Roslyn Potter

Research title: 'By my own hand’: Women’s manuscript collection, song culture and bawdry in early modern Scotland (1611–1704)


Research Summary

‘By my own hand’: Women’s manuscript collection, song culture and bawdry in early modern Scotland (1630–1690).

My PhD research explores the identity and inner workings of a scattered group of literate women who collected songs into their private manuscripts. Many of these songs feature thematically 'bawdy' material which illuminates ways in which early modern women engaged with traditionally subversive topics in a domestic setting. 

The contents, function, and owners of these unique sources reveal previously hidden networks of educated, literary and musical women, offering new theories for reassessing women’s involvement in the development of seventeenth-century Scottish culture. 


  • Andrew Tannahill Fund for the Furtherance of Scottish Literature (March 2023)
  • SGSAH Travel Grant (May 2022)
  • The Centre for Scottish and Celtic Studies Seedcorn Fund (January 2022)
  • SGSAH AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership Scholarship (September 2021)
  • Edwin Morgan Scolarship for Research in Scottish Literature (September 2020)
  • Carnegie Vacation Scholarship (June 2019)


'Lilias Skene: Quaker Poet and Social Activist in Seventeenth-Century Aberdeen', Symposium for Seventeenth-Century Scottish Literature (online), February 2021.

'John Forbes’s Songs and Fancies: the musical and printing legacy of seventeenth century Aberdeen', Northern Early Modern Network Conference, Newcastle University, January 2022.

'John Forbes's Songs and Fancies and its contribution to transnational music, print, and politics', International Association for the Study of Scottish Literatures 3rd World Congress, Prague, June 2022.

'Women's manuscript making and domestic history in seventeenth-century Scotland', International Conference on Medieval and Renaissance Scottish Languages, Literature and Culture, St Andrews, July 2023


Scottish Literature

  • Level 2A: Romance, Fable and Satire: The Rich Variety of Early Scottish
    Literature and Language
  • Level 2B: From the Renaissance to Burns and the Vernacular Legacy

Additional Information


Royal Musical Association

Women's History Network

Scottish Text Society

Research Assistant roles

The Wayfarers: confronting the past through history and traditional music education in schools (May 2021–May 2022)