Inauguration Day For Memorial to Victims of Orkney’s Witchcraft Trials

After years of dedicated hard work and research Orkney is about to see the unveiling of the memorial to the victims of the historic witchcraft trials  on Saturday 9th of March.

The memorial erected by Orkney Heritage Society will be set at the top of Clay Loan, Kirkwall where those sentenced to death for witchcraft were executed.

Professor Liv Willumsen is the guest of honour for the day. Professor Willumsen was the original inspiration for the project which came from a lecture given by her in 2012. She had  made comparisons between the witch trials in Northern Norway with those in Scotland, and spoke about the modern memorial at Steilneset in Finnmark, Norway.

A day of events will take place

10am in the Hub, King Street Halls, Kirkwall where musicians Kate Fletcher and Corwen Broch will teach attendees the song that was written at the October creative day.

St Magnus Players perform an extract from ‘Witch’ (written by George Mackay Brown and directed by Penny Aberdein).

Ashleigh Angus reads ‘Unknown, Unknown’, her award winning short story based on the Orkney witch trials.

11.30am St Rognvald’s Chapel, in the east end of St Magnus Cathedral. Ceremony of contemplation and reflection. Kate Fletcher and Corwen Broch play some background music of the historic period followed by Fran Flett Hollinrake playing her haunting composition: ‘Marwick’s Hole’ on fiddle.

12:15pm gathering outside the West End , to Gallow Ha’, along Victoria Street and up Clay Loan, to the historic execution site.

12:45pm, unveiling of the memorial as part of the inauguration ceremony. Music by Fletcher and Corwen Broch

Lunch Break

2pm The Hub, King Street Halls, Kirkwall,  an afternoon conference. Talks  by Professor Liv Willumsen ,Jocelyn Rendall, Tim Morrison, Dan Lee, and Marita Luck.

Hot beverages and biscuits will be provided.

4:30pm, raffle – a selection of prizes including a bottle of Highland Park ‘Full Volume’ whisky, generously donated by Highland Park Distillery.

Everyone is welcome to attend all or some of the inauguration day events although some may not be suitable for young children  and people of a sensitive disposition because of the subject matter.

The organisers are grateful for all donations and raffle prizes which they are still taking in.

Stromness Museum the storm witch

Stromness Museum the storm witch

The Orkney News has many past articles on this subject. Please use the search facility on our website to find out more.


5 replies »

  1. Hello Helen…is that outside the West End Hotel, at 12.15? I would like to go up to Gallow Ha’, to wish them well.
    We’ll probably only manage that bit – knackered old lady syndrome!
    We have something as a possible raffle prize? How would be best to get it to you?
    It’s not marvellous – but it’s …something.

  2. For anyone else who is a bit confused………….Helen answered………..

    “It’s the west end of the cathedral – that’s the main famous triple doors!”

    And I did wonder why my mind went to the pub, instead of the cathedral?!

  3. Hi Helen,

    There’s nobody at The Pottery. I’m in France, so if you write a token for Harray Potter Pottery for the sum of £33.33p and offer that as a raffle prize, the winner can get their prize when I’m back.

    I do wish you well for the day. It has been a great deal of work for ypu all.


  4. Dear Andrew,
    Thank you, once again, you have already been so generous towards this project. I’ll design a peedie voucher for the raffle. Very grateful to you

  5. Dear Andrew
    That is incredibly generous of you – especially when your support of this project has been so generous already, thank you. I’ve make up a peedie voucher for the raffle.
    Very grateful to you, have a lovely time in France! When are you back, so I can advise the winner?

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