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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 OHS Newsletter – Still a few copies left!

One of the benefits of membership of Orkney Heritage Society is receiving a free copy of the annual newsletter. There are still a few copies of the 2020 Newsletter left, so if you haven’t already joined OHS, you can join now and receive your copy. Only £10 per year! See our Membership Page for details.

Due to a generous donation our latest newsletter is another 100 plus page book, full of interesting articles and pictures. The editor, Elizabeth Corsie, has managed to procure contributions on a large variety of subjects, the following being a brief resume.

There are the usual Chairman’s and Treasurer’s reports, as well as the list of Fereday Prize commendations. The financial contribution given to the Society has allowed colour printing, which was particularly important to the first article, the overall 2019/20 Fereday Award Prize Winning Investigation by Sebastian Pesci on his grandfather, Jim Baikie. People of a certain generation will remember Jim as a talented musician, playing bass guitar in local bands. He could well have made it big in that industry, but it was through his love of illustrating comic books that he made his living. Sebastian’s fascinating account of his grandfather is laced with many of Jim’s drawings, reproduced in their full glorious colour.

Neil Kermode’s description of the unveiling of the plaque to Murdoch Mackenzie is followed by an account of the mapping methods used by the famous eighteenth century Orkney cartographer in Mackenzie’s own words. Among the islands Mackenzie surveyed was the small uninhabited (at least by humans) island of Eynhallow, to which the Society organises an annual trip. Sadly, due to the current Covid-19 crisis, there is no trip this year. To make up for it, Elizabeth Corsie has written a detailed description of the 2019 trip. It is very much hoped that normal service can be resumed in 2021.

The remarkable story of the attack on Holm and occupation of Lamb Holm by French troops under a Scottish Jacobite is recounted by Sheena Wenham.

The work of Orkney Vintage Club is described by Cathleen Hourie and there is an account by Clive Warboys of arguably the most popular ‘plane to serve the Northern and Western Isles, the Vickers Viscount.

The Society’s stance on the infrastructure needed to service the growing renewable sector is described and there is a warning by Johnny Grimond about the potential ruination of the Orkney landscape. Whether one agrees with his point of view or not (and it is to be doubted few will), his contribution is well worth reading.

The history behind the ceremonial appearance of Halberdiers in Kirkwall is explained by Spencer Rosie and the Society’s President, Sandy Firth, gives another of his memories of the Second World War, this time giving a fascinating account of the RAF’s High Speed Launches based in Shapinsay.

The excavations at the rapidly eroding site at the Knowe of Swandro in Rousay, which includes a Neolithic chambered tomb, a substantial Iron Age roundhouse, Pictish buildings, Viking houses and a Norse Long Hall, are described.

Interspersed among the articles are many photographs and poems, including an old favourite, Bloody Orkney, complete with an extra stanza giving a local riposte.

A review by Tom Muir of  The Henry Sinclair Casebook, a study into the life of Earl Henry Sinclair (1345-1400) by the late Vicki Hild. The Henry Sinclair book is available along with many other OHS publications via our Publications page

Some copies of the 2020 Newsletter are still available and can be obtained by joining the Scociety, annual fee being £10. See Membership page for details.

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.

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