Call for Applications: ISHR Visiting Research Fellowship in Scottish History 2013-14

The Institute of Scottish Historical Research at the University of St Andrews invites applications for the ISHR Visiting Research Fellowship in Scottish Historical Studies, to be taken up during either semester of the academic year 2013-14. The fellowship may last between one and five months, with preference given to applicants requesting a longer residency.


Seal matrix of the University of St Andrews

The Institute of Scottish Historical Research was founded in 2007 under the directorship of Professor Roger Mason, and draws together the excellence and expertise of nearly twenty historians of Scotland, including Prof. T.C. Smout, the Historiographer Royal for Scotland.

The ISHR provides an intellectual and social focus for staff and a thriving community of postdoctoral and postgraduate researchers working on all periods of Scottish history from the early Middle Ages to the present. The Institute hosts a number of events throughout the year attracting delegates and speakers from all over the world, including a fortnightly research seminar series, workshops and conferences with an emphasis on new discoveries and directions in historical enquiry. For example, in October 2012 the ISHR hosted ‘The Politics of Counsel and Council Workshop, 1400-1700’ with speakers from across the UK. Workshops and events in AY2013-14 are currently in preparation.

Parl Project

Launch of the results of the Scottish Parliament Project

The Institute has several major collaborative research initiatives under its auspices. Past projects have included the Scottish Parliament Project and the History of the Universities Project. Ongoing and current projects include the Scotland and the Wider World Project, and the Scotland, Scandinavia and Northern Europe Database, and most recently the Scotland and the Flemish People project which commenced in AY2012-13.


Scotland & the Wider World Project

The Fellowship is open to any academic in a permanent university post with research interests in any aspect of Scottish history in any period. It covers the cost of return travel to St Andrews from the holder’s normal place of work, together with a substantial subsidy towards accommodation while the holder is resident in St Andrews.

The Fellowship carries with it no teaching duties, though the Fellow will be expected to take part in the normal activities of the ISHR during their stay in St Andrews. For more information on the Institute please visit the ISHR website at You will also be invited to lead a workshop, give a research seminar paper or other suitable activities depending on the length of your stay. Fellows are provided with computing facilities and an office in one of the School of History buildings. The university library has an exceptional collection for Scottish historians, including vast electronic resources and excellent holdings in the Special Collections department. Major national libraries and archives are within easy travelling distance, as are the university libraries in Dundee, Edinburgh, Stirling, Glasgow and Aberdeen.

You should send a letter of application by 30 March 2013, together with an outline of the research and/or writing in which you will be engaged during your time in St Andrews.  You should also enclose a CV, together with the names of two academic referees, who should submit their references by the closing date. All correspondence should be addressed to the incoming Director of the ISHR, Dr Katie Stevenson, by email to or by mail to School of History, St Katharine’s Lodge, The Scores, St Andrews, Fife, UK, KY16 9AR.

The closing date for applications is 30 March 2013.

Further enquiries may be addressed to the incoming Director Dr Katie Stevenson ( or to other staff in the ISHR.

Prof. Roger Mason on BBC2 9pm 30 November – Scotland’s Greatest Warrior

Prof. Roger Mason will be appearing on BBC2 programme Scotland’s Greatest Warrior, revealing how James Graham, the 1st Marquis of Montrose and a poet and military genius, won six successive battles against the odds during the 17th-century civil wars – but ultimately died a martyr for his faithless kings on an Edinburgh scaffold.

Montrose’s campaign – in which the devastating ‘Highland charge’ was developed – has astounded soldiers and historians for centuries. Four centuries after Montrose’s birth, historians trace the life of this extraordinary Scot. Dramatic reconstruction and CGI reveal the tactics of Montrose’s brilliant but doomed campaign. For more on the programme visit Caledonia TV.

Ph.D. Scholarship: Scotland and the Flemish People

The Institute of Scottish Historical Research at the University of St Andrews is pleased to announce a PhD scholarship as part of a research initiative focused on Scotland and Flemish People and funded by the P F Charitable Trust.

The successful candidate will have a degree in History (minimum 2:1 or equivalent) and ideally a master’s degree in a relevant discipline. The scholarship will cover full UK fees. There are possibilities of applying for further funding, including the Dr Jamie Stuart Cameron Award.

The aim of the Scotland and the Flemish People project is to reassess the impact of the Flemings on Scotland and to explore the interactions between Scotland and Flemings’ ‘homeland’ in Flanders in the medieval and early modern periods. The successful applicant will be expected to contribute original research in this broad field while also helping the project leader in co-ordinating a major conference and publication addressing the aims of the project.

Possible topics for doctoral research include

  • the settlement of Flemings in Scotland in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries
  • commercial relations between Scotland and Flanders in the middle ages
  • the social and economic impact of the Flemish in Scotland
  • Religious persecution and migration between Flanders and Scotland in the early modern period

Informal enquiries, with suggestions for research topics, can be made to Professor Roger Mason who will be pleased to discuss the project with potential applicants. 

The closing date for applications is 1 March 2013; applications must be submitted by email to Prof Mason using this form

NB: Applicants must also apply separately for admission to the university to pursue postgraduate study. Details of this process can be found at

The Politics of Counsel and Council in Britain Workshop, ISHR 27.10.12

The Institute of Scottish Historical Research hosted this one day workshop on Saturday 27 October 2012, bringing together postgraduate and established scholars from a dozen universities across Britain, aiming to build bridges between both late medieval and early modern history, and research on England and Scotland.  Organised by four colleagues at St Andrews (Wayne Cuthbertson, Claire Hawes, Prof. Roger Mason, and Dr Jacqueline Rose), the workshop highlighted the elusive yet ubiquitous role of counsel and councils in Britain between 1400 and 1700.  Participants discussed the blurred boundaries between counsel, petitioning, and lobbying, and considered counsel to and from various groups.  Papers also crossed the border between study of political languages/ideas and close archival work – one important recurring theme was the problems thrown up by the nature of the records: the need to draw reasonable conjectures where records are lacking, multiple versions of records on councils, and the gap between the theory of counsel and its practice.  Comparing different groups giving counsel also suggested the different contexts in which it developed – in political crises or ‘normal’ circumstances, and the importance (or not) which individuals attributed to counsel in politics.

John Watts (Corpus Christi, Oxford) began proceedings by dissecting ‘the mystery of Edward IV’s council’, asking whether a body called a council existed and elegantly demonstrating how the nature of record keeping has obscured this body’s role.  He showed the growing formality of this body towards the end of Edward’s reign, influenced by a number of developments in the personnel and business of government; and considered what sort of wider story it could be fitted into.  Claire Hawes (St Andrews) continued the combination of detailed archival study with attention to political language in her account of counsel in the Aberdeen burgh records of the mid fifteenth century.  Claire analysed the multiple meanings of certain terms (e.g. consent, community, common profit, common good) and their employment by the burgh and (occasionally) the king, also touching on the ritual enactment of community consent and counsel.

The workshop then moved to consider Elizabethan counsel, through papers by Joanne Paul (Queen Mary University of London) on ‘Machiavellians, monarchs, and counsel in the late Tudor period’ and Stephen Alford (Leeds) on ‘Counsel and compulsion in early Elizabethan politics’.  Joanne tracked the way in which ‘policy’ appeared in works on counsel, something utile rather than honestum.  She argued this theme shows an awareness of Machiavelli’s refutation of humanist models of counsel in the Prince.  Her paper was complemented by Stephen’s re-examination of the way in which Elizabeth’s advisors had to negotiate ‘that difficult no-man’s land between counsel and compulsion’ given their Queen’s ‘creative inertia’.  Discussion after this revealed the difficulty of even knowing what oath privy councillors swore and who tendered it to them.

Three papers then considered counsel in Scottish politics.  Amy Blakeway (Homerton, Cambridge) discussed ‘Counsel and political conflict in 1540s Scotland’, examining various plans for councils to aid the Governor Earl of Arran.  Her account brought to the fore the need to return to the original records to uncover the chronology and development of council meetings and attendees, and exposed the problems of enforcing attendance at councils.  Alan MacDonald (Dundee) offered a subtle account of the ‘depersonalisation of the Scottish monarchy’ with the union of the crowns in 1603.  Bringing counsel and consultation back into analysis of the impact of absentee monarchy, he highlighted the loss of the ‘almost obsessively consultative’ style of pre-union government as landed, ecclesiastical and burgh contact with the king changed.  Finally, Adrienne Miller (Edinburgh) spoke on ’The marquis of Hamilton, the earl of Menteith, and the question of proximity in Charles I’s conciliar relationships’.  She compared the careers of two of Charles I’s Scottish counsellors: Hamilton and Menteith, to demonstrate how, when both were accused of treason, Hamilton survived whilst Menteith declined due to the way in which different strategies of counsel shaped their different contacts with Charles.

This event will hopefully be the first of several on the subject of counsel.  For more information or to express an interest in involvement, contact Dr Jacqueline Rose (