Hoy and Græmsay


Hoy and Græmsay
   HOY and GRÆMSAY, a parish, in the county of Orkney, 2½ miles (S.) from Stromness; containing 547 inhabitants, of whom 214 are in the island of Græmsay. This parish, which is chiefly situated in the island of Hoy, the principal of the South Orkney isles, is bounded on the north by the Sound of Hoy, which separates it from the parish of Stromness, in the main land; on the east, by the bay of Scalpa, in which is the small island of Græmsay; on the south and south-east, by the parish of Walls; and on the west, by the Atlantic Ocean. That part of the parish which is in the isle of Hoy is about nine miles in extreme length, and six miles in breadth. The surface is boldly elevated, forming the highest ground in the whole island, from which circumstance it is supposed to have derived its name; and the lands are chiefly marked by three lofty hills, ranged in triangular form, of which that to the north-east rises from a broad base to the height of 1200 feet above the level of the sea. The soil along the shores of Hoy is a rich loam, and in other parts peat, alternated with clay. The greater portion of the land is covered with heath, affording pasture to many flocks of sheep which roam at large: in the husbandry of what is arable very little improvement has been made. The scenery, for want of timber, has a dreary aspect, relieved, however, in some parts by small valleys, intersecting the hills, and watered by numerous rivulets, of which the banks are ornamented with a few shrubs and wildflowers. The hills abound with Alpine plants; and there are several deep glens, in which the sound of the voice, or the report of a musket, is re-echoed by repeated reverberations. A rock on the brink of a valley, called the Dwarfie-stone, has been excavated into three distinct apartments; in one of these is something resembling a bed, and between this and a smaller apartment is a recess apparently intended as a fire-place, with a hole cut in the roof to emit the smoke. The whole mass is of sandstone, about thirty-two feet in length, seventeen feet in breadth, and seven and a half feet in height. Veins of iron and lead ore have been discovered; and the latter, on analysis, was found to contain a considerable proportion of silver; and some grains of gold have also been met with.
   The island of Græmsay, which is separated from the rest of the parish by a sound about a mile in breadth, is a beautiful spot, a mile and a half in length and a mile broad. Its surface is level, and covered with verdure affording luxuriant pasturage; the soil is fertile, and that portion of the land which is arable produces rich crops of grain: the substratum throughout is clay-slate, which is wrought for roofing. Cod, ling, and other fish are found in abundance off the coast; and seven boats belonging to the parish are regularly employed in the herring-fishery, during the season. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Cairston and synod of Orkney. The minister's stipend is £150, to which are added £8. 6. 8. for communion elements, with a manse, and a glebe valued at £8 per annum; patron, the Earl of Zetland. There are two churches, both in good repair. The church of Hoy was built towards the close of the last century, and that of Græmsay was thoroughly repaired about the year 1810; they contain each 182 sittings. Divine service is performed every third Sunday at Græmsay; and on the two others the inhabitants attend the church at Hoy. The parochial school at Hoy is well attended; the master has a salary of £26, with a house and garden, and the fees are about £2 per annum. A school in Græmsay is supported by the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge. Among the precipices on the coast is a massive lofty insulated pillar which, from a fancied resemblance, is called the "Old Man of Hoy;" it is conspicuously seen from the Caithness coast.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hoy —    HOY, an island, in the county of Orkney; containing 1486 inhabitants, of whom 1153 are in the parish of Walls and Flotta, and the remainder in that of Hoy and Græmsay.    See the articles on those two parishes …   A Topographical dictionary of Scotland

  • Orkney Islands —    ORKNEY ISLANDS, a group forming, with that of Shetland, a maritime county, in the northern extremity of Scotland; and bounded on the north by the waters which divide Orkney from Shetland; on the east by the North Sea; on the south by the… …   A Topographical dictionary of Scotland

  • Faray —    FARAY, an isle, in the parish of Walls, county of Orkney. It is of small extent, lying to the east of the island of Hoy, of which the southern portion, with this isle, and the isles of Flota, Cava, and Græmsay, constitutes the parish. There is …   A Topographical dictionary of Scotland

  • Stromness —    STROMNESS, a sea port town, burgh of barony, and parish, in the county of Orkney, 14 miles (W. by S.) from Kirkwall; containing 2785 inhabitants, of whom 2057 are in the town. This place derives its name from a point of land at its southern… …   A Topographical dictionary of Scotland

  • Gilemsay Isle —    GILEMSAY ISLE, in the parish of Hoy, county of Orkney; containing 214 inhabitants. It is one of the Orkney group, and lies about a mile and a half south from Stromness; in length it is nearly two miles, and in breadth one. The whole of the… …   A Topographical dictionary of Scotland


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