British History . Cultural Studies . History . Scottish History . Scottish Studies

100 Years of The Scottish Historical Review

The Scottish Historical Review (SHR) is the premier journal in the field of Scottish historical studies, covering all periods of Scottish history from the early to the modern, encouraging a variety of historical approaches, with articles written by leading scholars and Scottish historians.

In this blog post, the Editors and Board of SHR take a look at the last ten decades of the journal, picking out key articles of importance from its rich history. All articles marked with an asterisk* will be free to access on the Edinburgh University Press website until 30 June 2023.

C. A. Malcolm, ‘The Office of the Sheriff in Scotland: Its Origin and Early Development’ [3 parts] SHR 20 (1923) 129–141, 222–237, 290–311

“This was the major journal article in the career of one of the last of the Signet Library’s scholar-librarians and the dwindling breed of independent scholars. Malcolm wrote two books on banks but this article represents the strong tradition of legal history in the wider area of Scottish historical studies.” James Hamilton, The WS Society and SHR trustee

Alice Taylor, ‘The Assizes of David I, King of Scots’, 1124–1153’, SHR  91 (2012) 197–38*

“Those giants of mid-twentieth century Scottish historiography—G. W. S. Barrow and A. A. M. Duncan—made their reputation in the forensic analysis of charters. The diplomatic, linguistic and palaeographical skills required to undertake such work (and the scholarly imagination to use these core sources to develop a bigger picture of politics and society) are perhaps less common than once; but Alice Taylor proves that the art of such study is far from lost. Here she argues that the assizes of David I offered as much insight into Robert I as they do into David.” David Ditchburn, Trinity College Dublin and SHR Co-Editor

Patricia M. Barnes and G. W. S. Barrow, ‘The Movements of Robert Bruce between September 1307 and May 1308’, SHR 49 (1970) 46–59.

“Though relatively brief, this investigation of new evidence of Bruce’s movements in the key months of 1307–08 reconstructs the king’s early campaigns against his Scottish enemies, allowing for reinterpretation—not least of Barrow’s existing narrative—and a new and better understanding of what Bruce was able to accomplish in this period, as well as why opposition to his rise was particularly ineffective.” Iain Macinnes, University of the Highlands & Islands and SHR Minute Secretary

Gladys Dickinson, ‘Some Notes on the Scottish Army in the First Half of the Sixteenth Century’, SHR 28 (1949) 133–45

“It is a testament to the importance of this article that it is still routinely cited more than seven decades after initial publication. It remains a vital starting-point for approaches to medieval and early modern Scottish military history. The author showed that rich detail on the sinews of war could be mined from the published public records, as well as insights on the interplay of local and national government and the nature and importance of Scotland’s international connections. Hints were given, also, of wider social and cultural patterns that could be detected in the sources: the nuances of status embedded in clothing and weaponry; and the signs of societal bonding in the festive elements of the ‘wappinschaw’.” Alastair Macdonald, University of Aberdeen and SHR Co-Editor

Margaret H. B. Sanderson, ‘The Feuars of Kirklands’, SHR 52 (1973) 117–36

“This article marked a major departure in studies of the Scottish Reformation taking a novel approach combining economic and social history to question received wisdom about the security of the Kirk and religious change.” Amy Blakeway, University of St Andrews and SHR Book Review Editor

Jane Dawson, ‘The Fifth Earl of Argyle: Gaelic Lordship and Political Power in Sixteenth-century Scotland’, SHR 67 (1988) 1–27.

“This is a meticulously researched article exploring the unique status of Argyle’s power in Scotland, which was discussed in terms of domestic strategies like marriage and affinity-building, but also a naval capability that gave him ‘reach’ to Ireland and England. That, of course, made him of interest (if that’s the right word) outside Scotland.” Laura Stewart, University of York and SHR Trustee

Bruce P. Lenman, ‘Jacobean Goldsmith-Jewellers as Credit-Creators: The Cases of James Mossman, James Cockie and George Heriot’, SHR 74 (1995) 159–77*

“Lenman presents a superb account of the lives of some of the key Edinburgh goldsmiths from the Renaissance period, and details how they interacted with the crown and court, sometimes to the demise of their own lives. The article astutely combines historical research with material culture evidence to present a powerful picture of politics, wealth, art and patronage.” Lyndsay McGill, National Museums Scotland and SHR Trustee

Stana Nenadic, ‘Experience and Expectations in the Transformation of the Highland Gentlewoman, 1680–1820’, SHR 80 (2001) 201–20.*

“Stana Nenadic is the main driving force for the study of Scottish material culture in the eighteenth century. This article offers insight into the complex genealogies, networks and influences on Highland life, Highland women and material culture in the long eighteenth century.” Sally Tuckett, University of Glasgow and Secretary, SHR Trust

Theodora Keith, ‘Scottish Trade with the Plantations before 1707’, SHR 6 (1908) 32–48

“This is one of the first articles to look at an area of Scottish History which has gained a great deal of traction over recent years. Theodora Keith was the first woman to hold a temporary lecturing post in the Department of History at the University of Glasgow. Her article deserves a place in this volume for both its topic and the author’s contribution to Scottish History.” Esther Mijers, University of Edinburgh and Treasurer, SHR Trust

Karin Bowie, ‘Public Opinion, Popular Politics and the Union of 1707’, SHR 82 (2003) 226–60*

“This article takes studies of the Union into a new context, and challenges traditional approaches to the subject which were largely or even exclusively focused on high politics, on explaining how and why the union came about. It also challenges the simplistic characterisations of monolithic public opposition to Union. Instead, Bowie seeks to shift the focus onto the streets outside the corridors of power and onto the people’s responses to political events, and their interactions with the main players, both as the subjects of news management and as agents in their own right.” Alan MacDonald, University of Dundee and SHR Trustee

T. M. Devine, ‘An Eighteenth-Century Business Elite, 1740–1815’, SHR 57(1978) 40–67

“This pioneering article represented the first survey of the in-flow of West India merchant capital into the Scottish economy in the era of the industrial revolution. The article differentiated the infamous ‘tobacco lords’ from their commercial successors, the less well-known West India merchants, thus facilitating comparative analyses of the respective significance of their personal investments. As historians of Scotland have increasingly come to terms with Scotland’s slavery past over the last twenty years or so, this article remains the starting point in any examination of the economic importance of West India commerce and merchant capital to Scottish industrialisation in the late eighteenth century.” Stephen Mullen, University of Glasgow and SHR Trustee

Colin Kidd, ‘Teutonist Ethnology and Scottish Nationalist Inhibition, 1780–1880’, SHR 74 (1995) 45–68*

“This is an essential read when considering the national identity formation in the Scottish historical context. It helps to build an understanding of Scotland’s unique position in Europe. Kidd’s analysis of the influence (or not) of Gaelic culture on the emergence of a broader Scottish political conscious is important. For me, it raises interesting questions about how minority groups such as Catholics have influenced the development of a Scottish national consciousness.” Karly Kehoe, Saint Mary’s University, Canada and Convenor, SHR Trust

Henry W. Meikle, ‘The King’s Birthday Riot in Edinburgh, June 1792’, SHR 7 (1909) 21–8.

“This is one of several articles that Henry Meikle published in the SHR between 1909 and 1951, and an early example both of the on-going fascination of the impact of the French revolution on Scottish politics, and of work on Scottish popular politics long before the 1960s and the influence of E. P. Thompson. Meikle’s work in the early twentieth century remains worth reading in its own right; and it’s a rich foretaste for later scholarship published in the journal by, for example, Alex Murdoch on eighteenth-century Edinburgh politics (1983), and by Karin Bowie on eighteenth-century popular politics (2003).” Emma Macleod, University of Stirling and SHR Co-Editor

Eric Richards, ‘The Prospect of Economic Growth in Sutherland at the Time of the Clearances, 1809 to 1813,’ SHR 49 (1970) 154–171

“This was one of the earliest articles published by Eric Richards. It is really the start of his major revisionist work on the Highland and Sutherland clearances, which is still the benchmark for all subsequent work on the subject. It is significant in academic terms but also in terms of public understandings of the clearances.” Annie Tindlay, Newcastle University and SHR Trustee

Hunter, James ‘The Gaelic Connection: The Highlands, Ireland and Nationalism, 1873–1922’, SHR 54 (1975) 178–204

“Why? One has to take a big imaginative leap back to appreciate how radical this essay was in the context of historical scholarship in Scotland in the 1970s. At a time when Highland history was still struggling to find a place in a profession dominated by tired debates crafted in the age of antiquarians and marked at times by scepticism towards new approaches, Hunter opened up the possibility of a new Highland history that was fully integrated into British politics, wider cultural concerns, and international dynamics. The merits of the best journal articles are not merely in the narratives they share but in the ways they stimulate debate and unlock new insights. Hunter’s piece did just that.” Catriona MacDonald, University of Glasgow and former SHR Co-Editor


The Scottish Historical Review is the premier journal in the field of Scottish historical studies, covering all periods of Scottish history from the early to the modern, encouraging a variety of historical approaches.

Contributors are regarded as authoritative in their subject area; the pages of the journal are regularly graced by leading Scottish historians.

In addition to its extensive book reviews, the Scottish Historical Review supports the compilation of List of Articles in Scottish History and List of Essays on Scottish History in Books, which cover articles published in the preceding year which is included in the Bibliography of British and Irish History.

The Scottish Historical Review Trust is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO), charity number SC045296

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