In the censuses

The name Green Burn is first recorded in the 1901 census; Greenburn in 1911. Before that most places in Crockness were simply recorded as Crockness with nothing else to distinguish them. Looking at names and which crofts were next door to each other, I’ve completed the 1871-1891 censuses with a good degree of confidence.

Benjamin Wilson50, S, farmer 8 ac45, S, crofter*71, S, farmer,
Jane Robsonsister, mar, 43
Jane Robsonniece, 16
James Robsonnephew, 13, scholar
Georgina Robsonniece, 10, scholarniece, 20, S, dressmaker
Benjamin Robsonnephew, 6, scholarnephew, 16, S, shoemaker
Betsy Robsonniece, 2niece, 12, scholarniece, 22, S, dressmaker
George Wilson52, S, farmer63, S, farmer
Catherine Wilsonsister, 58, S
Williamina Wilsonsister, 54, Ssister, 62, S, housekeeper/working on croft
George Robsonuncle, 74, widr, retired farmer
Inhabitants of Greenburn 1871-1911

All born in Walls unless stated. * – Benjamin Wilson is recorded as 45 in the 1881 census; he should be 60 or so.

George Wilson’s (1901 and 1911 censuses) mother was Charlotte Robson. She was a sister of the 74 year old George Robson (1901 census) who was married to Jane Wilson (Jane Robson in 1871 census), sister of Benjamin Wilson (1871-1891 censuses). So George Wilson and his sisters Catherine and Williamina were first cousins of Jane, James, Georgina, Benjamin and Betsy Robson (later Robertson) recorded with their uncle Benjamin variously 1871-1891. Wilsons and Robsons intermarried a lot!

Crofters’ Commission / Scottish Land Court

Application to the Crofters’ Commission for rent reduction and cancellation of arrears 1888 – none made.

Valuation rolls

  • 1905-1924- George Wilson (Greenburn only) The name Greenburn does not appear before 1905 in the online rolls.
  • 1925-1939 – JW or James W Hamilton (with East Moness from 1926)
  • 1940-1941 – George W Hamilton (with East Moness)

Melsetter estate records


Greenburn Crockness George Robson [rent] £4:10/- . “His brother-in-law had the house before he got it 7 or 8 years ago” [Brother-in-law would be Benjamin Wilson of the 1871-1891 censuses]

Source: set of looseleaf notes, post 1888, possibly c 1896 before Middlemores bought or took over the estate. (Macrae & Robertson Collection: Melsetter Estate. Rent Books 1899-1946. Looseleaf notes, Greenburn. D34/A/6/4/4, p 9. Orkney Archive, Kirkwall, Orkney)

Greenburn & East Moaness, Crockness

James W George W Hamilton
George Wilson Landholder
Rent £4:10/- £13

10/2/1925 George Wilson died on this date and Williamina Wilson his sister was accepted as tenant as his heir-at-law. She renounced her tenancy and the place was then let to her son Jas. Wm Hamilton along with East Moaness as an enlargement thereof as from the term of Marts. [Martinmas] 1925 at a rent of £13, he to have the right of any compensation which his uncle may have had a claim for.

At Marts. 1938 Jas W Hamilton assigned his tenancy to his son Geo. W Hamilton.

Hill ground at East Moaness

John R Wylie Rent £2

Let to John R Wylie as from Marts. 1945 at a rent of £2 per annum.

Source: rent book with comments by the Ground Officer. (Macrae & Robertson Collection: Melsetter Estate. Rent Books 1899-1946. Greenburn, Crockness & Rysa. D34/A/6/4/1, p 9. Orkney Archive, Kirkwall, Orkney)

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