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Glenbuchat Heritage

6 Pasrt 5 Kilns: Estate Reorganisation
The Glenbuchat Image Library
6 Pasrt 5 Kilns: Estate Reorganisation

Pictures above:
1. 1906 Glenbuchat lime and stone cottage
2. Fife Estates Advert for the placing of holdings 1813

Click for the Introduction page

Estate Reorganisation

As the slow adoption of new methods of farming from the south gathered pace from the mid-18th century onwards, the lairds of the area came to view their estates as bigger money-earners through better management (usually employing factors) and increased rentals. Landowners encouraged agricultural improvements by their tenants and the expansion of their cultivated ground by taking in adjoining ‘waste land’. Heavy liming was essential for breaking in the new land by rapidly improving the condition of the soil, and subsequent dressings of lime and applications of dung helped to maintain its fertility. Rents began to be paid wholly in cash, instead of in part, with additional duties such as bearing arms for the laird in times of trouble and obligations of produce and labour. These services could be a heavy burden on farmers. When James MacHardy of Torancroy, Glen Nochty renewed his lease in 1766, in addition to the monetary rent he paid annually, he was obliged to provide a number of labour services to Glenbuchat Estate viz. for every oxgate (approximately 17 acres) of his land - six horse days to cart dung, six horse days to harrow. six horse days to carry corn and fodder up to 4 miles, six man days for shearing corn at harvest, six man days to cast and spread peats, six horse days to carry pears, two horse days ‘to defend inchroachments of the wales of Don Bucket and Nochtie', two horse days for ordinary carriages up to 24 miles distance, two man days to go errands or carry letters up to 24 miles distance. He was also bound ‘to carry and transport yearly from the Mains or Mill of Glenbucket to the harbour of Aberdeen upon his own proper charges and expenses such a proportion of Multures collected at the said Mill'. However, by the mid to late 18th century there was the option of convening these obligations to a monetary payment (a fue) of 5% of his original rent. '

The non-renewal of leases of the jointly tenanted clachans anti farms and the abolition of the practice of subletting holdings ended the run-rig system of cultivation and consolidated the inter-mixed strips of ground of different tenants into single-tenanted farms and crofts. This was often a gradual, on-going process in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, with the new holdings being formed in a piecemeal fashion. In Glenbuchat, however, there appears to have been a decision taken by Fife Estates, between 1813 and 1815 to finally complete the reorganisation of their properties (possibly stimulated belatedly by the agricultural boom years of the Napoleonic Wars). Adverts placed in the Aberdeen journal of November 1813 and November 1815 offered up the majority of farms, crofts and lands of the old clachans for let by public auction [(picture 2)

This ‘big bang’, however, was not the catastrophe for the existing occupants of the holdings it first appeared to be. A rent roll of 1818 — 22 shows that most of the occupiers in place in 1813 and 1815, were the tenants of the farms and crofts of the post-reorganized estate (albeit paying higher rents. in some cases up to 3 times more). The whole of the estate's cultivated land had now been divided up into separate farms and crofts, and each tenant held a lease directly from the laird and paid his rent in cash. Entry dates were set either from 1813 for 9 years, or from 1815 for 7 years duration, harmonising lease expiry dates of virtually all the tenancies to the same year.

(See also the Upperton Lease 1765 between John Hay and the Earl of Fife)

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Picture added on 06 August 2015 at 20:27
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