Scotland’s Foreshore

Public Rights, Private Rights and the Crown 1840 - 2017

John MacAskill

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The story of the Crown’s challenge to Scottish foreshore ownership

The ownership of Scotland’s foreshore has been a matter of a prolonged controversy. In the past, the debate centered on whether the shore was owned by the Crown or by adjacent proprietors and on how, and by whom, Crown-owned foreshore should be managed. Scotland’s Foreshore tells the story of the battle that took place during the nineteenth century and into the early twentieth century between the Crown and private proprietors over the ownership of the foreshore. Drawing on his expert knowledge of law and its evolution, MacAskill provides new and valuable insights into the foreshore controversy and the contest between proprietors and the Crown and he discusses the important issues as to the management of the foreshore, issues that culminated in responsibility for the management of Scotland’s Crown-owned foreshore being devolved to the Scottish Parliament at a time when the question of land ownership is central to Scottish political debate.

Preface and AcknowledgmentsGlossary of Legal TermsChapter 1 - A matter of prolonged controversy in ScotlandChapter 2 - Illegal encroachments of the Crown on the rights of proprietorsChapter 3 - A strange piece of legislation’ and ‘a Jesuitical paperChapter 4 - One of the most prominent and assertive membersChapter 5 - A more favourable case to adopt could scarcely be obtainedChapter 6 - What remains in the Crown cannot be of great extentChapter 7 - The proposals amount to the most bare-faced confiscationChapter 8 - The Argyll influence in Tiree is paramountChapter 9 - A genuine opportunity to change the fabric of Scottish societyEnvoiSelect BibliographyIndex
This comprehensively researched and wholly first-rate book has ended my ignorance of these matters.... As a result of its being a substantial and innovative contribution to the history of Scotland, this book would anyway be important. But it is all the more significant because it appears at a point when responsibility for Crown-owned resources in Scotland has been devolved to the Scottish Parliament.
James Hunter, University of Highlands and Islands, Rural History
This is a rich volume. MacAskill has been meticulous in his research and the result is a fascinating guide to the history of the controversies regarding the ownership and management of this valuable natural resource.
Jill Robbie, University of Glasgow
Rights over Scotland’s foreshore were contested for much of the nineteenth century. Drawing on an extensive array of printed and archival sources, John MacAskill examines the arguments, the litigations, and the legislative initiatives. The result is a ground-breaking account of a neglected area of Scottish public and private affairs.
Kenneth Reid, The University of Edinburgh
John MacAskill is a retired solicitor and an Honorary Fellow in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology, University of Edinburgh. He is the author of We Have Won the Land: The story of the purchase of the North Lochinver Estate by the Assynt Crofters Trust (1999) and The Highland Destitution of 1837: Government Aid and Public Subscription (2013).

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