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Title: Patterns in the agriculture of north east Scotland from 1600 to 1800, with particular relevance to the agricultural improving movement
Author: Moir, Ian A.
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 1981
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The Agricultural Improving Movement has been shown to be the principal formative period during which the present patterns of agriculture and agricultural settlement have largely been defined. Since the Improving Movement, although these patterns have altered in detail, particularly during the cycles of agricultural prosperity and decline in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, these alterations have been secondary and involved rationalisation rather than complete reshaping. Although the importance of tracing and analysing information regarding the agriculture of North East Scotland before and during the Agricultural Improving Movement is unquestionable, this has been done previously for only a handful of estates, principally Monymusk. In this thesis, one of the principal aims was to seek out and analyse other sources of information regarding the patterns of agriculture prior to and during the Agricultural Improving Movement and the way in which the new system of agriculture was introduced in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Throughout the thesis, where possible, attention is focused-: on the variations in the type of improvement and speed of its adoption. This has been done in an attempt to avoid making unjustifiable generalisations based on the records of any single estate. Many sources of information have been used in order to gain as unbiased a picture as possible. There is much evidence to suggest that improvements took place early in some places and later in others and that there were pronounced variations in the methods and rates of adoption of improvement over relatively short distances. By looking at improvement on a number of estates of varying size and physical characteristics, and differing policy towards improvement, it has been possible to gain a more balanced view of the changing patterns prior to and during the Agricultural Improving Movement. Throughout the thesis, the approach to the analysis of the sources of information is eclectic, with the methods selected depending on the subject matter and the scale. In the first section, the pre-improvement patterns are discussed largely in terms of their origin and evolution through the centuries leading up to the Agricultural Improving Movement. Factors such as land ownership, lease agreements, rentals, the organisation of peasant society, the cultivation of the land and the nature and provision of farm buildings are discussed, with emphasis on accounting for spatial and temporal variations. In the second section of the thesis the development of the innovation of agricultural improvement and variations in its rate of adoption throughout the North East are examined, with emphasis again being placed on the differing patterns from place to place. In this section it was found to be of value to use the theoretical innovation diffusion framework as a method of organising the analysis and as a yardstick against which to measure the development of improvement and its rate of adoption in the North East. In the third main section of the thesis, patterns in the new system of agriculture are examined, particularly where these patterns had a direct bearing on the operation of farming. Variations in the availability of materials such as manure are examined, as are variations in lease agreements and drainage methods throughout the North East. The changing patterns of agricultural settlement constitute an additional section, in which the increase in the extent of agricultural land is examined using both map and document sources. The approach adopted in this section is initially to view the changes at a regional level from the seventeenth century onwards, prior to examining in some detail the changes which took place within individual estates and the colonisation of areas of former wasteland.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available