|N E W S F E E D S >>>|
Island In The Pentland Firth
From the Journal of Bishop Falconar of 1762, and is quoted in Craven's "History of the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Caithness" (1908).
"In journeying from Castle-May to Johno Groat's House, we were all along in sight of Stroma. an Island belonging to the Continent, as being in the Parish of Cannesbay. This island is famous for having dead Bodies of Men, Women and Children above Ground, entire, and to be seen for 70 or 80 years, free of all corruption, without enbalming or any art qtsoever, but owing, it is thought, to the plenty of Nitre that is there. The Bodies become very brownish through length of Time; but so as that the Visage is discernable by any Friend or acquaintance that ever had seen the person alive. I looked over the Ferry of two miles often to the Burial-place, close upon the shore of Stroma, which is a Small House like a Dove Cote, the Roof being off now, and the Door broken to pieces; for, being informed that the bodies were now under Ground, I did not Cross the Ferry to View it. This little Repository for the Dead was built by one Dr. Kennedy of Cairnmuck, as they term it in Caithness, but I take it to be Kenmuck, as there is a Place in Aberdeenshire from qch County, it is said, he had fled to Stroma for Homicide, having killed one Forbes, of the family of Foveran. Upon this island the Dr. made out a small habitation for himself, by building a snug House of two stories, and well slated, with a pretty little Garden; and he ordered his Body to be deposited in the little House, which he had erected for that purpose, standing by itself, without any other House in View of it that I could see. His body was to be seen here for many years, and would have been so still, had it not been for his son, Murdoch Kennedy, who played such wretched tricks ( O facinus indignum! Referens tremisco!) on the Body of his Father, for the Diversion of Strangers, as in time broke it to pieces, and the Head was the part that fell first off. He used to place Strangers at his Father's Feet, and by setting a Foot on one of his Father's made the Body spring up speedily and salute them, which surprised them greatly. Then, after laying the body down again, he beat a march upon the Belly, which sounded equally loud with a Drum. William Sutherland of Wester particularly informed me that, about 40 years ago, he was in Murdoch's House, the same built by ye Fayr, and with him went to the Burying-place, qre he witnessed him beating thus a march, and saw several other Bodies entire, particularly some Bodies of Children hanging by Nails and Pins upon the walls like dried Haddocks, as he termed it."