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New Orkney Antiquarian Journal, Volume 8.



The 8th New Orkney Antiquarian Journal commemorates two significant milestones in the historiography of Orkney: the death of Willie Thomson in 2016 and the 50th Anniversary of the Orkney Heritage Society in 2018.

All but one of the authors of the papers were either peers or former pupils of Willie Thomson, or are past or present Chairs of the Society. The exception is Else Mundal, whose contribution makes a trilogy of new perspectives on early 12th-century Orkney.

Barbara Crawford offers some fresh interpretations on the monastic context of the Brough of Birsay. Sarah Jane Gibbon offers fresh interpretations of Willie Thomson’s 2002 paper on the Ladykirk Stone. Else Mundal offers a fresh interpretation of the life of Earl Rognvaldr. Leslie Burgher traces the history of the Hall of Clestrain. James Irvine updates a paper on Sandwick’s agricultural history first written for one of Willie’s whiteboard courses. Jocelyn Rendall adds to Willie’s research on the Little General in India. Sheila Garson writes up the role of women in agriculture in Shapinsay. Sheena Wenham edits the diaries of two Orkney ladies during the Second World War. Peter Anderson recollects his visits to Orkney in the 1950s. Ray Fereday records his memories of the saving of Papdale House and the founding of the Orkney Heritage Society. Spencer Rosie brings the history of the Society up to the present day. Finally Brian Smith supplements his obituary of Willie Thomson with perceptive insights into some of his publications.

The volume concludes with one of Willie Thomson’s many innovations, ‘Recent Books and Papers’.


Barbara E Crawford   The Brough of Birsay Continued: Further Thoughts on its Monastic Foundation
Sarah Jane Gibbon   ‘With a good boat under me’: St Magnus and the Ladykirk Stone
Else Mundal   Rognvaldr Kali Kolsson: Orkneyinga Saga’s portrait of a good ruler
Leslie Burgher   The Hall of Clestrain: History and Context
James M. Irvine   Agricultural Improvement in Sandwick Parish
Jocelyn Rendall   The Little Captain and the years before Rousay
Sheila Garson   Women in Agriculture during the 20th Century
Sheena Wenham   The Wartime Jottings of Two Orkney Ladies, September 1939 – June 1940
Peter Anderson   Going Away and Coming Back: Visiting Orkney in the ‘50s
Ray P Fereday   Papdale House and the Founding of the OHS
Spencer J Rosie   Orkney Heritage Society: 50 Years of Action
Brian Smith   Willie Thomson: Historian of Orkney and Shetland
Recent Books and Papers

Please note that our Journals are also available to buy in person from The Orkney Archive, and The Orcadian Bookshop, Kirkwall.