"Hoy, island, Orkney, pop. 1380; P.O., 4 miles SW. of Stromness; is 13 miles and 6 miles in extreme length and breadth, and is the largest of the Orkney islands after Mainland, from which it is separated by the Sound of Hoy; is sometimes called the Highlands of Orkney, and rises in Ward Hill (the highest point of Great Britain N. of the Pentland Firth) to a height of 1564 ft.; all along the W. coast, from the Kame of Hoy to Roray Head, are lofty cliffs, which at one point rise to a height of 1140 ft.; 1 mile N. of Roray Head is the Old Man of Hoy, a detached pillar-shaped rock, 450 ft. high; 4 m. SW. of Stromness is Hoy Lodge."

From John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles, 1887



Hoy: The dark enchanted Island
by John Bremner
Published by Bellavista Publications 1997.
ISBN 0952535025
The author journeys through his native island telling of its history, traditions, and folklore, and relating stories of island life.

The Great Harbour: Scapa Flow
by W. S. Hewison
Published by The Orcadian 1985, 3rd. ed. 2000.
ISBN 1902957024
Tells the story of Scapa Flow from prehistoric times to the present day, with emphasis on its importance during the First and Second World Wars.


Church Records

Old Parish Registers - Hoy

  • Baptisms, 1776-1854. Few entries per year prior to 1796.
  • Marriages, 1812-1854. Only eleven entries prior to 1820.
  • Burials. No entries.

Old Parish Registers - Graemsay

  • Baptisms, 1777-1854. Irregular and incomplete prior to 1799.
  • Marriages, 1796-1854. Only twenty-seven entries prior to 1820.
  • Burials. No entries.

Other church records (held at Orkney Archives in Kirkwall).

  • Ref: OCR/KC/31: Hoy Kirk Proclamations of marriage banns 1904-1976, Baptisms 1888-1982, Communion Roll (Hoy) 1895-1944, Communion Roll (Graemsay) 1887-1944, Communion Roll (Hoy and Graemsay) 1873-1890, Communion Roll 1944-1976.

Civil Registration

The Registrar of births, deaths, and marriages for the island of Hoy.
The Registrar for Stromness handles registratios in the island of Graemsay.
The Registrar's records extend back only as far as 1st January 1855 when registration became compulsory in Scotland.


Description & Travel

You can see pictures of Hoy which are provided by:





Robert Whitton has researched the histories of the Ritch and Sutherland families in Graemsay and Hoy and is willing to share the results with others. He has also researched the histories of most of the other families in Graemsay, including Johnston, Linklater, Lyon, Mowat, Oman, Sinclair, Skinner, and Spence.



You can see maps centred on OS grid reference HY231009 (Lat/Lon: 58.888638, -3.335402), Hoy which are provided by: