Traditional farm buildings 1770-1840: a study of the farm steadings on two Galloway estates

Burgess, Alison (2009) Traditional farm buildings 1770-1840: a study of the farm steadings on two Galloway estates. MPhil(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This study examines the state of Scottish agriculture during the main improvement era of 1770-1840 but with specific reference to Galloway. This period saw the implementation of radical changes in land management, crop and animal husbandry and a vast programme of rebuilding the existing farm steadings. Traditional farm buildings are thus the physical manifestation and legacy of agrarian improvements. As a consequence, it is vitally important to record and assess these buildings as an example of material culture and traditions which are increasingly being converted, amended or left to decay owing to changing farming practices and increased mechanisation.
The traditional steadings on two Galloway estates have been examined with a view to assessing any localised construction techniques, design features and functionality. The practicality of these vernacular buildings was also assessed as to their viability under the ever increasingly mechanised modern farming practices.
A multi-disciplinary approach was implemented to gain as great an understanding for the impetus of these major changes to the traditional agrarian systems. Publications pertinent to this research topic provided the national and regional situation throughout this period. Both estates have extensive archives which were pivotal in assessing the management and implementation of the agricultural improvements under their respective landowners. The landlords were instrumental in promoting these changes and the pace which these improvements were employed. The type of land available on either estate also dictated the pace and potential for improvement.
Documentation contained within leases and accounts demonstrated the financial implication of these changes for both the landowners and his tenants. The use of estate maps was also of fundamental importance to the study as they illustrated steading evolution through the improvement era. The first and third edition OS maps demonstrated both continuity and change withing the steadings. Oral testimony from various sources associated with each estate proved to be crucial to understanding the past and present functions of the buildings on each farm. Photographs of each farm record the present buildings, illustrating specific construction or design features, but also demonstrating the relationships between structures and the position of the farm steading withing the wider landscape.
The two estates underwent a gradual agricultural reform, with each farm exhibiting buildings which provided a specialised function within the farm steading in response to the trends at the time of their construction. The farms exhibited preferred lay-outs and positioning of the various buildings within the steading. These buildings varied in number and size within the individual farms which were ultimately dependant on financial expenditure but influenced by the type of agriculture suitable on each location. Both estates demonstrated localised design features verified by oral testimony which require further research. The vast majority of these traditional buildings are now redundant, merely being utilised as storage facilities while others only a seasonal function due to their inaccessibility to machinery. A wider study and record of farm steadings is necessary while the buildings and those who were associated with them survive, in order to appreciate the agrarian traditions and heritage within Galloway.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Additional Information: Due to issues of confidentiality this version is unavailable for viewing.
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NA Architecture
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Humanities > History
Supervisor's Name: Cowan, Prof. T.
Date of Award: 2009
Depositing User: Mrs Marie Cairney
Unique ID: glathesis:2009-974
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 11 Aug 2009
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:29

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