Scottish Medievalists’ Conference January 2024:

The Scottish Medievalists’ have graciously sent this link to the Duncan Lecture Alan Macquarrie gave at their conference in January, with the following remarks:

Alan Macquarrie has kindly given permission for the recording of his Duncan Lecture to be circulated. We hope you enjoy what was a terrific paper:

(please note, however, that the transcript has been automatically generated and has not been corrected – please ignore any resulting robot nonsense)

Volume 49, New Series

The Calendar of Scottish Supplications to Rome IX, 1534-1549

The volume for 2023, New Series 49, is edited by Alan Macquarrie and continues the series of the Calendar of Scottish Supplications to Rome whose first volume appeared under the imprint of the Scottish History Society in 1934; it covers the pontificate of Pope Paul III, 1534-1549. It is based on a draft MS calendar prepared by the late Dr Tom Graham as part of his PhD research under the direction of the late Professor Ian B Cowan at Glasgow University in the 1970s and 1980s, which is here filled out and completely re-edited from the originals in the Vatican Archives.

The Calendar shows the day-to-day working of the Papal chancellery in respect of benefice-hunting and litigation by Scottish clerics. The disturbed state of the kingdom and the misery caused by England’s ‘rough wooing’ of the 1540s, the rebellion by Matthew earl of Lennox and his brief occupation of Glasgow in 1544, and the destruction of the nunnery of Eccles by the Earl of Hertford in 1545, are all mentioned. James V’s rapacious demands, heresy, nepotism and clerical misconduct also feature. The evidence presented here helps to fill in some of the detail of our picture of the Scottish church in the years leading up to the Reformation.

Alan Macquarrie will deliver the AAM Duncan Memorial Lecture at the Scottish Medievalists’ Conference on Saturday 6 January on the subject of the Calendar of Papal Letters to the British Isles and the Calendar of Scottish Supplications to Rome, entitled A Tale of Two Series. Meanwhile, volume 49 is already on display in the Vatican Library’s new books:

Volume 48, New Series

The Work Journals of William Dickson 1717-1745

The volume for 2022, New Series 48, arises from the researches of the 1722 Waggonway Heritage Group into the archaeology and history of a wooden wagonway that ran from the coal mines of Tranent to the harbour and salt pans of Cockenzie and Port Seton and dates to the first half of the eighteenth century. It is an important aspect of the local area’s heritage and Scotland’s early industrialisation. In exploring what records were held relating to the wagonway, Group members discovered a description of the ‘Journals of William Dickson’ in the National Records of Scotland’s digital catalogue and undertook to transcribe them, releasing a wealth of information relating to the research in which the 1722 Waggonway Heritage Group was concerned. William Dickson was a carpenter and joiner by trade, and his journals, or day books, list his time spent and materials used and give some picture of the society in which he moved and worked. The Scottish Record Society is publishing the Group’s transcription of the Journals to coincide with the 300th anniversary of William Dickson’s work on Scotland’s first railway.

For further information on the 1722 Waggonway Heritage Group, see

P.S., the 1722 WHG has a short YouTube on further possibilities for exploration in the vicinity of the railway, at

Heroic and Splendid

George MacKenzie, President of the Scottish Record Society, gave as his Address for 2021 a paper on the second part of his researches into the Warings of Lennel. Please click on the title above to download a pdf.

Bread and Cheese and Kisses

The first part of the President’s researches, delivered in 2019.

Scottish Indexers

Our Treasurer, Tessa Spencer, gave a talk at the Scottish Indexes Conference on September 4, a guided tour with examples of the kinds of records to be found in the National Records of Scotland. The website has a link to the talk, see

Volume 47, New Series

The volume for 2021, New Series 47, is the Calendar of Scottish Supplications to Clement VII and Benedict XIII of Avignon 1378-1419, edited by Monsignor Charles Burns and Alan Macquarrie. This is a preliminary addition to the Calendar of Scottish Supplications to Rome series, whose first volume appeared under the imprint of the Scottish History Society in 1934.  It covers the period of the Avignon popes of the Great Schism, 1378-1419, to whom Scotland was unswervingly loyal. This is the first complete and chronological calendar of the Scottish supplications for this period, when Scotland was mostly under the governorship of the enigmatic Robert, Duke of Albany (d. 1420). Among many points of interest are letters from Scotland’s first cardinal, Walter Wardlaw, who died in 1387, and supplications for the erection of Scotland’s first university at Saint Andrews in 1412.

SRS Online

The SRS has formally agreed to the online publication of the Society’s backlist as searchable text in a subscription database administered by our existing ebook publishers, TannerRitchie. The database, which is expected to become available later in 2021, will allow researchers to carry out structured text searches of volumes, with the facility to search across multiple volumes at once. We hope that this will prove a useful platform for accessing, navigating and using Scottish Record Society publications, for members and non-members, and that it will allow the Society to continue to fulfil our aim of promoting the study of Scotland’s historical records.

The print volume for 2020, New Series 46, is An Impartial and Genuine List of the Ladys on the Whig or Jacobite Partie, Edinburgh 1745, transcribed and edited by Anita R Gillespie. The List, or rather Lists, is a series of names of mostly young and unmarried ladies compiled by two Whig gentlemen in Edinburgh in 1745-6 as a counter to the perceived imbalance of Jacobite propaganda of that time. It casts an unusual and personal light on the inhabitants of Edinburgh, in a way not seen in many contemporary accounts.

Also published in 2020 is the Society’s second electronic-only book, Scottish Agricultural Implement and Machine Makers 1843-1914: a directory, by Heather Holmes. This is a survey of the agricultural implement and machine makers in Scotland between 1843 and 1914. It is proving a valued resource for people interested in Scottish rural and agricultural history as well as Scottish industrial and engineering history.

Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae Medii Aevi Ad Annum 1638 – Third Edition of the New Series volume 25, edited by Norman Shead and the late D E R Watt and A L Murray, is now available as an electronic book.

This is a very full and comprehensive revision of one of our most valuable and well-used publications. Norman Shead has painstakingly updated and completed it, following on the work begun but sadly not finished by the late Athol Murray.

Please remember that no copies or onward distribution may be made of any electronic titles belonging to the Scottish Record Society without the permission of the Society. All funds received by the Society go to support our mission of publishing documents of record relating to Scotland.

Recent print volumes are:

2019: New Series 44 and 45, Borland’s Fowler: an annotated copy of Fowler’s Paisley and Johnstone Commercial Directory 1841-42, edited by John Malden, and Galston Kirk Session Register, Baptisms, Marriages, Poor’s Accounts, 1568-1595, edited by Margaret H B Sanderson.