John R Tudor.

The Orkneys and Shetland; their past and present state online

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Captain Kidd must have been. In spite, however, of this

^ See Appendix T. pp. 633-637. - Fea's Considerations, pt. i. p. 77.


very considerable amount of prize-money, wlien we consider
the time, Fea is said to have been ruined through the numerous
suits, which were trumped up against him in the courts for
his share in Gow's capture. This may liave led to his throwing
himself so warmly on to the Jacobite side in 1745, for his share
in which rising his house, at Sound, in Shapinsay, which had
passed into his possession by his marriage with Mrs. Buchanan,
was burnt down by the Hanoverians, who seemed to have
behaved with the grossest brutality to Mrs. Fea.

John Fea,^ great grandson of John Fea of Clestron, and great
grand nephew of James Fea, died at the age of ninety-fi\e years
in January, 1862, after a chequered career, having fought at
Trafalgar in the Indefatigable^ and afterwards deserted, spend-
ing forty-eight years of his life in the employ of the Leith and
Clyde Canal Company.

Mr. Hebden, the present owner of Eday, has, in Carrick
House, a bell said to have belonged to the Revenge, on which is
cut "Deo Soli Gloria, 1640," and which bell was obtained,
some years ago, in Stronsay. iVs, however, the motto is the
same that Neill saw over the gateway of Stove in Sanday, a
mansion that belonged originally to the Feas, the bell is more
likely to have come from Whitehall. If the bell really was
used on board the Revenge, the motto must have been curiously
out of place.

We stray.

When a nor'-wester is blowing there is a sweet bit of sea just
outside the Red Head, all the worse when the Orcadian
proverb before-cpioted ^ is verified. You get some pretty views
of the Rousay hills, as you stand over to Stanger Head, whence
you make for the west side of Papa Westray, just under
Holland, and then cross over to Pierowall, where the steamer
remains for the night.

There is a very comfortable little lodging-house kept by
^ Alaidmcnt Colhclions. - See ante, p. 197.


Mrs. Rosie, the wife of the engineer of the Orcadia, close to
the pier, and a licensed house at the head of the bay. That
this island must have been a great haunt of the Norsemen in the
Viking period is shown by the swords peculiar to that period,
shield-bosses, tortoise brooches, and other relics that from time
to time have been discovered in the mounds on the Links
of Pierowall. In one of these grave-mounds were found the
skeletons of a man and of his horse, a shield-boss, and ring of
bronze. Many of these relics, of the period of Norse heathen-
dom, are nov\' in the National Museum at Edinburgh. Pierowall
is the Hofii of the Orkncyinga Saga, where Jarl Rognvald
landed, after Uni had rendered the beacon on Fair Isle useless.
And, somewhere in the neighbourhood, he was visited by the
monks from Eller Holm, whose garb so tickled the fancy
of the rhyming Jarl, that he improvised the following lines :

" Sixteen have I seen together,
With a small tuft on their foreheads ;
Surely these are women coming,
All without their golden trinkets.
Now may we of this bear witness.
In the west here all the maidens
Wear their hair short — ^that isle Elon
Lies out in the stormy ocean."

Here, too, he chafted farmer Kugi, after generously releasing
him from the fetters his followers had adorned him with,
and told him in rhyme, that he must not hold any more
" Moonlight " meetings.

Westray in Roman Catholic days was divided into two
parishes, of which the church of one, called Cross Kirk, was
on the shores of the Bay of Skea, whilst the church of the
other was dedicated to the Virgin and known as Lady Kirk, on
the shores of Pierowall Bay.

There was also a church on Papa Westray dedicated to Saint
Boniface, and which was " ane pendicle to our Lady paroschine,
as said is." In the reports ^ made to Bishop Graham in 1627,
1 Teterkiu's Reiitals, No. III. p. S2.


we find that the minister of the united parish received from the
King's Chamberhiin ^200 in respect of Cross Kirk, and ^100
for serving Boniface. In addition to which endowment the
inhabitants of Westray seem to have compounded for meat
and boat tithes, with two chalders of bere, two barrels and a
half of butter, six stone of wool, and thirty lambs, whilst
the inhabitants of Papa paid ;^io in money. The money
of course being Scots currency. Lady Church has only the
roof off; and the walls and gables are still entire. Not far
from the church is a Pict's house, or underground chamber
described by Captain Thomas.^ It is now, however, nearly
filled up by sand. There are one or two gloups out by Skail
near Akerness, which, when a nor'-wester is blowing and forcing
the water through the blow-holes, must be well worth seeing, and
there are one or two picturesquely arched stacks, but the cliff-
line between there and Rack Wick is of no great height, and,
except when a gale is on, the visitor to the island, unless he
wants " to kill time," may as well proceed straight to Noltland
Castle. This consists of a building in the form of a parallelo-
gram, measuring 86 ft. 10 in. E. and W., and 36 ft. 3 in. N. and
S., and having, at the S. W and N.E. corners, rectangular towers.
On the S. side was a courtyard, along the S. side of which were
buildings, now destroyed. This courtyard and other buildings
were not, however, according to Billings,^ part of the original
building, as they would have masked the fire of the embrasures
or port-holes which are so numerous, that, combined with the
general "bulky" appearance of the building, Billings was almost
of opinion that a sailor-architect must have been employed.
AVhoever he was, according to tradition, his remains were im-
mured in the walls of the great staircase, which occupies the
south-western tower, and is the architectural feature of the
building. Of it Billings says :

" A good notion of its dimensions may be formed from the
fact of the central column, or newel, being nearly one yard

1 ArchcEoloffia, vol. xxxiv.

^ ^\\\mg%'9, Baronial and Ecclesiastical Anli

Online LibraryJohn R TudorThe Orkneys and Shetland; their past and present state → online text (page 32 of 59)