/ Westray Grays
/ Early Westray Grays
James Gray and Jane Harcus
This James Gray may be any one of three James Grays who were christened in Westray between 1746 and 1750. Nothing
is actually known of this couple, other than that they had three sons who were christened in Westray.
The three sons named in the Westray OPRs, and listed in the IGI, are:
James Gray, christened 11th June 1777. He appears to have moved to Kirkwall, where a James Gray, born in Westray, was
recorded in the 1841 and 1851 censuses. He was 74 in the 1851 census, which indicates a birth date of about 1777. (Three
other James Grays (sons of Henry, John, and Archibald Gray) were christened in Westray from 1771-1774, but no others from
1775 to after 1800.) He was a straw plaiter, married to Eliza/Elizabeth Sinclair (in Kirkwall, on 14th Dec. 1818, per
IGI). They don't seem to have had any children. He was a widower when he died in Kirkwall on 13th Feb. 1860. His age was
given as 84 years, and the informant, a neighbour, did not know the names of his parents. He was buried in the Burying
Ground of St. Magnus.
John Gray, christened 24th October 1779. He may be the John Gray who married Janet Harcus/Hercus. (The only
other John Grays christened in Westray between 1744 and after 1800 were the two sons of John Gray and Barbara
Gray. Presumably the older one died, and the younger is known to have married Barbara Beaton.) They had a son George,
christened in Westray on 7th November 1802, and a son John who was christened in Eday on 18th May 1807. The only
information found on John Gray and Janet Harcus is the inscription on a gravestone in the Old Kirkyard in Eday: "In Memory
of John Gray and Jannet Harcus 1844".
- William Gray, christened 8th January 1783. It is possible that this William Gray was the one who married
Barbara Allan early in the 1800s. There were two William Gray baptisms recorded in the Westray OPRs about 1780: this
William and one baptised in 1780, son of Robert Gray and Marion Meil. William born 1780 has been shown to be
the husband of Ann Sandison, so it is possible that the son of James Gray was the William married to Barbara Allan.
(Of course it is also possible that the husband of Barbara Allan was born outside of Westray or that his baptism, if it took
place, was not recorded.)