WHALSAY, an island, forming part of the parish of Nesting, Lunnasting, and Whalsay, in the county of Shetland; and containing 628 inhabitants. This island is situated to the eastward of the Mainland, on which are Lunnasting and Nesting, the other portions of the parish; and is distant from it between two and three miles, the channel between being interspersed with several small isles. It is about six miles in length and three in breadth; is much indented; has a rocky shore; and the land is of the usual bleak and hilly nature of this part of Shetland, though considered on the whole as tolerably fertile. The culture of the ground, however, is a subordinate occupation, the inhabitants, for the most part, being engaged in fishing, and drawing their chief subsistence from this pursuit. A large and very handsome mansion has lately been erected on the island, by Mr. Bruce, of Simbister, at the estimated cost of £20,000; it is built of fine freestone imported across the sound of Whalsay; but the edifice is considered as ill-placed, and of too expensive a description for an island so destitute of interest, and of inducements to reside upon it. One of three churches in the parish is situated here; it is a very plain structure, built in 1768, and since then new-roofed; and is visited by the minister of Nesting eleven times within the year. The island is distant from Lerwick fourteen miles.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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