Scotland and the Wider World

Postgraduate Students:

Cynthia Fry is undertaking a doctoral thesis analysing the diplomatic policies and practices of James VI between 1584 and 1604. Whilst much is known of James's post-1603 diplomacy, there is no systematic survey of his foreign relations during his kingship in Scotland. The absence of such a survey has led some historians to make many assumptions regarding James’s role in the diplomatic activities of early modern Europe. This project intends to provide the evidence required to validate current assumptions, and where these are inaccurate, to revise them based on the evidence produced by original research in a variety of European archives. This project will not only examine the official diplomatic correspondences between James and his various allies, but it will also explore the Scottish intelligence network that provided James with covert information on both his friends and enemies. This approach is intended to recover the motives and contexts that influenced James's decisions in a manner that has already been successfully applied to Elizabeth I’s foreign policies. The research will therefore complement studies of late Tudor diplomacy with a pioneering examination of Stewart policy in the same period, contributing to a broader understanding of late sixteenth-century European diplomatic relations in general.

Adam Grimshaw is writing a thesis concerning all forms of commercial association and commodity exchange between England and Sweden in the seventeenth century.  Its focal point is towards an understanding of Swedish commodities to the English economy, and the role of English merchants in sourcing, conveying and transporting these goods.  However, much of this trade was carried by intermediaries from a variety of nationalities and it is important to understand their role in this process. The study therefore does necessarily not limit itself to an overly simplistic view of Anglo-Swedish relations but takes a more holistic view.  The project assesses both official and unofficial forms of commercial activity. Others have previously only considered the official English trade in the Baltic as conducted by members of the Eastland Company.  An unofficial aspect of trade involved all ‘free’ Englishmen who chose to operate outside of the Eastland monopoly – particularly those residing abroad.  It is in this context that Adam’s research relates to the Scotland and the Wider World Project. With the amount of work already done on the role of Scotland within a similar context, Adam hopes to replicate existing methodologies undertaken by scholars looking at Scotland and Scandinavia. In so doing he will offer the first serious comparison to the role of Scots within the Swedish context thus facilitating a better understanding of both the Scottish and English in this emerging commercial nation.

Darren Layne is basing his doctoral research on the establishment of a large-scale, online database that will compile and document the constituency of the Jacobite movement during 1745-46. Even within the vast corpus of letters, court records, transportation lists, and muster rolls that form the backbone of what we currently know about the framework of 18th-century Jacobitism, there are inconsistencies, gaps, and deletions, thus admitted by many scholars who have previously attempted to collate this data. Such a definitive repository, undertaken in a technically modern and flexible format, would be an authoritative source for present and future Jacobite scholars. The creation and maintenance of this database is the centrepiece of Darren’s doctoral research, which will undoubtedly yield a large number of cultural, social, religious, and military topics about Jacobite constituency for detailed and discrete chapters within his forthcoming doctoral thesis. During the creation and establishment of the database, he will be harnessing a number of technical assets in order to build, maintain, and promote its functions, including remote collaboration, curation, and research; digitisation of and linking to primary source documents; and concurrent documentation of Jacobite personalities on a dedicated webpage within the database’s online domain. While still an ambitious project, limiting the entries to having a context within the ‘Forty-Five makes it attainable over the course of a PhD programme, though there will certainly be room to connect it with the wider fabric of the ‘Jacobite Century’ as more data enters the field. Its living format will allow the database to be expanded after its initial scope and context is described, following the progression of technology and its increasing use in historical study and digital documentation.

Completed PhD students:

Dr Claire McLoughlin has completed a doctoral thesis which examined the commercial connections between the Scots and the Iberian World in the early modern period. This area of Europe is under-researched in a Scottish context and though the archives suggest regular and sustained contact, very little was previously known about Scottish-Iberian contact beyond the overtly political relations. This research fills an identifiable vacuum in our knowledge of the Scottish commercial world and encompasses not only Spain and Portugal, but also their dominions, such as the Spanish Netherlands, and the New World. Predominantly looking at Scottish commercial contacts with Spain, the Spanish Netherlands and Portugal, the project considered a number of angles such as the effects of war (primarily Anglo-Spanish wars and their effects upon Scottish trade with Iberia) and dynastic unions upon trade. The thesis presents very interesting findings, such as presence of dozens of Scottish factors based in Andalucia as well as a Scottish Conservator, William Ord, who was commissioned by James VI to represent the interests of Scottish merchants in the territories of Habsburg Spain. Thoroughly grounded in archives across Scotland, England and Southern Europe, this thesis continues the work of the Scotland and the Wider World Project and the Institute of Scottish Historical Research.

Dr Adam Marks
completed his doctoral thesis in 2012. It assessed the role of England during the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) which will stand alongside the growing corpus of work describing the role of Scotland during the same period.  In using this comparative approach Adam presented a much fuller understanding of Britain's contribution to this European conflict.  What is remarkable is that despite the efforts of those researching the Scottish dimension of the conflict, no major survey has previously been undertaken of the English contribution to the war despite the presence of an estimated 50-60,000 Englishmen during the course of the war.  There have been minor works on specific episodes – for example the expeditions of both Lord Craven and Sir Charles Morgan – yet even these have either been taken out of context or only as asides to the research on Scottish participation.  The thesis provided a thorough assessment of England's role in Europe during the early seventeenth century. The results of this investigation shed light on the various conflicts that occurred inside England and Britain during the 1639-1651 period, not least through an assessment of returning English veterans to the Wars of the Three Kingdoms.  Already Adam has uncovered details of the role of numerous Englishmen, not only in the Bishops’ Wars (1639-1641), but also in England and Ireland during the English Civil Wars (1643-1649), establishing an excellent comparison with work already done for Scotland. 

Dr Siobhan Talbott, completed her doctoral thesis in 2010. She looked at Franco-Scottish commercial relations from the Scottish Reformation in 1560 to the end of the War of Spanish Succession in 1713. Previously historians had too often assumed that, following the Reformation and the restructuring of Scotland’s diplomatic ties with France, long-established commercial, cultural and religious networks between the two countries must also have ended abruptly or simply withered away. Siobhan’s research tested these assumptions on a variety of levels and in a number of ways throughout the early modern period with some remarkable results. Scrutiny of sources such as the Register of the Privy Council of Scotland revealed substantial evidence of Scottish mercantile networks and communities preserving their already well-established trade routes with France. Indeed, these continued to flourish during periods of acute political and diplomatic crisis such as the Franco-Stuart Wars of 1625 and 1666-1667, the Williamite Revolution of 1689-1691, the Scottish declarations of war on France in 1689 and 1702 and the union between Scotland and England in 1707. The result of this research has added a further dimension to our understanding of Scotland’s commercial relations in the ‘long’ seventeenth century, establishing the continued importance of France to the early modern Scottish economy, and enhancing our understanding of the social networks that bound Scots to continental Europe and versa-versa. Upon defending her thesis in 2010, Siobhan became the Economic History Society Tawney Fellow 2010-11, at the Institute of Historical Research before taking up a three year fellowship at the University of Manchester.

Dr Kathrin Zickermann, finished her doctoral thesis within the Scotland and the Wider World Project in 2009. This focused on the commercial, maritime and military relations between Scotland and the Northwest German cities and territories (Bremen and Hamburg, the Swedish duchies of Bremen and Verden, the various counties of Holstein (partially under Danish control) and the duchy of Braunschweig-Lüneburg.) The core of her research identified the immigration of Scots and the establishment of commercial networks within this region rather than an individual territory, highlighting contact across political borders. It revealed that the region differed significantly from other places in Northern Europe in that it did not maintain an ethnically distinct Scottish community, enforcing and encouraging interaction with the indigenous German population and other foreigners such as the English merchants in Hamburg. By comparing the Scots to other migrant groups such as the French Huguenots and Dutch Lutherans and Calvinists her research also contributed significantly to our understanding of the importance of the region to foreign exiles and expatriates and of the coherence of the region itself. Upon completing her doctorate, Kathrin won the Alan Pearsall Fellow in Naval and Maritime History  2010--2011 at the Institute for Historical Research. Upon completion of that fellowship Kathrin was rewarded with a permanent post at the University of the Highlands and Islands, Centre of History. She continues her work on Maritime History and remains firmly integrated into the 'Battle of Wittstock' project as an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of St Andrews.