The Sutherland Estate, 1850-1920

Aristocratic Decline, Estate Management and Land Reform

Annie Tindley

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From the mid-nineteenth century until the end of World War I, the Sutherland Estate was the largest landed estate in western Europe; at 1.1 million acres, the ducal family owned almost the entire county of Sutherland as well as a further 30,000 acres in England. The estate was owned by the dukes of Sutherland, who were among the richest patrician landowners of the period; from the early nineteenth century, however, the family were shadowed by their reputation as great clearance landlords, something that would come back to haunt them throughout the coming decades.

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1. 'The condition of its peasantry is wonderfully higher in every respect': the Sutherland Estate, 1850-1870
2. 'A failure in every sense of the word:' the Sutherland Reclamations, 1869-1893
3. 'Agitation amounting to legalised coercion:' the Sutherland Estate, 1880-1886
4. 'Gladstone has much to answer for:' the Sutherland Estate, 1886-1896
5. 'Unstained were the diadems Cromarty wore:' the Sutherland Estate, 1897-1920
6. 'Let them understand that they must submit to rule:' Clashmore and the Sutherland Estate, 1850-1914
Conclusion: 'Neither forgotten nor forgiven'
This book represents an important contribution to the period in question and is, moreover, a thoroughly enjoyable read. It will be of relevance to anyone with a keen interest in the modern history of the Highlands and Islands.
Catriona Mackie - University of Liverpool, History Scotland Vol 12 No 2
Tindley's work is an excellent addition to Highland historiography, the clearances, and Highland estates generally.
Lisa Cox, University of Guelph, International Review of Scottish Studies
A volume in the admirable Scottish Historical Review monographs series, this book, then, fills a significant gap, while also providing economic, rural, and agricultural historians with a useful in-depth case study of a very large aristocratic estate and its practices of management.
Paul Readman, King's College, London, Journal of British Studies
Until now, little has been written on Highland estate management in the post-1860 period. This book fills a gap in the historiography by presenting a nuanced and readable analysis of estate structures and the difficulties of creating a viable economy, let alone a profitable estate, in the far north during dramatic years of economic fluctuations, crofter agitation and unprecedented government intervention. Through this study, Tindley takes her place with historians such as James Hunter, Ewan Cameron and Eric Richards in debating the nature of the nineteenth-century Highlands.
Elizabeth Ritchie, University of the Highlands and Islands, Journal of Scottish Historical Studies
As well-written as it is authoritative, it is both an important contribution to understanding of the Highlands and a persuasive proof (even to this longstanding sceptic) that there is much of value to be extracted from the documentation generated by estate managements.
James Hunter, UHI Centre for History, Scottish Historical Review
Tindley's work is an excellent addition to Highland historiography, the clearances, and Highland estates generally.
Lisa Cox, University of Guelph
This is gripping and uncommonly readable Highland history, derived from insider sources, and by one of the new generation of historians of the north of Scotland.
Professor Eric Richards, Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia
This is a contribution to the historiography of modern Highland Scotland of the very highest quality.
TM Devine FRSE HonMRIA FBA, Sir William Fraser Professor of Scottish History and Palaeography, University of Edinburgh
Annie Tindley is Professor of British and Irish Rural History at Newcastle University and Head of the School of History, Classics & Archaeology. Her work interrogates land issues in the modern period including ownership, management and reform. In 2015 she established and became the first director of the Centre for Scotland's Land Futures, an inter-institutional and interdisciplinary research centre, and is the series editor for Scotland's Land, an interdisciplinary book series published by Edinburgh University Press. She is the author of The Sutherland Estate, 1850-1920 (Edinburgh University Press, 2010), and Lachlan Grant of Ballachulish, 1871-1945 (co-edited with Ewen A. Cameron, Birlinn, 2015).

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