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"Shapinshay, island and par., Orkney, 1m. N. of the nearest part of Pomona and 4 m. NE. of Kirkwall, 6733 ac., pop. 974; is generally flat, and well-cultivated."

From John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles, 1887


The Orkney Balfours 1747-1799: by R P Fereday. Published 1990. 311pp.
Includes discussion of early development of the Balfour estate.

The Laird, the Factor and the Elders: Change and Stress in Shapinsay 1847: by Paul J. Sutherland. Published Kirkwall 1985.
A candid tale of local strife.

The Crofting Pioneer Fringe in Nineteenth Century Shapinsay: by William P. L. Thomson. Published 1985 in Northern Studies xii,28-39.

Isle of Shapinsay: by Dr William Irvine. Published Kirkwall 1976. 147pp.
Interesting insights.

Shapinshay, Church of Scotland

You can also perform a more selective search for churches in the Shapinsay area or see them printed on a map.

Church Records

Old Parish Registers

  • Baptisms, 1632-1854. Incomplete Aug 1650-June 1658. No entries 1699-Aug 1758.
  • Marriages, 1632-1854. No entries Jan 1651-Oct 1658, July 1702-Nov 1758.
  • Burials, 1793-1854.

Other church records (held at Orkney Archives in Kirkwall).

  • Ref: OCR/KC/23: Shapinsay Kirk: Baptisms 1871-1932, Communion Roll 1871-1956.
  • Ref: OCR/FC/27: Shapinsay United Free Kirk/North Kirk: Baptisms 1868-1918, Communion Roll 1918-1933.

Civil Registration

The Registrar of births, deaths, and marriages for the island of Shapinsay.
The Registrar's records extend back only as far as 1st January 1855 when registration became compulsory in Scotland.

Description and Travel

You can see pictures of Shapinsay which are provided by:


Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Shapinsay has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.

Ask for a calculation of the distance from Shapinsay to another place.


You can see maps centred on OS grid reference HY497178 (Lat/Lon: 59.044339, -2.878349), Shapinsay which are provided by: