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Prof John Nisbet Year: 176568 Upperton Lease 1765
Upperton Lease 1765 between John Hay and the Earl of Fife
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It is agreed and ended (settled) between the Right Honourable James Earl of Fife and heritable proprietor of the land and others underwritten on the one part, and John Hay in overtown of Glenbucket on the other part in manner following; That is to say the said James Earl of Fife hath sett, likeas he hereby Setts and in Tack and assedation (on leasehold terms) Setts to the said John Hay and his heirs male of his body precluding assigries voluntary and legal and all other Persons whatever except such subtenants As shall be agreeable to the Heritor. All the haile (whole) these parts and portions of the Town and Land of upperown of Glenbucket with Houses Diggings (subsidiary buildings) Yards Mosses (peat bogs) Grassings and pertinents as possessed by himself, lying within the parish of Glenbucket and Shire of Aberdeen. And that for the space of nineteen years from Whitsunday one thousand seven hundred and sixty five, Reserving to the Heritor power and liberty to enclose plant sett or Improve any part of the Muirs or common pasture grounds of the Lands hereby sett, and also reserving power to the Heritor to straight the Marches(boundaries) of the foresaid lands with the neighbouring possessions so as to make the same more commodious to the respective Possessors and prevent any disagreeable interference by the land lying run rigged. Which Tack the said James Earl of Fife binds and obliges him, his heirs and successors to warrand at all hands as Law will. For which causes and on the other hand part the said John Hay, not only binds and obliges to renounce all claim and title he may have to the foresaid Possession in virtue of any former Tack granted by the late Earl of Fife, or Seller of Tack granted by his Factor, as he does hereby renounce and discharge the same forever, But also he binds and obliges him his heirs Executors Successors to make his actual residence on the foresaid Possession during the above lease, and to pay yearly to the said Earl his Heirs or assignees, or their Factors in their names, the Sum of Forty Pounds One Shilling and Two Pennies Scots money of Tack duty yearly, together with the Sum Eight Pounds Scots of yearly additional rent beginning the first year payment thereof at Martinmas One Thousand seven hundred and sixty six for Crop Muight? And sixty six and so forth yearly thereafter during the said lease. And the said John Hay Binds and obliges him and his foresaids to pay ground officers dues, and to perform Mill Services confirm to use and want(custom and practice) and in proportion with neighbours and to free and relive the Heritor of Cees (land tax) and all other public burdens imposed or to be imposed during the said lease, and to uphold and leave the Houses on the Lands hereby sett to the value of the Heritors Inventory belonging to the Heritor being on the foresaid Lands, Nine Pound thirteen shilling and four pennies Scots or to pay the Pej oration? At his removal and if the said Houses, and Biggings shall happen to be meliorate (improved) by Timber, he is to be paid therefore at his removal or have Liberty to carry off Timber to the extent of the meliorations all conform to appreciation, and if they shall happen to meliorate by mason work he is also to be paid therefore at his removal, if forced by the Heritor to remove, any sum of which the same shall be then appropriate by two or more fit Persons mutually chosen, not exceeding one years rent such Mason work to be built of Stone and clay on the outside with Lime, but if he shall remove at his own free choice, his whole melioration by Mason work are to belong to the Heritor gratis. Likeas the said John Hay binds and obliges him and his above written not only to labour and improve the whole improvable ground, belonging to the Lands hereby sett, but also to use thirty/ Boils of Lime every year for each Oxgale of the said Possession under the penalty of one shilling sterling for each different Bole as also to preserve the whole Timber growing or that shall be planted on the said Possession hereby sett during the above lease and further to plant in one year from this date Twenty ash or Plane Trees in the gardens of the aforesaid Possession, and to preserve and care for the same during all the years of the lease, and to leave the same on a thriving condition at the issue thereof under the Penalty of two shillings sterling for each deficient tree. As also bond and obligated to keep constantly on the said Possession a cart and sufficient carts worth work two pounds two shillings sterling under the penalty of that sum. Declaring also that in the case the Heritor shall incline to Inclose any part of the infield of the said Possession, the Tenant is hereby obliged to satisfy and pay the Heritor a sum yearly, equal to the sale of seven and a half percent for the money laid out on that account. And moreover the said John Hay binds and obliges him and his foresaid not only 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 proportion of multures collected at the said Mills falling to the Lands hereby sett, but also to perform the particular services aforementioned viz! One yoking of his plough, three horses one day to carry dung to land and the like number of horses on day of harrowing. Three Shearers one day in Harvest, Three Horses one day to carry corn and fodder four mile distance, Three men one day at casting rowing spreading & setting peats, One Horse one day to define the Incroachments of the water Don, Bucket and Nochty, one Horse with ordinary carriage, twenty four miles distance, one man to go errands or carry letters the like distance, and Three horses one day at Leading Peats, declaring hereby that in case the foresaid services are not exacted in kind the said John Hay and his foresaid are bound to pay yearly along with his rent the conversion thereof at the rate five percent of the old rent being two pounds one penny Scots money, and also that if the said John Hay or his above specified shall suffer one years Tack duty or any part thereof, to remain unpaid, until another years rent fall due, or shall be guilty of bad neighbourhood, or shall contemn( scorn)or disobey any acts or regulations of the Heritors Courts with respect to his mosses woos and forests, or any other cases, in any of these events these presents are to become void and null, on subside in force on the Heritors option. And lastly both parties bind and oblige themselves and their foresaid to perform the premises hine inde to each other under penalty of one years tack duty by and at our performance Consenting to the registration hereof in the Books of Council & Sessions on others competent, that Letters of Horning and all execution necessary may ass hereon in form as effeirs? And thereto constitute their Prosste?
In witness whereof these presents, written upon this and the preceding pages by William Reid writer in Banff, we subscribed by the said parties as follows, viz , By the Earl of London on the 6th day June MCII and sixty five years the witnesses Alexander Elder William Rose Servants to the said Earl, and by the said John Hay of Glenbucket the fourteenth day of August of year aforesaid before these witnesses the Reverend Mr Patrick Duff at Aberdeen being made by the said William Rose
Explanation of the term 'Tackman'.
A tacksman (Scottish Gaelic: Fear-Taic, meaning "supporting man") was a land-holder of intermediate legal and social status in Scottish Highland society.
Although a tacksman generally paid a yearly rent for the land let to him (his "tack"), his tenure might last for several generations. He would often be related to his landlord, the free-holder, and might, for example, represent a cadet branch of the family of the clan chief. The tacksman in turn would let out his land to sub-tenants, but he might keep some in hand himself.
Dr Johnson defined the class in this manner:
Next in dignity to the laird is the Tacksman; a large taker or lease-holder of land, of which he keeps part as a domain in his own hand, and lets part to under-tenants. The tacksman is necessarily a man capable of securing to the laird the whole rent, and is commonly a collateral relation. These tacks, or subordinate possessions, were long considered as hereditary, and the occupant was distinguished by the name of the place at which he resided. He held a middle station, by which the highest and the lowest orders were connected. He paid rent and reverence to the laird, and received them from the tenants. This tenure still subsists, with its original operation, but not with its primitive stability.
As described by James Mitchell:
A certain portion of the best of the land [the chief] retained as his own appanage, and it was cultivated for his sole profit. The rest was divided by grants of a nature more or less temporary, among the second class of the clan, who are called tenants, tacksmen, or goodmen. These were the near relations of the chief, or were descended from those who bore such relation to some of his ancestors. To each of these brothers, nephews, cousins, and so forth, the chief assigned a portion of land, either during pleasure, or frequently in the form of a pledge, redeemable for a certain sum of money. These small portions of land, assisted by the liberality of their relations, the tacksmen contrived to stock, and on these they subsisted, until, in a generation or two, the lands were resumed, for portioning out some nearer relative, and the descendants of the original tacksman sunk into the situation of commoners. This was such an ordinary transition, that the third class, consisting of the common people, was strengthened in the principle on which their clanish obedience depended, namely, the belief in their original connexion with the genealogy of the chief, since each generation saw a certain number of families merge among the commoners, whom their fathers had ranked among the tacksmen, or nobility of the clan. This change, though frequent, did not uniformly take place. In the case of a very powerful chief, or of one who had an especial affection for a son or brother, a portion of land was assigned to a cadet in perpetuity; or he was perhaps settled in an appanage conquered from some other clan, or the tacksman acquired wealth and property by marriage, or by some exertion of his own. In all these cases he kept his rank in society, and usually had under his government a branch, or subdivision of the tribe, who looked up to him as their immediate leader, and whom he governed with the same authority, and in the same manner in all respects, as the chief, who was the patriarchal head of the whole sept.
The tacksman’s reputation was an ambiguous one. To some, he appeared to be no more than a parasitic middleman
Dr Johnson mounted a stout defence:
To banish the tacksman is easy, to make a country plentiful by diminishing the people, is an expeditious mode of husbandry; but that abundance, which there is nobody to enjoy, contributes little to human happiness. As the mind must govern the hands, so in every society the man of intelligence must direct the man of labour. If the tacksman be taken away, the Hebrides must in their present state be given up to grossness and ignorance; the tenant, for want of instruction, will be unskilful, and for want of admonition, will be negligent. The laird, in these wide estates, which often consist of islands remote from one another, cannot extend his personal influence to all his tenants; and the steward having no dignity annexed to his character, can have little authority among men taught to pay reverence only to birth, and who regard the tacksman as their hereditary superior; nor can the steward have equal zeal for the prosperity of an estate profitable only to the laird, with the tacksman, who has the laird's income involved in his own. The only gentlemen in the islands are the lairds, the tacksmen, and the ministers, who frequently improve their livings by becoming farmers. If the tacksman be banished, who will be left to impart knowledge, or impress civility?
The class of tacksmen was most prominent in the 17th and 18th centuries. The Highland Clearances destroyed the tacksman system – perhaps more thoroughly than they did the crofters – and many tacksmen emigrated to the New World.
Picture added on 15 October 2010 at 16:58
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