Alexander Nimmo's Inverness Survey and Journal, 1806

Alexander Nimmo's Inverness Survey and Journal, 1806

EDITED BY Noël P. Wilkins
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: Royal Irish Academy
Pages: 200
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  • Book Info
    Alexander Nimmo's Inverness Survey and Journal, 1806
    Book Description:

    The Inverness travelogue of Alexander Nimmo is published for the first time here. It is annotated with an introduction, commentaries and a map of the territory.

    eISBN: 978-1-908996-51-0
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. ii-v)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vi-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Foreword
    (pp. ix-xi)
    Nicholas Canny and John Arbuthnott

    It is with pleasure that we introduceAlexander Nimmo’s Inverness survey and journal, 1806to a wider public. When the editor Noël P. Wilkins suggested that the Royal Irish Academy and the Royal Society of Edinburgh come together to publish, for the first time, the account of our shared Member’s ‘perambulations’ in Invernessshire, it made an attractive proposal.

    The affiliation between the RIA and the RSE stretches back to origins. After the RSE was founded in 1783 for the ‘Advancement of Learning and Useful Knowledge’ in Scotland, the benefits of forming an Irish analogue became clear. Just two years later...

  5. [Maps]
    (pp. xii-xv)
  6. Chapter I Introduction Alexander Nimmo’s Inverness survey and journal, 1806: the original manuscript and its transcription
    (pp. 1-12)
    Noël P. Wilkins

    In the late eighteenth century social and economic life in the Scottish Highlands underwent a radical transformation.² In brief, the old social order—a clan-based, quasi-feudal system—was passing away. While the landowning lairds became increasingly anglicised and gentrified, their tacksmen first, followed later by their lower tenants, were forced to emigrate.² Emigration freed up land that the lairds could then rent out (at greatly inflated prices) to willing lowlanders and others, increasing the lairds’ monetary wealth even as they displaced their erstwhile loyal clansmen. The lairds and the new leasees stocked the hills and rough pastures with sheep, further...

  7. Chapter II Alexander Nimmo: Rector of Inverness Royal Academy
    (pp. 13-29)
    Robert Preece

    Alexander Nimmo was the Fourth Rector of Inverness Royal Academy, taking up office in the autumn of 1805. The Academy had been founded in 1792 and paid for by private subscription, only 13 years before Nimmo, aged about 22, was to take over as Rector (a Scots word for headmaster).

    The opening of the Inverness Royal Academy was the start of the third phase of a long history of education in Inverness. From the thirteenth century up to its disbandment about the time of the Reformation in 1560, Inverness Academy had a Dominican Priory, with an associated ‘song school’. Boys...

  8. Chapter III The Scottish Highlands and Ireland in the time of Alexander Nimmo
    (pp. 30-47)
    James Hunter

    When, in the early summer of 1806, Alexander Nimmo set out on what he called his ‘perambulation’ of the borders of the Highland County of Inverness-shire, he was journeying into an area in the grip of a change so far-reaching as to be little short of revolutionary. For centuries, the Gaelic-speaking people of the Scottish Highlands—people whose language and culture derived from Irish immigrants who began moving into the region in the fourth or fifth century AD—had stood apart from their neighbours to the south. Elsewhere in Scotland and still more so in England, starting in the sixteenth...

  9. Chapter IV A Cartographic Perambulation Around Alexander Nimmo’s Inverness-shire Journal
    (pp. 48-65)
    Christopher Fleet

    From a cartographic perspective, Alexander Nimmo’s journal provides an informative, first-hand account of several subjects. It is a useful source of information regarding the construction of one of Scotland’s most important maps, Aaron Arrowsmith’sMap of Scotlandof 1807. Nimmo’s account confirms the thoroughness and care taken in the compilation of this map, as well as providing a helpful evaluation of its trustworthiness for different categories of information. His journal is an honest and perceptive assessment of the varied utility of different sources of information—maps, charters, shepherds, tenant farmers, estate factors, and landowners—in confirming the complex patterns of...

  10. Chapter V On Becoming an Engineer: Alexander Nimmo’s Survey and His Engineering Career
    (pp. 66-88)
    Noël P. Wilkins

    January 1811 was an important month for Alexander Nimmo. On its very first day he was admitted a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, in whose roll his profession was recorded as ‘engineer’. On the fifth of the month he was appointed an engineer on the staff of the Commission to Examine and Enquire into the Nature and Extent of the Several Bogs of Ireland, commonly called the Bogs Commission. His call to the Commission was probably the reason he was inscribed as an engineer in the RSE roll even while he was still Rector of Inverness Academy—and...

    (pp. 89-173)
    Alexander Nimmo

    In the Spring 1806 I had the honour of being appointed by the Commissioners for making Roads and building Bridges in the Highlands of Scotland,¹ to make a survey of the limits of the 5 Northern Counties and to lay down the outline on the map now publishing under their authority.² Having accordingly made a journey through these districts in the summer following I shall now proceed to give a brief but faithful detail of my progress and the various data from which my remarks or corrections were derived.

    In doing this I shall chiefly copy the notes I occasionally...

    (pp. 174-182)
  13. Notes on the Authors
    (pp. 183-185)
  14. Index of place names and topographical features
    (pp. 186-192)