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TITLE
'My Little Town of Cromarty' (3)
EXTERNAL ID
AB_LL_DAVID_ALSTON_03
PLACENAME
Cromarty
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
ROSS: Cromarty
DATE OF RECORDING
2008
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
David Alston
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
1280
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.

'In the mid 1790s a family named Middleton arrived in Cromarty from Berwickshire. They originated from near Darlington but had farmed at Norham-on-Tweed since the 1770s. There were three brothers - William Middleton, who took the lease of Kirkton farm on the Newhall estate; George Middleton, who before 1795 revived the trade in salt pork from Cromarty and from 1801, or before, took a long lease of Davidston farm; and a Thomas Middleton, who in 1807 supplied carts, men and horses for the rebuilding of Newhall House. William was drowned near Kirkton in 1794, along with his grieve, who had come to the area with them, and nothing more is known of Thomas. George had taken on the lease of Kirkton by 1803 and also had the lease of Newhall Mains before 1807.

George Middleton's recognised expertise allowed him to raise capital for his improvements. By 1803 he had borrowed £400 from the Cromarty estate and, in 1804, a further £500 from Charles Lockhart of Kindeace, using his property near Cromarty harbour as security. He was also allowed to run up arrears of rent amounting, at his death in 1810, to almost £400. Writing in 1836, Hugh Miller saw Middleton as the key improver of the period, whose innovations included building the first steam thrashing mill. He grew wheat, although he considered that it was not prudent to risk sowing too much of this crop, and by sowing Polish oats, rather than older varieties, he was achieving a sixteenfold return. Middleton also engaged in other business - trade in salt cod and pork, the tenancy of the meal and flower mill at Braelangwell, and a short-lived attempt to ship flagstone from a quarry at Davidston. The improvements to Davidstone can be seen on the estate maps of 1823 in the form of larger, consolidated fields forming a 300-acre farm. The farm had been created by the removal of eleven tenants - among forty-five on the estate who were served with summons of removal in 1794 and 1795. There was, understandably, resentment and in 1815 Middleton's house was damaged by a mob who suspected him of hoarding grain.'

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' (3)

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 /> 'In the mid 1790s a family named Middleton arrived in Cromarty from Berwickshire. They originated from near Darlington but had farmed at Norham-on-Tweed since the 1770s. There were three brothers - William Middleton, who took the lease of Kirkton farm on the Newhall estate; George Middleton, who before 1795 revived the trade in salt pork from Cromarty and from 1801, or before, took a long lease of Davidston farm; and a Thomas Middleton, who in 1807 supplied carts, men and horses for the rebuilding of Newhall House. William was drowned near Kirkton in 1794, along with his grieve, who had come to the area with them, and nothing more is known of Thomas. George had taken on the lease of Kirkton by 1803 and also had the lease of Newhall Mains before 1807.<br /> <br /> George Middleton's recognised expertise allowed him to raise capital for his improvements. By 1803 he had borrowed £400 from the Cromarty estate and, in 1804, a further £500 from Charles Lockhart of Kindeace, using his property near Cromarty harbour as security. He was also allowed to run up arrears of rent amounting, at his death in 1810, to almost £400. Writing in 1836, Hugh Miller saw Middleton as the key improver of the period, whose innovations included building the first steam thrashing mill. He grew wheat, although he considered that it was not prudent to risk sowing too much of this crop, and by sowing Polish oats, rather than older varieties, he was achieving a sixteenfold return. Middleton also engaged in other business - trade in salt cod and pork, the tenancy of the meal and flower mill at Braelangwell, and a short-lived attempt to ship flagstone from a quarry at Davidston. The improvements to Davidstone can be seen on the estate maps of 1823 in the form of larger, consolidated fields forming a 300-acre farm. The farm had been created by the removal of eleven tenants - among forty-five on the estate who were served with summons of removal in 1794 and 1795. There was, understandably, resentment and in 1815 Middleton's house was damaged by a mob who suspected him of hoarding grain.'<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.