The Galloway Levellers: a study of the origins, events and consequences of their actions.
MPhil(R) thesis, University of Glasgow (Dumfries Campus).
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The purpose of this study is to cast fresh light on the uprising of the Galloway Levellers in 1724. To achieve this objective, the study takes as its starting point patterns of land use and land ownership in Galloway as they evolved through from the late sixteenth to the beginning of the eighteenth century. The important influence of the plantation of Ulster on the development of Galloway's cattle trade is discussed in this part of the study. Since the society of Galloway in 1724 was still deeply influenced by the religious and political conflicts of the later seventeenth century, this background is then considered. Local responses to the Jacobite rebellion of 1715 are discussed within this context since there was an anti-Jacobite element within the rhetoric and actions of the Galloway Levellers. From these foundations, and having established a chronology for the events of 1724, much of the confusion which previously surrounded the actions of the Galloway Levellers and responses to their actions can be clarified. It has been possible to identify and provide a history for most of the people and places involved, including some of the Levellers themselves. This evidence in turn has revealed that the actions of the Galloway Levellers did have an impact on the later eighteenth century development of Galloway through a more cautious approach to agricultural improvement and the creation of industrial settlements to provide employment for surplus labour. Finally, a previously unrecognised connection between late eighteenth century Galloway and the theory and practice of the industrial revolution is explored.
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