Crofters' Act, 1886. Crofts are smallholdings, particularly found in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Clearances in the 18th cent. had pushed numbers of tenants into crofts near the sea, where kelping and fishing eked out a meagre existence. In 1883 Gladstone, under pressure from the Highland Land League, appointed a commission under Lord Napier to investigate and report. The Act of 1886 (49 & 50 Vic. c. 29) established fair rents, security of tenure, and compensation for improvements. It also set up a Crofters' Commission, with power to fix rents. A further Act of 1976 made it easier for crofters to buy their holdings outright.
J. A. Cannon
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