Book Review-‘Crail and its Fisheries: 1550–1600’ by T. Riis

By Michael Leek, published November 2020


The study of Scottish fisheries is frequented by publications that often tend to be ‘populist’ in nature. This is not a criticism, as without such works we would be so much the poorer in our knowledge of an important part of Scottish and, indeed, British maritime history. However, in the wider public domain there are few serious academic studies that are not only easily accessible in terms of legibility, but that add significantly to our understanding of such a major industry; an industry that had an impact well beyond the shores of Scotland and Britain. This compact academic study, covering a ‘mere’ 50 years, has to be commended for its scholarship. Professor Dr Thomas Riis, of the Christian Albrechts Universität zu Kiel, on the Baltic coast of Schleswig-Holstein, has done an outstanding job in his objective interpretation and analysis of the surviving burgh court books from the small former fishing village of Crail, in the East Neuk of Fife on Scotland’s east coast. Indeed, this reviewer would suggest that this is the finest example of an academic study devoted to the organization of fishing operations by and from a specific British community in the second half of the sixteenth century…

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Filed under: Tudors
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

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