On Saturday 23rd September 2017 from 11am to 3pm there will be an opportunity to drop by the Orkney Archives in Kirkwall to find out about the ongoing research into the village of Birsay and its surrounds. Dr Sarah Jane Gibbon of UHI will be on hand to go through what she and a group of volunteers have been discovering about the buildings of the Barony.
The researchers will be following the development of the North and South side of Birsay by looking at the buildings: when they were built, any renovations that have been done, changing use, if they still exist. And the best way to do this is to work from where we are now and to gradually go back in time.
The burn seems to have divided the area into an ecclesiastical side and a secular side. Much work has been done in the past and particularly by Robert Rendall and Hugh Marwick, the latter has provided us with an excellent record of place names. The volunteers will build up a story of a house by understanding its property history. Not as easy as it first appears as often houses change names or when people move they take the name of their house with them so you can get duplicate names and differences in spellings.
The Orkney News has caught the archive bug and is studying the church records as part of the Mapping Magnus project.
All of the information will be recorded and used to form a picture of Medieval Birsay.