St Andrews


"St Andrews, a parish in the SE of the Mainland of Orkney, whose church stands near the W shore of Deer Sound, 6 miles ESE of the post-town, Kirkwall, whilst Deerness church on the E coast is 12 miles ESE of Kirkwall by road, though only 9¼ as the crow flies. It is bounded NW by Kirkwall parish and Inganess Bay, N by Shapinsay Sound, NE, E, and SE by the North Sea, and SW by Holm parish; and it is deeply indented by Deer Sound, which, penetrating the land for 5⅞ miles south-westward and south-south-eastward, alternately broadens and contracts, from 3⅜ miles to 1 mile, from 1½ mile to 5 furlongs, and from 2 miles to 2¼ furlongs. ...

The parish thus consists of two natural divisions, connected by a sandy isthmus only 250 yards broad, St Andrews proper to the W and Deerness to the E. The former has an extreme length from NW to SE of 5⅜ miles, and a varying width of ½ mile and 5⅜ miles; the latter, in outline rudely resembling a topsy-turvy kite, has an extreme length from SSW to NNE of 4¾ miles, and an extreme breadth of 3¾ miles; and the area of the whole is 12,830 acres. The coast is in places sandy, in places rocky, and sometimes precipitous; and the interior rises in St Andrews to 183, in Deerness at the Ward Hill to 285, feet above sea-level. The shallow fresh-water Loch of Tankerness (7 x 4½ furl.; 13 feet above the sea) lies 5 furlongs N of St Andrews church. The predominant rock is Old Red Sandstone, with interesting dykes of trap; and the soil is capable of much improvement. A curious cavern, the Gloup, has been noticed separately. Tankerness Hall, near the NW shore of Deer Sound, is the chief residence. In the presbytery of Kirkwall and synod of Orkney, the civil parish since 1845 has been ecclesiastically divided into St Andrews and Deerness, the former a living worth £308. St Andrews church was built in 1801, and contains 400 sittings. There is also a Free church of St Andrews; and three new public schools, Deerness, St Andrews, and Tankerness, with respective accommodation for 155, 55, and 80 children, had (1884) an average attendance of 99, 44, and 41, and grants of £91, 9s. 6d., £42, 16s., and £40, 2s. 6d. Valuation (1884) of St Andrews, £2094, 9s.; of Deerness, £2178, 11s. Pop. of entire parish (1821) 1548, (1861) 1681, (1871) 1733, (1881) 1695, of whom 828 were in St Andrews and 867 in Deerness."

From Francis Groome's Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland, 1882-4



St. Andrews and Deerness 1877-1977: Edited by Jeanette MS Forsythe. Published 1977. 68pp.
Anthology of recollections to commemorate centenary of primary school.


Church Records

Old Parish Registers

  • Baptisms, 1657-1854. No entries July 1671-May 1672, two entries April 1674-Sep 1678, no entries Aug 1681-June 1683 or Aug 1687-Mar 1689, two entries in 1691, no entries June 1693-May 1695 or July 1698-Aug 1700, only three entries Dec 1716-July 1729, irregular entries 1740-44 and after Dec 1752, not regularly kept after 1796.
  • Marriages, 1657-1854. No entries Dec 1674-Oct 1676 and Feb 1679-Jan 1680, one entry Feb 1684-Jan 1690. No entries during the following periods: July 1698-Nov 1700, Jan 1717-Oct 1746, Dec 1751-Dec 1752, Dec 1765-Dec 1766, Nov 1781-May 1783, Mar 1795-Aug 1805.
  • Burials, 1792-1843. No entries April 1795-July 1805, after which only a record of Mortcloth Dues.

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

  • Ref: OCR/FC/23: St. Andrews Free Kirk/South Kirk: Baptisms 1843-1949, Communion Roll 1919-1949.
  • Ref: OCR/KC/20: St. Andrews Kirk: Baptisms 1881-1949, Proclamations of marriage banns 1881-1949, Communion Roll 1875-1949.

Civil Registration

The Registrar of births, deaths, and marriages for the parish of St. Andrews.
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 St Andrews which are provided by:





You can see maps centred on OS grid reference HY512069 (Lat/Lon: 58.946833, -2.84899), St Andrews which are provided by: