Thursday, 15 October 2020

Sir Tom Devine interviewed on NVTV about the Clearances

There is a great interview by Barry Sheppard with Scottish historian Sir Tom Devine, in the History Now series hosted on Belfast's NVTV channel (, concerning Sir Tom's recent book The Scottish Clearances: A History of the Dispossessed, published in 2018. 

In the interview Sir Tom looks, of course, at the story of the Highland Clearances, but also the Lowland Clearances in particular from the mid-18th century to the mid 19th. He notes the massive changes in the Lowlands over the course of a sixty year period to be one of the most widespread forms of social engineering in the whole of Europe. He also discusses 'Highlandism' and 'clearance by stealth' in the Lowlands, with the non-renewal of leases when their time was up, and along the way flags up some interesting nuggets of information, such as the fact that the potato blight which caused the Famine in Ireland from 1845-1852 actually lasted longer in Scotland's West Highlands (for a decade), leading to mass emigration from the region. 

The 30 minute episode is available at, and is presented below for convenience.

The book is published by Penguin ( and is available from many outlets.  


My next 5 week Scotland 1750-1850: Beyond the Old Parish Registers course starts November 2nd - see My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at is now out, also available are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing. What a lot of work must have gone into that book. Hopefully our local library will purchase.