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Hemp - A Very Short Scottish History


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Hemp didn't appear in Scotland until about 1000 AD, 200 years later than in England. There was a general explosion in agriculture around this time (shown in the pollen records) and hemp was one of a number of crops, such as cereals and carrotts, that were grown widely for the first time. By 1200 agriculture became more intensive in Scotland, and specialist crops were grown in different areas. Thus hemp became less common in most of Scotland, but stayed an important crop near the fishing communities where hemp was used for fishing nets, ropes and sails for the fishing boats, and where manure and seaweed were availiable for fertilizer. Hemp was grown in Scotland up to the 18th century when hemp fields were replaced by the wooded estates of the gentry.

Place names which still exist include:

Hemphill (Kilmarnock Parish, Aryshire)
Hempland (Torthorwald, Dumfriesshire)
Hempriggs (Wick, Caithness)
Hempy Shot (Oldhamstocks, East Lothian)
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