1) SANDWICK, a parish, in the county of Orkney, 14 miles (W. N. W.) from Kirkwall; containing 1033 inhabitants. This parish, which derives its name from the sandy bay whereon it is situated, was originally included in that of Stromness; it is bounded on the north by the parish of Birsay, on the east by that of Harray and the loch of Stenness, on the south by the parish of Stromness, and on the west by the Atlantic Ocean. It is about six miles in extreme length and nearly four miles in mean breadth, comprising an area of 10,720 acres, of which 2294 are arable, 3224 pasture, and the remainder undivided common and waste. The surface is diversified with hills, which form a prominent range towards the western boundary, and of which those of Vestrafiold and Yonbell to the north, and Gyran and Lingafiold to the south, stretch from the sea, diminishing in height towards the east, and sloping gradually to the shore of the lake. The coast, which is about four miles in length, is precipitously steep, rising in some parts to a perpendicular height of 300 feet above the level of the ocean; the sea has washed away the softer portions of the rock, and formed numerous caverns, separated by the harder portions, which have the appearance of isolated columns. The rocks are frequented by pigeons and various kinds of wild-fowl; and the views from the eminences on the shore combine scenes of romantic grandeur and milder beauty, commanding the Atlantic, and the most fertile and most highly cultivated of the Orkney islands. The soil differs greatly in different parts of the parish; to the east of the bay, for some distance, it is a loose sand shifting with the wind; in other parts a yellow clay, and in the valleys a rich black loam alternated with clay. The principal crops are oats and bear, with some potatoes. The system of husbandry, except in a few instances, is in a very backward state, the chief improvements hitherto introduced being confined to the breed of horses, and the use of good agricultural implements; the farm houses and offices are indifferent; and from the short duration of the leases, the tenants of the smaller farms have little incentive to better them. The cattle are of the breed common to the isles, and hardly any attention has been paid to its improvement.
   There is no timber; but within the last few years some plantations of common and mountain ash, plane, elm, willow, and other trees, have been made, which appear to thrive. The rocks are principally granite, sandstone flag, sandstone, and trap. Slates of various kinds, and of different degrees of thickness, are quarried for roofing: a dark kind of limestone is also found here, which is burnt for lime; and a hard description of sandstone lying near the granite is generally used for millstones. Many of the strata contain fossil fish and plants of different sorts. The principal manufacture is that of straw plat, which affords employment to most of the younger female population; the manufacture of kelp is likewise carried on, but to no great extent, not more than seven or eight tons being made annually. Cod, haddock, skate, and herrings are obtained from the Atlantic in sufficient number for the supply of the inhabitants, and also lobsters of which many are sent to the London market: trout are found in Loch Stenness. A fair for cattle is held in June, near the eastern boundary of the parish. There is no village; letters are delivered through the Stromness post-office, and some facilities of communication are afforded by a well-constructed road which passes for two miles through the parish. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Cairston and synod of Orkney. The minister's stipend, including £8. 6. 8. for communion elements, is £158. 6. 8., of which £6. 5. 6. are paid from the exchequer; with a manse built in 1833, and a glebe valued at £12 per annum: patron, the Earl of Zetland. The church, erected in 1836, partly on the foundation of an ancient structure, is inconveniently situated on the sea-shore; it is a neat edifice containing 564 sittings. There are places of worship for members of the United Secession, and a body of the Independents. The parochial school is well attended; the master has a salary of £34. 4. 4., with a house and garden, but the fees are very inconsiderable, averaging not more than one shilling per quarter for each scholar. A parochial library has been established, which at present contains nearly 400 volumes. On the western coast are some remains of the ancient castle of Snusgar: in the township of Yeskenaby are remains of a small church with a cemetery. Near the base of the hill of Lingafiold is a cromlech; and there is likewise a second within the parish, which also abounds with tumuli and barrows, whereof many have been opened, and found to contain pieces of burnt bone, urns, and other relics. One of the barrows, opened by the present minister, was about fifty yards in circumference and seven and a half feet in height, formed of a moist adhesive clay, and covered by a large flag-stone, on the removal of which the grave appeared as perfect as when first made.
   2) SANDWICK, an isle, in the parish of Yell, county of Shetland. It is a very small isle, situated in the sound of Yell, and a short distance from the western coast of the island of that name. Between it and the Mainland of Shetland is the isle of Stour-holm.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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