New publication explores the life and works of Robert Baillie

The Institute of Scottish Historical Research is delighted to announce the publication in the St Andrews Studies in Scottish History series of Alexander D. Campbell’s The Life and Works of Robert Baillie (1602-1662) Politics, Religion and Record-Keeping in the British Civil Wars.

9781783271849_1From 1637 to 1660, the Scots witnessed rapid and confused changes in government and violent skirmishing, whilst impassioned religious disputes divided neighbours, friends and family. One of the most vivid accounts of this period may be found in the letters of the Glaswegian minister, Robert Baillie; but whilst his correspondence has long featured in historical accounts of the period, the man behind these writings has largely been forgotten.

Based on the first, systematic reading of Baillie’s extensive surviving manuscripts, comprising thousands of leaves of correspondence, treatises, sermons, and notebooks, this biography draws together for the first time an analysis of Baillie’s career and writings, establishing his significance as a polemicist, minister, theologian, and contemporary historian.

Alexander D. Campbell is Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Post-Doctoral Fellow, Queen’s University, Canada.

The Life and Works of Robert Baillie (1602-1662) Politics, Religion and Record-Keeping in the British Civil Wars is available now from the Boydell and Brewer website.

ISHR Seminar – Postgraduate progress

Our next seminar takes place on Thursday 9 February, and features a postgraduate progress panel. Three current PhD candidates at the ISHR will present short papers:

Morag Allan Campbell:
‘A tale of two asylums: Caring for the insane in nineteenth century Dundee and Angus’

Rory MacLellan:
‘The Lion Dormant? Armchair-crusading and the Scottish Hospitallers, 1322-88’

Anne Rutten:
‘How to do things with medieval words: Writing in the reigns of Robert II and Robert III’

The seminar will be held in the New Seminar Room, St John’s House, 71 South Street, St Andrews at 5.30pm. Drinks and nibbles will be served from 5.15pm.

ISHR Seminar – Dr Malcolm Petrie

The first ISHR seminar of the new semester will be on Thursday 26 January, when our own Dr Malcolm Petrie will present ‘Serfdom in Wishaw, Hayek in Kirkcaldy: The thought-world of Scottish nationalism, c.1942-c.1975.’

Studies of the rise in support for the Scottish National Party during the 1960s and 1970s have focussed chiefly on the political consequences of socio-economic developments. This paper, in contrast, examines perceptions of the relationship between government and the people, tracing the evolution, and eventual demise, of a libertarian rhetoric that viewed individual freedom and national autonomy as indivisible. Deployed in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War by the Unionists as a means of constructing an anti-socialist coalition capable of accommodating Liberals and even nationalists, by the 1960s the mantle of individualism had been assumed by the SNP. Crucial to nationalist success was the emergence of a series of issues, most notably the debate surrounding British membership of the Common Market, which raised questions of sovereignty, representation, and democracy, and encouraged a belief that the Westminster parliament no longer reflected public opinion. This sense of political frustration and alienation, while common across Britain, was essential to the politics of the SNP, a party long convinced that government had grown too powerful, authoritarian and remote, and that only independence could free Scotland from the bureaucratic excesses of an ever-expanding central state.

The seminar will be held in the New Seminar Room, St John’s House, 71 South Street, St Andrews at 5.30pm. Drinks and nibbles will be served from 5.15pm.

St Andrew’s Day Graduations

Warmest congratulations to our latest ISHR graduates!  Ashley Atkins, Ashley Douglas, Sarah Leith and Hanna Bjornes graduated from the MLitt in Scottish Historical Studies programme in a ceremony on November 30th.

We wish them all the very best in their future projects!

New ISHR graduates Ashley Atkins, Ashley Douglas and Sarah Leith pictured here with Prof Roger Mason. Photo attrib Anne Rutten

New seminar programme available

The program for next semester’s ISHR seminar series is now available.

The line up includes a panel of ISHR PhD students presenting work in progress, plus visiting speakers presenting on a range on topics. Further information is available on our seminar pages.

Unless otherwise stated, meetings are held in the New Seminar Room, St John’s House, 71 South Street, St Andrews, with drinks and nibbles served from 5:15pm.

James VI and noble power: New thoughts on an old theme

Thursday 24 November
ISHR seminar, New Seminar Room, 5.30 pm
Dr Miles Kerr-Peterson and Dr Steven Reid (University of Glasgow)
‘James VI and noble power: New thoughts on an old theme’

In advance of the publication of their new edited collection, James VI and Noble Power in Scotland, 1578-1603 (Routledge, January 2017), Dr Miles Kerr-Peterson and Dr Steven Reid will discuss their view of the debates regarding noble power in Jacobean Scotland and how these have been shaped by work on this volume, and their own current research projects.

Dr Kerr-Peterson recently completed his PhD on George Keith 4th earl Marischal (1553-1623). Where case studies into noble power in James’ reign have tended towards the notorious characters, Marischal is an example of long term quietly successful Protestant lordship. Steering a moderate course through a political swamp and forsaking a life as a courtier or governmental official, Marischal instead devoted himself to founding towns, harbours and a university. His example may be the more representative of noble power in this period.

Dr Reid is currently working on James VI’s response to and relationship with noble power during his ‘long apprenticeship’ (1578-1585), when as Julian Goodare notes there were six palace coups, five of which were successful. Dr Reid will focus in particular on the noble politics of the Ruthven Raid (August 1582-June 1583), when James was forcibly held as a prisoner by a hard-line Protestant and pro-English regime.

ISHR Seminars – Week 11

Our next event is a joint seminar with Modern History and will take place on Monday 21 November at 4:30 pm, Room 1.10, St Katharine’s Lodge. Prof John MacKenzie, of the University of St Andrews, will present ‘Scottish identity and empire: from the 18th to the 20th centuries.

Later in the week, we’ll be back to our usual time slot and venue for a second seminar in Week 11. Dr Miles Kerr-Peterson and Dr Steven Reid of the University of Glasgow will present ‘James VI and noble power: New thoughts on an old theme‘ on Thursday 24 November, New Seminar Room, 5.30 pm (drinks and nibbles from 5:15).

ISHR Seminar – Dr Valerie Wallace

The next ISHR seminar will be on Thursday 10 November, when Dr Valerie Wallace of Victoria University of Wellington will present: ‘The Scottish Disruption and the politics of colonial Auckland.’

Dr Valerie Wallace is the ISHR Visiting Research Fellow for 2016-17. A graduate of Glasgow University, she has taught at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, since 2012. Her current book project, entitled Empire of Dissent: Scottish Presbyterianism and Reform Politics in the British World, 1820-1850, aims to transform our understanding of colonial radicalism by documenting the explosive but uncharted influence of Scottish Presbyterian political ideas.

Dr Valerie Wallace

Dr Valerie Wallace

Her paper considers for the first time the forgotten works of Samuel Mcdonald Martin (1805?-1848). Martin was a troublesome migrant from the Isle of Skye and a thorn in the sides of successive governors in colonial Auckland. Valerie’s paper contends that Martin’s religious ideas underpinned his critique of crown colony government.


The seminar will be held in the New Seminar Room, St John’s House, 71 South Street, St Andrews at 5.30pm. Drinks and nibbles will be served from 5.15pm.

ISHR seminar – Ms Katy Jack

Our next seminar will be on Thursday 27 October (Week 7) when the presenter will be Ms Katy Jack, a doctoral research student at the University of Stirling. Katy will present ”Usurpations [and] infringements”: The Earldom of Mar in the 15th Century.

In his description of the particulars of Queen Mary’s restoration of the earldom of Mar to the Erskine family in 1565, Alexander Sinclair Lord Lindsay, earl of Crawford and Balcarres, wrote that throughout the fifteenth century, ‘by new creations’ the honor and dignity of Earl of Mar was conferred by the kings of Scotland upon princes of the royal family. ‘These creations’, he argues ‘were all usurpations or infringements against the Erskine rights of succession’. This paper seeks to contextualize these infringements by discussing the earldom of Mar in the fifteenth century, focussing on the legality of Erskine claims to Mar, the reception of these claims (both by Mar locals and the Scottish crown), and the behaviour of the Stewart kings towards the would-be earls.

The seminar will be held in the New Seminar Room, St John’s House, 71 South Street, St Andrews at 5.30pm. Drinks and nibbles will be served from 5.15pm.

Elizabeth Melville and the Poetics of Desire in Early Modern Britain

Elizabeth Melville, Lady Culross (c.1578-c.1640), was the first Scotswoman to see her poetry printed. This lecture situates her writing in the context of her Calvinist life and milieu, focusing particularly on the renunciation of earthly desire in her Puritanical vision, Ane Godlie Dreame (1603), and her sonnets. Ane Godlie Dreame is newly identified as the culmination of the dream-vision in Scotland, while the sonnets can be understood afresh as inflecting English love poetry towards a distinctively Scottish anti-amatory poetics. Ultimately, as her publication history also attests, Lady Culross was a poet of far greater significance than has previously been recognised.

Dr Kylie Murray, University of Cambridge
The 2016 British Academy Chatterton Lecture
Wednesday 12th October, 5.15pm, The Lawson Lecture Room, Kennedy Hall, School of English