Ernest Walker Marwick (1915–1977) was a Scottish writer, folklorist and antiquarian particularly noted for his texts on Orkney folklore and history.

Marwick’s father was a travelling salesman who had a smallholding in the parish of Evie, to the north of Mainland, Orkney. Diagnosed with scoliosis in 1925 when he was ten-years-old, Marwick could no longer attend school as his days had to be spent lying on a wooden board. He used the time of illness to read extensively.[1]

After Marwick’s marriage his home provided a meeting place for local intellectuals, including George Mackay Brown and Robert Rendall.[2] His Anthology of Orkney Verse was published in 1949.[3] From 1955 to 1960 he was on the staff of the Orkney Herald newspaper. He subsequently moved to The Orcadian, his writing covering literary subjects.[4] Other media work undertaken by Marwick included broadcasting on local and Scottish national radio programmes.[5]

A founder member of the Orkney Heritage Society,[6] Marwick died in July 1977, having swerved off a straight road and crashed into a farmstead while driving.[7] In 2015, one hundred years after his birth, Orkney International Science Festival focused attention on the contributions he made to Orkney’s heritage.[8]

Selected works

  • An Anthology of Orkney Verse (1949)
  • The Folklore of Orkney and Shetland (1975)



Fergusson, Maggie. George Mackay Brown: The Life. John Murray, 2006.
Ljosland, Ragnhild. Ernest Marwick the Folklorist.
Murray, Rowena, and Brian Murray. Interrogation of Silence: The Writings of George Mackay Brown. John Murray, 2004.
Orkney International Science Festival. Programme 2015.
Robertson, John D. M. “Introduction.” An Orkney Anthology: The Selected Works of Ernest Walker Marwick, Scottish Academic Press, 1991.