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History Workshop at Stirling University




Looking at specific parliaments of the medieval or early modern period, say, 1318, 1488, 1560; 1567; 1603; 1660; 1689 and many other dates where parliament reflected and precipitated the events of the nation.


How did parliament engage with local concerns such as confirming rights of burghs (such as the baronial burgh Falkirk in 1600); permission to hold markets and fairs; to license societies and manufactories within burghs; to help rural populations struggling with poor harvests; with damaged bridges and crossing points; disputes between landowners or the provision of education and ministers and parish churches. The free online Records of the Parliament of Scotland to 1707 (see below) offers great search possibilities for local research.

Thematic study:

The range of themes that could be investigated is vast covering political, social, economic, religious, cultural and foreign policy aspects. Smaller themes such as children; coal mining; fishing; hunting; vagrants and foreign workers could also be investigated.

Images of parliament:

Where did parliament meet? What buildings survive today or illustrations surviving of where the assembly met? Use of SCRAN (a charity database with thousands of images and other media) is a big help here. What images can we create that could reflect our idea of what parliament was like? For a sample of images relating to the parliament, click on the left menu.

The Scottish Parliament Project:

The Scottish Parliament Project (SPP) at St. Andrews University has prepared a digital database of the legislation of the Scottish parliament from 1230s to 1707. The SPP was begun in 1997 with Scottish Office and Scottish Executive funding and has been one of the most important research projects in recent years and has provided a vast resource for research at all levels. The parliamentary record as prepared, including some new and previously unpublished material, will consist of the original Latin and Scots language along with a parallel text translation in modernised English and with standardised place and personal names to facilitate computerised searching. It is simple: you search in the modernised text and link to the original, or just work with the translation if that is easier. The free online record will go live in December 2007 at www.rps.ac.uk

Along with the editing of the acts of parliament, the SPP has also been involved in a programme of research into the Scottish parliament throughout its history, and it and its team of researchers have producing a range of monographs, articles and Ph.D. theses. For details and an updated bibliography of secondary sources for the history of the parliament see both the SPP and RPS websites above.


The theme of the history of the Scottish parliament provides teaching staff with a range of possibilities for teaching. On this page are but a few suggestions. To help with these teaching ideas a series of workshops have been assembled - click on the left menu for more details.
Great Window in the south wall of Parliament Hall, Parliament House, Parliament Square, Edinburgh