trial for Witchcraft before Sheriff John Dick. 

" nth Nov. 1629. 
** DiTTAT, Witch Kendall als. Rtgga. 

" Intrat upon Pannell, Jonet Rendall, als. Rigga, poor vagabond within the pochin. of Kendall, for 
the abominable supperstition anduseing of the witchraftes underwritten. 

" In the ffirst — Ye, the said Jonet, ar Indyttit and accusit for airt and pt. of the abominable 
supperstition and supperstitious abusing and disceiveing of the people. And for practeising of the 
wicked and devilish poyntis of witchcraft and sorcerie done by you in maner at the tymes and in the 
places efter speit. , and in geving yourself f urth to have sick craft and knawled^e, Thairthrow abuseing 
the people : To Wit, Twentie yeiris since and mair, ye being above the hill of rendall, having soucht 

* Probably Mr W^alter Stewart, who was minister of South Ronaldshay, 1696 to 1652. 



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BROAD STREET. 267 

charitie, and could not have it, the devile appeirit to you, Quhom ye callit Walliman, claid in quhyt 
cloathia, with ane quhyt head and ane gray beard, And said to you, He sould learne you to win almisa 
be healling of folk, and auhaaoever sould geve you ahniss sould be the better ather be land or sea, and 
these yt. geve vow not almiss sould not be healled. And ye, haveing trustit in him and entering in 
pattionn with him. He promeisit to you that quhasoever sould refus you almiss, and quhatever ye 
craved to befall thame sould befall tharae, and thairefter went away in the air from you, Quhairby ye 
practeisit many and sindrie poyntis of witohcr-ift and devilrie, and speciallie the poyntis following^ 
Qlk ye cannot deny. 

"Item, ye ar Indytitt and accuseit for cuing., fyve yeiris since or 3'rby, To Manss Work in 
Windbrek his wife, and haveing askit almiss of hir and she refusand, ye saiil yc she sould repend it, 

and within i ' * ' " ' ' 

conforme I 

reprovit 1 

it, and that she sould ather run uponn the sea or then ane war cast sould befall hir, Quha being quholl 

then, deit within thrie dayes be your witchcraft and devilrie, Qlk ye cannot deny. 

"Item, ye ar Indyttit and accusit for cuing, at Candlemas last To Edward gray, in Howakow 
hous, and .shakin your blanket at it neer against the hous, and Patrick gray his sone having cum forth, 
and seeing yow, cald his father, and fearing your evill, went to the bame and geve yow ane lock come, 
and on Monday nicht thairefter Twa meiris deit, both at once, in the stable, and that the said patrick 
took sicknes the same hour he saw yow, and dwyned thrie-quarters of ane ycir and deit, and ye being 
send for befoir his death to see him. He being dead befoir, and haveing laid his death on yow how 
shone ye came in, the cors having lyin ane guid space and not having bled any, Immediatelie bled 
mutch bluid, as ane suir token that ye wcs the author of his death, and all was done by your witchcraft 
and devilrie, Qlk ye cannot deny. 

" Item, ye are Indyttit and accusit for cuing, to William Work in efeday his house on Halloween, 
four yeiris sene or yrby, and knocking at his door, they wold not let yow in nor geve yow lodgeing, 
Quha depairting, murmuring and miscontent, his wyff pairtit with child upon the mome be your 
witchcraft and devilrie, qlk ye cannot denny. 

" Item, ye are Indyttit and accusit for that, in bearseed tyme the last yeire, ye cuing, to John 
Spence in Uppettown his hous, and the said John his wyff being calling ane caltf to the grass, ye came in 
and wus angrie that she sould have chilled out the calff quheu ye com in. And turning yow twys about 
on the floor, ye went out, and Immediatlie the calf, being ane yeir old, took seikness and deit be your 
witchcraft and sorcerie, qlk ye cannot denny. 

" Item, ye ar Indyttit and accusit for that on Santt thomas evein, four yeiris sene or yrby, ye 
cuing, to William wScott in Poldrite his hous and knocking Thrie severall tymes at the doore, and ane 
hour betwixt every tyme, and ye, not gettin in, went away murmuring, fhrie dayes efter, the guid 
w^-ff becam seik, and four beastis deit the same yeir, and an ox fell over the craig and deit of the fall 
by your witchcraft and devilrie, qlk ye cannot denny. 

" Item, ye ar Indyttit and accusit for that in Candlemes evin, fyve veiris sene, ye cam to Gilbert 
Sandie in Isbister his house and sought ane plack of silver in almis fra him for his mcaris, that they 
mijy^ht be weill over the yeir, as ye said Davici Henrie had done that day, quha said to yow that he had 
naither silver, come, or meall to spair, but baid his wyff geve you thrie or four stokis of kaill, and 
ye been gane away, the said ^ilbertis wyff followed yow with the kaill ; ye wold not tak thame, and 
uponn the second day efter, his best hors, standing on the floor, became wood, and felled himself and 
deit, and the thrid night thaireft his best mair deit by your witchcraft and devilrie, qlk ye cannot denny. 

" Item, ye ar Indyttit and accusit for cuing, to the said gilbertis hous in spring tyme last, and 
the said jp;ilbertis wyff wold not let you in, and ye going away, took the profeit of hir milk be your 
witchcraft and sorcerie, qlk yu cannot denny. 

** Item, ye ar Indyttit and accusit for yt. ye cam to Johne bewis hous in Waas twa yeiris sene and 
sought almiss and got nane, and ye said he sould repent it, and about noone, his best kow haveing 
fallen in ane myre, and tane out be him, his wyff, and servands, she wold not stand, and ye cuing, 
thair, put thrie earis of bear, haveing first spit in thame, in the kowis mouth, and said to thame that 
cam to bear hir home, that they neidit not make that travell, and ane littell quhyll eft, the kow being 
almost dead, and not able to draw ane foot to hir, rais with help, and gaid home be your witchcraft 
and devilrie, qlk ye cannot denny. 

" Item, ye ar Indyttit and accust for that, fyve or sex yeiris sene, ye came to David quoynameikill 
his father's hous, at the making of his yuU banket, and got almis, and yt. they wold not sufferre yow 
to abid all night, qlk ye tald to Margaret abbuster that they refusit you ludgino;, and said it wus guid 
to wit if ever the guidman of the hous sould mak ane uther yuU bankett, ana within fTyftene dayes 
contractit seiknes and deit by yor. witchcraft and devilrie, qlk ye cannot denny. 

** Item, ye ar Indyttit and accusit for yt., thrie yeiris sene or yrby, ye cam to David Quoyna- 
meikill motheris hous, and got na almis, and she beiiw feared that evill sould befall hir, as it did to 
otheris, befoir night she fellit herself uponn the lintelT stane of hir byre and deit within thrie dayes, 
and the servand man also, be your witchcraft and devilirie, Qlk ye cannot denny. 

2l 



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358 KIUKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

" Item, ye ar Indyttit and accusit for cuing, to Michaell firthis house in AbbuBter, in spring tyme 
last, and getting no almis becaus the milk was suppit, ye said ye miffht have keepit milk to me, and 
they said they knew not of her cuing., and the next day eft, ane cfdff deit ; and now, when he was 
conveying you to hirssay, he askit you at the slap of birssay if ye knew anything of the death of his 
calfT, ye anserit, haid he not been so cald to you, nane of your calffis sould not nave deit this yeir, 
Qlk ye cannot deny. 

*' Item, ye ar Indyttit and accusit that, sex yeiris sene or yrby, that Johne rendall in brek had 
twa calfiss lying on the grein, and ye askit gi£f bothe these calffis were his, and said they were anew for 
the first yeir, and ane of the calffis deit befoir nicht be your witchcraft and devilrie, Qlk ye cannot 
denny. 

'* ItHin, ye are Indyttit and accusit for cuing, to Johne tur^ in Midland his house, abont Witsun- 
day last, to get almis, and haveing gottin ane drink of new aill, ye was not content, and befoir ye wus 
twa pair buttis (?) from the hous the aill left working, and the said Johne, haveing sought you ane 
day or twa eft, brought you to his hous againe, and took into his seller, and ye spit amongst the aill, 
and said ye sould warrand him got silver for everie drop of it, Qlk ye cannot deny. 

'* Item, ye ar Indyttit and accusit for yt., aucht yeirs sene, ye banting to Andro Matches' hous in 
Sundichous he wantett the proffeit of his milk, und having compleuit to Sr. Johne buchanan, Shreff 
for the tyme, of how ye met the said Andro uponn the mome, and said he sould repent yesterdaye's 
work, and the same day ane ox strick of his deit ; and about thrie-quarteris of ane yeir eft, the said 
Andro haveing cum to Evie to the session of the Kirk to complene of yow, ye met with him thrie 
dayes eft, and said to him He was alwayes dealling with you and complenins you , and yt. he sould 
repent it, and thrie dayes eft The said Andro becam mad, and ye being send for, and how shoone ye 
came to his house he becam bett., and fell on sleip, and ouheu ye had gottin meit, befoir ye teastit 
it, ye spat thrys over your left shoulder, and the said Ancfrois wyff, fearing ye haid been doing moir 
evill, strak yow, and ye said let me alone, for your guidman will be weile, Qlk ye cannot deny. 

'* Item, ye ar Ind^'ttit and accusit for yt., four yeiris sene, ye cam to Manss quoynameik ill's hous 
and soucht almis, and got nane at y t. tyme, Bot his mother haveing promeised to geve yow melk quhen 
hir kow calved, ye cam againe that same day the kow calved, and soucht almis, bot she wold geve you 
nane, and ye said ye put me ay of, ^eve me yt. ye promeised me, for now your kow is calved, and said 
she sould have ather mair or less milk or ye cam againe, and about aucht dayes efter the kow deit be 
your witchcraft and devilrie, qlk ye cannot denny. 

** Item, ye are Indyttit and accusit for yt., at alhallowmes byeane ane yeir, ye cam to the said 
Manss and sought ane peice colop, quha wuld geve yow nane, and ye said, befoir ye cam againe he 
sould have calopis to geve ; wthin. £fourtene dayes eft he best ox deit be yor. witchcraft and devilrie, 
qlk ye cannot denny. 

*' Item, ye ar Indyttit and accusit for yt., in winter last, ye cam to the said Manss' hous and 
sought ait meall, and he refusand yow, ye said he sould have mair or less or ye came againe, and 
fourtene dayes eft his kill wth. aittis took fyre and brunt be your witchcraft and devilrie, qlk ye 
cannot denny. 

** Item, ye ar Indyttit and accusit for yt., of your awen confessionn, efter ye met your Walliman 
upon the hill, ye cam to William rendall's hous, quha haid ane seik hors, and promeised to haill him 
if he could give yow twa penneys for everie foot, and haveing gottin the silver, ye hailled the hors be 
praying to your Walliman. Lykeas, ye have confest that thnir is naither man nor beast seik that is 
tane away be the hand of god, not for almis ye are able to cur it be praying to your Walliman, and yt. 
thair is nane yt. geves yow almis bot they will thry ve aither be sea or land if ye pray to yr. Walli- 
man, Qlk ye cannot denny. 

** Ana geuerallie ye, the said Jonet Rendall als. Rigga, ar Indyttit and accusit for airt and pt. of 
the said abominable supperstitioun and supperstitious abusein^ and disceaving of the people, and in 
nseing and practeisinz of witchcraft and sorcerie, and in gevem yur. selff furth to have sutch craft 
and Knawledge, thairby abuseing the people, and sua reput and halden. And yr. foir, and for the 
pointis of dittay comittit be yow In maner above written, such and sould underly the law, and be ad- 
judgit to the death for the same and in example of otheris to do the lyk, And yor. suids and gear 
escheit and inbroucht to his Mateis. use, conforme to the Act of pliament. and comon. Taw, and dayle 
practeis observit in sick caiss's. 

" Curia Vicecomitatus et Justiciariae de Orknay et Zetland tenta apud birsay in aula 
ibid per honorabilem virum mrum. Joannem Dick, Vicecomitem et Justiclarium 
deputatio— diet vicecomitatus undecimo die mensis Novembris 1629. 
*' Curia Itima affirmata. 

"The qlk the sd. Shrefdeput chusit Mr Harie Aitkin in Clerk, Rot. Scollay in pfiskall, Thomas 
Young, Messr., in officer. 

** Conipit. rot. Scollay, pfiskall, and producit the dittayes, desyring thame to be red and the 
pannell accusit yr. upoun. 

" The pannell pnt. confest that Walliman came to hir first in Nicoll Jockis hous in halkland, and 
she maining that she was poor and haid nothing, He said to hir that she sould leive be almis, and that 



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BBOAD STREET. 259 

thair wus nather man nor beast seik that were not deadlie be the hand of God bot she, getting almiss 
and praying to VValliman, he wald hjtill thame, and if she got no almiss, he wald be angrie and mak 
thair bcastis die : — 

** Confest the second point of dittay anent Manss Work's wyflF, that she said she sould repent it, 
and yt. Walliman gared the kow fall over the craig, and eft she was reprovit yt. Wallinian gared the 
said Manss wyflf die : — 

** Confest the third point, That the corne she got wus bot shillings and yt. she was not content, 
and that Walliman slew the meiris and the man, and as he promeised he was truy to his : — 

" Confest the fourt point, that she was miscontent that Wm. Work wuld not geve hir ludging, 
and yt. Walliman was an^'e at it and gared his wyff pt. wth. chyld : — 

** Confest the fyft pomt and yt. Walliman gared the calf die. 

" Confest the sext point, that thev wald not let hir in and kot no almiss, and Walliman was 
angrie at it, and gared his w^^ run mad and the beast die. 

" Confest the sevent point, yt. gilbert Sandie wald geve hir nothing and yt. Walliman wrought 
oonforme to the dittay. 

** Confest the aucht point and yt. Walliman took away the proffeit of the ky. 

** Confest the nynt point yt. sho put bear in the kowis mouth, bot deunyis sho spat on it. 

" Confest the Tent point yt. sho sd. to Mart. AAbbuster conforme to the dittay and yt. Walli»nan 
keipit his promeis. 

" Confest the ellevint poiut that she got no almiss fra David quoynameikill's wyflf. 

*' Confest the twelflF point anent the calfiss that sho got no almiss, and giflF they deit Walliman 
did it. 

'* Confest the threttin point anent Johne Turk's aill, That is, was bot littell sho got, and yrfoir 
Walliman took away the proflfeit of it. 

** Confest the ffourtene point anent Andro Matches. 

** Confest the fyftene point anent Manss quoynameikiUs wyff, and yt. sho sould have ather mair 
or less milk or sho cam againe because she gotna almiss. 

** Denyit the sextene point anent Manss quoynameikill's ox. 

** Denyit the seven tene point. 

** Confest the hailling of Wm. rendall's hors. 

" Confest the rest of yt. point of dittay. 

" Denyit the generall. 

" The pfiskall desyrit that the pannell migt be put to the tryell of ane assyss. 

" The pannell pnt. could alege nothing in the conr. 

" Assise. 

Hew Halcro of Crook. NicoU Sclaitt in Gome. William Kirkum in Kirkum. 

Jon. rendall in breck. Oliver rendall in halkland. Alexr. Kirkum in birsay benorth.. 

Henrie Linklett in Aithtoft. Mans Scottie in brecken. Wm. Sclaitt in buirdhous. 

David flaitt in Orqnhill. Adam bewis in goirsnes. James Ingisby in Ingisby. 

James Corrigill in Cotasbart. Alexr. rendall in Midgair. James Velyean in b^iquoy. 

'*That the assyss was laulie. swome and admittit bot objectionn of the pannell. The pfiskall 
askit actis and protestit for error. 

** The pfiskall pducit. Manss Inerair, Manss Work, Wm. Work, Jon Spence, Wm. Scottie, 

S'lbert Sandie, Jon. Sandie, Manss Wood, David quoynameikill, Michaell Firth, Jon. Turk, Alexr. 
atchis, Andro Matchis, and Manss quoynameikill in witness. 

** The Assyss, passing out of Judgment, chusit hew halcro, chanr. 

" Manss Wood and gilbert Sandie deponed that they wer send for to bear home the kow, bot 
jonet risga was cuing, fra the kow befoir they cam yr. 

*' Michaell Firth, in abbust, deponed yt. qn. he was cuing, to birsay out of the slap she confest to 
him conforme to the dittay. That if he haid geven hir almiss his calf haid not deit. 

** Andro Matches depones that she spak this words conforme to his point of dittay, and that these 
things befell him. 

" Manss quoynameikill depones anent the ox that sho said he sould have colopis anew to geve 
befoir sho cam againe, and yt. he sould have ather inoir or les ait meall or sho cam againe, and yt. the 
event foUowit conforme to her words and dittay, Bot will not tak it uponn his conscience yt. she did it. 

**The Assyss reent., and in judgment all in ane voice be the mouth of the chanr., fiyles the 
pannell of the haill speciall pointis of dittay conforme to hir confessionn, And in the twelff, fourtene, 
and sextene pointis conforme to the probann. And in the genall. that sho was ane disceaver of the 
people, and gave hirselff furth To have knawledge to do evill, and if ever sho promeised evill, evill 
befell, and reput and halden ane comon witch. And remittis sentence to the judffe and dome to the 
dempst. . (Signed) Hew Halcro. 

'* The judge accepts the determination of the assyss and ordaines the Pannell to be tane be the 



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260 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEYS. 

lockman and convoyed to the place of execuonn, hir handis bund behind hir bak, and worriet at ane 
Btoup to the dead, and burnt in ass. Qulk robert Sinclair, dempst in birsay benorth, gave for dome." 

" Adame Cromartie of Kirkhous and Elspeth Irving, in Carray, in Southronaldsay, were 
tried for ' incestuous adultery.' Cromartie was a widower and Elspeth a widow, but the 
widow of Cromartie's nephew. * The haill assys, be the mouth of the chanr., ffylis the pointis 
of incest conforme to their confession.' * The judge accepts the determinonn. of the assysa, 
and ordaines the pannells to be tane be the lockman, with thair hands bund behind tnair 
backs, and conveyed to the place of execuonn., and worried thair at ane staik to the death, 
and brunt in asses. Qlk George Anderson, dempst, gave for dome.' " 

In Kirkwall, John Dick held his Courts " in templo Sancti MagnV^ 



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CHAPTER XV. 

The Grammar School. 

EN 1677, Patrick Smythe's house in the College yard was occupied as a dwelling-house by 
Mr Patrick Lindsay, " physitian," who, in December of the previous year, had manied 
Marion, sister of William Monteith of Towquoy. 

In the same year, the small house east of Miss Baikie's Close belonged to Bailie David 
Moncrieff, who drew from it a rent of £20. Possibly, like the house at the back, it had 
belonged to Smythe of Braco, and had come into the Bailie's hands when, in 1659, he married 
Braco's widow, Isobel Anderson. This house is described in the Valuation Roll as having 
"the grammer school joyned close to the east gavel yrof." When we see the amount of 
accommodation required for educational purposes at the present day, it is difficult to realise 
the fact that a small dwelling-house in Palace Street could have been the Grammar School of 
Kirkwall. 

Reared under the fostering wing o/ thp Church, the Grammar School was in existence, 
presumably, in Danish times, certainly before James the Third's Charter, 1486. This deed 
" not only conferred the ordinary privileges of a Royal Burgh, but conveyed the Cathedral 
and whole Bishopric of Orkney to the incorporation, with a condition that the proceeds 
thereof should be wholly employed in upholding the church and School." ♦ 

It need not be assumed that at that early date there was in the Burgh any building 
exclusively set apart for educational purposes. The teachers were churchmen, and in 
Kirkwall some part of the Cathedral might be found available. In the fifteenth century 
few boys and no girls went to school. But already in Scotland the desirability of general 
education was beginning to be felt. In 1496, James IV. enacted that " all persons of means 
shall send their eldest sons to school from the time they are eight or nine years old till 
they be competently founded and perfect in Latin" ; and the King's object in this shows 
much forethought— that " Justice might reign universally throughout the realm, and that 
those who are sheriffs or judges may have knowledge to do justice." And from this time, 
down to the beginning of the present century, Scotland stood foremost among the nations of 
Europe, not perhaps as exhibiting the highest scholarship, but as showing the most widely 
diffused popular education. 

When, in 1544, the pious Bishop Reid reconstituted his Cathedral staff, he provided that 
one of them, a graduate in Arts, and having no other duty to perform, should have charge of 
the Grammar School. The master's emoluments were the rents of certain lands dedicated of 
old to St. Peter's Altar, t 

James Morrison, minister of Evie, reporting on the condition of his parish, 1620, says : — 
" There are School lands here, dedicated of old to the maintenance of a school in Kirkwall, 
lykeas the few dutie thereof is as yett payed to the foresaid schoole." " Ane portion of the 
prebendarie of St. Peter is that Schoole land." The same authority reports that in Rendall ' 

* Pet. Rent., App., 42. t Pet. Rent., App., 42. 



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262 KIRKWALL IN THE ORKNEVS. 

there is a portion of the prebendary of St. Peter, " of olde dedicated to the maintenance of 
ane schoole in Kirkwall/' 

Rev. David Watson, minister of Rousay and Egilshay, reports, 1627, " Their was payed of 
old out of the Hand of