Rousay and Eagleshay

   ROUSAY and EAGLESHAY, a parish, in the North Isles of the county of Orkney; containing, with the islands of Eagleshay, Enhallow, and Wier, 1294 inhabitants, of whom 982 are in the island of Rousay, 9 miles (N. by W.) from Kirkwall. This parish, which is situated to the north-east of the Mainland, comprehends the four islands just named, with two small holms or uninhabited isles. Rousay, the largest, is about nine miles in length and four in breadth, and consists chiefly of ranges of hills abounding with game, and watered by numerous springs of excellent quality. Eagleshay, situated about a mile to the east of Rousay, is three miles in length and one in breadth; the surface is level, but enlivened with a beautiful lake of fresh water, and the soil is fertile except on the north side, which is chiefly sand, and a rabbit-warren. The island of Wier, to the south of Rousay, from which it is divided by the sound of Wier, about half a mile wide in the narrowest part, is little more than a fourth part of the extent of Eagleshay. The still smaller island of Enhallow is situated in the middle of the sound between Rousay and the Mainland. The several islands comprise together an area of about 20,000 acres, of which 2200 are arable, 10,400 pasture, and the remainder undivided common and waste. There is neither any natural wood nor any plantation, and the scenery consequently is rather of bold and romantic than of pleasing character. The crops are, oats, bear, barley, wheat, potatoes, turnips, and other vegetables. The substratum of the various isles is nearly similar; in that of Eagleshay is obtained a kind of shell-sand which makes good manure, and limestone is found in small quantities, of a very compact quality. Peat and turf, with which the islands abound, constitute the fuel, with a little coal used by the chief families. Westness, the residence of William Traill, Esq., of Woodwick, is a handsome modern mansion, beautifully situated on the south-west coast of Rousay. The inhabitants are mostly employed in agriculture, and in the cod, herring, and lobster fishery, which is carried on to a considerable extent, affording employment to nearly twenty boats of one hundred tons' aggregate burthen.
   The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of North Isles and synod of Orkney. The minister's stipend is £150, with an allowance of £8. 6. 8. for communion elements, a manse, and a glebe valued at £9 per annum; patron, the Earl of Zetland. The church is a neat modern structure. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church, and the United Associate Synod. The parochial school is well attended; the master has a salary of £26, with a house and a small garden, and the fees average about £6 annually. A school is supported by the General Assembly; and there are two other schools in the parish, maintained exclusively by the fees. The island of Eagleshay is said to have been the place where St. Magnus was murdered, and the church which was erected to his memory on the spot is still in a tolerably entire state; it is in the early English style, with a tower at the west end, is surmounted by a low pyramidal roof, and consists of a nave and choir, the roof of which latter is groined. Several of the ancient earls and bishops of Orkney made this island their residence; and from the beauty of its situation, it was for many generations the seat of its proprietors, the families of Douglas and Monteith. In Rousay are the remains of a small church; and on the shore, a little to the west, is a large pile of stones, around which are numerous graves formed with stones set edgewise. This spot, called Swendrow, is supposed to have been that where Earl Paul was taken prisoner, and his numerous attendants slain by Swein.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Eagleshay —    1) EAGLESHAY, an isle, in the parish of Rousay and Eaglesay, county of Orkney; containing 190 inhabitants. It lies on the east side of the island of Rousay, from which it is separated by Howa Sound, and is about two miles and a half long and… …   A Topographical dictionary of Scotland

  • Westry —    WESTRAY, a parish, in the county of Orkney, 19 miles (N.) from Kirkwall; containing 1791 inhabitants. This parish, which includes the islands of Westray and Papa Westray, is supposed to have derived its name from its relative position with… …   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

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