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TITLE
'Burt's Letters from the North of Scotland' (2)
EXTERNAL ID
AB_LL_EDMUND_BURT_02
PLACENAME
Inverness
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona
DATE OF RECORDING
2008
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
Edmund Burt
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
1303
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.

'The town hall is a plain building of rubble; and there is one room in it, where the magistrates meet upon the town business, which would be tolerably handsome, but the walls are rough, not white-washed, or so much as plastered; and no furniture in it but a table, some bad chairs, and altogether immoderately dirty.

The market cross is the exchange of the merchants, and other men of business.

There they stand in the middle of the dirty street, and are frequently interrupted in their negotiations by horses and carts, which often separate them one from another in the midst of their bargains or other affairs. But this is nothing extraordinary in Scotland; for it is the same in other towns, and even at the cross of Edinburgh.

Over-against the cross is the coffee-house. A gentleman, who loves company and play, keeps it for his diversion; for so I am told by the people of the town; but he has condescended to complain to me of the little he gets by his countrymen.

As to a description of the coffee room, the furniture, and utensils, I must be excused in that particular, for it would not be a very decent one; but I shall venture to tell you in general that the room appears as it had never been cleaned since the building of the house; and in frost and snow, you might cover the peat fire with your hands.'

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' (2)

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 /> 'The town hall is a plain building of rubble; and there is one room in it, where the magistrates meet upon the town business, which would be tolerably handsome, but the walls are rough, not white-washed, or so much as plastered; and no furniture in it but a table, some bad chairs, and altogether immoderately dirty.<br /> <br /> The market cross is the exchange of the merchants, and other men of business.<br /> <br /> There they stand in the middle of the dirty street, and are frequently interrupted in their negotiations by horses and carts, which often separate them one from another in the midst of their bargains or other affairs. But this is nothing extraordinary in Scotland; for it is the same in other towns, and even at the cross of Edinburgh.<br /> <br /> Over-against the cross is the coffee-house. A gentleman, who loves company and play, keeps it for his diversion; for so I am told by the people of the town; but he has condescended to complain to me of the little he gets by his countrymen.<br /> <br /> As to a description of the coffee room, the furniture, and utensils, I must be excused in that particular, for it would not be a very decent one; but I shall venture to tell you in general that the room appears as it had never been cleaned since the building of the house; and in frost and snow, you might cover the peat fire with your hands.'<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.