CROFTER, a term used, more particularly in the Highlands and islands of Scotland, to designate a tenant who rents and cultivates a small holding of land or " croft." This Old English word, meaning originally an enclosed field, seems to correspond to the Dutch kroft, a field on high ground or downs. The ultimate origin is unknown. By the Crofters' Holdings (Scotland) Act 1886, a crofter is defined as the tenant of a holding who resides on his holding, the annual rent of which does not exceed 30 in money, and which is situated in a crofting parish. The wholesale clearances of tenants from their crofts during the ipth century, in violation of, as the tenants claimed, an implied security of tenure, has led in the past to much agitation on the part of the crofters to secure consideration of their grievances. They have been the subject of royal commissions and of considerable legislation, but the effect of the Crofters Act of 1886, with subsequent amending acts, has been to improve their condition markedly, and much of the agitation has now died out. A history of the legislation dealing with the crofters is given in the article SCOTLAND.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)