Poll Tax returns of 1693 for North Ronaldshay, Orkney, Scotland

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North Ronaldshay, Orkney, Scotland
Year range
1693 - 1693

This table shows the pollable inhabitants of North Ronaldshay (then spelt "Northranaldsha") as shown in the returns for 1693. It is based on "The Orkney Poll Taxes of the 1690s" by James M. Irvine, published in 2003. Only those under the age of 16 or in receipt of poor aid were exempt from the tax and therefore they are a useful census substitute for this time period. [1]

Analysis by surname

The analysis of the people named in the returns is given in the following table. Irvine's study estimates that including minor children and paupers (who were exempt from the tax), the population was around 1.6 x the number listed in the records - in this case around 220.

Surname Household Heads Named Inhabitants Population estimate
# % # % #
Tullach 10 25% 35 26% 56
Swannie 8 20% 23 17% 37
Muir 5 13% 14 10% 22
Cutt 3 8% 12 9% 19
Turfisone 1 3% 8 6% 13
Thomson 2 5% 7 5% 11
Mairtain 2 5% 7 5% 11
Foderingham 1 3% 6 4% 10
Wall 2 5% 5 4% 8
Burwick 2 5% 4 3% 6
Kelldally 1 3% 3 2% 5
Hoy 2 5% 2 1% 3
Michell 0 % 2 1% 3
Spence 0 % 2 1% 3
Scott 1 3% 1 1% 2
Scletter 0 % 1 1% 2
Marikirk 0 % 1 1% 2
Mill 0 % 1 1% 2
Scoat 0 % 1 1% 2
Brodie 0 % 1 1% 2
Total 40 100% 136 100% 220

The origins of these surnames are split between Norse origins and Scottish origins. Norse origins include partonymics such as Swannie, from Swaneson (Swein's son) and Turfisone (Thorfinn's son) whilst Scottish names include distinctive place-derived surnames like Tulloch and Muir.

The islands were initially owned by "odallers", small-holders of Norse origin whose families pre-dated the transfer of the Orkneys to Scotland in 1468. A hundred years later, in 1595, North Ronaldsay was granted as a feudal grant to Margaret Bonar, the first feudal lord. The landholdings became tenant farms, held on a short lease from the proprietor on payment of rents mostly in kind and rights of labour. The surname origins of the tenant farmers recorded another hundred years later, in 1693, indicate that the tenant farmers were descended from a mixed stock of part odal families and part Scottish settlers brought in by the new feudal overlords.

Full results

Purple names shows farms included in 1693; grey names show additional farms by the time of the 1851 census. Click here for full resolution version
Purple names shows farms included in 1693; grey names show additional farms by the time of the 1851 census. Click here for full resolution version
House Household Head Wife Children Servants Notes re Descendants
Samback Andrew Swannie Jenit Forderingham Andrew Michall
Ankum John Muir Jenit Scletter Hendrie Muir Hellen Tullach; John Muir; Andrew Muir; Jenit Kalldaly Allocated to John Tulloch of Senness in the late 1700s in recognition of his father's war service
Langer Johm Muir Hellen Tullach Robert Tullach; Margarit Tullach
Coat [Cott] Magnus Muir Jenit Cutt Thomas Marikirk; Andrew Turfisone; Hellen Turfisone
Bura [Burray] William Tullach Elspit Muire
Nether Leine [Linnay] Alexander Tullach Margarit Tullach Thomas Tullach
Lai...hbreck John Swannie Eggedie Mill
Midle [Great] Senis Thomas Tullach Elspit Tullach Descendants remained there until at least 1969
Taib [Trebb] John Thomson Jemit Swannie Magnus Thomson; Hellen Thomson
Nouster John Tullach Margarit Brodie John Tullach; James Tullach; Thomas Tullach; Edward Tullach; Magnus Tullach Margarit Mairtain
Leine [Linnay] Stephen Foderingham Margarit Tullach Jenit Foderingham Robert Mairtain; Thomas Scoat; Jenit Mairtain
Littell Senis Thomas Tullach Cristian Thomsone
Hoyand [Holland] John Thomson Hellin Tullach Jenit Thomson
Wastnesse [Westness] William Tullach Margarit Turfisone Magnus Tullach; William Tullach; Robert Tullach Jenit Turfisone
Disher Andrew Cutt Margarit Foderingham John Turfisone; Margarit Swannie; Margarit More
Greanwall Magnus Swannie Jenit Spence Magnus Swannie; Margarit Swannie; Elsipt Swannie
Hower William Swannie Betrich Tullach Barbra Swannie; Elspit Swannie; Hellen Swannie
Crusbreck Magnus Turfisone Jenit Tullach Thomas Turfisone Hellen Michell Descendants held the croft until ca. 1807 when Robert Turfus was evicted
Kirbister John Tullach Cristian Spence Thomas Tullach
Ourland John Swannie Cristian Cutt
Stromnesse David Swannie Anna Swannie
Antabreck John Burwick Margarit Cutt
Coat Magnus Kelldally Margarit Muine
Newbigging John Wall Margarit Muire John Wall; Thomas Wall; James Wall Barbra Kelldally
Ness Magnus Tullach Elspit Cutt Jenit Tullach
Hucking John Tullach John Tullach; Hellen Tullach Allocated to Thomas Tulloch of Senness in the late 1700s in recognition of his father's war service
Nesse John Cutt Jenet Foderingham John Cutt; Jenit Cutt
Peackhole William Thomson Jenit Tullach Alexander Thomson Eggidie Cutt
Scotigar Thomas Burwick Jenit Swanie John Burwick
Shaltisquoy Steaven Tullach Jenit Muir John Tullach
Conglabist John Muir Cristian Foderingham
Garback [Gerbo] Robert Scott Elspeth Martaine
How [Howatoft?] Andrew Martaine Jenit Thomson Thomas Martaine Margarit Swannie; Margarit More
Grenspot Andrew Cutt Barbra Swannie John Swannie Jenit Cutt
(not given - "coatter") William Wals Cristian Swannie
(not given - "coatter") David Martaine
(not given - "coatter") Hendrie Hoy Jenit Cutt
(not given - "coatter") Andrew Hoy Margarit Tullach
(not given - "coatter") David Swannie Maragit Turfisone
(not given - "wever") Thomas Swannie Jenite Burwicke
(not given - "wever") Walter More Elspit Swannie