Scotlands History

Crofting

A croft is a small piece of arable land (land that can be used for growing crops). In the 18th century Highlands, it was held by an individual tenant, and it combined a few acres of arable land (the croft) plus access to pasture land for communal grazing of livestock (outfield land). 

The crofting system prevailed mainly in the Highlands and Islands. Before the clan system was proscribed after the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion, tilling rights as well as grazing rights were all held communally.

In the 19th century, the Napier Commission helped crofters to obtain security of tenure, fixed rents, the right to compensation for improvements, and the right to inherit or assign crofts in the Crofters Act of 1886. The Crofters Act also set up the Crofters Commission to safeguard these rights.

  • Photo of old stone cottages with thatched roofs

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