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TITLE
'Burt's Letters from the North of Scotland' (3)
EXTERNAL ID
AB_LL_EDMUND_BURT_03
PLACENAME
Inverness
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona
DATE OF RECORDING
2008
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
Edmund Burt
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
1304
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.

'A little beyond the churches is the churchyard; where, as is usual in Scotland, the monuments are placed against the wall that encloses it, because, to admit them into the church, would be an intolerable ornament. The inscriptions, I think, are much upon a par with those of our country churchyards, but the monuments are some of them very handsome and costly. I cannot say much as to the taste, but they have a good deal of ornament about them.

Even the best sort of street houses, in all the great towns of the low country, are, for the most part contrived after one manner, with a staircase withoutside, either round or square, which leads to each floor, as I mentioned in my last letter.

By the way, they call a floor a 'house'; the whole building is called a 'land'; an alley, as I said before, is a wynde; a little court, or a turn-again alley, is a 'closs'; round staircase, a 'turnpike'; and a square one goes by the name of a 'skale stair'. In this town the houses are so differently modelled, they cannot be brought under any general description; but commonly the back part, or one end, is turned toward the street, and you pass by it through a short alley into a little courtyard, to ascend by stairs above the first storey. This lowest stage of the building has a door toward the street, and serves for a shop or a warehouse, but had no communication with the rest.'

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' (3)

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 /> 'A little beyond the churches is the churchyard; where, as is usual in Scotland, the monuments are placed against the wall that encloses it, because, to admit them into the church, would be an intolerable ornament. The inscriptions, I think, are much upon a par with those of our country churchyards, but the monuments are some of them very handsome and costly. I cannot say much as to the taste, but they have a good deal of ornament about them.<br /> <br /> Even the best sort of street houses, in all the great towns of the low country, are, for the most part contrived after one manner, with a staircase withoutside, either round or square, which leads to each floor, as I mentioned in my last letter.<br /> <br /> By the way, they call a floor a 'house'; the whole building is called a 'land'; an alley, as I said before, is a wynde; a little court, or a turn-again alley, is a 'closs'; round staircase, a 'turnpike'; and a square one goes by the name of a 'skale stair'. In this town the houses are so differently modelled, they cannot be brought under any general description; but commonly the back part, or one end, is turned toward the street, and you pass by it through a short alley into a little courtyard, to ascend by stairs above the first storey. This lowest stage of the building has a door toward the street, and serves for a shop or a warehouse, but had no communication with the rest.'<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.