Chapter

Trading and taking wood before 1800

T. C. Smout, Alan R. MacDonald and Fiona Watson

in A History of the Native Woodlands of Scotland, 1500-1920

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print November 2004 | ISBN: 9780748612413
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653331 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748612413.003.0006
Trading and taking wood before 1800

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This chapter focuses on wood trading before 1800. Evidence from both documentary and archaeological sources shows that as international trade developed and Scottish supplies of good-quality oak became harder to find, timber was imported. In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, it was most likely to be oak from the Hanseatic towns of the eastern Baltic such as Danzig or Stralsund, sometimes as beams, sometimes as boards known as ‘knappald’ or ‘knapholt’, or ‘wainscot’. From the early sixteenth century onwards, reference to much larger supplies from Norway, and, to a lesser extent, from western Sweden, become more and more frequent, following the spread of the German water-driven sawmill into Scandinavia. In the eighteenth century, as the Scottish economy developed, the pattern of timber imports underwent a considerable change. After 1750, imports of Norwegian deals, at mid-century accounting for three-quarters of the annual total of some 200,000 deals imported from Scandinavia, began to decline in relative importance.

Keywords: wood; international trade; oak; imports; wood trading

Chapter.  13666 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Regional and Area Studies

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