Nesting, Lunasting, and Whalsay

   NESTING, LUNASTING, and WHALSAY, a parish, in the Shetland Isles; containing 2294 inhabitants. This parish consists of the three districts or ancient parishes of Nesting, Lunasting, and Whalsay, with the small islands of Skerries on the north-east; and is from eighteen to twenty miles in length, supposing the whole of the land to be continuous, and about four miles in average breadth. About 1000 acres are arable, and the remainder undivided waste or pasture, common to the tenants of the two principal proprietors. Lunasting and Nesting are situated on the Mainland, but are separated from each other by an arm of the sea; the latter has the island of Whalsay on the east, and Catfirth voe or harbour on the south. The inhabitants are engaged principally in fishing, agriculture being but a subordinate occupation, and followed only so far as oats, potatoes, and other vegetables are urgently required as a part of their subsistence. The system of husbandry is therefore on the worst footing, and no improvements have been made in tillage during the last half century. The population, however, of the locality has advanced in numbers beyond the average ratio of other parishes in the Shetland Isles, in consequence of the efforts of the two chief heritors in making numerous new settlements, here called outsets, on lands formerly uncultivated. The rateable annual value of the parish is £862; and the average rent of land, about £1 per merk. Gneiss is the prevailing rock; but primitive limestone, mica-slate, sienite, and granite are also found; and peat, which constitutes the principal fuel, exists in great abundance. A costly mansion has been recently erected in Whalsay, at an expense of £20,000, by Mr. Bruce, of Simbister, of grey granite imported across the sound of Whalsay; it consists of three stories, and has a wing on each side with extensive and convenient offices.
   The inhabitants' chief means of subsistence is piltocks and sillocks, which they live upon to a great extent, and are able to catch throughout the whole of the year. What is here termed the Haaf-fishing, however, comprising ling, cod, and tusk, employs nearly all the males, with the exception of those who go to the Greenland whale-fishery, and is carried on from the beginning of June till July or August; the produce is sent to Leith. About twenty-three herring-boats belong to the parish, and the aggregate amount of this description of fish is about 3000 barrels per annum. Provisions are frequently imported in years of scanty supply: the cattle produced for sale are sent to the market-town of Lerwick. The parish is in the presbytery of Burravoe and synod of Shetland, and in the patronage of the Earl of Zetland. The ministers' stipend, exclusive of a vicarage tithe of certain quantities of butter and oil, is £150, of which the sum of £69 is received from the exchequer; with a manse, and a glebe of twelve and a half merks, valued at £12 per annum. The church of Nesting was built in 1792, and is in decent repair; that of Whalsay has been new-roofed, but is deficient in accommodation; and the church of Lunasting, which, with that of Whalsay, is visited by the minister eleven times in the year, has been recently repaired, and is well seated. A church at Skerries, situated at the distance of sixteen miles from the Mainland, is visited only once yearly. The parochial school affords instruction in the ordinary branches of education; the master has a salary of £25 per annum, with £2 or £3 fees. The parish contains a small subscription library, lately established.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Lunasting —    LUNASTING, county of Shetland.    See Nesting, Lunasting, and Whalsay …   A Topographical dictionary of Scotland

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