Shetland Feas

In Shetland, the Fea surname occurs as early as 1576 when John Phea of Unst gave evidence against Robert Stewart who was to became Lord of Shetland in 1581. This slightly predates the 1591 granting of the feu of Clestrain in Stronsay, Orkney to James Fea. This was by the same Robert Stewart who was then Earl of Orkney.

There is then a gap of over a century in Shetland until the death of a Robert Fea is recorded in 1681. His daughter Christian Fea married Edward Sinclair of Toft.

A small handwritten book was prepared in 1891 by A Francis Steuart, Advocate in Edinburgh on the instructions of Charles Ogilvy in Australia for a claim to a Scottish title. This states that in the early 18th century, Thomas Fea, a lawyer of the family of Clestrain in Orkney came to Shetland. With him were two nephews who settled there: (1) Magnus Fea of Califf and Clivocast (Unst); (2) Thomas Fea, a merchant in Lerwick, who married Margaret Bolt in 1736.

Magnus Fea married three times and three of his sons by his third marriage to Margaret Hay settled, in Hull. There was also at this time an Orkney Fea line in Hull with Peter Fea and his descendents.

The gravestone of Margaret Bolt also gives an indication of possible Orkney ancestry.

As in Orkney, the Fea surname was never widespread and it gradually disappeared.