Duke of Sutherland Monument, Scotland

This evening, I am focusing on the Duke of Sutherland Monument which sits atop Ben Bhraggie ( a mountain) close to the N.E. coast of Scotland and near the village of Golspie.

The Duke of Sutherland ( 1758-1833), through marriage with Elizabeth, Countess of Sutherland, became the largest private landowner in Europe at the time. The Duke also held the title Marquess of Stafford and was a Member of Parliament 1778-84 and 1787-98.

During the Duke’s tenure in the Scottish Highlands many thousands of his tenants, most of whom lived a subsistence existence off the land, were forcibly evicted and left destitute. Many emigrated and others were absorbed into the factories of the Industrial Revolution. There are two contradictory views of the driver for the evictions:

  1. To ‘encourage’ the tenants away from low standard living conditions.
  2. To improve yield from the land via switching to sheep farming.

The Duke was not alone in forcing evictions in the Scottish Highlands but he gained a reputation as the most ruthless and unsympathetic. This episode in Scotland’s history was known as the Highland Clearances.

After the Duke’s death in 1833 a public subscription raised funds for the monument which still dominates the local skyline. The statue¬†was sculpted by Sir Francis Chantrey and the entire 100ft tall structure completed in 1837.

Duke of Sutherland Monument, Sutherland, Scotland

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