derelict croft cottage in scottish highlands

- Image ID: A1GBHE
Michael Sayles / Alamy Stock Photo
Image ID: A1GBHE
horizontal landscape photo of a decrepit and derelict crofters cottage decaying through years of neglect. A croft is a fenced or enclosed area of land, usually small and arable with a crofter's dwelling thereon. A crofter is one who has tenure and use of the land. The word croft is West Germanic in etymology, and is now most familiar in Scotland, where many Highlands and Islands crofters have had their tenure protected by special legislation since 1886. Elsewhere the expression is generally archaic. Essentially similar positions have been the medieval villein and the Scandinavian torpare. The Scottish croft is a small agricultural landholding of a type which has been subject to special legislation in the United Kingdom since 1886. The legislation is largely a response to the complaints and demands of tenant families who were victims of the Highland Clearances. The modern crofters or tenants appear very little in evidence before the beginning of the 18th Century. They were tenants at will underneath the tacksman and wadsetters, but practically their tenure was secure enough. The first evidence we can find of small tenants holding directly of the proprietor is in a rental of the estates of Sir D. MacDonald in Skye and North Uist in 1715. The Parliament of the United Kingdom created the Crofters' Act, 1886, after the Highland Land League had gained seats in that parliament. The government was then Liberal, with William Gladstone as Prime Minister. Another Crofters' Act was created in 1993 (the Crofters' (Scotland) Act, 1993). The earlier Act established the first Crofting Commission, but its responsibilities were quite different from those of the newer Crofting Commission created in 1955. The Commission is based in Inverness. Crofts held subject to the provisions of the Crofters' Acts are in the administrative counties of Shetland, Orkney, Caithness, Sutherland, Ross-shire, Inverness-shire and Argyll, in the north of Scotland. Under the 1886 legislation (the Crof