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Re: Bews/Sinclair Orcadian link
At 07:13 14/07/99 -0400, you wrote:
>This is just a casual enquiry.Here in Melbourne the Bews and Sinclair
>families fellowship together.Since they're both old Orcadian names ,
>curious if the two families have past historical links that are known
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The name of Bews does not appear in any of the papers in front of me,
J Storer Clouston's Records of Orkneys
The St Clairs of the Isles
but I have found references to Bews in another book called "The
Northern Isles of Orkney and Shetland"
by Alexander Fenton from which I quote:
"In Orkney the change from the one-stilted plough to the
(at first the Highland type but increasingly the lowland
progressed through the last decade of the 18th Century and
almost complete by the end of the first quarter of the 19th
Traditions have been recorded about the introduction of the
mould-board ploughs with reins. When the first came to
the West Mainland
of Orkney: "The late Hugh Bews, the grandfather of the
present Mr James Bews
of Yesnaby was hired to show the West Mainland people how to
in a plough with reins and also the way to work a cupper or
plough with a
mould-board. This man's plough had a wooden board
because the wood was
thought to be warmer for the ground.
I have often heard the late William Allan of Eastbigging
tell of the vast crowd
of people that gathered on the farm of Skaill the first day
that Hugh Bews
yoked his wooden board plough and to drive the horses from
behind with reins"
I have also been in touch with the Orkney archivist who tells me that it
is very difficult to find out anything about the
Bews. However, he is going to send me the information he has.
He believes the name stems from beu which is
old Flemish for beau which simply means good-looking,
stylish - a bit of a dandy. I can't imagine Hugh Bews being
much of a dandy behind a team of horses but, at the end of the 18th
Century, he must have been at the cutting edge
(no pun intended) of new technology.
The mould-board plough went on to tame the great wheat belts of middle
America. It is still in universal use but I doubt
if Hugh Bews would recognise today's steel monsters as being the
'descendant' of his simple wooden mould-board
when men preferred wood because it was 'warmer' for the soil. I
wish we were at thoughtful about poor Mother Earth today.
Alas, we have soiled and spoiled and sullied the World we live in.
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