Author Results for R. Stuart Bruce

Shetland and the Dutch War, 1781

By R. Stuart Bruce

This article, discovered in the family papers of the author’s cousin, provides a transcription of a memorial written by John Bruce of Sumburgh, Shetland, to the Board of Customs in London in 1781. There is a brief introduction by the author which sets the memorial in its historical context.  The memorial observes that the commencement […] Read More

Filed under: Dutch Wars | North Sea
Subjects include: Strategy & Diplomacy | Whaling & Fishing

Colours of Scottish Herring Boats

By R. Stuart Bruce

This article discusses the various colour schemes adopted by Scottish Fifies and Zulus, with a wider plea that this enquiry may be extended to all coastal craft while they remain in existence. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | North Sea | Irish Sea | Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

Thurot in Shetland

By R. Stuart Bruce

Jean Bart Thurot was on the Marshall de BellIsle, a 40-gun French privateer which arrived without warning in the Shetlands in October 1757 along with two smaller armed vessels. The article describes their revictualling and eventual departure for Norway through contemporary correspondence and newspaper reports as well as the legal actions which followed when the […] Read More

Filed under: Seven Years’ War | North Sea
Subjects include: Biography | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

The Haaf Fishing and Shetland Trading, 1730-35 Part III

By R. Stuart Bruce

Following on from The Mariner’s Mirror of 1922 which printed portions of the letterbooks of Mr. Thomas Gifford of Busta; those ended with 1728 and this proceeds from 1730. Extracts include discussions of shipwrecks and the local Earl’s legal rights to those in Orkney and Shetland. Many entries provide rich details about the maritime industry […] Read More

Filed under: North Sea | Other (Eighteenth C) | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

The Haaf Fishing and Shetland Trading Part II

By R. Stuart Bruce

In 1728, Gifford, a shrewd businessman and Chamberlain of Zetland, wrote letters to his agents.   A cargo of salted herrings and whitefish overwintered in Zetland. Six lasts of butter were consigned to Leith.   A long list of household goods were to be dispatched.   He complained to a Leith shipmaster of the high freights to Danzig […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Baltic | The Armada | North Sea | Other (Early Modern) | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Administration | Logistics | Merchant Marines | Whaling & Fishing

Notes on Sails

By R. Stuart Bruce

These extracts are from two Nineteenth Century books on sail making. “Sails and Sail Making” by Robert Kipping, London 1862, Sixth Edition, gives eight descriptions of sails used in the Royal and American Navies. “The Art of Sail-Making”, No Author, London 1843, Fourth Edition, gives good descriptions of the types of sails used in one […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Art & Music | Ship Handling & Seamanship | Shipbuilding & Design

Shetlandic Fish Hooks

By R. Stuart Bruce

In this short article Bruce explains how Shetland fishermen used small pieces of hardwood or a splinter of bone to fashion fishing hooks, a practice that continued after the introduction of iron and steel replacements. He also goes into some detail on the fishing practices adopted by the Islanders and the local words that describe […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | North Sea | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

Jottings from “Peregrine Pickle” and “Roderick Random”

By R. Stuart Bruce

Stuart Bruce appears to have been a collector of rare nautical books and in this article recounts numerous words gleaned from the two novels identified in the title. The second edition of “Peregrine Pickle” was published in four volumes in 1786, whilst the two volumes of “Roderick Random” appeared in 1787. An example of the […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

The Sixern of Shetland

By R. Stuart Bruce

The Shetland sixern (sixareen) six-oared open offshore fishing boat was very like a miniature Norse longship with an average overall length of 28-30 feet, beam of 6-8 feet and depth of hold amidships of about 27 inches. After the disaster of 20th July 1881 when ten sixerns and fifty-eight men were lost in a heavy […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | North Sea | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Leisure & Small Craft | Ship Handling & Seamanship | Shipbuilding & Design