“Disruption” of 1843, when around one third of the Church of
Scotland’s clergy walked out of the General Assembly and formed the Free
Church of Scotland, prompted a proliferation in ecclesiastical building
throughout Scotland, and Sanday
was no exception.
the 20th March 1849, George Traill granted to the "Trustees for the
Congregation of the body of Christians called The Free Church of Scotland
worshipping in the Island of Sanday" three acres and two roods of
land upon which to erect a manse, a school and a schoolmaster's house -
the church itself having already been built on the plot.
Of those buildings, only the manse, now called the West Manse
(probably since the formation of the United Free Church in 1900), has
survived into the 21st century in its original form.
Nearly two years
after George Traill’s grant, on the night of the 31st March 1851, when
the national census was taken, the Free Church Manse was being occupied by
Armour (Sanday's famous radical Free Kirk
minister), his wife and 7 month old daughter, his brother, a servant girl
and the minister of the Free Church at South Ronaldsay, who was visiting.
The Revd. Armour resided at the house until 1903, the year he died.
At the commencement of
the 3rd millennium, after standing empty for some years, the West Manse
has recently become the home of Drs. Stephen and Ute
Clackson, their daughter Aelfleda and two sons Wulfric and Dunstan, who
moved from Germany to Sanday in December 2000.
Photograph by Lynne Muir, Autumn 2001