Survey of Lochtayside 1769

In 1936 Margaret McArthur edited a publication for the Scottish History Society titled 'Survey of Lochtayside 1769'. The introduction contains so much relevant detail it is reproduced in full below.

The book contains only two of the plans produced by the surveyors but plans relevant to the Fishers are reproduced in the 'Places' section of this site (Acharn and Lawers).

Margaret McArthur's introduction to the surveys:

The documents published in this volume represent the written part and two of the plans of a Survey of the Breadalbane estates lying on the north side and on the south side of Loch Tay, made in 1769 for the third Earl of Breadalbane by two land surveyors, John Farquharson, who surveyed the north side, and John McArthur, who surveyed the south side of the loch and Aberfeldy.

Most of the documents printed in this volume were discovered by the editor among the Breadalbane Estate Papers deposited in H.M. General Register House, Edinburgh, while the remainder were found as the result of a search which the Earl of Breadalbane very kindly consented to have made in his estate office at Killin. All these manuscripts are appearing in print for the first time.

There is, indeed, a lamentable lack of printed sources available for a study of agricultural operations and the status of the agricultural population in the eighteenth century, before the Government evinced its interest in Scottish agriculture by establishing the Board of Agriculture and making public a knowledge of the conditions existing at the end of the eighteenth century. The Reports published by the Board of Agriculture in 1791 make some attempt to describe the agricultural conditions previously existing in Scotland, but the accounts are necessarily superficial by reason of the method employed in their compilation, for a reporter made a tour of a district, observed the existing situation and gathered some information from the inhabitants as to what had previously happened. His real business being to describe conditions in the ’nineties with a view to suggesting improvements, he had naturally little interest in the agricultural history of the district under consideration. Indeed Marshall, who reported on the Central Highlands, even thought that a detailed description of the management, of the small farms in 1794 'Would be ill-placed in this Report ; it belongs,’ he said, ‘ rather to the Antiquary to record that such a state of husbandry once existed.' Moreover, the Old Statistical Accounts, though written by persons perhaps more interested in the past than the reporters to the Board of Agriculture, were mainly written after the Reports, and probably borrowed material from them, the writer of the Account of Kenmore, in fact, referring the reader to Marshall. Nor by comparing 'backward’ districts with those into which more advanced methods had been by 1794 introduced, can we construct a series of pictures showing the evolution of Scottish agriculture, for there was by no means a uniform system throughout Scotland, which merely developed at different rates in different parts through the various stages which have been called ‘ the agricultural revolution.’ Thus our Survey furnishes information regarding Scottish agriculture in the Highland district which geographically is practically the centre of Scotland, at a period with which published sources do not deal.

While many estate surveys were carried out, the manuscripts of the Lochtayside Survey of 1769 appear to be unique. The editor has been unable to find elsewhere in Scotland any documents comparable to them. Even the manuscripts and maps dealing with the Forfeited Estates have nothing similar to offer, though there is one beautiful map of Drummond property in Perthshire, executed by Will. Winter in 1753. Of course, it is perhaps to be expected that the Earl of Breadalbane, whose estates probably exceeded in extent and contiguity those of any subject in Europe, should have elaborate surveys executed, which in their wealth of detail and careful workmanship surpass any others which have come to light; yet even among the Breadalbane Estate Papers there are no documents at all comparable to those of the 1769 Survey, though many surveys were made at various times of different parts of Breadalbane. Most of the surveys made were carried out to facilitate the settlement of disputes regarding boundaries between the Breadalbane and other estates. There was, for example, a prolonged dispute regarding the boundaries of the Royal Forest of Mamlorne, of which the Earl of Breadalbane was Hereditary Keeper by virtue of a Charter of 1694, and a survey of the forest was made in 1736 when the Earl and His Majesty’s Advocate on behalf of the Crown fought a case in the Court of Session regarding the forest marches against James Menzies of Culdares and Angus McDonald of Kenknock, whose properties adjoined the forest. There are, too, various written reports concerning small parts of the estate, but if any surveys were ever made like those of 1769, they have not, apparently, survived the vicissitudes of centuries.

The Survey of 1769 was carried out at considerable cost. Farquharson and McArthur each took about ten months to complete his part of the work, while at the same time another surveyor, A. Shepherd, was engaged in surveying other parts of the Breadalbane estates. The following account was submitted by Farquharson :—

To surveying the north side 0f Loch Tay fr0m April 8th t0 Sept 18th at 10/- per day £70
To money given the chainmen £6-19
To 18 weeks planning £54
Received at sundries £35

The account was paid and receipted on May 25, 1770. McArthur’s account was paid and receipted 0n April 12,
1770, and was as follows :—

T0 surveying the south side 0f Loch Tay 146 days at 10/- £73
T0 making a plan more than bargon 90 days at 10/- per day £ 45 £45
T0 paying 0f chainmen their wages at 6d per day £7-6
T0 expense 0f paper, books and upholstery w0rk £1-16
Received at sundry times £ 55
Ballance due £ 72-2

The J0hn McArthur 0f the Survey 0f 1769 is probably the man who made the well—known map of Glasgow in 1778 and of whom nothing is known save what is contained in tw0 entries in the Records 0f the Burgh 0f Glasgow. In view 0f the amount he was paid for his work in 1769 by the Earl 0f Breadalbane, the price at which the City of Glasgow purchased copies 0f McArthur’s map may seem small, but evidently copies of the map of Glasgow were expected to be sold, while there would not be a demand for copies of the Breadalbane map. The entry in the Burgh records regarding the map, dated October 5, 1778, is as follows :—

'A plan of the city of Glasgow made out by John McArthur, land surveyor in Glasgow, with a letter from him thereanent being produced, and the said letter being read and the plan inspected by the magistrates and councill, they authorise the lord provost in name of the city to subscribe for ten eopys of the said plan to be kept in the clerks chamber, the price thereof amounting to five pounds five shillings sterling. And remitt to the dean of guild and his bretheren, on account of the said plan, to enter and receive the said John McArthur as a burgess and guild brother of the city and to remitt his fine.’ It appears from this entry that John McArthur was not a native of Glasgow. The other reference to his work is in an entry on November 7, 1782, instructing the Master of Works to get a dozen of McArthur’s maps of the City of Glasgow, so coloured as to point out the bounds of each separate parish in the city, and to give one to each of the city ministers. If McArthur’s and Farquharson’s accounts seem high, however, Shepherd, who had during the same summer been surveying other parts of the estates, submitted an account so large that he perhaps thought it called for some explanation, or, more likely, some comment on its amount had been made by John Campbell of Achallader, the Earl’s Chamberlain in Breadalbane. Shepherd’s account purported to be for ‘surveying part of his Lordship’s estates, namely Strathfillan, Dirry Darroch in Glenfalloch, Glen Dochart, Glen Lochay, Glen Lyon and Glen Queich,’ totalled £263.

This account was paid, for Shepherd, in a letter to Achallader, acknowledges payment and adds, ‘Tho’ my accompt may seem high yet if our works are compared I imagine mine will be esteemed equal to both the others in every respect put together because sure I am I was as diligent on the field and in the house as them.’ Shepherd, however, should have been either more diligent or more capable than the others, since he received sixpence a day more for his personal services, a sum which was equal to a labourer’s wage. Shepherd had, also, an assistant, while the others had not, and he paid his labourers eightpence a day while the others paid them sixpence, which was the usual wage, labourers indeed being often referred to as ‘sixpence-men.’ His work, however, so far as one can judge, was not superior to that of McArthur or Farquharson. When lands surveyed by him changed hands, the relevant parts of his survey seem to have been transferred to the new owners, and none of his work is now among the Breadalbane Estate Papers in the possession of the Earl of Breadalbane. The total cost of these surveys was then £474, 12s, a sum equivalent to some £5700 at the present time.

It was the third Earl of Breadalbane who instructed that his estates should be surveyed in 1769. He was at that time seventy-three years of age and had had a distinguished career. He had been a Member of Parliament for Saltash from 1727 till 1741, during which time he was sent as Minister to St. Petersburg (December 1731); and for Orford from 1741 till 1746, acting as one of the Lords of the Admiralty from 1741 till 1742, and being appointed Master of the Jewel Office in 1746. On the death of his father, he succeeded to the Breadalbane estates in 1752, and from that year until 1768 he served as a Representative Peer of Scotland in the House of Lords. In the latter year he was voted for, but did not appear at all either in person or by proxy at the election of peers. It was at this time that he proceeded to have his lands surveyed, and the Survey was carried out and some reorganisation of the estate undertaken during the few years in which his political activities demanded less attention. On January 17, 1770, he attended an election of peers but voted for James, Earl of Erroll, who was returned. At the next election, which took place on January 7, 1771, however, he voted in person for himself and got seventeen votes, but John Earl of Stair was elected. In 1774 the third Earl again entered the House of Lords as a Representative Peer and sat till 1780, two years before his death. Like his father, the third Earl sought to develop his estate. The second Earl had succeeded to property mortgaged and in debt to half its value. He had applied himself to the payment of the debt and the improvement, of Breadalbane. In attaining the former object he had been in large measure successful ; to attain the latter he encouraged the raising of flax, begun about 1728, the selling of yarn made of it, begun about 1734, the spinning of wool and the making of coarse cloth, even bringing some weavers from England, while he began the construction of good roads and stone bridges. The third Earl completed the payment of the debt, added to his estates, continued the construction of roads and bridges, and encouraged industry. He laid out the square of the village of Kenmore and built houses on the north and south sides of it. He allowed tradesmen to have houses rent free (Thus the shoemaker in Kenmore, when he petitioned for a free house, averred that he was ‘ as useful to the country and this family as ’ the smith, the merchant, the fisher and the bellman, all of whom sat rent free) and not content with relief from payment of rent, these recipients of free houses expected the Earl to keep them in repair. The third Earl, however, though he encouraged tradesmen and also the manufacture of flax, seems to have been of the opinion that attention should be directed mainly to the improvement of the soil. It was this belief which prompted him to have his lands surveyed. That he was of this opinion is not surprising, since there was during his lifetime a widespread interest in agriculture and he was in politics a warm supporter of Walpole who, it has been suggested, was even more interested in agriculture than he was in politics. Neither the second Earl, nor yet the third Earl during the seventeen years which elapsed between his father’s death and the Survey of 1769, had, however, attempted any extensive agricultural improvements the Breadalbane estate. The Survey shows that certain improvements, which will be discussed later, had been introduced on some of the Lochtayside farms, but undoubtedly attention had been mainly directed to the environs of the family seat, the most up-to-date farms in 1769 being generally those situated there or where seats had formerly been. The surveyor considered no comment necessary on Inchadny, contenting himself with the brief statement ‘ This policy'; his remarks regarding Dalmerstick, Stroan Comry and Mains go Comry are significant, while at Finlarig, where stood the ruins of Finlarig Castle, at Lawers, where tradition tells us once lived ‘The Lady of Lawers,’ and at Ardeonage, where stood a mansion which McArthur depicted on his plan, more advanced farming was in operation than in general prevailed. Until 1769 the accusation levelled in remarkably strong terms by Adam Smith ten years earlier was in some measure justified. In a letter to John, Lord Shelburne, who inherited the Petty estates in Ireland, he wrote, 'We have in Scotland some noblemen whose estates extend from the east to the west sea, who call themselves improvers and are so called by their countrymen when they cultivate two or three hundred acres round their family seat, while they allow all the rest of their country to lie waste, almost uninhabited and entirely unimproved, not worth a shilling a hundred acres, without thinking themselves answerable to God, their country and their posterity for so shameful as well as so foolish a neglect'.

1770 Improvement Act

That the Survey is dated 1769 and not earlier may be best explained by considering an Act of Parliament of the following year. About the time at which the third Earl ceased for a time to be a Representative Peer and had his estates surveyed, a bill was before Parliament which in 1770 became an ‘Act to encourage the Improvement of Lands, Tenements and Hereditaments in that Part of Great Britain called Scotland, held under Settlements of Strict Entail.’ This act was of great importance in facilitating agricultural improvements in Scotland. The Preamble set forth that by an Act of the Parliament of Scotland passed in 1685, lands and estates in Scotland might be entailed with such provisions and conditions as proprietors thought fit and with such irritant and resolute clauses as to them seemed proper; that many entails of lands and estates in Scotland made both before and after 1685 contained clauses limiting the heirs of entail from granting tacks or leases for longer than their own lives, for a small number of years only ; and that in consequence the cultivation of land in Scotland was greatly obstructed, much mischief arising to the puplic which would daily increase so long as the law allowed such entail. The thirty-four clauses of the Act of 1770 may be conveniently grouped into four parts :—

1. The first part of the Act dealt with the provision of long leases. Every proprietor of an entailed estate in Scotland might grant leases for any part thereof for any number of years not exceeding fourteen years and the life of one person to be named in such leases and in being at the time of making them; or for the lives of two persons to be named therein and in being at the time of making them and the life of the survivor of them; or for any number of years not exceeding thirty-one years.

2. In long leases, provision had to be made for agricultural improvements. Leases for two lives had to contain a clause obliging the tenant or tenants to fence and enclose in a sufficient and lasting manner, within thirty years, all the lands so leased; within twenty years, two—thirds of them; and within ten years, one-third of them. Leases for any term of years exceeding nineteen had to contain a similar clause, tenants having to fence and enclose during the full period of the lease all lands leased to them ; two- thirds of them before the expiration of two-thirds of the term of the lease ; and one-third before the expiration of one-third of it. In all these cases the tenants were to keep fences in repair and leave them so at expiration, while not more than forty acres were to be comprehended in one field where land was arable. The Act also contained provisions regarding building leases. In the case of all leases granted under the Act the rent to be paid was not to be less than that paid under the last lease or sett and the rent was to be the only burden due to the landlord, while none was to be granted until the expiration of a former lease.

3. Proprietors of entailed estates laying out money in enclosing, planting, draining, or in erecting farm houses and offices or outbuildings for farms to improve their lands, were to be creditors to the succeeding heirs of entail for three quarters of the money laid out in making these improvements, provided the amount did not exceed four years’ free rent.

4. Proprietors of entailed estates were empowered to exchange lands lying together in one place for an equivalent to be made from lands contiguous, the amount so to be exchanged being restricted by the Act.

The Breadalbane estates had been strictly entailed in 1704 with irritant and resolute clauses which could now be broken. The heirs of entail had been hampered by debt but could now be creditors to succeeding heirs for money laid out in improvements. Some portions of the Breadalbane estates had led to constant disputes with other proprietors, but these parts could now be exchanged for more convenient lands. There is no doubt that the third Earl purposed making use of the Act on its coming into force when he had his lands surveyed in minute detail in 1769. The instructions given to the surveyors have not come to light, but apparently they were each given a free hand to survey the farms and suggest improvements, the Earl wishing to have his farms laid out as well as possible before he granted leases and invested money in building walls or sinking ditches.

The Surveys

The work of the surveyors, John Farquharson and Johh McArthur, is embodied in three forms—in a group of large scale plans; in what, for purposes of distinction, it is convenient to call maps; and in books of written material. The written material consists of two volumes, one by Farquharson containing a detailed description of the farms on the north side of Loch Tay and a similar volume by McArthur descriptive of those on the south side. These volumes are printed in full save for a few pages of statistics which practically amount to a repetition of what has gone before. It is perhaps necessary to remark that two slight alterations have been made by the editor in the arrangement of the work. In the original of Farquharson’s volume the statistics relating to the farm are placed in each case before the descriptive passages, while, as it now appears, the position has been reversed. In the case of McArthur’s work, instead of placing the names of the tenants of each farm beside the descriptions of the farms which they tenanted, a list of farms and tenants’ names is given at the end of the volume. It has been thought convenient here to arrange the tenants’ names in Farquharson’s style, placing the names of the tenants beside the descriptions of their respective farms. In order to facilitate reading the text of Farquharson’s work, where the statistics relating to a farm have had to be divided between two pages, those on one page have been added and the total entered at the foot of it and brought forward to the top of the next page. The few minor mistakes in Farquharson’s additions have been indicated. The punctuation and spelling of the Gaelic of the manuscripts have not been altered. In the English passages the spelling, and in most cases the punctuation, are retained as they are in the originals, but capitals have been placed according to modern usage.

The second part of the surveyor’s work consists of two volumes of plans, one volume, containing a plan of each farm on the north side, executed by Farquharson, the other, consisting of a plan of each farm and plans of several crofts and pendicles on the south side, by McArthur. The plans are mostly 12''x 17.5" (a few are 17'5''x 24") on the scale of about 12 inches to a mile, so that each plan covers an area of one mile by one and a half miles. They are bound in calf and well preserved, and are very fine examples of early land surveyors’ work. Those by McArthur, who surveyed the south side, are in colour. Two plans, one representative of each surveyor’s work, are reproduced in this volume. From Farquharson’s volume of the north side, Plan No. 13—that of Tomb, Drumnaferoch, Cuiltirannich and Parks of Lawers—has been chosen. Several reasons have led to the choice of this particular plan. It shows two means of communication, namely, the road running along the north side from Killin to Kenmore with a bridge across the burn of Lawers and the ferry at Miltown of Lawers; it shows a ‘miln’ (a meal mill) on Miltown of Lawers and a ‘lint miln’ on Drumnaferoch ; it indicates a comparatively large house, no doubt that inhabited by Colin Campbell’s widow, and several other buildings on Miltown of Lawers the ruins of which are still by the lochside, including the church, in which the minister of Kenmore preached by turns, and which now stand in ruins. From the point of view of agricultural history the plan is interesting because it depicts by the lochside what the surveyor calls ‘a very neat farm all enclosed with a dyke,’ a farm representative of those laid out on ‘improved ’ lines, and yet whose situation was attended by an inconvenience typical of that of many farms, in so far as its grass was detached, so that its cattle had to be driven through either Drumnafcroch or Cuiltirannich. This farm had only one tenant. The plan also shows the farm of Tomb which the surveyor tells us was formerly one plough and in 1769 two ploughs, Kien Croft or Taynacroit apparently having been added to Tomb. Two other farms, Drumnaferoch and Cuiltirannich, are depicted as well. The plan which has been chosen for reproduction from the volume of plans of the south side is No. 5, a coloured plan in the original, showing Craggan, Belloch, Dalcroy, Margdow, Bellina, etc. This plan contrasts with that of Farquharson in several ways. It shows a different type of workmanship. It illustrates another kind of economic organisation from that shown by the Lawers plan. McArthur, unlike Farquharson, distinguishes between tenants’ holdings and those of certain crofters and pendiclers. The plan selected depicts a collection of farms, pendicles and crofts—the two farms of Craggan and Ballinlone, and of Belloch and Tombane, the three pendicles of Croft-inreot, Croftshenach and Cooftnabally, and the three crofts of Dalcroy, Margdow or Croftdow and Bellina—interwoven into a network in striking contrast to the regularity of the layout of the farms on the other plan reproduced. The organisation shown on McArthur’s plan was of the type which predominated on Lochtayside in 1769 and will be discussed later. Save in the case of the three pendicles, all the holdings depicted were joint holdings. McArthur’s method of writing on his plans the various kinds of land represented as well as reference numbers makes his work more easily understood than Farquharson’s plans, since the latter are scarcely intelligible without the explanation to which the numbers refer. This difference of method tends to emphasise another point of distinction between the layout of the holdings McArthur depicted and those shown by Farquharson on the north side plan reproduced, namely that the pieces of arable land are more scattered on McArthur’s plan, patches of outfield being flung as far as nearly to the top of the hill Meolinnoch, which McArthur has sketched, while McArthur also indicates a tract of moss on the far side of the hill. Characteristic, too, particularly of the south side, is the wooded lochside Which McArthur shows. Adjoining each other are New Park of Tay, evidently a walled plantation, and a part of Chromiltan Wood, the rest of which is shown on another plan.

The third part of the surveyor’s work consists of two maps, one by Farquharson reproducing all the plans of the north side, the other by McArthur reproducing all those of the south side. McArthur’s map is 58"x28" on a scale of 3.5 inches to a mile. It is called ‘ A Plan of the South Side of Loch Tay,’ and is in several colours. Farquharson’s map, 57 "x24.5" on a scale of about 3.5 inches to a mile, is entitled ‘A Plan of Deshoir, etc.’ On it the infield is shaded with red and the outfield with yellow. The workmanship of both maps is very fine and the amount of detail is remarkable. All the documents are dated 1769 except Farquharson’s map of the north side, which is dated 1772. The two volumes of plans and the two volumes of written material are housed in the Historical Department of H.M. General Register House, Edinburgh. The two maps are in the Breadalbane Estate Office at Killin. In the National Library, Edinburgh, it may be mentioned, there is a map of Breadalbane from Tyndrum to Aberfeldy, entitled ‘An Exact map of Breadalbane in Perthshire,’ engraved by G. Cameron. It has been said to have been prepared at the expense of John Campbell, Cashier of the Royal Bank of Scotland. Its date of issue is not known, but has been fixed as being between the completion of the new manse of Kenmore (1760) and the building of Kenmore bridge (1774). The fact that it shows no road on the south side of Loch Tay has given rise to the opinion that it was not made from the maps of the Survey of 1769, for McArthur shows a road with bridges, though it is known that there was a road on the south side earlier than this, as its repair is referred to in the Perth County Records of 1753. The date of this map is suggested 1n a recent publication of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society as 1770. It was probably, however, made earlier than that date, for on it a mansion house is shown at Finlarig, and Farquharson, in his Survey of 1769, says that the mansion house of Finlarig ‘ has been lately demolished ’. Another mansion house is shown at Lawers, but Farquharson shows none in 1769, nor does he mention it, but he says, ‘There have been here several walks shaded with trees many of which are now cutt down’. The undated map does not, of course, show the layout of the farms as the Survey of 1769 does, and for purposes of economic history it is practically valueless.

The plans of 1769 almost provide us with the view we might have obtained from an aeroplane, if an aeroplane and we had been in existence in that year and flown fairly high over Lochtayside - too high to distinguish the kind of crops growing or animals grazing, but we are told of these in the written descriptions. We see the loch, fifteen miles long; the high hills on either side of it, those on the south side more wooded than those on the north ; a good road running along the north side of the loch and an indifferent one on the south side; the lower slopes of the hills cultivated for a distance of about half a mile to a mile from the lochside. We see at a glance the layout of the Lochtayside farms, the houses, ‘ in small groups as if they [the Highlanders] loved society or clanship’; the irregularly shaped and variously sized patches of arable land, those lying near the houses being generally infields, those farther from them outfields ; lying round these cultivated patches, meadow and wood (the latter sometimes merely brushwood, but often wood worthy of the name, especially by the lochside), and grass stretching up the hillside ; farm buildings scattered here and there, mills, schools, churches and burying grounds. Sometimes we see dykes or ditches enclosing woods and cultivated patches ; usually, though not always, a dyke known as the head-dyke running along the hillside separating arable land, meadow, wood and grass. from the upper part of the hills, mostly covered with moor but occasionally wooded, and sometimes the dyke carried round the whole of the lower part of the farm. We see at a glance how the Highland people adapted their system of farming to the requirements of the mountainous region, of the hillsides strewn with boulders, and tilled patches here and there as they could. Our attention is drawn by both surveyors to the beauty of the landscape - a rare happening in 1769, when a description of Highland scenery was still, and for ten years more at least, regarded as General Wade’s chief surveyor, Burt, had regarded it, as ‘a disagreeable subject'. Like Burt, McArthur was impressed by the height of the mountains. ‘The Highlands,’ wrote Burt, ‘ are for the greatest part, composed of hills, as it were, piled one upon another, till the complication rises and swells to mountains of which the heads are frequently above the clouds.’ Beside his sketch of Bruagh, McArthur wrote simply, ‘A little hill in this country in some places would be a great mountain.' But to Burt the summits of the highest mountains being mostly destitute of earth, and the huge naked rocks being just above the heath, produced ‘ the disagreeable appearance of a scabbed head,’ and while he thought that Highland scenery had ‘not much variety in it, but gloomy spaces, different rocks, heath, and high and low,’ McArthur sketched in the burn at Acharn and saw ‘cascades and pretty waterfalls here.’ Farquharson, at the very outset of his Survey, thought Finlarig ‘ would make an exceptive fine situation for a seat, having a view of one-third of Loch-tay, of the river Lochay which runs gently by and bounds the farm on the west, and of the river Dochart which joins the Lochay at Reindow, both rivers falling a short space down from that into the loch. The house and plain of Achmore, Kinnel and Killin,’ he wrote, ‘ add greatly to the beauty of the landscape’ , and as he proceeded west along the lochside, he found Edramuckie ‘a very sweet place,’ remarking that it had a fine exposition to the south and had all the appearances of being once a very pleasant small seat . He found at Miltown of Lawers, where had been ‘several walks shaded with trees,’ ‘ a most delightful place immediately by the loch side, having a fine view of Ardonack on the south side ’; and he thought that Mains of Comry and ‘ Strone Comry ought to be attended to by the family of Breadalbane, as besides the advantage that would accrue from putting them in order either for a tenant or otherwise, they would look well in point of prospect from the policy on the south side of the Tay. From the height above,’ he remarked, ‘there is a commanding view of a good part of the head of Strathtay ’, and on his sketch of Drummond Hill, which he depicted covered with trees, he wrote, ‘ Fine prospect from this.' From the hypothetical aeroplane we might have seen almost all the buildings as small, dark rectangles, and thus they are depicted for the most part on the plans. Of Auchmore, then the residence of John Campbell of Achallader; the Earl’s Chamberlain in Breadalbane, which was rebuilt in 1872 and is the seat of the present Earl of Breadalbane, McArthur has drawn a small sketch. On Mains of Ardeonaig, McArthur has drawn a two—storied house, the Mains Castle of which Christie speaks as ‘ the mansion of the property,’ but of whose founder he could find no account, though he thought that the last occupant had been Colin Campbell, the second and last laird of his family, after whose time the castle had been allowed to fall into decay, and most of the stones removed and used in the erection of other buildings in the vicinity. Tomour and Succoch (one farm), and Newtown are the only farms on which McArthur depicts houses with windows and chimneys. These are one-storied houses, probably built of stone and roofed with thatch or slate. On Tomour there is one solitary building on four acres, enclosed by a wall, called ‘ Herd’s croft,’ adjoining which are three enclosed acres on Succoch called ‘ Herd’s park.' The other house referred to is shown on Succoch. It is a rectangular building with a door in the middle and two windows on either side of the door, and a chimney at each end of the roof. Surrounding it are six other buildings the details of which are not supplied. Tomour and Succoch, it may be remarked, was an exceptionally large grazing farm. On Newtown are two houses, with chimneys, and each with a door in the middle and a window on either side of the door, and three other buildings which were perhaps made of stone with thatch or slate roofs and may have been barns or outhouses for cattle. On Twenty-Shilling Land a 'meeting-house ’ having a door and windows is shown with a walled piece of ground round it. There were no doubt a few substantial buildings on the north side of the loch. Farquharson tells us, for example, that there was a church at Miltown of Lawers, and on Finlarig he says there was ‘ a good commodious farm house ’, but he does not show these buildings on his plans as different from the majority, except that he indicates that the church was of a different shape from the other buildings. No doubt the notary public and writer, Alexander Campbell, tenant of Miltown of Finlarig, would have a substantial house there if he resided on his farm, and a farm like Miltown of Lawers no doubt had a stone-built farm house. McArthur, however, made more elaborate plans than Farquharson, and on his map he shows one or two other houses with windows and chimneys. It may not, perhaps, be stretching the evidence too far to suggest that few tenants could boast of having stone- built houses, with reasonably secure roofs and rooms with chimney places and windows. Dwelling-houses, according to Pennant, who saw them about the time that the manuscripts were compiled, were ‘very small, mean and without windows or chimneys ’- ‘ the disgrace of North Britain,' he said, ‘ as its lakes and rivers are its glory.’ Another writer describes the tenants’ houses on the Perth estates about the same time as ‘ little better than graves above ground, built only of the surface of the earth and the best soil the fields afford.' The houses represented on McArthur’s plans by small rectangles, and most of those similarly represented on Farquharson’s plans, were no doubt built of materials which served a double purpose, thick sods being cut from the best soil of the pasture lands, serving for a time as walls and then being spread over the arable fields as manure, boughs stripped of their leaves supporting sods to form a roof, the boughs being used later as fuel. The roofs were evidently not very well secured, for McArthur, advocating the planting of trees on the top of Meolinnoch, remarks that this would be ‘a means of saving . . . the roofs of the houses from being blown down'. Some of the buildings depicted on the plans were shelters for cattle and sheep, e.g. rectangles in the middle of Wester Tullich are marked ‘ sheep houses.' These were of the same type as the dwelling—houses, and indeed in all probability sometimes when turf huts were abandoned as human dwellings they were given over to sheep and cattle.

The population

The great number of buildings shown indicates that in 1769 Lochtayside supported a considerable population, while the number of persons mentioned in the Survey bears out conclusions drawn from other sources regarding the density of the Highland population. The surveyors mention by name 389 persons. Of these, only thirty-six are women, and several of these women are referred to as widows. Highland women had the reputation of being very prolific, but the death rate among children was exceedingly high. Thus, while Adam Smith says, ‘ A half-starved Highland woman frequently bears more than twenty children,’ he also says, ‘ It is not uncommon, I have been frequently told, in the Highlands of Scotland, for a mother who has borne twenty children not to have two alive.’ Allowing six persons to the family of each person mentioned by name in the Survey - the number taken as ‘a most moderate computation ’ by the tenants of Crannich and Carwhin in a petition lodged the year after the Survey - we arrive at the estimate of 2334 persons on the sides of Loch Tay. In a few cases, however, Farquharson omitted to mention the occupants of farms, and while McArthur included a good many crofters in his list of persons but made no reference to cottars, Farquharson referred specifically to twenty-nine crofters or cottars and indicated that there were more, so that, besides the persons named by the surveyors, there were a considerable number of others. Probably Pennant was not far from the truth when he wrote, referring to the year of the Survey, ‘ The north side of Loch Tay is very populous, for in sixteen square miles are seventeen hundred and eighty-six souls : on the other side, about twelve hundred.' He probably included in his calculation the villages of Kenmore and Killin excluded from the Survey.

The mention by the surveyors of only three classes of persons in the agricultural population (if crofters and pendiclers are considered as one class) contrasts with much other evidence as to the status of the Highland people. Much has been written about the Highland tacksmen, class of persons most writers have condemned, but it must be noticed that not in every case did there exist an intermediary between the landlord and the cultivators of the soil. Of the origin of the tacksman there seems to be no doubt. It is to be found in the desire of a chief to make provision in the upper ranks of society for his near of kin and to facilitate fighting organisation. He was usually nearly related by blood to the chief, held a tack, which signified a taking, of a piece of land from the chief for a period of years, varying apparently from nine to ninetynine or even for several lives, and undertook to pay a yearly sum in return for the use of the land. The tacksman then relet the land to sub—tenants, usually from year to year, and was able to furnish a number of men for military purposes. According to Dr. Hamilton, the lands in tack were as a rule grossly under-rated—their rents varied from £25 to £300 stg. per annum—‘for, from the chief’s point of view, services were the main consideration.' As one writer expresses it, ‘In the military organisation of the clan, the tacksmen formed an essential element, since by blood, instincts and training they were its natural lieutenants. As such they were indispensable to the chiefs as they paid for their lands in full by their services.' Another writer, however, commenting on the existence of tacksmen on the Highland estates of the Aberdeenshire family of Gordon (which was not a clan in the true sense of the word, and the head of which was the Marquis of Huntly, whose connection with such a distant and distinctively Highland district as Badenoch ‘can have had but little of that patriarchal character that was the essence of clan organisation’), and commenting also on the existence of tacksmen in the Highlands long after the ’Forty-Five, suggests in addition an economic reason for their existence. ‘ Some kind of organiser was almost indispensable under the old system of complicated and very minute joint holdings. The advantage of dealing with one man instead of with forty or fifty is obvious, and in an uncertain climate, like that of the Highlands, there must have been a distinct inducement to encourage a man who was in a position to accumulate a little reserve fund, and therefore to pay his rent in bad years as well as in good.' A study of the Breadalbane Estate Papers reveals that though many tacksmen existed on the more outlying parts of the estate, particularly in Argyllshire, the tenants who cultivated the sides of Loch Tay held directly of their chief. There is, indeed, one tack for this district among the papers, a tack of Tomour and Succoch granted in 1728 to Mr. Patrick Campbell of Monzie for 450 merks (£25 stg.) for nineteen years from 1729. There may, perhaps, have been other tacks which have not survived, and there is evidence that the farms of Tomb and Miltown were superior to the other farms in Lawers, for in 1774 the tenants of the other thirteen farms in Lawers (Mahuaim having disappeared as a separate farm, perhaps on the recommendation of the surveyor) petitioned against services exacted by the tenants of Tomb and Miltown, ‘for reasons unknown to the petitioners.' From every merkland of 33 merks the tenants of the thirteen farms had to provide in spring two horses and a man for two days to harrow, and two horses and a man for two days to lead out dung ; in summer, five horses and two men for one day to lead peats from the hill; in autumn, two shearers for two days to harvest. These services had to the performed immediately when required ‘ and that, too, in the throngest and most precious seasons of the year,' and the tenants of the thirteen farms complained that the performance was at the hazard of losing their own seed and harvest seasons and consequently their crop, and also at the risk of losing their horses on account of the ‘ additional work in spring when a scarcity of fodder generally prevails over the country, the persons to whom the said work is performed being so very cruel as often times to refuse food of any kind to their horses when thus employed.' Most of the tenants had been granted and all, it was asserted, had been promised leases after the Survey of 1769, and in the leases given was no mention of the customary services of which they complained. A branch of the Breadalbane family seems at one time to have held Lawers and Ardeonaig. It may, however, be not unreasonable to suppose that while the tacksman system was advantageous in dealing with outlying parts of the estate, it was by no means ‘indispensable ’ so far as those lands lying comparatively near the seat of the chief were concerned, and by 1769 there seem to have been on Lochtayside no persons of the type generally described as tacksmen.

Tacks of mills, however, appear to have been given. Farquharson says that there were seven mills on the north side of Loch Tay and there seem to have been an equal number on the south side. It will be noticed from Farquharson’s list of mills that one of these was situated in each officiary. Those persons who had holdings of land in a certain district took their grain to be ground at the mill situated in that district and were said to be thirled to that mill. They made payments in kind, called multures, for having their grain ground, and besides these payments they had certain services to render, such as keeping the watercourses clear. It seems that there was not a miller at each mill, but that in some cases an under-miller had charge of a mill, as in the case of the mill at Lawers. It appears from a petition lodged by ‘the tenants of the forty markland of Lawers’ in 1785, that Colin Campbell, the husband deceased in 1769 of Catrine Campbell who is mentioned in the Survey as the tenant of Miltown of Lawers, had had for a short time a tack of the mill of Lawers and had ‘ kept the under-miller in his family, and of consequence enjoyed the miln-croft along with the farm of Milntown.’ Similar circumstances obtained elsewhere.

The terms most frequently used in the Survey to denote status are possessor and tenant. These terms, possessor, denoting possession as distinct from ownership, and tenant, indicating the function of holding, might, of course, be applied to any occupant of the land, and, when a lease was granted, the possessor or tenant became a tacksman. It may be well, however, to reserve the name tenant for a person possessing a complete farm or a joint share in a complete farm, i.e. a portion of land comprising infield. outfield, meadow, grass, wood, moor and perhaps moss. Tenants held directly and for one year at a time of the landlord, namely the Earl of Breadalbane, paying a rent to him computed partly in money, sometimes also partly in kind (usually meal), and partly in services (largely carriages). A tenant might hold a farm alone, but of the 109 farms surveyed only ten were held separately by single tenants. It was usual for several tenants to hold a farm jointly, the largest number of tenants on any one farm mentioned in the Survey being ten. Only two farms however, had as many as ten joint tenants, one had nine and several had eight. Again, a tenant might have a joint holding in more than one farm, as in the case of Archibald Campbell, who, besides holding Tayinlone, on which he resided and which was really a croft since it had no outfield, also held half of the farm of Croftinalen and a tenth of Stroan Fernan.

Inferior to the tenants in status were the crofters, so called because they had only one type of arable land, namely, that known as infield or croft, but no outfield, and pendiclers, so called because they had land attached to the farms. Crofters and pendiclers had also the other types of land held by the tenants. There is no evidence in the Survey to point to a distinction between crofters and pendiclers. According to Cosmo Innes, who quotes from a report written by the factor on the Drummond estates, Perthshire, in 1762, the crofter differed from the pendicler in so far as his cattle were herded and pastured along with those of the tenant at least in summer and harvest.' Reporting on the Central Highlands to the Board of Agriculture in 1794, Marshall says of the crofters, ‘ This extraordinary class of cultivators appears to have been quartered upon the tenantry after the farms were split down into their smallest size ; the crofters being a species of sub-tenants on the farms to which they are respectively attached.' The crofters, however, appear to have been quartered upon the tenantry mainly by the tenantry themselves. Only a few crofters held directly of the Earl and paid their rents to him. The crofts distinguished in the Survey are the only ones which appear in the Breadalbane Rentals. This means that only the few crofters mentioned in the Survey were placed by the Earl. The great majority of the crofters appear to have been placed by the tenants, to whom they paid their rents and rendered such services as had been agreed upon, the Earl having nothing to do with them except in the case of a dispute arising between them and the tenants, as often happened since the tenants were severe taskmasters. Crofts, however, had to be given to such persons as schoolmasters and millers. If unmarried, a schoolmaster or a miller might not insist upon having a croft, but for a married man a croft was considered a necessity. Burt says of the clan system in 1725, ‘ If by increase of the tribe any small farms are wanting for the support of such addition he [the chief] splits others into lesser portions because all must somehow be provided for,’ but it is easy to see that tenants themselves would give crofts to accommodate their families without the chief having to ‘quarter’ the increase in population on the tenantry, and the Breadalbane papers show that this in fact was what happened. Once, however, part of a farm had been sublet as a croft, it continued as a croft though the tenants changed.

The status of the cottars was lower still than that of the crofters. They occupied cottages—the cotteries of the Survey - on the farms of the tenants. According to Cosmo Innes, again, on the Drummond estates the cottar had a piece of arable ground, the location of which might be changed at the tenants’ will (unlike the crofter’s, which was always the same piece of ground), and no cattle, their ground being ploughed and harrowed, their dung carted and peats carried home by the tenants, they in return rendering services and a little money. While some of the Old Statistical Accounts distinguished between cottagers and hired servants, there is no reference in the Survey to the latter, but there probably were hired servants as well as cottars. No doubt, just as tenants might give land as crofts to their families or the landlord might subdivide holdings to make room for an increase in population, cottages with perhaps a small holding of arable land were given on marriage to the sons of men who could give no land, and the cottagers worked as farm servants to the tenants. There are, however, no pieces of landmarked on the plans as cottars’ shares, though crofters’ holdings are distinguished by McArthur.

The holdings

The holdings of the tenants and crofters are designated by the surveyors as ploughs or parts of a plough, as horse-gangs and as marklands or parts of a markland. They are designated in the Breadalbane Rentals only as marklands or parts of a markland. The three terms, plough, markland and horsegang all appear to be related to the division of land on the basis of the ploughing capacity during a working year of a plough-team of animals—the basis on which it was divided in the early agricultural systems of both Scotland and England. The term plough and variations of it such as ploughland or ploughgate were commonly employed throughout Scotland and England to designate the amount of land for which one plough—team of animals had to be kept. The measurements used in early times on the Church lands in Scotland—one—third of the whole country - were ploughgates of approximately 104 acres in extent; oxgates of thirteen acres, held by the owner of one ox, eight oxen being the plough—team, and husband- lands consisting of two oxgates. Professor Watson, however, has concluded that oxen were never introduced into the West of Scotland beyond a line running somewhere through Dumfriesshire and Lanarkshire to near Stirling and following the ‘Highland line ’ through Perthshire, Angus and south-western Aberdeenshire. About the time of the Survey a great variety of arrangements of a plough-team existed, a long list of which were given in 1762 by Adam Dickson, the first Scotsman to write a systematic treatise on farming. On Lochtayside horses were used for ploughing. No mention is made in the Survey of the oxgates or husbandlands of the east, but the ploughs are divided into horsegangs; no mention is made of oxen in the lists of farm stock given by McArthur in his survey of the south side of Loch Tay ; Marshall, too, stated that he understood that oxen had never been worked in the ordinary practice of farmers, yet it appears from entries in the Breadalbane Estate Account Books relating to purchases and sales of cattle—unfortunately no stock books seem to have been kept on the Breadalbane estates—that oxen were used for ploughing. From about the time of the Survey a controversy lasting for forty years raged over the respective merits of horses and oxen as plough animals, and a considerable number of landowner farmers were induced by agricultural writings to set an example to their tenants by using oxen, but ‘ plow oxen ’ appear in the Breadalbane Account Books long before 1769. Professor Watson remarks that it is difficult to explain why oxen were never introduced into the west. It is more difficult to explain why they were used by the Earl of Breadalbane and not by his tenants. Perhaps the tenants could not afford to keep oxen, while the landlord kept them because they were regarded as a sign of wealth. Reporting to the Board of Agriculture for Aberdeenshire, Anderson noticed that in the small holdings ploughing was performed without oxen, two, three or four neighbours joining to make up a plough—team, each furnishing one or more beasts, usually four or six horses, yoked two abreast, but sometimes, if they could not afford to keep horses, a cow or two would be substituted instead. The lack of oxen on the tenants’ farms on Lochtayside may be explained by the fact that a team of eight, ten, or twelve oxen was expensive to maintain and cumbersome to handle, while horses had to be kept in any case for carriages, and there would be a tendency to concentrate on one kind of stock. The two-horse plough does not appear to have been used at all on Breadalbane until shortly after the Survey was made, for a letter from Achallader, to Lord Stonefield, dated May 20, 1785, informing the latter that James McVean, tacksman of Inshdaive, the highest farm in Glenlochay on the south side of the river, had declared his intention of emigrating, states that McVean was one of the cleverest and most substantial tenants on the estate and was the second on the estate who had a two—horse plough. The plough-team on the Lochtayside farms was a team of four horses yoked abreast, and the plough of land was divided into four horsegangs. Pennant uses the word horsegang when writing of Lochtayside in 1769, but his language is ambiguous. He says, ‘ As the farms are very small, it is common for four people to keep a plough between them and this is called a horse- gang'. Jamieson interprets Pennant’s meaning correctly when he states in his Dictionary of the Scottish Language, ‘As this is, in fact, the description of a ploughgang or ploughgate, I apprehend that a horsegang rather denotes the fourth of this, or the possession of one of the four persons referred to.’ From McArthur’s account of the stock on the farms, it is evident that the term plough was applied to a holding containing that amount of arable land for which it was necessary to keep a plough-team of animals, i.e. four horses. In only one case, that of the farm of Finglen, is there a discrepancy in the relationship between ploughs and plough—teams of horses, what McArthur calls the ‘ number of land ’ being three ploughs and the number of horses on the farm being ten instead of twelve as one would expect. In the cases of Aleckich and the Brae of Balanasuime the number of land is given as one and a half ploughs, and the number of horses six, and as these farms were situated near each other, it is probable that between them they worked three plough-teams. It is also evident that it was usual for crofters each to furnish a horse for a plough-team, and in some cases, apparently, a number of crofters or pendiclers worked a plough between them, as, for example, in the case of the eight crofters of Dalcroy, Bellina and Croftdow, who had two ploughs of land and eight horses, and in the case of the three pendiclers of Croft in reot, Croft Shenach and Croft na belly, two of whom had each a horse while the third had two horses. Farquharson’s information regarding crofts on the north side of the loch is scanty, but what one can gather from his writing bears out the conclusions drawn from McArthur’s more detailed work. For example, Farquharson remarks that on Mains of Comry there were five crofts, four of which were reckoned a plough. With differences in soil and situation it is perhaps only to be expected that the amount of land requiring a plough- team for its cultivation would vary, but probably there is another explanation to be found for those cases in which the number of acres reckoned a plough appears excessively large or very small. For example, in the case of Mains, Claddachnarachoch and Orchard, the farm which contains the largest number of acres to a plough, namely thirty-seven, the position was peculiar in so far as part of the farm consisted of an orchard, reckoned as infield, and on deducting the extent of the orchard there remain only thirtyfive acres to a plough ; but the comparatively large figure of thirty-five has to be taken in conjunction with the smallest number of acres, namely, nine and a half reckoned a plough, for where that occurred the land lay adjacent to Mains and was occupied by eight crofters, who between them kept eight horses and no doubt performed as part of their services some of the ploughing required on mains. On an average, the number of acres of arable land to a plough on the south side was about nineteen. On the north side, the available information yields a higher average, about twenty-seven and and a half, but Farquharson mentioned ploughs only in the case of roughly half the farms he surveyed, and his work in this respect being casual does not seem to merit the weight which is to be attached to McArthur’s. The term markland was common in the Highlands of Scotland, but little employed elsewhere, and while the appellation of an area as a markland was due to its being liable for a tax in the time of the Alexanders, since the tax was probably levied according to holdings of ploughs of land, the actual area of a markland had probably a connection with the area requiring a plough—team. Thus Cosmo Innes, calculating the average area of a plough- gate as 104 acres, and this as equal to the forty-shilling land or three markland, arrives at the conclusion that ‘ a markland ought to be on an average 34.66acres. Though the marklands mentioned by McArthur—Farquharson does not refer at all to marklands—varied, yet very frequently the number of marklands on a farm and the number of ploughs coincided or were approximately the same, while the average area of land in a markland and that in a plough were approximately equal, the former being about eighteen and the latter nineteen acres. It does not appear that the terms ‘markland’ or ‘ plough ’ bore any relation to the actual extent of the whole farm, i.e. of arable land, meadow, pasture, wood, moor and perhaps moss. On Tomour and Succoch for example, which was a large grazing farm the total acreage of which amounted to 2219 acres, the average area of a markland was 443 acres.

The ‘land under the plough’ on Lochtayside appears to have been, at any rate in theory, whatever land could be ploughed. The surveyors considered ‘ an industrious farmer’ one who tilled as much of his soil as would yield to cultivation. There was no thought at this time, apparently, of extending the area under sheep or cattle. Thus, for example, Farquharson says of Etramuckie, ‘ There is a good deal of grass that would soon be brought in by an industrious farmer,’ and McArthur of Newtown , ‘ The pasture within the head-dyke is capable of being made arable and would be of more advantage in arable than the way it is used just now.’ It seems that the tenants had allowed to go out of cultivation, mainly on account of the difliculty involved in tilling it, a certain amount of land which had previously been cultivated. Farquharson, for example, remarks that ‘ the high brae at the dyke head ’ on Ballemore ‘ has been sometime ploughed but now neglected, I suppose on account of the height,’ and that ‘a spott of ground below the head dyke’ on Blarliargan ‘has been ploughed some time ago,’ while some of the outfields below it ‘ have not been ploughed for twenty years before last.’ The outfields which had been ‘long neglected’ on Tombrechts, however, had not apparently been left uncultivated on account of the difficulty of tilling them. In many cases, no doubt, land was left uncultivated because it was naturally very wet. Eighteenth century drainage was elementary, the most common system being that of ploughing the land into ridges so that the water, which if left lying would rot the seeds, was carried off in the hollows between the ridges. Unfortunately, good soil and the fertilising agencies held by rain water in solution and carried down by percolation to the seeds, were also carried off. Though at least as early as 1727 covered drains were in use in Essex, as late as 1815 Sir John Sinclair was advocating ridges, while tile drains were unknown until 1820, when Smith of Deanston used them. It is probable that the ridge system was in use in Breadalbane in 1769, and it may have been merely this system which the surveyors had in mind. Whatever system was used, it was in many cases inadequate, and the surveyors frequently and emphatically point out the necessity for drainage. McArthur, for example, says that the croft lands of Newtown ‘ought to be drained'. Apparently where there was little natural drainage, little attention was given to the problem of wet soil. Farquharson remarks that there are no rivulets or burns through the lower part of Wester Carawhin, ‘ which occasions a great spoutiness [marshiness] but this might be a good deal remedied,’ and McArthur says of Cult Clochrane, ‘ The croftlands are abundantly deep in soil but extremely wet; full of springs, but is capable of being drained at an easy rate, it having plenty of declivity.’ Probably, then, some land, which might have been tilled, was uncultivated on account of its wetness. In the case of arable land which had gone out of cultivation, as in the case of grassland which was cultivable and had never been ploughed, the bringing of it under the plough seems to have been advocated. In the case of Etramuckie, Farquharson includes as outfield what was formerly ploughed, remarking, ‘ A great impropriety may be observed in the number of acres of outfield ground here mentioned and the account of sowing given by the tennents, owing I imagine to their not reckoning some of the high grounds and others that have not been for sometime ploughed,’ while his comment on Easter Carawhin is, ‘ There are a good many improvable places neglected some of which have before been ploughedf He recommends the building of rows of houses in several places where he found land capable of improvement.

In theory, too, if again not always in practice, it appears that the best land was cultivated as infield and inferior arable land as outfield. This is evident from McArthur’s monetary valuations of infields and outfields, and from such remarks as that of McArthur that if moor pasture could have been conveniently had on the east side of the glen of Finglen for the lower part of the farm of Mains, the outfield could have been made a very good farm, as a great part of the country had not ‘ the croftland anything like the quality of soil ’ of Mains outfield, while Farquharson writes regarding Croftantayan, ‘ If justice were done some of the outhelds above the road they would make better infields than any below'. It was the usual custom in Scotland to place the dwelling houses near the best land, as we have already noticed was done on Lochtayside, and to cultivate the best land as infield.

It is well known that while in England a three-field system of cultivation was mainly employed, in Scotland a two-field system obtained, but it is commonly stated that the outfield was very much larger than the infield. On Loch tayside, however, the outfield was considerably smaller than the infield. According to the figures furnished by the Survey in 1769, the aggregate size of infield on the south side of the loch was 977.475 acres, and of outfield only 680.575 acres, being an average per farm of 17.475 acres of infield and 12.150 acres of outfield. The arable land on the north side was of greater extent, and on it we find that the aggregate size of infield was 1472.203 acres and of outfield only 1147.828 acres, being an average per farm of 26.289 acres of infield and 20.496 acres of outfield. Taking the two sides together the figures arrived at are 21.8 acres and 16·3 acres. These measurements refer to the ‘ Scotch acres of the survey', the Scotch acre being a fifth part more than the English acre. The figures are approximately the same as those given by Marshall in 1794. He states that 'on the south side of Loch Tay the nominal farms or petty townships contain, on a par, about twenty acres of infield, fifteen acres of outfield'. The extent of the outfield on Lochtayside appears then to have been for a considerable time at least only about two-thirds that of the infield. Marshall’s statement is sometimes quoted by writers as evidence of an exception to the general rule. Dr. Hamilton quotes it but concludes that the outfield in Scotland ‘ was of much greater extent than the infield, probably four fifths of the whole arable land of Scotland being comprised in this category'. Mr. H. L. Gray quotes it but dismisses it with the remark that ‘ in the Highlands the poorer soil introduced slight modifications.' Miss Grant, remarking that the outfield varied, at any rate by the eighteenth century, in the proportion it bore to the infield, says, ‘ It is obvious that where there was much steep and sterile hillside, outfield would bear a large proportion to the infield.' In editing Balnespick’s Account Book, however, she found that Balnespick had the greater part of his land as outfield, and thought he was ‘ somewhat exceptional.’ ‘This was not due to the poverty of the soil . . . and one can only assume,’ she says, ‘ either that Balnespick rented more land than he could cultivate fully, or that he tried it as an experiment in keeping the land clean and in good heart.' As has been stated, it appears from the Survey that in theory the amount of land in tillage on Lochtayside was as much land as it was possible to plough, and that whatever land could be treated as infield was expected to be treated as such, but the amount of land which could be treated as infield would bear a relationship to the number of animals on the farms, for the essential difference between infield and outfield management was that the former was continuously cropped while cropping of the outfield ceased after a few years to be remunerative and had to be abandoned for a time. Land, if continuously cropped, unless leguminosae or some few other plants are grown, tends after a time to yield smaller returns for equal amounts of seed sown and labour expended. The outfields being of poorer quality than the infields would, ceteris parabus, become unremunerative sooner than the infields. In primitive agricultural systems, two methods of counteractmg the operation of the ‘ law ’ of diminishing returns were generally employed, namely feeding the soil with the manure from live stock and allowing it for periods to lie fallow. The more manure was available the more land could be cultivated as infield. Comparatively little of the land on Loehtayside was fit for the plough and comparatively large stocks of animals could be and were supported. It seems probable, then, that the manure available was sufficient to enable the greater part of the arable land to be continuously cropped, and also to enable the remainder to be fairly frequently cropped. From a study of available evidence Dr. Hamilton concludes that the treatment of the outfield throughout Scotland was, generally speaking, the same, crops of oats being raised on it for four or more years in succession and ‘ after the last miserable crop had been harvested, the soil was left to rest for seven or eight years, when once more the same procedure was followed.’ It is interesting, therefore, to find Farquharson’s statements that the outfields of Ballimenoch ‘are commonly kept three years in and three or four out,’ and that those of Marragness‘ are three years in and four out.’ It may be, of course, that the practice on these two farms was exceptional and was remarked upon because It was so. The Breadalbane Estate Papers reveal however, that some fifteen years after the Survey the cropping of the outfield was restricted to two successive crops, though the regulation was not always observed. Perhaps it was further restricted to one crop every two years by 1794, when Marshall wrote that the outfields were 'kept in corn or natural ley or weedy wastes alternately.' Marshall seems to contradict himself when he says in another passage, ‘ The tillage of the Highlands is intolerable, no fallow,’ but probably in this passage he had the practice with regard to infield in mind. Writers on Scottish economic history are agreed that the infield was never fallowed. It is difficult, therefore, to account for Farquharson’s statement regarding Drimnaferoch that part of its infields were ‘left long in grass.’ Marshall, however, was given to making sweeping statements. Indeed, if read in its context it will be found that he intended the statement just quoted to refer to nine-tenths of the tenanted lands, while, as will be shown, the leases granted after the Survey of 1769 provided for regular fallowing or rotation of crops on about a quarter of the farms surveyed. In so far as one-third of the arable land on Lochtayside, as against one-fifth in the whole of Scotland, was able to be continuously cropped, while some at least of the remainder on Lochtayside was able to be cropped for an equal amount of time with that during which it had to be left fallow, and the remainder of the whole of Scotland was able to be cropped less than half the time it had to be left fallow, Lochtayside may be considered to have had a somewhat advanced system of agriculture in 1769, though this was probably largely fortuitous.

In another respect the Lochtayside agricultural system in 1769 appears to have been somewhat advanced. While primitive agricultural systems had resort to the two methods already mentioned of counteracting the operation of the ‘law’ of diminishing returns, namely feeding the soil with the manure from live stock and allowing it for periods to lie fallow, more advanced agricultural systems had resort to these two methods with this difference, that other fertilisers were known and used besides the dung of animals, and also to a third method, namely, the regular rotation of crops. A fertiliser mentioned in the Survey as being in use on Lochtayside in 1769 is lime, in which the district was comparatively rich. The substance was to some extent utilised, e.g. in the case of Miltown of Finlarig, but in many cases it was not, and that, too, often where limerock was plentiful. Thus Farquharson says of Ballindalloch, ‘There is here great abundance of limerock tho’ never used,’ of Wester Kuiltyrie, that the outhelds ‘have never been limed tho’ almost every rock thro’ them is excellent limestone,’ and of the outfields of Easter Kuiltyrie, ‘ There are a number of limerocks thro’ them which are never used.' Farquharson thought that a more extensive use of lime would have been advantageous, for he says of Etramuckie, ‘ Plenty of limerock above the road tho’ as is here too common made little use of.’ Perhaps as a result of Farquharson’s remarks lime came into general use and was indeed used to excess, for Marshall, twenty-five years later, found it the only extraneous manure in use, and noted that it had been used many years on the banks of Loch Tay and in the neighbouring glens, with an effect which had deterred some men from the further use of it. Nevertheless, Marshall himself had little else to suggest, for in the section of his report containing his proposals for improvements he wrote, 'In a country where extraneous manure cannot easily be obtained, it behoves the proprietors of estates to devise and put forward every means of supplying the defect by internal productions. Hence, perhaps, establish sale lime-kilns for the use of small tenants; and try the burning of lime with faggots of furze, broom, brushwood or the weedings of the plantations and the reduction of limestone, by mills ; and perhaps the preparation of ashes for sale as a manure.’ Farquharson’s references to the non-use of lime are with respect to outfield, the practice, according to Marshall, having been, and still being when he wrote, to spread lime upon outfield leys, previously to their being broken up for oats. Infield manuring is not mentioned by the surveyors. No doubt the infields were considered to be sufficiently manured by the farm dung and the materials of demolished dwellings.


The sown crops mentioned in the documents are only of two kinds, namely, oats and bear, the latter being a hardy early-ripening form of barley. These, it is known, were the most important crops grown in the Highlands. One would expect that if other crops had been sown to any extent on Lochtayside, some mention would be made of them in the Survey. Flax Marshall in 1794 classes with potatoes as having been cultivated only ‘of late years,’ but the growing of both linseed and potatoes is provided for in the lease of Inchadny, and though this may have been in the nature of an experiment, potatoes are mentioned in other Breadalbane Estate Papers about 1780, while flax is said, in a memorandum among the Estate Papers dated 1785, to have been raised as early as 1728-a statement to which weight is lent by the fact that at that time Parliament and the Board of Trustees for Manufacturers both encouraged its cultivation - and Pennant speaks as though it were a widely cultivated crop in 1769. ‘Some peas,’ says Marshall, ‘ have I believe been always grown, chiefly for their halm as winter fodder for horses.’ As early as 1454 an Act of the Scottish Parliament ordered peas to be sown for winter fodder, and they may have been sown on Lochtayside in 1769, but, if they were, they were probably sown in small quantities and not as a fallow crop. If crops of peas had taken the place of fallowing, Marshall would have had no reason to state that the tillage of the Highlands was intolerable, there being no fallow, for peas obtain most of their nourishment from the air, and indeed not only will they grow in soil that has little nitrogen, but they will increase the quantity of nitrogen in it. Marshall says that under the ordinary management of the smaller tenantry the land had been cropped alternately with oats and bear ‘for ages, without an intervening fallow or fallow crop,’ and while his account is not very consistent, it seems clear that there was not, at the time of the Survey, a proper rotation of crops observed, though as will be ·seen later, provision was made for the cultivation of green crops in the leases granted after the Survey. Only once or twice does Farquharson mention a sown crop and then he speaks of corn, and when the surveyors speak of corn they mean oats. McArthur, however, methodically states the amount of oats and bear sown on each farm. The proportion of bear seed to oat seed sown is smaller than one might have expected to find it. In Sinclair’s tables in his View of the Northern Counties the proportion was about one third. Miss Grant found in studying Balnespick's sowings on Dunachton from 1769, the year of the survey, till 1787 that though his sowings varied considerably they were more or less in this proportion. The figures given by McArthur, however, show that on about half the farms surveyed by him the amount of beer seed sown was about a quarter of that of oat seed sown. On nearly all the farms the proportion of bear seed sown to oat seed sown was between one-fifth and one-third. In so far, however, as it is possible from McArthur’s Survey to differentiate crofts, it appears that crofters grew a higher proportion of bear to oats, namely about a half to two-thirds, and in the only case in which it is recorded that more bear seed than oat seed was sown the holding was that of a crofter, namely, Croft Dunard, where the amount of bear seed sown was 1 3/13 times that of oat seed sown.

On the obscure question as to how far joint tenants carried on cultivation in common, the Survey throws some light. A study of the stocks of horses kept on the farms shows that the whole arable land was ploughed in common by the tenants. It appears, however, that the crofters’ shares were not always ploughed by the tenants as Marshall says they were. According to him, besides one or two ‘cows holdings’ and the pasturage of three or four sheep, the crofters had a few acres of infield land which the tenant was obliged to cultivate, the crofters in return performing for him certain services, such as assistance with the harvest and the casting of peats, the tenant fetching home the crofters’ share. The implication is that crofters had no beasts of burden, i.e. horses. In 1769, at any rate, they had horses. It appears that sometimes a group of crofters joined to provide a plough-team and no doubt together ploughed their own land and part of the land of the farm to which they were attached, as in the case of the crofters of Dalcroy, Bellina and Croftdow already cited, while many crofters contributed a horse to the plough-team in cases where the tenant must have ploughed the crofters’ share.

A more difiicult question to decide is how the arable land was allotted among the cultivators. In early agricultural practice in Scotland, as elsewhere, the arable land was held by joint cultivators in intermixed strips, a system known in Scotland as run-rig. One might expect to find that the land would be worked in common and the produce divided, but instead of such a simple method, complicated methods of dividing the arable land into portions and allotting to each tenant good and inferior land so that each should be able to reap an equal amount of produce, were devised, the portions being allotted for short periods, for a year or for three years, and then differently allotted. In many cases, if not all, lots were cast to determine which portions each tenant should hold. Though a movement towards permanent demarcation of holdings appears to have been taking place in the Highlands in the sixteenth century when it was proceeding in the Lowlands, it has been thought that the earlier system persisted in general in the Highlands later than in the Lowlands. Examples of the persistence of the system in the Hebrides in the nineteenth century are to be found, as indeed they are also to be found in Northumbria. As late as 1783 a primitive system obtained on the Argyll estates of the Earl of Breadalbane, for in that year the Earl’s Chamberlain in Argyll wrote a scathing description of the system to the Earl. ‘ Many farms,’ he wrote, ‘ have eight tenants .... These eight tenants labour the farm and carry on all their other works together. First they plow the whole land, then they divide every field or spot of ground which they judge to be of equal quality into eight parts or shares and cast lots for what each is to occupy for that crop. After this each sows his own share and reaps it again in harvest and so they go on year after year. If men's dispositions and tempers in the same situation of life were nearly equal and if they considered their neighbours’ good at all times as nearly connected with their own, such a method of carrying on the works of a farm might do very well, but the contrary is the fatal truth and verrifyed in a strong degree amongst these people. For often more time is spent in contending not only what work is first to be done but also the manner in which it is to be done than would actually carry the double into execution, and that none may do less than his neighbour, all go to a piece of work which perhaps might be done by one. By this much time is lost and contentions often arise to a disagreeable and troublesome height. Further, by this method there is no encouragement for one man to improve and manure his lands better than his neighbour, as what he occupies this year may not fall to his share next. The diligent and industrious reaps no more benefite than the most lazy and indolent of his neighbours.' Something, however, has been said by various writers in favour of cultivation by intermixed strips, and one argument put forward is that where the cultivators could not drain wet patches, the system was advantageous, for those having all their sowings on wet soil would have been hard hit in wet seasons. Farquharson, however, makes it quite clear that he does not approve of the system, for he says of Ballemore, ‘There are some outfields common to the whole farm and what is still more against improvement, one person eats the grass of the field among the firs by the lochside and another reaps the corn.’ Only two references are made in the Survey to the System, and it seems probable that in other cases the joint tenants each held the same piece of land each year. From the wording of the rent accounts in Balnespick’s Account Book, Miss Grant concludes that, at the time of the Survey, the rigs on his lands were continuously held by the same tenant. She suggests that in the case of joint farms there would probably be a tendency for the rigs of the infield land which were constantly under cultivation to be permanently allotted to individuals long before the shares of the outfield land, which was alternately broken up and allowed to go out of cultivation, and the passages referred to above in Farquharson’s Survey seem to support this conclusion. Moreover, it appears from the plans that the crofters had the same piece of infield land each year, as they had, according to Cosmo Innes, on the Drummond estates, Perthshire, in 1762, thereby differing from the cottars who were ‘moved about at the pleasure of the tacksman.’ It seems strange that the crofters should have each a clearly demarcated portion while the tenants continued to reallot parts among themselves. As has already been noticed, there are no pieces of land marked on the plans as cottars’ shares, and perhaps by 1769, in return for services rendered, they merely received payment, largely in kind, though they may have had ‘cott yards,’ referred to in the lease of Inshadny.

Besides the arable land, there was another class of land from which a crop was cut. This was what the surveyors term meadow, land from which hay was cut for winter fodder for the animals. The problem of winter feeding was a most pressing one, and yet it was one which the Lochtayside population apparently made little attempt to solve. In summer, comparatively large numbers of animals could be supported, and the custom seems to have been to keep large stocks in summer without giving adequate thought to winter maintenance. Of Easter and Wester Tullichcan, McArthur says, ‘Was the tennents so wise as keep the lower part of the woods for the winter season it would be of great advantage to their cattle, but I observe that the common course of the country is to take the best and leave the worst as they have a through-bearing [a means of sustenance] that same way.' What was used as meadow was inferior land, too wet or too full of stones or bushes to be ploughed. The poor quality of most of the meadows struck McArthur forcibly. He says that the meadow land of Easter and Wester Tullichean has ‘only the name but not the substance that meadow ought to have, although they use it as such,’ and that he must ‘own indeed it is upon a level with a great part of the meadows in the country,’ and later he reiterates that what is termed meadow ‘ has only the name . . . but not the substance ’. If their meadow lands were insufficient in quantity and quality, however, the Lochtayside people took from them all the grass that they would yield. They cut the short grass which the very bare meadows of Cult Clochrane yielded, and where bushes prevented the use of the scythe they cut the grass, often ‘ very trifling,’ with sickles.

To be distinguished from meadow, or land whose crop of grass was cut for hay, is the land termed grass by Farquharson and pasture by McArthur—land which was used as pasture land. According to Marshall, the cattle were pastured on it in summer and the sheep in winter, the sheep and generally the horses being kept in summer on the muir above the head-dyke, or if the moor immediately above the head-dyke was of good quality, the cattle were also placed above the head-dyke during the day in the middle of summer when the pasture there was at its best, and brought down to be milked in the evening and housed during the night, young cattle, however, being kept mainly on the hills. He notes that the practice of driving cattle and sheep to distant sheelings or hill pastures where they were kept during six or seven weeks in summer—a practice which, as many men living in 1794 could remember, had caused Lochtayside to be deserted for these weeks—had been discontinued, owing, it was said, to the introduction of flax and potatoes, since these crops required attention during the sunnner, but probably owing rather, he thought, to the destruction of foxes and the introduction of black-faced sheep, since the interior of the mountains could then be pastured with sheep, whereas formerly sheelings, chiefly, rendered them valuable. In Glen Garry, however, Marshall observed ‘ more than one complete sheeling : entire families with their respective flocks and herds, gathered in the evening round groups of huts, placed in the wildest situation.' In the district of Loch Tay he found one case where cows were pastured and milked and cheese-making was carried on some miles distant from the homestead, but in this instance only cows and servants migrated. In the Survey we find a long list of sheelings, and the maps indicate buildings placed, as Marshall says, ‘in the wildest situation,’ but how many people accompanied the cows to those acres of green pastures hidden among the mountains, the Survey does not tell us. Marshall listed a ‘train of evils’ consequent upon these distant sheelings and upon detached grazings, moor pasture sometimes not being available beside the rest of the farm. From the plans it is evident that the arrangement of the farms must, indeed often have given rise to much inconvenience. The tenants of Mains, for example, as McArthur points out, had to drive their cattle upwards of a mile before they were at the moor pasture, ‘ which,’ he adds, ‘ certainly is a great fatigue to their cattle.’ It is significant, too, that McArthur schedules 543 acres of moor the possession of which was disputed, while Farquharson twice mentions disputed ground, the consequences of which were no doubt the ‘hounding and harassing of stock ’ and overstocking. The amount of stock kept by the tenants, the soaming and roaming, was, in theory, regulated by the landlord, but the numbers of animals allowed were often exceeded, as they are often exceeded today where grazing is common.

Live stock

It is convenient here to discuss the meaning of soaming and roaming, since the word soams is used very frequently by McArthur and since Farquharson uses the word rouming twice. A soum or sam was originally the number of sheep that could be supported by the land that would support one cow. This was generally considered five. A horse was generally accounted equal to two soums, or ten sheep. The calculations are the same to-day, namely, one horse is equivalent to two cows each with a follower up to one year old, or ten sheep, the foals, calves and lambs of the year- the natural produce of the stock—not being taken into account. McArthur uses the word in its original sense and takes great pains to explain his method of calculation, but as will be seen from the leases added in footnotes to the text, trouble was not taken, in fixing the amounts of different kinds of stock which the tenants were to keep, to calculate the numbers in soums, and so we have the words ‘ allowed soums ’ followed by the actual numbers and kinds of animals to be kept. Jamieson, in his Dictionary of the Scottish Langaage, suggests that ‘ rouming ’ means foddering in winter, and that ‘ to soum and roum ’ means to pasture in summer and to fodder in winter. He quotes the following passage from the Statistical Account (Roxburgh, vol. xv. p. 473) : ‘ It seems probable that the land outfield in many places was occupied in common, each proprietor or tenant, in a certain district, parish or estate, having been thereby entitled to soum or pasture on the outfield land in summer in proportion to the number and kinds of cattle he was thus able to roum or fodder in winter, by means of his share of infield land.’ He notices, however, that Stair does not explain the verb to roum with reference to the ability of foddering animals in winter by means of infield, according to the view given by the above quotation, but as expressive of the relative size of each roum or farm, to which the right of pasturage was annexed. 'Where divers heritors have a common pasturage in one commontie, no part whereof is ever plowed, the said common pasturage may be Soumed and Roumed that all the soums the whole commontie can hold may be determined and proportioned to each roum having the common pasturage according to the holding of that roum.’ (Decisions, January 23, 1697, Dunlop.) To roum seems, in that passage, to mean ‘ to find place for.’ The word rouming is mentioned only twice in the text of the Survey of 1769, on both occasions by Farquharson. On the first occasion it has obviously some connection with foddering in winter. In the other passage in which he uses the word it might have either of the two meanings referred to by Jamiesn. The et cetera of the text no doubt refers to souming. McArthur explains that he calculates how many animals the whole moor in each officiary (division of the estate) will support and then didstributes this number among the farms according to the service due by the tenants, the service being arranged according to the holdings in marklands.

Characteristically Highland, in the main, though perhaps to some extent distinctively Lochtayside, is McArthur’s interesting account of the live stock on the farms of Lochtayside. The animals which he mentions are cows, horses, harrowers, sheep and goats.

The absence of any mention of two classes of stock common elsewhere, namely, swine and oxen, will be remarked. The absence of the latter has already been explained to have been due to the use of the four-horse plough; the absence of the former is to be explained by the fact that the Highlanders, like devout Jews, and no doubt for the same reason, abhorred these animals which chew not the cud. Indeed in 1621 swine were proscribed on the Breadalbane estates, and even to this day Highlanders appear to retain a prejudice against these animals, and swine are not common in the Highlands.

More striking, perhaps, is the mention of a class of animals called by McArthur harrowers. The appellation referring to stock does not exist in the English language, nor has the editor been able to find any trace of it in the Scottish language nor yet a similar word in Gaelic, and the only instance of its use, other than that of McArthur, she has found, has been in certain tacks of farms of Lochtayside granted several years after the Survey was made. The souming in these tacks is stated to be a certain number of cows and a certain number of ‘horses or mares, harrowers included.’ Reference, however, is made in a Gaelic poem to ‘little fillies for harrowing.' In his elegy on Allan of Clan Ranald, who fell at the battle of Sheriffmuir in 1715, Niall Mac Mhuirich makes special mention of the quality of Clan Ranald’s horses, the breed of horses in Uist having been improved by the introduction of Spanish horses. Mac Mhuirich’s gaelic verse can be translated ‘ It was not little fillies for harrowing that would be found being fed in thy stable, but steeds well-shod and bridled.’

The horses referred to were probably Spanish. The Highland horses were small, nine to twelve hands high, generally light in colour, and were sometimes called ‘ garrons.’ It does not appear, however, that at the time of the Survey any attempt had been made to improve the breed on Lochtayside, so that McArthur would have no occasion to distinguish between imported horses, or an improved breed of horses, and the original Highland breed, or garrons. Moreover, four of the small Highland horses were capable of drawing the plough used in 1769. Indeed, they had ‘ great strength in proportion to their size and a great deal of agility and spirit without being vicious.’ They were, however, too light to draw the two-horse plough, but since, as has been explained, it was not in use in 1769, McArthur would not call them ‘ harrowers ’ as if they were fit to harrow but not to plough. One naturally supposes that ‘ harrowers ’ derived their name from their calling, and that they were of the equine species seems to be clear. Indeed, even where oxen ploughed, horses harrowed. The probability is that young horses and mares were not used for ploughing, but were used for harrowing, though they served chiefly as pack animals. They may have been treated as followers, and as such excluded from the souming by the tenants, who in any case took every opportunity to exceed the amount of stock they had permission to keep, and who would be particularly unwilling to reduce the numbers of cows and sheep on account of the many horses they had to keep, since many of the latter were not required for the work of their own holdings but for the performance of services to their superiors, largely carriage of goods from Crieff. This may be why the tacks expressly state that ‘ harrowers ’ are to be included in calculating the soums. Though cows and sheep would probably have a considerable number of followers, there would not, perhaps, be the same temptation regarding them as there would be in the case of horses to exceed the allowed numbers, and, moreover, a horse was considered to require as much food as two cows or ten sheep, and a one—year-old colt as much as one cow or five sheep. There appears, then, to be ground for concluding that ‘ harrowers ’ were young horses and mares, chiefly the latter, unbroken to the plough but used for harrowing, though their main work was trudging to and from Crieff to fetch goods, mainly coal, which they carried on their backs, as Pennant describes, ‘travelling in strings, the tail of one horse being fastened by a cord which reaches to the head of the next,’ climbing to the mosses to fetch peat and going to the woods for logs. On every farm which McArthur surveyed except one, namely Lurg , ‘harrowers’ were kept. The only crofters who had harrowers were the eight crofters of Dalcroy, Bellina and Croftdow, who had four harrowers among them. Their numbers in all were 351, as compared with 385 horses, the latter being apparently the number of plough animals required.

The number of cows kept on the south side of the loch was 1426; that of sheep 5332, and of goats only 198. Though the number of sheep was about 3.75 times that of cattle, it must be remembered that it required five times as much food to support a cow as to support a sheep, while the value of cattle was about ten times that of sheep, so that the Lochtayside farms were rather cattle than sheep farms. At this time the Highlands carried on a large cattle trade with England. On only eight of the farms were goats kept.

Peat and Wood

Besides their holding of arable land, their meadow and grazing land, the tenants on Lochtayside had two important privileges. These were the privilege of casting peats in the mosses and taking wood from the woodland. The provision of fuel demanded a considerable amount of labour and entailed the keeping of a great many ‘ harrowers ’ to bring down the peats from the mosses. Woods were, as McArthur often tells us, ‘ cutt for the service of the country,’ and though considerable planting had taken place by 1769, it was not until the end of the century that elaborate care was taken of woodland.


The picture of Breadalbane afforded by the Survey of 1769 is, then, substantially a view of the pre-revolution agriculture of Breadalbane. Yet it is not so black as Marshall painted it twenty—five years later, and during these twenty-five years the scene must have brightened considerably, for the Survey was evidently made in 1769 because the third Earl contemplated giving leases and laying out money on improvements, and in 1771 he began to give improving leases. Before his death, in 1782, about a quarter of the farms surveyed in 1769 were being improved under such leases. A footnote has been added to the text in the case of each farm in respect of which a lease was granted, showing the date when the lease was given, the number of tenants to whom it was given, the rent agreed upon and the number of allowed soums. Any special provisions have also been noted. These leases were granted for twenty-one years with a breach at the end of every seven, optional to landlord or tenants, and fines agreed upon for failure to perform the conditions of the tack. The rent fixed included land-tax, stipend, schoolmaster’s salary and all other public burdens due and payable out of the land leased. The only service retained was that of carriage, which was in most cases demanded but was not to be exacted during seed time or harvest. At their outgoing the tenants were to receive the value of their growing crops as determined by two valuators, one chosen by the outgoing, the other by the ingoing tenants. The tenants were bound to manure their lands ‘ duly and properly,’ to ‘ consume thereon the whole straw and hay growing upon the premises and to lay out the manure arising therefrom upon the same.’ A fifth part of the arable land was each year to be left fallow or to be under ‘ turnip, pease, clover or such like green crop.’ Green crops were crops cut for winter feeding for animals, and the foregoing provision was, of course, designed to meet the need for winter fodder and also to prevent the impairing of the soil. Increased fodder meant increased stock, increased manure and more fertile ground (and also, it may be noted, a tendency for land to go out of cultivation). Leguminosae, as previously remarked, enhance the nitrogen content of the soil, while any crop grown in rows, such as a turnip crop, allows the ground to be cleared of weeds by repeated hoeing between the rows, as fallowing allows it to be cleared by several ploughings. The tenants were also bound to preserve the woods and plantings on their land, being allowed timber for their houses and farm implements. Where enclosures had not already been made, the corn and meadow lands were to be enclosed at a rate of twenty roods a year till the whole was finished, with a stone dyke six quarters high, or where the ground would not admit of a stone dyke, with a ditch ten feet wide and five feet deep, buildings and walls having, of course, to be kept in repair. Money for improvements was advanced by the Earl t0 the tenants at 7.5%, the usual rate of interest at that time.

A rearrangement was made with regard to mills. These were ‘ set to the tenants of the thirle,’ i.e. the tenants who had formerly been obliged to have their grain ground at a particular mill and to pay multures and perform certain services in return for the grinding of their grain, were now given control 0f the mill, whether or not they obtained leases of their farms. The rent of the mill was fixed in money and apportioned among them. They appointed their own miller and paid him for his services. It was considered necessary, as formerly, that the miller should have a croft. In some cases, however, as in the case of Lawers already cited, the mill-croft had been added to the farm of the tenant who had had the mill ‘ in tack,’ and the tenant of that farm was unwilling to relinquish the croft. In such cases, when leases were drawn up, the croft was scmetimes included in the farm to which it had been added, though it was not the intenticn of the Earl or the Chamberlain that it should be, and if the other tenants in the district ccmplained, the croft was separated and given to the miller. When a mill-croft was taken fromm a tenant, compensation was given to him for any improvements he had made on it. Though a case is to be found in Glenlochay of a mill-croft being attached to a farm for seven years after a lease was granted in 1770, the tenants of Lawers were, perhaps, exceptionally unfortunate in having to deal with Duncan Campbell, the son-in-law of Catrine Campbell against whose apparently unjust demands of services they petitioned in 1774 and whose husband had added the mill-croft of Lawers to the farm of Miltown. The tenants engaged an under-miller, who served them for several years without having a croft, but finally resigned because he lacked it. The tenants then ‘resolved if possible to find a proper miller,’ and accordingly engaged one Robert Graham, who was a millwright, wheelwright, carpenter and joiner, ‘ a capital miln-wright,’ who, they declared, was ‘fully capable of making and repairing the whole machinery as well as managing and grinding their whole victual to perfection.' They were, however, in danger of losing him also because they had not the mill-croft to offer him, and they applied to Achallader, the Earl’s Chamberlain, for the former mill-croft. Duncan Campbell was reluctant to give it up but finally agreed to do so, and four of the sworn birlawmen of the district, two chosen by Duncan Campbell and two by the other tenants in Lawers, fixed the boundaries of the croft, valued it and calculated a rent for it. Duncan Campbell then insisted that a stone dyke should be built to divide the croft from his farm, and this the tenants erected at their own expense.

The status, those persons to whom leases were granted was, of course, improved. In most cases rents were raised, but the tenants were given relative security of tenure and advanced money with which to carry out improvements. In most cases where leases were granted, a single tenant or two joint tenants were already in possession, but in several cases leases were granted to a number of joint tenants. Very little change was made in the size of holdings. The Survey shows that in most cases the size of the holdings of the individual tenants was very small. An average of the figures given in McArthur’s survey of the south side indicates that (exclusive of the holdings of the crofters where it has been found possible to separate their holdings from those of the tenants, and exclusive of the farm of Tomour and Succoch, which was an outstanding exception, the average holding per tenant was 5.2 acres of infield, 38 acres of outfield, 6 cows, 2 horses, between one and two ‘ harrowers,’ and 26 sheep, with sometimes a few goats. Undistinguished crofters’ and perhaps cottars’ shares would, if it were possible to separate them, make the average holding per tenant still smaller. The leases provided that sub-tenants were not to be given holdings without the consent of the Earl, and it seems probable that the holdings of crofters were restricted in size. At the time of the Survey the crofters’ holdings varied a little in size, while they kept cows, sheep and one or more horses. On the crofts which it is possible to distinguish on the south side, the sowing on an average was about three bolls per crofter, exclusive of Croft Dunard, where the amount sown was 7.25 bolls and which has already been mentioned as an exception in that on it the sowing of bear exceeded that of oats. Exclusive of Croft Dunard, the crofters had on an average about three cows and nine sheep. Among eleven of them there were seventeen horses and four harrowers. A petition dated five years later, however, states the usual holding of a crofter to be a cow and six sheep and as much sowing as would maintain the cow and grazing for the sheep, and it appears that if more than this amount was given, subsequent tenants might appeal to the landlord to have the size of the croft reduced. Alexander McDugall, a tenant in Lagfern, mentioned in the Survey, had given two crofts out of Lagfern which would sow about three and a half bolls of oats and twelve sheep to each of them, and subsequent tenants in 1774 appealed to the Earl’s Chamberlain, Achallader, to reduce the size of the crofts ‘to the usual size,’ and also to locate them in a more convenient part of the farm. This was accordingly done, and one wonders if there were a social ladder which might be climbed from the lowest rung, whether the cottars, for example, whom Marshall in 1794 described as ‘answering nearly to the cottagers of the southern provinces,’ and whose standard of living—lower even than that of the crofters—must have been very low indeed, could rise, as the English cottagers through the commons could rise, to a higher social position. It must always be remembered that the Scottish system of landholding was quite different from the English system. There were, in Scotland, no customary rights such as existed in England. Where the land was let from year to year and no leases were given, the landlord was free to rearrange holdings and tenants at the end of each year and, where leases were given, the landlord was also free, when they expired, to make changes if he wished. There seems, however, to have been some idea of customary rights in the mind of both landlord and tenants in Breadalbane—not rights which could be enforced at law, but ‘rights ’ which a just landlord would admit. This may explain why, after the elaborate and costly Survey of 1769 was carried out, only a quarter of the farms were leased on ‘ improving leases ’ for twentyone years.

The divergent interests of landlord and cultivators is clearly shown by the Survey. The landlord conceived his farms to be under-rented, the tenants conceived them to be over-rented. Rent, or that part of the return from farming which is, in economic theory, due to the landlord in virtue of his ownership of the land, is comprised of interest on any capital expended on the land and buildings (generally 7.5% in 1769), together with the difference between the normal selling price of the produce of the soil and the normal cost of production. The problem turned on the interpretation of the last phrase, namely, what was the normal cost of production. The normal on Breadalbane was not the normal for the country as a whole. Professor Alfred Marshall discusses this question in his Principles of Economics and states his opinion that if a farmer falls below the standard of ability of his own district, the landlord acts in the interest of all when he hands over the farm to a more competent tenant and obtains a somewhat higher rent; but that when the local normal standard is low ‘ it is not clearly right from an ethical point of view, nor is it clearly in the business interests of the landlord in the long run, that he should endeavour to take to himself a greater rent than can be paid by a farmer who reaches that standard; even though it could be obtained by importing a farmer from another district in which the standard is higher.’ The landlord looking over the Survey of 1769 realised that the standard of farming on Lochtayside was low compared with that of other parts of the country, that the rents paid for the farms could have been much higher if better methods were used, and especially if the numbers of people, each contributing a little to the work of the farms, each requiring from them support for themselves and their families, overstocking their pastures and overcropping their ground in a short-sighted attempt to increase their means of subsistence, had not been so great. From his point of view, much of the land on Lochtayside was under-rented. The tenants’ point of view is illustrated by the following incident. In the autumn of 1770, shortly after the completion of the Survey, the whole of the tenants in the twentyfour marlkland of Crannich and Carwhin petitioned against the proposed raising of their rents, averring that they ‘ alwise had difficulty enough to produce their former rent from the produce of their possessions,' and, after enumerating several reasons why they could not bear an augmentation, they touch the crux of the matter when they state, ‘ There are no fewer than fiftynine families in the said oflficiary, exclusive of cottagers, and at the most moderate computation there are in every family six souls besides servants. How difficult it is to maintain such a vast number of souls upon so small possessions as the memorialists have may very easily be conceived.' In the days of clan feuds and civil wars it was to the landlord’s advantage to have as many people on his estate as possible, but by 1769, more than twenty years after the last rebellion Scotland was to witness, it was no longer expedient to sacrifice efficiency to mere numbers. The landlord’s interest obviously lay in decreasing the number of persons. dependent on the land for a livelihood, in giving these fewer people larger holdings and in promoting improved methods of farming. But the third Earl may well have wondered what was to become of those dispossessed. The problem of suitable employment for the population of Breadalbane was not solved in the eighteenth century.

The population was no doubt increasing through a fall in the death rate, while it was said by one man who made a report to the third Earl that it was also being increased by an influx of the dispossessed tenants of other estates. The fourth Earl thought of banishing sheep from Breadalbane that more land might be cultivated, hoping that the soil could be improved and yield higher rent while more people would be required to till the ground than to tend sheep. He asked the opinion of his Argyllshire factor, John Campbell of Lochend, who favoured, instead, a reduction in the number of black cattle, since they were more difficult to support in winter and the pasture grounds less suitable for them than for sheep. Lochend contended that the sides of Loch Tay in general were never intended by nature for the plough, and if the fertile, level lands in the better climate of England were thought to be more profitable under grass than under the plough, what could be expected from cultivation of the steep, broken patches of land on Lochtayside, however good the quality might be, so far north, so high above the sea and so frequently deluged with rain? He thought, however, that employment could be found for the men by their laying out as pasture and sowing grass seeds on land previously ploughed, and by clearing whatever other land was capable of cultivation even by the spade, so that all the ground capable of improvement could be brought to carry better grass at little or no expense ; and for the women by encouraging the growing of flax, the spinning of yarn and the weaving of wool into cloth as formerly, ‘ in short, to do everything that will enable them to pay the rent and live,’ he writes. In spite of the difficulty of finding a suitable livelihood for the population of Breadalbane, great reluctance was evinced to see people emigrate. We find Achallader, in 1785, corresponding with Lord Stonefield, uncle of the fourth Earl, and a trustee during the latter’s minority, regarding emigration to Nova Scotia, and the correspondence reveals their mutual fears lest the Government’s financial encouragement to settlers should induce men to cross the sea. Even in 1815 the Earl wrote to his factor regarding the encouragement offered by the Government for emigration to Canada, ‘I do not wish . . . either to give encouragement to emigration, or absolutely to discourage it, if it appears at all on my estate.'

The Act of 1770 had been passed to facilitate agricultural improvements in Scotland. The third Earl had had his estates surveyed with the intention of making use of the Act. He had taken advantage of it by exchanging land with James and Archibald Menzies, elder and younger of Culdairs. Where farms on his estates were occupied by single tenants or a few joint tenants, he had granted ‘improving leases,’ in all sixty-two, on Lochtayside for about a quarter of the farms surveyed, but where there were many joint tenants he was unwilling to grant long leases. In 1782 he died, leaving his successors to wrestle with the problem of the Breadalbane population.

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