"Survey return from John Elder"
John Elder was a church minister in Walls.
Walls (and Sandness) was a parish on the Shetland Islands and comprised the islands of Foula, Papa Stour, Vaila and Linga. Most of the inhabitants were employed in fisheries and on farms. The population of the whole parish in 1845 was 2315, with 1104 of them living in Walls.
1. How many Medical Men practice within the Parish of Walls in Shetland?
None. There are none nearer than Lerwick which is about 24 Miles from Walls
2. The Names and Addresses of these.
The address of the one in Lerwick is Dr. John Cowie
3. Has the number increased or diminished of late years?
There have none been resident in this parish some for a number of years In Lerwick there were formerly four but now there is only Dr. J.Cowie
4. Have any left the Parish since you became connected with it? If so, for what reasons?
None have been residing in the parish since I became connected with it
5. Is there any complaint among the people of inadequacy in the supply of Medical aid?
There is a great complaint among the people in general for want of Medical aid
6. Do you know of any cases of protracted suffering, or of injury by Accident, such as might have been alleviated had proper advice been at hand?
There are several cases of suffering which might have been alleviated had proper advice been at hand.
7. To what extent is the deficiency of qualified Practitioners made up by the efforts of other parties?
There is an old Schoolmaster that gives medicins1 to the people and also some others that give advice and a few simple medicins
8. Does your experience enable you to suggest any measure – of general applicability – such as would be likely to relieve to some extent the evils (if they exist) of deficiency in the supply of Medical aid?
There might be raised a few subscriptions among the people but these would be but very small
If Government would be disposed to grant a considerable salary
9. What Heritors2 are resident, either generally or occasionally, in your Parish?
There are only a few very small Proprietors residing in the Parish The principal Heritors are all at present out of the parish
There is no District in the Shetland Isles that has more need of a Medical practitioner than this large remote part of the country
1. Misspelling of “medicines”.
2. A heritor was a landowner, under Scots Law, whose holdings were sizeable enough for them to be liable for the payment of public burdens such as Poor Law rates, road and bridge assessments and the church minister’s stipend.