The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer (1868)]

"ROUSAY, (and Egilsay) a parish in the district of North Isles, Orkney, county Orkney and Shetland, Scotland. It comprises the islands of Rousay, Eagleshay, Weir, and Enhallow, also two small uninhabited holms. Rousay, or Rolf's Island, extends about 4 miles in length, by about the same in breadth. It lies to the W. of Eagleshay, from which it is separated by a strait of a mile broad. Its surface is hilly, with moss and much mountain pasture. The E. side of the island, on the declivity of the hills, is fertile, but the interior is covered with heath, giving shelter to abundance of moor-fowl. The island abounds in game, black cattle, and sheep.

The village is about 10 miles N. of Kirkwall, and stands near Westray Frith. This parish is in the presbytery of North Isles and synod of Orkney. The stipend of the minister is £157. There are two parish churches, one of them being situated in Eagleshay, and the other on the S. side of Rousay, within three quarters of a mile of Weir. There is a Free church of Rousay and Eagleshay; also an United Presbyterian church, and a parochial school, besides other schools. Near Westness House are the ruins of the Castle of Sigard, or Sitric, who was defeated at Clontarf. In other parts of the parish are tumuli, "Picts' houses", and pillar stones. All around the island is safe anchorage for shipping of any burden.

"EGILSHAY, (or Eagleshay), one of the islands of the Orkney group, in the parish of Rousay, Scotland, 10 miles N. of Kirkwall. It is over 3 miles in length, and is 1 mile in breadth. At the W. end of the island a small church stands on the reputed scene of the murder of St. Magnus, to whom it is dedicated.

"ENHALLOW, an island , one of the Orkney Isles, Scotland. It lies in Enhallow Sound, 1 mile S. of Rousay, in which parish it is included. It is about 1 mile in circuit."

"WEIR, an island, one of the Orkneys, in the parish of Rousay and Eagleshay, county Orkney and Shetland, Scotland, 11½ mile W. of Pomona. The sound of Weir, which is three-quarters of a mile in breadth, separates it from the S. side of the island of Rousay. It extends in length 2½ miles, with an extreme breadth of about 1 mile. The surface lies low, and has a productive soil. In the vicinity are the ruins of a church and of a fortification."

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]