pocket lairds

ktm

Senior Member
Hello,
can anybody explain the mining of "pocket lairds"
in the sentence below:
---
I had left the Art College and had moved into an old mill house in our glen - yes, we had half a glen in those days - my father, I may as well tell you, was one of those Perthshire pocket lairds - and there I was, twenty whatever, thinking that the London galleries would come knocking at my door at any moment.
---
Thanks for help.
 
  • Hockey13

    Senior Member
    AmEnglish/German
    Hello,
    can anybody explain the mining of "pocket lairds"
    in the sentence below:
    ---
    I had left the Art College and had moved into an old mill house in our glen - yes, we had half a glen in those days - my father, I may as well tell you, was one of those Perthshire pocket lairds - and there I was, twenty whatever, thinking that the London galleries would come knocking at my door at any moment.
    ---
    Thanks for help.

    The best guess I can give you at the moment as an American is "a person with a landed estate." In other words, someone who's got a solid piece of land.

    Just a first guess from a bloody yank!
     

    Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Hello,
    can anybody explain the mining of "pocket lairds"
    in the sentence below:
    ---
    I had left the Art College and had moved into an old mill house in our glen - yes, we had half a glen in those days - my father, I may as well tell you, was one of those Perthshire pocket lairds - and there I was, twenty whatever, thinking that the London galleries would come knocking at my door at any moment.
    ---
    Thanks for help.

    I suspect that a "pocket" laird is someone who does not qualify as a "real" laird, hence the reference to owning "half a glen". Sort of what I might think of as a "hobby farmer" with 10 acres and a couple of cows and 5 chickens!
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    As well as suggesting 'small-scale' , 'pocket' sometimes has the sense of something that is entirely under a particular person's control, i.e. in that person's pocket. For example, a 'pocket borough' was a parliamentary constituency where the choice of who would represent the borough was entirely in the hands of a particular person, family or institution. So I wonder whether 'pocket laird' here suggests a lord or landlord who was entirely in the control of someone else.
     

    stranger in your midst

    Senior Member
    English / Scotland
    It might also have the sense of being in someone else's pocket. Scotland was famous for the gentry being 'bought' for their support by one or the other faction in whatever dispute.
     
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