An examination of the land agent in the British Isles

The issue of land and its ownership has always been fascinating in Scotland.

We often hear of community buyouts of land, and of legal conflicts over the right to roam through spaces in the countryside.

The Land Agent 1700 – 1920 is a serious tome which explores the role of land agents in Britain and its imperial territories.

This book brings together leading researchers of British and Irish rural history to consider the role of the land agent, or estate manager, in the modern period.

Land agents were an influential and powerful cadre of men, who managed both the day-to-day running and the overall policy direction of landed estates. As such, they occupy a controversial place in academic historiography as well as popular memory in rural Britain and Ireland.

Reviled in social history narratives and fictional accounts, the land agent was one of the most powerful tools in the armoury of the British and Irish landed classes and their territorial, political and social dominance.

Divided into four sections, the book looks at power and its constructions on landed estates, the transnational land agent: managing land in the four nations and beyond, challenges and catastrophe – the land agent under fire, and social memory and the land agent. There is also a postscripts, with the land agent as depicted in fiction.

By unpacking the nature and processes of their power, The Land Agent explores who these people were and what was the wider significance of their roles, thus uncovering a neglected history of British rural society.

The Land Agent 1700 – 1920, edited by Lowri Ann Rees, Ciarán Reilly, Annie Tindley, published by Edinburgh University Press, £15.99.

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