Agricultural Prices in Scotland 1826–1974: County Level Data

John W. Sawkins, Eric P. Smith

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This article presents a dataset comprising Scottish agricultural prices for the period 1826–1974. The data are derived from an archived source in which prices set at meetings of courts held across each of Scotland’s 32 historic counties were recorded. The courts, convened by county sheriffs, met once a year to gather evidence relating to county-wide prices for crops grown within each locality. Once set, the prices were used, primarily, to determine the annual stipends of the clergy of the established Church of Scotland. Prices varied according to crop variety and quality, with some counties setting up to three prices in any one year for one type of grain. The most widely grown crop was oatmeal, with wheat, peas and barley also extensively farmed. The system operated without interruption until the abolition of the ‘fiars’ courts in 1974. The dataset opens two key areas of research. First it enables the further development of analyses of the integration and operation of Scottish regional grain markets in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Second it facilitates empirical analyses of the operation of the clerical labour market in Scotland for which long runs of stipend (wage) data collected on a consistent basis are required.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
JournalResearch Data Journal for the Humanities and Social Sciences
Issue number1
Early online date24 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • Scotland
  • agriculture
  • church
  • prices
  • stipend

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences
  • Computer Science Applications


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