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TITLE
Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster's 'Pyramid of Statistical Enquiry'
EXTERNAL ID
QZP40_ULBSTER_016c_Illus
PLACENAME
Caithness
PERIOD
1810s
CREATOR
Sir John Sinclair
SOURCE
Highland Libraries
ASSET ID
38279
KEYWORDS
Improvers
agriculturalists
landowners
lairds
enclosure
Cheviots
Clearances
emigration
Statistical Accounts
zoomable

This engraving of 'The Pyramid of Statistical Enquiry' was designed by Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster. It shows the four steps required to draw up Sir John's 'Code of Agriculture', first published in 1817. The first step was to produce a Statistical Account of Scotland which he duly compiled from 1791-1799. The second step was a county report of Scotland; the third, a general report of Scotland.

Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster (1754-1835) was a landowner, politician, early improver, agriculturist, statistician and ambassador for his country. Born in Thurso Castle into a branch of the Sinclair Earls of Caithness, he went on to study at the universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Oxford before being admitted to the Faculty of Advocates. He was returned as MP for Caithness in 1780 and sat in the House of Commons almost continually until 1811. Sir John was the first president of the Board of Agriculture and founded a society for the improvement of British wool. In 1805 he was appointed commissioner for the construction of roads and bridges in the north of Scotland.

On his Caithness estates, Sir John initiated improvements in agricultural methods such as drainage, field enclosure and crop rotation. Large tracts of arable land were let out to individual tenants and new breeds of livestock were introduced, including Cheviot sheep. Displaced tenants were given smaller parcels of land to work. As part of his improvements Sir John also built the new town of Thurso and the port of Scrabster. His aim was to keep the people on the land, either in the larger, newly-improved farms or employed in local industry such as brewing, tanning and woollen manufacture. However, he was thwarted in his attempts by the area's isolated position and high transport costs. Eventually, some of his tenants, such as the families who were moved from the fertile ground at Langwell to the coastal village of Badbea, were forced to emigrate.

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Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster's 'Pyramid of Statistical Enquiry'

1810s

Improvers; agriculturalists; landowners; lairds; enclosure; Cheviots; Clearances; emigration; Statistical Accounts; zoomable

Highland Libraries

Sinclair of Ulbster: Account of Improvements

This engraving of 'The Pyramid of Statistical Enquiry' was designed by Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster. It shows the four steps required to draw up Sir John's 'Code of Agriculture', first published in 1817. The first step was to produce a Statistical Account of Scotland which he duly compiled from 1791-1799. The second step was a county report of Scotland; the third, a general report of Scotland.<br /> <br /> Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster (1754-1835) was a landowner, politician, early improver, agriculturist, statistician and ambassador for his country. Born in Thurso Castle into a branch of the Sinclair Earls of Caithness, he went on to study at the universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Oxford before being admitted to the Faculty of Advocates. He was returned as MP for Caithness in 1780 and sat in the House of Commons almost continually until 1811. Sir John was the first president of the Board of Agriculture and founded a society for the improvement of British wool. In 1805 he was appointed commissioner for the construction of roads and bridges in the north of Scotland. <br /> <br /> On his Caithness estates, Sir John initiated improvements in agricultural methods such as drainage, field enclosure and crop rotation. Large tracts of arable land were let out to individual tenants and new breeds of livestock were introduced, including Cheviot sheep. Displaced tenants were given smaller parcels of land to work. As part of his improvements Sir John also built the new town of Thurso and the port of Scrabster. His aim was to keep the people on the land, either in the larger, newly-improved farms or employed in local industry such as brewing, tanning and woollen manufacture. However, he was thwarted in his attempts by the area's isolated position and high transport costs. Eventually, some of his tenants, such as the families who were moved from the fertile ground at Langwell to the coastal village of Badbea, were forced to emigrate.