"DUNROSSNESS, a parish in the South Shetland Islands, Scotland, situated near Fitful Head and Sumburgh Head Light. It is in the presbytery of Lerwick, and synod of Orkney. The minister's stipend is £208, in the patronage of the Earl of Zetland. The parish comprises besides Dunrossness, Sandwick, Coningsburgh, and Fair Isle in Queendale Bay, where the admiral of the Spanish Armada was wrecked in 1589. There is a parish church, a Free church, Wesleyan and Methodist chapels, and schools. The soil is extremely barren, consisting of sandstone covered with moss. In some places iron-ore, copper, lead, and manganese have been discovered, but are not worked. In winter the lakes are frequented by swans, and eagles find shelter in the rocks. Many of the inhabitants are engaged in the fisheries, or in snaring wild-fowl."
From The National Gazetteer of of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
- The transcription of the section for Dunrossness from the National Gazetteer (1868) provided by Colin Hinson.
Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, Samuel Lewis - 1851
COLSAY-ISLE, an isle, in the parish of Dunrossness, county of Shetland. This is a small islet, lying west of the mainland of the parish, about a mile south of the island of St. Ronan's, and nearly double that distance north of Fitfull Head. It is wholly uninhabited.
CROSS, an isle, in the parish of Dunrossness, county of Shetland. It lies a short distance west of the mainland of the parish, at the entrance of Quendal bay, and is one of the smallest of the Shetland isles.
FAIR, an island, forming part of the parish of Dunrossness, in the county of Shetland; containing 232 inhabitants. It lies between the Orkney and Shetland groups, and is about three miles in length and nearly two in breadth, presenting three lofty promontories, and encompassed with precipitous rocks. The island is every where inaccessible, except upon the south-east, where, lowering itself a little, it affords a safe station for small vessels. One of the promontories, the Sheep Craig, is nearly insulated, rising from the sea in a conical shape to an elevation of 480 feet. The soil is moderately fertile, and the hills are clothed with excellent pasturage for sheep. Fair Isle is thickly peopled, and the inhabitants are chiefly engaged in the taking of saith, about forty tons of which, when dried, are annually sent to the Leith market: the ling and cod fishing formerly prosecuted has been discontinued on account of its distance from the island. The houses are clustered together on the southern shores in the form of small hamlets, or, as they are here called, towns, which are named respectively Seutter, Taing, Shirva, Leogh, Bousta, and Gelah. A substantial church, capable of accommodating 120 persons, was built by the proprietor of the isle many years ago, at a cost of £150, and is distant from the parish church thirty-five miles. There is also a good school. In 1588, the flag-ship of the Duke de Medina-Sidonia, the admiral of the Spanish Armada, was wrecked on this island, and tradition points out the humble residence of the shipwrecked commander.
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