Life in 19th c. rural Scotland?
August 2, 2010 12:05 PM   Subscribe

Life in 19th century rural Scotland - tell me more about the "home farm".

My ancestor worked on the “home farm” of a large Scottish estate in Lanarkshire in the early 19th century. I understand that the home farm was responsible for putting food on the laird’s table. Is this accurate, or even the whole story? Did the home farm also supply foodstuffs to the other farms (and their laborers) on the estate? Was there anything particularly distinctive about life on the home farm vs. other farms on the estate? (Ex. Good: better food; Bad: harder work)

If you have knowledge of rural Scottish life during this period, and would be willing to address additional specific questions, please MeMail me.
posted by John Borrowman to Society & Culture (4 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
These stories are set quite a bit later than the period you're interested in, but you might want to look at some of the early works in Jane Duncan's My Friends series. The early books are set on her family's croft in the Highlands, and some of them talk about their neighbors on a local estate's home farm. The books that deal with the older generation of the family on the farm probably have the most relevance to what you're looking for. A complete list of her titles can be found here.
posted by MsMolly at 12:56 PM on August 2, 2010

Here is a 1908 description of the operation and agricultural practices of two Scottish home farms. It doesn't describe exactly where the food goes but it distinguishes home farms from "commercial" farms. "Farming Methods in Banffshire", Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland, fifth series vol. XX, p. 167.
posted by XMLicious at 1:03 PM on August 2, 2010

This from what appears to basically be an almanac, The Country Gentlemen's Catalogue of Requisites for the House, Field, Farm, Garden, Stable, Kennel, Etc., 1894, vol. II, p. 21:
There is, however, one point of interest which may very profitably and pertinently be raised in connection with home farms, and that is, as to whether they should not have a more extended purpose than the mere supply of provender to the stables, and eggs, poultry, pork and dairy produce, to the house. In plain words ought they not, when on a sufficiently large scale, and permanently occupied for the purpose, to be used as a sort of experimental station and and agricultural training ground for the estate generally? There are some directions, at any rate, in which they may be turned to account in this way, and one is in making experiments in new crops, implements and appliances, and showing their value to the tenants by ocular demonstration.
posted by XMLicious at 1:19 PM on August 2, 2010

In his book 'The Crofter & the Laird,' John McPhee depicts a contemporary account of the "this last domain of the feudal system." He references the history of the relationship between those farming on a laird's property, etc.
posted by ericb at 4:08 PM on August 2, 2010

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