The geography of literacy in Aberdeenshire in the early eighteenth century

R. A. Houston*, R. E. Tyson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


While the outlines of changing literacy in Lowland Scotland between the early seventeenth and the late eighteenth century are already established, local and regional variations and the experience of particular social groups have received little attention. Analysis of the signing ability of 706 weavers in Aberdeenshire in 1729-30 shows that their literacy was inferior to that of a national sample of weavers and provides further evidence that Scotland was not an exceptionally literate country at this time. Possible explanations of the Aberdeenshire patterns are considered and the results compared with similar social groups in contemporary England. The article also offers material on rural domestic industry in seventeenth and eighteenth century Aberdeenshire and on the social structure of the area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-145
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Historical Geography
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1991


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