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Identifying, documenting and restoring Scottish Commons



The following publications provide background reading on Commons in Scotland. They exclude documents relating specifically to the Common Good - these are available at the Common Good Further Information page. 


Callander, Robin. 1987. A Pattern of Landownership in Scoltand. Haughend Publications, Finzean.

This book is out of print but 2nd hand copies should be available from www.abebooks.co.uk. An updated version of Robin's chapter on Commons is published as Commonweal Working Paper No. 1


Johnston, Thomas. 1920. A History of the Working Classes in Scotland. Forward Publishing, Glasgow.

This book is out of print but 2nd hand copies should be available from www.abebooks.co.uk. His chapter, the Rieving of the Common Lands is available to download as Commonweal Working paper No.4. (see Commonweal Working Papers) 


Adams, Ian, 1971. Directory of Former Scottish Commonties. Scottish Record Society New Series 2, Edinburgh.

This book is out of print but 2nd hand copies should be available from www.abebooks.co.uk. 


Simpson, John H., 1986. The Feuars of Gifford. Scotland's Cultural Heritage, Edinburgh.

An account of the history of Gifford Common. 


Four Categories of Property Rights 

based on Owen J Lynch (1999)


Mackenzie, Fiona, 1988. Land and Community in the Isle of Harris (52kb pdf


Brown, Katrina M. & Slee, Bill, 2002. Common Grazings - A Tragedy of a Different Kind (472kb pdf) 


Lloyd, Toby, 2003. How to Untie the Knot. The need for appropriate access regimes (12kb pdf

Originally published in Land & Liberty Autumn/Winter 2002/3


Wightman, Andy, 2007. Scotland's Commonweal, The Drouth, Issue 14, Winter 2004. (20kb pdf

In this short introductory article published in Drouth magazine Andy Wightman reviews Scotland's rich history of common land. He summarises the processes whereby common lands were lost through weak democratic institutions, manipulation of the legal and justice systems, corrupt officials and the lack of proper electoral oversight and accountability. The article concludes by proposing that a campaign of restitution of common land would be an appropriate way of bring back into common ownership assets which the current land reform legislation shamefully dictates we must pay for. 


Turner, Michael, 1986. English Parliamentary Enclosures. Costs and Gains. ReFRESH 3, Autumn 1986. (296kb pdf

The subject of Parliamentary land enclosures in England has produced a controversial literature where claims of decisive economic gains in productivity have been hotly debated amid accusations that they were achieved through class robbery and the creation of a rural proletariat. In this judicious survey Dr. Michael Turner reviews the evidence on those and related issues. 






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These are pages from the 'Scottish Commons' site 

(now unavailable). An amazing resource of common 

Good knowledge)