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TITLE
'My Little Town of Cromarty' (2)
EXTERNAL ID
AB_LL_DAVID_ALSTON_02
PLACENAME
Cromarty
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
ROSS: Cromarty
DATE OF RECORDING
2008
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
David Alston
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
1279
KEYWORDS
audio
local history
estates
towns
literary landscapes

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This audio extract is from 'My Little Town of Cromarty, the History of a Northern Scottish Town' by David Alston, published in 2006. It is read here by the author.

'A battle at the Blackstand peat moss'

In 1732, William Gordon of Invergordon attempted to enclose the peat moss at Blackstand, on the commonty at the eastern end of the Cromarty estate, with trees and 200 yards of feal dyke, with the aim of settling smallholders on the land. There was a formal protest from the factor of the Cromarty estate, William MacCulloch, on the grounds that this was common land and the moss was used by Cromarty townsfolk and tenants as a source of fuel - but this was ignored. The next day, to quote a legal document, '500 persons armed with Durks (and) cudgells' appeared at the Blackstand, 'pulled down ... the dyke ,,, [and trees] ... [and] beat and bruised the workmen' - and Gordon abandoned his attempt at enclosure. The crowd of 500 had been led by the principal tenants on the Cromarty estate and, in this instance, the interest of their own laird - who wished to pursue his territorial disputes with Gordon. The laird's support gave the protesters an almost official mandate but, nevertheless, their action was motivated by the sense that their traditional right to cut peat was threatened by an 'improving landowner.

Occasions like this, when discontent becomes public protest, are, in any socirety, indicators of the underlying tensions within the community - fault lines in the social order which, when they erupt, reveal the forces that might otherwise have remained hidden both to outsiders and to future generations. Here it was the tension between the power of landowners over common land and the traditional rights of the community.'

David Alston was born and brought up in the Highlands and has lived in Cromarty for the past twenty years. He gained a PhD in Scottish History from the University of Dundee in 1999.

David has been closely involved with the Cromarty Courthouse for many years, first in its restoration and then as a museum of Cromarty life. He was first elected to The Highland Council in 1999 and is currently Chairman of the Audit and Scrutiny Committee. As well as his substantial history of Cromarty published in 2006 he is the author of numerous local history pamphlets.

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'My Little Town of Cromarty' (2)

ROSS: Cromarty

2000s

audio; local history; estates; towns; literary landscapes

Am Baile

Literary Landscapes: David Alston

This audio extract is from 'My Little Town of Cromarty, the History of a Northern Scottish Town' by David Alston, published in 2006. It is read here by the author.<br /> <br /> 'A battle at the Blackstand peat moss'<br /> <br /> In 1732, William Gordon of Invergordon attempted to enclose the peat moss at Blackstand, on the commonty at the eastern end of the Cromarty estate, with trees and 200 yards of feal dyke, with the aim of settling smallholders on the land. There was a formal protest from the factor of the Cromarty estate, William MacCulloch, on the grounds that this was common land and the moss was used by Cromarty townsfolk and tenants as a source of fuel - but this was ignored. The next day, to quote a legal document, '500 persons armed with Durks (and) cudgells' appeared at the Blackstand, 'pulled down ... the dyke ,,, [and trees] ... [and] beat and bruised the workmen' - and Gordon abandoned his attempt at enclosure. The crowd of 500 had been led by the principal tenants on the Cromarty estate and, in this instance, the interest of their own laird - who wished to pursue his territorial disputes with Gordon. The laird's support gave the protesters an almost official mandate but, nevertheless, their action was motivated by the sense that their traditional right to cut peat was threatened by an 'improving landowner.<br /> <br /> Occasions like this, when discontent becomes public protest, are, in any socirety, indicators of the underlying tensions within the community - fault lines in the social order which, when they erupt, reveal the forces that might otherwise have remained hidden both to outsiders and to future generations. Here it was the tension between the power of landowners over common land and the traditional rights of the community.'<br /> <br /> David Alston was born and brought up in the Highlands and has lived in Cromarty for the past twenty years. He gained a PhD in Scottish History from the University of Dundee in 1999.<br /> <br /> David has been closely involved with the Cromarty Courthouse for many years, first in its restoration and then as a museum of Cromarty life. He was first elected to The Highland Council in 1999 and is currently Chairman of the Audit and Scrutiny Committee. As well as his substantial history of Cromarty published in 2006 he is the author of numerous local history pamphlets.