Outsiders and the woods I: the pinewoods

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:
Outsiders and the woods I: the pinewoods

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Between 1600–1850, external demand became an increasingly important factor in determining how the woods were used. This demand was often mediated through individuals with no connection to the communities who had hitherto used the woods. Such entrepreneurs were English-speaking Lowland Scots, Irishmen, or Englishmen, but their usual theatre of operations was the Gaelic-speaking Highlands, a circumstance which seems to give a quasi-colonial flavour to events. However, the outsiders operated often on the prompting and always with the co-operation of the local chiefs and lairds, the indigenous elite who owned the woods, and who were still the lynchpin of Gaelic social structure. The landowners were also perfectly capable of sensing an external market on their own account, and acting as their own entrepreneurs. This chapter examines the degree of impact by the outsider and the external market on the Scottish woods, and determines whether its direction was for good or ill. Three types of external demand were most in evidence in these years – coming from shipbuilders and timber merchants, from ironmasters, and from tanbarkers. The first were primarily interested in pine, the last two in oak. The chapter examines only the pinewoods.

Keywords: pinewoods; woodlands; external demand; Lowland Scots; Irishmen; Englishmen; entrepreneurs; Gaelic-speaking Highlands; landowners

Chapter.  13850 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Regional and Area Studies

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