Research projects

Research projects

Members of the Centre for Scottish and Celtic Studies pursue a number of research projects, including several major AHRC-funded undertakings with dedicated research teams:

Land-holding, the recording of property-transfer, and the formation of kingdoms: the comparative experience of medieval Scotland and early medieval Bengal

John Reuben Davies has been awarded £9835 from the British Academy International Partnership and Mobility Scheme to pursue a project with scholars from the University of Calcutta (West Bengal, India). John's co-applicant in Calcutta is Professor Swapna Bhattacharya of the Department of South and South East Asian Studies, the pioneer in the field of comparative diplomatic of early medieval records of property-transfer in Europe and India.

Specialists from Glasgow and Calcutta will be meeting over the next twelve months to work on contemporary sources from both countries, seeking original perspectives, and aiming for a renewed understanding of land-holding, royal power, and the formation of kingdoms.

The University of Calcutta has a memorandum of understanding with the University of Glasgow, and is one the University's priority strategic partners in the 2010–15 South Asia regional plan, and the College of Arts Corporate Plan.


The paradox of medieval Scotland: social relationships and identities before the wars of independence

This AHRC-funded three-year project ran from 2007-2010 and was led by Professor Dauvit Broun (History) in collaboration with Professor Robeard O'Maolalaigh (Celtic and Gaelic), and Professor David Carpenter of King's College London. The team ibuilt a prosopographical database of 11th and 12th century Scotland based on charter evidence.

By reconstructing a picture of Scottish society before the wars of independence, this project sought to explain why and how Scotland became a self-conscious nation of Scots at the same time as it experienced extensive English settlement through Anglo-Norman immigration.

Visit the Paradox of Medieval Scotland website


The expansion and contraction of Gaelic in medieval Scotland: the onomastic evidence

another AHRC-funded endeavour, this place-names project explores how Gaelic expanded from Argyll into eastern and southern Scotland in the early middle ages and receded from these areas by 1500.

The project team is led by Professor Thomas Clancy (Celtic and Gaelic), with Dr. Simon Taylor as lead researcher, Gilbert Markus as research assistant and doctoral student Peter McNiven.

Visit the the expansion and contraction of Gaelic in medieval Scotland: the onomastic evidence website.


The Breaking of Britain

Funded by the AHRC, this collaborative projec involves the University of Glasgow, Lancaster University, the University of Edinburgh, and King’s College London (including the Department of Digital Humanities). The project is concerned with the period which extends from the failure of Alexander II’s short-lived revival of a Scoto-Northumbrian realm in 1216–17 to the formal abolition of cross-border landholding by Robert I in November 1314, following his victory at Bannockburn.

The project builds on the work of another project funded by the AHRC, The Paradox of Medieval Scotland (PoMS), and will extend the PoMS database to 1314. It will also be linked to a new database, recording interactions between the Crown and people in the three northern counties of England from 1216 to 1307. The project will also study border chronicles as a source both for medieval perceptions of identity and fields of medieval historical interest.

Visit the Breaking of Britain website


Bridging the Continental divide: neo-Latin and its cultural role in Jacobean Scotland, as seen in the Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum (1637)

Bridging the Continental Divide is a project funded by the AHRC and based in the School of Humanities at the University of Glasgow.

The project’s main aim is to produce an electronic edition of a selection of the poets in the Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum huius aevi illustrium (DPS, Amsterdam, 1637), the largest anthology of Scottish neo-Latin ever produced, which was edited by the Fife laird Sir John Scot of Scotstarvit and the Aberdonian poet Arthur Johnstone.

The resource will provide original scans and a full transcription of the Latin text of 13 of the 37 poets in the DPS, alongside an English translation of each poem with a full critical apparatus detailing all scriptural and philological references cited, and their historical and social context.

Visit the Bridging the Continental divide website.


Commemorations of Saints in Scottish Place-Names

A three-year Project funded by The Leverhulme Trust (2010-2013).  The cults of saints have long been studied as a way of understanding religious history, and in Scotland the poverty of other kinds of evidence from the early medieval period give hagio-toponyms special significance. But there are considerable challenges: understanding the derivation of the place-names themselves, for instance, or difficulties in identifying the individuals commemorated.

In place-names we find both formal processes of naming (reflecting authority, possession and power), and naming as a reflection of local popular devotion, and the stories people told about their landscape. Study of hagio-toponyms must cope with extremes: dedications to saints as expressions of monastic control, and the mistaken creation of saints out of common name-elements (e.g., St Ford, originally Sandford). It was, and is, a dynamic process of forgetfulness and invention.

We hope we will be able to reclaim and understand through our work the landscapes of Scotland's religious past.

Visit the Commemorations of Saints in Scottish Place-Names website


The Scottish Charters Project

The Scottish Charters Project will produce a calendar of aristocratic charters to 1286 and a calendar of episcopal charters to 1250. This project includes a Postgraduate Scottish Charters Reading Group.

Members of the Centre also contribute to the Syllabus of Scottish Cartularies, a project of the Conference of Scottish Medievalists.

Visit the Scottish Charters Project website.


The Scottish Gothic Churches and Abbeys website

The Scottish Gothic Churches and Abbeys website seeks to promote an appreciation for surviving Gothic monuments in Scotland.

Visit the Scottish Gothic Churches and Abbeys website.


Centre for Cultural Policy Research

The Centre for Cultural Policy Research is pursuing an evaluation of the Highland 2007 Year of Culture for the Highland Council.

Visit the Centre for Cultural Policy Research website.


A Companion to Recent Scottish Music, 1950 to the present

A Companion to Recent Scottish Music, 1950 to the present is a Carnegie Trust-sponsored project involving researchers from the Universities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Strathclyde, Napier and Kingston.  

The resulting volume will be published by Musica Scotica Trust.

Read a pdf about the project.