Scalloway Castle was built from 1599 by Patrick Stewart, 2nd Earl of Orkney to tighten his grip on Shetland, Scotland. Its site in Shetland's then capital, Scalloway, was surrounded by the sea on three sides.
Scalloway Castle Ruins
[ In 1568 Bishop Bothell was compelled to relinquish his rights and revenues to Lord Robert Stewart (father of Patrick)?, - and from that point ecclesiastical administration in Shetland was seriously hampered for a period of about 40yrs.
There was more than once, a scheme for the erection of a presbytery in Shetland, but there is no evidence that a presbytery was in operation during this century. Moreover, the church authorities did not in this period enjoy effective support from the secular administration, for Lord Robert was abusing his control over ecclesiastical revenues, appointing creatures of his own to livings, and other laymen were diverting ecclesiastical funds to their own pockets through fues of lands and tacks of teinds, so that, although some Shetland benefices were very rich compared with the level in Scotland generally, only a small proportion of the income was sometimes reaching the clergy.
Not infrequently a vicarage was in dispute between rival claimants, one appointed by the crown, the other by the Earl, and the man best qualified to serve the Parish did not always obtain effective possession.
Some of the ministers, far from being conscientious, were mere adventurers, with moral standards no better, if no worse, than those of their parishioners leading to the gibe that " Shetland received nothing from Scotland except bad meal and greedy ministers". It is not for nothing that the 'ministers mark' for sheep is proverbially 'baith lugs aff' implying that he could make any mans sheep his own and that the words 'minister' and 'cat' are equally taboo on a fishing expedition (for the minister, with his right to tends, shared the cats greed for fish). Nor was rapacity the only clerical offence, for in Earl Patrick's time both John Sutherland , the reader in Aithsting and Sandsting, and William Hay, archdeacon of Shetland and minister of Tingwall, were found guilty of assault.
Prior to Earl Patrick Stewarts rule, the administrative framework within which the people of Shetland had lived was largely based on the system which had been in use when the Islands were under Norwegian Rule, But now this framework of administration was an instrument in the hands of Earl Patrick by which he exercised his comprehensive powers under the title of “Chief Magistrate of Shetland”. In this capacity the court of Earl Patrick would go on circuit around the ten or eleven districts, into which Shetland was divided, dishing out his form of justice, settling disputes and collecting taxes.
Teinds and Taxes were paid from all lands, and for centuries, prior to Patrick’s day, were usually divided between the vicars of the parishes and the Bishop. From 1586 all the Bishops revenues were drawn by the Earl, so that teinds and taxes were given partly to the Earl and partly to the vicar.
Scottish immigration to Shetland was in progress in Earl Patrick’s day. Ministers, officials and merchants were certainly coming in from Scotland. There were also sometimes immigrants of dubious morals and reputation.
On the 15th of May, 1604, the Earl issued a proclamation, relating in lurid language, that beggars, vagabonds and immoral persons from the Scottish Highlands “and other barbarous parts” have entered Orkney, devouring its substance and associating with the idle and immoral among the natives, and now intend to proceed to Shetland, “where they hope to have liberty to live wickedly according to the appetite of their filthy flesh,” and where they propose to establish a house of ill fame at Sumburgh.
Patrick forbade the transport of those persons to Shetland, and commanded their forcible expulsion from his dominions if they didn’t leave voluntarily within 3 days. Literary sources indicate that he didn’t fully succeed in enforcing this effort.
Ministers in Patrick’s time seemed to feature prominently among Shetland’s landed magnates and landlords, e.g. James Pitcairn, minister of North Mavine, (Died March 1612) Laurence Sinclair, minister of Dunrossness, (Died 25th Jan. 1613) and Robert Swinton, minister at Walls. The most remarkable feature of his possessions is the abundance of his household plenishings leading to speculations that he’d been first on the spot when a well-furnished ship broke on the exposed shores of his parish. (A speculation which recalls the words, put by Scott, into the mouth of one of his characters in ‘The Pirate’, that ‘a ship ashore is a sight to wile the minister out of his pulpit in the middle of his preaching’.)
The fall of Earl Patrick meant the end of a regime essentially secular and not conspicuously sympathetic to the church, and under the administration of Bishop James Law, the position of the reformed church in the islands became immeasurably stronger ] (15)
Bishop James Law supported the cause of the people of Orkney against the oppression of Earl Patrick, and he succeeded in getting the lands and jurisdiction of the Bishopric separated from those of the Earldom.
(15) Donaldson, Gordon. (1958). In: Shetland Life under Earl Patrick. England: Oliver & Boyd.