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Title: The Sutherland estate, c. 1860-1914 : aristocratic decline, estate management and land reform
Author: Tindley, Anne Marie
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2006
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The Sutherland estate in the north of Scotland was one of the most famous, or infamous, of all Highland estates. Despite its high profile, only limited use has been made of the principal source for its study: the huge collection of estate records deposited in the National Library of Scotland and Staffordshire County Record Office. Historians of late nineteenth century Highland history have instead tended to rely on newspaper and other published accounts. The present study tries to set the Sutherland estate into its Highland context, politically, financially and organisationally. Of course, the ducal family’s vast fortune, independent from the Sutherland estate, sets them apart from most other Highland landowners and allowed for a more experimental approach in addressing the ‘Highland Problem.’ One of these capital-intensive projects, the great land reclamations of the 1870s, is examined in the present study. By looking at the papers of the Cromartie, Macdonald and Sinclair of Ulbster estate papers, the present study can demonstrate that this capital expenditure was highly unusual in a Highland context and tries to address its consequences. This thesis looks at the ranked series of relationships that made the estate function; that between the crofters and the estate, and that between the members of the estate management itself. It has been found that in many cases over the whole period under study, these relationships were fraught with difficulty and disagreement, exacerbated by the turmoil of the Crofters War of the 1880s and continuing land reform in the following decades. The commonly held contemporary view that the Sutherland estate was powerful and monolithic is an essentially false one. The central narrative charted in this thesis is one of decline, like that of many other Highland estates; financially, politically, territorially and as a result, in the estate’s once iron grip over the Sutherland crofters.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available