Crofters and the Land Question, 1870-1920

Grigor, Iain Fraser (1989) Crofters and the Land Question, 1870-1920. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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"Crofters and the Land Question" takes as its subject the record of land- and landlord-centred conflict in the Scottish Highlands. The body of the text concentrates on the events of the decades between the 1860s and the 1920s, and concludes with a detailed look at one particular land-centred conflict in the aftermath of the Second World War. The foreword establishes the present-day state of play with regard to the land question in the Highlands; while the first chapter introduces some themes relevant to the historical record of landlord-centred conflict. The second chapter covers the long period of conflict-rehearsal prior to the riots at Sollas in North Uist; while the third examines in greater detail the landlord-centred disputes at Strathaird, Bernera and Glendale which form the overture to the generalised anti-landlord agitation of the following years. The fourth chapter considers the events surrounding the trouble at Braes in Skye along with the victory represented by the formation of a Royal Commission to investigate crofters' grievances; while the fifth focuses on the growth of the Land League. The sixth chapter covers the agitation leading to the passing of the Crofters' Act in 1886; the seventh covers the high point of landlord-centred conflict as a mass movement; while the following chapter introduces some wider themes beyond the immediate cockpit of popular struggle in the Highlands, along with a look at the growing (and continuing) interest of the early nationalist and socialist movements in the Highland land struggle. Chapter nine examines the record of landlord-centred conflict in the 1890s; chapter ten takes the story on to the outbreak of the Great War; chapter eleven briefly considers the Highland wartime experience and its effect on Highland consciousness, as well as examining the land question during the war and the immediate post-war period; while chapter twelve takes the story of land-agitation forward to its finale (as a generalised phenomenon, at least) during the 1920s. The final chapter, by way of coda to this long record of anti-landlordism, examines in detail the Knoydart land-raid. The afterword serves briefly to contextualise this record with reference to our own times; suggests work remaining to be done in the context of the socio-political formation of the indigenous Highland community of today; and looks briefly at the wider Scottish significances of that community's record of landlord-centred conflict. The central thesis of "Crofters and the Land Question" is that there is a long and deep anti-landlord tradition in the Highlands; that this tradition was under-pinned with an identity that can justly be identified as one of agrarian radicalism and nationalism - and that this tradition, in one way or another, lives on to the present day.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: European history
Date of Award: 1989
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1989-77953
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2020 15:46
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2020 15:46

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