ORKNEY, SHETLAND, CAITHNESS AND SUTHERLAND.
VOL. IV. PART I. JAN., 1911
The following new subscribers
for 1911 have been added to the roll:---
The Most Hon. The Marquis of Stafford.
Corsie, W. A. C., "Orcadia," Ashford Avenue, Hornsey, London, N.
Morrison, Miss, I, Mount Hooly Street, Lerwick.
Pilkington, Thos., of Sandside, 19, Princes Gardens, London, S.W.
Quaritch, Bernard, II, Grafton Street, New Bond Street, London, W.
Sinclair, J. E., Wyndham House, Aldeburgh, Suffolk.
Wales, National Library of, c/o Sydney V. Galloway, Pier Street, Aberystwyth.
.---The border design of the cover has been taken from that of the illuminated address which was presented to Mr. Eiríkr Magnússon last June in recognition of his services to Northern Literature, and to the Club. This cover has now been adopted for the Year-Book and the Saga-Book of the Club, and is also appropriate for the Miscellany and Caithness and Sutherland Records seeing that Caithness and Sutherland are represented on it. The Arms of Iceland, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden are placed on Viking shields at the four corners, and the Club badge---a Viking Ship---at the top. The latter is on a shield surmounted by a coronet, taken from the arms of the Norse Jarl of Orkney, the Club having been originally founded as an Orkney Society. Interlaced V.C.'s, for Viking Club, form the lower border; and O.S.C.S. for the Old Norse Jarldom of Orkney, Shetland, Caithness and Sutherland, form the other borders.
SANDWICK TROWS.---The house of Pow in Sandwick is still remembered as a place where people from the surrounding districts met to drink "change ale." Liscenses in these day were obtained by any who wished them. A man from Hestwall, having been at Pow, fell asleep on the homeward journey, near the Howans of Hurtisgarth, a well-known fairy resort. He was awakened by a loud noise, and saw the brae covered with riders. Greatly excited he ran home without delay. On relating his experience to an old woman who resided at Aith, she said, fortunately the fairies got neither of what they were after that night, a daughter having been born about that time in the house of Aith, and a cow was found in the byre nearly strangled at daylight.
A farmer in the township of Kirkness was long annoyed with water-trows from the adjoining loch. When drying corn in the kiln, if he went into the house, he always found the ingle or kiln fire put out on his return. They were continually playing tricks and putting things out of order about his premises. At length it occured to him, when attending his kiln, that instead of going outside, he would conceal himself under some newly-thrashed straw in the barn. Having adopted this plan, in a short time two trows made their appearance and took a seat by the ingle. On attempting to get near them the straw moved slightly, whereupon one trow said to his companion: "Strae's gae'n," but was reassured by the reply: "Sit still and warm thee wame. Weel kens thoo strae canna gang." Eventually the farmer got quite near, and emerging from his retreat, belaboured the intruders with the flail, with such effort that he was never troubled with such visitors again.
In Yesnaby, Sandwick, a woman resided who is said to have had the power to stop bleeding without leaving her house, however far distant the subject might be. On one occasion she was visited by a farmer who implored her intervention, as one of his horses had met with an accident, and was bleeding so profusely that the blood was running out of the stable door. The woman expressed doubt whether she could help as the last one she had assisted had returned nothing for the cure. But she told him to go home and she would do her best. When he arrived the bleeding had stopped, and the animal came round all right.---Wm. Smith, Newark, Sandwick, Orkney.
SHEEP-MARKS.---The following illustrations of sheep ear-marks as used by the krü of Catfirth, Nesting, Shetland, is supplied by Mr. James S. Augus, of Lerwick.
of sheep-marks in Holm, Orkney.
June 2:Magnus Cromertie, son of deceased Magnus C., shoemaker---and hole in right lug and a bit behind on the left lug. Extracted from Register of Sheep Marks, by Thomas Allan, clk. C. Allowed a skirt in the left nose. W. Craigie.
June 1:Robert Langskeal, son of John L., in Blomore---a prick mark in the left lug, a hole on the right lug, a bit before and a skirt in the right nostril. Now sold by J. L., who lived in Westergraves, and now in Kirkwall, to David L., his brother's son.
March 3:David Langskaill, son of deceased Peter L., in Ingastack---3 laps in left lug, a shear mark in right lug, a bit behind and the tail off. Extracted from New Register of Sheep-marks of the parish of Holm, by David Petrie, Junior, No. 53, p. 11th .
March 3:Isobella Langskaill, daughter of David L. in Ingastack---3 laps in left lug, a bit behind, a bit behind in right lug and a wool on the face.
March 3:Peter Langskaill, son of David L., Hensbuster-by-East---a helmin before and one behind on the left lug, a hole in the right and a bit before, and a skirt in the right nose.
March 3:David Langskaill, son of David L., in Ingastack---a shear mark in right lug and two bits before, 3 laps in left lug.
June 27:Margaret Petrie Langskaill---a hole in right lug and crossbitted, a bit behind on the left.
am obliged to Mr. W. Laird, Kirkwall, for the above notes, from which it
will be obvious that if any of these Registers of Sheep-marks are still
available they would be of great value for genealogical purposes.---A. W.
EEL-LORE.---(Miscellany, Vol. I., page 296). The form I heard it in South Yell, was:---
Eele eele andi
Cast a knot abut di tail
I slip de whar I fan de.
-- T. M.
SHETLAND COUNTING-OUT RHYMES,etc.---(Miscellany, Vol. I., page 296, Vol. II., p. 134, and Vol. III., p. 56).
Like the Revd. Mr. Williamson of Insch, the form I was accustomed to when a boy at Burravoe, Yell, was:---
Eetam, peetam, penny pie,
Jinkam, joory, janny jie.
White fish, black troot,
Gibbe gaa, doo's oot.
About the year 1867, a family from Lunnasting settled in South Yell, when we learned from the boys the following form:---
Eetam, peetam, penny plump,
A' the ladies in a lump.
First shu cust, an' dan shu drew,
And it must be gou.
I have been told that the following form was also used in South Yell:---
Eetam, peetam, penny pie,
Peppy lury, jinky ji,
Black fish, white troot,
Errie, orrie, ye are oot.
The following was also known in South Yell:---
Up hill and down dale,
And tho' ye gather a' da day (or ta doom's day),
Ye widna gather a hand fu (i.e., mist).
--- T. M.
EIKON BASILIKE.---The "Guardian" of Sept. 23rd, 1910, says that among the relics in the Loan Collection of the Ecclesiastical Art Exhibition in connection with the Church Congress at Cambridge, there was an early copy of the "Eikon Basilike," dated 1648, which was purchased in the Shetland Islands, and given by the purchaser to the present owner---Canon Ross Lewin. It would be interesting to know the history of this copy, whether it had been a long time in Shetland, and to whom it formerly belonged. The first edition of the "Eikon Basilike" was published a few days after the execution of Charles I., which took place on January 30th, 1648-9. It passed through fifty editions in twelve months.---T.M.
THE BUSH OF KAITNESS.---In Notes and Queries of the "Aberdeen Journal" for Sept. 28th, 1910, is a reply by R. R. to a query by W. Lachlan Forbes:---what is meant by "the Bush of Kaitness," in Mr. William Forbes' preface (page 3), to his continuation of Matthew Lumsden's Genealogy of the Family of Forbes, that from the year 1371 till Flowdowne in the year 1513, the said Lord Forbes had the whole guiding of His Majesty's affairs betwixt the Cairne of Mount and the Bush of Kaitness. The explanation given by R. R. is that the Bush of Kaitness was a famous shrub, which grew at the extreme northerly point of Caithness, and the quotation referred to simply means that from 1371 to 1513, the Lords of Forbes held supreme command from the Cairn o' Mount over the whole north of Scotland, but excluding the Orkney and Shetland Islands.---T.M.
THE GREAT AUK.---In the "Shetland News" of Oct. 8th, 1910, is an interesting note by J. F., who says that the last pair---a male and a female---of the Great Auk in Orkney or Shetland, were killed at Papa Westray in 1812. The body of the male bird was sent to a Mr. Bullock, after whose decease it was purchased for £15 5s. 6d., and placed in the British Museum, where it still remains.---T. M.
GOLSPIE (SUTHERLAND).---Various derivations have been assigned to this place-name. The main feature of the place is undoubtedly the gorge or gil (old form geil, genitive geilar). The hamlet was originally at the burn's mouth, geilar-óss (or 'oyce' or mouth). Add -bær or -bú, Norwegian -bö, Gailic -bigh, English -by, and you get geilar-óss-bú, which contracts into geil-ar's-by, geilsbigh, almost the old Gaelic name geishbigh, geilshpie, English Golspie.
But there is no oyce or óss at Golspie. The Burn runs straight into the sea. So, in spite of all temptations, it would seem more correct to attribute the first part of the word to a personal name, making its genitive case in s. Two such names, Kol and Gol, are available, and Golspie (p for b being de règle on a Highland tongue) means The Settlement of Kol or Gol---Kolsby or Golsby---probably the latter. An old variant is Gollesby. ----J. G.
SUTHERLAND PLACE-NAMES.----The Rev. Adam Gunn has an interesting paper on "Some difficult Sutherland Place-Names," in the November number of the Celtic Monthly. He deals with such names as Creich, Rogart, Golspie, Farr, Assynt, Kinlochbervie, etc. His derivation of Farr has novelty on its side at any rate. No satisfactory explanation, he says, has yet been given of Farr. The vowel is long in English, and short in Gaelic. There is a Norse word far, a boat, and the village of Farr bears some resemblance to a boat. Parish names, however, are very largely derived from the names of the parish churches, and these again from saint-names. The best known saint of Sutherland is St. Bar, founder of the Church of Dornoch; and the most likely solution of Farr is that it comes from Bar. Clachan Bhar or Eaglais Bhar evolves into Clachan Far in the northern dialect (cp. bhar, from, off, which is far in Rob Donn's and Mary MacPherson's poems). That his fame and name extended to the North coast is clear from the place-name Monàr, the holy loch of this parish, where his name is commemorated (mo-fhionn-bhar).