Removals and the 'Breadalbane Clearances'

Until relatively recently, Scottish tenant farmers had very little security of tenure. It was easy for factors and landlords to deprive them of their accommodation and livelihood by what was euphemistically known as 'removal'. My Fisher ancestors were forced off Breadalbane land on three occasions. The last removal, by the 2nd Marquis's factor James Wylie, occurred between 1836 and 1838 in what later became known as the 'Breadalbane Clearances' - see 'Removals' from Easter Aberfeldy'.

Sadly, as a consequence of the improvements, less people were required to work on the land so many were forced to either relocate to the town or emigrate to those recently discovered parts of the world which had small populations and lots of untamed land. Many went to Scotland's central belt and others to Canada. The poem In Braid Albyn reveals the bitterness of one writer that would have been shared by many.

I have tried to give some flavour of the places my ancestors lived in the 17th and 18th centuries and it is immediately obvious that they are all dramatically different now. With the benefit of hindsight change was inevitable but it also caused great distress to many. Alister put in writing what many must have been feeling at the time. The Marquis's reply is equally fascinating. It is difficult for us to denigrate either of these very polarised views.

As yet no document informing a tenant that their tenancy was to be terminated has come to light but there is little doubt that those instructions were given to at least some of those that ceased to farm Breadalbane land.

Page last updated - 27/10/15