Guns in Scotland: the manufacture and use of guns and their influence on warfare from the fourteenth century to c.1625

Detail from a contemporary drawing of Edinburgh Castle under siege in 1573, showing it surrounded by attacking batteries

Guns first came into use in Western Europe in the fourteenth century and the Scots were using them by the 1380s.

Glimpse of medieval trade revealed along the River Forth

School pupils from St Ninian's Primary School uncovering the medieval harbour of Cambuskenneth Abbey © GUARD Archaeology Ltd

Over two weeks in September, the Cambuskenneth Harbours project brought together a wide range of experts and local volunteers to investigate the medieval harbour of Cambuskenneth Abbey, which lies on the River Forth near Stirling.

Rival bishops, rival cathedrals: the election of Cormac, archdeacon of Sodor, as bishop in 1331

Ruined remains of Snizort Cathedral. Photo by Richard Dorrell / Wikimedia Commons

In the early fourteenth century, the diocese of Sodor, or Sudreyjar meaning Southern Isles in old Norse, encompassed the Isle of Man and the Hebrides.

Trickery, Mockery and the Scottish Way of War

The earliest known depiction of the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 from a 1440s manuscript of Walter Bower's Scotichronicon

This article seeks to examine two prominent themes, those of trickery and mockery, in how warfare against England was represented in Scottish historical narratives of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

Who Were The Celts? The British Museum Offers Answers with New Exhibition

Gundestrup Cauldron Silver  Gundestrup, northern Denmark, 100 BC–AD 1 © The National Museum of Denmark. The British Museum. Photo by

The British Museum just opened its latest exhibit, Celts: Art and Identity this past Thursday, covering 2,500 years of Celtic history. The exhibit explores Celtic identity and how it eveolved from the time of the Ancient Greeks to the present through art, culture, daily life, religion and politics.

5 Cool Celtic Things at the British Museum

(L) Horned helmet. Bronze, glass, Found along the Thames river near Waterloo, London, England (200-100 BC). (R) Greek helmet, bronze. Olympia, South-Western Greece (460 BC), The British Museum.Photo by

I attended the opening of the British Museum’s, Celts: Art and Identity exhibit on Sept 24th. It showcases stunning art, jewellery, weaponry, daily and religious objects to tell the story of the Celtic people.

The Battle of Neville’s Cross as told in the Lanercost Chronicle

Battle of Neville's Cross from a 15th-century Froissart manuscript

The year 1346 is remembered in England mostly for the Battle of Crecy, where King Edward III defeated the French forces in one of the most important battles of the Hundred Years War. That year also saw another major battle, this one fought on English soil.

Call for Papers: Death and Identity in Scotland from the Medieval to the Modern

death and identity scotland

Friday 29 January to Sunday 31 January 2016, at New College, University of Edinburgh

Finding the Battle of Bannockburn

Map of Bannockburn showing the new archaeological find spots and the likeliest course of the battle over 23 and 24 June 1314. © Tony Pollard / GUARD Archaeology Ltd

Between 2011 and 2014, a new search for the site of the Battle of Bannockburn took place, spurred on by the 700th anniversary of the battle and the National Trust for Scotland’s new state-of-the-art Bannockburn Battlefield Centre.

Ten Castles that Made Medieval Britain: Edinburgh Castle

An engraving published in Maitland's History of Edinburgh, 1753.

Few indeed are those architectural legacies still remaining to us that can boast the iconic status of Edinburgh Castle, its distinctive silhouette known throughout the world, accompanied by the gently wafting of bagpipes. Far rarer still are those structures with a comparably singular influence upon the shaping of a nation.

Fireworks in Scotland date back to 1507, researchers find

Edinburgh Castle with fireworks in 2011 - Photo by weir thru a lens / Flickr

Previously experts believed that fireworks were first used in Stirling in 1566, however, new evidence suggests that it was actually around 59 years earlier and in the Scottish capital. It is thought that ‘fireballs’ featured in a great tournament staged by King James lV, which took place at the base of Castle Rock, in 1507, in the area which is now the King’s Stables Road.

Reporting Scotland in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle

The initial page of the Peterborough Chronicle, marked secondarily by the librarian of the Laud collection.

The aim of this paper is to explore the changing way in which the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle reports events in northern Britain, beyond the Anglo-Saxon territories, in the hope of gaining a better understanding both of events in that region and, perhaps more interestingly, the way in which the Chronicle was constructed.

Ten Castles that Made Medieval Britain: Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle - Photo from Flickr

Stirling Castle is intimately entwined with the history of Scotland and her monarchy, a significance which is recognized and presented throughout its numerous components with admirable vigour.

‘Naked and Unarmoured’: A Reassessment of the Role of the Galwegians at the Battle of the Standard

15th century map British Isles - Photo: Brooklyn Museum

Accounts of the Battle of the Standard, fought in 1138 between the army of David I, King of Scots and the northern English forces rallied by Thurstan, Archbishop of York, have unvaryingly placed the blame for the Scottish defeat on David’s Galwegian warriors who, against armoured English ranks, fled in confusion.

Scottish Witchcraft: Background and Practices

A Visit to the Witch, by Edward Frederick Brewtnall, 1882

Witch hunting became intensified in many parts of Europe during the Protestant Reformation, and especially so in Scotland.

Robert the Bruce and Leprosy

Isabella MacDuff, Countess of Buchan, crowns Robert the Bruce at Scone in 1306; from a modern tableau at Edinburgh Castle. Photo by Kim Traynor / Wikimedia Commons

There has always been some doubt as to whether Bruce, who died in 1329, did suffer from leprosy.

‘The Mystic Hunt of the Unicorn’ tapestries unveiled at Stirling Castle

The Mystic Hunt of the Unicorn

A 14 year project to recreate the lost tapestries of James V has been completed at Stirling Castle.

The Picts and the Martyrs or Did Vikings Kill the Native Population of Orkney and Shetland?

orkney - photo by Jan Reinecke / Flickr

I suspect that the Norse invaders of Orkney and Shetland didn’t just overwhelm’, or ‘submerge’ the native population: I think they killed them.

Witchcraft on the High Seas: The Voyage of King James and the North Berwick Witch Trials

The North Berwick Witches meet the Devil in the local kirkyard, from a contemporary pamphlet, Newes From Scotland

Being a man with a strong curiosity, James was personally involved with the witch trials, which was unusual for a monarch. More than one hundred people were arrested and accused.

The Hammer of the Scots: Edward I and the Scottish Wars of Independence

The Hammer of the Scots

This book offers a fresh interpretation of Edward’s military career, with a particular focus on his Scottish wars. In part this is a study of personality: Edward was a remarkable man. His struggles with tenacious opponents – including Robert the Bruce and William Wallace – have become the stuff of legend.

12th-century copy of Consolation of Philosophy was written in Scotland, scholar finds

Dr Kylie Murray with the Boethius manucript - photo courtesy the University of Oxford

A twelfth-century copy of the ‘Consolation of Philosophy’ by Boethius, has been revealed to have been been written in Scotland, making it the oldest surviving non-biblical manuscript from that country.

William Wallace: The Man Behind the Legend

A depiction of Wallace from H E Marshall's 'Scotland's Story', published in 1906. The scene shows a woman informing Wallace that the Scottish nobles have been massacred in a trap set at the Barns of Ayr. The original caption is, "Hold you, hold you, Brave Wallace! the English have hanged all your best men like dogs."

Wallace was a flesh and blood man who had no idea that he would one day become a national hero of Scotland and an international legend; however, in the right time and in the right circumstances, normal becomes exceptional and exceptional becomes legendary.

Early Historic Scotland to 761

The question that concerns us now is how the kingdom came into being. The best-known story is that Fergus Mór mac Erc, a king of Dál Riata who died in AD 501, led the migration.

Five Minutes at Craigmillar Castle

Craigmillar Castle

Craigmillar Castle is an extremely well-preserved example of a medieval Scottish castle, and its various improvements over three hundred years. Though it is now a ruin, it is so beautifully intact that you get a real sense of the layout, and how it would have been used centuries ago.

Researchers create genetic map of the British Isles

Image credit: Stephen Leslie et al/Nature

Many people in the UK feel a strong sense of regional identity, and it now appears that there may be a scientific basis to this feeling, according to a landmark new study into the genetic makeup of the British Isles.

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