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Title: Landholdings, land utilisation and settlement in certain isolated areas of Western Scotland, with special reference to two areas of the West Highland seaboard in the Island of Islay in the Inner Hebrides, and the Peninsula of Ardnamurchan and Sunart in northern mainland Argyll
Author: Storrie, Margaret Cochrane
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 1962
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The aim of this thesis is to study the ways in which differing degrees of isolation at different times, have affected the evolution or revolution of these patterns from the old order of the eighteenth century to the divergent ones of today in two areas of at first apparently similar isolation on the west Highland seaboard. The two areas are the island of Islay in the southern Inner Hebrides off the coast of mainland Argyll, and the peninsula of Ardnamurchan and Sunart in northern Argyll. The island of Islay is unique in the West Highland seaboard at the present day in terms of agricultural organisation, industry, settlement and population patterns. A varied agricultural infra-structure and large sized forms, and a few small holdings, together with industrial villages, provide opportunities for the advancement of the individual. By contrast, the mainland peninsula of Ardnamurohan and Sunart is the first region of the Highlands which is characteristically crofting, with extremes of sizes end organisation of holdings from the large grazing farms to the small lots and crofts of crofting townships. There is little non-agricultural settlement or opportunity. The divergent ways in which these changed and their results on the landscape and economy of the two areas today, as parts of the whole west Highland seaboard, form the main part of this thesis. In fact, insularity has been less a disadvantageous factor than peninsularity in the development of present day patterns. The contrasting landscapes and problems of the two areas today pose many questions as to the reasons why fox the divergences and differences. Some of the answers are to be found in the landscapes themselves. But further answers or corroboration borne to light when a study is made of other sources, both published and unpublished. This thesis on the changing patterns of landholdings, landutilisation and settlement, with their consequences today, is the result of a study of these three main sources, (i) fieldwork, (ii) published work, and (iii) discovery and examination of hitherto unutilised and unpublished materials relating to the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries in the two areas. The nature of the study has been such that the first and third sources have proved of greater importance and interest. Fieldwork on the island in 1956, I958 and 1960; and in the peninsula in 1958, 1959 and 1960, was considerably enhanced by the discovery in 1958 of much private estate material relating to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in both Islay and Ardnamurchan-Sunart. It is on the basis of this fieldwork, and the methods evolved for the examination and collation of the unpublished private estate material that the greater part of this thesis rests, and on which its value as a contribution to the recent historical geography of Scotland as well as to the methodology in historical geography, relies. Published sources have generally been restricted to the relative position of these two areas in the west Highland seaboard and Scotland as a whole, past and present.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available