In 1882-4, Frances Groome's Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland described Noss like this:
Noss, an island of Bressay parish, Shetland, 1 furlong E of Bressay island, from which it is separated by a narrow and dangerous sound. Triangular in shape, it has an utmost length and breadth of 1 3/8 mile, and is reckoned one of the most fertile and pleasant islands in Shetland. A promontory on its E side is called Noss Head. But the most interesting object connected with it, and one of the greatest curiosities in Shetland, is a holm or islet on its SE side, called the Holm of Noss. ...
This islet, only 500 feet long, 170 broad, and 160 high, is perfectly mural, rising sheer up to its greatest altitude on all sides from the sea, and possessing a level and richly-swarded surface. The opposite rock on Noss island is also mural, and of the same height as the Holm; and is separated from it by a channel 240 feet wide. In former years a wooden trough or cradle suspended to ropes and made to acquire a sliding motion, with sufficient capacity to convey a man and one sheep at a time, served to keep the Holm in command as a valuable piece of sheep pasture. Off the E coast a rock called the Noup of Noss towers up like a stupendous tower, and attains, on one side, a precipitous and almost perpendicular height above sea-level of 592 feet. Pop. (1841) 24, (1861) 14, (1871) 24, (1881) 3.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Noss has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Shetland Islands. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Noss and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Noss in Shetland Islands | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 19th June 2013
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