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TITLE
'Burt's Letters from the North of Scotland' (1)
EXTERNAL ID
AB_LL_EDMUND_BURT_01
PLACENAME
Inverness
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona
DATE OF RECORDING
2008
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
Edmund Burt
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
1302
KEYWORDS
audio
literary landscapes

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This audio extract is from 'Burt's Letters from the North of Scotland' by Edmund Burt, first published in 1754. It is read here by Grant Butchart.

'Inverness is one of the royal boroughs of Scotland, and jointly with Nairn, Forres, and Channery, sends a member to Parliament. ...

It is not only the head borough or county town of the shire of Inverness, which is of large extent, but generally esteemed to be the capital of the Highlands: but the natives do not call themselves Highlanders, not so much on account of their low situation, as because they speak English.

The town principally consists of four streets, of which three centre at the cross, and the other is something irregular.

The castle stands upon a little steep hill closely adjoining to the town, on the south side, built with unhewn stone; it was lately in ruins, but is now completely repaired, to serve as a part of the citadel of Fort George, whereof the first foundation stone was laid in summer 1726, and is to consist of barracks for six companies. This castle, whereof the Duke of Gordon is hereditary keeper, was formerly a royal palace, where Mary, the mother of our King James I, resided, at such times when she thought it in her interest to oblige the Highlanders with her presence and expense, or that her safety required it. ...

While in this building was in repairing, three soldiers who were employed in digging up a piece of ground very near the door, discovered a dead body, which was supposed to be the corpse of a man; I say supposed, because a part of it was defaced before they were aware.

This was believed to have lain there a great number of years because when it was touched it fell to dust. At this unexpected sight, the soldiers most valiantly ran away, and the accident, you will believe, soon brought a good number of spectators to the place.'

Edmund Burt was an Englishman sent to Scotland in 1730 to collect rents on the Glenmoriston and Seaforth estates, the last unsold estates forfeited after the 1715 rising. For most of the time he was based in Inverness from where he wrote his series of 'Letters from a gentleman in the North of Scotland to his friend in London'.

Burt felt compelled to publish the letters anonymously in 1754 whereupon he was accused of presenting the Highlands in a bad light, concentrating on the squalor and backwardness. Nevertheless, his satirical and witty accounts make for entertaining reading and his letters are an important source of information on Highland life and customs in the 18th century, written before a more romantic bias took hold.

Burt died in London in 1755.

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'Burt's Letters from the North of Scotland' (1)

INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona

2000s

audio; literary landscapes

Am Baile

Literary Landscapes: Edmund Burt

This audio extract is from 'Burt's Letters from the North of Scotland' by Edmund Burt, first published in 1754. It is read here by Grant Butchart.<br /> <br /> 'Inverness is one of the royal boroughs of Scotland, and jointly with Nairn, Forres, and Channery, sends a member to Parliament. ...<br /> <br /> It is not only the head borough or county town of the shire of Inverness, which is of large extent, but generally esteemed to be the capital of the Highlands: but the natives do not call themselves Highlanders, not so much on account of their low situation, as because they speak English.<br /> <br /> The town principally consists of four streets, of which three centre at the cross, and the other is something irregular.<br /> <br /> The castle stands upon a little steep hill closely adjoining to the town, on the south side, built with unhewn stone; it was lately in ruins, but is now completely repaired, to serve as a part of the citadel of Fort George, whereof the first foundation stone was laid in summer 1726, and is to consist of barracks for six companies. This castle, whereof the Duke of Gordon is hereditary keeper, was formerly a royal palace, where Mary, the mother of our King James I, resided, at such times when she thought it in her interest to oblige the Highlanders with her presence and expense, or that her safety required it. ...<br /> <br /> While in this building was in repairing, three soldiers who were employed in digging up a piece of ground very near the door, discovered a dead body, which was supposed to be the corpse of a man; I say supposed, because a part of it was defaced before they were aware.<br /> <br /> This was believed to have lain there a great number of years because when it was touched it fell to dust. At this unexpected sight, the soldiers most valiantly ran away, and the accident, you will believe, soon brought a good number of spectators to the place.'<br /> <br /> Edmund Burt was an Englishman sent to Scotland in 1730 to collect rents on the Glenmoriston and Seaforth estates, the last unsold estates forfeited after the 1715 rising. For most of the time he was based in Inverness from where he wrote his series of 'Letters from a gentleman in the North of Scotland to his friend in London'. <br /> <br /> Burt felt compelled to publish the letters anonymously in 1754 whereupon he was accused of presenting the Highlands in a bad light, concentrating on the squalor and backwardness. Nevertheless, his satirical and witty accounts make for entertaining reading and his letters are an important source of information on Highland life and customs in the 18th century, written before a more romantic bias took hold.<br /> <br /> Burt died in London in 1755.