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Parish of Tingwall

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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1791-99: Tingwall Whiteness and Weesdale
1834-45: Tingwall, Whiteness, and Weesdale

Tingwall, a parish of Shetland, whose church stands near the head of Tingwall Loch, 6 miles WNW of Lerwick, under which there is a post office. Containing also the seaport and post-office village of Scalloway, the parish is bounded N by Delting, NE by Nesting, E by the sea, SE by Lerwick, S by Quarff, and W by the sea and Sandsting. It includes the inhabited islands of Hildesay, Langa, Linga, Oxna, and Trondra; and comprises the ancient parish of Weisdale on the N, Whiteness in the centre, and part of the ancient parish of Tingwall on the S, having till 1701 comprehended likewise the Lerwick-proper district of Lerwick parish. Its utmost length, from N to S, is 137/8 miles; its utmost breadth, from E to W, is 4¾ miles; and its land area is 455/8square miles or 29,204 acres. No part of it is more than 2 or 3 miles from the sca, so deeply are its coasts indented with voes or firths-Wadbister Voe, Lax Firth, and Dales Voe on the E; Clift Sound on the S; and Whiteness, Stromness, and Weisdale Voes on the W. A ridge of hills, extending from N to S, divides the parish into two distinct districts, and attains 921 feet at Scalla Field, 511 at Hamarsland Hill, 442 at Herrislee Hill, and 418 at Steinswall Hill. Each of these districts is disposed in straths, nearly parallel with the ridge. The soil is either moss or a dark-coloured loam; and the moss generally lies on a ferruginous subsoil, which is naturally impervious to water, and for some years resists the plough, butyields to per.severing tillage, and enrichingly mingles with the soil. Much waste land has of late years been reclaimed. In all the straths is abundance of primitive limestone, and the hills on the eastern side consist of clay and mica schists. Near Rova Head is a bed of good blue roofing-slate; and in several of the meadows are beds of excellent shellmarl. Of a seore of fresh-water lakes and lakelets, the largest are the Loch of Girlsta (1½ mile x 3 fnrl.), Strom Loch (2½ miles x 21/3furl.), and Tingwall Loch (8½ x 21/3 furl.). All afford good trout-fishing; and on an islet, called Lawting, in the last, the ' Grand Foud ' anciently held his supreme court, and heard appeals. Hence the name Tingwall (Norse Thingvöllr, ' a field or place where courts are held '). On an islet in Strom Loch is the ruin of a small fortalice, said to have been inhabited by a noble, whose father, a Jarl of Orkney, ordered him to be put to death. Tumuli and flint implements are numerous. Ti-ngwall was anciently an archdeaconry; and for upwards of a century after the Reformation, either itself or the village of Scalloway gave name to the Shetland presbytery. The ancient churches of Weisdale and Whiteness were dedicated respectively to the Virgin Mary and St Ola; and so powerful was the hold which Catholicism had on the entire parish, that, as we learn from the New Statistical Account, there are ' remains of a very great many pre-Reformation chapels.' One proprietor holds an annual value of more than £500, and 5 hold each between £100 and £500, 5 from £50 to £100, and 13 from £20 to £50. Tingwall is in the presbytery of Lerwick and the synod of Shetland; the living is worth £339. There are two parish churches, each containing about 570 sittings-the one at Tingwall, built in 1788; -the other at Whiteness, by Strom Loch, built in 1837. Six public schools-Girlsta, Gott, Scalloway, Trondra, Weisdale, and Whiteness-with total accommodation for 391 children, had (1884) an average attendance of 218, and grants amounting to £190, 5s. 8d. Valuation (1860) £2791, (1884) £4577, 13s. 6d. Pop. (1801) 1863, (1841) 2957, (1861) 2697, (1871) 2491, (1881) 2385, of whom 2164 belonged to the Mainland portion. Tinto, a big porphyritic hill at the meeting-point of Carmichael, Wiston, Symington, and Covington parishes, Lanarkshire, flanking the left side of a detour of the river Clyde, and culminating 7¼ miles SE of Lanark, 2¾ WSW of Symington Junction. Standing alone, and dominating like a king over the Upper Ward, it is the loftiest of the ' Southern Heights of the Central Lowlands,' and attains an altitude of 1655 feet above the Clyde at its base, and 2335 feet above the sea. Its base is 6½ miles in length from E to W, and 2¾ in breadth from N to S; and it rises at first slowly, afterwards more rapidly, to a massive domical summit. It figures very conspicuously throughout a great extent of landscape, and commands a view along the Clyde to the Grampians and Goatfell, together with side views to the Bass, to Cumberland, and to Ireland; it consists of eruptive rocks overcapping Silurian and Devonian rocks; on its SE skirt is the fragment of the ancient castle of Fatlips; and its summit is crowned by a huge cairn of probably the ancient Caledonian times. Long a beacon post and a place of Beltane fires, it took thence its name of Tinto, signifying the ` hill of fire; ' it is believed to have been also a scene of ancient Caledonian heathen worship; and, as to either its grand appearance, its antiquarian associations, or its fancied connection with popular myths, it figures in many old-world rhymes, one of which (` On Tintock tap-there is a mist,' etc.) is finely moralised in Dr John Brown's Jeems the Doorkeeper.- Ord. Sur., sh. 23, 1865.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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