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The Birtwhistles of Craven and Galloway

 

 

 

 

 

southern England rather than sold in Craven. He was now a grazier as well as a drover. His sons expanded the family business, taking new initiatives as opportunities arose. When Irish cattle started to come into Galloway, the Birtwhistles bought substantial estates there to fatten Irish cattle on their way to Craven and the south, and the Birtwhistles were also among the first to establish massive sheep farms on the Ross-shire hillsides at the beginning of the 19th century, shortly after the introduction of cheviot sheep made sheep farming in the Highlands possible.

 

In both the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions it was the Birtwhistles rather than their landlords who capitalised on the new business opportunities

 

-      in Malham the Birtwhistles rented the Great Close from the Listers, but the Listers who were forced to borrow £800 from John Birtwhistle, and to sell him Crake Moor Farmfor £700

-      in Skipton it wasJohn Birtwhistle rather than the Earl of Thanet who made the largestinvestment in the Leeds Liverpool canal, and

-      in Gatehouse of Fleet it was the Birtwhistles rather than the local laird, James Murray, who could afford to finance the building of thecotton mill.

 

What emerges in tracing the extended Birtwhistle family over three generations, and over more than a century, is not only insights into the operation of their droving business, but wider insights into the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions in northern Britain, into international politics during the wars with America and France, and a flourishing of the arts scene in Regency London.Anna Jane Vardill, John Birtwhistleís grand-daughter, emerges from this research as a prolific Regency writer who was largely unrecognised because she published anonymously.It is hoped that inclusion ofa transcription of her some of her work as appendices at the back of the bookwill bring it to a larger audience, and increase interest in a writer whose work deserves to be better known.

 

 

General background and sources

 

Useful general background on the droving trade may be found in the books by R.G.Bonsor and A.R.B Haldane listed below. A paper by the author on the involvement of the Birtwhistle family in the droving trade appeared in the North Craven Heritage Trust (NCHT) Journal in 2008 and an extended version of this paper may be found on theNCHTís web site for 2008. The web version includes references which will not be repeated here. Further information about the history of Long Preston, and the Birtwhistlesí involvement in droving on the township hilltop pastures, is giving in the authorís publication listed below

 

Bonsor, R.G., 1970. The Drovers MacMillan

Haldane, A.R.B. 1997. The Drovers of Scotland Birlinn Ltd

Stephens T. 2009 Yeomen, Monks, Drovers and Handloom weavers - 800 years of Long Prestonís History. Long Preston Heritage Group.

 

Another related paper by the author, addressing ď18th century Craven drovers pasturing their cattle on the Lincolnshire fensĒ is also published in the 2016 NCHT Journal.

 

A catalogue of Anna Jane Vardillís contributions to the European Magazine is available on-line, under Attribution of Authorship in the European Magazine 1782-1826 by E.L de Montluzin (etext.virginia.edu/bsuva/eromag). Ann Vardillís contributions to the European Magazine are available on both the google books and Vardill Society websites. A catalogue of John Vardillís correspondence with government ministers, and of Anna Jane Vardillís letters to the Flaxman family may be found on the British Library Manuscript Catalogue.

 

 

 

 

 

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