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TITLE
Clearances on the Sutherland Estate (3 of 3)
EXTERNAL ID
GB232_MFR_RODHOUSTON_05
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
SUTHERLAND
DATE OF RECORDING
1991
PERIOD
1990s
CREATOR
Rod Houston
SOURCE
Moray Firth Radio
ASSET ID
1785
KEYWORDS
Improvers
crofters
audio

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The Highland Clearances is an emotive subject which has stimulated much debate. Evictions on the Sutherland Estates, in particular, have attracted notoriety. In this audio extract, Rod Houston talks about the clearances in Sutherland. The extract is from Moray Firth Radio's 'Recollections' series.

Interviewer: Do you think the landowners really knew what was being done in their name by the factors?

Well, the factors were charged with managing the estates and the landowner would perhaps have a passing interest in how that was done. I suspect that they knew a little but not the whole story. There has been an amount of work by a distinguished scholar called Eric Richards on Sutherland and he tends to the conclusion that in Sutherland, despite the odd famous and well-documented incident, basically the events were fairly tame. There were one or two very nasty ones; the trial of Patrick Sellar, of course, still raises a hoo-ha and that's for other scholars to determine. What I'm sure of in my mind is that there was almost an inevitability about what happened and it just so happens that in Sutherland the debate has had its focus.

Interviewer: So it's possible that the landowners' claim that it was all for the good of the people has some element of truth in it?

In your classic two poles of an argument, each side's got a case. Where I find myself stuck is in finding anything other than the whole thing having become almost inevitable by the late eighteenth century because of the changes in the wider society. If we look at it purely in Highland terms, in the clan system - difficult to see it, but the minute you look at the wider picture, it just looks inevitable

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Clearances on the Sutherland Estate (3 of 3)

SUTHERLAND

1990s

Improvers; crofters; audio

Moray Firth Radio

MFR: Clearances

The Highland Clearances is an emotive subject which has stimulated much debate. Evictions on the Sutherland Estates, in particular, have attracted notoriety. In this audio extract, Rod Houston talks about the clearances in Sutherland. The extract is from Moray Firth Radio's 'Recollections' series.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Do you think the landowners really knew what was being done in their name by the factors?<br /> <br /> Well, the factors were charged with managing the estates and the landowner would perhaps have a passing interest in how that was done. I suspect that they knew a little but not the whole story. There has been an amount of work by a distinguished scholar called Eric Richards on Sutherland and he tends to the conclusion that in Sutherland, despite the odd famous and well-documented incident, basically the events were fairly tame. There were one or two very nasty ones; the trial of Patrick Sellar, of course, still raises a hoo-ha and that's for other scholars to determine. What I'm sure of in my mind is that there was almost an inevitability about what happened and it just so happens that in Sutherland the debate has had its focus.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: So it's possible that the landowners' claim that it was all for the good of the people has some element of truth in it? <br /> <br /> In your classic two poles of an argument, each side's got a case. Where I find myself stuck is in finding anything other than the whole thing having become almost inevitable by the late eighteenth century because of the changes in the wider society. If we look at it purely in Highland terms, in the clan system - difficult to see it, but the minute you look at the wider picture, it just looks inevitable