Glasgow and Slavery

Glasgow, the West of Scotland and the Caribbean

2: Country

Change relied on new ideas about working, draining, rotating and fertilising the land.

Enclosure of Old landscape Rig and Furrow, Linn

Fertiliser Lime kiln

Change was driven by landowners, but the land itself rarely provided the income to improve itself. The old landed gentry were in the decline and many estates were taken over by incoming merchants with the knowledge, wealth and ambition to improve.

Pioneering merchant-landowners dominated many parishes. In others, a few merchants mixed with a larger number of smaller owners or 'portioners' were more enterprising. The century marked a period of enormous potential to rise from relatively humble means to the highest heights. Before wider industrialisation, many rural coal pits fuelled lime kilns.

From the 1720s, teacher, navigator and scientist John Watt began laying out the land for the pioneering landowners who had arrived back from the colonies with great fortunes. The changes were often great, laying a great rectangular grid over whole estates and draining entire lochs.