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A better copy of this old photo. Date is still a wild guess.
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Picture added on 26 March 2008
Fascinating. The Kirk Green with greenery (rather a lot of dockans I think), and it looks as though it was used as a short cut by vehicles too - it would have been much easier than taking a horse and cart up and around the Tolbooth at the top corner. You can just see the wall of the Tolbooth's back yard at the right of the picture, so that dates it to before 1890. Rev Robert Paterson's large pink obelisk in the centre dates it to after 1870. The kirkyard wall looks quite new, or newly pointed. I would have thought it was built or repaired after the government restoration in the 1840s/50s but maybe not. Finding some of those other gravestones might give a more precise date. And is that a sweet little message on the right?
Added by Paul Sutherland on 26 March 2008.

Added by Paul Sutherland on 27 March 2008
If anyone going past the cathedral at teatime on Saturday saw a strange figure wandering around the kirkyard peering at a piece of paper and then at various gravestones, it was me with a copy of this photo. Unfortunately I didn't have time to narrow down its date more precisely than to 1870-75 (I found a stone of the latter date which is clearly not in the photo, though admittedly there is no guarantee of how soon a stone was erected after a funeral). I'd guess that the photo was taken earlier in that timespan than later, for none of the Washington Wilson photos shows as few gravestones as this, and he was in Kirkwall at least in 1874/5 (see comments on picture #3184). I think the last two burials in the kirkyard were in 1975 and 1976. Does anyone still have a plot or lair there I wonder?
Added by Paul Sutherland on 28 April 2008
No clock. When was the clock (outside) installed? Zoom this photo up a bit
and what looks like the word "love" is visible over at the right. Strange!
Added by Sandy on 29 April 2008
My grand aunt Catherine Twatt Croy who died in July 1979 is buried beside her parents on the south side of the kirkyard. I seem to remember hearing of one other burial after that but can't remember who it was.
Added by Cathleen Spence on 29 April 2008
Well Sandy, if I might suggest, you had better look again.
Look at the tower to where the clock is now, then look down and slightly to the left, you will see where the square clock is mounted.Not very clear in this instance, but I shall send in positive photographic proof very soon.
Meantime "keep them coming in"
Added by Peter Burges on 29 April 2008
Within a few years of this, on 15th May 1878, the Orkney Herald published a letter signed "Ozone" suggesting that the Kirk Green be railed in and planted. The writer said it had been tried unsuccessfully before (that was, I think, in 1845 by Sheriff Gordon Robertson, who tried to ban the Ba' to protect his improvements), but urged that it be attempted again to hide "the unsightly churchyard wall" and "relieve the bare gauntness of the cathedral". They suggested a fountain and a bowling green, arguing that although there were then two bowling greens in the town, both belonged to hotels and people were put off using them by being expected to drink as well as play (the greens were behind the then Kirkwall Hotel, later R Garden's, in Bridge Street and on the site of the Masonic Hall, then belonging to the Castle Hotel). On the Kirk Green, the letter continued, players could drink from the fountain "without danger or expense".
Added by Paul Sutherland on 20 May 2008
Cathleen - that's interesting. I have been trying to find out who was the last person to be buried in the cathedral graveyard, and according to the registrar, it was indeed your grand aunt. There were a couple of instances of internment of ashes in the 1980s, but Catherine Croy was the last actual burial. Did you know her?
Added by Fran Hollinrake on 28 October 2015
I did indeed know her Fran, she visited us every Sunday evening when I was a child. She was a tailoress and did all the alterations for Croy's draper shop.
Added by Cathleen Spence on 16 November 2015
That's grand - Cathlee.! Am I right in thinking the family was from Stronsay? She was a good age when she died - 90, it seems.
Anonymous comment added on 17 November 2015
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