Played by Graham Low and Bea Watson
Housegarth, Quoyloo 25 JAN 2013.
Filmed and edited by Mark Jenkins
Housegarth in Quoyloo will forever hold a special place in the musical heritage of Orkney. The Housegarth Band and their distinctive driving style kept the dance floor full at many a harvest home and barn dance. Now a fiddle, which has hung on the wall at Housegarth for over two centuries, has been restored. The Housegarth Fiddle is thought to have fallen out of use long before the heyday of the band itself, but it may well have brought a repertoire of Irish tunes to the house in centuries gone by. It's been restored by Kristen Linklater - daughter of Eric Linklater - who bought the property fourteen years ago.
Family tradition tells of a young ancestor of the Housegarth Linklaters fleeing Orkney after being implicated in the activities of a wrecking party. He was said to have joined the army and been posted to Ireland, where he'd picked up many of the local tunes. Years later, when the heat had died down, he returned to Quoyloo with the fiddle - and the tunes.
Inside, the instrument bears the label 'Johan Frederick Deugel Erfundervon Jacob Stainer, 1735'. He was a highly respected Austrian violin maker of the period (though he himself would have been deceased by the time the instrument was made, it is likely that it would have come from his workshop - which would have continued to use his name following his death).
While the fiddle has had various 'ad hoc' repairs over the years it still retains a wonderful tone. With the help of local instrument-maker Colin Tulloch and Glasgow-based specialist repairer Ruth Caldwell, the Housegarth Fiddle is now fully restored, taking pride of place above the piano in the house.
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