Anne Rutten

BA (Leiden University), MRes (Utrecht University)


Thesis title: Textual Communication in the Reigns of Robert II and Robert III of Scotland, 1371-1406
Supervisor: Dr Katie Stevenson and Professor Michael Brown


My PhD thesis focuses on Robert II and Robert III of Scotland, the first kings of the Stewart dynasty. Instead of emphasising their use of family relations to govern the country, I draw attention to the communication of their reigns, specifically the use of government documents and other written sources. Central to this project are the content and context of textual communication and how these changed under the stress of other factors like external events, audience or intention. The self-representation of Robert II and Robert III in these documents plays a large role, and how they were positioned relative to other parties in their community. Chapters focus on the connections to politics both inside and outside of the kingdom, as well as the reach of the different language domains within the country. Underexamined layers of society are also a part of this analysis, such as the role and function of the burghs, and the place of the clergy during the late fourteenth century. By focusing on the paper trails of the early Stewart reigns the power of the written word can be examined, as well as the authority of texts and documents produced by, for and with kings.


  • ‘“Writing for Perpetual and Future Memory”: Robert II, Robert III and the Consolidation of Stewart Power through Texts’; International Conference on Medieval and Renaissance Scottish Language and Literature, University of Glasgow, July 2017
  • ‘Guardians, Lieutenants, Monarchs: Robert II, Robert III and the re-invention of late fourteenth-century Scottish kingship’; Challenging Grand Narratives: A Medieval History Research Workshop, Trinity College Dublin, June 2017  
  • ‘“By a Certain Declaration by a Certain Instrument”: Early Stewart Kinship and Kingship’; Scottish History: Works in Progress Graduate Conference, Scottish Historical Review Trust, June 2017
  • ‘And There Was Proof: James II, the Black Douglases and the Fifteenth-Century Power of Documents’; Dorothy Dunnett Society, April 2017
  • ‘How to do Things with Medieval Words: Writing in the Reigns of Robert II and Robert III’; Institute for Scottish Historical Research, University of St Andrews, February 2017
  • ‘I Just Can't Wait to be King: The Language of Early Diplomatics in the Reign of Robert II’; The Strathmartine Centre, January 2017
  • ‘The Stuart and the Stewarts: the (re)writing of Scottish Queens’; Saints and Sinners: Literary Footprints of Mary and Margaret, Queens of Scots, University of Edinburgh, October 2016
  • ‘Text and the City: The Black Douglases and the Defiance of Royal Power’; Urban Visual Culture(s): Productions and Perceptions of the Visual in Late Medieval and Early Modern Cities, University of Durham, July 2016
  • ‘Reading and Bleeding: Measuring Literacies with the Murthly Charm’, Institute for Scottish Historical Research, April 2016
  • ‘Speaking of the Senses: Non-Textual Knowledge in Mandeville’s Travels’; International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, July 2015
  • ‘The Power of Parchment: The Value of Documents in the Conflict between James II and the Black Douglases’; Communication and Exploitation of Knowledge: A Graduate Conference, Leiden University, February 2015


  • International Conference on Medieval and Renaissance Scottish Language and Literature Bursary (2017
  • Scottish Medievalists Bursary (2017)
  • Dorothy Dunnett Academic History Prize (2016)
  • AD Links Foundation Scholarship (2015-2018)
  • Prins Bernhard Cultuurfondsbeurs (2015)
  • Leiden University Harting Scholarship (2011-2012)