Tingwall, Shetland


Veensgarth, with Burra Dale wind farm in the background, along with Loch of Tingwall
 Tingwall shown within Shetland
OS grid referenceHU425426
Civil parishTingwall
Council areaShetland
Lieutenancy areaShetland
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post town SHETLAND
Postcode district ZE2
Dialling code 01595
Police Scottish
Fire Scottish
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK ParliamentOrkney and Shetland
Scottish ParliamentShetland
List of places

Coordinates: 60°10′01″N 1°13′59″W / 60.167°N 1.233°W / 60.167; -1.233

Tingwall, (Old Norse: Þingvöllr = Field of the Thing assembly) is a parish in Shetland, mostly on Mainland the centre of which lies about 2 miles north of Scalloway. Tingwall Airport is here.


Tingwall parish includes the settlements of Scalloway, Whiteness, Veensgarth and Gott, and the Vallafield housing estate. The centre of the parish was the Tingwall Kirk.[1] It comprehends a section of Mainland, stretching from the Atlantic at Scalloway, to the North Sea at Rova Head and includes the formerly inhabited islands of Hildasay, Langa, Linga, and Oxna. [2]

The Mainland section is divided into two districts by a hill ridge, and comprises two parallel valleys (nearly at right angles from the ridge). The Tingwall valley extends north from near Scalloway to the south end of Lax Firth. It is diversified by the lochs of Tingwall, Girlsta, Asta, Strom and some others.

It is so indented by the sea as to contain no point farther than two miles from it. Measured across marine intersections, it has a length of about nineteen miles, and a maximum breadth of ten miles.


Monument to Andrew Crawford, master of work to the Earl of Orkney in Tingwall kirkyard

The small promontory at the end of Tingwall Loch, known as Tingaholm or Law Ting Holm was once home to Shetland's earliest parliament. It was once an islet entirely surrounded by water and accessed by a stone causeway. In the 1850s the level of the loch was lowered, and the holm took on its present form.[3]

Tingwall was also the base of the Archdeaconry in Shetland. The present day church lies on the site of a much older building, originally dedicated to St Magnus. The burial vault in the churchyard is believed to belong to this earlier building, which is thought to have had a round tower, similar to that of the St Magnus Kirk on Egilsay, Orkney.

There are a number of ancient and historical monuments in Tingwall, including a standing stone [4] known as the murder stone. This stone is traditionally said to be the site where the Earl of Orkney killed his cousin in a power struggle over Shetland. Local folklore also suggests that a person could escape punishment at the Thing if they were able to run to the stone and claim sanctuary. Other versions of this story involve running to the Kirk, or the nearby croft at Griesta.

Tingwall was the home of brothers Laurence I. Graham (Lollie) and John J. Graham, two of Shetland's most influential 20th Century Writers.


Tufted duck, red-breasted merganser and common and black-headed gull frequent the loch, which is also home to Shetland's only mute swans.[5]


  1. Tingwall Church (The Church of Scotland)
  2. Turnbull, Rev John (1845). The New Statistical Account of Scotland: Sutherland, Caithness, Orkney, Shetland, General index. The New Statistical Account of Scotland. 15. W. Blackwood and Sons. p. 59.
  3. Law Ting Holm (Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland)
  4. Loch of Tingwall (Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland)
  5. "Tingwall Central Mainland Law Ting Holm Shetland Parliament". iknow-scotland.co.uk Retrieved 15 August 2010.

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