An Example of Marriage

From The Orkneys and Shetland; Their Past and Present State by John R. Tudor. Published 1883. Chapter xxvi, The Orkneys – South Isles, pages 333-334.

Flotta for a long time was entirely dependent on the mother parish, Walls for spiritual ministrations; and though the minister was supposed to hold service there every third Sunday, owing to weather, the Flotteyans were often for weeks without a pastor. Under these circumstances, if a couple were in a hurry to be married, the bridegroom, accompanied by his best man, proceeded to the session clerk on the Saturday night, the day when the engagements were generally made, to give directions for the proclamation of the banns. On the following day (Sunday) the clerk, sexton, and a friend proceeded to the kirk, where the clerk gave out the banns, a ceremony which was repeated, as elsewhere, on the two following Sundays. The wedding seems generally to have taken place on a Thursday, and at the wedding-feast a sort of loving-cup was handed round called “the bride’s cog,” or ” leem.” Continue reading

New Community Website

Flotta now has two websites. Lurdy, Flotta is the blog of islander David Sinclair with particular focus on community news and events, the history of the island during WWI and WWII and the current construction of the new museum at Lurdy; from which his blog takes its name. If you want to visit the island, or are considering a permanent island view, his site is a must. There is a link to Ferry times and details of self catering/hostel accommodation. Recent posts include mention of the knitting of pants at the 1930s SWRI group (they’ll never come back into fashion) and coverage of the diamond jubilee celebrations. Be warned Willick likes to post too!

Lurdy Flotta Website

Mermaids, Sailor Ross and a Toast to Men and Maids

In 1974 Alan J Bruford visited Kirk, South Ronaldsay with his tape recorder. John was an archivist who worked for the School of Scottish Studies, set up to preserve Scottish/Gaelic heritage. He recorded songs and stories from John Dass of South Ronaldsay, and his brother-in-law Flottarian Norman Norquay (born 1903).  They sang “A Health to Every Man and Maid”, “Will I the Lum”, “A Shilling and a Clean Shirt” and “The Dark-Eyed Sailor”. Norman had heard “The Dark-Eyed Sailor” from John Sabiston of Flotta and the toasting song “A Health to Every Man and Maid” was written by a Hay man of Flotta.  Norman also recounted his sightings of a mermaid off the coast of Flotta, and a strange dog at the Head.

In previous years Alan had visited other Orcadians to collect their songs. In 1967 at Dounby, Sandwick, Ethel Findlater and Elsie Johnston sang “Andrew Ross” a ballad about a sailor from Flotta.  In 1971 he visited the village of Toab on Mainland Orkney and Auld Peter sang “The Painful Plough” which Peter had learnt from a Flottarian teacher and minister.

To listen to these recordings type Flotta into the search box of the Tobar an Dualchais/Kist o Riches website.

‘a collaborative project which has been set up to preserve, digitise, catalogue and make available online several thousand hours of Gaelic and Scots recordings. This website contains a wealth of material such as folklore, songs, music, history, poetry, traditions, stories and other information. The material has been collected from all over Scotland and beyond from the 1930s onwards.’

“A Health to Every Man and Maid” Was the composer James Hay the poet?

 John Dass & Norman Norquoy, “A Health to Every Man and Maid”, School of Scottish Studies
SA1974.70.A10, Tobar an Dualchais/Kist o Riches

Whatever happened to Miss Morris?

 Otago Daily Times (New Zealand), Issue 10585, 4 February 1896, Page 2

SCOTLAND (From Our Own Correspondent.) Edinburgh, December 19.
General News

Miss Morris, M.D., of Berlin, and L.R.C.P., E., has been appointed medical officer of the island of Flotta, Orkney. This is stated to be the first public appointment held by a lady doctor in the north.

From The National Library of New Zealand

A New Look For The Flotta Web Guide

Posting articles on the old site was hard work due to laborious formatting. So last year I decided to make the leap to an easier WordPress site. For the last few months my worker bee brother Steve has been putting in the hours to come up with this (You can find more examples of his work at Cafe Shorts). There are still a few bugs to shake off, but this year I hope to share many of the photos and documents I have collected together as well as interesting items uncovered from the internet. I think it will be a lot easier for everyone to find articles I post using the new categories index on the right hand side and you can now post your comments/thoughts using the reply link below each article. Most of the content from the old site has been been transferred to the new site. The search box is now at the top of the page and the message board from the previous site can still be accessed on the right hand side. My dad John deserves special mention for keeping the Message board running these last few years, no easy task. The fantastic banner photographs are courtesy of Aileen and Harry Chapman.