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  Jo Ben's 1529 "Descriptions of Orkney"


The island Pomonia, otherwise the Mainland, so called as it meant the middle of the apple, because it lieth between the North and South Isles.

This island contains many parishes of which the first is Dierness.

The length of Pomonia from the Bairnes of Brugh to the Brugh of Birsa contains sixteen very long miles.

The warlike men in Pomonia are about 5,000 and just as many in the islands. There is abundance of barley and oats. All the men are very drunken and wanton, and fight among themselves.

For an example of their friendship, if one neighbour invites another, if the guest, before his departure, has not vomited, he assails his host and there is much strife so long as the drunkard delays in the house. This is also the custom in the islands.

The people are deceitful and very subtile.

They use in their common way of talking peculiar expressions, as when we say "Guid day, guid man," they say "Goand da, boundae."

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