Buy Used
£5.99
FREE Delivery on orders over £10.
Used: Very Good | Details
Sold by Grey Granite
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: spine uncreased, light touch of reading wear, pages clean and bright.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Poor Had No Lawyers: Who Owns Scotland and How They Got it Paperback – 1 May 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Paperback, 1 May 2013
£19.95 £5.99

Top Deals in Books
See the latest top deals in Books. Shop now
click to open popover

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.



Top Deals in Books
See the latest top deals in Books. Shop now

Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Birlinn Ltd (1 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 178027114X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780271149
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 12.7 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 405,200 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

A book that no one working in property in Scotland should be without --Property Week

'Brilliantly researched, extremely well written and shocking in its detail' --John Burnside, Sunday Herald

'It is historical and oh-so contemporary and, perhaps, in these exciting times, a call to arms' --Laura Marney

'It is historical and oh-so contemporary and, perhaps, in these exciting times, a call to arms' --Laura Marney

About the Author

Andy Wightman was born in Dundee and gained a degree in forestry at Aberdeen University. He has worked as a ghillie, environmental scientist, and an environmental campaigner before becoming a self-employed writer and researcher in 1993. He is the author of several books and a prominent analyst and critic of land reform process. He lives in Edinburgh.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is the sort of history we didn't get taught in school; probably because it has the capacity to stir the emotions at the way the Scottish poor became the Scottish dispossessed poor. It's fascinating reading, but it's also enough to make you want to storm the barricades!
Comment 43 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
This is a refreshing, original, challenging and important analysis of contemporary Scotland, its past, present and future.

It will challenge many of your most central assumptions. That land ownership and land reform are about rural areas. That this has nothing to say about Glasgow and Edinburgh. That Scotland is an egalitarian country, unlike class-divided, hiearchical England. That the days of feudalism and power acting with impunity are long over.

Wightman is an expert on land ownership, but he and this book are about much more. In short, what he is addressing is how power is exercised in Scotland; in our past and to this day. The forces of reaction - from feudal barons to the present day 'great and good' constantly usurp others rights, taking from the commons and individuals.

And what Wightman beautifully challenges - in detail - is the Scots blindness to this because of our old comfort story of being an egalitarian nation. What this has masked is that Scots dont want to face up to issues of power, privilege, abuse and exclusion. Yes we love going on about some mythical wrong done to a group in the far distant past, but real misuses of power - involving complexity, the abuse of the law and due process - well forget it.

This is an important book on every level, and a book I am proud Andy has had the time and inclination to write. It is up to the rest of us to begin a national debate about what to do about it.

Gerry Hassan
Comment 56 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I first got interested in who owns Scotland after meeting a less than friendly landowner and a couple of similarly miserable gamekeepers while out hill walking. Every Scot knows that the country is owned by a small group of individuals who have exercised nothing short of despotism over "their" land and the people on it. In this book Wightman lays out in forensic detail how this all came about, starting with King David and subsequently more fully developed by the national hero, Robert the Bruce, whose credentials as saviour he comprehensively debunks. Kings (or chief warlord) decided they held all the land and handed it out to supporters to keep them onside, and removed it if they fell out. Several of the great landowners of today, such as Buccleuch, came about their huge holdings in just this way, as Buccleuch's website makes clear.

Wightman points out that the distribution of land by this means was fundamentally undemocratic, but worse was to follow as the aristocracy, who to all intents and purposes, was the "government", created laws that enabled them to steal land from the Church and, later, from the common people and subsequently to legalise this theft. You might think that such theft would by now be outlawed, but no, it is still possible to steal land belonging to someone else or "no-one", or is Common Good. The Law and lawyers have been culpable in enabling this grotesque charade in which the vast majority of Scotland was transferred into the ownership of a small clique, who benefitted from arcane and archaic laws, such as primogeniture .
Read more ›
1 Comment 28 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well!.... It would be hard to better the first review, which must presumably have been written by one of Mr. Wightman's best mates. But I am not going to disagree, this is a masterful, scholarly, meticulously researched book which should sit on every bookshelf in Scotland, right next to Tom Johnstone's "Our Scots Noble Families".

Having waited a very long time to read this book, I was spellbound. However a word of caution for "kindle" readers. Some of the maps, charts etc are incredibly detailed but on a kindle they are "awfy wee" and of course they are in black and white. Given the stature of this important book I now intend to buy a hardback copy. People will still be reading this book in 100 years.
Comment 32 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
SEE ALSO REVIEWS TO HARDBACK EDITION ... all the other reviews of this book (5 at present) have been posted to the hardback edition which is out of print and the 2 books have not currently been linked. The hardback revies, of which mine here is a replicaiton, can be viewed at The Poor Had No Lawyers

I just want to say well done, yet again, Andy Wightman, and what struck me as most significant about this book, given my own areas of research, is the new light that you shed on the manner in which Scottish landed power may have come so quickly over to the Reformation, not so much out of spiritual conviction, but because they saw a land grab in the carve-up of monastic properties. That takes Max Weber's Protestant ethic a step further by far!

My old friend William Kingston who was at Trinity, Dublin (you may recall he was cited in that Ecolgist paper we wrote many years ago with Dan Morgan) held the view, based on his monastic researches, that monasteries were the first corporations - the idea of corporate personhood having been devised to hand on property amongst communities of men and women who had renounced owning property privately. But the capitalist corporation usurped that principle. Now land is handed on via family companies and "trusts" while used as a tax dodge to write off as an "expense" the costs of running their sporting hobbies and holiday homes. The land rover goes down as a tax expense, as does, no doubt, the cost of the airline ticket to go and "manage" the festering pile (of peasant tenants). A travesty - you and I know because the likes of us get people ringing us up now and again in despair at having their lives messed around at the whim of some laird's narcisstic fancy. You have done sterling work in exposing it down the years. A knighthood to you when the Scottish Parliament is so empowered, I say! Go well ... A.
1 Comment 25 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews



Feedback