- DUNROSSNESS, a parish, in the county of Shetland; including the islands of Fair and Mousa, and the late quoad sacra district of Sandwick and Cunningsburgh; and containing 4494 inhabitants. This parish is situated at the southern extremity of the Mainland, and forms the principal part of a peninsula, washed on the east, south, and west by the sea. The shore, though not so deeply indented with inlets as that of most other parts of the Shetland isles, is still very irregular in its outline, and contains several voes; the chief are Greetness and West voe, which, with Quendal bay, border on Sumburgh head, the most southerly point of the Mainland, rendered classical by Sir Walter Scott's Pirate, and on which an excellent lighthouse was erected a few years since, at an expense of about £40,000. Among the islands in the parish are those of Colsay, Mousa, St. Ninian's, and Fair Island, which are used chiefly for the pasturage of sheep and cattle, and, with the exception of the last, are inconsiderable. The exposure of Dunrossness is remarkably bleak and stormy, and occasionally whole farms are destroyed by the drifting of sand, and inlets filled up which before had been used as creeks or harbours; but the district yields to very few, if any, in Shetland, in the fertility of its soil and the quality of the crops. The lochs of Skelberry and Scousburgh, in winter, are the resort of wild swans; and eagles, ravens, and hawks, with a great variety of wild-fowl, frequent the shores. At this time of the year, also, the stormy seas, and the dreary tracts of peat-moss, invest the locality with a wild and uninviting appearance; but at other periods the scene is greatly altered, and especially during the operations of harvest and fishing every thing wears a pleasing aspect.The soil of the lands under cultivation is various, comprehending sand, loam, and clay, and the crops consist principally of bear, black oats, and potatoes; ploughs, drawn by horses, are used in some parts, but most of the small farms are turned by the spade, and husbandry, as in all other districts of Shetland, is made entirely subordinate to the occupation of fishing. The rateable annual value of the parish is £1665. At a place called Fitfill, copper-ore was wrought some years since, and shafts were also sunk at Sand-lodge, in Sandwick, but the operations, proving unsuccessful, were shortly abandoned. The inhabitants are engaged in the ordinary kinds of fishing, and three or four vessels come annually to Levenwick bay, from Rothesay, to receive the herrings immediately after they are taken. In addition to the trade in fish, considerable quantities of potatoes of very good quality, as well as of oats and bear, are sent to Lerwick for sale; and a small profit is annually derived from the manufacture of kelp. The parish is in the presbytery of Lerwick and synod of Shetland, and in the patronage of the Earl of Zetland. The minister's stipend is £208, exclusive of a vicarage-tithe on a certain number of lambs and quantities of butter and wool; there is a manse, and the glebe is valued at £8 per annum. The church was built in 1790, and contains 858 sittings; and on Fair isle is another church, a substantial edifice, erected by the then proprietor of the island, many years ago; it affords accommodation to about 150 persons. There are meeting-houses for Baptists and Methodists. The parochial school is situated in the Sandwick district, and at Cunningsburgh is a school supported by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; in each of those places a library has lately been instituted, and another is established in Dunrossness.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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