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New Orkney Antiquarian Journal – Volume 9 published. Offical launch via online event on 24th September.

Orkney Heritage Society are pleased to announce the publication of the ninth volume of its New Orkney Antiquarian Journal.

The ninth volume is devoted to the Orkney Heritage Society’s project to commemorate the victims of the Orkney witchcraft trials.

The journal focusses on witchcraft trials held in Kirkwall between 1594 and 1706. Who were the women and men accused, and of what were they accused? What were the beliefs underlaying these trials and what motivated the accusers?

This special edition of the New Orkney Antiquarian Journal will be launched in an online event on Thursday 24th September at 7pm.

The event will include talks from Prof Liv Willumsen, University of the Arctic, leading researcher on the witch trials of Finnmark and Orkney, and from Dr Ragnhild Ljosland, University of the Highlands and Islands, publication editor: “The psychology of the witchcraft trials”, followed by questions and dialogue.

This virtual launch will be available to join via Zoom, and to attend online you will first need to register via Eventbrite: click here. Free to register, but numbers are limited.

New Orkney Antiquarian Journal Volume 9 is now available to purchase via the OHS website’s bookshop. where you can find more detail about the journal.

2020 Eynhallow trip cancelled

Orkney Heritage Society regret to announce that due to the current situation with COVID-19 there will be no excursion to Eynhallow in 2020.

We look forward to the next trip in 2021, most likely in July.

2019 OHS Laura Grimond Award presented to Kirkwall project

The Laura Grimond Award for Architectural Projects was established in 1999 in memory of Laura Grimond, with the aim of encouraging and promoting excellence in the built environment of Orkney, a subject dear to her heart. At a recent meeting of Orkney Heritage Society, it was decided to re-establish the Laura Grimond Award, albeit in a different format from the original competition that was held. The OHS Board of Trustees will now give out an occasional award to a building development that contributes to preserving the architectural heritage of Orkney.

The first recipient in this new format is the extension at the back of 53 Albert Street, Kirkwall, which deserves recognition on a number of levels. It is a testament to the developer’s willingness to spend the extra money to achieve a building that blends into the streetscape of Kirkwall’s historic core, utilising some traditional architectural features such as crow’s steps.

From left to right: Sandy Firth (OHS President), John Hamilton & Raymie Rendall (both R.S.Rendall Ltd), Spencer Rosie (OHS Chair). A third certificate was awarded to the developer, Ian Gorn.

Particularly impressive is the large stone wall built to mask the utilitarian flat roof extension. Laura’s son, Johnny Grimond, commented, “even utilitarian buildings can be made to sit comfortably in historic surroundings. The work is of a high standard. The use of stone is appropriate to the situation and the ‘dry stone’ coping adds an Orcadian touch. All in all, it draws the eye in all the right ways and none of the bad ones”.

The planning authority of Orkney Islands Council deserves a mention for working with the developer and encouraging the use of some of the architectural details.

Not least requiring recognition is the very high standard of work provided by the contractor, R. S. Rendall Ltd, particularly the superb craftsmanship shown by their stonemason, John Hamilton, on the stone walls. Three framed certificates were presented, one to the contractor, Raymie Rendall, one to the developer, Ian Gorn,  and one to John Hamilton, stonemason.

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