Burt's Letters


Edmund Burt


In 1730, Edmund Burt was sent to Scotland to work as a contractor for the government. For most of the time, he was based in Inverness, from where he wrote regularly to an acquaintance in London about his experiences.

Burt had an insatiable curiosity about everything. From cooking and personal hygiene (the standards of which continually shocked him), to weddings, funerals, public executions and even the activities of witches, no aspect of Highland life or society escaped his scrutiny.

Burt's witty and satirical style makes entertaining reading, but whilst he was certainly critical of many things, he draws a very sympathetic picture of the grinding hardship and poverty faced by so much of the ordinary population. His writing is a salutary antidote to many of the Romantic views of the Highlands and Jacobitism, which were later to take hold.

Burt's Letters from a Gentleman in the North of Scotland is one of the most detailed yet entertaining sources of information on life and customs in the Highlands during the 18th century. It is now available for the first time in one volume, with modernised spelling and includes an Introduction by Charles W.J. Withers, Professor of Geography in the University of Edinburgh.

ISBN 1-874-74490-4


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