About the Building

Orkney Chapel Stronsay SunsetAccessibility

We have a free car park with designated disabled spaces.

  • The area is level and flat which makes access to and from the car park very easy for all. It is a very short walk to the entrance from the car park.
  • Craftship Enterprise has  wide doorways for easy access for wheel chairs.
  • There is a disabled toilet.
  • Guide dogs and hearing dogs are welcome.
  • The tearoom is upstairs via a wide staircase. We are happy to serve drinks and snacks downstairs or on the patio for our customers’ convenience.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us. We welcome any group with specific needs and will do our best to ensure that we design appropriate activities to make your day really enjoyable.

The Home of Craftship Enterprise

The Chapel Yearnasetter Stronsay OrkneyWe loved the building right from the first time we saw it – the shape of the roof and the fantastic location. When we first went inside it was home to a combine harvester and a flock of pigeons. Undeterred, we went ahead and bought it.

The chapel was  built in 1800 during one of the schisms in the Scottish church.  Its life as a chapel was only about 30 years: it went on to become a drill hall for the Royal Artillery volunteer force. It eventually became a farm building, used initially for storing and milling grain and lastly as a combine shed.

We found it quite moving to see the hand drawings of sail ships  on the wall, made by folk when it was still a chapel to add to their prayers for a safe return. It  was also lovely to see the graffiti of children’s names, made when they used to play in the barn.

Now it is home to Craftship Enterprise.

The chapel is named Mallett, after Dianne’s parents and in their memory.  We moved up here after they died but we know they would have fallen in love with Stronsay, just as we have.

Craftships Enterprise Orkney Stronsay

Craftships Enterprise Orkney Stronsay Chapel

More of Chapel Mallett’s story – Wreck of the Spanish Schooner

Friday 19 December 1862 brought a severe gale which was to claim the lives of four Spanish sailors on Linga Holm, Stronsay.

A 140-ton Spanish merchant schooner, ‘Nostra Senora del Carmen’, was en route from Norway to Spain with a cargo of fish and oil when she encountered a terrific storm off the Butt of Lewis in the Hebrides. The captain had no option but to run before the gale, eventually making his way through the Westray Firth where he dropped anchor.

How to go to Stronsay Orkney

But such was the ferocity of the gale that the anchor would not hold. The schooner was driven across the Firth towards Linga Holm. Before it smashed on the rocks the crew abandoned ship and took to their small lifeboat, hoping to get ashore on Linga Holm. However, the small boat overturned, throwing the eight sailors into the sea The captain and three of his crew managed to reach Linga Holm but sadly the remaining four drowned.

Later that morning, local inhabitants saw the empty schooner ashore in St Catherine’s Bay. Mounting a search they spotted some of the men on Linga Holm at about midday, but the storm was so fierce that they could not reach them until the following day. During a lull in the storm, brave islanders launched a skiff and rowed to the holm, where they found the captain and three sailors in a state of extreme exhaustion, clothed in only their trousers and shirts. They carried them to the skiff and brought them to Stronsay, where they were looked after by local people.

The bodies of three of the crew were found on the seashore in St Catherine’s bay and were laid out in the little chapel between Sandybank and Yearnasetter. This chapel is now Chapel Mallett, the home of Craftship Enterprise. The fourth body was never found.

Schooner-small-18

Even to this day, if you look out into St Catherine’s Bay about 100 yards from the shore below Hazelbank, you will see a long patch of seaweed growing on what is believed to be the wreck site.

The gale that claimed the men’s lives also caused the loss of 44 fishing boats and a vessel laden with wood and coal. Fortunately there was no further loss of life.

It is not known if the drowned sailors were buried in Stronsay, but it is imagined that they were.

Extracted and edited from an article by Bill Miller, Stronsay.