Revisiting East Lothian’s Agricultural Reform in the 18th Century
11:00 am - 12:00 pm September 5, 2022

Archaeology Fortnight 2022

Online presentation

Twenty years ago, I organised a conference on behalf of the Scottish Local History Forum on the life of Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster who established The Board of Agriculture and Internal Improvement in 1793.  Sinclair challenged people to experiment with “husbandry”. He inspired Erasmus Darwin M.D. F.R.S., who dedicated his scientific paper on the Philosophy of Agriculture and Gardening to Sir John which was published in 1800, while men from the parish of Prestonkirk parish corresponded with Sinclair on his challenge and praised his initiative.

This presentation revisits the history of East Lothian’s Agricultural Reformation. It re-examines the legacy of the County surveys Sinclair organised and highlights the life of George Buchan who became a secret correspondent to the Board of Annexed estates. It also highlights the work of Rev. Adam Dickson, Minister at Duns and Whittingehame in the 18th century, and the importance he gave to climate and environmentalism.

The presentation is in three parts.

Part 1. The hidden history of 18th C agricultural reform revealed at Prestonkirk graveyard in East Linton

Part 2. The life of George Buchan, later of Kelloe in Berwickshire, secret correspondent to the Commission for Forfeited Estates

Part 3. Agricultural reform and the origins of environmentalism

This presentation will be premiered here at 11:00am on Monday 5 September, and will be available to view after this time.

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