The Deserted Farmsteads of Dumfries & Galloway
When & Where
Between 1720 and 1850 the countryside of Galloway, along with the rest of the Scotland, was transformed. The old fields were swept away, new hedgerows and trees were planted, bogs and marshes were drained, and communally-worked subsistence fermtouns were replaced with ‘improved’ steadings designed to serve the needs of the market economy. Today, hardly a trace of the old system remains. Over the last 10 years, Peter Norman has sought out the fragments that survive, visiting the sites of over 50 fermtouns in Galloway and a handful in neighbouring Dumfriesshire, all of which were abandoned and ruined by 1850, with next to nothing documented about their history. Peter’s presentation will describe and illustrate the features found on these sites, which have enabled him to piece together a little about the lives of the people who lived and worked in these small rural settlements. As a professional ecologist, Peter has also examined the impact that these changes may have had on local wildlife.
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