See also Canadian band The Cottars
The Cottars are a Canadian Celtic musical group originating from Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia- Conception to Feast :From 2000 to March 2006 The Cottars were composed of: Ciarán and Fiona MacGillivray of Albert Bridge, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and The MacKenzies of Cape Breton. In 2006, big...
is the Scots
Scots is the Germanic language variety spoken in Lowland Scotland and parts of Ulster . It is sometimes called Lowland Scots to distinguish it from Scottish Gaelic, the Celtic language variety spoken in most of the western Highlands and in the Hebrides.Since there are no universally accepted...
term for a peasant
A peasant is an agricultural worker who generally tend to be poor and homeless-Etymology:The word is derived from 15th century French païsant meaning one from the pays, or countryside, ultimately from the Latin pagus, or outlying administrative district.- Position in society :Peasants typically...
A farmer is a person engaged in agriculture, who raises living organisms for food or raw materials, generally including livestock husbandry and growing crops, such as produce and grain...
formerly in the Scottish
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...
The Highlands is an historic region of Scotland. The area is sometimes referred to as the "Scottish Highlands". It was culturally distinguishable from the Lowlands from the later Middle Ages into the modern period, when Lowland Scots replaced Scottish Gaelic throughout most of the Lowlands...
. Cotters occupied cottages and cultivated small plots of land. The word cotter
is often employed to translate the cotarius of Domesday Book
Domesday Book , now held at The National Archives, Kew, Richmond upon Thames in South West London, is the record of the great survey of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086...
, a class whose exact status has been the subject of some discussion, and is still a matter of doubt. According to Domesday, the cotarii were comparatively few, numbering less than seven thousand, and were scattered unevenly throughout England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...
, being principally in the southern counties; they were occupied either in cultivating a small plot of land, or in working on the holdings of the villani. Like the villani, among whom they were frequently classed, their economic condition may be described as free in relation to every one except their lord.
A cottar or cottier is also a term for a tenant renting land from a farmer or landlord.
The medieval German
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...
equivalent of the Scottish cotter was the Kötner/Kätner
(gardener)). The term Kossäte is derived from Low German
Low German or Low Saxon is an Ingvaeonic West Germanic language spoken mainly in northern Germany and the eastern part of the Netherlands...
and translates "who sits in a cottage".
A cottier in Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...
(c.1700–1850) was a person who rented a simple cabin and between one and one and a half acres of land upon which to grow potatoes, oats and possibly flax. The ground was held on a year to year basis and rent was often paid in labour. Usually, the land available to the cottier class was land that was considered unprofitable for any other use.
The cottier existed at subsistence level because of high rentals and the competition for land and labour. The more prosperous cottier worked for his landlord and received cash after rent and other expenses were deducted. There was no incentive to improve a holding as any such improvement usually prompted a rent increase.
During the early decades of the nineteenth century, the situation for cottiers worsened considerably as the population continued to expand and in turn led to the dramatic events of the Irish Famine of 1845–49. After the Famine, the cottier class almost completely disappeared.