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date: 20 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Underpinning the transformation of the Scottish countryside during the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries, and forming a vital precondition for the Improving Movement, were far-reaching changes in the structure and layout of farms, and in the nature of the farm community. When first coined as a description of the changes that swept across the Highlands and Islands over the second half of the eighteenth first half of the nineteenth century, the meaning, chronology, and distribution of the clearances were all clearly defined. ‘Clearance’ was seen as a term that best captured the sudden and socially disruptive way in which many traditional communities in the Highlands were swept aside to make way for sheep. Establishing the build-up of market responsiveness is important when we come to look at the restructuring of towns. This article, which discusses Scotland's clearances and the transformation of the Scottish countryside, focusing on the Lowlands, Southern Uplands, and Highlands and Islands, also examines the persistence of small farms, crofts and townships, and the spread of new husbandries.

Keywords: countryside, Scotland, clearances, Improving Movement, farms, sheep, restructuring, townships, husbandries

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