Papa Stour

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.

This edition is copyright © The Editors of the Gazetteer for Scotland, 2002-2022.

It has taken much time and money to make the six-volumes of Groome's text freely accessible. Please help us continue and develop by making a donation. If only one out of every ten people who view this page gave £5 or $10, the project would be self-sustaining. Sadly less than one in thirty-thousand contribute, so please give what you can.

Use the tabs on the right of this page to see other parts of this entry Arrow

Papa Stour, an island of Walls parish, Shetland. Lying on the S side of the entrance of St Magnus Bay, 34 miles NW of Lerwick, it is separated by the Sound of Papa, 1 mile broad at the narrowest, from the north-western extremity of the Mainland section of Walls, and measures 27/8 miles in length west-north-westward, whilst its breadth varies between 4½ furlongs and 2¼ miles. It is engirt, at near distances, by picturesque porphyritic stacks, shooting vertically from the sea like stupendous towers or castellated keeps; on its S side is pierced by several magnificent and very curious caves, the abodes of numerous seals; is indented by several small voes or creeks, which afford shelter to fishing-boats; and has excellent beaches for drying fish, which were used for that purpose in last century by a great fishing company. The surface rises at Hoo Field to 115, at Virda Field to 288, feet above sea-level; and is disposed partly in arable land, with a generally fertile soil, partly in common pasture, naturally good, but much injured by maltreatment. Papa Stour was a northern centre of the early Culdees, serving as a sort of Iona to Shetland; and retained till a recent period the ancient Norwegian sword dance noticed in Sir Walter Scott's Pirate. It contains the Established church of Papa chapelry, a post office under Lerwick, and a public school. Pop. (1841) 382, (1861) 366, (187l) 351, (1881) 254.

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

If you have found this information useful please consider making
a donation to help maintain and improve this resource. More info...

By using our site you agree to accept cookies, which help us serve you better