A Brief DESCRIPTION OF Orkney, Zetland, Pightland-Firth & Caithness, WHEREIN, [...]ter a short Journal of the Author's Voyage thither, These Northern Places are first more Generally Described; Then a Parti­cular View is given of the several Isles thereto belonging; Together with an Account of what is most Rare and Remarkable therein: with the Author's Observes thereupon.

EDINBURGH, Printed by George Mosman, An. Dom



May it please Your Grace,

UPon my Return from Zet­land, as bound in Duty, I payed my Respects to Your GR. Who was pleased to ask, If I had kept a Diary? Which I acknowledged, but could not shew it, till the Remarks therein con­tained, were Transcribed, which when done, Y. GR. should have them to glance at, some leisure Hour. Thus Your Com­mand giving Rise to this Undertaking, I have presumed to make the Dedication to Y. GR.

The Noble and Illustrious Family of HAMIL­TON, the first in the Nation, standeth in no [Page] need of Panegyricks from me, to set forth it Eminency. His GR. Your FATHER was ver [...] Instrumental in Settling the Peace and Q [...] of this Kingdom at the late Merciful and Wonderful Revolution, as became a Patriot of H [...] Country; Under whose Presidency, in th [...] Convention of Estates, the Government [...] Our Church was Restored, which since ha [...] been Confirmed by the subsequent Parliaments.

In His Surviving Consort, Your Pious MOTHER, these Endowments and Qualification requisite in the Consort of a Prince, have Em [...] ­nently shined Forth, which will Emba [...] Her Name to succeeding Generations: He likewise being so very Helpful to many Afflicted Ones, both in the former Years of thi [...] Churches Distress and Trouble, and in the la [...] ter of great Scarcity and Dearth, She knowing how Valuable are the Blessings of those, who were ready to Perish.

Your GR. Honourable Appearance for, and Acknowledgment of Presbyterian Government, in the last Session of Parliament, wa [...] Acceptable to many: And I hope Y. GR. shall never have Cause to Repent of Your Con­tinuing to Favour the Ancient Government o [...] this Church, which as it is Conform to the Scripture-Plan, so the Lord hath been Graci­ously Pleased to owne and Countenance it, in the Great Things, he hath done for and by the Ministers and Professors thereof.

[Page]Among these things for which You stand Obliged to the Wise Conduct of Providence, One is, That You have been so well Directed in the Happy Choice of Your Consorts: Your Present LADY of a Sweet and Gentle Temper, Her Carriage Obliging and Discreet to all, Her Loving to Entertain Pious and Religious Dis­course, Her Modest and Exemplary Dress: I wish She may prove a Blessing to Y. Illustri­ous Family, and be as Rachel or as Leah, which two did Build up the House of Israel.

Your Noble Brother LORD GEORGE, hath been Created by Our Present GRACI­OUS KING, EARL of ORKNEY, for His Heroick Appearances, under the Auspicious Conduct of Our King,As is evi­dent by the Narrative of his Patent of Honour. who was pleased to take notice thereof, some of these being under His Majesties View; And in Testimony of His Royal Favour, Dignify Him with this Honourable Title, which in the Years of An­cient Times, hath Blazoned the Escutcheons of Kings.

The Branches of Y. Illustrious Family do Flourish in several Parts of the Nation, tho God in His Holy Providence, hath made lately a Breach thereupon, to Y. Grief, and the Na­tions Loss.

Your GR. Relation to the Ancient and Ho­nourable Family of Douglas, gives me occasion to mention that old Alliance betwixt that House and the Princes of Orkney. William Lord of Niddesdale, commonly called the Black Douglas, [Page] by Egidia or Giles Daughter of King Rob. 2 had a Daughter of the same Name, Married to Henry Sinclar usually Styled Knight of the Cockle of the Garter, Hist. of the House of Douglas & Angus. and Prince of Orkney. To Him Succeeded his Son William Sinclar, Married to Elizabeth Douglas, About the end of the 14 and be­gining of the 15 Cent. Daughter to Archibald Earl of Douglas, Sir-Named Tineman; Whose Titles were, Knight of the Golden Fleece and of the Cockle, Prince of Orkney, Duke of Holden­burgh, Earl of Caithness, Lord Sinclar, Lord of Niddisdale, Great Admiral of Scotland &c.

My L. the Knowledge of History, is that which the most of Men are taken with, as be­ing both Pleasant and Useful; And it cannot but stain the Reputation of any, tho able to give Account of what is Rare in other Coun­trys, if they be Ignorant of their own, and Places which Depend thereupon, where things no less Remarkable do Occur, which may both Ex­ercise the Ingenious, and Edify the Gracious Inquirers.

But above all, Blessed are they who make a Religious Improvement of Natural Observes, and use all Arts and Sciences as Hand-maids to Religion and Piety; The Knowledge of Christ is the Queen of Sciences, Hence a Learned Paul determineth to know nothing but Christ and Him Crucified; And those who in all Ages have been Wise unto Salvation, have preferred Christ's Cross to the Worlds Crown; And with Moses, reckoned His worst things better then the Worlds best. The Knowledge of all other [Page] things without the Knowledge of Christ, is as a Shadow without the Substance, and a Body without the Head, as some have Instituted the Comparison; Yea they are [...] without Mind and Judgment; The Cardinal Vertues, as they are called, may be Attained in Shew, but not in Truth, Quid enim illis cum Virtuti­bus qui Dei Virtutem Christum ignorant? All the Glory and Grandure of the World, laid in the Ballance with this piece of Saving Know­ledge, is but as a Grain Weight to counter-bal­lance a huge Mountain:Galeaceus Caracciolus Marquiss o [...] Vico in the Kingdom of Naples. Hence a notable say­ing of a truly Noble Lord, when set upon by the Jesuits, to change his Religion, Tempting him with Splendid and Rich Offers, Let their Money, saith he, Perish with them, who think all the Glory of the World, worth one days Communion with Jesus Christ. And truly it is but small Gain, the most Painful and Able Student doth Reap,Indocti rap [...] unt caelum & nos cu [...] Doctrina nostra in Gehennam trudimur. if after all his Labour in the Records of Antiquity and Researches of Nature, and it may be through the Maze of Intricate Disqui­sition, he lose his Soul, and notwithstanding of all his Learning be thrust into Hell, being forced to cry out on Death Bed, as it is report-the Learned Grotius once did, Ah vitam perdidi, operose nihil agendo,

My Lord, I hope it will not prove Unsa­vory to Y. GR., that I have a little Enlarged this Epistle, in Commending of Christ and Re­ligion, which so much Transcendeth Our Commendation and Praise, whence so many Ad­vantages do Accrue to Us, and among others, [Page] when there are early Impressions of Piety o [...] any, the Conscience for ever after useth to hang about them, notwithstanding the Tenor of their Lives hath been assaulted with manifold Ten­tations. That Y. GR. may still continue to be a True Lover of Your Country, and a Zealous Asserter of Her Rights and Liber­ties, is and shall be the Desire of him, who is

May it please Your GR. Your GR. most Humble and most Dutiful Servant, John Brand.


I shall not insist on an Apology, why I trouble the Sweating Press, tho I might use and plead the common Topicks taken from the Advice and Impor­tunity of others, and to prevent the Publishing of some of these Remarks, excerpt from my Papers, by some, into whose hands, they had fallen, after they had lien by me several Months.

There are several Grave Persons in these Isles of good and solid Judgment, both Ministers and Others, who being better acquainted with the Places of their ordinary Residence, then it can be supposed I had occasion to be, might have Published some­thing more Valuable on this Head, and set their Remarks in a clearer Light. As likewise some of my Dear Brethren of the Commission, might have done it to greater Advantage. Yet the En­gagements that lay on me, to Transcribe the most Remarkable Occurrences, and the Solicitation of some thereupon, to Publish them, have some way obliged me to make this Appearance. However if others [Page] hereby shall be excited to serve the Publick, by giv­ing a fuller and clearer Description of these Gener­ally little known Places, this Essay will not prove al­together unuseful. And if I had known that any in­tended to have Published something of this nature, the World had not been troubled with my Scribling.

I hope none will judge, that I Act without my Line, in giving Descriptions of this Nature, see­ing all are called to Remember the Works of the Lord and Talk of His Doings, as they have occasion: And all along, I endeavour to keep in mind the Character I bear, dropping something of a Spiritual Improvement.

Our Historians, such as I have consulted, have given but a very brief and lame, and in some things a false Account of these places, especially Zetland, which is unknown to the most of the Nation, if not that they have only heard, there were such Isles, a [...] the Zetlandick. It is true, there is one Mr▪ Wallace a late Minister in Orkney, who hath gratified the World, by giving a Description, of the Orkney-Isles; But neither Zetland no [...] Caithness doth he meddle with: And as to Ork­ney, there are several things which deserve their own Remark, he makes no mention of; And others have fallen out since his time, which I have noticed So that, on the whole, the Account now given even of Orkney, will appear almost new to any, who shal [...] be pleased to compare the two Descriptions together.

No doubt but such as know these Places, will de­siderate several things no less Remarkable, then wha [...] are Observed; But still my Reader would remem­ber, That this is but a Diary Transcribed. Yet thi [...] [Page] may say, as I have not willingly suffered my self [...] be imposed on, so neither have I imposed any thing [...]n the Credulous World, but delivered such things [...]hich either I was witness to, or had good ground [...] beleive from Persons worthy of Credit. So that [...] any thing appear Questionable, I have ordinarly [...]n general given my Author for it.Omne tulit punctum qui mi [...]cuit uti­le dulci.

I suppose the judicious Reader in perusing the [...]ollowing sheets, will find things borh Curious and [...]nstructive, affording matter of Meditation to the Wise Observers of Providence.

As to any Philosophical or Philological Observes, [...]s I am unfit for, so am I far from a Magisterial [...]ictating of them to any, but soberly proposed my [...]wn Sentiments, which if my Reader do not relish, [...]e may follow his own.

Altho the Style be not Quaint and Elegant, [...]mbellishd with the Ornaments of Art; yet I hope it will be found plain and intelligible; and tho sometimes obliged to express my self in the Dialect or Idiotism of the Countrey, yet ordinarily such Words and Phrases are some way explained. So when I speak of Orkney or Zetland, as not in Scotland, tho depending thereupon, I express my self, as the Countrey do.

As to the Commissions Work I have not meddled therewith, except when the threed of the History did require me to touch it. However this I may add, Our weak endeavours, for the Advance­ment of the Interest of Our LORD JESUS, in these remote Corners, have not been found, by Su­periour Judicatories, altogether unsuccessful; And, I suppose, it repents none of us, of our Voyage thi­ther; however dangerous it did prove.

THE CONTENTS Of the Chapters.

  • INtroduction. Pag. 1
  • Chap. I. A Journal of our Voyage. 4
  • Chap. II. A Description of Orkney in General. 12
  • Chap. III. A Description of the several Isles of Orkney in Particular. 28
  • Chap. IV. Concerning some Remarkable things in Orkney. 41
  • Chap. V. An Account of some superstitious Rites, Charms &c. Yet remaming there. 54
  • Chap. VI. A Description of Zetland in General. 64
  • Chap. VII. A Description of the several Parishes, and most considerable Isles in Zetland. 83
  • Chap. VIII. An Account of some Remarkable things in Zetland. 98
  • Chap. IX. Concerning their Fish-Trade. 128
  • Chap. X. A Description of Pightland Firth. 137
  • Chap [...]. A Description of Ca [...]thness. 146
  • Appendix. 159


SOme Typographical Errors have cr [...]pt into the Press▪ which the Reader would be pleased to correct, as page 7. We saw, lege when we saw. page 38. my Lord D [...]r [...]n, lege my Lord Dar­ly or Darnly. p 94. Hilesha, leg Hildesha. Upon the head of the Pages, 137, till 146, a Description of Zetland, lege a De­scription of Pightland Firth. Some other small Errata's there are, which the Candid Reader will pardon, seeing in so far as I observe, they do not marr the sense.

A Description of Orkney, Zetland and Caithness.


IT is a Principle generally ackowledged,All Men obliged to promote the pub­lick good. That all Men in their several Stations, according to their Capacities, are carefully to study the maintain­ing and promoting of the good and interest of [...]at Kingdom, Nation or Society, whereof they are Members; For if it go not well with the Publick in [...]mmon, it cannot reasonably be thought, that the hap­ [...]ness of any in particular can long continue, more than [...] can go well, with the several Members of a Natural [...]ody, when the Body it self is distressed.Non nobis nati, sed Patriae & Re [...]publica Cicero. Dulce & decorum est pro Patriâ mori. It was this [...]enerous Love and Concern for their Country, that so [...]gnalised the Ancient Romans, and made them in a short [...]me, arrive to such a height of Glory and Honour; [...]nto this did their Philosophers, Poets, and Oratours [...]armly excite their Fellow-Citizens, so that the more, [...] the less any laid out themselves this way, their At­ [...]eivements accordingly were reputed Noble and He­ [...]ick, and their Persons renowned.

Yet much more will we find our selves bound to [...]dvance one another's good,Especially Christians bound to this. if we look on our selves [...]ot only as Men and Members of the Body Politick, [...]ut as Christians and Members of that Body, whereof Christ is the Head: Therefore our Love of, Care for,7 Rom. 12.4, 5. 1 Cor. 12.12.27. &c [...]nd Sympathy with one another, is much commended [...]n holy Scripture, which the Apostle well illustrateth [Page 2] in several places by that apposite and elegant similitud [...] of the Members of a natural Body,Phil. 2.4, 20, 21. their conspiring t [...] the mutual good of one another; and expressly commandeth, Look not every Man on his own things, but a [...] on the things of others: And the want thereof he do [...] heavily regrate in the same Chap. For I have no M [...] likeminded, who will naturally care for your state: For [...] seek their own, not the things which are Jesus-Christ. Which selfish and narrow Spirit, as it hath too much prevailed in all Ages of the Christian Church, since the Days of the Apostles; so in none more, then this o [...] ours,Owen on Hebr. 12.15. As the learned Owen observeth, imputing th [...] shame & the almost Ruine of Christianity thereunto ‘The Lord Christ, saith he, hath ordained, that th [...] Members of the same Church and Society, should mutually watch over one another, and the whole Body over all the Members unto their Edification And that the practice of it is so much lost as it is, i [...] the shame and almost Ruine of Christianity.’

Guberna­tores, Me­taphorâ a N [...]cleris Navem Gubernan­tibus ductâ. More espe­cially all clothed with Au­thority Civil or Ecclesia­stick.But more especially these cloathed with Authorit [...] Civil or Ecclesiastick stand obliged to this publick care Ministers being as Pilots or Governours under Chris [...] to the Ship of the Church, as Magistrates under God are to that of the State. And the Charge of Minister having a more immediate respect to the Soul and better part of Man, they are called the more diligently to take heed thereto, and so to steer their Course through the boisterous Sea of this World, as that not only the themselves at length may arrive and rest at the Fa [...] Havens of Immanuels Land, but that also through Grace they may carry alongs many with them emba [...] qued on the same bottom of the Covenant, by th [...] Means of Word and Discipline. Ministers are Stewards Watchmen, Shepherds, Bishops or Overseers &c. All which do imply a Charge to be discharged by them for th [...] good of others.

Ministers Considered in a 3 fold Relation.Ministers may be considered in a threefold Relation. 1. As Christians related to Christ, which i [...] [Page 3] common to them with all believers. 2. As Ministers, [...] related to that particular Church or portion of the [...]hurch in general, the inspection whereof is assigned [...] them, and in which more especially and immedia­tly they are called to labour. 3. As they stand rela­ted to the Church National, whereof they are Mini­ [...]ers; whose good they are to endeavour, as God in [...]s holy & wise Providence shall afford them access. [...]nd that in all these respects Ministers may the more prove themselves unto their great Lord and Master, [...]cording to his Appointment, the Apostles Example, [...]d the Practice of the Church in all Ages, they do [...]sociate themselves unto Councils, Meetings or Assem­ [...]ies more or less General, that so by common Coun­ [...] & Consent, they may consult the interest of the [...]urch of Christ, within their respective districts and [...]unds. Which as it hath been the laudable practice other Churches, so of the Church of Scotland, ever [...]ce her first Reformation from Popery.

For which end the General Assembly of this National [...]urch moved with zeal for the Glory of God,Assemblies zealous in planting the North of Scot­land. hath [...]velled much since the late happy Revolution in plan­ [...]g the North of Scotland, and that they might not be [...]nting in visiting the utmost bounds thereof, with the [...]es thereto belonging, have deputed several Com­ [...]ssions, who repairing thither might upon the place [...]ke under their consideration, the concerns of the [...]hurch of Christ in these corners, and determine [...]erein as they should see cause, according to the Word [...] God and Acts of Assemblies of this Church. Commis­sion sent to Orkney. Particu­ [...]ly one was sent to Caithness and Orkney Anno 1698. [...]ho did God and his Church good service there.

In like manner the General Assembly Anno 1700.Commis­sion to Zetland. [...]on the desire of certain Ministers in Zetland, and In­formation of the State of affairs in these remote Islands, and it necessary to depute a Commission thither, [...]onsisting of seven Ministers and one Ruling Elder; [...]ith Power not only to visite and order the Churches [Page 4] there, but likewise to concur with and assist the Pr [...] byteries of Orkney and Caithness, as there should be occasion.

The Au­thor's de­sign.Of this Commission the Author, being one, desig [...] a brief description of these remarkable parts; after short Journal of his Voyage thither, with some cu [...] sory Observes thereupon.

CHAP. I. Containing a brief Journal of our Voyage fro [...] Leith to Orkney, and thence to Zetland: [...] likewise of our Return from Zetland by Orkne [...] to Caithness: Together with a Summary A [...] count of the remarkable Dangers we were in.

We set Sail from Leith.ON Friday 12. April 1700. about six a Clock [...] the Morning, we set Sail from Leith for Or [...] ney, the Wind fair tho faint, which not being a [...] to bear us up against the Tide, we dropt Anchor t [...] Miles East of Inch-keith, where we lay from Ten t [...] three in the Afternoon, when a Brisk-gale arising, [...] weighed Anchor, and Sailed down the Firth, the Sh [...] making so good way, that before next Morning at bre [...] of Day, we were past Montross.

On Saturday the Wind lessened, yet about St [...] set we past Peterhead, Steering towards the point Kinnaird, leaving the Bridges of Ratray (a ridge of B [...] Rocks) on our Larboard. Next Morning, being [...] Lords Days, with a gentle Wind, we made the [...] of our way through Murray Firth, Pass Mur­ray Firth. spending the [...] in Religious Exercises with the Mariners and so Passengers in company with us. When before Pe [...] head we saw the fins of a great Fish, about an y [...] above the Water, which they call a Pricker; Also ab [...] Ten at Night, a Whale was seen by the help of Mo [...] light, at a little distance from our Ship, casting fo [...] the Water in a hideous manner.

[Page 5]Next Morning about Seven a Clock we got sight [...] Orkney, and the Wind blowing some what harder, [...]en it had done the former Night, in the Afternoon [...] passed the East end of Pightland Firth, Land in Orkney. which though [...]inarily raging with the impetuous current of a Sea, [...] reason of the many Tides meeting there, yet we [...]nd it not so, but in the midst of that part we pas­ [...], dined upon Deck, so meeting with least danger, [...]ere we feared the greatest. We put in to Holms­ [...]nd and arrived there about Seven at Night, on the [...]onday after our setting sail.

The Ship's Crew told us,The Voy­age favo­rable. that tho they had fre­ [...]ently Sailed these Seas to and from Orkney, yet never [...]d they a better or pleasanter Voyage: Which Pro­ [...]dential favour was the more observable, the Wind [...]xt Day after we Landed, blowing strong from the [...]orth and lasting several Days. Which if it had come [...], before we had accomplished our Voyage, we [...]ould not only have been blown back to sea, but [...]ereby a tempest arising, we had been in no small [...]nger. We desired to look upon this as a signal Mercy, [...]d a token for good.

We would have hired our Bark, to Zetland, but [...]e Master being under Charter-party,We forced to hire an open Boat from Ork­ney to Zet­land. was obliged to [...]turn with a fraught of Victual to Leith, and not [...]ving the occasion of any other Ship or Bark, we [...]ere forc't to hire one of these open Boats of about six­ [...] Meils which the Orkney Men use for carrying Victual [...] Zetland, else we could not go for Zetland this sea­ [...]n, tho the Ministers and others told us our Passage [...]ight prove dangerous.

Our stay in Kirkwal, the chief Town in Orkney, assisting that Presbytery in some of their affairs] was [...]om the 16. to the 27. of April, when with 3. Mi­nisters of this Country on the Commission, we took [...]oat for Sanda about 30.We go for Sanda from Kirkwall Miles North-East from Kirk­wal, and in our way to Zetland, having ordered our own Boat to follow with the first fair Wind. We put [Page 6] off about two in the Afternoon, the Men rowing wit [...] six Oars about half way, when the Wind rising something favourable with a little Sail and 4. Oars we go [...] over Stronza Firth. Tho as we came near our landin [...] place in Sanda, the increasing Wind raised the wave so high, that sometimes they intercepted the sight [...] the Island. Yet we got all safe on shore betwixt [...] and 10. at Night. The Mercy of our escape was th [...] more remarkable, that our Boat was throng'd wit [...] Passengers; and so overloaden that the Water came almost to her brim; so that if the Sea had not bee [...] smooth and calm, when we past throw Stronza Firth we had been probably all lost: As these who had knowledge of those Seas did afterwards declare unto us.

Go from Sanda to Eda.We waited in Sanda for a Wind from April 27 till May 9. when the Wind presenting, we went t [...] the Isle of Eda lying a little to the West of Sanda where our Boat was, but before we could get aboard the Wind shifted to South-East and then to East an [...] by South, which was too scrimp to fetch Zetland; however the Wind now being very changeable, we judge [...] it expedient for us to ly near our Boat and lay hold o [...] the first occasion: So May 11. the Wind at South-Ea [...] we put to Sea, but scarce well were we without t [...] Red-Head of Eda, when the Wind proving contrary we returned to Calf-Sound May 12. being the Lord's Day we spent in Religious Exercises with the Peopl [...] of the Isle; in the Evening the Wind turning fair, we resolved next Morning early to get Aboard, if the Wind held. This last Night, after we returned to Calf-Sound, was terrible for Wind and Rain from the West, the Wind soon altering, after we had got it again to Calf-Sound) with which we could not have kept the Sea, in all probability. A great Mercy the [...] it was, that we were determined to return, and did not keep the Sea, as some advised, for tho within half an hour after we had got in to the Sound, the Wind [Page 7] turned fair, yet being too strong, the Sea became foul [...]ad tempestuous, which was not for our open Boat.

Munday Morning May 13. about two of the Clock, [...]e were called to go Aboard which we did according­ [...], the Wind at West or West and by North, the [...]ale was brisk, but not very great, which we were [...]lad of, thereby expecting a speedy passage:Putting off from Eda, we in great danger. So we [...]ith two other Boats in Company loosed, but scarce [...]ere we a League without the Heads, we saw a storm [...]f Wind and Rain making in the West, whence the Wind blew, wherupon one of the Boatmasters in com­ [...]any, advised us to tack about, and endeavour to [...]etch Calf-Sound again, which counsel we judging to be [...]afe, accordingly essayed to follow it, but the Wind [...]nd Sea rising more boisterous and the Current of the [...]bb being strong from the Sound, we could not by any means effectute our design, tho we made several Trips [...]ot without danger; the Sea with its broken and swel­ [...]ing waves threatening to swallow us up every mo­ment: The Mariners stood by their sails, crying, This work was very dangerous, and at one time, as one of them observed, the Boat had taken in about 10. Barrels of Water, the Pump was still kept going, we [...]udged our selves to be lost Men, and some expressed [...]o much. In these straits we desired the Boatmaster [...]itting by the Helm, to see if he could make any other Harbour or Bay; He answered, God have Mercy upon [...]s, for the Sea we dare not keep, and there is not [...]nother Harbour in Orkney we can make, The Men were fatigued with the toil of their hard work, and [...]lmost at the giving over. We then knew to our experience the meaning of that Scripture Ps. 107.27. of Seamen in a storm's being at their wits end. Tho the Wind was fair for Zetland, yet we durst not hold on our Course, the Sea not only being tempestuous, but we had also several Rousts or impetuous Tides to pass, and then the Ebb was in the Sea, which made them so much the more dangerous. Thus streitened, we [Page 8] thought it adviseable, to go down with some Sail be­fore the Wind to the North end of Sanda▪ & endeavour to get in to Otterswick or Taphness Bay, Get in to a Bay. we fir [...] attempted Otterswick, and lest we should have been blow [...] by the Bay's mouth, we held so near Land, that th [...] Boat beat several times upon a Rock, however we go [...] in and drop't Anchor on the weatherside of the shore.

Go to Sea again.We were all much refreshed with this great deliverance from so imminent a danger. When we had ridden some hours at Anchor, the Wind and Sea calmed About 7, at Night one of the Boatmasters in company who had entred the Bay a little before us, weighed Anchor and put to Sea again. Some of our number we [...] for lying still, till the Weather was better setteld others thought that seeing God had commanded a Calm that we had a favorable Wind, that the skie appeared t [...] be well set and promising, and that the other Loadened Boat had gone to Sea before us, it might seen from these things Providence invited us to Sea again [...] Whereupon we put off, but before we had come th [...] length of North Ronalsha, scarce a League distant from the Bay, we had been in, the Wind became so faint that the Mariners took them to their Oars, to help them through North Ronalsha Roust, thence when w [...] came to Dennis Roust, we made some way with our Sail without Oars, the Tide then turning and the Flood beginning to run in the Sea.

Blown back by contrary Winds to Stronza.Tuesday May 14. about 1. or 2 in the Morning th [...] Wind shifted to East South East, then to East, an [...] our Boatmaster telling us, that he was forced to ste [...] a Northern Course, else he could not bear Sail, an [...] so holding on, not a stone in Zetland he could hit, a [...] he expressed himself, we all judged it most prop [...] to return to Orkney: When we had tacked about, th [...] Wind shifted to North East, a strong Gale together wit [...] great Rains, which caused a rolling and a swelling Se [...] (for Rains here without Winds do raise, or canker (as they terme it) the Sea, and much more when Win [...] [Page 9] and Rain come on at once) however we got in safely to Stronza Road, which was the readiest we could make. It was a happy Providence that we then returned at that nick of time, for the Flood not being all spent, we were thereby likewise hastened in our way, so that within a few hours we came to our Port, tho as was reckoned, we were near mid-way between Orkney and Fair Isle. The storm increased with the Day, and after our landing it was so very great, that we were oblig­ed to keep within doors, for several hours; And if then we had been at Sea, it is terrible for us to think upon the dismal effects which might have fol­lowed thereupon, for without all peradventure, we had certainly perished, if the Lord by some wonder of mercy had not rescued us, as indeed he had former­ly done. ‘O that we would praise the Lord for his Goodness, and for his wonderful works to the Chil­dren of Men, And that so long as we live, we may never forget, the 13th. and 14th. Days of May, wherein the Lord wrought a great deliverance for us.’

Thus being discouraged,Tho dis­couraged with dang­ers, we yet resolve to go for Zetland. we were in great per­plexity, not knowing, what to do, Whether to make any further attempt, or to return home, re infecta, seeing God in his Providence had so crossed us hith­erto, and it might be his mind, we should not go for­ward. Upon these fluctuating and perplexing thoughts, we askt God's mind in the matter, after which more light did arise, and we unaminously resolved yet to trie, what the Lord would do with us.

Fryday May 17. between 8. and 9. in the morning,We arrive at Lerwick in Zet­land. Wind and skie promising well, we put to Sea, and passed the Fair Isle about 5. Afternoon, keeping it on our Starboard, then our Gale increasing, but con­tinuing fair, at South-West, we made good way. About Midnight we past Swinburgh Head, the southern-most point of Land in Zetland, having thence 24. Miles to Sail up within Land to Lerwick, whether we were bound. The Wind growing more vehement, we [Page 10] lowed our Mainsail, and took in a Riff; With the break­ing of the Day, there arose a Mist, whereby we could scarce see Land, however we judged it safest, to keep as near it, as we could, and sailed away by the Coast; but being to pass through a Sound having the Isle of Musa on our Starboard and Burra Land on our Larboard,A danger escaped. our Seamen mistook the point of Musa, tak­ing another point in the Mainland for it, and the Mist lying on, we were almost engaged in the Land, and so would have fallen among rocks, which they coming to suspect, held to Sea, resolving to Sail without the point which they did with difficulty, the Boat being so close haled, and the blast great, that the Helm-a-lee, was scarce able to command her and keep her by the Wind: Which when they had done, came to discover their Errour. Hence sailing through Musa Sound, we came to Brassa Sound, and arrived at Lerwick on Sa­turday about 4. in the Morning.

Some re­markable Provi­dences by the way.We had a quick passage, sailing about 100. Miles in 19. or 20. hours time: Especially considering, that we were not half an hour on shore, when a strong Wind blew from the North, which if it had come on but a little Soonner▪ we would have been driven back to Sea. There is likewise another Providence remark­able, that we had only an ordinary desirable Gale, when we passed the Fair Isle, where always there goes a great rolling Sea, but when within the Heads of the Land of Zetland, we had it very strong, so that scarce­ly we could have wrestled and held out against it in the Ocean.

We leave Zetland, and arrives at Kirk­wall in Orkney.We arrived in Zetland May 18. and having brought to some Period and Close our principal work there, we set Sail for Orkney, June 11. saluting and bidding heartily farewell to the Ministers, and some Gentle­men of the Countrey and to the most considerable In­habitants of Lerwick, who kindly accompanied us to our Boat. We left Zetland Teusday June 11. about 5 Afternoon, and having the Wind at North-West or [Page 11] North West and by North we passed the Start Head of [...]anda about 4. next Morning, and endeavouring to [...]et in to Ketteltaft in Sanda, A danger escaped. to put one of the Mini­ [...]ters of that Isle ashore; our Boat through our Boat-masters inadvertency struck on a rock, without sus­taining any dammage, we knew; But the Wind not per­mitting to turn up to that Road, we all came to Kirk­val, and arrived there before 9 in the morning. Our [...]astage from Zetland to Orkney, was yet quicker, then [...]t was from Orkney to Zetland, we being but 16. hours [...]n running 120. or as some say, 128. Miles. Staying [...]n Orkney a few days,Pass Pightland Firth to Ca [...]thness, and thence home by Land. we passed Pightland Firth to Caith­ [...]ess, and having dispatched our work in conjunction with the Presbytery there; we came home by Land, [...]epairing with joy to our several Charges, Where we may set up our EbenEzer, saying, Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.

I think we are called seriously to reflect upon the Man­ [...]er of the Lord's dealing with us,Some Re­flections upon the dangers we had been in. we have been long detained and crossed in our way to Zetland, tho we made several attempts to goe forward; As to our Com­mission we were appointed by the General Assembly of this Church, and it being put upon us without any desire of ours, or inclination that way, we accordingly un­detrook our Voyage, and came with a favourable Gale to Orkney: It is true, that there are natural causes of Wind and Rain, whereof we are to make a Spiritual improvement, especially when they do impede or pro­mote our designe; Moreover Gods Judgements are a great depth, and by the course of Nature, in giving greater or lesser Winds at his pleasure, he may carry on his more General Works of Providence, and yet thereby more especially intend the punishment of the wicked, or the Chastisement of his People, which they are called to consider and improve: And as true it is, God in his Wise Soveraignity may so deal wi [...]h his People, for the trial of their Faith and other Graces, that they may be still and know that he is God, ruling [Page 12] as he pleaseth among the Children of Men: The Devil also, who is the Prince of the power of the Air may have an evil and malicious hand in things of this nature Especially when Men purpose to do good, which tends to the overthrow of his Kingdom. O that what we have met with may be so blessed, as to render us more zealous against him and all Sin, whereby his Kingdom is established in the World, That we may fight with Devil [...] and be more then Conquerours through him who loveth us. I say tho these things and the like sometimes may and ought to be had a regard unto, yet I do humbly judge that upon these so very dreadful dangers we have in great mercy escaped, we are called to examine ourselves, and search unto our Sins as we are Christians and as we are Ministers, for which the Lord may have a controversie with us; Our not being so faithful in our personal and pastoral work, in working out our oun [...] and others Salvation; Our impatience in not waiting the Lords time, but being too anxious to be in Zetland at any rate: And it is like in our not being so single in our ends in goeing, as we ought to be &c. I con­clude this Chap. As the Psalmist doth Ps. 107. Re­flecting on the Wonders of Providence, Who is wise, and will observe those things: Even they shall understand the loving kindnesse of the LORD.

CHAP. II. A Description of Orkney, its Situation, Name first Planters, Language, manners of the People, Wholesomeness of the Air, Corns &c.

THE Isles belonging to Scotland have commonly been divided into three Classes; The Western, scaattered in the Deucaledonian Ocean, The Isles belonging to Scot­land divi­ded into three Clas­ses on the West; the Orkney and Zetlandick, both lying to the North of Scotland. As to the Western Isles, tho in number far exceeding both the Isles of Orkney and Zetland, yet I take no notice thereof, in the subsequent Descriptione: [Page 13] [...]r Commission not being deputed thither, so only the [...]tter shall I give some breif account of, not intending [...] advance any thing, but what I have either found [...] be true from my own observation, or had by good [...]formation from sensible and grave Persons worthy of [...]edit; And shall begin with Orkney as order requireth, [...]e first Landing there.

Orkney lyes to the North of Scotland, The Situ­ation of Orkney. bounded on [...]e West by the Deucaledonian Ocean; on the East, by [...]e German; On the North, by the Sea, which divides Orkney from Zetland; And on the South, by Pightland [...]rth, 12 Miles broad, from Dungisbie-Head or John [...]rot's House, the Northermost House in Scotland to [...]urwick in South-Ronaldsha, the Southernmost point of Orkney. It is commonly said to be about the 59th de­gree of Latitude at Kirkwal which lyes within the Coun­ [...]ey; tho the Southmost point of South-Ronaldsha, is [...]istant from the Northernmost of North-Ronaldsha, [...]ear a degree.

That Orkney or Orcades is the name of these Isles,Concern­ing the Name [...] agreed in, by ancient and modern Writers, But of [...]he Etymologie and whence the name is derived, none [...] suppose will be found to give a satisfying account. Some alledging it to come from Orcas, which Ptolomy reckons to be a Promontory of Caithness, opposite to Orkney; Others from the Greek word [...] Coerceo, these Isles breaking and restraining the force of the rage­ing Waves: Or from Hurricano, because of the boister­ous Winds and Hurricanes which often blow in this Countrey: Or from Erick or Orkenwald, or some other Pictish Prince famous there at its first Plantation. Which derivations, some of them at least cannot but appear far fetcht to the thinking Reader:Injuriâ Temporis multa in oblivione jacent sep­ulta. And indeed many in giving the Reasons of names, do rather please their own Curiosity, then render a true account of their Origin­al; seing the Reasons generally of the Ancient Names of Countries are buried in oblivion, through the want of Writers, and neglect of the first Inhabitants, especially [Page 14] in these parts of the World, wherein Learning more slowly advanced.

The 1st Possessors of the Count­rey.The first Planters, and Possessours of the Countrey seem to have been the Picts, there being several old Houses, both here and in Zetland, which to this Day are called Picts or Pights Houses, and the Firth between Orkney and Caithness, is still called [...]ight-land Firth; Whereupon some of our Historians, as Boethius, Writing of the Isles of Orkney, doth observe,) design Orkney, the most ancient Kingdom of the Picts; Boeth Hist de orchad. Orchades insulae, antiquissimum Pictorum Regnum a quibusdam nostrarum rerum Scriptoribus vocitatae. And we find mention made of the Kings of Orkney, Buchan. Histo, on Ewen. 2. at Buchanan tells us of one Belus who having Invaded Scotland, was defeated and put to Flight by Ewen 2d. King of Scots, Killing most of his Army, upon which Belus being much discouraged and broken in Spirit, despairing of life, put hand in himself,Both Hist. Lib. 2. and became his own Executioner. Boethius calls him Balus; Balus autem Orchadum Rex fractus animo, desperatâ Salute, ne in hostium potestatem ventret, manum fibi intulit. And in the Church of Birsa at the West end of the Mainland in Orkney, there is a long Stone yet standing erect, with the name Belus inscribed there­on in ancient Characters; Probably this was the Place of his Interment. Also the Minister of Sandwick's Manse is said to have been the Residence of one of the Kings of Picts, and therefore to this Day is called Kon­ing [...]gar, or the Kings House; And that part of the Manse, which they say served for the Palace of a King▪ is so litle, tho now keept in some Repair, that it could not accommodate a Family of an ordinary rank; The Figure thereof and contrivance of its two Rooms or Chambers one above and another below, of narrow di­mensions, are antick, and the Building hath been but course. Boethius likewayes tels of another King called Banus, whom Claudius-Caesar having subdued, anno Christi 43. He carried him with his Wife, and Children Cap­tive [Page 15] to Rome, and were led by him in Triumph: Buch­ [...]nan questiones the truth of this History,Buchan Hist. in vitam Ca­rataci. Tacitus af­ [...]irming that part of Britain then to have been altogether [...]nknown to the Romans, nec temere tamen crediderim quod [...]ostri tradunt Scriptores &c. quod Tacitus affirmet ante [...]ulij Agricola adventum, Kenneth. 2. expel­leth the Picts. See Bu­chan. Hist. in vitam Ken. 2. Quietissi­me vixit promotis finibus ab Orcadum Insulis usque ad Vallum Adriani. The Nor­vegians obtain possessione of the Isles, and are expel­led thence by Alexr- 3. King of Scots. Act. 13. Parlia. 2 Charles 2. anno 1669 the Earle of Mor­tons Wed set reduced by Act of Parlia­ment Mr. Wal­lace his De­scription of of Orkney; eam Britannia partem Romanus [...]no incognitum fuisse. But if Boethius his Relation be [...]rue, the vanquishing of Orkney hath been reputed some­thing considerable, seeing not to every Conquerour was [...]llowed by the Roman Senate, the Glory of a Triumph.

It is also probable, the Government of these Isles continued with the Pictish Princes, till the Dayes of Kenneth 2d. King of Scots, a Warlick Prince, who having prevailed with his Nobles contrairy to their own inclin­ [...]tion, by a notable peice of craft, to engage in a War against the Picts, with an undaunted valour and courage, routed the Pictish Army and wasted their Countrey with Fire and Sword, pursueing them to the Orkney Isles which he then annexed to the Crown of Scotland, reign­ [...]ng from Orkney to Adrian's Wall Anno Dom. 854. Thence Orkney continued in the Possession of the Scots, till the Dayes of Donald Bane, about the Year 1099, who that he might secure the Kingdom to himself, promis­ed the Isles to Magnus King of Norway, if he would assist [...]im with a necessary force; Which offer Magnus accept­ [...]ng, the Norvegians became Masters of the Isles, till Alexander. 3d. about the Year 1263 Recovered them by [...]xpelling the Norvegians; Which ever since were possess­ed and disposed of by our Kings. To be breif, at length William Douglas Earl of Mortoun got a Wadset of Orkney and Zetland from King Charles the first, Which Wadset with all the Rights, Contracts, Infeftments &c. There­ [...]nto appertaining, was reduced by a Decreet of the Lords of Session, obtained at the instance of his Majesties Advocate against William Douglas also Earl of Mortoun Grandchild to the foresaid Earl, February 1669. which Decreet was ratified and confirmed by Act of Parliament, [...]he December following, erecting the Earldom of Ork­ney [Page 16] and Lordship of Zetland into a Stewartry to be calle [...] in all time comeing the Stewartry of Orkney and Zetland The reason comonly given, why the Earl of Morto [...] lost the Wadset, was because some Chests of Gol [...] were Seised by the Earls Deputs in Zetland, got out o [...] a rich Ship, called the Carmelan of Amsterdam, cast awa [...] there Anno 1664; None of this Gold coming to th [...] Kings Thesaury, tho some of it, as was alledged, cam [...] to the Earls hands.

The Con­try of Ork­ney and Zet­land reck­oned con­siderable and the Ti­tle honour able.From our History we may know, that Orkney an [...] Zetland have been reckoned so great and considerable a part of his Majesties Ancient Kingdom, that for dive [...] ages they occasioned much expence of Blood and Treasure, for the maintaining thereof against the Invasion [...] Foreiners, and recovering the same out of their hand by Arms and Treaties. The Title likewayes of the [...] Isles hath still been reputed honourable, hence it hat [...] pleased Our present King to confer this Title of Earl [...] Orkney, upon Lord George Hamilton, Brother to his Gra [...] the 'Duke of Hamilton, for good services done by hi [...] to his Majesties Person and Government.

The state of the Con­trey consi­dered; the People personable and hospitable, Their Clo­thes.I proceed to consider the present state of the Countrey. The People here are Personable and comely, an [...] many of them, as I observed, are of a Ruddy complex [...] on, which may be by reason of the Sea Air and their frequent Fish-diet, such a colour and countenance as o [...] Mariners use to have and retain for some Dayes afte [...] they are come from Sea: They are generally Hospitab [...] and civil, giving kind and humane entertainment t [...] Strangers, which we found to our experience. Bot [...] Men and Women are fashionable in their cloths, [...] Men here use Plaids, as they do in our Highlands; [...] the North Isles of Sanda Westra &c. Many of the Cou [...] trey People wear a peice of a Skin, as of a Seale, comon called a Selch, Calf or the like, for Shoes, which th [...] fasten to their Feet with stringes or thongs of Leathe [...] Their Houses are in good order, and well furnish [...] according to their qualities.

[Page 17]They generally speak English, neither do I think,Their Language. [...]hey have so much of the Northern Accent, as in ma­ [...]y places of the North of Scotland, yet several of the [...]sles have some Words and Phrases peculiar to them­selves. There are also some who speak Norse especial­ [...] in the Mainland, as in the Parish of Hara there are a [...]w yet living, who can speak no other thing, this [...]anguage not being quite extinct among them, since [...]e Norvegians whose Language it is,The Air wholsome had this Countrey [...] possession. And tho Caithness be near to Orkney, yet none [...]n Orkney can speak Irish, tho the greatest part in Caith­ness can; Nor any in Caithness speak Norse, tho some in Orkney yet can do it.

The Air as it is peircing and cold,Hence ma­ny old Persons. so it is free and [...]ealthy; Hence many arrive at a good old Age: One [...] Evie brought forth a Child in the 63 Year of her [...]ge, as the Minister who had enquired thereunto, de­ [...]lared: A Man in the Parish of Holm, who died not many Years since, lived with his Wife in a conjugal [...]ate above 80 Years; as the present Minister of the [...]lace informed me: A Gentleman in Stronsa, who died [...]bout two Years since, was begotten of his Father when [...]00 Years old, this was attested by the Ministers who [...]new the truth thereof. One William Muir in Westra lived [...]40 Years, and died about 16 Years agoe, by a de­ [...]ay of Natures heat and vigour, incident to such an in­ [...] decrepit age, without any ordinary Sickness, as a Gentleman in these bounds well acquainted with him, old me.They sub­ject to the Scurvy. The disease they are most obnoxious unto [...] the Scurvey, occasioned, as is judged, by the Sea­ [...]ir, Fishes, Saltmeats &c. It is observed likewayes that [...] is colder in the Summer time, then it is with us in [...]e South, but warmer in the Winter, the Snow not [...]sing to ly long; For (beside other things that might [...]e said on this head,The temp­erament of their Cli­mate. which also respect other Countreys) [...]n the Summer cold breezes come off the Sea, which [...]empers the heat; And in the Winter season the same [...]eezes may qualify the extreme cold and frost, which [Page 18] useth to be greatest, when the Air is most quiescent, a [...] least disturbed with Winds; The great motion also of [...] rapid Tides may contribute not a litle thereunto.

Their Corns and Bread.Their ordinary grains are Oats and Barley, and [...] other grains should be sown, the product would [...] be great if any at all, they not taking with such a w [...] and cold soil, and the many brinish blasts these Isles exposed unto. As for Wheat-bread it is rare and sca [...] to be had, if not at Kirkwal and some Gentlemen Houses, who bring the flour from Murray or the So [...] of Scotland. As for their Oats and Barley, the gra [...] is less and blacker, then it is with us: Yea tho th [...] should bring good and fair seed from other Countrey [...] within a few years it would degenerate and beco [...] like their own; which is the reason why their Me [...] and Bread are of such a black colour. Yet in some pl [...] ces the Meal is whiter, and said to be better then others. Their not being so diligent in winnowi [...] their Corns, nor having such good Mills for grind [...] as we have, may be partly the cause thereof. In so [...] place also they use not to shear their Corn, but pluc [...] it up by the roots, as we do the Lint, because of t [...] scarcity of fodder to their beasts, which Corns if o [...] taken pains upon, will abound with sand and dul [...] Nevertheless for ought I hear or know, their Brea [...] and Ale are wholesome, and the Natives take we with them. I thought; first when we Landed in Orkne [...] their Oat bread and Fleshes also, had some Fish-taste but when we had tarried some Days there, we we [...] not so sensible of it.

The na­ture of the Soil, and the Product thereof.Their arable ground is better and more fertile, the [...] at first to strangers appeareth, whence I heard so [...] Gentlemen declare, It was wonderful to think, ho [...] great the product of these Isles is considering the man barren mountains and much waste ground that are i [...] them. They dung their Land for the most part wit [...] Sea-ware, which having gathered, they suffer to rot [...] either on the Coasts, or by carrying it up to the Lan [...] [Page 19] on Horses or on their backs, they lay it in heaps, the time of labouring approach; Which is the rea­ [...], why the skirts of the Isles are more ordinarily [...]tivated, and do more abound with Corns, then [...]ces at a greater distance from the Sea, where they [...]ve not such gooding at hand. Their Ploughs are [...]tle and light, having only one stilt, and but little [...]n in them; hence when at the end of the ridge, [...] who holds it lifts it up and carries it to the other [...]le of the ridge, and if he please may carry it home [...] his shoulders: The reason they give of this is, that [...]hough some of their ground be strong, yet their [...]asts are weak and unable to go through with a plough any considerable weight.

Their Horses, Kine, Sheep,Concer­ning their Cattel and their price: Lambs &c. are of a [...]sser size then with us, and are to be bought at an [...]s [...]er rate, for a good Cow will be had for 5lib. Scots, [...]r 4. ib. 16 ib, at which price they are obliged to sell [...]er at K [...]kwal about Martinmass. A good Wedder [...]r 20sh. Scots. A Hen for 2sh. or 2sh. 6d. &c. The Sheep here are generally wild, therefore when [...]hey would have them taken, they ordinarily do it by Dogs trained for the purpose, the Owner of the Sheep giving to the Master of the Dog 2shill. Scots for each [...]me that is taken, and it they be not so wild but 1 shill. Some Husband Men told us, they would rather la­bour their Land over again, then take their Sheep when they would have them washen and shorn; I saw young Man come from the hills wet and weary, hav­ [...]ng a long time pursued one to kill for our use. Their Kine are of divers colours, some white, others of [...]a pyed, some red, others red and white &c.No Ri­vers, but some Brooks here, which cause their Mills to go. So that [...] think, there are as many of these colours, as are of a black. They have no Rivers, no place of the Land, being above 2 or 3. Miles distant from the Sea, there­fore they draw water out of wells for their Cattel, or drives them to Lochs or Lakes, some whereof they [Page 20] have, or to some small brooks which run from the Lochs: Which Lochs likewise cause their Mills to go.

Plenty of Cattel Butter and Milk.They have abundance of Cattel in many places whereby is afforded them plenty of Milk, which yeeldeth much Butter, some whereof is very good, yellow and sweet, but that which is called Orkney Butter▪ Edinburgh. is only their Farm-Butter, which they a [...] obliged to pay to the Taxmen or Masters, whereof quantity according to compact and agreement bein [...] gathered, they are at little or no trouble to make a [...] keep it clean. Their Sheep also are very fruitful, ma [...] of them having two, and some three at a birth, which as Mr. Wallace lately,Boeth Hist. de Orcad. so Boethius of old did observe [...] Oves illic pene omnes geminos, immo trigeminos pleraeq [...] partus edunt.

Their Fishes.Fishes of divers sorts are taken in great plenty, y [...] not so numerous as formerly, for now before the catch their great fishes as Keelling, Ling &c. the must put far out into the Sea with their little boats, an [...] thereby undergo great danger, which in former time they used to get nearer the Coasts: However such [...] number is taken, that beside what serves for their own supply, many are sent abroad to other Countrys fo [...] sale. Particularly there are grey fishes, called Silluks scarce half so big as a Herring generally, which swee [...] and are taken in great numbers upon the Coasts, [...] that sometimes they will sell 1000. of them for 6. or still. Scots. This fish is pleasant to the taste, and also they say very wholesome, which seems to be confirmed by this, that in the late years of great scarcity the poorer People lived upon them, almost as thei [...] only food, they often not enjoying a crum of Bread so many Weeks. So our good God, on the shutting o [...] one door, opened another in his holy and wise Providence for the relief of the poor.

Herrings.Herrings do sweem here in abundance, which formerly occasioned several Ships frequenting these Isles but since the Battle of Kilsyth, they say, that Trad [...] [Page 21] [...]th failed; many of the Enster Men, who were ordi­ [...]ry fishers upon these Coasts, being killed there. [...]hen I was in Papa Westra, they pointed out to me a [...]olm upon the East side of the Isle, where I saw the [...]ines of some Huts or little Houses, whereunto these [...]nster Men sometimes resorted, during the Herring­ [...]hing. A Gentleman living in this Isle told me, that [...]e former Year 1699, there was a great quantity of [...]erring Sperm or Spawn driven upon the shore, and [...]y there for some time in heaps; which evidenceth [...]at Herrings in their season, are yet on these Coasts: [...]o means be not used to take them.

Beside the many other excellent fishes, as Keeling,Many other good Fishes. [...]ing, Scate, Turbot, and sometimes they say Stur­ [...]eon &c. there are also many Shell fishes taken; as Lobsters sold for an half penny or 4 pen. Scots; Oisters [...]uch bigger then with us, for 4 shill. Scots per 100. [...]artens and Mussels; and Cockles in so great plenty, [...]hat they make much good Lime of their shells,Lime made of Cockle shells. beside which they have no other Lime in Orkney, save what [...]hey bring from the South.

They have plenty both of Land and Sea Fowls:Plenty of Fowls. as Eagles, Hawks, Ember-Goose, Claik-Goose, Dun­ [...]er-Goose, Solen-Goose, Swans, Lyres, Scarffs, Keriwaiks, [...]lover, Muir-Fowl, Duck and Drake &c. The King's Falconer useth to go every year to these [...]sles, taking the young Hawks and Falcons to breed, and every House in the Countrey is obliged to give him a Hen or a Dog, except such as are exempted. The Eagles do much hurt to the young store, falling doun upon their Lambs and Hens, and taking them away with them to their Nests, Killing and pulling out the eyes and hearts of their Sheep; Hence there is an Act standing in the Steward's books, that whoever shall kill an Eagle, shall have a Hen out of every House of the Parish, where he is killed; yet notwithstanding of this encouragement, I hear but of few killed, they fleeing high, and dispatching their prey so quickly: [Page 22] I saw a young one in the Palace of Birsa, almost twi [...] the bigness of a Goose, tho not a month old, it is ravenous fowl, and would have run upon us, if we h [...] not kept it of with our slaves. As to its colour, it [...] for the most part black, and something of a yellow [...] golden colour about the Head, and in some parts o [...] the wings. It is observed of the Eagle, that he do [...] more destruction in places at some distance from h [...] nest, then in these that are nearer it. Eagles, Haw [...] and such like fowls have their nests ordinarily, o [...] some high, ragged rock, washen by the Sea beneath some of which we saw as we had occasion to sail b [...] them.

An ac­count of the Ember-Goose.The Ember-Goose tho not altogether so big as ou [...] Land-Goose, yet it useth to weigh a stone weight. I [...] hath short wings, not able to bear up the body for fleeing, hence it is never seen flee, neither sit on an [...] rock in the sea, as other Fowls do, but hath it's nest wherein it hatcheth its Eggs, one or two at once under the Water, at the foot of a rock, as they infor­med me, hath been found. It is of a darkish grey co­lour, and white about the neck, of broad feet like ou [...] Land-Goose, and a long beck and tho ever in the Wa­ter, yet hath not, I think, such a strong fish taste, a [...] the Solen-Goose. It is more difficult to get them shot, then other Sea fowls, they being very quick-sighted, and on the 1st. apprehension of danger, get beneath the Water: Yea by reason of their many fea­thers, they will receive a shot on their breast, and it not penetrate: wherefore who would be at them, design for their Heads, or to shoor them against the feathers.And Lyre The Lyre is a rare and delicious Sea fowl, so very fat, that you would take it to be wholly fat; it is somewhat less then a Duck.

Sea-Fowls. numerousThe Sea-fowls are so numerous, that a Gentleman in Westra told his Minister, that some Years ago, he for his own part killed so many, as afforded him 50, 60. and some Years 100. stone weight of feathers, [Page 23] [...]hereby accrues to the Owners more gain, then by [...]e flesh of the fowls) tho for some seasons past, he [...]th taken but few; For it is observed, that these [...]wls follow the small Fishes, which are their ordi­ [...]ry food, hence the mo Fishes, the mo Fowls, and [...]hen the Fishes forsake this and the other place, the [...]wls likewise do so within a short time. Because of [...]is abundance of Fowls, therefore it is, that the [...]entlemen and some others have the rocks in several [...]aces divided among them, as they have their Land. [...]hich Fowls they either kill by small shot our of Boats [...] the foot of the frequented rocks, or else Men are let own by ropes from the top of the rocks, who search [...]r the Nests, taking the Eggs, and what Fowls they [...]n apprehend. Many kinds of the Sea-Fowls are of a [...]yed colour, some of which are not to be found with [...]s in the South.

There are here no Partridges,No Par­tridges, but abun­dance of Muir-Fowls. but plenty of Muir- [...]owls, hence in some Isles they will take 20, 30. or [...]o pair in one day, the hills covered with heather, [...]eing by Nature fitted for their living and accommo­ [...]ation. Conies also do abound in most of the Isles, but [...]o Hares are to be seen,No Hares, but Rab­bets in a­bundance. so that if any be brought into [...]he Country, as they say, hath been tried, they will [...]ot live and propagate as in other places. I hear of [...]ew, if any venomous creatures in these Isles, as Boe­ [...]ius of old did observe,Boeth. Hist. de Orcad. Serpentes aut aliud animal vene­ [...]osum nullum, id quod de Hiborma quoque verum est: No Bees either are here,No veno­mous Creatures. there being no provision proper [...]or them, beside they would not take well with this [...]old Climate.

No Trees there are in this Countrey, nor Bushes,No Trees. [...]ave a few in the Bishops Garden at Kirkwal, which [...]re esteemed as a rarity, for when planted and taken are of, they sometime grow up the height of their Garden Wall, but afterwards they gradually go back [...]nd decay. This several Gentlemen very desirous of [...]aving Trees to grow, declared; Which then must be [Page 24] imputed to the nature of the Soil, and sharpness the Sea-air, and not to the sloth of the Inhabitant as our Historian asserts, Nulla usquam Arbor ac ne Fr [...] tex quidem praeter Ericam, Buchan. Hist. L. 1. nec id tam coeli aut so [...] v [...] quam incolarum ignaviâ, quod facile ostenditur ex arbo [...] radicibus, quae pluribus in locis eruuntur. For tho ind [...] it be true, that Roots, and sometimes Bodies of Tree [...] are found in Mosses; yet this is rare, and only to be ha [...] in some places; whereas Gentlemen say, they brin [...] in exotick or foreign Plants, they sow Seed for Nur­series, which useth to arrive at some greater growth then what is planted, yet after all their pains and expence in using such proper means, so conducive, fo [...] obtaining their end, no perfection or bearing of Frui [...] can be attained. And that Trees, which yet are b [...] small, and look dry and withered, do grow in the Bishops Garden, may be because of its inclosure, hav­ing the Church on one side, the Town of Kirkwal on another, and the Bishops house on a third; Which kind of fences, may keep off the cold breezes, that come from the Sea, and destroy the growth of Tree [...] in other places.

Tho there be no Trees, and so no Fruits for the Table,Good Roots. yet there is no lack of good Roots for the Kitchen, as Cabbage, Carrots, Parsnipes, Turnipes, Crummocks, Artichoaks &c. All which useth to be bigger here then with us ordinarly; especially their Artichoaks excel, hence some Gentlemen do barrel and send them out of the Country for a present to their Friends. Beside these, they have likewise variety of Herbs in the field, very beneficial to such as un­derstand their vertue and use.

Pites and Turff are the ordinary fewel they use, which they have very good and in great plenty through the Country,Their few­el. except in some places, which do not so abound therewith, as in Sanda they are obliged to bring pites from the adjacent Isles, they not hav­ing in their own Isle to suffice them. And the usual [Page 25] [...]ner of agreement with the Proprietor of the [...]s, is for so much a day, for so many Peits as a Man [...] cast. And in such places, where there is scarcity [...]ewel, the poorer sort make use of dried Kine's dung, Tangles, which in Summers heat they prepare for the [...]nters cold. They have a few Salt-Pans, in some [...]ces, where plenty of Pites, which are very useful to [...] Country. At some times, much Timber, the [...]ack of Ships cast away at Sea, or broken on their [...]s, is driven ashore, which the Inhabitants seising [...]p for burnwood, and if good and fresh, (as some­ [...]es Ships from Norway suffer Shipwrack upon or nigh these Isles) they make other uses of it; I saw seve­ [...] Chimney pieces thereof. The more ignorant People [...]nstruct this as a favourable Providence to them, there­ [...]e they call these wracks, God's send, tho not so favour­ [...]e to the poor Mariners and others who suffer there­ [...].

Although the Sea seemeth to favour them,Danger­ous sailing here. by [...]inging such Timber, and sometimes Casks and [...]ogsheads of Wine, Brandy &c. to their doors, yet is turbulent swelling Sea, and strong Current of a [...]ide pays them home sore, for frequently thereby their [...]hall Passage or Fisher-Boats are cast away, sometimes [...] in them perishing, at other times some saved with [...]fficulty. And at all times it is highly dangerous, [...]r any not experienced with these Seas, to pass [...]rough between the Isles, tho with small Boats, be­ [...]use of the many blind Rocks lying there, upon which [...]ometimes the Inhabitants themselves do spleet, what [...]rough some mistake, inadvertency, darkness of the [...]ight or otherwise.

The Ministers inform us,Even to the Inha­bitants. they are often in great [...]anger in going to their Churches from Isle to Isle, Visiting their Parishes, going to the Presbytry, &c. [...]ometimes, pale death, with its grim countenance, [...]resenting it self, and stareing them in the Face, as [...]ne drawn out by the hair of the Head; another [Page 26] escaping on the Keel of the overwhelmed Boat; Som [...] times they are arrested by a storm in the Isles, a [...] kept from their own Families for some weeks, eve [...] when the passage will be scarce a Mile or half a mi [...] over. They tell us, in the Isle of Westra, there w [...] a Marriage not long since, where about 100 Perso [...] were conveened from other Isles, and were detaine [...] for 6 or 7 weeks together, so that tho many of the [...] daily saw their own houses, yet they durst not adve [...] ture to pass over, till the falling Wind and Sea too [...] off their confinement.

In every Isle there is a Wart or Ward-Hill, th [...] highest Hill in the Isle,The Wart-Hill. on the top whereof they use to kindle a fire, when they saw an Enemy approaching, or discerned any danger, that so they mig [...] alarm the Neighbourhood, that the dispersed Inhab [...] tants of the Country having thereby notice given the [...] might conveen for their succour, or be upon the [...] own Defence, which Beacons on the tops of Moun­tains the Scripture makes mention of, as Isa. 30.1 [...] And a late Learned Author asserteth,Edward's Scrip. stile Vol. 3. Chap. 4. That great fla [...] with smoke rising up out of the City, which was appoint [...] as a sign between the Men of Israel, and the Lyers in wa [...] Judg. 20 38, 40. seems to be meant by this.

The Pro­prietors of the Country.There are several Gentlemen in Orkney who ha [...] considerable Estates, but the King is the great Proprietor, having about the one half of the Rents of t [...] whole Country. Which Rents are let out to Taxme [...] for so much per Annum, as is agreed upon at the pub­lick Roup, who by their Deputes gather in the R [...] venues of the Crown, and being the Kings Stewar [...] they are the principal Judges of the Country. T [...] Rents when Collected, whether payed in Mone [...] Meal, Oats, Barly or Butter are ordinarly sent Sou [...] which causeth a great grudge among the People, some [...] them thereby being redacted to great straits, not getti [...] Meal, Barley or the like sometimes to buy, as in t [...] late dearth, tho then the product of these Isles, comparatively, [Page 27] were beyond that of many other places in [...]e Kingdom. The Bishops Rents amounting to 8 or [...]00. Merks per Annum, and so more considerable then [...]e Rents of several other Bishopricks in the Kingdom, [...]w since the abolition of Prelacy coming in to the [...]ings Treasury and at his disposal, are also sent [...]uth and not consumed within the Isles, as they used [...]rmerly to be, when the Bishops resided here, at which [...]e People are likewise dissatisfied, and thereby, as some [...]etter acquainted with their humours and inclinations do [...]form me, the Presbyterian Government is made the [...]ess acceptable to many of them.

The People greatly cry out of the Oppression they groan under,The Peo­pel com­plain of oppression by reason of the frequent change of Stew­ [...]rds their Masters, who being Taxmen, and so only [...]o continue for such a definite time, each endeavours [...]o gather in his Rents, and that as soon as may be, which many of the poor People cannot get so quickly given, whereupon several of them are put to doors, and all taken from them, which hath occasioned much of the King's Land now to be lying waste and lee; Whereas if they always had one Master, their Circumstances might be much better, for sometimes it so falleth out, that the Husband-Man will gain as much in one year, as will compense the loss of another, the Master like­wise would be more encouraging to them, and con­cerned in their wellfare, and they having Leasses set them, would more endeavour the improving of their ground, which now they do not, they not knowing, but the next year they may have a new Master, whose little Finger may be thicker then his Predecessours Loyns. Yet let not my Reader judge, that I hereby intend the Impeachment of any particular Person or Persons, who have been Taxmen there, or now are, but my design is to shew, that this is the common complaint of the Coun­try both in Orkney and Zetland.

The Gentlemen tell us,Their Hol­ding. they have another kind of Holding here, then is in other places, and the best right [Page 28] they have to their Lands, is that which they call Udall right, a Possession which the Natives successively have without either Charter or Seasin; All their Lands be­ing either such Udall Land [...], or Kings Lands, or Fewed Lands. This Udall right is said to be called from one Ulans King of Norway, who when he possessed the Countrey, gave to the Inhabitants a Right to so much Land, he alwayes retaining to himself the 3d part, and enjoying the increase thereof.

Measure.Their measure is not the same with ours, they not useing Peck and Firlot, but in stead thereof, weigh their Corns on Pismires or Pundlers. The least quan­tity is called a Merk, which is 18 Ounces; 24 Merks make a Leispound or Setten, which with the Danes is that which we call a Stone.Modern Account, of Den­mark. 6 Settens, a Meil, which is their Boll; And 18 Meils make a Chalder. Neither do they use Pocks or Sacks as we do; But carries and keeps their Corns and Meal in a sort of Vessels made of Straw, bound about with Ropes of the same, called Cassies.

CHAP. III Wherein the several Isles and Parishes belong­ing to Orkney, are enumerated, and breifly described.

HAVING geven some description of Orkney in gener­al,The Num­ber of the Orkney Isles I shall now give some more particular account of the several Isles thereunto belonging. Which are di­vided into such as are Inhabited, and so are more com­monly called Isles; And such as are not Inhabited, which they call Holms, only useful for Pasturage. The Isles are said to be 26 in number, viz. Pomona or the Mainland being much larger then any of the rest ‘Gramsey, Hoy, Swinna, South-Ronaldsha, Burra, Lamb­holm, Flotta, Faira, Cava, Copinsha, Shapinsha, Dam­say, [Page 29] Inhallo, Gairsa, Rousa, Eaglesha, Stronsa, Papa-Stronsa, Eda, North-Faira, Westra, Papa-Westra, Wyre, Sanda, and North-Ronaldsha.’ To which may [...]e added Poghtland Skerries, it be [...]ng sometimes inhabit­ed in the Summer time, and Waes which in a high [...]ream is divided from Hoy, whereunto it is joyned by low and narrow neck of Land; As also the Calf of Eda, it having a Salt Pan in it:. It may be observed [...]hat most of the Names of these Isles end in a or-ey, which in the Teutonick Tongue signifieth Water, to shew [...]hat these Isles are pieces of Land surrounded with Water.

The first is P [...]mona or the Mainland, Pomona or the Main­land. The Town of Kirkwal described. said to be 24 Miles in length [...]rom East to West, and in some places [...] or 8 Miles broad; nigh to the midle whereof is the Toun of Kirkwal, about 3 quarters of a Mile in length from South to North, the only remarkable Toun in [...]ll this Countrey, and beside which there is no other Royal-Burgh in Orkney or Zetland; The Danes who [...]ad the Orcades long in possession, called it Cracoviaca, which Name Buchanan takes to be the same with Kirk­wal but corrupted. "Quod Dani Cracoviacam appela­ [...] bant, nunc nomine corrupto Kircua Scotis dicitur. It [...]andeth upon the North side of the Isle in a low and moist Ground, hence a Minister in this Countrey told me, that in several places of their large Church, where [...]he more respected Burgers ordinarily Bury their Dead, they can scarce dig two foot of Earth but Water will rise, so that he hath seen when they Interred the Corps [...]hey behoved to press them doun in the water till the Mold or Earth was cast upon them. It is now much [...]ecayed as to Trade and Number of Inhabitants, as many ancient Burghs in this Kingdom are. In it hath [...]een two stately Edifices the King's and the Bishops Palace, [...]he former is now very ruinous being the Ancientest [...]f the two, built, as is thought, by some of the Bishops [...]f Orkney; It having the vestige, of a Bishops Mitre [...]nd Armes Engraven, upon the Wall that looks to the [...]reet: And in which, it is said, the Bishops, of old, [Page 30] had their Residence. The other, called the Bishop's Palace, wherein the Bishops lately lived, was built by Patrick Stewart Earl of Orkney Anno 1606, son to Robe [...] Stewart Natural Son to King James the 5th. This Palace i [...] also goeing to Ruine; Tho, with some expence, i [...] could be keept, in good Repair.

the Church of Kirkwal [...]The Church is a very noble and large Structure; Hav [...] ing, in it, 14 or 15 strong Pillars, on each side, Th [...] [...]teeple standing, on 4 bigger and higher Pillars, in th [...] midle of the Church, wherein there are several old an [...] good Bells. In the Easter part only, of this grea [...] Church, is Divine service performed, which is furnished with good Seats, for accommodating the Inhabitants and other conveniencies, proper for that end. It i [...] commonly called St. Magnus Church; being built, [...] at least, as some say, the foundation laid, by Magnus King of Norway; Whom they report, to have bee [...] Buried here: Tho, others say, he was Buried in Eagle [...] sha, an Isle to the North of Kirkwal. There are ma­ny, of this name, of Magnus, in this Country.

A safe Road at KirkwalAt Kirkwal, there is a safe Road; But Ships, comin [...] from the South, cannot get so easily into it, by reaso [...] that the same Wind which brings them to Orkney, o [...] ten will not suffer them to turn up to Kirkwal, the [...] being obliged to encompass a point of Land stretchin [...] to the North-East before they can make the Road, [...] that frequently they ly at Elwick or Deer-Sound tw [...] Anchoring places to the East or North-East of Kirw [...] until that the Wind shall favour them.

Goodgrass and Corn, in some places of the Main­land. The Kings House in E [...]aOn the Mainland good Corns do grow in several pl [...] ces, tho likewayes there be much moorish Ground, b [...] the pleasentest part of the Isle I take to be the West e [...] thereof, about Birsa, Hara, Sandwick and Stromness, whe [...] there are several spots well furnished with Grass a [...] Corn. In the Parish of Birsa is the Kings House situat [...] on a plain Champain Ground on the West end of t [...] Mainland, nigh to the Sea or Deucaledonian Ocean, whi [...] [Page 31] [...]rmerly when in order hath had several pleasant and di­ [...]erting Avenues about it. At a large quarter of a Miles [...]istance to the south, we saw the pleasantest mixture of [...]owans so commonly called or Daisies white and yellow [...]n every side of the way growing very thick, and co­ [...]ering a considerable piece of the Ground; that ever [...]ve had occasion to see. The Palace was Built in form [...]f a Court by Robert Stewart Earl of Orkney, about the [...]ear 1574, it is two stories high, the upper hath been [...]rettily decored, the Ceiling being all Painted, and [...]hat for the most part with Schems holding forth scrip­ [...]ure-Histories, as Noah's Floud, Christ's Riding to Jer­ [...]salem &c. And the scripture is set doun beside the Fi­ [...]ure: It was Inhabited within these 20 Years, but is [...]ow fast decaying. When we entered the Palace gate, we [...]w above it, that Inscription so much talk [...] of, and re­ [...]uted treasonable by "King James the 6th: Robertus [...] Steuartus Filius Jacobi 5ti Rex Scotorum hoc Aedifici­ [...]um instruxit, which inscription could not but offend [...]he lawful Heir of the Croun, for it cannot well be [...]hought that the Earl and all about him, were such blun­derers in the Latine Tongue as to put doun Rex in stead of Regis, if there had been no design in it. Within [...]he Palace we saw also the Motto above his Arms, Sic [...]uit, est, & erit. which was a piece of too great arrogancy [...]or any Man to assume that unto himself, which prop­erly belongs to the Son of GOD, whose wise Judge­ment is not unworthy of our Remark, that now only [...]t can be said of his House and Family, now extinct.Dan. 4.37. [...]ic suit: Which that great King Nebuchadnezar knew [...]o his experience, That these who walk in pride, God is able to abase.

Among other pleasant places in this West end of the Mainland we may take notice of Kirfal-Hill, Kirfal Hill a litle to the East of the House of Brachness in the Parish of Sandwick, which is very large on the top, and plain almost like a Bowling-Green, so that 9 or 10000 Men could easily be drawn up in order thereupon: It is all over very [Page 32] green without any Heath or such like growing there nei­ther are there any rising Hillocks on it, that we could dis­cern, as ordinarly are to be seen on other Hills; and be­cause of it's being so very pleasant the Inhabitants about call it Chearful-Hill, Loch of Stennis. Within a few Miles also of he West-end of the Mainland is the Loch of Stenni: the largest in Orkney, whereon are some Mills; some Trouts, and Sal­mon-Gilses are found in it, and the Brooks that run from it.

Several good Har­bours on the Main­land.Beside Kirkwal-Road, there are several other Har­bours or Bays on the Mainland, wherein Ships can safe­ly ly, as one at Kerston a small Village, at the West end of the Main-land, much frequented by Ships going to the West of Scotland, or Ireland, or coming therefrom: Another is at Holms-sound towards the South-East side of the Isle, to which sometimes Barks do resort from the South; several Ships also going through Land from the South to the West-Sea, drop Anchor here; and when they pass, they must Sail between Lambholm a litle Isle in the Sound, and the Mainland; for the way on the other side between Lambholm and Burra, tho it seem more open, yet it is, they say, shallow and dang­erous: But none I think will dare to Sail through these Isles without some measure both of skill and experi­ence, else it will be to the hazard of their lives, and the loss of Ship and Cargo; There being several Turnings, Blind-Rocks, and Shallows: Wherefore many do judge it the safest Course, to keep the Wide-Sea, and so Sail without the Isles, especially if the Weather be not well set and promising. Another convenient Road is at Deer-sound to the East of the Mainland where a great Bay commodious for Navies to ride in. Some other Harbours and Bays also there are upon the Mainland, but these are the most remarkable.

A Ship cast away.Nigh to the point of Deer-Ness some Years ago was cast away a Ship transporting some Prisoners to Ameri­ca, who were for the most part West-Country Men ap­prehended, Emprisoned and then Banished for adhering to Presbyterian Principles; There were, as is said, [Page 33] [...]ove 100 who Perished being kept under the Hatches, [...]ed together by pairs, whereas if they had been at li­ [...]rty, the greatest part if not all might have been sav­ [...], as a few were, then upon Deck, with the Mari­ [...]ers. The Countrey People here did and do think that [...]e Captain of the Ship willingly suffered her to drive [...]on this point, and the Men there to Perish, and if so, is probable that others tho not Aboard, have been [...]ncerned in this mischievous desing, as the Authors [...]d Abettours thereof.

In the Mainland are [...] Parishes but 13 Kirks,The Isle of Copinsha. for [...]any Ministers in Orkney have 2 and some 3 Kirks, [...]herein they ordinarily Preach by turns, the first is [...]eerness and St Andrews at the East-end of the Isle, [...]here two Kirks, one at Deerness and another at St [...]ndrews, wherein their Minister Preacheth by turns, [...]re live the Lairds of New-work and Tankerness; Under [...]s Ministers inspection also is Copinsha a litle Islle to [...]e East of the Main, wherein a few Families, some [...]rn-Land and Pasturage: It at a litle distance appears [...] be as an high Rock conspicuous to Sea Men, but it [...]clineth and lieth low towards the West: To the North [...]st of it lieth a Holm called the Horse of Copinsha.

The next Parish is Holm, also on the East of the [...]ain to the West of Deerness and St andrews, The Isle of Lambholm. wherein is [...]t one Kirk; In this Parish liveth the Laird of Graham [...] ­ [...]ll. To their Ministers Charge belongeth Lambholm [...]itle Isle to the South of the Main, wherein a Familie [...] two. North-West from Holm, the Parish and Town Kirkwal lieth, where one Church, but they should [...]ve two Ministers. A part of their Charge is called [...]e Parish of St Ola. To the West of Kirkwal is Orph­ [...] where is but one Kirk. To the North-West of [...]kwal lieth Firth and Stennis having two Kirks, where­ [...] their Minister Preacheth per vices or by turns.The Isle of Damsey. To this [...]rish belongs Damsey, a litle Isle. To the North of [...]th and Stennis, is Evie and Rendal having two Kirks, [...]erein their Minister Preacheth per vices, To this [Page 34] Parish belongeth Gairsey a litle pleasant Isle,The Isle of Gairsey. wherein [...] eth Sir William Craig of Gairsey

To the West of Evie and Rendal is Hara and B [...] where are two Kirks, in which the Minister Preache [...] per vices; the King's House is in Birsa as abovesa [...] Next to Birsa to the South-West is Sandwick and Stro [...] ness, wherein are two Kirks, which their Minister go [...] to per vices. To Stromness belongeth Kerston, wh [...] the best Harbour in Orkney, and by reason it is daily i [...] creasing as to Houses and number of Inhabitants, (w [...] are encouraged to dwell here upon the account of t [...] many Ships that do frequent this Port, and often tarry [...] sometime;) the Minister and Gentlemen concur in suplicating Judicatories competent, that Kerston wi [...] some of the Countrey adjacent, may be erected into [...] Parish by it self, that so the Inhabitants of the pl [...] and strangers resorting thereunto, may be served wi [...] Preaching, and other parts of the Pastoral Work; th [...] present Church at Stromness being 4 Miles distant fro [...] them, wherein also they can have Sermon, but eve [...] other Sabbath. In Sandwick lives the Laird of Brach [...]

To the South of Stromness and Sandwick lieth Hoy [...] Waes, which ordinarly make but one Isle, tho someti [...] by a high Sream overflowing the low and narrow pa [...] age.The Isle of Hoy, and Waes. whereby they are joyned to one another. they [...] divided into two; The Isle is about 10 or 12 Miles lo [...] from West to East. Waes at the East-end of the Isle better inhabited, then Hoy at the West-end thereof, lying lower, and so fitter for Pasturage and labour [...]g whereas Hoy is more Mountainous, only having so [...] Houses on the skirts of the Hills, by the Coasts, a [...] some Corn Land about their Houses. The H [...] of Hoy is the highest in Orkney, whence we have a [...] prospect of all the circumjacent Isles, as also of Caith [...] ▪ Stranaver, Sutherland &c. On the South side of P [...]g [...] land Firth, yet tho it be so high, it cannot hold [...] what some do assert, that from this Hill is to be seen [...] Sun all the Night over in the Moneth of June when [Page 35] [...]out the Tropick of Cancer, for seeing the Sun is [...] several hours seen above the Horizon the shortest [...] of Winter, he must necessarly be so far depressed, shortest Night in Summer, so that his Body cannot [...] be seen, tho something of a clear light may be [...]erned, as it were accompanying the Sun from his sett­ [...] to his rising point, by reason of the reflexion and action of his Rayes upon and through the Sea, he [...]ping so litle below their Horizon: For the further [...]strating of this, the Ministers of the Northern-Isles Orkney told me, that in the Moneth of June they will [...] to Read small Print or Write at mid-night; And in [...]cember for some Dayes they can neither see to Read [...] Write, unless that they light a Candle, as one of [...]m attested from his experience. To the South of the [...]try into the Sound between Hoy and Kerston in the [...]ainland is the Comb of Hoy, the highest Rock in Ork­ney, looking to the West or Deucaledeman Ocean much [...]quented by Sea-Fouls.

The Minister of Hoy hath two Kirks,The Isle of Gramsey. one in Hoy and other in Gramsey, a little pleasant Isle about a Mile [...]ng, lying to the North of Hoy, between it and Kerston [...] the Mainland, but Ships that go through this Sound [...]e to Sail between Gramsay and the Mainland, the way [...]tween Gramsay and Hoy being very dangerous. The [...]inister of Waes hath two Kirks,The Isle of Flotta Fai­ra, and Ca­va. one in Waes and an­ [...]her in Flotta, a pleasant litle Isle, and as capable of [...]provement as any Isle in Orkney; Faira and Cava also [...]o other litle Isles are a part of his Charge, these Isles [...] to tha East of Waes and Hoy.

Nigh to the East of Waes and Hoy lyes South-Ronald­ [...]a 5 Miles long from North to South,The Isle of South-Ro­naldsha. and about two [...]oad in several places, it is the Southernmost of all the Isles of Orkney, and very Fertile and populous, at [...]he South-end thereof is Burwick, whence the ordinary [...]assage is to Duncansbay in Caithness over Pightland Firth. Their Minister hath three Kirks, two in South-Ronald­ [...]ha, one at the South-end of the Isle, called our Lady's-Kirk, [Page 36] and another at the North-end called St Pe [...] Kirk. The Isle of Burra. He hath a 3d Kirk in Burra a pleasant litle Isl [...] the North of South-Ronaldsha, wherein much Cornla [...] and many Rabbets: in this Isle liveth Sir Archb [...] Steuart. The Isle of Swinna. To this Parish belonges Swinna a little Isle Pightland-Firth, of which more afterward, when [...] come to discourse of Pightland-Firth.

The Isle of Shapinsha.To the North of the Mainland lyes the Northern Is [...] as Shapensha to the North-East 4 or 5 Miles long, this Parish belongs but one Kirk, It hath a safe Har­bour at Elwick on the South of the Isle: Here is t [...] House of the Sound which looketh well, and hath a plea [...] Situation on a rising Ground, lying to the South.

Isles of Stronsa, and Papa Stronsa.To the North-East, from Shapinsha lyeth Stronsa [...] bout 4 or 5 Miles long, it is well Inhabited, and t [...] Grass and Corns are good: Papa Stronsae is a litle I [...] over against it towards North-East, wherein but o [...] Family, between Papa-Stronsa and Stronsa is a safe Ha [...] bour or Bay, well fenced by [...]romontories or Capes [...] Land, it is said to be the best North-bound Harbour [...] all the Northern Isles. Opposite to Stronsa to North-West lyes Eda about 4 Miles of length from North t [...] South,The Isle of Eda. it is full of Moss and Moor, and but thinly Inhabited: Some of the Neighouring Isles get their Pite [...] hence. In it a Loch and Mill. To the North-East o [...] Eda is the Ca [...]f, a Holm so called; between which an [...] Eda is Calf-Sound a convenient and safe Road. The Mini [...] ter of Stronsa and Eda hath two Kirks one in Stronsa an [...] another in Eda where he Preacheth every 3d Sabbath To the West of Eda lyes North-Fatra a litle pleasant Isl [...] wherein a few Families.The Isle of North-Fat­ra.

The House of Calf-Sound.On the East side of Eda, stands a House built b [...] John Stewart Earl of Carrick, An. 1633. Some [...] whose Off spring are yet living in the neighbourin [...] Isles, the occasion of his coming and living in this remote corner, is reported to have been some disconte [...] which tell out between him and his Lady; He built a [...] a great Expence 12 Salt-Pans in the Calf of Eda, ov [...] [Page 37] against his house, which for some time were all at [...]ork, he designing to have driven a Foreign Trade [...]ith his Salt, but he dying after a few years abode [...]ere, the House and Pans not being keept in Repair [...]ent to ruine, so that now only one Salt-Pan is stand­ [...]g. Thus his Project died with himself.

To the N East of Eda is Sanda [...] the pleasantest I [...]ink, of the Orkney Isles,The Isle of Sanda. 9 or 10 Miles long from [...]uth to North, in many places a Mile or a mile and [...] half, and in some scarce half a mile broad, having [...]veral tongues of Land washen by the Sea; hence some [...]o compare it to the shape of a Lobster: No place in the [...]le is high and Mountainous, and many spots of it are [...]ery plain, and even like a Bowling-Green, every­ [...]here it is well furnished with Grass, and muc [...] good [...]orn, said to be the best in Orkney; It alone payeth to [...]e King 42 Chalders of Victual, every one of which [...]h [...]lders is 21 Bolls of our Measure; The whole Isle [...] but as one rich Cuningar or a Cony Warren, for I [...]ever saw a greater number of Conies runing in any [...]lace then I did here; Hence the Heretors kill [...]everal hundreds of them yearly for their use. There [...]e several Bays for Ships as Kitletoft, O [...]terswick and [...]aphness Bay. Some Gentlemen also who have consi­ [...]erable Interests as Burgh, Lapness &c: Many Fowls [...]equent this Isle, as Duck and Drake, Plover, &c. [...]o that there is good sport for the Fowler. The Stir­ [...]ns or Stares are as numerous I judge, as the Spar­ [...]ows are with us.

In Sanda are two Ministers, one having one Kirk [...]alled Lady-Kirk, on the East side of the Isle towards [...]he North end thereof, in this Isle are some sober, [...]nowing, and good People; particularly in this Lady Parish in the former Presbyterian times, there was a Godly Zealous Minister, Mr. Arthur Murray, who went South after the Revolution An. 1660 and died [...]here, some of the old people yet alive, who were un­ [...]er his Ministry cannot speak of him without Tears [Page 38] The Righteous shall he had in everlasting remember­ance. The other Minister hath under his inspection three Kirks, two in Sanda, Cross Kirk, and Burness, and one in North-Ronaldsha, an Isle to the North of Sanda two or three Miles long. Both these Isles of Sanda and North-Ronalsha ly low,The Isle of North Ro­nalsha. and dangerous for Seamen, who cannot discover them at any distance especially in a misty day or dark night, till close upon them, and so are ready to suffer Ship wrack, as many do:

The Isle of Westra.To the West of Sanda lyes, Westra seven Miles long it is well Inhabited, having much Corn in it; here is F [...]tta Hill where they say the Fairies are frequently seen, it is the highest hill in all the Northern Isles of Orkney. In the North end of this Isle is the Castle of Noutland, built by Gilbert Balfour for the use o [...] James Hepburn Earl of Bothwell, The Castle of Nout­land. Married to Queen Mary the 27 of May An. 1567 in the Abbey of Holy Roodhouse who fearing he should not always retain and enjoy his present Grandure, which the Nobles en­vied him for, he likewise being suspected guilty of the Murder of my Lord Darli [...] her former Husband caused build this strong Castle, which upon a change of the Scene, he might betake himself unto, situated upon a Rock nigh to the Deucaledonian Ocean, having plain Champain ground about it; It is 4 Stories high and the lowest is strongly Vaulted, above, which i [...] a large Hall, having two Air-holes through the Arch, so to give a vent to the Pouder, if at any time they showld be surprised with a blast, the walls ar [...] very thick, and all the free stone for the building was brought from the South: The Roof is flat and fenced with Rayls of Stone, whence we have a sai [...] view of the circumjacent Country, There are severa [...] hols or slits in the Building, not only to let in the light, but to gall an approaching Enemy with smal shot, if at any time they should be attacked: But the Lord often taking the Sinner in his own craftiness [Page 39] [...]uffered him not so to escape, by sheltering himself in this Nest; This Castle was never compleated, for in one part thereof, the Walls are but half the height in­ [...]ended, and never hitherto covered with a Roof, and [...]e being pursued by the Lords of the Congregation, never possessed it, or so much as saw it, if not at a distance, for he taking himself to Sea with two or three Ships came to Kirkwal in Orkney, and being dri­ven thence by William Kircaldy of Grange, he fled to Zetland, where the Pursuer had almost overtaken him, if the Pilots skill in these Seas had not made a way to escape, in holding down by the side of a blind Rock well enough known to the Pilot, which the Pursuer ignorant of spleet upon; which Rock to this day is called the Ʋnicorn, from the Name of the Ship that perished upon it. Bothwel escaped to Norway where being apprehended, he was taken to Denmark, and cast into a filthy Prison, where he died after 10 years Imprisonment: His wicked life having this mi­serable end: Tho hand join in hand the wicked shall not go unpunished; and ordinarly Murder, (where­of he was suspected to be guilty,) so cryeth from the ground, that it bringeth down remarkable and often tremendous Judgments in time. There are several Gentlemens Houses in Westra.

The Minister of Westra hath three Churches where­in he Preacheth per vices, two in Westra, one at the west end of the Isle called the West-Kirk, and another nigh to the North end called the North-Kirk, the third Church is in Papa-Westra a little Isle of 3 Miles long from South to North;The Isle of Papa-Westra. Betwixt it and Westra there is a convenient Harbour for Ships at Piriwa; As also in the same Sound a little to the North of this Harbour lyes a holm wherein there hath been a little Chapel, whereof some of the ruinous Walls are yet to be seen. Papa-Westra aboundeth with Rabbets, and hath some Corn Land, but not so much as some other Isles, it being hard and stonny ground; It belongeth to a Gen­tleman [Page 40] called Holland, and hath been reputed famous for St. Trodwells Chappel and Loch or Lake. To the Ea [...] of this Isle lyeth the Holm, where the Easter Men had their Hutts as above.

The Isle of Rousa.To the South of Westra lyes Rousa an Isle 6 Miles long, full of heathy Hills, abounding with Moor Fowls, there is not much corn in it, and but thinly in­habited. There is a Loch and Mill thereon that goeth ordinarily all the Summer over, which is rare in these Isles. The Minister of Rousa hath two Kirks, one in Rousa and another in Eglesha, The Isle of Eglesha. a pleasant Isle two Mil [...]s long, where a Church much frequented by supersti­tious People with a high Steeple seen at a great distance, where, (as some would have it,) St. Magnus was buried. To his Charge also belongs Inhallo, The Isle of Inhallo. a little Isle to the West of Rousa, also Wyre a small Isle.

The Num­ber of Parishes.Thus I have glanced at the Description of the Orca­des; most of which I have had occasion to see, wherein we see there are 17. Parishes, 8. in the Mainland, Viz. Kirkwall, Holm, Deerness and St. Andrews, Evie and Rendat, Firth and Stennis, Orphir, B [...]rsa and Hara, Sandwick and Stromness, and 9. in the other Isles, Sciz. South Ronalsha and Burra, Waes and Flotta, Hoy and Gramsey, Shapinsha, Stronsa and Eda, Lady Kirk in Sanda, Cross Kirk and Burness in Sanda, and North Ro­nalsha, Westra and Papa Westra, Rousa and Eglesha; But there are 31. Kirks; And these Ministers look upon themselves as more happily posted, who have only one Kirk, especially if they have not more Kirks in seve­ral Isles, this tending more to the Edification of the People under their Charge, and consequently to their peace and encouragement, they every Lords Day dis­pensing Ordinances in the same place, to the same People, whereas these who have more Kirks commit­ted to them are sometimes obliged to preach in one place and sometimes in another, and the People gene­rally frequent but their ou [...] Kirk, especially if they be in different Isles, hence ordinarily they enjoy the Ordi­nances [Page 41] only every other Sabbath, and in some places [...]t one of three, which cannot but obstruct the pro­ [...]ss of the Gospel, among them. Besides it is uneasy, [...]ensive and dangerous for them to travel from Isle to [...]e, and sometimes a storm arising they are necessarily [...]ained there. The stipends here are small, and for [...] most part payed by the Stewart or his Depute, the [...]ng being the principal Proprietour, yet they can [...]e very well upon them, Victuals being had at an [...]ie rate.

The People are generally tractable,People re­spectful of their Mi­nisters. submissive and [...]pectful to their Ministers, which is very desirable [...]d encouraging to these who labour among them, [...]hen true Zeal enlargeth the desires, and putteth an [...]ge upon the Spirits of Pastors in the discharge of the [...]rd's Work for the good of Souls.

CHAP. IV. [...]ome things remarkable in Orkney, as Ancient Monuments, strange Providences &c. are represented.

HAving taken a view of the Countrey in general,Things re­markable in Orkney. and the several Isles in particular, I shall now di­ [...]ert my Reader with some things remarkable, not together unworthy of our Observation, such as some [...]ncient Monuments, strange Accidents, and some [...]her things not only curious and delectable, but also [...]ofitable to the Judicious; affording matter "of medi­tation to the wise Observers of these things, who re­gard the Works of the Lord, and duely ponder the operation of his hands, in the years of Ancient and Latter times.

The first we take notice of is the Stone,The Dw [...]rfie Stone. called the [...]warfie Stone, lying in a Valley between two Hills, to [...]e North of the Hill of Hoy, it is about 34. foot long, [...]6. or 17. broad and 8. thick, hollowed by the hand [Page 42] of some Mason, as the Print of the Mason-Irons do [...] shew, it hath a square hole for the Entry, looking [...] the East, 2. foot high, with a stone proportionab [...] standing before this Entry at 2. foot distance, with at one end is hewen out a bed with a pillow, where two Persons may ly almost at their full length, opp [...] site to this at the other end, is something also hew [...] out like a Couch, between which Bed and Couch the [...] is a large Hole above about the bigness of the Entry through which a Person may come up to the top [...] the Stone, and might serve, for a Vent to the smok [...] if so be they had put any fire upon a Hearth betwe [...] the two Beds. Beneath this stone runs to the South [...] cold and pleasant spring which might afford drink [...] the Inhabitant. Who hewed this stone, or for wh [...] use it was we could not learn, the Common Traditi [...] among the People is, That a Giant with his Wi [...] lived in this Isle of Hoy, who had this stone for the [...] Castle. But I would rather think, seeing it could [...] accomodate any of a Gigantick stature, that it mig [...] be for the use of some Dwarf, as the Name seems import, or it being remote from any House might the retired Cell of some Melancholick Hermite. T [...] stone also may be called the Dwarfie Stone, per A [...] phrasin or by way of Opposition it being so [...] great.

Some­thing shines wonder­fully on the Wart-Hill of Hoy.To the North-West of this Stone is an high Mo [...] tain of a steep Ascent called the Wart-Hill of Hoy, loo [...] ing to the North; Nigh to the top of which Hill ab [...] Mid-Day, is seen something and that at a good [...] stance, which glitters and shines wonderfully, a [...] tho some have climbed up and searched for it, [...] could find nothing: It shines most in the summer ti [...] The People talk of it as some enchanted Carb [...] cle: Others take it to be a Water that reflecteth [...] Sun's Rays, and so causeth such a sparkling and spl [...] dour; But a Gentleman who liveth nigh to [...] [Page 43] Rock told us, that is shines most in the greatest Drought, [...]hen no Water is near it.

At the West end of the Mainland,A street of stones of diffe­rent fi­gures. about a Mile [...]d an half to the West of the House of Skeal, on the [...]p of high Rocks, there is something like a street, [...]ear to a Quarter of a Mile in length, and between [...], and 30. foot in breadth, all laid with Stones of [...]fferent Figures and Magnitudes, of a Reddish co­ [...]ur: some of which stones bear the Image and Repre­ [...]ntation of a Heart, others of a Crown, others of a [...]hoe, a Leg, a Last, a Weavers Shuttle &c. And that [...]hich renders it yet the more strange is, when these [...]ones are raised many of them have the same figure and [...]ape below on the one side, that they have above on [...]e other; which street all beholders look on as very wonderful. I saw a part of the Garden Wall of the House of Skeal, decored in the forepart thereof with [...]hese stones, we intended to have sent a parcel of them [...]outh to our Friends as a rarity, if they had not been [...]orgot at our return from Zetland. Whether these [...]tones be so laid and figured by Art or by Nature will [...]e hard to determine. For there is no House nigh to [...]his street, neither are the ruines of any which former­ [...]y have been there, to be seen. So puzling are the Works of God to the most ingenious and accurate ob­servers of Providence.

At the Loch of Stennis in the Mainland, A Circle of stones; in that part thereof, where the Loch is Narrowest, both on the West and East side of the Loch, there is a Ditch; within which there is a Circle, of large and high stones [...]erected: The larger Round is on the West-side, above [...]00 paces Diameter: the Stones set about in form of [...] Circle within a large Ditch, are not all of a like quantity and Size, tho some of them, I think, are upwards of 20. foot high above ground, 4 or 5. foot broad, and a foot or two thick, some of which stones are fallen, but many of them are yet standing, be­tween which there is not an equal distance, but many [Page 44] of them are about 10. or 12. foot distant from [...] other. On the other side of the Loch over which [...] pass by a Bridge laid with stones after the manner of street, the Loch there being shallow, are two ston [...] standing, of a like bigness with the rest, whereof o [...] hath a round hole in the midst of it, at a little distan [...] from which stones, there is another Ditch, about ha [...] a Mile from the former, but of a far less Circumferenc [...] within which also there are some stones standing something bigger then the other stones on the We [...] side of the Loch, in form of a Semicircle, I think rather then of a Circle, opening to the East, for I s [...] no stones that have fallen there save one, which wh [...] standing, did complete but the Semicircle. Both [...] the East and West end of the bigger Round, are tw [...] green Mounts, which appear to be Artificial: In on [...] of which Mounts were found,Mr Wal­lace Des­c [...]iption of Orkney. saith Mr. Wallace [...] 9. Fibulae of silver, round, but opening in one plac [...] like to a Horse-shoe.

It is most probably thought that, these were the High Places in times of Pagan Idolatry, whereon sacrifice were offered, and that the two Artificial Mounts o [...] Earth, served for the same purpose, or were the pla­ces where the Ashes of the Sacrifices were cast, as som [...] w [...] I have [...] Bo [...]thius in the Life of Ma [...]nu [...] King o [...] Scot [...] observeth, That the People called these hug [...] stones drawn together in the form of a Circle, the Ancient Temples of the Gods,Beeth in vitam Mains. Ʋt Populus ad Religio­nem mov [...]entur priscis sacris novas quasdam & solenne [...] Ce [...]en on [...]as superaddidit (Rex nimi [...]um Mainus) Du [...] Im [...] ­mo ta [...]ibus peragendas, ut immensis saxis varus in Regionu [...] locis (ut res exposcebat) in coronidem admotis, eorumqu [...] maximo ad Meridiem porrecto, cujus pro ara foret usus [...] Victimae ibi Diis immortalibus sacrificium cremarentur. Ex [...] tantum [...]i fidem, vel hoc nostro avo ingentia ea saxa auct [...] in Circo, prisca Deorum Phana Vulgus appellar. Many o [...] the Countrey do say, That in the larger Round th [...] [Page 45] Sun, and in the lesser the Moon was Worshipped by [...]e old Pagan Inhabitants of these Isles.

And indeed to build their Altars of earth or unpo­ [...]hed stones seems to have been the custom of Ancient [...]mes, and even of the first Ages of the Rom: Empire, Apologet Chap. 25. [...] the Learned Spencer endeavours to prove from "Ter­tullian, Etsi a Numa concepta est curi [...]sitas superstitio­sa, nondum tamen aut Simulacris aut Templis res Divina apud Romanos constabat. Frugi Religio & pauperes ritus, & nulla Capitolia certantia coelo;Spencer. de Legihus Hebraeo­rum. sed temeraria de cespite Altaria, & vasa adhuc Samia, & [...]nidor ex illis, & Deus ipse nusquam. And further confirming the same from Cluverius writing of the German Antiquities. And concludes with giving the Rea­ [...]n why the Gentiles of old were so taken with rude, [...]digested, artless and unpolished Altars and places of [...]orship, because they Judged them more holy and [...]ore acceptable to the Gods: "Gentes antiquae, saith [...]he, Natura vel Traditione doctae, naturalia omnia [...]rudia licet & impolita, sanctiora & Diis suis gratiom crediderunt, And here in these Monuments nothing [...]ke Art or Form: the Stones are not polished nor all of [...] like thickness, height or breadth, nor of an equal di­ [...]tance from each other.

In the Isle of Sanda there is a Chappel called the Chappel of C [...]et, wherein there is a Grave 19. foot long,Great bones found in Sanda. which when opened some years ago, there was nothing [...]ound in it save the piece of a Back-bone of a Man, [...]reater then the Back-bone of any Horse. This the Minister of the place declared unto me, who saw the Grave opened, and measured it from the Head to the [...]oot stone thereof, who also for some time had the [...]one in his Custody. The vulgar Tradition is that [...]here was a Giant there, who was of so tall a stature [...]hat he could have stood upon the ground and put the Copstone upon the Chappel, which no Man now liv­ [...]ng by far could do.And in Westra.

There are also Bones found in Westra between Tukey [Page 46] and the West Church, as great as Horse-bones, as the Minister of Westra informed me. And some there have been lately of a Gigantick stature in these Isles: A [...] that Man who died not long since, whom for hi [...] height they commonly called the Meikle Man of Waes.

Several Obelisks through the Coun­trey.Through this Countrey we find several Obelsiks o [...] very high and great stones set up, as one in the Isle o [...] Eda, another on the Mainland within a Mile of B [...] &c. they appear to be much worn, by the washing o [...] Wind and Rain, which shewes they are of a long stand­ing, and it is very strange to think how in these place [...] and times they got such large stones carried and erected ‘Mirabile profecto quisquis ea spectaverit,Boeth. in vitam Ma [...]us. quâ art [...] quibus Corporis viribus lapides tantâ mole in unu [...] locum fuerint congesti.’ The Reason and End of their setting up cannot be certainly known, however we may conjecture, that probably it was in remembrance of som [...] famous Battle, or hath been the Ancient Funeral Monuments of some renouned Persons, who have fallen i [...] Battle or been buried there. Several of which stone and Monuments are to be seen in many places through Scotland; and in Norway they are very common, a [...] our Travellers who have seen them, inform me. An [...] it is like these stones have been set up by the Norvegians, when they possessed this Countrey.

The Bi­shops of Orkney at their, 1st. Landing used to be presented with a large Cup full of strong drink.In Scapha about a Mile from Kirkwal to South-We [...] it is said there was kept a large and ancient Cup, whic [...] they say, belonged to St Magnus King of Norway, wh [...] first instructed them in the Principles of the Christian Rel [...] gion and founded the Church of Kirkwal, with which fu [...] of some strong drink their Bishops at their first Landin [...] were presented; which if he drank out, they highly prai [...] ed him, and made themselves to beleive, that the [...] should have many good and fruitful Years in his tim [...] This Buchannan relates, and as Mr. Wallace observet [...] is still believed there, and talkt of as a truth. ‘Scyphu [...] habent antiquum, saith Buchannan, quem Divi Magn [...] qui primus ad eos Christi doctrinam attulit, fuisse praed [Page 47] cant; Is cum ita superet communium Poculorum ampli­tudinem, ut e Lapitharum Convivio reservatus videri possit, eo suos Episcopos initio ad se adventantes ex­plorant: Qui plenum uno haustu ebiberit (quod admodum raro evenit) miris cum laudibus prose­quuntur, atque hinc velut laeto Augurio sequentium Annorum proventum animis praecipiunt.’ The Countrey [...]o this Day have the Tradition of this, but we did not [...]e the Cup; Nor could we learn where it was. And [...]deed that which renders this the more credible, is [...]at the Norvegians at present as Merchants and Mari­ [...]ers inform us, have a custom like unto this, that if any [...]ome to pay them a visite, especially if they be strangers, [...]hey use to present them with a large Cup full of drink which they take not well, if their guests drink not out. They say, some of these Cups will contain three Mutchkins, others a Pint, and some a Quart of our Measure.

The Wind, and Sea,The Sea in a storm beats most vehement­ly on the Rocks. in any storm beats most tem­pestuously and vehemently, here upon the Rocks: a [...]ittle to the West of Kerston in the Mainland, there is a Rock called the Black Craig of Stromness, about 70 Fath­oms high; Upon which in a Storm the Sea from the Deucaledonian Ocean doth beat with such violence and force, that the Waves breaking thereupon, cause the Wa­ter to rise to the top of the Rock like Snow and flee like a whit Sheet before the Wind. blasting the Corns for 3 or 4 Miles behind the Rock, if it fall out In, or a little before Harvest; And this it doth likewise in several other places of the Countrey, as some Gentlemen who knew it to their experience, did declare. Yea so great is the violence of these Tempestuous Seas, that thereby some great Stones are cast out, and others are worn, so that large Caves in some places run from the Sea within the Rock, beneath the Ground for some considerable way, I saw one of these at the East-end of the Mainland in the Parish of Holm, it is all covered above with the Rock and Earth, save that within these few Years, some of the [Page 48] Rock and Earh fell in, or was blown up (as they ca [...] it) in one night, by a violent Storm blowing from Sou [...] East, hence now there is a hole in the Hill above, lik [...] the Eye of a Coal-pit, which is terrible to look do [...] into: There is another, something like this in Sou [...]-Ronalsha. In these Caves, Doves and Sea Fowls in gre [...] numbers use to Nestle.

Several strange Fishes sometimes seen here; and little Whales &c.Several strange Fishes are here taken, or cast ashor [...] sometimes, which are, they say, very beautiful to loo [...] upon, but we never had occasion to see any of them There are likewise a great number of little Whales, whic [...] sweem through these Isles, which they call spout-Whale or Pellacks, some of which I have seen; and they tel [...] us it is dangerous for Boats to fall in among them, le [...] they be overturned by them: The former Year Anno 1699. There were 13 of these Whales driven ashor [...] upon Gairsay's Land, and 11 upon Eglesha's, about on [...] time, as the Gentlemen themselves did inform me, o [...] which Oyl is made, very benificial to the Masters of th [...] Ground. The Ottars also, Seals or Selchs, and othe [...] such Sea-Creatures are very numerous, but now thei [...] number is so much diminished, that not one o [...] Twenty is to be seen, and they have found severa [...] of them lying dead upon the Shore; some hence observing that the Judgements of GOD as to scarcity of suitable Provisions to these Creatures, are upo [...] the Waters also.

The Tides Rapid,The Tides here are so rapid that they will carry [...] Ship alongs with them, tho the Wind be contrary, [...] not very strong, and in going among these Isles, scarc [...] are they out of one Tide, when they are engaged in an [...] other; and in going from place to place they will find sonetimes the same Flood for them, and at other times against them, and so with the Ebb. Especially there are some impetuous Tides which they call Rousts, caused by the strong current of a Tide meeting with a narrow pass­age; the quickness and rapidity, of the Tide, compensing the [Page 49] narrowness of the passage, as it is in Lanes, which [...]tens the blowing Wind, and makes the Wind, to [...]w so much the harder, in a proportion to the pres­ [...]e it suffers by the straits of the Lane; So may we [...]on concerning the Rousts which run among the Isles. [...]ave seen some of these Rousts boyl like unto a seeth­ [...]ot, with their high, white, and broken Waves and [...]t in a calm Summer Day, when there was no Wind [...]wing. At one time Sailing by the side of Lasha Roust [...]ween Sanda and the Calf of Eda, the Roust getting [...]ne hold of us, turned about the head of our Boat [...]y quickly, and tho there were 4 able young Men [...]ing, beside the help we had by the Sail, we could [...] without great difficulty make our way through it: [...]hey tell us, that if the greatest Ship in Britain fell into [...]s Roust, where it is strongest, it would turn her ab­ [...] at its pleasure, and detain her till the Tide fell weak, [...]n tho she had a right favourable Gale. These Rousts [...] more dangerous in an Ebb then in a Flood, the Ebb [...]ng observed still, taeteris paribus, to make the foulest [...]t most Tempestuous Sea, and especially they'le Foam and [...]g, if the Tide be running in the Winds eye: And when [...]re is any storm, they will cause any Ship or Boat to stand end and be ready to sink her in the fall. Several of which [...]usts we had occasion to meet with, but the Lord [...]ought us safe through.

Tho the General Current of the Tide be still the [...]e, from West to East in a Flood,Some strange Re­ma [...]ks a­bout the Tides. and from East to [...]est in an Ebb, yet running with violence upon the [...]nd, they cause a contrary motion in the Sea next to [...] which they call Easter or Wester Birth, according to Course. And there are some things which have been [...]served as very strange in the running of the Tides, [...] that it flows two hours sooner on the West side of [...]nda then it doth on the East: And at Hammoness in [...]e same [...]sle, both Ebb and Flood runns one way ex­ [...]pt at the b [...]ginning of a quick stream, when for 2 or 3 [...]ures the Flood runs South; in North Faira the Sea [Page 50] Ebbs 9 hours, and Flows but 3 But the reasons of [...] Phenomena will not be so intricate or hard to res [...] if we consider the situation of these Isles, whe [...] Tide see [...]s to alter his Course, for the Flood co [...] from the West, to the West side of San [...]a, it t [...] some time before it can get about the point [...] the Isle to the South side thereof, so in North [...] the Sea is more open whence the Flood cometh, the Ebb runeth through several Isles, turning m [...] points of Land before it come to North Faira, w [...] cannot but retard its motion: So at Hammoness Sanda, the Situation of the place much determineth running of the Tide.

The rapid motion of these Tides makes sailing dangerous.The rapid motion of these Tides among the Isle [...] and their meeting with one another makes it very d [...] gerous, and sometimes more especially in a Calm, a Minister there told us, that he was never near death in his Life, then in a de [...]d Calm, when night Westra, for they saw the Sea coming, which th [...] thought should swallow them up, and there being [...] Wind they could not get out of the way, but God so [...] dered it in his wise Providence, that the Sea or sw [...] of the Sea which they feared, broke on the fore-pa [...] of the Boat, and so they escaped.

There are frequently F [...]n-men seen here upon t [...] Coasts,Finmen frequently seen here. as one about a year ago on S [...]onsa, and an [...] ther within these few Months on Westra, a Gentleman with many others in the Isle looking on him nig [...] to the shore, but when any endeavour to apprehen [...] them, they flee away most swiftly; Which is ver [...] strange, that one Man sitting in his little Boat, shou [...] come some hundred of Leagues, from their ow [...] Coasts, as they reckon Finland to be from Orkney; [...] may be thought wonderfull how they live all th [...] time, and are able to keep the Sea so long. His Bo [...] is made of Seal skins, or some kind of Leather, [...] also hath a Coat of Leather upon him, and he sitte [...] in the middle of his Boat, with a little Oar in h [...] [Page 51] [...], Fishing with his Lines: And when in a storm he the high surge of a wave approaching, he hath [...]y of sinking his Boat, till the wave pass over, least [...]by he should be overturned. The Fishers here [...]rve that these Finmen or Finland-Men, by their [...]ing drive away the Fishes from the Coasts One [...]e [...]r Boats is kept as a Rarity in the Physicians [...]l at Edinburgh.

On the West side of Papa Westra, Some men appearing on a Holm before a boat was cast away. between it and [...]ra there is an Holm, wherein once there was a [...]e Chappel, whereof some of the side-walls are only [...]w standing, in which they say, there were seven Si­ [...]s buried, who were Nuns, and desired to ly in this [...]lm, about whose Graves this Chappel was built: [...]out a Year ago, there were seen several times at mid­ [...]y, about 20. Men walking on that Holm, among [...]hom there was one higher and greater then the [...], who sometimes stood and looked unto the Chap­ [...], this my Informer with a hundred People in the [...]e of Papa saw, who could attest the same: After [...]hich appearance there was a Boat cast away on that [...]olm with 4 Men in her, who were all lost.

In the Links of Tranaby in Westra, Old bury­ing places. and of Skeal in the Mainland, washen from the West by the Deucaledonian [...]cean, some places are discovered when the Sea wash­ [...]h away the sand,Mr. Wal­laces de­scription of Orkney. which shews that such places have [...]en Cemeteries or burying places for their dead of [...]d, of a square figure, and the stones are joined to­ [...]ether by some cement, when opened Earth and some­ [...]imes Bones are found in them, The reason some do give of this is because the way of interring dead bodies among many of the Ancients, (as among the Saxons [...]n the Isle of Britain) was not in deep Graves, but un­der Clods or Turfs of Earth made into Hillocks. But none of these we had occasion to see, Concerning that Rock called Less, surrounded with the Sea, nigh to the Noup-head in Westra, upon which some say, if any Man go having Iron on him, the Sea will instantly [Page 52] rage, so that no Boat can come nigh to take him [...] nor the sea be setled till the piece of Iron be cast [...] to it; when in Westra we enquired about it, [...] found no ground for the truth thereof.

A remark­able provi­bence.Mr. Wallace narrates a remarkable Providence, wh [...] the Ministers here confirmed to us, as a truth; C [...] cerning four Men in Stronsa who u [...]ed to [...]ish togeth [...] in one Boat, among whom there was one John [...] [...]ne whole Wife being desirous he should inter [...]it [...] Fishing for a time, he having purchassed a great plen [...] of Fish, which he not being so willing to do, on a d [...] she rising before him stopped the windows and o [...] [...] places in the House▪ whereby light was let in▪ and [...] went to the fields; the other three Men after their usual manner went to Sea, whose Boat she saw over­turned and themselves perish; upon which she return­ed home to her Husband: and no doubt would have given the sad News of his Neighbours perishing, no [...] without Joy congratulating, that he was not this d [...] in company with them: But upon her coming into her house she had yet a more melancholick fight; her Husband lying dead, choaked in that vessel, wherein they used to make Urine.

An honest Man in Orkney told me, that some years ago,Instance of God's mer­cy. when he was coming home with Timber and some other things in his B [...]at, from Innern [...]ss and was almost the length of the Isle of Eda, where he lived, the Boat turned and lay upon her side, but the Sails being spread in the water hindred the Mast to go down, and her altogether to overturn, much of what they had in went to the Sea, and he with the other Seamen in Company sat upon the side of the Boat, and so were for some hours tossed up and down, whither the Tide did drive them, they in the mean time comforting and refreshing one another with places of Scripture and notes of Sermons, which lately they had heard, and sometimes puting up earnest Prayers to God whom the Wind and Seas do obey; At length God not turning [Page 53] away his Mercy from them, nor their Prayer from [...]im, graciously gave ear unto their cry, and [...]rought them all safe ashore together with the Boat on [...]he west side of Sanda, much of the Timber and what [...]hey had in being driven ashore to that same very place [...]efore them. A great Mercy when not only they, but [...]heir Boat, and most of their Loadening, were saved, [...]ome of these Men whom I am acquainted with, and [...]o judge Godly, cannot speak of this deliverance but [...]ith great concernedness and affec [...]ion, which makes [...]e to think this Mercy not to have been a cast of [...]ommon Providence, but a gracious Return of their [...]rayer.

The Effects of Thunder in this Country are very [...]urprising; 1670,The effects of thun­derstrange The Steeple of Kirkwal was brunt with Lightening: And A [...] 1680 there was a Gen­ [...]leman in Stromness in the west end of the Mainland [...]nd a stall, wherein there were 12. Kine, the Thun­ [...]r killed every other one, killing one and passing [...] other, so that there were 6. killed, and 6. alive; [...]his the Ministers confirmed as a certain truth to their [...]nowledge.

There was a Man that died not many years ago,An Eagle taketh up a Child. [...]ho when a Child being left in the Field, (the Mo­ther, as some say, shearing at a little distance from [...]im) was taken up by an Eagle, and carried from [...]he Parish of Orphir in the Mainland, to the Isle of Waes [...]ver 3 or 4 Miles of Sea, but in God's good Pro­ [...]idence, the Eagle being quickly pursued to his Nest [...]hither the Child was taken, he was recovered with­ [...]ut any hurt.

It was observed that in these Isles before the late earth, there were several strange Birds seen,Several strange birds seen. such as [...]hey have not seen formerly nor since. One of the Mi­nisters told me, that one Bird frequented his House [...]bout that time for a quarter of an Year, which was [...]f a black, white, red and green Colour: As also he [Page 54] saw another, all stripped or sprainged on the back, which Birds were beautiful to behold.

There was a Monster about 7 Years ago born of one Helen Thomson Spouse to David Martin Weaver in North Ronalsha, A monster born. having its Neck between Head and Shoulders a quarter and an half of an yard long, with a Face, Nose, Eyes, Mouth &c. to the Back, as well as before, so that it was two Faced, which Monster, came living into the World: This the Minister declared unto us, having taken the Attestation of the Women present at the Birth, he not being on the place at the time: And it is said that a certain Woman should have wished this unto the Mother, whom she alledged had lied upon her, in her wrath wishing, that if she spoke a lie she might bring forth a Monster, which accordingly came to pass in God's Holy and Wil [...] Providence.

Concern­ing mines, shells &c.Some say there are several Mines of Silver, Tin Lead &c. Also some Veins of Marble and Alabaster Buchanan commends this Country for white and black Lead,Buchan. Hist. L. 1. of which there is to be had as good as in Britain Sex diversis in locis hujus Insula, Metalla su [...] plumbi albi & nigri tam probi quam usquam in Britan [...] reperiatur, As also several kinds of fine Shells to b [...] found on the shore and Rocks, but we had occasion t [...] see none of them, save some of these Nuts, where [...] they make Snuff-Boxes.

CHAP. V. Some Heathenish and Popish Rites, Charm &c. yet remaining in the Orkney-Isles, are glanced at.

Concern­ing their superstiti­ous [...]e,BEfore that I bring to a close my Discourse concern­ing Orkney, I shall give an Account of some C [...] stoms yet prevailing among them, which can be constructed [Page 55] to be nothing else save the sour dregs of Pa­ [...]an and Popish Superstition and Idolatry, yea and ma­ [...]y of them such as the Charms practised by them [...]o be the meer and woful effects of pure Devilry, and [...]ot the product of Natures Operation.

But least I should be mistaken I judge it not amiss [...]o premise,A caution given. That not all nay nor the generality of Orkney [...]re hereby impeached, as guilty of these evils, for I know there are many judicious and wise Men, and I hope some real Christians among them, who abhor [...]nd detest such things as much as any, but hereby some [...]oolish and silly ones are intended, whom deceiving [...]nd being deceived, Satan leadeth Captive at his will; Nor yet that all the Isles are alike lying under the Charge, for there are some of them, whose Inhabitants [...]re generally more Moral and Discreet: Neither is it [...]lledged, that such sinful and corrupt Customs pre­vail as much now as formerly, for they are much away [...]y what they were, and that even of late: Nor is [...]t denied but that honest and faithful Ministers will [...]abour to have them abolished every where, seeing alas! There is much horrid wickedness and manifest Devilry [...]oo, with us in the South, as well as with them in the North, so that no part of the Kingdom can plead, not guilty.

But my principal Scope and Design,My design in this chap. is to manifest [...]he Works of Darkness, and to shew how busy the God of this World is in deluding and blinding poor Souls, and now ready we are to be his drudges and slaves; that so these things being wisely and seriously considered, all may be induced to make a Christian improvement thereof, both with respect to themselves and others, whom they are called to pity and pray for, If peradventure God will give them Repentance to the acknowledging of the Truth, that they may be recovered out of the snare of the Devil; And more especially that the General Assem­blies and other Judicatories of this Church as they are called, may be pleased to continue their Fatherly Care [Page 56] over these Northern Isles, that tho they bee remo [...] from them as to Situation, yet they may be near unto them, as to a warm and kindly affection, which o [...] Church hath not been wanting in hitherto.

Some things proper to be premised.And 1st. we would take notice, that the old Maxime Ignorance is the mother of Devotion, so much crye [...] up by the Papists and their judicially blinded Clergy, i [...] so far from being the Mother of Devotion, that it i [...] both the Mother and Nurse of the most damnable Errours, Superstitions and Delusions, as these Isles kno [...] to their sad Experience; for Ignorance of the Princi­ples of our Holy Religion, doth greatly prevail among the Commonalty, so that as one of their Ministers no [...] without some concern and greif for the same, told me▪ Not one of a hundred in some of their Parishes can read. How this comes to pass, that the People should be so grossly Ignorant I shall not undertake to determine, it is commonly imputed to their want o [...] Schools, through the Country, which indeed I will not say, but is one great cause thereof, and therefore that this so very dreadful an evil may be effectually re­medied, care should be taken by all concerned, that Schools be Erected in every Parish, and a competen [...] Salary provided for the Masters Maintainance and En­couragement; and that also in every Isle where there is any number of inhabitants, some Person should be appointed for the Instruction and Education of their Children; and until that such a course be taken, the People generally will be Ignorant still, and the Mini­sters as to the Preaching part, may complain in the words of the Prophet,Isa. 28 9. Whom shall we teach knowledge and whom shall we make to understand doctrine? then that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts For it is much about one to Preach to Auditors besot­ed with Stupidity and Ignorance, as it is to give Exhortation unto Babes, Therefore it is that our Church in her Assemblies hath so frequently and seriously pressed the Learning of Children to Read, and the providing [Page 57] o [...] Schools for that end, Pastours to be diligent in that [...]itiating and necessary Work of Examination and [...]eaching Catechetick Doctrine, and the Concurrence [...]arents with both in laying out themselves for the [...]struction of their Children, as well by themselves by others; Godly Ministers well knowing that the [...]ccess of Ordinances and Edification of their People, [...]pendeth much thereupon,Isa. 53.11. Jo. 17.3. &c. as the means which the [...]rd useth to bless for the bringing in of his Elect; [...]nowledge being so necessary to the Being of Faith, at the latter is sometimes expressed by the Name of [...]e former.

And seeing they retain not God in their knowledge, [...]is no wonder they be given over to a Reprobate find, to do things which are not convenient;God's judgment upon the ignorant No [...]onder they frequent their old Chappels for Super­ [...]tious Ends, of which the corrupt and purblind Rea­ [...]n of Man hath been always very fond: No wonder [...]t being in the dark without the Lanthorn of the [...]owledge of Scripture Revelation, they mistake their [...]y, and by the using of Charms and consulting of [...]armers, they run to Beelzebub in stead of having re­ [...]se to the God of Israel. Which Ignorance to be the [...]use of these Evils, will appear the more evidently, [...] we consider, that in these Isles, where there is a [...]eater measure of the knowledge of God, there is not [...]th a following of these horrid and hellish Practices.

There are several old Chappels in these Isles, which [...]e People resort unto, but that which I heard of, as [...]ost famous is St. Tredwels Chappel in Papa Westra, Several old chappels through the Isles. [...]ich they have such a Veneration for, that they will [...]me from other Isles in considerable numbers to it, [...]me of us having occassion to be on that Isle, we saw [...]s Chappel, situated on a small low Rock, within a Loch [...]mmonly called St. Tredwels Loch, St. Tred­wels chap­pel. to which we [...]ssed by stepping-stones, before this Chappel door there [...]s a heap of small stones, into which the Supersti­ous People when they come, do cast a small stone or two [Page 58] for their offering, and some will cast in Money; the Ch [...] pel hath been but little, and is now Ruinous, only so [...] of the Walls are standing, which the People are so [...] from suffering to be demolished, that they labour [...] keep them up, and tho the Proprietour of the grou [...] hath some way enclosed it, yet this proves not effect [...] to prevent the frequenting thereof. At the North E [...] side of the Loch nigh to the Chappel there is a [...] stone standing, behind which there is another stone [...] ing hollowed in the form of a Manger, and nigh to [...] there is another high stone standing with a round [...] through it, for what use these stones served, [...] could not learn; whether for binding the Horses [...] such to them as came to the Chappel, and giving the [...] meat in the hollow stone; or for tying the Sacrific [...] to, as some say, in times of Pagan Idolatry; is uncert [...]

St. Tre­dwels Loch held Medi­cinal.This St Tredwel's Loch nigh to the East end of whi [...] this Chappel is, is held by the People as Medici [...] whereupon many diseased and infirm Persons resort to some saying that thereby they have got good; A [...] certain Gentleman's Sister upon the Isle, who was [...] able to go to this Loch without help, yet return without it, as likewise a Gentleman in the Country who was much distressed, with sore Eyes, went to the Loch and Washing there became sound and whole, [...] he had been at much pains and expence to cure t [...] formerly. With both which Persons, he who was Minister of the place for many Years, was well acquai [...] ed, and told us that he saw them both before and al [...] the Cure: The present Minister of Westra told me, t [...] such as are able to walk, use to go so many times ab [...] the Loch, as they think will perfect the Cure, bef [...] they make any use of the Water, and that without spe [...] ing to any, for they beleive, that if they speak, [...] will marr the Cure: Also he told that on a cer [...] Morning not long since, he went to this Loch, [...] found six so making their circuit, whom with s [...] [Page 59] difficulty he obliging to speak, said to him, they [...]me there for their Cure.

How it cometh to pass, that this Loch should ac­complish the cure of any. I leave to my Reader to judge,How the water of this Loch should ac­complish the cure of any exa­mined. whether it be by any Medicinal or healing Vertue in the Water, which I incline not to think, the Cure being [...] circumstantiated; or if the force and strength of the [...]agination of the Persons afflicted, may have any ten­ [...]ncy that way; which, some judge, hath its own in­ [...]ence, in some such like cases: Or, rather, by the [...]d and assistance of Satan, whom God in his Holy and [...]se Providence may permit so to do for the further [...]dicial blinding and hardning of these who follow [...]ch unwarrantable and unlawful courses: God so punish­ [...]g them, by giving them up to such strong delusions. [...]et I hear, that when they have done all, that is us­ual for them to do; as going about the Loch, washing their Bodies or any part thereof, leaving something [...] the Loch, as old Clouts and the like &c. It is but few, in whom the effect of healing is produced. As [...]r this Loch's appearing like Blood, before any dis­ [...]ure befal the Royal Family, as some do report, we [...]uld find no ground, to beleive any such thing.

These Chappels the People frequent,These Chapels frequented also for Prayer, and paying of Vowes. as for other [...]ds, so for Prayer, they placing a kind of Merit there­ [...], when performed in such places, and this they ob­serve more than private Retirements; And if they be [...]nder any Sickness, or in any danger, as at Sea, they [...]ill vow so to do. And when they go to the Chappels [...] pay the Vows taken on, they use to lay several [...]tones, one above another, according to the number [...] Vows which they made; some of which heaps we [...]w in St. Tredwells Chappel. And none must go empty [...]anded, but leave behind them something, either a peice of Money, or of Bread, or a Stone, which they judge will be sufficient.

As at all times, when occasion offers,Especially in the time of Lent. they observe these Superstitious Practices, so especially during Lent, [Page 60] they will not neglect their Devotions in such places; a [...] on Easter-Sunday several Boats will be seen going [...] them from other Isles. And tho' their Ministers both privately and publickly have spoken to them, yet they cannot get them to forbear and abandon these Custom [...] And the Minister of South-Ro [...]alsha told us, that ma [...] of the People in that Isle, especially such as live at the south end thereof nigh to the Kirk, called our Lady Kirk, whereof, tho now the Walls only be standing without a Roof, yet the very Stones thereof they re­verence, and are not far from adoring; And so ten [...] cious are they, that when in rough weather, he hath procured the conveniency of a Barn to Preach in, ye [...] the People obliged him to come to this ruinous Fabrick else many of them would not have heard: They an [...] now about the putting of a Roof on this Church, which the Gentlemen of the Isle are not inclined to, judging other places more commodious for it to be built in, but Proposals of this nature do not relish with the People they being so superstitiously wedded to the place of i [...] present Situation: Whereupon the Heads of Fam [...]e will rather by themselves contribute to the repairing of this Old Church than suffer a new one to be built in any other place of the Isle, tho less to their cost.

In this old Fabrick of our Ladys Church, there is a Stone lying about 4 foot long,Concern­ing a one lying in Our Ladys Church. and 2 foot broad, but narrower and round at the two ends, upon the surface of which Stone, there is the print of two feet, con­cerning which the Superstitious People have a Traditi­on, that St. Magnus, when he could not get a Boat on a time to carry him over Pightland Firth, took this stone, and setting his Feet thereupon, passed the Firth safely, and left the Stone in this Church, which hath continued here ever since. But as I think, and some more judicious People do likewise suggest, it hath been a Stone, upon which under Popery, the Delin­quents stood bare footed suffering Penance. It is like when thus St. Magnus came over the Firth, it hath been [Page 61] that time, when he was seen riding through Aber­ [...]e [...], giving the first account of the defeat of the English Bannockburn and afterward was seen going over Pight­land Firth. And indeed both are alike destitute of any [...]adow of Truth, credible only by these superstitious [...]d silly ones, whom the GOD of this World hath [...]inded.

Several of the Isles have their Saints Days which [...]me do superstitiously observe.Several of the Isles have their Saints Dayes. There is one day in [...]arvest, on which, the more ignorant, especially in [...]uld, say, if any work the Ridges will blood. The [...]ark some call our Ladys Hen. And some such Po­ [...]sh Dregs are to be found: The Lord preserve this [...]and from Poperys Inundation; for as it is credible [...]om what hath been said, and some better acquainted [...]ith this Country did inform us, That if Popery get [...]oting again, from the fears of which in the good [...]ovidence of GOD, we were lately delivered,) [...]n any [...] the Inhabitants of these Isles, would readily embrace [...] and by retaining some of these old Popish Rites and [...]ustoms, seem to be in a manner prepared for it.

Next to glance at their Charms,Concern­ing their Charms. which I shall breif­ [...] do, and not give any Account, how they perform [...]em, left thereby I should seem to point out to any, how [...]try the experiment of this Hellish Art and tremen­ [...]us Devilry, which I think I do sufficiently guard [...]ainst, not only by barely reciting there are such▪ but [...] by proper Precautions adduced in this Chapter.

They have a Charm, whereby they stop excessive [...]ooding in any, whatever way they come by it,A Charm to stop ex­cessive bleeding. whe­ [...]er by or without External Violen [...] ▪ The name of [...]e Patient being sent to the Charmer, he saith over [...]me words, (which I heard) upon which the Blood [...]tantly stoppeth, tho the blooding Patient were at the [...]eatest distance from the Charmer. Yea upon the say­ [...]g of these words, the Blood will stop in the blooding throats of Oxen or Sheep, to the astonishment of Spe­ [...]ators. Which account we had from the Ministers of [...]e Country.

[Page 62] Another for the Toothach.There is a Charm likewise they make use of for [...] Toothach, whereof I had the following instance fr [...] an Honest Man worthy of Credit. Some years ag [...] there was one who used this Charm, for the ab [...] ing the pain of one living in Eda, tormented therewith and tho the Action then was at a distance, the Cha [...] er not being present with the Patient, yet according the most exact calculation of the time, when the Cha [...]er was performed by the Charmer, there fell a livi [...] Worm out of the Patients Mouth, when he was at Su [...] per. This my Informer knew to be a Truth, [...] the Man from whose Mouth it fell is yet alive in t [...] Isle of Sanda. Whether this Worm was generated the corrupted part, and so fell out by the Devils mean at the using of the Charm; or the Worm was brought by an evil Spirit aliunde, to the mouth, and thence [...]a [...] ling down, I shall not determine.

Thei [...] Beasts and Boats sprinkled with fore­spoken Water.Also when the Beasts as Oxen, Sheep, Horses, &c. are Sick, they sprinkle them with a Water made [...] by them, which they call Fore-spoken Water; wherewith likeways they sprinkle their Boats, when they succee [...] and prosper not in their Fishing. And especially o [...] Hallow-Even, they use to sein or sign their Boats an [...] put a Cross of Tar upon them, which my Informer ha [...] often seen. Their Houses also some use then to sein.

They have a Charm also whereby they try if person be in a decay or not, and if they will die thereof; which they call Casting of the Heart.A Charm for any under a decay. Of this the Minister [...] Stronza and Eda told us, he had a very remarkable Passage, in a Process, yet standing in his Session Records.

Several other Charms.Several other Charms also they have, about thei [...] Marriage, when Women in Travel, when their Co [...] is calfing, when Churning their Milk, or when Brew­ing, Or when their Children are sick, by taking the [...] to a Smith (without premonishing him) who hath ha [...] a Smith to his Father, and a Smith to his Grand-Father And of several such like Charms, we had an accou [...] [Page 63] from the Ministers, as likeways, how these Charms [...]re performed; but of these enough.

Although these Charms sometimes, yet not always they produce the desired Effects:These Charms not al­wayes ef­fectual. As in the instance staying of Blood, one of the Charmers Wives fell [...]ce a Blooding, which he by all his Art was not able stop; Whereupon he is said thus to have expressed [...]self, "I have stopped the Blooding of 100, and yet I cannot do it to my Wife.

That such admirable Effects upon the using of the [...]harms are produced by the Agency of Demons;Acts of Assem­blies are standing against such. As by the As­semb. 1640. [...]hink few, if any, will doubt, God so permitting it [...] be in his Holy and Wise Providence, for the fur­ther punishment and judicial blinding of those, who [...]low such unlawful courses, and the Devil thereby engaging his Slaves more in his Service: Yet not al­wayes the effects desired and exspected do follow, [...]at all may know the Devil is a chained one, and can [...] nothing without the permission of a Soveraign God, [...]o is Lord over all. Our Assemblies sensible of the [...]eat Sin and Evil that is in using these Charms, and [...]nsulting of Charmers, have made several Acts both against the one and the other, strictly inhibiting and dis­charging all such Hellish Practices, and requiring all [...]inisters diligently to see to the observance and Execu­tion thereof.

Evil Spirits also called Fairies are frequently seen in several of the Isles dancing and making merry,Fairies frequent­ly seen. and sometimes seen in Armour; Also I had the account of [...]e wild Sentiments of some of the People concerning [...]em; but with such I shall not detain my Reader, We [...]stning our Voyage to Zetland.

CHAP. VI. A Description of Zetland. The Country in General Described; The Soil, Product, Manners of the People &c. hinted at.

Situation of Zet­land. ZETLAND lyes to the N. East from Orkney, betwixt the 60. and 61 Degree of Latitude, the [...] being about 20. or 21. Leagues betwixt the Sta [...] Head of Sanda the Northernmost point thereof, and Sw [...] burgh-Head the Southern most point of Land in Zetland over a very rolling and swelling Sea▪ wherein the constantly runs the strong Current of a Tide▪ which causing the Sea to rise with its swelling waves, the whole passage betwixt Orkney and Zetland, is but [...] one continued Roust, or strong and impetuous Tide especially about the Fair Isle, still such a great Sea goet [...] even in the greatest Calm, that the Boats are like [...] sling the masts out of them; and our Boat-maste [...] told us, that frequently when he had been passing t [...] Fair Isle in a dead Calm, the Boat hath been so tosse by the swelling Sea, that it would have taken in water on every side. And I have heard Mariners ofte [...] declare, that there is more hazard in these Seas, the [...] in going to the Eastern or Western Indies. The Fa [...] Isle (of which more afterward) is reckoned to b [...] but 8. Leagues from Zetland, whereas it is about 12. or 13. Leagues from Orkney, so that we shall consider it, together with the Isles belonging to Zet­land.

The Isles Zetland consisteth of moe Isles than Orkney whereof some are more, others less considerable, beside [Page 65] many Holms serving for Pasturage.Mainland. The largest of [...]em is that which they call the Mainland, 60. Miles [...]ng from South or South and by West, to North or [...]orth and by East; as to breadth not all alike, for [...]o in some places it be 16. miles, yet in other it scarce one Mile broad, it being so intersected with [...]es, Sounds or Lochs, that it may be said to consist [...] a great number of Promontories or Branches of [...]and stretching themselves into the Sea.

All this Country consisting of so many Isles, goeth [...]nder one common Name, called by some Hethland, Original of the name Zet­land. [...] others Zetland, and also Schetland. The Etymo­ [...]gy of which Names is very uncertain, as was that of Orkney; some assigning one Reason of the Name, [...]nd others another at their pleasure. That which [...]emeth most probable is, that this Country is called [...]ethland, because it is very Mountainous and riseth [...]igh above the waters, so a high land in Norse is called Hoghland: It is called Zeland or Zetland, because of the great Sea wherewith on all hands it is encompassed, Zee being Sea in that Language. And called Schetland, The Forti­fication Schatt or Scat in Denmark levyed an. 1691. is a Tax with a witness or very great, saith the modern account of Denmark. because of a kind of Custom or Tribute called Scat, which they payed to their Norvegian Masters, when they were in Possession of this Country, and the Tri­bute or Custom imposed upon the Inhabitants of Nor­way to this day is called Scat, and tho Zetland be now annexed to the Crown of Scotland, yet there is a cer­tain Rent or due, which the Gentlemen and some others here do pay Yearly to the King or his Stew­ard, which is still called Scat. I say altho we cannot be positive in determining the reasons of the Name, yet it seems to be of a Norvegian or Danish Original.

Seeing I have already had under consideration,By whom it was first planted and posses­sed. by whom Orkney was first Planted and Inhabited, and how it hath been disposed of hitherto, I judge it not very needful for me to add any more to that purpose concerning Zetland, for it is more then probable, that about the same time, by the same Persons, hath Zet­land [Page 66] also been Inhabited, seing there are many mo Pi [...] Houses remaining there, and some of them as outward appearance in better case, then are to found in Orkney, and always our Historians in th [...] Descriptions of these Northern Isles of Orkney and Z [...] land have reckoned them as under the Government the same Masters; Therefore without further premise Preliminaries of this nature, I come to consider the p [...] sent state of the Country.

The Coun­try mossey and but thinly In­habited.Altho the Country be large, yet it is in many places thinly Inhabited, and that for the most part upon Coasts, and indeed otherwise it cannot well be, there are few if any places in Zetland, but they are wi [...] in two Miles of the Sea, which they incline to do [...] nigh unto, being more convenient for their Fish [...] and for the gooding of their Land, which is ordina [...] by Sea-ware, hence it would be incommodious them upon these accounts to be at any distance from Besides, the Country is generally Mossey and Mounta [...] ous, all covered over with Heath, yea the far gr [...] est part thereof is as one great Moss or Quagmire m [...] up of Water and Earth blended together, which k [...] of ground would require much Labour and Expe [...] to bring in either to be Grazing, or Corn-Land, i [...] all in many places they could get it done, for fr [...] Scalloway on the West side of the Mainland to Le [...] on the East side thereof, four Miles over land, it is a continued tract of Moss and Moor, so that the [...] not one House all that way, till we come near u [...] Lerwick, whereas we would think that this peice ground should be better Inhabited then many oth [...] considering the great resort of Strangers in the Sum [...] time thereunto, if Nature had not laid such inconveniences in the way, which would prove so diffic [...] to overcome.

The peo­ple discreet and fashi­onableThe People are generally Discreet and Civil, no [...] Rustick and Clounish as would be expected in such place of the World, which may be much owing [Page 67] [...]eir Converse and Commerce with Strangers, who [...]pair to these Isles in the Summer Season, with whom [...]e inhabitants do keep a constant Bartering or Trade; [...]hich Trading as it makes them the better to live, so [...]may tend not a little to the Cultivating of their Man­ [...]s. They are also very Fashionable in their Clothes, [...]d the Gentry want not their fine Stuffs, such as Hol­ [...]d, Hamburgh &c. do afford, so that they are to be seen as good an Order and Dress, as with us in the South: [...]he Bowrs, Fishers and other Country People also do [...] honest-like and decent in their Apparel, as becometh [...]eir station.

They also have always been in repute for Hospitality, Hospi­table. [...]d indeed we have seen no other to contradict that which is spoken, so much to their Commendation and [...]aise. for at any time, when we had occasion to visite [...]entlemen, Merchants or others, we were always by [...]em kindly Entertained. And so much they are said [...] be given to this commendable peice of Humanity, [...]at if they do purchase any thing from Foreign Mer­ [...]ants, which they put any value upon, such as Wheat­ [...]ead, some strong Liquor &c. Even the Country people will not use it themselves, but reserve it for the [...]tertainment of Strangers; As for those old Inha­ [...]tants of the Danish Blood, of whom it was said, That [...] were seeming Fair, but really False, and superlatively [...]oud, they are much worn out of this Country; and [...] at any time Ships be driven ashore upon their Coasts, [...] Inhabitants use very kindly and Humanely to treat [...] distressed Company, of which Humane Treatment [...] Ship belonging to the Firth had a late experience, [...]ing broke on the Coast there in December last, as [...]e of the Ships Company informed me. Such a kind [...]d generous Reception, Merchants and Mariners meet [...]t with in many places, upon which they are unhap­ [...]ily cast, from whom better things would be expected.The body of the peo­ple igno­rant. to the matters of God and Religion, the Body of [...] People are said to be very Ignorant, by these who [Page 68] know them better then we can be supposed to have ha [...] access to do, considering the short time of our stay and abode among them; Which may be imputed to thei [...] want of convenient Schools for the Instruction o [...] their Youth in many places of the Country; Which also was assigned as the reason why [...]gnorance doth s [...] much prevail in the Orkney Isles. Which great Evil [...] the Mother and Leader of many others, all should la­bour to redress as they are severall called and concern­ed, Authority also interposeing their Command, and not denying their Countenance and Encouragement thereunto.

Yet fre­quent Gos­pel ordi­nances.Yet we must say, that the People do frequent the dispensing of Gospel-Ordinances, and seem to hear with some measure of Attention and Reverence; and as ap­peared to us, not without some seriousness, and con­cern upon their Spirits, which after hearing continued with some, as we found by our Converse with them which encouraged us to set and keep up two Week days Sermons at Lerwick during our stay in the bounds which the People thronged unto, thereby shewing great respect to the Ordinances dispensed by us: S [...] that matters looked far otherwise, then what was expected by our selves and many others before we cam [...] to this Country. And indeed after conference upon this head, all of us judged, that if things were got pu [...] into a better order, and some evils removed, which forbear to mention, knowing that they will come under the cognizance and consideration of others, wh [...] are in a capacity to redress them, there might be Harvest through Grace.

No latine school there.Altho there be a Latine School at Kirkwal in Orkney yet there is none in all this Country, which cannot but be very prejudicial to the Inhabitants, the Advancement of the Education of their Youth being the eb [...] hindered, many promising and pregnant Ingenys los [...] and Letters discouraged; For Gentlemen are either obliged to keep their Children at home, and so the [Page 69] must want that peice of Learning, which tends so much to Form and Folish their Mindes, and to com­pleat them as Gentlemen or else send them to other Countries, where Education is to be had, which many are averse to do, not only because of the Charge and Expence they will be at, but also of the fear they will be in, in sending their Children over Sea, and keeping them so long at such a distance from them. As for Chaplains, tho they could be had, which would be with difficulty in this corner, yet all Gentlemen who have Children to Educate, cannot well bear the Charges of bringing them over from Scotland and keeping them with them for so long a time. Whereupon the Mi­nisters there are very desirous, that the Government may be Addressed for Encouragment to School-Masters through the Country, and particularly that a Latine School be set up either at Lerwick or Stalloway.

English is the Common Language among them yet many of the People speak Norse or corrupt Danish, Their Lan­guage. especially such as live in the more Northern Isles, yea so ordinary it is in some places, that it is the first Lan­guage their Children speak. Several here also speak good Dutch, even Servants though they never have been out of the Country, because of the many Dutch Ships which do frequent their Ports. And there are some who have something of all these three Languages, English, Dutch, and Norse. The Norse hath continued ever since the Norvegians had these Isles in Possession, and in Orkney (as hath been said) it is not quite extinct, tho there be by far more of it in Zetland, which many do commonly use.

It is observable that the Names of the Descendants of the old Inhabitants,Names. differ from the Names of others now numerous among them, for these only have a Name without a Sirname, save what is taken from their Fa­thers Name, and by adding Son or Daughter thereun­to, Exemp. Gra, Agnes Magnus Daughter, her own Name is Agnes, her Fathers is Magnus, to which Daugh­ter [Page 70] is added, which is the whole Denomination or Designation under which such a Woman goes; So M [...] rion Peters Daughter, Laurence Johns Son &c. Which they say is yet the Danish way of Expressing and Distinguishing Names. And for further clearing, if ther [...] be two Men or Women of the same Name, they u [...] also to design them by the places where they ordin­arily reside, as Agnes Magnus Daughter in Trebister that so she may be discriminated from another Woman of the same Name living in another place. It is pro­bable that hence flowed these Sirnames, such as Wil­liamson, Robertson, Jamieson, Davidson &c. which d [...] abound with us in Scotland. In some words also their Pronunciation doth differ from that of ours, as for In­stance, they often use to leave out the Letter H in the [...] Pronunciation, as if it did not belong to the Word, s [...] Three they pronounce as Tree, Thou. as Tou or Tu. &c. They have also some Norish words which they com­monly use, which we understood not, till they were explained, such as Air which signifies a Sand Bank Oyse an Inlet of the Sea, Voe a Creek or Bay &c. And these words are much used both in Zetland and Ork­ney.

The Coun­try better inhabited then for­merly.It would appear that the Country is now much bet­ter Inhabited, than formerly some ages agoe it hath been, for we hear but of few who leave this Country, having once fixed their abode therein, tho there be ma­ny who have lately come to it from Orkney, Caithness, Sutherland. Buchan and other places especially in the North of Scotland. So that in all Lerwick, the most considerable Town in the Country, there are but very few whose Grand-fathers have lived in those Isles. And in Lerwick it self about 30 years agoe there were only 4 Houses, and some years before there were none at all, tho now there are between two and three hundred Fa­milies in it.People healthful and many live to a good age.

Tho the ground be generally bad, and the Climate cold, yet it is not unwholesome living here, as appears [Page 71] from the many vigorous old People, that abound in the [...]sles, whose health I think is rather more firm and [...]ound then with us, neither are they lyable to such fre­ [...]uent sickness, whither this is to be imputed to the [...]eeness and purity of the Air, or to the quality of their Diet, or the Sobriety of their living, or to all these and the like I shall not judge. Yet they tell us they used [...]o live much longer in former Ages then now they do, as of one [...]airvile, who lived 180 years, and all his time never drank Beer or Ale; His Son also and Grand-Children lived to a good old Age, who seldom or ne­ver drank any other thing save Milk, Water and their Country-Bland. It is said also that this Tairvils Father lived longer then himself: There was also one Laur­entius in the Parish of Waes, whose Heir Oyes do yet live there, who arrived at a great Age, whom Buch­anan mentioneth, that he lived in his time, marrying a Wife after the 100. year of his Age, and in the 140. went a Fishing with his little Boat when the Sea was Tempestuous. Salubritatis firmitudo in Laurentio quo­dam nostra atate apparuit, qui post Centisimum annum uxo­tum duxit: centesimum quadragesimum annum agens, Buchan. Hist. L. [...] savis­simo mari in sua naviculâ piscatum prodibat: Ac nuper nulla vi gravioris morbi labefactatus, sed sento solutus decessit. For surely, as all Skilful Physicians do grant, there is nothing more Conducive to the maintaining of a Sound and Healthful Constitution, then a sober and regular Diet, whereas they who live otherwise, to speak with respect to 2d. Causes do impair their Health, and cuts themselves off, often in the midst of their days; espe­cially such as feed high, and indulge themselves in drink­ing strong Liquors, which tends to the exhausting of that Natural and Innate Heat, the Fountain of our Ani­mal-Life; whereas it is observed of all these, who ar­rived at such a great Age that they seldom if ever drank any strong Liquor.

[Page 72] They ob­noxious to the scurvy.There is no Sickness or Disease this Country i [...] more subject unto then the Scurvey, as is Orkney like­wise which is occasioned doubtless by their Salt-meats, Fishes upon which many for the most part do live, Sea-Air &c. And sometimes this Scurvey degenerates into a kind of Leprosy, which they call a Bastard scurvey, and is discerned by hairs falling from the Eye-bree [...], the Nose falling in &c. Which when the People come to know, they separate, and set them apart for fear of Infection, building Huts or little Houses for them in the feild, I saw the Ruines of one of these Houses about half a mile from Lerwick, where a Woman was for some Years kept for this Reason. This Bastard Lepro­sy, they judge, is caused by the many grey Fishes, such as Sillucks, Piltocks, &c. which they eat; for Bread failing many of the People in the Summer time, that often for 4 or 5 Months, they will not taste thereof, these Fishes are almost their only meat, and especially the Livers of these Fishes, which are thought to be more unhealthful then the Fishes themselves, and they much incline to eat, do occasion this: The drinking also of hot Bland (which is a kind of a Serum of Milk, of which more afterwards) together with these Fishes, do beget such corrupt humours to the dis­tempering of the Body. These Scorbutick Persons are more ordinarily in Dunrossness and Delton, and more rare in other places; And that because they have mo Grey Fishes in these two Parishes, then in others▪

And it hath been observed often by the Inhabitants, that when in Holy Providence any Sickness cometh upon or breaketh up in the Country,When any sickness breaketh up in the Country, it quickly spreads. Small pox lately there. it useth to go through them like a Plague, so that since we came of [...] the small Pox hath seised upon many both old and young and was so universal, that upon one Lord's Day there were 90. Prayed for in the Church of Le [...] ­wick all sick of the same Disease, whereas when we were, there a few weeks before, there was not one that we knew sick thereof. They say a Gentleman [...] [Page 73] Son in the Countrey who had lately gone from the [...]uth, and was under it when he came home, brought with him, which very quickly spread among the people, the old as well as the young; and so sad have [...]en the desolating effects thereof, that one told me [...]ho arrived here lately from the place, that he verily [...]dgeth the third part of the People in many of the [...]es are dead thereof.

Altho many of the Inhabitants have each their par­ticular Trades and Employments wherein more espe­ [...]ally they lay out themselves, and are taken up about,Their Employ­ment. [...]et are they all generally some way acquainted with [...]e Sea, and can with some dexteritie and skill attained [...] Experience manage their Boats, not only because of [...]eir frequent passing from Isle to Isle, and going over the [...]oes or Lochs which ly in upon, and cut the Mainland, [...]it by Reason of their great Fishing, not only for their [...]n use, but for the use of Merchants, who buy their [...]ishes, or give them the Value in foreign Commodi­ [...]es: Hence most of the Inhabitants, not only have some [...]asturage for their Cattel, and some Corn Land about [...]eir Houses which they manure, but also their parts [...] Boats for the end forsaid. Yet there are many who [...]llow no Trade but their Fishing.

Beside their Fish-Trade with foreign Merchants,They trade with Ork­ney. they [...]o likwise drive a great Trade with Orkney, from which [...]very Year several Boats do pass to Zetland Loaden with Corns, Meal, Malt, &c. upon the coming whereof they [...]ften wait for Barley seed, tho the last Year they had Considerable Crop, so that the Barley Seed was sown before the Boats came over. The Orkney Men also bring sometimes Stockins, Ale, and the like which they know [...] be vendible here, Hence every Year considerable [...]ums of Money go from Zetland to Orkney, And some [...]ave told me that most of the Money they have in Orkney, is from Zetland. So great is the Advantage that these Isles do reap by their Neighbourly Commerce with one another, for as Zetland could not well live [Page 74] without Orkne'ys Corns, so neither could Orkney b [...] well without Zetlands Money.

Their Money from for­reign Mer­chants.As Orkney have much of their Money from Zetla [...] so Zetland have all theirs from foreign Nations Countreys whose Merchants traffick with them, as f [...] Holland, Hamburgh, B [...]eme &c. The Dutch Mo [...] doth Ordinarily pass among them, as Stivers, half S [...] ers, and since the Rates of the Money were raise [...] Scotland, many here have been considerable gainers the Ducket-douns, which is the species of Money [...] the Hollanders bring more ordinarily with them.

The Kings Rents.The Kings Rents are but the 3d. part of what t [...] are in Orkney, The Bishop had no Rents from this Countrey. For tho this Countrey be by far gre [...] and more spacious then Orkney, yet it is not so well in bited, neither is the ground so good: These Rents payed to the Taxmen in Butter, Oyl, and Money, T [...] Oyl is made of the livers of Fishes, and is sent So for the making of Soap, or is otherwise disposed of, may be most Advantageous. The Bishops had no Re [...] from this Countrey; And tho it belong to the Dio [...] of Orkney, and is a considerable part of that Charge, we did not hear that ever any of these sole Pastour their Diocesses, as some are pleased to call them, visi [...] these bounds.

Little Cornland here.There being so little Corn-Land here, is the ca [...] why none of the Revenues of the Croun are payed Meal or Corns, whereas in Orkney it is far otherwi [...] as hath been said; for any Corn-Land they have is ordinarily but a few Ridges nigh to the Coasts, for any distance from the Sea, and in many places a [...] nigh unto it, there is nothing but a Mossy and Mo [...] tainous Desert covered with Heather, and only so [...] places plenished with a few Kine, Sheep, or Shelt [...] tho in other places ye will go some Miles and see no [...] This Moss and Moor which so much aboundeth, r [...] ders Travelling very dangerous, even to the Nati [...] themselves, and so deep is it in many places and t [...] in the Summer and droughty season, that Horses c [...] [Page 75] [...]t pass it, and Men on foot not without difficulty and [...]zard: As in the Isle of Yell the Minister in going to the [...]hurch, from his House is obliged to go on foot 8. [...]iles almost, wading up to the knees. And indeed the [...]siest and safest way of Travelling is by Sea in Boats [...]out the skirts of the Isles, which also is not without [...]nger.

And tho the greatest part of this Countrey be thus [...]ossy and Moorish,Some pleasant Spots through the Coun­trey. yet there are some pleasant Spots [...] it well furnished with Grass and Corn, as nigh to [...]alloway, Ʋstness &c. in the Mainland, some places in [...]e Parishes of Dunrosness also on the Main, in the [...]fle [...]f Unst &c. Hence some Years they will have 20. Fold [...] Increase, but this is more rare, for at other times in [...]veral places they will scarce have the double of their [...]ed. They make much use of Barly-Bread, which [...]ppears to be fairer then their Oat-Bread, for their [...]rly they take to be the best Grain, it agreeing bet­ [...]r with the ground then Oats. And as it is in Ork­ney, so is it here, if any white Corn be brought unto [...]e Countrey for seed, it will soon degenerate and be­ [...]me like their oun.

I think the Kine and Sheep are of a greater Size,Concern­ing their cattel and harvest. [...]en they are in Orkney, tho their Horses be of a less; [...] for the Sheep I take them to be little less then they [...]e in many places of Scotland, they Lamb not so soon [...]s with us, for at the end of May, their Lambs are [...]ot come in Season, their Harvest also is much latter, [...]r they Judge it very early if they get their Corns in [...]gainst the Middle of October, They observe that our [...]easons will be two months before theirs, but I do [...]ot think they differ so much:

If their Sheep were well kept,Their sheep. it would be very [...]easant to behold them in Flocks, they being of di­ [...]ers colours; some of a pyed, others of a broun, others [...]f a broun and white, others of a black colour, some [...]so have black spraings on their backs, others on their [...]reheads; and some say they have as great a number of [Page 76] black Sheep, as they have of white; which diversity colours would render them very beautiful, if they we [...] taken a due Care of; for they neither wash nor c [...] their Sheep, nor have they any shears for that end; b [...] pulls the wooll off them with their hands, which as is painful to the beasts, so it makes them look not well favoured, but like these with us, whose w [...] is scratched with briars or thorns.

Their or­dinary drink.Their ordinary drink is Milk or Water, or Milk a [...] Water together, or a drink which they call Bland, m [...] common in the Countrey, tho not thought to be ve [...] wholesome; which so they make up, having take away the Butter from their churned Milk, as likewi [...] the thicker parts of this Milk which remains after t [...] Butter is taken out, they then pour in some hot W [...] ter upon the Serum, Whey or the thinner part of t [...] Milk in a proportion to the Milk. Which being do [...] they make use of it for their drink, keeping some f [...] their Winter provision: And this drink is so ordina [...] with them, that there are many People in the Cou [...] trey who never saw Ale or Beer all their Lifetim [...] The Ale is rare among them, they making bread much of their Barley grain, but the Hamburgh Be [...] both small and strong is to be had in plenty tho at [...] good rate 6 sh. or 8 sh. our pint, which Beer and oth [...] Liquors, as also wheat Bread the Hamburghers bring wi [...] them in the Month of May for Sale, hence sometim [...] Liquors as Beer, Ale &c. cannot be had for money, [...] the Hamburghers bring it.

Victuals [...]earer then in Orkney.The great confluence of strangers makes Kine, Shee [...] Hens and almost all Victuals to sell at a greater rat [...] then in Orkney, for often when the Bushes are her [...] they will give Double or Triple for a Sheep, or a He [...] then it is to be bought in Orkney for, for the Holland [...] with their Bushes being Numerous on these Coast they send sometimes a shore to buy fresh meats, whi [...] if to be had, they will not want for the price.

Fowls in plenty.They have Fowls especially Sea-Fowls in great ple [...] [...]y [Page 77] which do frequent the Rocks, Holms, &c. which they take as they do in Orkney, and are very beneficial [...]o the Proprietours. There are also many Eagles, which do great prejudice and hurt to the Countrey; for the Lambs they will lift up in their Claws, and take whole to their Nests, and falling doun upon the Sheep, they fix one foot on the ground and the other on the Sheep's back, which they having so apprehended, they 1st. pick but their eyes, and then use the Carcases as they please. All sorts of Duck and Drake, Dunte, Geese, Cleck-Geese, Ember-Geese &c, they have as in Orkney.

They have many Crows but neither here nor in Ork­ney are they of that Colour which they are of with us.Crowes. [...]or their Head, Wings, and Tail, only are black, but their Back and Breast from the Neck to the Tail are of a Grey Colour, and the Countrey People look upon it as a bad Omen, when black Crows come to these Isles, they portending that a Famine will shortly en­sue.

There are many Conies in some places, but no Hares,Many rab­bets, no mair fowles or hares, few rats; no frogges or venomous creatures. neither are there any Moorfowls which are numerous in Orkney; some say that a few from Orkney have been brought over for triall, but they could not live here: No Poddocks or Froggs are to be seen, tho many in Orkney. Neither are there any Rats to be found, ex­cept in some Isles, and these are greater then ordinary, and thought to come out of Ships, when riding at An­chor nigh to the shore, but they have Mice in aboun­dance. Neither are there any venomous Creatures in these Isles. They have many Ottars, one of which was so tamed that it frequently used to bring Fishes out of the Sea to a Gentleman's House in Haskashie, as one told me who knew the Truth thereof.

They have a sort of little Horses called Shelties, Concern­ing their horses cal­led shelties then which no other are to be had, if not brought hither: from other places, they are of a less Size then the Ork­ney Horses, for some will be but 9 others 10. Nives or Hand-breadths high, and they will be thought big Hor­ses [Page 78] there if eleven, and although so small yet are they full of vigour and life, and some not so high as others often prove to be the strongest, yea there are some [...] whom, an able Man can lift up in his arms, yet will they carry him and a Woman behind him 8 Miles for­ward and as many back: Summer or Winter they never come into an House, but run upon the Mountains in some places in flocks, and if at any time in Winter the storm be so great, that they are straitned, for food, they will come doun from the Hills, when the Ebb is in the Sea, and eat the Sea-ware (as likewise do the Sheep) which Winter storme and scarcity of fodder puts them out of Case, and bringeth them so very low, that they recover not their strength till about St. Joh'ns Mass-Day, the 24th. of June when they are at their best: They will live till a Considerable Age as 26, 28. or 30 Years, and they will be good riding Horses in 24 especially they'le be the more vigorous and live the longer, if they be 4. Years old before they be put to Work. These of a black Colour are Judged to be the most durable, and the pyeds often prove not so good; they have been more numerous then now they are the best of them are to be had in Sanston and Eston, also they are good in Waes and Yell, these of the least Size are in the Northern Isles of Yell and Ʋnst.

The Coldness of the Air, the Barrenness of the Mountains on which they feed, and their hard usage may occasion them to keep so little, for if bigger Hor­ses be brought into the Countrey, their kind within a little time will degenerate; And indeed in the present case, we may see the Wisdome of Providence, for their way being deep and Mossie in Many places, these ligh­ter Horses come through, when the greater and heavier would sink doun: and they leap over ditches very nimbly, yea up and doun rugged Mossy braes or hil­locks with heavy riders upon them, which I could not look upon but with Admiration, yea I have seen them climb up braes upon their knees, when otherwise they [Page 79] could not get the height overcome, so that our Horses would be but little if at all servicable there.

The great Fishing which they have upon the Coasts,Their fishes nu­merous. makes the place desirable to the Natives, and to be fre­quented by strangers; it excelling any other place of the King of Brittan's Dominions for Herring, White and Grey Fishing: the White Fishing they call the Killin and Ling &c. their Grey, the Silluks and seths; there are also somtimes very strange Fishes here to be found, As about 24. Years ago, there came a great number of small thick Fishes into a Voe on the South side of Ne­ston, they were of a Golden Colour, very pleasant to behold, they were about the bigness of an ordinary Trout, and all of an equal Size; they being very nume­rous, the Countrey made much use of them, who Judged them very savoury, tasting Like a Turhot: And never before or since that time were these Fishes seen, in these seas: As my Informer an old Gentleman could remem­ber. Their Tusk is a rare Fish but more ordinary with them, of which more when we come to speak of their Fishing. Also many rare Shells are to be found on the Coasts, but we had not time to enquire and look after them.

Through the Isles for fewel they have good Pites in aboundance; tho,Fewel. in some places they are at a distance from them, as these who live in the Skerries are obliged to bring them from other Isles, as from Whalsey, and the passage being dangerous many boats are cast away with them; some also living in Dunrossness are at a loss this way, they not having the Moss at hand, as gene­rally they have in other places on the Main. Much broken Timber also is driven ashore upon these Isles, so that the Inhabitants of the Skerries trust the one half of their provision to this driven timber: and broken Ships in great quantity often cast ashore; partly through the many Ships that spleet on these Isles, and partly as the wrack of Ships cast away at some distance, which is [Page 80] brought here by the Ebb from Norway, or other place lying to the East of Zetland.

No trees.There are no trees in this Countrey more then Orkney we saw some old white and weather bear [...] Stocks standing in Scalloway, for whatever Reasons ma [...] be alledged for trees not growing in Orkney, far more [...] I Judge they will hold in Zetland both with Respect [...] the Air and to the Soil: There are also at Scatroway son [...] Goose and Rizzer-berrie bushes which use every Yea [...] to be laden with fruit, which are a great rarity in the place of the World.

Many ex­celent herbs, Scurvey grass in aboun­dance.Many excellent Herbs are found growing here, th [...] little knoun or made use of: A Certain English Physi­cian and skilled Botanist who was at Lerwick some Year [...] ago told our Host, that there were many choice an ra [...]e Herbs here not to be found in England, They have much scurvey-Grass; God so ordering it in his wi [...] Providence that Juxta venenum, nascitur Antidotum, that seeing the scurvy is the common Disease of the Coun­trey, they should have the Remedy at hand.

Much Lime-Stone.There is here much Lime-stone (tho for ought heard not to be found in Orkney) which in some place they have but lately come to the knowledge of, as i [...] Unst but about 4. Years since; and in other places they know not yet how to use it, The Parish of T [...]ngw [...] (they say) consists almost of Lime-stone, they having few if any other stones then such.

Stones for building, broad.The Stones wherewith they build are generally broad, and like Flag-stones; by reason of which figure and shape the stones lying the more easily, the builder [...] are at less trouble in fitting them for the wall; and have observed that in some Houses there is little Lime clay or any such thing for cementing of the building which renders their dwelling so much the colder, the peircing Air passing through between the Chinks of the Stones, which they have no need of under this cold and airish Climate. But some of these Houses they ma [...] designedly so build, that the Wind may have free pas­sage [Page 81] through them, for drying of their Fishes, which [...]ouses some ca [...]l [...]keas.

There are several superstitious Customs and Practi­ [...]s, which the more ignorant People follow,Several Supersti­tion Cu­stoms. some of which we will have occasion to note in the sequel of [...]is Discourse, but not so many did we hear of, as there [...]e in Orkney. But I hope the vigilance and Diligence [...] our Church in inspecting these Isles, and putting all [...] their Duty, will prove a blessed Mean in the hand [...] God, for the eradicating and utter abolishing of these [...]elicts of Paganism and Idolatry.

Sailing about these Coasts is often very dangerous,Sailing dangerous [...]hence the Waters prove Graves to many of the Inha­ [...]tants. While we were there in the Month of May a [...]at was cast away going by the shore to Dunressness, [...]d a Man and his Sister therein perished; and another [...]an in her was saved by getting upon the keel of the [...]at and sometimes Boats are cast away when not one [...]ved: About the Isles are many blind Rocks, which the [...]atives sometimes unhappily fall and break upon, ei­their through a Mistake, or the Tide and Wind driv­ing them upon them: At other times the Wind rising, [...]seth the Sea so to swell that the Waves breaking upon [...]eir small Boats are ready to overset them, and some­times do: Also tho the Wind be not so strong, there will [...]me Flanns and Blasts off the Land as to their swift­ [...]ess and surprisal something like to Hurricanes, which [...]ting with a great Impetus or force upon their Sails, [...]verturns the Boat, and in a moment hurries them into [...]ternity: By such a flan the La [...]d of Muna [...] a Gentle­man in this Countrey is said to have perished the for­ther Year 1699. when within sight of his ou [...] House, [...]nd all that were in the Boat with him said to be 9. [...]10, Persons, save one servant, who escaped upon the [...]eel. I remember, that night we came to the Land of Zetland, our Seamen thought fit in their prudence not to Sail too nigh the Land for fear of such flans. O [Page 82] to be as Watchmen on our Towers looking out a waiting for the Lord's coming.

Little Com­merce in the Win­ter.For this cause it is, that during the Winter Sea [...] they have ordinarily Converse or Commerce wi [...] none, except that Ships be driven in by stress of W [...] ther; for the open Boats dare not come, and the clo [...] decked not without danger, the Sea commonly at the time being so tempestuous, the Tides and Rousts rapid, that they threaten all who come near them, w [...] being swallowed up; Therefore it is, as they tell u [...] that from October till April or May, they Ordinar [...] see no strangers, nor know any News, which makes t [...] Winter so much the longer and wearisome unto them An Instance whereof we had, that the late Revolution when his Highness the Prince of Orange our present King was pleased to come over to assert our Liberties, a [...] deliver us from our fears, falling out in the Winter it was May thereafter before they heard any thing of [...] And that 1st. they say from a Fisher-Man, whom some would have had arraigned before them, and impeach [...] of high Treason because of his News, as some did [...] form us.

They sometimes infested by Pirates.Their Countrey lying very open, and in many p [...] ces but thinly Inhabited, exposeth them to the Host incursions of Pirates in a time of War, as of late the Frenches did much infest their Coasts, some of their M [...] Landing did by shot Kill their Kine and Sheep, and take them away with them; yea sometimes they spare not the Churches, but sacrilegiously robbed them, pu [...] ling doun the Timber thereof as Seats &c. and taking them for burnwood; so they did to a Church in Nor [...] Mevan. But they never came into Brassa Sound, le [...] they had been locked up within Land, Winds turning contrary.

Some light all the Night over in June.In the Month of June they have a clear light all t [...] Night over, for at the darkest hour thereof, you w [...] see clearly to read a Letter, the Sun setteth between 10. and 11. at Night, and riseth between 1. and 2. [Page 83] [...]e Morning, but for this they have so much the shor­ [...]r Day and longer Night in the Winter.

CHAP. VII. A particular Vien is given of the several Pa­rishes, and most considerable Isles in Zet­land.

THus far having Considered the state of the Coun­trey in General,A brief Descrip­tion of the several Parishes with the Isles there­unto be­longing. we come next to take some par­ [...]cular view of the Isles, which that I may the better and [...]ore methodically do, I shall lay before my Reader [...]e several Parishes with some brief description of the principal Isles therunto belonging. For as to the Num­ [...]er of the Isles, I never heard an Exact account given [...]ereof, there being many of them small, wherein is [...]ly a Family or two, and so but little noticed.

The 1st.Parish of Dunross­ness. is the Parish of Dunrossness on the Mainland to the South, and is the Parish which lyes next to O [...] [...]ey and Scotland, wherein are 3. Churches, in which [...]eir Minister performeth divine service, Cross-Kirk, [...]nwich, and Fair Isle; In this Parish are several very [...]ood Voes or Harbours commodious for Ships to ride [...]. In this there is also much Corn-Land, ther ground [...]aring the Richest Grain, in many places not so Mossy [...]d covered over with Heath, as other Parishes are, [...]hich makes them to have less fewel, tho more corn. Much of the Land here is sanded, and the Sea almost early gaineth something on the lower parts thereof; [...]e Land lying so low and sandy in many places, is [...]onvenient for Conics, which abound here about the [...]e [...]s or southern most point of Land. In this Parish, there is a great Fishing, This southermost point hath two Heads, Swinburgh Head, and Fitwalls Head, Swinburgh and Fit­wals-Head two high [...]ocks seen by Mariners coming from the South at a great distance, which when discovered, they direct their Course towards them.

[Page 84] St Ni­nians Isle.To the North-West of the Ness lyes St. Ninians Isl [...] very pleasant; wherin there is a Chappel and ane Alt [...] in it, where on some superstitious People do burn Can [...] les to this Day. Some take this Isle rather to be a ki [...] of Peninsula, joyned to the Main by a Bank of San [...] by which in an Ebb People may go into the Isle, t [...] sometimes not without danger.

The Fair Isle.The Fair Isle belongeth to this Parish, lying Leagues or 24. Miles to the South or South and by E [...] of Swinburgh Head, by Burhannan it is called Insu [...]a [...]b [...] the pleasant or pretty Isle, Tho I do Judge FAIR m [...] be as well taken [...]roperly as Appellatively, for the [...] Faira or Fara, there being another Isle lying to t [...] North of this which they call North Faira which rela [...] to another Faira by South; now there is no [...]sle lying the South of this North Faira, which hath any nat [...] that can be interpreted Faira, but this Fair Isle. Mo [...] over I neither did see, nor was I informed of any thin [...] that afford us any Reason, why this Isle should be appellatively taken and denominated bella or Fa [...] This Fair Isle riseth high above the Waters, and is se [...] by Mariners at a great distance; it i [...] about an Mile a [...] a half long from south to North, and nigh to a M [...] in breadth, the side thereof towards the West is a co [...] tinued ragged rock from one end to another, alwa [...] beat upon by the Impetuous currents of a swelling Se [...] above this West-side is the Craig which they call t [...] Sheep-Craig, whereon there are no Houses nor Co [...] Land, but Sheep use to feed: The side, lying to t [...] East is lower, declining towards the Sea; There are it two Harbours, one upon the Northern-End, looki [...] to Zetland, and another towards the Southern poi [...] but Ships or Boats do not ordinarily resort thereunt [...] if not put to it,Inh [...]bi­tants and some Corn-Land and Pa­sture in Fair Isle. and better cannot do, for so it ha [...] been a safe shelter and refuge to many.

There use to be about 10. or 12. Families in it, b [...] now they say Death hath almost depopulate the Isl [...] the small Pox having lately raged there, and swe [...] [Page 85] away two thirds of the Inhabitants, so that there is not [...] sufficient number spared to Manage their Fish-Boats; that Gentlemans Son abovementioned, having tou­ [...]hed here in his way to Zetland: They have good Pa­ [...]turage for Sheep and Kine, and some Corn-Land, and [...]e very hospital and kind. Their Minister useth to [...]isite them once in the Year, in the Summer time, and [...]aving with them about a Month, Preaching, Baptiz­ [...]ng their Children and doing other parts of his [...]a­storal Work; after which he returning to Zetland, they [...]re without publick Ordinances till the next Years Revolution.

The Hawks, they say,Good Hawks there. which are to be had in the Fair Isle, are the best in Britain, which use to flee to Zet­land, or Orkney for their prey, these being the nearest Lands, and sometimes they'le find Moor Fowls in their Nests which they behoved to bring from Ork­ [...]ey, seeing there are none in Zetland, and the nearest Isle they could have them in, was Stronza or Westra, which is between 40. and 50. Miles of Sea, over which at one flight they must carry these Fowls to their Nests.

Many Ships use to cruise about this Fair Isle in the Summer time,Ships use cru [...]se there­about. and by it the Holland's Fleet going to or coming from the East-Indies, use to pass, tho some­times as in the late Wars they Sailed by the North of Zetland, that they might be more free of danger. Ships also going to or coming from Norway or the East Sea frequently pass this way, when Wind serveth them so to do; and this Fair Isle being seen by them at 14. or 16. leagues distance, in a clear Day it is as a Myth or Mark for directing their courses.

The 2d,Parish of Tingwal. is the Parish of Tingwall lying on the East of the Main to the North of Dunrossness, wherein are 4. Churches, Tingwall, Whiteness, Wisedale and Lerwick, but the Minister useth not to Preach by turns at Lerwick, as he doth at his other 3. Churches, he not finding himself obliged so to do, it being but built [Page 86] lately at the expence of the Inhabitants, however som [...] ­times he hath Sermon there, and Baptizeth the Children. Lerwick in this Parish is now become t [...] Principal Toun in the Countrey, lying on the East [...] the main at Brassa Sound, over against the Isle [...] Brasse.

Town of Lerwick. Lerwick is more then half a Mile in length, lyin [...] South and North upon the side of the Sound, and w [...] consist of between 2. and 300. Families, it is but withi [...] these few Years, that it hath arrived to such a numbe [...] of Houses and Inhabitants. It is become so considerable, because of the many Ships which do Yearly frequent the Sound, whereby Merchants and Trades-Me [...] are encouraged to come and dwell in this place, an [...] not for the pleasantness of its Situation, or the fertilit [...] of the Countrey about, for it is built upon a Rock [...] peice of Ground, wherein they can have no street, bu [...] a kind of a narrow passage before their doors, betwix [...] them and the Sound, which in some places will not admit of two Mens going in a breast, and at the back o [...] the Toun there is a Hill of black Moss, wherein they cast their Pites, which in some places cometh to their very doors, and no Corn-Land is there about it, save a little within the Castle, for near a Mile of way.

Many of their Houses, are very Commodious to dwell in, most of them being two stories high, and well furnished within, their Inhabitants consist of Merchants Trades-Men, and Fishers, who keep up a good Trade with Foreigners, from whom they buy much of their domestick provision, some of them are Persons of a Considerable Stock, which they have many ways to improve for their advantage. They are very Civil and kind, of an obliging temper, which we had the Experience of, during our abode among them; there are but few begging poor to be seen here, or in any place of the Countrey, where we had occasion to be; there being a great store of small Fishes, for the supply of their necessity.

[Page 87]They have upon their own Charges Built a conve­nient Church, at the back of the middle of the Town,A Church built in Lerwick, but no Mi­nistr settl­ed there. [...]nd furnished it with good Seats high and low, they [...]re at present a part of the Parish of Tingwal, but very [...]esireous to be disjoined, and erected into a Parish by themselves, that so they may enjoy a Minister of their own: For the promoting of which good Work, they are most willing according to their Ability to Contri­ [...]ute for the settling of a Fond for a Stipend to a Mi­nister, but not being in a Capacity to give all, they [...]esolved to make Application to the Government, for to have some Allowance out of the Revenues of the Bishoprick of Orkney, or otherwise as the Wisdom of the Government should see meet, that so there may be a Competency made up.

Upon their application to us,Fit this Town be Erected into a Pa­rish. we judgeing it most convenient, yea necessary, that this Town with some of the adjacent Countrey, should be Erected in­to a Paroch, cherished this their pious design; Telling them, that we intended, to recommend it, to the Commission of the General Assembly: That they may interpose, with the Lords, and other Honour­able Members of the respective Judicatories, before whom this affair shall come, for the better effectuat­ing the same. For the Town it self is considerable, and the principal one in the Countrey, much fre­quented by the Gentry; As also, by Strangers, in the Summer time. And their Minister Preaching seldom here, they are ordinarly destitute of Gospel-Ordi­nances; The People scarce being able, in the Sum­mer season, and all most impossible for them in the Winter, to travel to the next Church, where their Minister Preacheth: It being about 4 Miles distance from them, of exceeding bad way. As we knew, when we did perambulate the bounds. Which want of Ordinances, maketh their Case very sad and deplo­rable; It nurseth ignorance; Occasioneth much Sin, especially horrid prophanation of the Lords-Day, by [Page 88] strangers, as well as by inhabitants: And doth effect [...] ally obstruct the conversion of Souls; Preaching of t [...] Word being a special mean of convincing and co [...] verting Sinners and building them up in Holine [...] and comfort through Faith, unto Salvation.

Citidale of LerwickAt the North end of the Town, is the Castle or Ci [...] del, of Lerwick, begun to be built in the time, of t [...] Dutch War Anno 1665. By Work-men sent by Autho [...] from Scotland, for that end, but the Work was new perfected, the Work men, returning home, Anno, 1667. that time also 300 Souldiers were sent over fort [...] Defence of the Countrey, against the hostile Incu [...] ons of the Hollanders, and were quartered in pla [...] nigh to the Fort, who likewise returned home a [...] out the same time, with the Wo [...]kmen: The Gar [...] son could do much to command the Sound (for th [...] there was no Town here) so that none durst La [...] nigh unto them; The walls are yet in a good con [...] tion, high in some places without, but filled up wi [...] Earth within, whereon they raised their Cannon; the weakest part of the Wall towards the North, the hath been a Sally-port, dangerous to Attack, by reas [...] of a deep Ditch before it, fed by a Spring, into whi [...] the Garison by cunning Artifices might endeavour draw the Enemy, who by the Stratagems of War th [...] being brought on, and ensnared, did incontinent sink down into the Sound below them at the foot the Hill, whereupon the Castle is situated: With the Walls is a House of Guard, which hath been t [...] Stories high, burnt by the Dutch, after that o [...] Souldiers had left the Fort. Upon the Walls towar [...] the Sound, are standing 3 Iron Cannons one a 6. an [...] ther a 7. and a 3d. a 10 Pounder, not left by the [...] who kept Garrison, but since that time within the 30 Years taken out of the Sea nigh to Wnalsey, a Sh [...] of Force there being cast away, about 80. Years before: Which Guns the Inhabitants of Lerwick late mounted upon the Walls of the Castle, whereby the [Page 89] might be in a Capacity to Defend themselves against the [...]th Privateers, who at any time should come up the [...]nd and Assault them.

Between Lerwick and the Isle of Brass [...] on the East with a pleasant Bay or Sound,Brassa-Sound. commonly called Brassa Sound, Famous for [...]s being so safe a Road for Ships Anchor and Ride in, and that in the greatest Storm, [...]ng enclosed with Land on every side, except the [...]try thereunto from the South, which is half a Mile [...]ad, but within the Sound as at Lerwick its a Mile, hath another narrow passage at the North end of [...] but dangerous to go out or in at, because of some [...]nd Rocks therein. This Sound is the ordinary place which the Holland Bushes do resort in time of [...]ring Fishing, who before they put out their Nets, which must not be, according to a Law they have among themselves, before the 24th. June,) use to come [...]re and put themselves Ships, and Nets in order, [...]d the time by them appointed being come, they all [...] to Sea together Fishing near to this Land: Some­ [...]es there have been seen in the Sound 2000. or 2200. [...]d at once, and every Year some Hundreds as 5. 6. 700. Yea sometimes so thick do the Ships [...]y in [...] Sound, that they say Men might go from one side [...] the Sound to the other, stepping from Ship to Ship; [...]d during their Fishing they will come in to the [...]nd for fresh Water, or other necessary Provision, and return to Sea again.

To this Parish of Tingwal also belongeth Scalloway, Scalloway. [...]ng on the West side of the Mainland, 4. Miles, which is the breadth of the Country in that place, [...]m Lerwick. It was formerly the cheif Town in the country, and the Seat of the Presbytry, enjoying by [...]r a pleas [...]nter situation then Lerwick about which is good Grass and Corn and some Meadow, betwixt which and the Church of Tingwal, is the Strath of Ting­wal, two Miles of hard even and pleasant way; They [...]y about Scalloway is as pleasant a spot as is in all this [Page 90] Country. In all the Town there will be scarce 8 [...] or 100 Persons, there not being such Encourageme [...] by Trade to live here, as at Lerwick.

At the East or South East end of the Town stan [...] the Castle of Scalloway built An. 1600.Castle of Scalloway. By Patrick E [...] of Orkney Son to Robert Stewart also Earl of Orkney, w [...] built the Palace of B [...]sa formerly mentioned: Abo [...] the Gates as we enter into the House, there is this I [...] scription, Patricius Orcha [...]ia & Zetlandiae Comes, a [...] below the Inscription this Distich, Cujus fundamen sax [...] est, domus illa manebit; Lab [...]is e contra, si sit arena, pe [...] That House wh [...]se Foundation is on a Rock shall stan [...] But if on the Sand it shall fall. The reason of the I [...] scription is reported to be this, The Earl great Oppressed both Orkney and Zetland; and particular at the building of this House, his hand lay very hea [...] on the poor People, by causing them in great numbe [...] to be imployed about the Building, which could not b [...] divert them from their ordinary Work as Fishing & [...] whereby they provided Sustinance for themselves 21 Families After this, one Mr. Pitcawn Minister North-Mevan, said to be a Godly and Zealous Ma [...] coming to pay his Respects to the Earl, the Earl d [...] sired him to Compose a Verse, which he might p [...] upon the Frontis peice of his House; from this the M [...] nister took occasion to lay before the Earl his great S [...] of Oppression, upon which the Earls anger was ince [...] sed, and in his Rage he threatned him with Impriso [...] ment. However the Earl afterwards coming to so [...] Composure of Spirit; Mr. Pitcawn said unto hi [...] well if you will have a Verse, I shall give you o [...] from express words of Holy Scripture Luke 6. whi [...] Verse the Earl being pleased with, caused Inscribe on the Lintle above the Gate, with Luke 6. added the Verse, The Minister thereby insinuating that t [...] House could not stand long, having such a San [...] Foundation as Oppression. As indeed neither did it, [...] [Page 91] shortly after the Earl being Beheaded, the House was [...]t taken care of, and is now become ruinous.

And herein the Wise Providence of God may be ob­ [...]rved,Observe thereupon. that as the Inscription on the Gate of the [...]ace of Birsa in Orkn [...]y did hold forth the Ambition of [...]e Father, so this Inscription on the Gate of the [...]e of Scalloway in Zetland, did shew the Oppression of [...] Son; and tho it be many Years since the death of [...]m both, yet the very Houses built by them, to take their Honour and Grandour to appear, do yet and to their Dishonour and Infamy, and in a manner [...] bear Witness against them: So truly verified in [...]em, is that Scripture.Psal. 49.11. & 20. Psal. 112.6. Pro. 10.7. That tho the inward thoughts of [...]a [...] [...] be that their houses shall continue for ever, and [...]r dwelling places to all generations; Nevertheless they [...]to, in honour and not understandin [...], are like the beasts [...]at p [...]ish. And the Right [...]ous shall be in everlasting [...]memberance: But the Name of the wicked shall rot

This House or Castle is 3 Stories high beside Kitch­ [...]nes, and Wa [...]drobe,A Descrip­tion there­of. and hath in it many excellent Cham­ [...]ers, and other Apartments with their several Conve­ [...]iences; Also there hath been much good painting, [...]ome of which is yet to be seen, tho much defaced; [...]e Chambers are high between floors, but especially [...]e Gallery or Dining Room: In the Kitchin there [...] a Well in the side of the Wall, the water whereof is [...]ery good tho little used: The Sclaits have for the [...]ost part fallen from the Roof, and are daily falling [...]ith every Storm, so that the Timber, much of which [...] yet very good and fresh is beginning to rot and con­ [...]me, by the rain falling through the house from [...]oor to floor. The stone Walls are yet in a good Condition, they being considerable thick; In the build­ [...]g are many free-stones as Lintels, Jams &c. which [...]hey say were brought from Scotland. I give a more [...]articular account of this House, because Built in this Country, and to shew how Transient, Passing and Perishing, the Glory and Riches of the World are In [Page 92] this Castle of Scalloway some English Souldiers for so [...] time kept Garrison, when their Army was in S [...] land.

The Church of Wisdale, which belongeth to t [...] Parish is much frequented by the Superstitious Coun [...] People,Church of Wisdale. who light Candles therein, drop Money in a [...] about it, go on their bare knees round it, and to wh [...] in their Straits and Sickness they have their Rec [...]u [...] yea some are so silly as to think, that if they be in a distress, tho not at this Church, yet if they turn t [...] faces to it, God will hear them. One of the Justi [...] told us, that tho they have laid out themselves to [...] these Superstitious Conceits Eradicated yet they c [...] not get it altogether effectuated, but still they contin [...] among the People. A Minister also told me, that was much frequented by Women, who when th [...] desire to Marry, went to this Church making th [...] Vowes and saying their Prayers there, so assuri [...] themselves, that God would cause Men come in [...] of them; But this is not now so much in use as fo [...] merly

Isle of Trouar.Before Scalloway lyeth a little Isle called Trou [...] two or three Miles long, wherein are a few F [...] milies.

Parish of Neston.The third Parish is Neston to the East of the Main, which belongs 4 Churches, two on the Main, a [...] other two in Isles; in Neston is good Harbouring a [...] many Grey Fishes.

Isle of Whalsey.To the N. East lyes the Isle of Whalsey, wherein a Church, it is about three Miles long, and as ma [...] broad. Here are great Rats and very numero [...] which do infest the Isle, destroying their Corns a [...] other Goods.

The Sker­ries.From Whalsey to the East lies the Skerries, seve [...] broken Isles, wherein is a Church, here are two go [...] Harbours, but dangerous to enter, by reason of Roc [...] that ly before them, but when in, Ships will ri [...] very safely: There are no Pites in them, but ma [...] [Page 93] [...]hips being cast away upon them, the Inhabitants [...]ake use of the Wrack for Burn-wood, and also bring [...]me Pites from Whalsey. Here was cast away that [...]eat and Rich Ship, called the Ca [...]melan of Amsterdam [...]n. 1664. when the War was between us and the [...]ollanders, computed to the value of 3000000. of [...]ders, wherein were some Che [...]s of Coined Gold (of [...]hich more above in our Description of Orkney) and one of the Men as they report, were saved but 4 who [...]ere on the Top mast, discovering the Land; But [...]fore they could give timeous advertisement to the Captain, the Ship struck on a Rock, and the Mast [...]reaking by the Deck, the Top thereof fell on one of [...]he skerries, and so these 4 Men perished not with [...]he rest of their Company; They say for 20 days after [...]he Inhabitants of the Skerries drank liberally of the [...]ong Liquors driven on shore in Casks. It is said [...]his Ship to Richly Laden was bound for the East- [...]ndies.

In the way from Brassa Sound to Neston, lyes the [...]lind Rock called the Ʋnicorn, The Rock called the Unicorn. the Top whereof is seen at a low Ebb, upon which the Ship called the Ʋnicorn was cast away, wherein was William Kinca [...]dy of Grange, who pursuing the Earl of Bothwel, followed him so [...]ose, that they were within Gun shot of one another, [...]ut Bothwel coming first through Brassa Sound got in [...] Pilot, which [...]range neglecting to do, they both Sailed through the Northern passage of Brassa Sound; [...]nd Bothwels Pilot having a great Reward promised him, if they should escape, [...]an down by the side of [...]his Rock upon which the Ʋnicorn did spl [...]et, and so [...]othwel got free of the danger he was in, by this [...]ot pursuit. It is most dangerous Sailing among these Isles without a Pilot.

The 4th Parish is Delton on the Main,Parish of Delton. wherein are [...]wo Churches, it lyeth North East and South East; Here are many Grey Fishes taken, whereas in the Nor­thern [Page 94] Isles of Ʋnst and Yell they lay out themselves m [...] for the taking of White Fish as Killing Ling, &c.

Isles of Fishholm, Mikle Rue and little Rue. The parish of Sansting and Esting.On the East lyes Fisholm, to the North-East L [...] Rue, and on the West Meikle Rue, 8 Miles long, a [...] two Miles broad, wherein a good Harbour. All th [...] Isles have their own advantages.

The 5th is Sansting and Esting lying on the Main [...] tween Delton and Wars wherein are two Kirks, one Sansting, and another in Esting. The way in t [...] Parish is very bad, and the People are said to be [...] mong the poorest and naughtiest in all the Countre [...] Here is good pasture for Sheep, and the best Wo [...] As also the best Shelties.

The Isles of Vemantrie Oxney &c.Nigh to Sansting and Esting ly several smal pleas [...] Isles, as Ʋemantrie a pleasant Isle full of Harbou [...] Oxney, Papa little, Hilesha &c.

Paroch of Waes. Isle of Vatla.The 6th is Waes on the Main to the West, to it [...] longes 4 Churches, one in Waes, another in Sandra the 3d in the Isle of Papa-stour, and the 4th in t [...] Isle of Fowla. To the South of Waes lyeth the Isle Vatla, wherein a Cat will not live, of which more af [...] wardes.

The Isle of Papa StourThe Isle of Papa-stour is said to be the pleasant little Isle in all this Countrey, two Miles long, a well furnished with Fewel, Grass, Corn, Rabbets, & In it are 4 good Harbours, one to the South, two [...] the North, and one to the West, nigh to this Isle ly [...] the Lyra-Skerries, so called, because the Lyres (th [...] Fat Fowls, spoken of in our Discription of Orkney,) [...] frequent this Skerrie.

Isle of Fou­la. Foula lyes about 18 Miles West from the Main, is about 3 Miles long, wherein a high Rock seen a great distance, I have heard some say, that in a cal [...] and clear Day, they will see it from Orkney: The is only one place in it for Harbouring, which if you [...] not hit, you will be driven to the Sea, what by Wi [...] and Tide. Their Cornland is all in one end of it; A [...] the Inhabitants live most by Fowls and Eggs, which a [...] [Page 95] [...]y numerous, and they are the best Climbers of [...]ks in all the Countrey.

The 7th is North-Mevan on the Main lying to the [...]th, wherein are three Kirks, Hilswick, Parish of North Me­van. Oloberry and [...]th-Rhac, they Report, the People of this Parish be discreet and scivilized, beyond their Neighbour­ [...] Parishes; Which, under God, is owing, to the [...]ours of Mr. Hercules Sinclair, sometime Minister [...]re, reputed to be Zealous and faithful: He, in his [...]al, against superstition, rased Cross-Kirk, in this [...]sh; Because the People superstitiously frequented [...] And, when demolished, behind the place where [...] Altar stood, and also beneath the Pulpit, were [...]nd several peices of Silver in various shapes, brought [...]ther as offerings by afflicted People, some being in [...] form of a Head, others of an Arm, others of a [...]ot, accordingly as the offerers were distressed in these [...]ts of the Body; As a Freind of his a present Minister [...]the Countrey, did inform me. O that the pains [...]d expence these superstitious Souls have been at, [...]ght excite, us the more dutifully to serve and Wor­ [...]p our God in Spirit and in Truth. There are also [...]ny mo People in this Parish, who can Write and [...]ad, and give a tolerable account of their profici­ [...]cy in the knowledge of the principles of Religion, then [...]re are in others.

Before it lyes Lamma a small pleasant Isle;The Isle of Lamma. As also [...]other to the West-North West.

The 8th is Brassa an Isle to the East of Tingmal and [...]rwick to which three Churches do belong,Parish of Brassa, and Burra. Isles of Brassa and the Noss. two in [...]assa, but only in one of them they use to attend Ordi­ [...]nces, the other being built nigh to the Manse, for [...]eir late old Ministers Accommodation. Brassa is a­ [...]out 5 Miles long and two broad, all covered with [...]eather, except some Cornland by the Coasts; Before [...]rassa to the East, lyes the Noss of Brassa, a small Isle [...]herein is one Family, it hath a high Rock lying open [...] the East Sea, and seen by Mariners at a distance.

[Page 96] Isle of Burra.The Minister of Brassa also hath a Church in the [...] of Burra, which he goeth to every 2d Sabbath, it [...] eth nigh to the Mainland West South-West from S [...] loway, so that the Minister is obliged to travel fro [...] the East to the West side of the Mainland, when [...] goeth to this his Church. The Isle will be three Mi [...] long divided in the midle into two small Isles,Isle of Ha­veroy. by a Se [...] break. The Church is very large and hath a hi [...] Steeple in it. To the South-South East of Burra ly [...] Haveroy a Mile and an half long. Both in Burra a [...] Haveroy is good Pasture, and about them good Fishing

The 9th is Yell, an Isle North-East and by the East from the Main 16 Miles long,Parish of Yell. and as to breadth, [...] is much like the figure 8 because of the many Cree [...] and Voes which divide and cut the Land,Isles of Yell Haskashie Samphrey, B [...]ggai yet [...] some places it is 6 or 8 Miles broad. In it are [...] Churches and many old little Chappels, it is more Moss [...] then some other Isles, tho there be in it some good P [...] ­sturage and Cornland; To the East of Yell lyes Harkas [...] 2 Miles long, to the South West Samphrey, one Mi [...] long, to the West South-West B [...]gga [...], a Mile and a [...] hal [...] long, all pleasant, and well grassed, having muc [...] Fewel, and especially excellent for Fishing, for if the Win [...] blow from the West, the Boats can ly on the East if from the East, they can ly on the West side of the [...] Isles and that nigh to the Shore.

Isle of FetlorTo the E. N. East of Yell lyes Fetlor, 5 Miles long and 4 broad, in it some Chappels and Picts Houses, [...] there are likewise in several other of the Isles; In th [...] Isle there is a Church, wherein the Minister of Yell preacheth every 4th. Sabbath, it used formerly to ha [...] been served by a Preaching Deacon but the Vicar by h [...] Diligence hath got the Minister of Yell also obliged [...] serve in Fetlor, tho Yell be more than sufficient for a [...] one Man to have the charge of.

Parish of Unst.The 10th. Parish is Ʋnst, 8 Miles long, and 4 Mil [...] broad in many places, in it 3 Churches, it is said to [...] the largest pleasant Isle in all this Country, In it a [...] 3 Harbours, Uzia Sound, Balta Sound, and Burra Fir [...] [Page 97] [...]re some good Corn-land and Pasturage, also several [...] Chappels (of which more afterwards) A little Isle [...]led Uz [...]a lyeth off Unst a Mile and an half long, as [...]ewise several pleasant Holms.Isles of Unst and Uzia. Unst is the most Nor­ [...]n Isle in the King of Britains Dominions, under the [...] degree of latitude.

Thus I have given some account of the several Pa­ [...]hes within the bounds of the Isles and Countrey of [...]land, and hinted at, if not all,Principal Isles. yet the greatest part [...] the Isles, the Principal whereof are Unst, Yell, Fetlor, [...]ssa and Burra.

Whence we see there is no Minister here, but hath [...]least 2 Churches,Ministers exposed to much trouble and dan­ger. wherein he dispenseth Gospel [...]dinances, and some of them have 3, and others 4, [...]me of which Churches are at a great distance from [...]e another, to travel to which is not only toilsome and [...]ngerous to the Respective Ministers, they also not [...]ving little Manses or Houses for their Accomodation, [...]en they come to many of them; tho often when [...]rms do arise, they will be detained in the Isles, for [...]e time until they lessen: Not only I say, is this [...]ublesome to the Ministers, but highly prejudicial to [...] People, among whom the Work of the Gospel is [...]atly thereby retarded (as we had occasion likewise [...]ote concerning Orkney) few of the People using to [...]air to other Churches, when there is not publick [...]orship at their own, which at most will be but one of [...] Sabbaths, and in many places but one in three or [...]r, and in some not to be had for some Moneths, [...]ich as undoubtedly it occasioneth great Ignorance; many gross Scandals, as Adulteries, Fornications &c, [...]e Faithful preaching of the Gospel doing much if [...] to convince and convert, yet to moralise a People [...] put a restraint to these horrid Enormities.

And tho the difficulty would not be small,There could be some moe Parishes here. if at all could be got done to have Ministers constantly to [...]ach in the several Chuches, even in the most consi­ [...]able Isles, yet there might be some moe Ministers [Page 98] here than there are, 4 or 5 at least to whom the Tith [...] if rightly imployed could afford a sufficient maintai [...] ance; As one Minister more in the parish of Dunrossne [...] on the main, and another in the Isle of Yell &c, whi [...] Charges at present are very great, and cannot well [...] served by the Ministers they have. The Tithes a [...] farmed to Viccars, a kind of inferiour Tacks-men, w [...] in some places do not only oppress the People, but a [...] uneasie to the Ministers, not paying them what th [...] are obliged to pay, till they please, which often th [...] will not do for some years. The Ministers sufferi [...] by this piece of Injustice, laid it before the Commission, one of their Greivances, which they craved might [...] redressed, and for that end, Application might be ma [...] to the Government,

CHAP. VIII. An account of the Ancient Monuments, Curi [...] sities, strange Providences, &c. most obser [...] able in the Isles of Zetland.

THE Works of Creation and Providence are all [...] ry wonderful,Observ­able things in Zetland. sought out of them who have pl [...] sure therein, among which some more ordinarly oc [...] and are the subject of our meditation, and others no [...] commonly presenting themselves are the more surprisi [...] and amusing, both which are to be had a due rega [...] unto, they being either mediatly or immediatly, by without 2d. Causes, the Work of the Lord, and Operation of his Hands: And seing there are s [...] things that deserve their own observation, which eit [...] I had occasion to see, or to hear of in Zetland, I [...] give a brief Relation thereof, not denying but t [...] there may be other things no less if not more observa [...] there, which we came not to the knowledge of.

[Page 99]The Picts Houses which are frequent through this [...]ountrey,Concern­ing the Picts Hou­ses. the Inhabitants take much notice of, as be­ [...]g the Ancientest Monuments they have, some of which [...]e more, others less ruinous, they are round in the [...]m of some Dove-coats, or something like un­ [...] an Egg bulging out in the middle, but narrower at [...]e bottom, and yet more narrow at the top, They [...]ave a little door for an entry, at which a man of an [...]rdinary stature could not enter without bowing, with­ [...] which door, there is a Stair going up between two [...]one Walls, leading to the several Apartments, instead [...] Windows they have Slits or long narrow Holes in [...]e Wall, such as are in many of our old Castles for the [...]onveyance of light unto them; they are strongly built, [...]t the conveniency for dwelling hath been but little, [...]or their Diameter is but about 10 or 12 Foot, and their [...]eight scarce 20 or 24, I think these Picts Houses are much like Arthurs Oven upon the Water of Carron in [...]rling-Shire.

These have been the Domiciles or Dwellings of the [...]icts,Observe thereupon the old if not the first Inhabitants of this Coun­ [...]ey, who were very numerous in the North of Scotland, [...]ed in Orkney, having their own Kings, as hath been [...]id in our Description of Orkney. They are convenient­ [...]y situated through the Isles, each one being within the [...]ight of another, hence in a few hours, advertisement could [...]e given by Fire, or other signs they might condescend upon, through the whole Countrey, signifying unto them any danger, that being thereby alarmed, they might meet together, or be upon their own defence. These Houses are also called Burgh [...], which in the old T [...]utonick or Saxon Language,Rich: Ver­stegan in his Anti­quities of the English Nation and their Saxon Kings. signifyeth a Town having a Wall or some kind of an Enclosure about it; as also a Castle, for as one observeth in his Dictionary, or Explanation of our most ancient English words; All places that in old time had among our Ancestours the name of Bur­rough, Bury or Burug were places one way or other fenced and fortifyed. Whence it appears, that these Houses [Page 100] have been Castles, or places of Defence, to the Pic [...] Seing it is generally acknowledged, that both the Pic [...] and the Saxons, were originally descended, of the sa [...] German Nation: and so might call their Castles by t [...] same name. I have also heard it observed, That in Orkn [...] several places, wherein they used of old to bury th [...] Dead were called Burghs, so likewise these Houses [...] Zetland might serve for the same purpose, from the Sax [...] Word Byring, or Buriging, or Borogeing, which we n [...] call Burying.

No place called Thule hereI enquired if there was any Place or Hill here, whi [...] they called Thule or Ʋle, if so be we could receive a [...] Information or Light from them concerning the Th [...] of the Ancients, but they answered they knew none [...] that name, only there was an Isle, wherein a high [...] called Foula, on the west side of the Mainland, but suppose that ever the Ancient Romans understood Th [...] thereby, beside other things that might be alledged, [...] would be a manifest streatching of, and an offering vi [...] lence to the word: But altho what this place is, ha [...] been much controverted, by Ancient and Modern A [...] thors attempting the Discovery thereof, yet it is gen [...] rally agreed upon, that it is toward the North, a [...] many take it to be one of the British Isles, and a late A [...] thor in an Essay concerning the Thule of the Ancients, e [...] deavoureth to prove it to be the North East part of Br [...] tain, Conr. Cel. Itinere [...]aith. lying over against the Isles of Orkney, citing som [...] Authors to this purpose, as ‘Conradus Celtes. Orc [...] dibus qua cincta suis Tyle & Glacialis Insula & Claudian, Maduerunt sanguine fuso Orcades incalu [...] [...]ictorum sanguine Thule; Scotorum cumulos flev [...] glacialis lerne.’ And others who call Thule, Britann carum Insularum septentriona [...]ssimam, the most Norther [...] of the British Isles. Island also lays claim to it, and t [...] above cited Author supposeth Island to be the Thule, b [...] I judge without any shaddow of Truth, for beside wh [...] is now said,Rich. Ver­stegan. I greatly doubt if ever the Romans had th [...] knowledge of Island, their Eagles never having com [...] [Page 101] and been displayed to the North of Scotland, or Orkney, [...]peru fuerat Romani Scotia limes. Saith the great Sca­ [...]er. Ptolomey will have it to be among the Isles of [...]tland, and Boeth. our Historian distinguisheth be­ [...]ween a 1st and a 2d Thule calling Ila the 1st and Leuisa [...]e 2d, which are reckoned among the Isles called He­ [...]des: So saith Boeth. "Ptolomaeus inter Schethlandi­ [...]s insulas quae ultra Orchades sunt,Hec. Boeth Hist. aut proxime Norvegiam sitam vult, haud quaquam propter immen­ [...]m intercapedinem intelligi potest. Nos autem Ilam primam Leuisam Hebridum praestantissimam secundam Thulen vo amus. But I incline to think, that altho some [...]ight design a particular place by the Thule, yet gene­ [...]lly by a Synecdoche usual with the Roman Authors, [...]ey might denote all these places remote from them [...] the North, and especially Britain, and the Nothern [...]arts thereof, whether their Arms did come.

In the Parish of North-Mevan is Mons Ronaldi or [...]ons Hill, the highest in all this Country,Mons Ro­nalds or Rons Hill the high­est in the Countrey. from which [...]ome do say, they will see the Body of the Sun all the [...]ight over in the Moneth of June; which cannot be [...]s the Reason alledged in our Description of Orkney why [...] could not be seen from the top of the Hill of Hoy; [...]o Reason and Experience shew they have a clearer [...]ight in Zetland, in the Night time, dureing the Sum­ [...]r Season, then they can have in Orkney; Zetland be­ [...]ng more then a degree to the North of Orkney and con­ [...]equently ay the farther North, the shorter Night, till [...]t length there be no Night at all, so that if it were [...]ossible to sail holding a Northern Course, till we were [...]nder the Pole, having it for our Zenith or Vertical Point, we would have a continual Day without any Night for several Moneths, the Sun all that time de­ [...]cribing a Circle almost parallel to our Horizon, I say, [...]lmost parallel, because beside the Diurnal, there is al­ [...]o the Annual Motion of the Sun in the Eclyptick. O now exact and beautiful an order and symmetrie is to [Page 102] be seen in the Works of God; they all speaking for the goodness, Wisdom and Power of their Maker.

What a wonderful Creature is the Sun, Coming fo [...] as a Bridegroom out of his Chamber, A Refle­ction thereupon and rejoiceing as a str [...] Man to run his Race, absolving every day his circ [...] round our Terrestrial Globe, from East to West, a [...] travelling every year between his Tropicks (the Lim [...] and Boundaries prescribed him of God beyond whi [...] he is not to pass) from South to North and from No [...] to South, giving shorter days to those, who inhab [...] the midle of the Earth, under the Torrid Zone, [...]th [...] not being able to bear his longer continuance abo [...] their Horizon; because of his scorching heat, [...] longer to these who can better endure it under [...] temperate, and yet longest to these who live near to the Frigid Zones or to the Poles, whom his h [...] cannot prejudge, as it doth these who live under or n [...] to the Line or midle of the Earth on whom he daeth down his Perpendicular Rays, wherefore the W [...] dom of his Maker will have him to stay a shorter th [...] above their Horizon. How wonderful then in Cou [...] and excellent in working is this God, whereupon not only Saints do bless him for the benefites wherewith they are lo [...] en, but all his Works do praise him after their manner.

Caves.There are several Caves here or hollow places in a [...] through the Rocks; particularly there is one in the [...] of Ʋnst, entering from the Sea at one side of the I [...] and opposite thereunto on the other side, there is a [...] ther going in, as it were meeting the former, unto [...] end of any of which, none will undertake to goe, t [...] it hath been attempted, the rage of the Sea in th [...] Caverns of the Earth, the failing of the Light of D [...] and the raggedness of the Rocks by which they m [...] pass making it terrible unto them, as also the thick [...] of the Air, something annoying them; but the Ent [...] thereunto being opposite one to another, giveth grou [...] to judge, that it is an continued cave from the one s [...] of the Isle to the other, tho 4 Miles broad: which c [...] [Page 103] [...]t be thought to be artificial but natural washen [...]rough by the violence of the Waves; and the less [...]onder it is for it so to be, if we consider, that if [...]lla cavat lapidem, much more rapidi & tumidi fluctus [...]abunt, that if in a short time the drop will wear the [...]one, much more in the Tract of some Thousands of [...]ears the rageing and tempestuous Waves daily break­ [...]ng on the Rocks will produce this Effect, and that [...]ore in some places than in others, where the Rock will [...]e more friable and brittle, and the force of the Waves [...]ess broken by the bounding and swadleing sand.

There is something like unto this yet more surpri­ [...]ing in the Isle of Foula, A hole in Foula. on the West side of the Main­ [...]and, if it be true what is storied of it: In this Isle on the top of a hill there is a hol the mouth whereof may. [...]e (and some say now is) covered with a Slait-stone going downwards to the bottom of the Rock, which is said to be of a great depth, particularly a Dutch Ship- [...]aster is reported to have made a trial thereof, for the gratifying his curiosity, by taking up a barrel of lines with him, which he let all down, and yet could not found the bottom: Some say he let down 2. barrels, which is very wonderful, considering a barrel of lines is reckoned to be several, some say 9. Miles of length: What can be the reason of such a Conveyance from the top of the Rock to the bottom, and further if we may give credit to what is said, I cannot possibly ima­gine, for that such a thing should be done by Art, we cannot well conceive the reason why, nor the Manner how it could be done, and that nature should have such an operation will be as difficult to unfold.

That this Countrey is generally Mossy,Dange­rous Tra­veling. soft and spungey hath been formerlie told, as likewise that it is dangerous for people to travel through it; of which many Instances may be given, I shall only name two, which I had from the Ministers of the respective bounds, one Traveling in the Isle of Yell, fell unto such a Mossy and loose piece of ground, his Horse beneath him, Furniture [Page 104] and all sank doun, and was no more seen, and he him­self with great difficulty struggled out and was save [...] And another in the Parish of Tingwal on the Mai [...] not long since, walking on foot not far from his o [...] House, fell into such another place, wherein there d [...] not appear to be any hazard and over which several times for [...]erly he thought he had passed with safety and sank doun to the arm pits, but he by stretching o [...] his Arms, keeping his head above the surface of t [...] ground, by the help of his servant then providential [...] with him and a staff fixed in the ground, got wrestl [...] out: So dangerous it is Traveling here even to the inhabitants.

Variation of the Compass remark­able as at Udsta.On the West side of the Isle of Fetlor, there is a plac [...] whereon a Gentlemans House called Ʋdsta into whic [...] place or House if a Mariners Needle and Compass b [...] brought, the Needle resteth not in its Poles, as it doth i [...] other places, but hath a tremulous undulating motio [...] and sometimes turneth round, as some say, to all th [...] points of the Horizon; And a Gentleman who was inquisitive to know the truth of this told me, that upo [...] trial he found it to be so, and further to try the experiment he took the Compass to the top of the House where it had the same effect. And one of the Minister of the Northern Isles informed me that if any Ship o [...] Boat Sailed by, or came nigh unto that place, the sam [...] did befall their Compass.And on a Hill in Whalsey. Also there is a little Hill nig [...] to the Sea on the West-side of the Isle of Whalsey. t [...] which if the Compass be brought, the Flowr de Luce, o [...] that point, which is ordinarily obverted to the North turneth about to the South, but if the Compass be removed the distance of two of three foot from the top o [...] the Hill, there is no such effect produced: This th [...] late Minister of the place assured me of, having trie [...] the experiment.

Observes thereupon.The many wonderful properties and effects of th [...] Magnes or Load-Stone, and of other things endue [...] with, or which do partake of this Magnetick vertue [...] [Page 105] discovered in these latter Ages, hath deservedly raised [...]e Admiration of Philosophers, and awakened them to [...]ake a diligent enquirie and Search, into the reasons of [...]hese strange Phenomena. That the Magnes hath two [...]oles answering to the Poles of the World, to which it [...]o [...]eth it self; That the Load Stone draweth Iron unto [...] That Iron brought unto and rubbed upon the Load-Stone receiveth from it that Attractive, or as some will [...]ave it, that impulsive vertue and power, and other [...]alities inherent in it [hence the invention of the Needle, so useful and necessary to Mariners for directing their Courses) That if there be two spherical Load- [...]tones, they will turn to one another, as each of them [...]oth to the [...]oles of the Earth, and if they be detained [...] a contrary position, they will flee from one another: [...]nd so is it with the needle in the compass, when a [...]oad Stone or piece of Iron is brought unto it, the [...]eedle either cometh to, or fleeth from it according to [...]s situation, wherefore Mariners are careful that no [...]on be in▪ nor lying near unto their Light-room where [...]e compass standeth.Renat Des. Car­tes in his Princip. Philos. reckoneth 34. That tho you should take the [...]eedle from its beloved Pole, yet when let alone and [...]ft to it self, it will incontinently move and take no [...]st, until it return thereunto, These strange and un­ [...]uth Properties hath the Load Stone, as likewise [...]any others, no less astonishing, reckoned up by it's admirers; many of which are known to the rudest [...]d most illiterate Mariner, but to explain the nature of [...]e Load-Stone, and to resolve and answer the Propo­ [...]ls of Nature upon the head, by giving the Reasons of [...]ese admirable effects, hoc opus, hic labor est, this is the difficulty, which hath vexed many, and taken up the studies of the sagest and most ingenious Modern Philoso­ [...]ers.

I shall not presume to give the reason of this strange [...]henomenon,An Essay concern­ing the Reason thereof. the Needles leaving it's rest at the Pole [...]nd betaking it self to such a motion, whether tremu­ [...]us and undulating, or circular round the points of the [Page 106] compass; or the Flower de Luce, turning to the So [...] Only I would suggest two things, which if they t [...] not to clear what is proposed, they will furt [...] hold out how wonderful the Load-stone and Properties are. First, upon the ordinary suppositi [...] whereby these Properties are explained, that the Ea [...] is as a great Load-stone, on the surface and exter [...] parts whereof a great number of volatile screw-li [...] Particles, called the Magnetick matter, doe uncessan [...] move, travelling from Pole to Pole alongst the surfa [...] of the Earth, whereby the Poles of the Load-stone a [...] the point of the Needle affected with its vertue, a [...] obverted to the Poles of the World; Which suppositi [...] being made, we would know that this Ma [...] netick matter may not alwayes have the sa [...] motion, but in some places it may be upward a [...] perpendicular to the surface of the Earth; so that these places where they thus move perpendicularly, t [...] Needle will not be determined to one point, more th [...] to another of the Horizon, this matter alike affecti [...] all the parts of the Needle, by its perpendicular motio [...] which the Ingenious Rohault alledgeth as the reason, w [...] the Compass serveth not the use of the Hollanders, wh [...] they have Sailed far to the North, in order to find o [...] a new and shorter passage to the East-Indies, th [...] Needle then not turning to the Poles as it doth in ot [...] places, but alike to all the points of the Horiz [...] the motion of the Magnetick matter in these more No [...] thern places, being in Lines perpendicular to the surfa [...] of the Earth: and so likewise it may fall out in ot [...] places, where a greater quantity of this Magneti [...] matter riseth from the Earth.

A 2d. thing that I would take notice of, is that t [...] Magnetick matter in it's passage from Pole to P [...] meets with several Iron Mines, into which it go [...] aside, so diverting its straight Course between the Pol [...] because it finds an easier passage through the Pores the Iron, then by passing through other places; he [...] [Page 107] [...]e variation of the Compass is Judged to be, so much [...]kt of by Mariners, in some places greater, and in [...]hers less, accordingly as the Magnetick matter is [...]t or less determined by the several Iron Mines, into [...]hich it turneth aside; Now in some places it may so [...]out, that there may be a greater quantity of Iron, [...]ough which the Magnetick matter passing and from [...]ich it arising, may cause such a Motion, whereby [...] needle not only inclines not to one point more [...]n to another in the Horizon, but also by the Mag­ [...]ick matters ascending from and returning to the Iron [...]nes, it may produce such an irregular motion in [...]e needle: And that there is a great quantity of Iron Zetland, may be knoun by the remarkable variation the Compass there, for as Mariners inform us when [...]y Sail by the South-End of Zetland, they find the [...]ation to be but one point, but when passing the [...]orth end, they find it varies 2 points, and upon this [...]iation in directing their Course to this or the other [...]ce, they make their reckoning: Which is very ob­ [...]vable that in less then a degree of latitude (for no [...]e will the length of the Isles of Zetland be) it va­ [...]a a point of the Compass, which must be, according the Reason commonly assigned, because there is [...]th Iron in these Isles, and more especially on the [...]st side of the Isle of Fetlor; for other places of the [...]e Isle have no such Influence on the Compass.

That yet much if not the greatest part of the diffi­ [...]ty remains I readily grant,Some difficulty remains. and leaves it to the study [...]he learned and curious, and indeed in many things acknowledge our Ignorance hath been reputed no all part of Wisdom, so hard it is to solve and unridle [...]tures Secrets, wherein the greatest Lights have [...]n benighted, the following often rasing the Foun­ [...]ions of the Doctrines of the Former: How won­ [...]ful are the Works of God, that in Wisdom he hath [...]e them all, And how narrow and shallow are Capacities, that we cannot find out the Works of [Page 108] God, even the most sensible and obvious; How tha [...] [...] ful also should we be to God; who hath vouchsa [...] to us the Light of clearly revealed Truth▪ which taken heed unto shall make us perfect, and lead u [...] Glory.

Little Chappels.There are in these Isles many little Chappels [...] generally ruinous, as in the Isle of Ʋnst there are and upwards, In the Isle of Yell there are 21. many in other Isles, I saw one of them in the Pa [...] of Tingwal, wherein also there are several m [...]; would have contained scarce 30. People, as I ju [...] and tho so little, yet very great Stones were in Walls, which was strange to me, how that in Countrey, where their Beasts are weak, and they [...] not the help of Machines, they got them lifted laid. These are said to have been built by Supers [...] ous Zealots in the times of [...]opery, or as some ra [...] think by Ship wrackt Seamen, who coming safe shore, have Built them according to their Vows m [...] by them when in danger, which they dedicated t [...] many several Saints, whom they looked upon as Patrons of their Respective Chappels. About w [...] also Men and Women of Old had their night walk [...] which occasioned much uncleanness, but now [...] walkings are but little used.

Snails which are medicinal found about the walls.About the Walls of these old Chappels are fo [...] Snails, called Shell-Snails, which they dry and [...] verize, mingling the dust with their drink for the Jadice, by which means these who labour under this s [...] ness in 3. or 4. days time will recover of the sa [...] but if they let this dustly for a Year, without mak [...] use of it, it turneth into small living Creatures or V [...] mine, which they dry and bray over again, if t [...] make any further use of it.

A mettal like Gold found in Ʋzta.In Ʋzta an Isle lying nigh to Ʋnst, there is a N [...] tal gotten having the colour of Gold, which sev [...] of the Dutch Merchants have taken with them to H [...] burgh, and tried it there, but by the force of Fire it [Page 109] not become Liquid, but crumbled into small pieces; It is to be had there in great plenty. This sheweth there may be Minerals in these Isles, tho not known nor searched for.

In the Church-Yard of Papa-Stour, A grave-stone in Papa-Stour. in the Parish of Waes lyeth a Stone 5 foot long, at the one end two, and at the other one foot broad, concave from the one end to the other, of which the common Tradition goes, that this stone came a shore on that [...]sle with a dead Man tied to it, who lys buried there beside it. It ap­pears to have been the Grave stone of some Person of Note in the Country, which sheweth they have also had that Custom, of laying at least some of their dead in such large Stones made Concave, and cut out for the purpose, which hath been frequent in many places with us in Scotland.

At a little distance from Papa Stour, A Rock i [...] the Sea where th [...] ruines of an old house. lyes a Rock encompassed with the Sea called Frau-a-Stack, which is a Danish word, and signifieth, our Ladys Rock, upon which are to be seen, the Ruines of a House, wherein they say, a Gentleman did put his Daughter, that so she might be shut up and secluded from the company of Men, but tho a Maiden when put in, yet she was found with Child when brought out, notwithstanding of her being so closly kept, but whither this came to pass by a Golden Shower (the most powerful Courtship) or not, the Country hath lost the Tradition: How­ever it seemeth strange, how a House should be Built on such a bare and small Rock, when so many large and pleasant Isles were near unto it.

The three Iron-Cannons formerly mentioned now lying in the Citadale of Lerwick, being rusted by the Sea,Cannons discharge them­selves. wherein they had lien for 80. Years; The Inhabi­tants of Lerwick to take of the rust, and so fit them for their use, about 9 Years ago did set a heap of Pites about them, which they puting Fire unto, the Guns so soon as they were warmed and hot, did all discharge themselves to the great surprisal of the Spectatours [Page 110] and the Balls as some observed, went half over Brassa Sound. Which deserveth some remark, that the Powder all that time should retain its Elastick Force, th [...] water if at all, yet not so insinuating if self with th [...] Powder, as to wash it away, or much diminish it [...] vertue. These who were Eye witnesses gave me this Relation.

Fishes and Cattel [...]ittle or no [...]iver.It is observable that the former Year 1699 the Fishes had little or no Liver, but something black i [...] lieu thereof, which was a great loss to the Fishers, they making their Oyl of those Livers, As also the Oxen Sheep, Swine, &c. had little or no Fat on their Livers which useth not to be, there being a kind of Con­sumption upon the Livers of Creatures both by Sea and Land; which mindeth me of Rom. 8.22. Man's sins making the Creation to groan, and earnestly long as with an uplifted head, for a deliverance, So that it the Creatures could speak with Balaam's Ass, they would reprove the madness and sin of Man.

In Vaila no Cat will live.There is a little Isle on the West side of Waes called Vaila, wherein there is no Cat, neither will any stay tho brought in, as hath been done for trial, but will quickly be gone, they either dying, or betaking them­selves to Sea, they endeavour to sweem to the next Isle: Yet about 50. Years ago there was one seen upon this Isle, about that time when a Gentleman the Proprietor thereof was Tormented and put to death by the Witches, but never any were seen since, save what were brought in for trial, as now said. The reason of this I could not learn from the Ministers, who gave the Information, it is like because of the Air, or the smell of something upon the Isle, tho not per­ceivable by the Inhabitants, which agreeth not with the Temper and Constitution of these Animals.

[...]nop of [...]ebister [...]here a [...]arlet or [...]izard [...]ed.About a Mile from Tingwal to the North, there is a Hill called the Knop of Kebister or Luggies Know, nigh to which Hill there is a House called Kebister, where a Varlet or Wizard lived, comonly designed [Page 111] Luggie, concerning whom it was reported that when the Sea was so Tempestuous, that the Boats durst not go off to the Fishing, he used to go to that Hill or Know, wherein a hole, into which he let down his Lines and took up any Fish he pleased, as a Cod or Ling &c. which no other could do but himself: Also when Fishing at Sea, he would at his pleasure take up any rosted Fish with his Line, with the Intrals or Guts out of it, and so ready for his use: This was certainly done by the Agency of evil Spirits, with whom he was in Compact and Covenant, but the OEconomy of the Kingdom of Darkness is very wonderful and little known to us. He being convicted of Witch­craft was burnt nigh to Scalloway.

As for Witches I did not [...]ear much of them,Concern­ing witch­es. as if they abounded more in this, than other Countries, tho I make no question, but that there are many such here thus deluded by the Devil: There is not then such ground for what is so commonly talkt by many with us anent their Devilry, which might have affrighted us if given heed unto, as if it were dangerous going or living there; Tho it is said here, there are many of this Hellish Stamp in Island, Lapland, and other places to the North of Zetland, which may occasion the mistake.

We said before that there were but few Rats,Concern­ing Rats and Mice. and that only in some of the Isles, and thought to come out of Ships; but that they had Mice in aboundance; yet in the Isles of Burra and Ha [...]kashy no Mice are to be found, yea if they take some dust or Earth out of these Isles to other places where they are, they will forsake such places, where the dust is laid.When Rats leave the Ships it is lookt upon by Mariners as fatal to these Ships. It may be for the like reason, why no Cats can or will live in Ʋaila.

Sometimes when the Ships are lying nigh Land, the Rats will come ashore, which when any of the Hol­landers or others see, they look upon it as Fatal to the Ship out of which they come, portending that her end [Page 112] some way or other will shortly approach; And likewise it is observed that these Rats will not live abo [...] 3 or 4 Years in that Land to which they come. So [...] of our Seamen tell us of the like as to their Ships; is talkt also that these Creatures will leave Houses, b [...] fore any dismal accident befal them. What grou [...] there is either for the one or the other I know not, b [...] if true it will be hard, I suppose, to give the reas [...] thereof.

Evil SpiritsNot above 40 or 50 Years ago, almost every Family had a Brouny or evil Spirit so called, which serve [...] them, to whom they gave a Sacrifice for his Service [...] as when they Churned their Milk, they took a pa [...] thereof and sprinckled every corner of the House wit [...] it for Brounies use, likewise when they Brewed, the [...] had a stone which they called Brounies Stone, where [...] there was a little hole, into which they poured som [...] Wort for a Sacrifice to Brouny. My Informer a Minister in the Country told me, that he had converse [...] with an old Man, who when young used to Brew, an [...] sometimes read upon his Bible, to whom an old Woman in the House said, that Brouny was displeased with that Book he read upon, which if he continued to do they would get no more service of Brouny; But h [...] being better instructed from that Book, which wa [...] Brounies Eye-sore and the object of his wrath, when he Brewed, he would not suffer any Sacrifice to be given to Brouny, whereupon the 1st. and 2d. Brewings were spilt and for no use, tho the Wort wrought well yet in a little time it left off working and grew cold▪ but of the 3d Browst or Brewing he had Ale very good, tho he would not give any Sacrifice to Brouny▪ with whom afterwards they were no more troubled I had also from the same Informer, that a Lady in Ʋn [...] now deceased told him, that when she first took up [...] House, she refused to give a Sacrifice to Brouny upon which the 1st. and 2d. Brewings misgave likewise but the 3d. was good; and Browny not being re­garded [Page 113] nor rewarded, as formerly he had been, aban [...]ed his wonted service. Which cleareth that Scrip­ [...]re Resist the Devil and he will flee from you. Ja. 4.7. They also had [...]acks of Corn, which they called Brounies Stacks, which [...]o they were not bound with straw-ropes, or any way [...]need, as other Stacks use to be, yet the greatest storm [...] Wind was not able to blow any straw off them.

Now I do not hear of any such appearances the Devil makes in these sles,Evil Spirits not now so frequently seen as for­merly. so great and and many are [...]e blessings which attend a Gospel dispensation: The [...]ounies▪ Fairies and other evil Spirits that haunted [...] were familiar in our Houses, were dismissed, and [...]ed at the breaking up of our Reformation (if we [...]ay except but a few places not yet well reformed [...]om Popish Dregs) as the Heathen Oracles were sil­ [...]ced at the coming of our LORD, and the going [...]rth of his Apostles; so that our first noble Reformers [...]ight have returned and said to their Master,Lu: 10.17. as the 70 [...]ce did; Lord even the Devils are subject to us through [...]y Name. And tho this restraint put upon the Devil [...]as far latter in these Northern places then with us, to [...]hom the Light of a Preached Gospel, did more early [...]ine, yet now also do these Northern Isles enjoy the [...]uits of this restraint.The ap­pearance, of an old Man in the Water.

About two Years and an half or three Years ago, [...]ere was a Boat passing with several Gentlemen of the Countrey in it, and by the way in the Voe of Quarf, through which they went, [...]here appeared something [...]nto them with its Head above the Water, which as [...]hey could discern, had the Face of an old Man, with [...] long Beard hanging down; first it appeared at some [...]istance from them, and then coming nearer to their [...]o [...]t, they had a clear sight of it; The sight was [...] very strange and affrighting, that all in the Boat were very desirous to be on Land, tho the Day was fair [...]nd the Sea calm; a Gentleman declaring, as a Mini­ [...]ter in Company with them, and saw this sight in­ [...]ormed me,) that he never saw the like, tho he had tra­ [...]elled through many Seas.

[Page 114] And of a Woman.I heard another remarkable story like unto this, th [...] about 5 Years since, a Boat at the Fishing drew h [...] Lines, and one of them, as the Fishers thought, having some great Fish upon it, was with greater difficulty th [...] the rest raised from the Ground, but when raised came more easily to the furface of the Water upon which a Creature like a Woman presented it self at the side of the Boat, it had the Face, Arms Breasts, Shou [...] ders &c. Of a Woman, and long Hair hanging dot [...] the Back, but the nether part from below the Breast was beneath the Water, so that they could not understand the shape thereof: The two Fishers who were the Boat being surprized at this strange sight, one [...] them unadvisedly drew a Knife, and thurst it into h [...] Breast, whereupon she cryed, as they judged, Al [...] and the Hook giving way she fell backward and w [...] no more seen: The Hook being big went in at h [...] Chin and out at the upper Lip. The Man who thr [...] the Knife into her is now dead, and, as was observed never prospered after this, but was still haunted by an evil Spirit, in the appearance of an old Man, who, [...] he thought, used to say unto him, Will ye do such a thing who Killed the Woman; the other Man then in the Bo [...] is yet alive in the Isle of Burra. This a Gentleman and his Lady told me, who said they had it from the Baillie of that place to which the Boat did belong: [...] being so strange I enquired at severals thereane [...] which tho, many were ignorant of, yet some said that they had heard thereof, and judged it to be very tru [...]

Creatures in the like­ene [...] of Men fre­quently seen at Sea.That there are Sea-Creatures having the likeness [...] Men and Women seems to be generally acknowledge [...] by all who have enquired thereunto, they having found it confirmed by the teffimony of many in sever [...] Countreys, as their Histories do bear. Hence are a [...] counts given of those Sea Monsters, the Meermen an [...] Meermaids, which have not only been seen but apprehended and keept for some time. And hence probably the fiction of the Poets concerning the Sirenes, ha [...] [Page 115] had its rise; these enchanting Songsters, translated [...]eermaids by our Lexicographers, whose snare Ulysses [...] happily escaped.

They tell us that several such Creatures do appear to fishers at Sea, particularly such as they call Sea-Trowers, Several such Crea­tures ap­pear to Fi­shers at Sea as Sea Trowes [...]eat rolling Creatures, tumbling in the Waters, which [...] they come among their nets, they break them, and sometimes takes them away with them; if the Fishers [...]e them before they come near, they endeavour to [...]eep them off with their Oars or long Staves, and if [...]ey can get them beaten therewith, they will endea­vour to do it: The Fishers both in Orkney and Zetland [...]e affraid when they see them, which panick fear of [...]eir's makes them think and sometimes say, that it is [...]e Devil in the shape of such Creatures, whether it be [...] or not as they apprehend, I cannot determine. [...]owever it seems to be more then probable, that [...]il Spirits frequent both Sea and Land.

A Gentleman in the Parish of Dunressness told one [...] the Ministers in this Countrey,Fresh Cockles got on the Land. that about 5 Years [...]nce a Plough in this Parish did cast up fresh Cockles, to the place where the Plough was going, was three [...]arters of a Mile from the Sea; which Cockles the [...]entlemen saw made ready and eaten. How these [...]ell Fishes came there, and should be fed at such a [...]stance from their ordinary Element I cannot know, if they have not been cast upon Land by a violent Storm, such of the Ground of this Parish, especially what [...]ey Labour lying very low, and the Sea hath been observed in such Storms both, to cast out Stones and [...]ishes; Or if these Cockels have been found in some [...]ep Furrow, from which to the Sea there hath been [...] conveyance by some small stream, upon which the [...]a hath flowed in stream Tides, especially when there [...] also some storm blowing. If only Shells were found, [...]ch as of Oysters and the like, the marvel would not [...]e great, seeing such are found upon the tops of high [...]ountains, at a greater distance from the Sea, which [Page 116] in all probability have been there since the Unive [...] deluge; but that any Shell-Fish should be found some distance from the Sea and fit for use, is son what wonderful and astonishing.

A Tortoise found in the Sand.Tho no Tortoises use to be found in all these North­ern Seas, yet in Ʋ [...]te-Firth in the Parish of North [...] there was one found alive upon the sand in an ebb t [...] Shell of it was given me as a present by a Gentlem [...] of the Countrey, it is about a Foot length, and a lar [...] half Foot in Breadth. The Inhabitants thought [...] strange, never any such having been found in these [...] formerly, which ever they came to the knowledge [...] that they could not imagine what to make of it, son saying that it hath fallen out of some East-India Ship [...]a [...] ing alongst by the Coasts, which looks not so probably.

There is a pl [...]ce in this Countrey called the Neip [...] the Parish of Neston looking to the East Sea,The Parson of Or­phir killed. where th [...] Parson of Orphir in Orkney was Killed; the story is thi [...] Patrick Stewart Earl of Orkney, as hath been said, w [...] a great Oppressour, enacting several severe and cru [...] Acts, whereof complaint was made to King James [...] And as it is reported some Zetlanders went to the King with their Skin-Coats, laying the oppressed condition of their Countrey before him, wherewith the King was moved, yet altho, not only the Earls Honour and Reputation withall was much stained, and unde [...] a cloud by reason of his cruel and oppressive wayes but his person was hated and abhored by the People whose Superiour he was, the Parson of Orphir d [...] Zealously stand in the Earls defence, notwithstanding whereof the Indignation and kindled wrath of the ex [...] asperated People against the Earl increasing, the Parson was forced to flee to Zetland for his safety, upon which the People of Orkney not quieted, some of them pursued him thither, they say the Pursuers were 4. Bre­thern of the name of Sinclar, who coming to the Nei [...] where the Parson had his ordinary residence, they ap­prehended and dewitted him, one of the Brethren tak­ing [Page 117] a sop of his heart-blood; As for the Earl, being first emprisoned at Dumbartoun, he was thence brought to Edinburgh, where he was Beheaded. Anno 1614, for Treason and Oppression.

There are also in this Countrey, as well as in Ork­ney many Eagles which destroy their Lambs, Fowls,Concern­ing Eagles. &c. For the preventing of which, some when they [...]ee the Eagles catching or fleeing away with their prey, [...]se a Charm, by taking a string whereon they cast some knots, and repeats a form of words, which be­ing done the Eagle lets her prey fall, tho at a great distance from the Charmer, an instance of which I had [...]rom a Minister, who told me, that about a Month before we came to Zetland, there was an Eagle that [...]ew up with a Cock at Scalloway, which one of these Charmers seeing, presently took a string, (his garter as was supposed,) and casting some knots thereupon with the using the ordinary words, the Eagle did let the Cock fall into the Sea, which was recovered by a Boat that went out for that end.

They tell a pleasant story of an Eagle and a Turbot. About 6 Years since an Eagle fell doun on a Turbot sleeping on the surface of the Water;Concern­ing an Eagle and a Turbot. on the East side of Brassa, and having fastned his Claws in her, he at­tempted to flee up, but the Turbot awakning and be­ing too heavy for him to flee up, with endeavoured to [...]raw him down beneath the Water, thus they strugled for [...]ome time, the Eagle labouring to go up, and the Turbot to go down till a Boat that was near to them, and beheld the sport took them both, selling the Eagle to the Hollanders [...]hen in the Countrey. For they say when the Eagle hath [...]astned his Clawes in any Creature, he cannot loose them this pleasure, but useth to eat them out, so that the prey sometimes cometh to be a snare to this Rapacious Fowl.

On the West-side of the Mainland,A Holm frequented by Sea Fowls. there is a Holm belonging to a Gentleman in the Parish of Northerne van, [...] much frequented by Fowl, that when sometimes they go in to it in the Summer season, Fowls of several [Page 118] kinds will flee so thick above their Heads, that th [...] will cloud the very Air, yet therein there are few [...] none, during the Winter, but in February they use [...] begin to come by pairs, and for two or 3 Dayes aft [...] they first come, they will sit so close, that almost they m [...] be taken hold of, which is imputed to their being wearied after a long flight from some far Countrey▪ The Proprietour of this Holm may almost every Day in Summer take a Basket full of Eggs out of it, and they scarcely be missed, for it is so well furnished, th [...] none almost can set doun a Foot for young Fowls [...] Eggs, which are very serviceable to this Gentleman [...] House, and the Countrey about.

Noss of Brassa high.To the East of Brassa is an Isle called the Noss Brassa, wherein a ragged Rock looking to South East the highest in all this Countrey, serviceable to Mariners for directing their course when Sailling to the West from Eastern Countreys, some Gentlemen told [...] that they verily think from the surface of the Water to the top of the Rock, it will be 300 Fathoms, upon which a great many Fowls have their Nett [...] whose Eggs they take in the Summer time, as also some of the Fowls, by letting a Man doun from the to [...] of the Rock by a Rope Tied about his middle: Before this Isle lyeth a Rock Raggie On all sides, about 100 Fathomshigh from the surface of the Water, but b [...] reason of its Raggedness and Declivity, and its being surrounded with Sea on all handes, it is scarce possible t [...] climb it.A Holm, dying be­fore it, where Fowls nu­merous. Yet the Owners of the Isle being desirous, to be a [...] the Fowls and Eggs numerous upon it, about 10 [...] Years since there was a Man for the hire of a Co [...] undertook to climb the lesser Rock, and to fasten [...] Pales or Stakes thereupon, which he accordingly did, bu [...] in the cominng down, he fell into the Sea and Perished

The way how they get into this Holm, Remark­able.The way how they get into this lesser rock is observable, which is thus; opposite to the two Stakes o [...] the lesser, there are also Stakes fastened on the highe [...] Rock, it being but 16. fathoms over between the [Page 119] Rocks; to which Stakes, ropes are fastned, reaching from Rock to Rock, the Ropes they put through the [...]oles of an Engine called a Craddle; all which being so prepared, a Man getteth into the Cradle, and warpeth himself over from the Noss or the greater Rock to the [...]ffer; and so having made a good purchase of Eggs and [...]owls bought at the expence of the danger of his life, [...] returns the same way he went: These Ropes hang [...]ot on all Winter, but in the Summer time, in the Month of June ordinarily, when the Day is calm, they [...]st the Ropes from the greater to the lesser Rock; Which so they do, they have 1st. some small Rope or [...]ordage, to which there is a stone fastned, and they [...]eeping both the ends of this small Rope in their [...]ands, an able Man throweth the stone into the lesser [...]ock, and when casten over the stakes, they heave or [...]ft up this small Rope with a long Pole, that so the [...]ought of the Rope may be gotten about the stakes; which being done they draw to them the small rope [...]ll a greater tied to it be brought about also, [...] and so [...]oth ends of the greater Rope they secure by the stakes [...]n the top of the Noss,Industriae nihil Im­possibile Nil tam difficile est quod non solertia vincat. on which strong and greater [...]ope the Cradle being put, it runneth from Rock to [...]ock: Easily a Man in the Cradle goeth from the Noss [...] the Holm or Rock, by reason of its descent, but with greater difficulty do they return, therefore there is a [...]mall Rope tied to the Cradle, whereby Men on the [...]loss help to draw them back. I do not hear that any there such another Cradle is to be found; How many [...]re the Inventions which Man hath found out.

This Holm is much frequented by Fowls more than [...]ny other place on the East side of Zetland, This Holm frequented by Fowls. as the [...]ther Holm of North-Mevan is on the West side; the [...]owls have their Nests on the Holms in a very beau­tiful order, all set in raws in the form of a Dove-coat, and [...]ch kind or sort do Nestle by themselves; as the Scarfs [...]y themselves, so the Cetywaicks, Tominories, Mawes [...]c. There is a Fowl there called the Scutiallan, of a [Page 120] black colour, and as big as a Wild Duck, which do [...] live upon the Vomit and Excrements of other Fow [...] whom they pursue and having apprehended them, th [...] cause them Vomit up what meat they have lately take not yet digested: The Lords Works both of Natu [...] and of Grace are wonderful, all speaking forth H [...] Glorious Goodness, Wisdom and Power.

Concern­ing the dangers the Inha­bitants un­dergo.Remarkable are the Dangers, which many in the Isles do undergo in climbing the Rocks for Fowls a [...] Eggs, especially in Foula, where the Inhabitants in the Summer time do most live by this kind of Provision and are judged to be the best climbers of Rocks in a [...] this Country, for some of them will fasten a Stake o [...] Knife, as some say, in the ground on the top of the Rock, to which they ty a small Rope or Cord, and [...] they will come down the face of the Rock with th [...] in their hand 60 70. or 80. Fathoms, and do return bringing up Eggs and Fowls with them; but indeed very many of them lose their lives this way; ye [...] it is observed that few old Men are to be seen ther [...] they being so cut off before they arrive at old Age [...] Many of them are weary of the dangers and hazard [...] they daily incur, yet neither will they leave the place nor give over these perilous attempts, all the sad instances of their Friends and Neighbours Perishing an [...] death cannot have this influence to deter and affrigh [...] them from undergoing the like hazards:Labor om­nia vincet Improbus & duris urgens in rebus Eges­tas. Virg. At so sma [...] a rate do they value their lives, that for a few Fow [...] and Eggs they will endanger them, whereas they might have as good and a much safer living elsewher [...] As this sheweth both their Folly and their Sin,Impiger extremos currit Mercator ad Indos, per Ma [...]e pauperiem fugiens per laxa per Ignes. [...] what fatigue and danger Men will expose themselves t [...] for the avoiding Poverty and Straits, for the upholding this Clayie Tabernacle, which ere long will mould [...] into the dust, and often not so much for the satisfying the necessary cravings of Nature, as the superfluous an [...] insatiable desires of our Lusts. Sometimes one Ma [...] will stand on the top of the Rock holding the end [...] [Page 121] the Rope in his hand, and another will go down, [...]hich neither is without danger, as they tell us of one [...]o thus holding his Neighbour did let the rope slip, [...]d down fell the Climber into the Sea, but providen­ [...]ly there being a Boat near by, they got hold of him, [...]d took him in, and so came home before his Neigh­bour, who judged him to have perished: The other [...]an at length came home with great Sorrow and Greif [...]grating the Death of his Neighbour, but he hearing [...] he was already come home, was not a little con­ [...]unded and astonished at the report until that at [...]eeting the Man in danger narrated the manner of his [...]eliverance, which afforded unto them both, great [...]atter of refreshment and joy.

In all this Country there are only three Towred Churches, (i e.) Churches with Towers on them,Three towred Churches. to [...]t T [...]ngwal on the Mainland, the Church of Burra on [...]e Isle of Burra, and the Church of Ireland a Promon­ [...]y belonging to the Main, f [...]om the top of one of [...]hich Towers you can see another; Built they say, by [...]ree Sisters, who from their several Towers could [...]ve advertisement to one another.

The Church of Tingwal standeth on a Valley be­tween two Hills lying East and West,A Holm called the Law-Ting and is about the [...]ddle of the Mainland. It was in this Parish in a [...]all Holm, within a Lake high to this Church, there the Principal Feud or Judge of the Country; [...]el to fit and give Judgment, hence the Holm to this [...]ay is called the Law-Ting (from which probably the [...]arish of Tingwal had its name) we go into this Holm [...] steping stones, where three or four great Stones [...]e to be seen, upon which the Judge, Clerk and other Officers of the Court did sit: All the Country concerned to be there stood at some distance from the [...]olm on the side of the Loch, and when any of their [...]auses was to be Judged or Determined, or the judge [...]ound it necessary that any Person should compear be­fore him, he was called upon by the Officer, and went [Page 122] in by these steping stones, who when heard, retur [...] the same way he came: And tho now this place be [...] the Seat of Judgement, there is yet something am [...] them to this day, which keepeth up the Memory their old Practice, for at every end of the Loch th [...] is a House, upon whose Grass the Country Men co [...] ing to the Court did leave their Horses, and by rea [...] the Masters of these Houses did suffer a loss this w [...] they were declared to be Scat-free, hence at this pres [...] time, two places in the Parish of Sanfling do pay S [...] for the one, and Coningsburg in Dunrossness for t [...] other: Scat is a kind of Rent or Due, which is Yea payed to the King or his Taxmen; by the Gentlem [...] and several others in the Country. This Court thought to have been keeped by the Danes, when th [...] were in the Possession of the Country. They also [...] port that when any Person received Sentence of Dea [...] upon the Holm, if afterwards he could make his esca [...] through the crowd of People standing on the side the Loch, without being apprehended, and touch [...] Steeple of the Church of Tingwal, the Sentence of Dea [...] was Retrieved and the Condemned obtained an Inde [...] nity: For this Steeple in these days was held as Asyl for Malefactours, Debitors Charged by their C [...] ditors &c. to flee into.

An obelisk between Tingwal and Scallo­way.In the way between Tingwal and Scalloway, there an high Stone standing in form of an Obelisk as so [...] Ancient Monument, concerning which the People ha [...] various Traditions, some saying that in the Strath Tingwal, where this Stone is erected, there was a Bloo [...] Fight between the Danes and the old Inhabitants Natives of this Country, and that the Norvegian Danish General was killed in this place, where t [...] Stone is set up. Others report that one of the Ea [...] of Orkney, had a profligate and prodigal Son, who [...] this cause being animadverted upon by his Father, fl [...] to Zetland, and there built a Castle or a strong Ho [...] for himself within a Loch at Stroma, within two Mi [...] [Page 123] Tingwal to the West, the ruines whereof are yet be seen: His Father not being satisfied with his [...]ape, and the way he took for his Defence, sent from [...]kney 4. or 5. Men to pursue him, to whom he gave [...]ders that they should bring his Son to him, either [...]d or alive: The Son thereupon not finding him­ [...] safe enough in his Castle, made his escape from [...] Castle, where the Pursuers lay in Ambush, but was [...]ertaken by them in the Strath of Tingwal and killed [...]re, whereupon this Monument was erected. The [...]rsuers took off his head, and carried it with them to [...] Father, but in so doing they were so far from gra­ [...]ying of him, that he caused them all to be put to [...] Death, notwithstanding of the orders given by [...]

There is in the Parish of Tingwal a little off the way [...] we go from Lerwick to Scalloway, Concern­ing a Spring. a Fountain or [...]ing of very pure and pleasant Water, which run­ [...] through a great Stone in the Rock by the passage of [...]ound hole, which if you stop, the Water forceth its [...]y through the pores of the Stone in other places, [...] Stone it seems being very porous and spungy.

One of the Ministers told us of a Monster born the [...] Year in the Parish of Neston, about 9 or 10.Monsters born. [...]les from Lerwick, That one day when he was com­ [...]g to the Presbytry, and standing at the Ferry-side [...]er which he was to pass, two Women came to him [...]quainting him with fear and greif, that their Neigh­ [...]ur near by, had been Travelling in Child-Birth under [...]d Labour for 3. days past, and had brought forth Monster, which had upon its Forehead like a Pirwig [...] Flesh and Hair, raised and towered up, and by [...]e sides of the head, there were like wires of Flesh [...]ming down: Moreover it had two raws of Teeth, [...]th a Mouth like a Rabbet, destitute of Arms and [...]gs; After the Birth there was some life in it, and [...] moved a little, but lived not long; the Women [...]isting at the Birth for a time were affraid to touch it, [Page 124] it being such a strange and formidable sight. T [...] Minister desired to see it, but it was Buried before came. The same Woman also formerly had brou [...] forth two Monsters, the first whereof was a con [...] and undigested [...]mp of Flesh; and the second ha [...] Mouth in its Breast.

We enquired concerning the Woman, and they t [...] us that they knew nothing of Scandal they could la [...] her Charge, but that she had lived soberly all her li [...] only one of the Ministers informed us, that after had brought forth the first Mon [...]ter, he heard that a Years time thereafter, she used to go bare footed the Church of Wisdale every Lord's Day, and p [...] there according to the Vow she had made after Birth, thinking thereby, that this might Atone what was past, and prevent the like for the Future, this be true, God hath judicially punished her, Conceiving and Bringing forth the two follow Monsters, each more wonderful and preternatural t [...] the other.

God's judgments on Adul­terers.Several Adulteries came before the Commission atte [...] ed with heinous aggravating Circumstances. One [...] stance we had very remarkable of one James Mo [...] in the Parish of North Mevan who had been lying Adultery with one Clara Tutloch, his Wi [...]e being d [...] not many Years since. Between which Mowa [...] Tulloch; there were several Children Procreated, [...] were all Idiots and Fools, so that they could not k [...] themselves either from Fire or Water, or put t [...] meat in their Mouths, tho there be one of them of Years, and others of them tho younger, yet come some considerable Age. Which sheweth the mani [...] Judgment of God against Adulterers, he often or [...] ing his Providential Dispensations so towards the [...] that they may read their Sin in their Punishment, this wretched Man was forced by the power of his so convinced Conscience to confess before the Presbyt [...] That he was sensible the Judgments of God were p [...] suing [Page 125] him, whereof he gave the said sad Instance, as [...]et to be seen from the Presbyteries Records. Another Adulterer also did Compeir before us, who did con­tinue in the Commission of this his Sin for many Years, [...]nd doth bear in his Face the shameful reproof there­of, and the just marks of the Lords Indignation against him for the same. It is a very sad thing for any to be pining away both in Judgments and Sins.

A Minister here told me a passage not to be passed without a Remark of God's Righteous Judgment and Holiness.Another instance of God's judgments on Adul­terers. A certain Woman in his Parish about 10 Years since fell into Adultery with an old Married Man, he to cover his Villany, advised her to give way to another young Mans sinning with her, who then was [...]n suit of her and frequented her Company, that so if there were a Child, she might Father it upon this young and unmarried Man; Accordingly as was ad­vised it fell out, the young Man sinned with her, and she being found with Child, is summoned to compeir before the Session, who having interrogated her con­cerning her Uncleanness, and who was the Father of the Child, she answered that she never knew or had Carnal Dealing with any, save such a young Man. But this covering could not serve the turn in palliating their Filthiness, God in His Wise Providence so order­ing it, that tho there was the Interval of 5 Months between the old and the young Mans sinning with her yet when the time of her delivery came, she first brought forth a perfect Child of 9 Months, and the day after another imperfect of 4 Months, according to the several times of the old Man, and the young Mans sining with her. She being convinced that this was of the Lord, and that she could not hide her sins from God, tho she sought to do it from Men, she in­genuously acknowledged her Guilt with both, and for the Scandal is now giving Satisfaction in the Parish of Ʋnst.

[Page 126] Another instance.We had also the Lamentable Account of the Tragical end of one Mr. Gilbert Hendry Adulterer, in repute, for his acuteness of wit and the many excellen [...] Poems he composed: He being a married Man had carnal converse with another Woman, at which his Friends and Welwishers being greatly concerned, one o [...] them laid hold of an oppertunity to accost and set upo [...] him, earnestly intreating he might break off his unclea [...] and debauched converse with that Woman holding ou [...] unto him his sin and Misery, and using what Arguments he thought might prevail for that end, but h [...] gave a deaf ear unto all that was said, and by no mean would be disswaded from haunting her Company, ye [...] in contempt of the admonition and reproof, made as [...] he were going to that Womans House the same night and so parting from his freind, went in the evening to Water or Loch side, where he walked for some tim [...] alone, and then appeared a Man in company with him all in black, and thus they contiuned walking together till Night, as the People observing did Judge, and the next Morning this miserable wretch was found dea [...] with his brains dashed out (tho there were no stone near to that place where he lay) on a Hill side at a little distance from the Water, his head and shoulders lying dounward to the descent of the Hill, his brains wen [...] scattered, and the ground about him was all troden, a [...] if there had been (saith my Informer,) 20 Men and Horses for 24, hours upon the Spot. It is not many Year since this fell out. So bad a recompense doth the Devi [...] give his Vassals and Slaves for their service, for Whoremongers and Adulterers God will Judge, which Judgment often he beginneth to inflict in this life, for the punish­ment of the guilty, and the terrour of all, and to shew that he is of purer eyes then that he can behold such horrid Iniquity;Observe on the Spa­nish Ar­mado. tho the pouring out of the full vials of his Wrath he reserveth for the future, where their worm shall not die, nor the fire for ever be quenched.

The signal defeat and overthrow of the Spanish Ar­mado [Page 127] that supposed and commonly (tho arrogantly) cal­ [...]ed Invincible Navy Anno 1588. is famous in History, which was especially caused by stormy Winds and Tem­ [...]ests, some thereby sinking at Sea, others spleeting upon [...]he Coasts both of England and France and especially upon the North of Scotland, Orkney and Zetland; and the [...] Isle had the honour of the Duke of Median's being [...]iven ashore upon it, under whose conduct this Navy [...]as, who after his Shipwrack came over to Dunross­ [...]ess in Zetland, as an old Gentlewoman Informed me; [...]f whom she heard the Countrey People who saw him, [...]equently speak, when she was a Child; So the Lord [...]ispersed and broke this huge and formidable Navy [...]t of an hundred and thirty ships which set out from [...]ain with Provision, Ammunition, and other furniture exceeding great, scarce 30. returned; The God of Land [...]d Sea heard and answered the Prayers of his People [...] Britain, the Curse of God pursuing that hellish enter­ [...]rise notwithstanding of the Infallible Popish benedict­ [...]n on that Invincible Armado; for as our Historian [...]lderwood observeth, "The rumour of the great Spa­nish Armado being blazed abroad,Cald. Hist. on Anno 1588. fervent were the Prayers of the Godly in Scotland, powerful and peir­cing were the Sermons of Preachers, especially in the time of Fast, whereupon the Lord uttered his voice [...]gainst his and his Churches enemies, by terrible things [...] Righteousness; Our Coasts upon which many of that [...]leet were cast away, and some of the Persons in it beg­ed from door to door, proclaiming aloud the Glory of [...]s Justice and Power.

There are no Weasels in all the Northern Isles of Zet­ [...]and, as I am informed, tho numerous in the Mainland,No Wea­sels for­merly, but now nu­merous on the Main­land. which they report thus came to pass: The Falconer [...]iving a Power given him, to get a Hen out of every [...]ouse, once in the Year; but one Year they refusing, [...] not being so willing to give, The Falconer out of [...]evenge, brought the next Year two Weasels with [...]m, which did generate and spread, so that now they [Page 128] are become very destructive to several goods of t [...] Inhabitants, whereof a Gentleman our Informer, to us he had killed severals half an Ell long.

CHAP. IX. The Fish-Trade is most considerable, in Z [...] land.

Observes on their Fishtrade.OF all the things remarkable in Zetland, their F [...] Trade is the most considerable, wherefore I ha [...] chosen to speak of it by it sel [...]. Which I shall labo [...] to do, by shewing what Fishing they have in these Se [...] and what Fishes they do most abound in, and have ple [...] ty of; And then hold out who are these who Trade, a [...] what advantages do accrue thereby unto the [...]n [...]a [...] tants, with some Reflections upon the whole.

The Fish­ing de­cayed be­side what formerly it hath been.The Fishing here is much decayed by what it wa [...] for now neither is there such a great number of Fish taken, nor so easily can they be had as formerly; [...] not above 40. or 30. Years since, the Fishers wo [...] have taken the great Fishes, such as Killen, Ling & in the Voes or Lochs, and that in great numbers, a [...] so were not necessitated to underly such danger a [...] toil, in going out to the Sea, but could have lien b [...] fore their oun doors, and drawen the Fishes, whi [...] certainly was more safe, easy, and convenient to the [...] in many Respects: Whereas now they are obliged [...] put out some Leagues unto the Sea, and so far oft [...] that they almost sink the Land, else they cannot [...]a [...] any Fishing, worth their expence and pains, whi [...] cannot but be very toilsome and dangerous, in case storm should arise and blow off the Land, and so p [...] them to Sea, with their little Boats or Yoals, not ab [...] to keep ong out against the violent and swelling wav [...] and so hath it fallen o [...]t unto some, who being toss [...] to and fro, whether tide and Wind did drive the [...] have never seen Land any more. And as it is dang [...] [...]s, [Page 129] so it is toilsome and costs them much labour, [...]ing often they ly some Nights and Days at Sea, and [...] come ashore.

The Fishing formerly being greater then what now [...]s, occasioned, they say,Notwith­standing their Fi­shing yet is great. some hundreds of mo Ships [...]sort Yearly unto this Countrey, then what now [...] to do when Fishes cannot be had for to serve them, [...] indeed neither now are the Fishes so sought after, [...]ometime they have been, when they could be easily [...], many being willing rather to stay at home and [...]ch what they can about the Coasts which ordinarily [...] but the smaller Fishes, then to undergo such hazards [...] toil in following the greater, which an Hamburgh­ [...]chant waiting for a lading complained to me of.

Altho when we institute the Comparison between [...] former and the latter times,Fishes taken in great numbers Anno 1700. their present Fishing [...]l appear to be but small, yet if we take it und [...]r [...]w as it is in it self without such a respect, we will find [...]o be very considerable: for tho in some Years it be [...]ater then in others yet every Year many trading [...]os are thereby laded; and this same Year 1700 the [...]ing is thought to be very good; an Instance whereof Merchant gave us, that in one Week in the Month [...] June, there were taken by some Boats belonging to [...] place, of Northmevan 4000, Ling, all which were [...]ught in for the Loadening of that Ship, wherein he [...] concerned. And another Gentleman added, that [...]e other Boats at a little distance from these, drew [...]ut 700. mo [...] but this was something exterordinary, [...] useth not often to fall out, that in one Week they [...]e such a number.

The Fishes that do most abound here are Killin,What Fishes abound here. [...]g &c. which being salted and dried Foreigners export [...]m to other Countreys; of these, as hath been said, [...]re is a great plenty, but are not ordinarily taken near [...] Land; as for Haddocks, Whitings and such lesser [...]ite Fishes, they care not so much for the seeking af­ [...] except what is for their oun use, for strangers use [Page 130] but seldom to buy them: And these greater Fishes th [...] get a greater quantity of in some places, then in othe [...] as off Dunrossness, Northmevan, Ʋnst, Yell, &c.

Herring numerous.Great shoals of Herring do sweem also in these Se [...] which are taken in the Summer season, especially the Month of July, and the beginning of August, sometimes then they will come within a Pennie-st [...] cast of the shore, and be sweeming so thick, and ta [...] so fast, that one Boat will call upon another, to co [...] and help them, and take a part of their Fishes; Th [...] Herrings taken here are reckoned to be very good [...] not among the best, that are taken upon the Isles [...] longing to the King of Britain's Dominions, and as n [...] said of the white Fish, so it is of the Herrings, they f [...] quent some places more then others, as off Brassa to t [...] East, and between Brassa and Whalsey or the Skerr [...] where the Bushes do commonly ly, within sight of [...] Land of Zetland. And whatever may be said of Gro [...] his Mare Commune or Liberum, yet it holds here, for a [...] have or take liberty to come and Fish in these se [...] without any way acknowledging that Soveraig [...] whereunto these Isles do belong.

So Silluks and Seths out of whose Livers good Oyl is got.There are likewise here a great many Grey Fis [...] taken, which they call Silluks and Seths, which [...] Judged to be the same kind of Fish, only the Seths▪ a greater and older Silluks; a thick and fat Fish, out of one liver of some Seths they will get a pint, our measure, of Oyl, with which Oyl the Inhabita [...] pay part of their Rents, and sells the rest unto M [...] chents. The Oyl they get after this Manner. They [...] the Liver into a Pot or Pan half full of Water, wh [...] when seething, the Oyl by the force of the fire or being Water, is drawn from the Liver, which so be [...] separated, and sweeming above, they take or scum [...] off, and puts in vessels for the use. These Seths are be had about all the Coasts, but more especially ab [...] Dunrossness, Delton and some other places. The [...] luks as hath been observed, are very numerous in O [...], [Page 131] but more rarely are the Seths to be had there, tho [...]e same kind of Fish: but in Zetland there is no scarci­ [...] of both.

Among the many other excellent Fishes which are [...]re for to be had, there are the Tusk a rare,Tusk a rare Fish. wholsome [...]d delicious Fish, no less pleasant to the taste, then [...]ey are to the eye, some of them are as big as Ling, [...]a broun and yellow colour, with a broad tail, when [...]aking ready for use they swell in the pan more then [...]y other Fish, when made ready their Fish is very [...]hite and clear, when new haled they are much [...]ore pleasant to eat then when salted and dryed, for [...]n I think they lose much of their Savour and Re­ [...]h; They begin to Fish for them about the end of May [...] beginning of June, and are taken to the East of the [...]e of Brassa, or between Brassa and Whalsey, opening to [...]e Coasts of Norway, and here only are they to be [...]und, and more rarely in other places, except off Dun­ [...]siness, where also sometimes they are got. The Fi­ [...]ers often go out about the beginning of the Week, [...]d not return, home till the end of it, and the further [...]ey go off to the Sea, they will get them the bigger, [...]d in greater numbers. They use to sell them to the [...]amburghers for 8. or 10 lib. Scots the 100. or six [...]ore, and some of them also are taken to other places, [...]here they are much desired by such as know them.

Those who commonly frequent this Countrey and [...]ade with the Inhabitants are Hamburghers, This Countrey frequen­ted by Hambur­gers, Bre­mers, &c. and some­ [...]mes Bremers and others, who come here ordinarily [...] the Month of May or about the beginning of June, [...]d in several places set up Booths or Shops, where [...]ey sell Liquours, as Beer, Brandie &c. and wheat­ [...]ead, as that which they call Cringel Bread, and the [...]ke, they also sell several sorts of Creme-Ware, as Li­ [...]n, Muslin &c. And these Merchants seek nothing [...]tter in Exchange for their Commodities, then to tru [...]k [...]ith the Countrey for their Fishes, which when the [...]shers engage to, the Merchants will give them ei­ther [Page 132] Money or Ware which they please, and so [...] Fishers going to Sea, what they take, they bring o [...] in the Week or oftener, as they have occasion, [...] layes them down at their Booth Door, or in any o [...] place where the Merchant appoints them to be [...] and they being there numbered, the Merchants acco [...] for them accordingly; these Fishes which are o [...]arly great white Fishes as Killen, Ling, and the like, Merchants or their Servants having dried they t [...] them Aboard of their Ships: Several such D [...] Booths are to be seen through the Isles, as 6 ord [...] arily in the Isle of Ʋnst, two in Yell &c.

Holland­ers also re­pair there unto for Herring-FishingThe Hollanders also repair to these Isles in J [...] as hath been said, for their Herring Fishing, but t [...] cannot be said so properly to Trade with the Count [...] as to Fish upon their Coasts, and they use to bring sorts of Provisions necessary with them, save s [...] fresh Victuals, as Sheep, Lambs, Hens, &c. Wh [...] they buy on shore: Stockins also are brought by [...] Countrey People from all quarters to Lerwick and s [...] to these Fishers, for sometimes many thousands of the [...] will be ashore at one time, and ordinary it is wi [...] them to buy Stokins to themselves, and some likew [...] do to their Wives and Children; which is very ber [...] [...]ial to the Inhabitans, for so Money is brought in the Countrey, there is a Vent for the Wooll and t [...] Poor are Employed, Stokins also are brought fro [...] Orkney, and sold there, whereby some gain accrues the Retailers, who wait the coming of the Dutch Fle [...] for a Market.

Much ad­vantage redound­eth to them from their Trade with the Hamburg­ers.But especially much advantage doth redound [...] them from their Trade with the Hamburgers, for b [...] sides that they are furnished by them with Provision what necessary what convenient, these Merchants brin [...] a considerable Sum of Money with them, so that [...] one of their Ministers told me, 7 Ships are ordinar [...] reckoned to have 3600. Dollars aboard, which the [...] leave behind them not only for Fishes, but also fo [...] [Page 133] several other things, which are the product of the Countrey, as Butter, Oyl &c. And if any please not to take their Commodities, they presently give them Mo­ney upon the receipt of the Goods. The Proprietors also or Masters of the Ground, upon which these Booths are Built, reap a considerable Gain, for some of them will get to Dollars per annum for the use of a House, in the Summer Season to be a Booth; and I think twice or thrice the Sum will Build them.

Upon the whole of this Chap. we may entertain these following Reflections, First.Some re­flections on this Chap. Hence we may observe, the P [...]wer, Wisdom, and Goodness of GOD; His POWER in that his Hands have made this great and wide Sea,Ps. 104.25. wherein are things creeping innumer­able; how many Millions of great and small Fishes are every Year taken, yet the next we expect to be served with as great a number; God giving these Creatures the Sea for their proper Habitation, and providing suit­able Provision for them in that Element, where neither Seed-time nor Harvest, yet all these wait upon Him,Psal. 104.27. and he giveth them their Meat in due Season. His WISDOM, in that wise and beautiful Order to be ob­served among these Brutal Creatures, the several kinds knowing their coming and their going time, and their loving to frequent one place of the Water more than mother, tho both under the same Climate; Their going forth all of them by Bands, tho they have no King, Overseer or Ruler, these Squammosae Cobortes, tho [...]ot governed by Principles of Reason, yet by their Na­tural Instinct being reasonably Acted, each to their proper ends for the Maintenance and Preservation of their several kinds, give occasion to reasonable Man to Acknowledge, Admire and Adore, the Infinite Wis­dom of his and their Maker. Here also the GOOD­NESS of GOD is to be observed in this, that all these [...]e given for the Service of Man, that not only our Tables should be Furnished with the Creatures that [...]reath in the same Element with us, but also with these [Page 134] that live in another, and seeing all these are, as it we Sacrificed for our use,Rom. 12.1. should we not Present our selv [...] Souls and Bodies living Sacrifices Holy and Acceptable u [...] God, which is our Reasonable Service. Seeing that G [...] hath made Man to have Dominion over the Beasts the Field, the Fowls of the Air, and the Fishes of t [...] Sea, should we not gratefully shew forth His Prai [...] and say with all the wise Observers of Providence,Psal. 8. Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy Name in all [...] Earth?

2. It is the Fishing only which makes this Countr [...] any way desirable, else it would be very unpleasant li [...] ing there,Hec Boeth. Hist. as Boeth. of old did observe, Quorum o [...] universae in piscibus sole arefactis, quas quotannis ad eos [...] cedentes Hollandi, Zelandi ac Germani aliarumque rer [...] vulgarium permutatione mercantur. Yea if we abstra [...] from their Fishing-Trade, in many places there cot [...] not be any living at all, they not having Fields eith [...] for Corn-Land or Grazing; but they Trading [...] Fishes with Foreign Merchants, who Import ma [...] Goods for the more comfortable living of the Countre [...] their coming in the Summer is very refreshful to all t [...] Inhabitants, the thoughts and expectation of which the Winter, doth not a little revive them, when th [...] shall enjoy some better Fare, than what their Countre [...] doth afford, when Hamburgh-Liquors and Commod [...] ties shall be brought to their Doors, which being e [...] pected and desired, may occasion sometimes their ta [...] ing of a larger Cup, they knowing that the Booths w [...] not always stand open.

3. It is to be observed, that still the further Nor [...] we go,Non om­nis fert omniae Tel­lus. the Fishes are to be had in greater aboundanc [...] in Zetland more than in Orkney, and in Island to th [...] North of Zetland, more than in either, the Inhabitan [...] there mostly living upon Fishes; And again we ma [...] nottice, as there is not such a plenty of Fishes in Orkn [...] as in Zetland, yet there is a greater of Corn; and [...] in Zetland there is more Corn, than in Island, for i [...] [Page 135] Island they have little if any Corn as the product of [...]heir Countrey, as some in Zetland did inform me, who [...]ave conversed with these that had been there: There­ [...]ore the Commonalty generally make use of dried [...]ishes beaten small in stead of Bread, as Boeth. [...]hinteth [...]t, Ʋltra Schethlandicas aliae quaedam Insulae, Boeth. Hist quae pisces [...]efactos ac sole induratos pistillo contundunt, mox admista quâ in pastillos componunt, atque ad focum torrent, qui illis [...]nis est. Which sheweth us the great Wisdom of God [...]n His Works of Providence, who bestoweth not all Blessings upon every Nation, but when He denyeth [...]r giveth less of one Blessing to one Nation or Coun­ [...]rey, He alloweth them more of another, which is also often observed with respect to particular Persons. This variety likewise sheweth the necessity and advan­ [...]age of one Nation or Kingdoms Trading with ano­ther.

4. The Fishing-Trade is very Lucrative and En­ [...]iching to these who closely follow it, it is commonly [...]aid, that it is the Fishing which first raised the Ne­ [...]herlands to that pitch of Grandure and Wealth, which [...]ow they have arrived at, hence some Historians call the Fishery, The Gold-Mine of Holland, and that by [...]heir Fishing especially in the British Seas. And if it were [...]ot so very Gainful what would make them every Year Equip such a numerous Fleet of several hund­reds, of Bushes, under the Guard and Protection of their Convoyes, but that they know the Zetland Seas makes their Mills to go, therefore they do so warmly pursue this Trade, and Encourage the U [...]dertakers thereof. And so it is with the Hamburgers and other Merchants especially in the Hans Towns, who Trading here during the Summer Season, return home in Au­gust or September, they not only with Fishes serving their Respective Cities, but by sending them also up the Countrey do make a good Market, which engageth and Encourageth them to return every Year and follow the same Trade.

[Page 136]5. The Consideration of this great Gain that dot [...] redound to the Trading Merchants, hath of late an [...] mated some Gentlemen and others in Zetland, t [...] enter into a Society or Company for Trading in Fishes that whereas Strangers make such a good hand wit [...] their Fishes, they may as well consult their own Profite and Gain, by Promoting of that Trade, whic [...] tendeth so much to the Enriching of others, especiall [...] seeing they can do it with far less Trouble and Expence when here at Home, where the Fishes are to b [...] had, which when taken and prepared may be s [...]n [...] Abroad for Sale to Foreign Markets, whereas th [...] Hamburgers and others which come here, are obliged to tarry from Home through the Summer, waiting for their Lading.

6. It hath been thought very strange by many that our own Fishing, for which we have so great and so inviting Advantages beyond others, should yet b [...] so much neglected by our selves, and left to the Improvement of Strangers who reap vast Gain from it▪ And as this deserves the consideration of the Government, so it might be expected that the late disappointment, in the Holy and Wise Providence, of this Na [...]ions Noble and Generous Attempt to have Settled [...] Foreign Plantation, for raising us from the Dunghil [...] of Contempt and Poverty, and Advancing our Wealth and Trade, will excite both these worthy Undertaker [...] and others to Employ their Stocks and Endeavours i [...] searching after and digging these Mines of the Ocean nearer Home and Profiting by these Blessings, which Providence has brought to our very Doors, especially since thereby not only would a number of able Seame [...] be Yearly Trained for the use and service of the Nation, and the Nation thereby put in a better Capacity for Undertaking and Supporting greater Projects o [...] Trade in the more remote parts of the World, bu [...] likewise many poor People would be Employed wh [...] are ready to Starve. And it is more reasonable w [...] [Page 137] should Fish in our own Seas, than for Strangers so to [...]; And I do greatly question, if the Hollanders, [...]mburgers or others, would so permit us to Fish in [...]y Seas so nigh to their Land, depending on their [...]veraignty, as we do them.

And for this end Shiping would be Encouraged [...] the Government, and Trading Merchants as the [...]llanders do, An Instance whereof we had when in [...]tland, a Holland Ship came into Brassa Sound from [...]sing about the Fair Isle, waiting for the East India [...]et, having in her Wine, Brandy, Victuals &c. for [...]ir use, that they might be Refreshed, before they [...]ived at their Port, and this the Trading Company [...]glect not ordinarily to do, which sheweth they are [...]at Encouragers of Trade. And for the Encourag­ [...] of Trade, Taxations imposed upon Shiping should [...] easy, especially now when the Trade is so low, [...]t many Merchants and Ship-Masters, after they [...]e hazarded their Lives and their All, do return [...]sers Home; For if otherwise no wonder that all [...]ncerned in Trade, be Dispirited and Discouraged in [...]empting any thing that is Noble, which might tend [...] the Nations Publick Good.

CHAP. X. Concerning Pightland Firth, the several Tides which meet there, the danger of Passage &c.

THE noise that Pightland Firth makes among many who only have heard thereof as being noted and [...]nous for its Danger to Passengers,Concern­ing Pight­land Firth. and the Causes [...]ich concur to render it so, awakened us more par­ [...]ularly to enquire concerning it, which we had op­ [...]rtunity to do, in our Return from Zetland by Ork­ney [Page 138] to Caithness. And therefore seeing we passed it in Voyage, I shall not altogether pass it in this Narrati [...] but communicate to the Inquisitive, what I kn [...] either from my own or others observation anent i [...]

Why so called.This Firth is commonly called Pictland, Pightland Penthland Firth, doubtless from the Picts whose Ki [...] dom of old Orkney was, divided by this Firth fr [...] the Continent of Scotland: Blaw in his Atlas or [...] graphy tells us of a certain Tradition, shewing how came first to be so Denominated, That the Picts o [...] time being Defeat by the Scots, who pursued Victory unto Caithness and Dungisby Head, where Vanquished Remnant so hotly Pursued not judg [...] themselves safe, were forced to take Boats and go o [...] the Firth to Orkney, but the Orkney Men conveen [...] upon the Alarm of their Landing, did so warmly [...] ceive them with a sharp Conflict, that the Picts w [...] obliged to Retire, and take themselves to their B [...] again, with which they going off, and not acquain [...] with the running of the Tides, they all Perish [...] upon which sad Catastrophe so Fatal to the Pictish [...] tion, this Firth ever since was called Pictland or Pi [...] land Firth. Buchanan calls it Penthland Firth, as it [...] commonly pronounced from one PENTHƲS, who this Penthus was, our Historian hath not b [...] pleased to impart unto us,Buch. Hist. l. 2. Nam Penthlandici montes fretum Penthlandicum a Pentho non a Picto composita vt possunt. Some Historians relate, That the Picts com [...] first out of Germany into Orkney, which they Inhabi [...] for a Season, thence they passed over to Caithness [...] other parts of the North of Scotland, so that he [...] this Firth is called Pictland Firth.

The Firth is commonly said to be 12 Miles bro [...] and I think they are but short,Its breadth and what Coasts it washeth. but this may be [...] bundantly compensed by the danger of the passag [...] it is bounded on the North by the Isles of Orkney, [...] on the South by Dungisby-head in Caithness, to West is the Deucaledonian Ocean, whence the Fl [...] [Page 139] comes; and to the East is the German Ocean, whence [...] Ebb runneth. The landing places are Burwick, [...] Southermost point of South-R [...]nal [...]sha in Orkney, [...]d Dungisby-head the northernmost in Caithness, John Grot [...] House. called [...]o John Grotts House, the Northermost House in [...]tland, the Man who now liveth in it and keepeth [...]nn there is called John Grot, who saith this House [...]h been in the possession of his Predecessours of that [...]e for some Hundreds of Years, which na [...]e of [...] is frequent in Caithness, Upon the Sand by John [...]ots House are found many small pleasant Buckies and [...]lls, beautified with diverse Colours, which some [...] to put upon a string as Beeds, and account much for their rarity. It is also observed of these shells,Varietates delectat. [...]t not one can be found altogether like another; And [...]on the review of the parcel I had, I discerned some [...]ference among them; which variety renders them [...] more beautiful.

In the Firth are the sles of Swinna, Stroma and Pightland- [...]rries. The Isles of Swinna, Pight­land Sker­ries and Stroma in the Firth. From Burwick to the West-North-West lyes [...]inna, one of the Isles of Orkney, a little sle where­ [...] are some Inhabitants, who have a good Fishing a­ [...]ut the Isle, but often with great danger, not only cause it is in Pightland-Firth, where many Tides do [...] ▪ but because of some dangerous Wells or Whirle­ [...]ols which are nigh unto it From Burwick about 5 [...] 6 Miles to South-East lyes Pightland Skerries, danger­ [...] to Seamen, these Skerries being in the mouth of [...] the Firth to the East, upon which both in Ebb and [...]od there goes a great Sea: therein is some good [...] [...]re, but not Inhabited, save sometimes in the Sum­ [...]er season. In the Firth also is the Isle of Stroma, little pleasant Isle, abounding with Corns, about a Mile [...]d an half long, and half a Mile broad, and tho it be in [...] Firth, yet it is not reckoned as one of the Isles of Orkney, because of its vicinity to Caithness, from which is but about 2 Miles dis [...]ant, and this is the only Isle [Page 140] which belongs unto Caithness, and is still under [...] Jurisdiction of the Lords of that Countrey.

Besides the Isles some Skerries.Besides the Isles there are also some Skerries, as [...] fore Burwick not half a Mile from Land there is o [...] seen at an Ebb, upon which about 3 Years ago w [...] cast away a Ship belonging to Aberdeen, and all [...] Men in her, as they say, were lost

Many Tides go here.Altho the Sea in this Firth floweth and ebbe twice in the 24 Hours, as it doth in other places, [...] there is a meeting of many Tides here, which runni [...] contrary one to another, cause that great rage and a [...] were a conflict of Waters, which is terrible to beho [...] and dangerous to engage with: What is the numb [...] of these Tides cannot well be con [...]escended upo [...] some say 13; others 18; and others 24. Blaw in [...] Geography hinteth at this, and the reason thereof, she [...] ing that the Sea running among the Orkney Isles, [...] thereby restrained, and made to go through the [...] as so many Water-spouts, which meeting in this Fi [...] render it so formidable and dangerous. But beca [...] of the pertinency and elegancy of the Historian, up [...] this head,Geogra. Elavi. de Freto Pent [...] ­landiae. I shall give his own Words: ‘Fret [...] hoc Navigantibus formidabile, neque nisi sta [...] temporibus, quanquam positis ventis, trajectui o [...] portunum. Causa est cum aestus maris quotidie a se [...] tentrionibus incitetur in his locis Orchadas circu [...] fusus iisque imerfusus, hic primum objectu terrar [...] coercetur, unde vis illa immensa aquarum multis [...] nalibus insulas illas permeans, dein reliquo mari [...] hoc Freto effusa, luctantibus etiam maris Vergivii [...] Orientalis undis formidabiles aquarum Vortices cu [...] summo navium periculo creat.’ And indeed wh [...] we see the many impetuous Tides coming out into t [...] Firth, from among the Isles of Orkney, each beari [...] that course to which they are determined, by the La [...] and Isles they wash and beat upon, we will not judge [...] strange, that there should be such a meeting of Tides [...] this Firth; for, as some express it, Every craig-lug [...] [Page 141] makes a new Tide, and many Craigs and Lugs are there here.

Hence it is clear that the Tide will run with a great­er rapidity and force in some places then in others,The Tide stronger in some places then in others. as when we pass that part of the Firth, where we meet with the Tide in the Ebb running off the sides of Pight­land Skerries from South East, down into the Swelchie of Stroma, then the men most [...]ly their Oars and work hard, lest they be born down into the Swelchie, a dan­gerous place. When also we are 3 or 4 Miles from Cathnes [...]; there is another such rapid current, comeing from the South of Dung-isbay Head out of Murray Firth running upon Stroma, both into the Swelchie on the North, and into the Merrie-men of Mey on the South end of the Isle. In our passage through this Current, for half an hour, we made not, as we could observe, one foot of Way, tho there were 4 Men tug­ging at the Oars, and no wind blowing; and in all probability we had been carried down upon Stroma, if an able man a Passenger: had not taken ane Oar, so that then there were 3 Oars upon our Star-board side. Hence in some places there is a swift and in others a soft running Tide, which the Boat-men being well ac­quainted with, they will sometimes rest from their hard Labour and refresh themselves a little.

In our passage we see the Currents,We see the currents of the Tides. before we en­gage with them, running like the Torrents of some great Rivers, and in some places we will see the Wa­ters smooth, and rough round about; the Reason where­of I know not, if it be not because of some Tides meeting there, and as it were for some time quiescent in their Centre, something like unto which I have ob­served in the meeting of several Rivers in one place.

In the Firth are several places remarkable for their danger; As the Wells of Swinna, The Wells of Swinna dangerous [...] whereof some are on the East-side and others on the West-side of the Isle, they are like unto Whirle-Pooles turning about with such a violence, that if any Boat come nigh unto them, [Page 142] they will suck or draw it in,The Wells of Swinna are Trocht adiustar à puero s [...]age [...] agitat [...] Geogra. Blaevi. and then turneth it abou [...] until it be swallowed up: but these Wells are onl [...] dangerous in a Calm, and Sea-men or Fishers to pr [...] vent their danger thereby, use when they come nea [...] them to cast in an Oar, Barrel or such like thing, o [...] which the Wells closing, they safely pass over. Th [...] Minister of the place told me, that about 20 years agoe there were two Fisher-boats there, who coming nig [...] the Wells, the Men in the one Boat seing their danger, one of these men thus afraid took hold of th [...] other Boat by them, and both Boats were swallowed up. One of the Ministers of Zetland told me, ther [...] were three of these Boats, it so falling out, that h [...] passed the Firth the very day after they perished: Ye [...] notwithstanding of these dangers, the Fishers will no desist from fishing about these Wells, for they observ [...] the nearer they come to them, they have the Fishe [...] both greater, better and more numerous, so the Fishes draw the Men, and the Wells draw both.

Near to these Skerries, before Barwick formerly mentioned, are also 2 or 3 Wells, called the Wells o [...] Tiftala, And of Tiftala only dangerous in a Flood as the Wells of Swinna are in an Ebb, these Wells, as some do judge ar [...] caused by an Hiatus or Ga [...] in the Earth below: Further I would offer this consideration, that whereas all these Wells are nigh unto ragged Rocks, con­stantly beat upon by the Tides, there may be some secre [...] conveyances of the Water into Cavernes at the bottom of the Rock, from which they may pass into some other places, where they rise again, and that even in the same Firth, tho such places be unknown, as it is storied of many Rivers,How they come to whirle and be so dan­gerous. which fall into, and run many Miles below the Earth and come out again in other places. But that which I judge to be more simple, is that several Tides running upon the Rocks, and thence returning and meeting with other Tides cause such a Whirle, as we see behind Mill-wheels some of the water coming from, and another part as it were appear­ing [Page 143] to return upon the Wheel, which cause such a Whirle, and no more doth the whirles in the Firth re­ [...]uire a Hiatus in the Earth or a subterraneous passage, [...]h [...]n the whirles in the Mills water courses: As for [...]heir swallowing up of Boats which are no more seen, this doth not prove it, for these Boats may be broken beneath the water upon Rocks or the like, and the broken timber go to the Sea, of which there is enough [...]ound cast a shoar upon these Isles. But many things of [...]his nature are hidden to us, and we can only give our Conjectures anent them.

There is also in this Firth the Swelchie of Stroma, a very dangerous place at the North end of the Isle of Stroma, Swelchie of Sroma. where there is a meeting of several Tides which causeth the Water to rage and make a dreadful noise, heard at some distance; As likewise the Sea-billows are [...]raised high, and appear white and frothy very terrible to behold, especially if any storm be lying on, falling unto which all Passengers carefully labour to avoid; As a Gentleman related to me, that once he was in great danger, the Seamen giving themselves over for lost, tho three Miles from the Swelchie, and that in a dead calm, when within 2 or 3 pair of Butts to Stroma, and tho so near Land, they had been carried down in­to and perished by this Swelchie, as they all laid their accounts; if the Lord had not speedily caused a Nor­thern wind to blow, whereby they got hold of Stroma.

There is another dangerous place at the South end of this Isle of Stroma, Merry men of Mey. where also a great conflict of Wa­ters, called the Merry men of Mey, so called from the house of Mey a Gentleman's dwelling in Caithness, op­posite to this Isle, and called Merry men because of the leaping and danceing as it were, of the waters there, tho Mirth and Danceing be far from the minds of the Sea­men and Passengers who shall be so unhappy as to fall in among them, especially when any Sea is going.

Seing from what hath been said this Firth is sovery dangerous to pass, no wonder that the Mariners and [Page 144] others be very careful to lay hold on the fittest occasio [...] for a safe Passage,Seamen observe the Tide in going over. which they find to be a little befo [...] the turning of the Tide, when it is beginning to E [...] on the Shoare, but the Flood is yet running in the Se [...] then they use to go off, that so when they are or nigh unto the middle of the Firth, the Tide ma [...] be upon the turn, which causeth for some time, a st [...] and quiet Sea, (as to the running of the Tides) a [...] the Seamen are not so put to it, in wrestling eith [...] against Flood or Ebb. Buchanan speaking of the Seas, and the rapid Tides, elegantly expresseth himself, Duae sunt Tempestates quibus hae angustiae sunt supera [...] les, aut cum aestuum relapsu cessante undarum conflictu, ma [...] tranquillatur, aut ub [...] pleno alveo aequot ad summum incr [...] menti pervenit, languescente utrinque vi illa, quae undas co [...] citabat, veluti receptui, canente Oceano procellis & vo [...] cesis pelagi commoti molibus se velut in sua Castra recipie [...] tibus.

What wind most avourableAny Wind, they observe, will take them over fro [...] Burwick to Caithness, if tided Right, and the Win [...] not in S. West, or nigh to that point, and so fro [...] Caithness to Burwick, if not in N. East or nigh to it. B [...] the N. West Wind they call the King of the Firth, n [...] only I judge because it will both take them from Caithness to Orkney, and from Orkney to Caithness, but all because if it blow any thing, it keepeth them up in a Ebb, from falling into the Wells of Swinna, the Swelchie of Stroma, and the Merry Men of Mey. By Tidin [...] right also they can come over by the help of Oars, th [...] there be no Wind: And at any time tho they observ [...] not the Tide, they can pass from Orkney to Caithness if it blow a good Gale from N. East, and so fro [...] Caithness to Orkney, if the like blow from S. Wes [...] The Boatmen who use to pass the Firth, from their experience know it best, and can avoid the swell of Sea, when persons of greater skill cannot do it.

No An­choring.At no time is there any Anchoring in this Firth, so if any through Ignorance or otherwise attempt it, with [Page 145] [...] a little time, they must either cut their Cables, as [...]me have done, and be gone, or else if their Anchors [...] Cables break not, they will be Ridden under: [...]he Experience whereof one of our S [...]ips lately had, [...]h [...] casting Anchor even in the Mouth of the Firth, [...]ere the Tides are not so strong, their Anchor with­ [...] a little time brake, and they behoved to go to [...]a.

In a storm especially if it blow from S, East. (which,The Firth terrible in a storm. [...]ey lay, in the Firth causeth the greatest Sea,) and the [...]ide be running in the Winds Eye, the Roaring and [...]welling Waves are very Terrible, and mount so [...]gh, that they could wash not only the Deck, but [...]e Sails and Topmasts of the biggest Ships.

The House of Mey formerly mentioned is a Myth, [...]gn or Mark much observed by Saillers in their pas­ [...]ng through this Firth between Caithness and Stroma, The house of Mey a myth to Seamen. [...]r they carefully fix their Eyes upon the Lums or [...]himney Heads of this House, which if they lose sight [...], then they are too near Caithness, and so ready to run [...]on Sand-Banks, but if they get also sight of the [...]oule, then they are too near Stroma, and so may [...]lect upon the Rocks, which ly off the South end of [...]roma.

Hence we see, They who go down to the Sea in ships, Observe. [...]d do business in the great waters, these s [...] the works of the [...]d, and his Wonders in the Depths; That He is a God [...]or [...]us in Holiness, Fearful in Praises, Doing Wonders; [...]e causeth the Wind to blow, and the Sea to flow, at his [...]easure; Bounding the impetuous Tides with the Rocks and [...]nd, saying, Hitherto shall ye come, and no further; and [...]e shall your proud Waves be stayed, which the they roar [...]t shall they not prevail. His Goodness, and Power, [...]rting a Restraint upon them; His Wisdom, and [...]ounsel, directing their turning and returning, for his [...]wn Glorious Ends. Glory, to His Name.

CHAP. XI. Concerning Caithness, and what we found be most Remarkable there.

MY Discourse upon Orkney and Zetland being e [...] tended, beyond what either was intended expected.Concern­ing Caith­ness. I shall therefore study to be the brie [...] upon Caithness, as likewise seeing it is supposable, th [...] it may be better known then any of the former, being upon the same Continent with us. What th [...] is to be said thereupon, I shall dispatch and sum up [...] this one Chapter.

Caithness is the Northernmost Province or Shire [...] Scotland, Its Situa­tion. having Pightland Firth, whereby it is divid [...] from Orkney on the North, the Entry to Murray Fir [...] on the East, Sutherland and Stranaver on the South, at the Deucatedonian Ocean on the West. It is from th [...] high Hill called the Ord of Caithness, toward the South whereby it is divided from Sutherland, to Dungish Head, about 30 Miles long, and from Thurso on th [...] West side to Wick on the East side of the Countrey [...] Miles broad.

As we were much in the dark about the Etymol [...] gy of Orkney and Zetland, The rea­son of the Name. so no less are we here i [...] that of Caithness, upon which Blaw in his Geograph [...] giveth us this Notandum, "That many Names [...] "places are something strange, whose Original seem t [...] be neither Scotish, Irish, Danish or Norvegian, But u [...] "known uncertain, and most Ancient: Such as O [...] bister, Loyibster, Robaster, Trumbuster, and Innumerabl [...] others,Blavi. Ge­ogra in Caith. Caterum Not, Multa locorum Nomina peregrinu [...] quid sapere, quorum origo neque Scoticum, Hibernicum Danicum aut Norvegicum quid referant, sed ignotae, incert [...] & vetustissimae originis videntur Qualia sunt Orbiste [...] Lovibster, Roboster, Trumbuster, & innumera ali [...] And seeing such Examples of Names which are of a [...] unknown Original, as are given by the Historian, d [...] [Page 147] [...] end in ster, I would add that the most of the Names [...] places in this Countrey do end in ster, or star, and go. [...] between 20 and 30 in ster or star, and about 20 in [...] as my Informer, who had been for some time in [...]e Countrey did reckon them. Of old Sutherland, [...]th the same Geographer, was called Cattey, and its [...]habitants Catteigh, and so likewise was Caithness and [...]anaver; And in the Irish Sutherland to this day is [...]lled Catey, and its Inhabitants Catigh; So that Cattey­ [...]ss, is no other then the Promontory or Cape of the [...]tes or Sutherland, which Promontory is stretched [...]t from the East (or rather the North) side, saith [...]t Geographer of the Mountain of the Ord, Blavi. Geogra. Adeo ut [...]tey-ness nihil aliud, sit quam Promontorium Cattae seu [...]therlandiae, quod Promontorium a latere Ortentali montis [...]di praetenditur. These Cattaei are thought to be a Peo­ [...]e who arrived thither from Germany. Who would [...]ve more of this may consult the abovementioned [...]uthor. Buchanan will have it to be called Caithness [...]ecause of its being Mountainous, but I know not if [...]s Reason will hold, for the Countries adjacent of [...]herland and Stranaver are more Mountainous, and [...]ere are few high Hills or Mountains in it, except [...]t the South end thereof, where it borders with Suther­ [...]nd, but if it should be so called because it is the Ness [...]r Promontory of the Mountains, the Land by North [...]ese Mountains falling lower and running out in a [...]romontory into the Sea, I Judge it would hold bet­ [...]er, and be said with greater reason. Boethius also saith [...]at this Countrey of old was called Cornana, but the [...]eason thereof he giveth not.

The Earls of Caithness were among the Ancientest [...] Scotland, The Earl of Caith­ness. and in former times have been very potent in [...]his Corner, as appears by the several old Castles and [...]laces of Strength, which then they were in Possession [...]f, but now their Memory is almost extinct. The [...]te Earl George dying without Issue, the Laird of Glen­ [...]chy, now Earl of Braid-Atbin Married the Dowager, [Page 148] who having Purchast the Earl's Estate, the [...] parent Heir judging himself thereb [...] injured, [...] gather together some of the Countrey People recover his Right, but was Defeat by G [...]n [...]c From the Feild they went to the Bar, and Debated [...] Matter there, whereupon the Lords gave forth t [...] Sentence, that Glenorchy should enjoy the Estate, [...] the Heir should have the Honours, and an Alim [...] allowed him by Glenorchy during his Life. The H [...] having died about a Year ago, the Heiress his Sis [...] Succeeds to the Honours, and is in a very mean Con [...] tion; living in a place where the former Earls used keep their H [...]ucks. So to this Ancient and Hono [...] able Family of the Earls of Caithness there is almo [...] put in Holy Providence a Period and Close: Th [...] who had four great Houses in this Countrey like P [...] laces, for Pleasure and Convenience, and Castles f [...] Strength, now in their Heirs enjoy none of them, th [...] are Ruinous, and one is Possessed by a Stranger: [...] likewise there are several other Ruinous Houses to [...] seen here, who have spewed out their Possessours, [...] confirming that common Observation, ‘That s [...] committed by the Inhabitants, is as Gun-Powder lai [...] to the Foundations of their Houses, which quickl [...] overturneth them, when it pleaseth a Righteous Go [...] to fire the Train.’

The late Earls of the Name of Sinclar.The late Earls of Caithness were of the Name o [...] Sinclar, of which Name also are many Gentlemen o [...] the Countrey, who have bought considerable parts o [...] the Earl's Estate, from the Earl of Braid-Albin: Before the Sinclars, the Earls were of the Name o [...] Shine, and befor them were the Haralds, and before the Haralds were the Ola's, as the Tradition goeth [...] concerning which and the manner of their Successio [...] and the Interruption made therein, the Countrey talk several things which I shall not trouble my Reade [...] with: Only I shall observe what is related by Cambden a Judicious Antiquary, ‘That of old the Earls of [Page 149] Caithness were the same with the Earls of Orkney but at length were divided, the Eldest Daughter of one Mulisius being given in Marriage to William de S. Claro vulgo Seincler the Kings Pautler, his Posterity had this Honour conferred on them, of being Earls of Caithness.

The Country is pleasant and very Fertile,The Countrey a­bounds with Grass Corn, [...]attel, Fishes so that here the cheapest Market it the World abound­ing with Grass and Corn, hence Yearly there is a great quantity of Victual Exported, as An. 169 [...]. there were 16000 Bolls Embarked and taken out, for which end it is much frequented by Barks from the Firth, Clyde and other places; for ordinarly when there is no scar­city or dearth, the Meal is sold here at 3 or 4 or at most 5 Merks per Boll. The Cattel and Fishes also are to be had very cheap, as good Kine often in the Sham­bles such as the Countrey doth afford, for 3 or 4 shal. sterl. and sometimes they say, for 2; so that, as I have heard, some of the more intelligent Inhabitants observe that here is the cheapest Market in the World: And the Gentlemen can live better upon 1000 Merks,Gentle­men live well. then they can do in the South upon 4000. per annum. Who may Improve their Stocks to as great if not a greater Advantage, than in any other place in Scotland, for they may save their Rents, having within themselves what Provision is necessary for their Table, and may sell much Store every Year, what to the Inhabitants in the Countrey for their own use, or for salting and sending Abroad, and what to Drovers who take them South: And it is observable that if any Buy a piece of Land, only what is Arable is Accounted for, as for what serveth for Pasture, they use not to take nottice of, tho upon that consideration they may value their Acres at a greater Rate. In the way between Thur­so and Dunnot, we saw much low Ground overblown with sand, for two Miles back from the Sea, which formerly not many Years since was a pleasant Mea­dow.

[Page 150] Ten Pa­rishes [...]here.There are 10. Parishes in this Countrey, 5. of which can be served with Ministers not having the Irish Language, few of the People there speaking it, but th [...] other five cannot be supplied otherwise then by Ministers understanding Irish; in some of these Parishe [...] there being very few who have any knowledge of ou [...] Language,Many speak Irish. and some of the Ministers are obliged t [...] preach both in English and Irish for the Edification of all: some of the Parishes are very wide and populous which tends to the Increase of Ignorance among many, the Ministers not being able to overtake thei [...] Work; some Churches also are ruinous, for when He [...] ritours are not freinds to the Work of God, or cannot agree among themselves, as to the concerting of suitable Measures, for putting or keeping things which concern the Parish, in order; it useth to go ill with Ministers as to their external Accomodation and with Churches as to their Repair.

The prin­cipal Towns.The two principal Towns in the Countrey are Wick and Thurso, Wick is a Royal Burgh, on the East-side of the Countrey washen by the German Ocean at the Mouth of Murray Firth, by the side of which run­neth a small River, at the mouth of the River there is a Harbour for Boats or Barks to ly in, which they come into at full Sea, but this Harbour is not so much frequen­ted, as another about a Mile to the North-East of Wick where they Judge the Boats do ly safer. Opposite to Wick lyes Thurso at 12. Miles distance, on the West-side of the Countrey, which tho it enjoy not the privi­ledge of a Royal Burgh, yet it is more populous then Wick, and hath better buildings in it, by the East-side of the Town runneth a small River called the Water of Thurso: In the Water of Thurso many good Sal­mond tak­en and how. They have the best Church in the Countrey well furnished and kept in good order.

In the Water of Thurso there is good Salmond-Fi­shing, which they take two ways, one is by Crues or Creels with crossed or barred doors going from the one side of the Water to the other, so framed that they [Page 151] suffer the Fishes to go in, but not to go out, out of which sometimes they will take several Horses burdens of Fish. The other way they take them is by a Net; where with they Fish a Pool, which lyeth a little be­low the Crues, and is about a pair of buts in length: They having spread the net upon the bank, which is long enough to reach the breadth of the Water, they go in with it, and one Man on each side drawing it down the Pool, it is followed with 18. or 20. Men. going in a breast behind it, with long staves or Poles in their hands; wherewith they keep the net to the ground, and loose it when any way entangled; the Pool in some places will rise to the height of the breasts of the wa­ders, but there is no danger. So they bring down the Net softly and warily to the mouth of an Enclo­sure, which they call a Stem, into which the Fishes are driven, where the Fishers standing with this larger Net, others take a lesser Net and going therewith into the Stem, catch the Fishes so enclosed, that scarce one can escape, for up the Water they cannot run, because of the larger Net, and neither down can they go, be­cause of the Stem, or Stones laid together in form of a Wall, We saw as we could conjecture at one draught upwards of 300. good Salmonds taken, and these who have this Fishing told us that 3 Years ago, they took 500. at a draught, and going through the Pool at the same time with the Net again, they catched other 200, which Salmond for the most part they salt in barrels and sends abroad. It is also to be observed that the Salmond keep this Water of Thurso all the Year over, and in the Winter Season in Frost and Snow if you break the ice, they are to be had. The Pool is but about half a Mile up the Water from Thurso.

There are several Waters or Rivers in the Coun­trey as Thurso, Wick, Dumbeth, Rice, Force, Several Waters here. and Bera­del, but they are all small, and indeed there is no great River all the way from Caïthness till we come to Ness running by Inverness in Murray, over which is a strong [Page 152] Bridge lately built consisting of 7. Arches, which Rive [...] is remarkable for this that it never freezeth, tho th [...] frost be most vehement yea if then vow bring a Horse unto the River,The River of Ness. the iceacles will melt at his feet in th [...] space of time that he is drinking, the River cometh from a Loch called Lochness, which also hath the same property, 4. or 5. Miles to the West of Inverness, Thi [...] River I make mention of tho not it Caithness, it being the first considerable one, having any thing of a strong and regular Bridge, which we passed in our return.

Some Trees.There are some Trees here, but they are not so big as these which are further South, even in Sutherland▪ particularly upon the Water of Beradel there is a plea­sant strath full of small wood. And there is a Garden 3. or 4. Miles to the South-West of Thurso very plea­sant and well furnished with fruit Trees, much com­mended by the Inhabitants.

Rocks much fre­quented by Fowls.The Rocks by the Coasts are much frequented by Fowls of various kinds, as Eagles, Hawks &c. such as in Orkney and Zetland, of which Rocks there are long tracts for whereas in Sutherland, Ros [...], and Murray, the Sea for the most part is bound [...]d with the sand, here it is bounded with the Rocks, which it washeth and beat­eth on, and that almost round Caithness from the Ord [...] to Dungisbey Head on the East, and so by Dunnot Head, and Hoburn Head to Stranaver on the West, except a few Creeks or Bays, several of which are very conve­nient for Anchoring; especially in Screbister Bay, a little to the North West of Thurso, there is good Anchoring ground where Ships may safely ride without the fear of hazard by Wind or Tide, the Capes of Land there making a still Sea, and defending the Ships, which as it were, flee into their Arms from raging and angry Pightland Firth: There are here also some Rocks, lying a little off the Land, from which they are broken and dis­joyned which they call Clets. the same with the Holms in Orkney and Zetland, these Clets are almost covered with Sea-Fowls. One way they take these Fowls is [Page 153] pleasant tho with great danger, They take a Line,One way they take the Fowls▪ [...]on the end of which they fasten some Fish-Hooks, [...]ove the hooks there is also a Pock fastened, and so from [...]e top of the Rock they let down the Line thus fur­ [...]shed with Pock and hooks, striking the heads of the [...]oung Fowls in their Nests with the Pock, upon which [...]e Fowls do all gape and cry; as if it were their Dame [...]oming with meat to them, and so lifting the Line they [...]t the hooks fall into their mouths, which taking hold the Fowls, they become their prey.

There are likewise several Caves going from the [...]a within the Rocks,Caves. in which the waves make a [...]eadful noise, such Caves we had occasion to take no­ [...]e of in our discourse upon Orkney and Zetland.

Especially there is a kind of Fowls called Snowflects which resort to this Countrey in great numbers in Fe­ [...]nary; they are about the bigness of a Sparrow,Fowls called Snow­flects. but ex­ [...]eding fat and delicious; they flee in flocks, thousands [...] them together, many of which the Inhabitants do [...]ll and make use of. They use to go away in April [...]d are thought to come from the West Highlands. [...]hey have also a great plenty of Moorfowls, Plovers, [...] much if not more then in any place of Scotland.

The industry of the Gentlemen here is to be much [...]ommended for altho from Wick to Dumbeth which is [...] Miles long, there be no Harbour or Bay,The Gent­lement's Industry commen­dable. but a con­ [...]nued tract of ragged, hard and Iron-like Rocks wash­ [...] by the Sea, yet there are several Harbours forced [...]here by Art, tho denied by Nature, and passages in ma­ny places like steps of stairs made from the top of the [...]ock to the bottom, where their Fish-Boats do ly, and [...]y these passages do bring their Fishes up to the top of [...]e Rocks, where they salt and dry them in Houses [...]ade for the purpose, whereby great gain doth redound [...] the Owners, some making as much by their Fishes, [...] they do by their Land-Rent.

As in Orkney and Zetland there were several old [...]happels, which the superstitious Zealots did frequent,Supersti­tions. [Page 154] so is it likewise in Caithness, the Ministers told me the is one in Dunnot Parish, beside which there are abo [...] 60. Heaps of Stones, which the People coming to, ta [...] with them a Stone and throw it into the Heap, bo [...] ing themselves also thereunto. Nigh to it likewise there is a Loch called St. John's Loch, concerning which there goes a fabulous Tradition, that on St. Stephen Day there was a pleasant Meadow in that place, whe [...] now the Loch is, and on St. John's Day therafter, was turned into this Loch. There is also another i [...] the Parish of Rhae, to which some do take their Children if they be in distress, and make 2 Graves at th [...] side of one another laying the Child between them and so they trie if the Child will recover, but the wa [...] how they know;Tales su­persti­tiones lu­dicras re­citate est refutare. I forbear to mention. But they sa [...] there is a Chappel in the Parish of Konnesbie the Northermost Parish of all this Countrey, opposite to Orkney, which is yet more frequented then any of the former, which some wildly superstitious frequent on som [...] Day about Candlemass, going about it on their bar [...] knees, and thence going to a Water, they cast some [...] it in handfuls over their heads, and from the Water t [...] an Alehouse, where they use to fill themselves drunk▪ And when going to these or at them they can scarce even tho threatened be prevailed with to speak. T [...] which hellish Rites some are so addicted that the Ministers judge it next to impossible, to get them weane [...] and brought there from: But the vigilancy and pains o [...] Ministers especially of late, hath through the Blessing o [...] God not been altogether without success. Which ol [...] Chappels both here and in Orkney and Zetland, I think the Government should cause to be rased, which might prove as the taking away of the Nest Egg.

The House of Thurso by East.The Earls of Caithness, as hinted at before, had seve­ral strong and convenient dwellings. One about a short [...] half Mile from Thurso, called Thurso by East, now rui­nous, it hath been built in the form of a Court, and the Gates have been decored with cut stone Work, and [Page 155] the Gardens, Avenues and office Houses have been [...]nform to the splendour of the House. An honest Countrey Man observing the many great sins that had been committed about that House, is said to have pre­ [...]cted to one of the late Earls its ruine and desolation, saying, "That the Cup of sin was filling, and this House would shortly become a den of Dragons (using the Scripture phrase) and seeing there are no such Crea­tures among us, it shall be of Foxes: And according­ [...] it was observed that a Fox haunted it when ruinous few Years after, which stayed there till about 9. or 10 Years ago, when a part of the House was repaired. This I had from one of the Ministers of the Countrey; and another Minister told me that before he bore this character, he frequently shot Rabbets there, within the Walls of the House.

There are also other four Castles upon one Bay;Castle Sin­clar and Girnego. on [...]e East side of the Countrey nigh to Wick, which be­longed to these Earls. The Bay is called Rice-Bay, and [...]2 or 3 Miles broad, the entry whereof is to the East, [...]t dangerous for Ships to come into, because of the many blind Rocks that ly therein, upon the South side of the Bay next to Wick have been 2 strong Castles, [...]ined to one another by a Draw-Bridge, called Castle [...]inclar and Girnego, the former hath been the strongest House, but the latter they ordinarly had their dwelling in; their situation is upon a Rock disjoined from the Land, [...]vironed for the most part with the Sea, to which Castles from the Land they passed also by a Bridge which was drawn up every night, whence there was no access to them. I found the year of God upon the Lintel of a window in Castle-Sinclar to be 1607; which hath been [...]e year wherein this Castle was built, or at least re­paired. Some account these two Castles to be but one, because of their vicinity. They say, there was much [...] committed here, as Drunkenness, Uncleanness, &c. [...]or which, a Righteous God hath turned them, into a [...]ainous heap. Opposite to Castle Sinclar, and Girnego, [Page 156] on the other side of the Bay is Kice another Castle,Castles of Kice Be­radel. and Hakergil. also ruinous. On the West side of the Bay is the Ca [...] of Hakergil, a strong house at present possessed by Gentleman, who hath a great interest in the Counti [...] but is not descended of the Family of Caithness. Th [...] are also the ruines of the old Castle of Beradel to be se [...] situated on a Rock near to the Sea, at the Mouth of River of that name, to which also they have pass from the Land by a Draw-bridge: Such naturally stro [...] ▪ Situations for their Houses they sought out of old, t [...] they might be the more secure, and safe from all v [...] lence, Nature as well as Art contributing to their fortification.

A Bishop Murdered of old.About a short half Mile to the West of Thuiso a [...] the ruines of an old Castle, where the Bishop in the times of Popery is said to have had his Residence, particularly there was one Adam said to b [...] the last Bishop who lived in that house, who having greatly oppre [...] ed the People by his rigorous exacting of the Tith [...] the People complained thereof to the Earl, who said in passion to have Answered them, Go and see [...] him, and Sup him too if you please, Whereupon they we [...] to the Bishops Lodging, and apprehended him, a [...] setting his house on Fire, they actually boiled hi [...] and supped off the Broth: Which being known, [...] quiry was made for the barbarous Actours of this Tragedy; and they being apprehended were put to death so suffering condign punishment for this horrid Villany. And this Earl is not the only great Person who hath given forth an inconsiderate sentence, upon which barbarous and inhumane Actions have ensued. Buchanan writeth this to have been about the year 122 [...] in the days of Alexand. 2d. King of Scots; and saith only ‘That they having killed the Monk who attended his and his Servant,Buchan. Hist. in vitam Alex. 2. they wounded himself, and drawing him to the Kitchin, they set the house on Fire about him.’ A little to the West of this, is the house of Screbister the residence of the late Bishops [Page 157] where I think their Lordships had but a mean acco­modation; The Revenues of the Bishoprick here are among the smallest in Scotland, The Re­venues of the Bi­shoprick small. which they report thus came to pass, One of the Bishops at the Refor­mation sold the Churches Revenues far below their va­lue [some say at 13 shill. Scot [...]per Boll] to the Earl know­ing that but for a short time he could enjoy the same.

There is a Hill in the Parish of Wick called Stony-hill the Reason of which denomination is said to be this;Stony Hill. In the days of William King of Scots 1199, as Buchan: hath it, there was one Harald Earl of Orkney and Caith­ness who being offended at the Bishop, as having insi­nuared something to the King against him, apprehen­ded the Bishop, cutting out his Tongue and putting out his Eyes, which being represented to the King, he sent his Forces into Caithness and having defeat the Earl, in several Engagements, the Earl fleeing was pursued and being apprehended, his eyes were first put out, and then he was hanged, and all his Male Children were emasculated upon this Hill, which ever since hath been called Stony-hill.

They told us,Several Stones set set up for Monu­ments. there are several high great Stones set up through the Countrey and that ordinarily on Hills, about which are the Rubbish of other Stones, which have served for some end there, and probably have been places of Pagan Worship, as we observed upon Orkney, in the Parish of Bower, as we passed, we saw an Artificial Mount ditched about of a small cir­cumference, it is like for the same purpose. They have likewise the Tradition of some Picts houses, which have been here of old, the rubbish wherof is yet to be seen in the Parish of Latheran, as a Gentle­man well acquainted with the Countrey did inform me.

In the Parish of Latheran we saw the Foundation of a House said to be laid by a Bastard Son of the Earl of Caithness, but never perfected;Founda­tion of a House laid but not perfected. it is founded upon a rising ground nigh to the Sea, where there is a fair prospect of Murray, where it is reported the Gentle­man had his Mistress, who intended to build it there, [Page 158] that so she might have a view of the house from Mu [...] ray, and he at the House might see Murray.

Dunnot Head. Dunnot Head stretching out into Pightland Firt [...] is about a Mile in breadth, and 7 Miles in circumf [...] rence, in it are several Lochs, and some good pastu [...] for Cattel, but no Inhabitants, in it are to be ha [...] good Mill-stones, and it is thought there is a Lead Mine there. In several places in the parish of Dunn [...] there will no Ratts live, and if Earth be brought ou [...] thence to other places molested by them, they will b [...] quickly gone.

The Ord of Caith­ness.The Ord which divideth Caithness from Sutherland is a high Mountain, as the name Ord, which in Iris [...] signifieth an height, doth imply; down which ou [...] way from Caithness to Sutherland doth ly, the Road i [...] but narrow, and the descent steep, and if any stumble thereupon, they are in hazard of falling down a precipice into the Sea at the bottom of the Rock which is is very terrible to behold, but who pass it for the more security use to lead their Horses to the foot of the Hill, which is about a short Mile in length; and no other way there is from Sutherland to Caithness, or from Caith­ness to Sutherland but this, except we go 12 Miles about, but it might be made broader and safer with small expence.

Signs of Rain and drought.It is observed in Caithness as an infallible sign almost when they see a Mist or Cloud, lying down upon the foot of the Hills, that then a drought will follow; but if such a Mist or Cloud be on the top thereof, they thence certainly conclude there will be Rain that day.A Loch, wherein is a House, built by Robbers.

In the Parish of Halkirk there is a Loch [as there are several Lochs in the Countrey] within which Loch are the ruines of an old house built, they say, by Robbers, that they might be the more safe and se­cure from the fears of being apprehended. That which is most observable concerning this House, is that there is not one foot of more ground, then what is within [Page 159] the circumference of the Foundation, and upon which it standeth, hence either the Water of the Loch hath washen away the prominent Rock, if there hath been any through wasting time, or if there was no part of the Rock without the circumference of the Foundation, it is wonderful to consider, how so nigh to the water the Foundation hath been got laid, the Water about the House being of a considerable depth, and the Ex­treme parts of the Rock upon which the Foundation standeth, not to give way and fail under the weight of the building, which those who have seen this House, are surprised at. Upon the Loch they have Boats which come closs to the Walls of the House, for the taking of Fowls of divers kinds, as Maws, Herons &c. seve­ral thousands of which do frequent it, having their Nests in the ruinous Walls.


HAving finished and brought to some Issue this Task,Improve­ment. in Communicating my Remarks upon these remote Northern places, I shall now wind up all in some breif Animadversions upon the whole, in in order to a practical Improvement.

And 1st. We would seriously consider and ponder the wonderful Mercy and Grace of our GOD,Is. 66.14. in sending the Gospel to the Isles afar off, that these Gentiles who have not formerly heard of His Fame, nor seen his Glory, should have the same declared among them. That through the tender Mercy of our God,Luk. 1.78 79. the Day 'spring from on high hath visited and given light to us, who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death. He hath not dealt so with every Nation, with every Isle; the greatest part of which are immersed and [Page] suffered to ly in the thick darkness of Paganism. V [...] were among the first of the Nations in these North [...] parts of the World, to whom was sent the Word of th [...] Salvation; and according to the Computation o [...]e [...] our King Donald was the first Crowned Head in t [...] World, that bowed to him, who hath on his thigh th [...] name written, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. O [...] of Zion hath gone forth the Law and the Word of th [...] Lord from Jerusalem, and hath travelled some thousands of Miles Northward to Britain, and the Isle thereto belonging; Hence those places of our highly an [...] early favoured Isle, unaccessible to the valour of the Roman Legions,Tertull. became subject to Christ; ‘Britannorum loca Romanis inaccessa,Is. 42.10, 12. Christo subdita sunt O what Reason have we then, to listen to the Evangelica [...] Prophets Cali, Sing unto the Lord a new song, and hi [...] Praise from the end of the Earth: Ye that go down to the Sea, and all that is therein, the Isles and the Inha­bitants thereof. Let them give Glory unto the Lord, and declare his Praise in the Islands.’

That which may heighten the sense of this distin­guishing Mercy and Love, is that we enjoy this Gospel in as great, if not greater purity, then any Nation un­der Heaven, we have it set forth in its native simplicity, without the Painting and gaudie dress of humane In­ventions;Assembly conveened at Edinb. An. 159 [...]. Sess 8. Calderw. Hist. which our King James V [...]I. in his first and better Days, was not ashamed to declare in open As­sembly. The Ancient Government of our Church is restored, and her Assemblies allowed to sit under the shadow of lawful Authority: by one of which, we were appointed to visite those Northern Isles, and report un­to them at their next Annual Meeting, how matters relating to the Kingdom of Christ, do stand in those remote Corners, that so proper Methods may be con­certed and taken by the delegated Representatives of this National Church, for promoting the Spiritual and Eternal Welfare of the Inhabitants.

Tho we enjoy the clear Light of the glorious Gospel [Page] [...] Christ, yet are there many evils from which we are [...]purged until this Day, For beside the abounding [...]andals, breaking out to the Dishonour of God, the [...]eproach of Religion, and the Grief of the Godly, [...]ere are many Superstitious Fopperies, Charms, Heath­ [...]ish and Popish Rites, to which some especially in [...]ose Isles, are so much addicted, that it proves a most difficult peice of Work to the most zealous Ministers, [...]get them reformed.

As all should have it much upon their hearts, that [...]ere should be any such dreadful evils now remaining, [...] all invested with Authority Civil or Ecclesiastick [...]t called to employ their utmost endeavours, for the [...]ter ext [...]rpation of all Idolatrous Monuments, and rasing [...] old Chappels so much abused, and that conform to [...]ct of Assembly: The Government commanding the Magistrates of these respective bounds so to do, for un­ [...] that this be, Ministers endeavours whither by Do­ [...]rine or Discipline will be the less successful.

Which obstinacy of these poor deluded Souls per­ [...]ting in their sin and folly, sheweth the Malice and [...]btilty of that early and grand Enemie of Man's Sal­ [...]tion, labouring to keep some footing in these Isles, so be his deadly wound might be healed, which the [...]eaching of the Gospel, the Rod of Gods Power hath [...]ven him.

That which gives great advantage to Satan, is the [...]ameful Ignorance that abounds in this Day of Gos­pel-Light, this is to him an useful Handle, whereby [...] keeps his Subjects under his Empire in his Hellish [...]amnable Service, for while this Vail is on the eye [...] the Soul, poor People are not capable of discerning [...]hat is right or wrong and so are led hood-winkt to [...]ell; "Tenebrae sunt Visus impeditivae. Gressus pro­hibitivae, Casus inductivae &c. This black Vail [...]aweth the Screen round about the Soul,1 Cor. 2.14. whence nei­ [...]er Sin, nor Misery are felt or seen: They are dead, [...] the Pythagoreans and Platonists, used to place a [Page] Coffin in the room of their outcast Scholars; And t [...] Jews used to say, A dead Carcase is better than a Disc [...] void of Wisdom and Knowledge. And no wonder it be in such dark Corners, where there are so few Schools a Seminaries of Learning; No wonder the Enemie s [...] his tares, where there is not sown the seed of Kno [...] ledge; And where not a competency of Knowled [...] there can be no Obedience to, nor Love of God or [...] Ways: ‘Ut Lux est vitae Directrix, sic Vehiculum [...] loris.’

Blessed are they then who are priviledged with t [...] Means of Knowledge, Schools for the Education their Youth, and to whom the doors of the Sanctua [...] stand open from time to time, where God by his M [...] nisters teacheth Knowledge to those who enquire his Mouth. Happy they who know and improve the Mercy, the joyful Sound given by the Silver-Trumpe [...] of the Gospel every Lord's-Day; who do receive t [...] Truth in Love; And so must we account for our Me [...] cy; if from the heart we have believed and obeyed t [...] Gospel.

Beside the Book of Grace, giving light to the Chur [...] of Christ, we have also the large expanded Book [...] the Creation, whose lines are gone out through all t [...] Earth, whence we may spell the Being of a God, [...] Wisdom, Goodness and Power; The Heavens decla [...] his Glory, and the Firmament sheweth his hand Work; the various Tides; the Ebbing and the Flowi [...] Sea, bounded by the Sand and Rocks, which it da [...] beateth on, the Fowls of the Air and Fishes of the S [...] each frequenting their proper habitation, do all Pr [...] claim aloud the Glory of him who created them, [...] Almighty Power preserving them in their beautiful a [...] wonderful order, and his Infinite Wisdom governi [...] and directing them to their several ends, to which th [...] are by him appointed.

Tho so many objects do occur to the diligent Obse [...] ers of the Works of Creation and Providence, yet w [...] [Page] [...]an by the short Cordage of their Reason fathom those depths, so as to give a satisfying account thereof. Still they may rather be the subject of our Admiration notwith­standing of all the Essays, the ingenious and sedulous Enquirers into the Mysteries and Secrets of Nature, have either of old or of late obliged and gratified the World with: Whereupon the humble Saint is ready to express himself with the Wise Man ‘I am more bru­tish then any Man,Prov 30.2.18. and have not the understanding of a Man; and say Such things are too wonderful for me, yea and I know them not.’

To conclude,1 Cor. [...]3.9; 10.12. We see now but through a glass dark­ly, we know only in part, but when that which is per­fect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away, And this also we may apply to the Works of Creation. Most happy we if after all our Travels, Voyages and Labours of whatever kind, we arrive at that place of perfection, where the Militant State of the Church, shall be changed into that of a Triumphant, where the wicked cease from troubling and the weary be at rest; When tears shall be wiped from the eyes, sorrow and sighing shall flee away; When that desirable Day shall break, and all shadows be gone; When Satan shall be bruised under our feet, and Death and all its black Retinue be swallowed up in Life and Victory; When no more Darkness in the Understanding, Perverse­ness in the Will, Disorder in the Aflections, or sense of Guilt in the Conscience. When our Duty shall be Praise, our Grace a burning Love even to a bodily present Christ, and our Work shall be to follow the Lamb, whi­ [...]hersoever he goeth, and so be for ever with the Lord.


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