A group of scholars gathered in Edinburgh in May 2017 to share some of the latest research on the rural economy. Agriculture was fundamental to pre-industrial life, yet it can sometimes be neglected. Seven speakers gave papers, some focusing on specific regions, and others on particular themes. Videos of the speakers can be watched free of charge on this website.
The conference was convened by Professor T. C. Smout, Historiographer Royal for Scotland, who also gave a paper. Professor Smout has been at the forefront of research on Scottish social and economic history for over fifty years, and his book A History of the Scottish People, 1560-1830 has been continuously in print since 1969.
In due course, versions of the papers will be published in an edited book, also entitled Agriculture, Economy and Society in Early Modern Scotland, edited by Harriet Cornell, Julian Goodare and Alan R. MacDonald. The book will also contain further chapters by other contributors.
The conference was part of a project on teinds (tithes), directed by Julian Goodare and Alan R. MacDonald, with Harriet Cornell and Thomas Green as the researchers. The project, based at the Universities of Edinburgh and Dundee, is still ongoing, but it will culminate in due course in the publication of a further book entitled Agriculture and Teind Reform in Early Modern Scotland.
So, without further ado, let’s move on to the videos.
The conference was opened by the Convener for the day’s proceedings, Professor T. C. Smout, Historiographer Royal for Scotland:
Norah Carlin(formerly of Middlesex University) gave a talk on Rents, Dues and Agriculture in a Midlothian Barony, 1587-1589
Dr Alan R. MacDonald (University of Dundee) spoke on Teinds and Stipends in Seventeenth-Century Linlithgowshire
Professor R. W. Hoyle (University of Reading) spoke on A tale of Two Countries and One Sea: The North Sea Grain Trade, c.1550-1765
Brian Smith (Shetland Archives) spoke on ‘God Knowis my Sleipis ar Short and Unsound’: Andro Smyth’s Collection of Rent Tax and Tithe in Shetland, c1640
Dr Julian Goodare (University of Edinburgh) spoke on Imagining Scottish Agriculture Before the Improvers
Professor T. C. Smout (University of St Andrews) spoke on What Were the Fiars Prices Used For, 1550-1920? And Early Modern Device Carried Forward
Dr Gains Murdoch (University of Aberdeen) spoke on Agriculture and Banking in Early Eighteenth-Century Scotland, 1695-1750
Finally the day was brought to a close with a lively and engaging discussion, hosted by Professor R. A. Houston (University of St Andrews). His introductory remarks are here: