Planned villages in Dumfriesshire and Galloway: Location,Form and Function

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Lorna J Philip

The eighteenth century was a period of considerable agricultural, social and economic change across Scotland, the era of Enlightenment. Many changes that took place then, agricultural enclosure, the development of new mansion houses with landscaped pleasure gardens and the planting of new woodlands, have shaped the rural landscape we know today. The creation of planned villages was an important feature of this period, creating the nucleated settlement structure that characterises many parts of contemporary rural Scotland.

In comparison with other European countries, including England, Scotland in the middle of the eighteenth century had a poorly developed urban structure. Estimates compiled by Sir John Sinclair from the entries in the Old Statistical Accounts suggest that, in the 1790s, almost two-thirds of the Scottish population were living in very small settlements or in scattered communities. Nucleated settlements of any size were most commonly those established by the Crown or the Church as Royal, Free or Ecclesiastical Burghs in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries or, from the fifteenth century onwards, Burghs of Barony
founded by local landowners. They were relatively few in number and were important focal points for trade, commerce and local governance.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTransactions of the Dumfries and Galloway Natural History Society
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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