Wages and Prices in Scotland, c1580-1780

The purpose of this study was to counter the long-term neglect of Scottish price history by undertaking a thorough and systematic search of the principal Scottish archives. The main focus was on agricultural commodity prices and both urban and rural wages.

The focus of data collection was on long-term wage and price series for the period 1580-1780, although many of the series obtained extend before or after these dates. The price series collected invariably refer to agricultural commodities or products derived from them (such as ale and bread), whilst the wage series are of labourers and craftsmen (generally masons and wrights). The topics cover:

  • Prices: animal and meat prices; animal-derived commodity prices (ie butter, milk, eggs); burgh price regulation; fiars prices; monthly market prices; grain prices; grain-derived prices (ie ale, wheat, bread)
  • Wages: agricultural servants' wages; craftsmen's wages; labourers' wages


Spatial Coverage: 
Data Creator: 
A.J.S. Gibson (University of Exeter. Department of Geography) and C. Smout (University of St Andrews. Centre for Advanced and Historical Studies)
Time Period: 

Time series:

Data Publisher:


Machine-readable documentation in Adobe PDF and ASCII text.


Persistent identifier:10.5255/UKDA-SN-3302-1

File Descriptions: 


  • guide.pdf is the adobe portable document format user guide and codebook
  • *.tab are the tab-delimited data files (by county and commodity)
  • read3302.txt is the ASCII text citation and readme file
  • 3302_file_information.rtf is the rich text format file list
  • *.htm is the study description file


File Storage: 

Data written to CD-ROMs on 14/2/07.


ASCII tab-delimited files (.tab) files.

UKDA Study Number: 
Data Access: 

Users must register with the Data Archive before receiving a copy of data files.
Edinburgh University users may contact the Data Library for access.