400 Highland estate maps digitised and newly available online


29 March 2019
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A collection of 400 historic maps relating to the Lovat Highland Estates, covering extensive areas west of Inverness, are now available to researchers.
400 Highland estate maps digitised and newly available online Images

A collection of 400 historic maps relating to the Lovat Highland Estates, covering extensive areas west of Inverness, are now available to researchers, thanks to a project involving Lovat Highland Estates (based in Beauly), the North of Scotland Archaeological Society and National Library of Scotland.

The fascinating maps include the main image shown here, which relates to land confiscated from the 11th Lord Lovat Simon Fraser, the 'Old Fox' after the Jacobite defeat at Culloden in 1746. Lovat was beheaded for high treason the following year. 

Highland estate management

The maps depict all aspects of Highland estate management, including:

  • agricultural improvement
  • enclosure
  • drainage and embankments
  • the planning of settlements
  • land ownership disputes

The earliest maps in the collection are by Peter May (1724/33-95) working for the Commissioners for the Forfeited Annexed Estates, and May's nephew George Brown. Later map makers whose work is represented include John Boulton (1830-74) and David Gordon (c1840s-90s).

Colonel David Watson, who instigated the Roy Military Survey of Scotland, was instrumental in recommending Peter May to survey the Annexed Estate of Lovat in 1745. The resulting detailed maps provide a wealth of detail about the pre-improvement landscape in the parishes of Kirkhill Kilmorack, Kiltarlity and Urquhart and Glenmoriston, west of Inverness.

Scanning the maps

Volunteers at the North of Scotland Archaeological Society carried out the scanning (read more here) locating, unrolling and dusting each map before it was cleared for scanning. 57 of the maps were scanned in parts because of their large size.

Lovat Estate Woods in Aird District, 1910, George & Co Gordon

Explore the maps

All the Lovat Highland Estate maps are available on the NLS Maps website and you can read summary information here.

(all images copyright Lovat Highland Estate Ltd)

QUICK LINK: Map: the Border Lordships 1500-1600

 

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