Sanday  Orkney


In 1882-4, Frances Groome's Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland described Sanday like this:

Sanday, one of the most considerable of the North Isles of Orkney. It contains a post office station of its own name. It lies 2¼ miles N of Stronsay, 13/8 mile E of Eday, 7 miles E of Westray, and 2½ S of North Ronaldshay. Its form is exceedingly irregular, and may, in a general view, be regarded as three large peninsulas and two small ones radiating from a common centre. ...

Its length, from NE to SW, is 131/8 miles; and its breadth varies between ½ mile and 5 miles. Excepting a hillocky ridge of 116 to 173 feet in altitude on its W side, the island is extremely flat. Its soil is everywhere light and sandy, and, when well manured with seaweed, produces as good crops as any which are raised in Orkney. The principal harbours are Kettletoft on the SE side of the island, and Otterswick Bay on the NE, both commodious and pretty safe. Eleven small lakes, the largest about 2¼ miles in circumference, and two or three others not much inferior to this, occur in various parts of the island, particularly in the N. On the promontory of Els Ness, which projects to the S, and commands an extensive sea view, are upwards of twenty vitrified cairns, supposed by Dr Hibbert to have been signal stations of the Norsemen for communicating with their fleets in the sound. The other antiquities of the island are the ruins of one or two ancient chapels, and of some considerable Picts' houses. Sanday is ecclesiastically divided into Lady parish on the E, and the united parish of Cross and Burness on the W. Five public schools-Burness, Cross, Lady, North Ronaldshay, and Sellibister-with respective accommodation for 80, 60, 140, 96, and 132 children, had (1884) an average attendance of 56, 49, 85, 55, and 79, and grants of £49, 18s., £52, 4s. 6d., £81, 7s. 6d., £36, 1s., and £90, 19s. 6d. Pop. (1831) 1839, (1861) 2145, (1871) 2053, (1881) 2082, of whom 1137 were in Cross and Burness, and 945 in Lady.

Sanday through time

Sanday is now part of Orkney Islands district. Click here for graphs and data of how Orkney Islands has changed over two centuries. For statistics about Sanday itself, go to Units and Statistics.

How to reference this page:

GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Sanday in Orkney Islands | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.


Date accessed: 13th June 2024

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