‘The People Are Not There’
The Transformation of Badenoch 1800–1863
by David Taylor
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About the Book
Badenoch today is a landscape of empty glens and ruined settlements, but it was not always so. This book examines the transformative events that shaped the region’s destiny: climate and market forces, hunger and relief measures, sheep farms and sporting estates, agricultural improvement and proprietorial greed, and the evolution of clanship. Although this is an intensely localised study, the dramatic nature of change is explored against the wider context of events not just across the Highlands, but also within the British state and its global empire.
Badenoch’s journey moves from the relative prosperity of the Napoleonic Wars into the terrible post-war destitution that devastated peasant, tacksman and Duke of Gordon alike. Estate reform and ‘improvement’ gradually brought a degree of economic and social stability, but inevitably resulted in depopulation as people were forced off the land to seek refuge in the impoverished ‘planned villages’ or to abandon their Gaelic homeland for life in the Lowlands. For those with the means, however, emigration provided lucrative opportunities unimaginable at home.
Through extensive use of documentary evidence, much of it previously unseen, David Taylor paints an intimate portrait of the historically neglected region of Badenoch – one that provides a compelling new perspective on Highland history.
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