St Margaret's Hope

St Margaret's Hope

infobox UK place

country = Scotland
official_name= St Margaret's Hope
population = 550 (approx.)
unitary_scotland= Orkney Islands
lieutenancy_scotland= Orkney Islands
constituency_westminster= Orkney and Shetland
constituency_scottish_parliament= Orkney
post_town= KIRKWALL
postcode_district = KW17 2SW
postcode_area= KW
dial_code= 01856

St Margaret's Hope, known locally as The Hope (pronounced "Hup"), is a village in the Orkney Islands, situated off the north-east coast of Scotland. It has a population of about 550, making it Orkney's third largest settlement after Kirkwall and Stromness.

Situated off Water Sound at the head of a sheltered bay on the northern coast of the island of South Ronaldsay, it is connected to the Orkney Mainland by the A961 road across the Churchill Barriers.

The Hope is South Ronaldsay's main village, and is named after Margaret of Norway who died there. The village has a primary school, a small blacksmith's museum, a number of shops and restaurants. Pentland Ferries run a regular service from the pier in the bay to Gills Bay on the Scottish mainland.

It is also known for its annual Boys' Ploughing Match, a local tradition where young boys plough in the sands at the nearby Sand of Wright, and young girls (or boys, though this is now a rarity) wear traditional 'horse' costumes.

It should be noted, however, that the 'Margaret' from whom the village derives its name is probably not the Maid of Norway (a romantic but inaccurate myth) but is very likely to be St. Margaret, Queen of Scotland, the wife of Malcolm III.

This can be evidenced by checking Victorian Ordnance Survey maps which shows the ancient site of an early Christian chapel dedicated to St. Margaret. No remnants of this structure can now be seen but are situated near to the Smiddy Museum (on the present day site of a local authority housing development - Erlend Terrace).

Scant traces of an Iron-Age broch can be found in a field off the Ontaft road above the village.Again, the site could once be identified by Victorian OS maps, but with the passage of time and all but a 'crop mark' remaining, modern maps fail to show its location.

External links

* [ Undiscovered Scotland Page]

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