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A History of Everyday Life in Medieval Scotland

Edited by Edward J Cowan, Lizanne Henderson

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This book examines the ordinary, routine, daily behaviour, experiences and beliefs of people in Scotland from the earliest times to 1600. Its purpose is to discover the character of everyday life in Scotland over time and to do so, where possible, within a comparative context. Its focus is on the mundane, but at the same time it takes heed of the people's experience of wars, famine, environmental disaster and other major causes of disturbance, and assesses the effects of longer-term processes of change in religion, politics, and economic and social affairs. In showing how the extraordinary impinged on the everyday, the book draws on every possible kind of evidence including a diverse range of documentary sources, artefactual, environmental and archaeological material, and the published work of many disciplines.

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List of Figures
Series Editors' Forward
Christopher A. Whatley and Elizabeth Foyster
Introduction: Everyday Life in Medieval Scotland
Edward J. Cowan and Lizanne Henderson
Chapter 1. Landscape and People
Fiona Watson
Chapter 2. The Worldview of Scottish Vikings in the Age of the Sagas
Edward J. Cowan
Chapter 3. Sacred and Banal: The Discovery of Everyday Medieval Material Culture
Jenny Shiels and Stuart Campbell
Chapter 4. The Family
David Sellar
Chapter 5. 'Hamperit in ane hony came': Sights, Sounds and Smells in the Medieval Town
Elizabeth Ewan
Chapter 6. Playtime Everday: The Material Culture of Medieval Gaming
Mark Hall
Chapter 7. Women of Independence in Barbour's Bruce and Blind Harry's Wallace
Rebecca Boorsma
Chapter 8. Everyday Life in the Histories of Scotland from Walter Bower to George Buchanan
Nicola Royan
Chapter 9. Disease, Death and the Hereafter in Medieval Scotland
Richard D. Oram
Chapter 10. 'Detestable Slaves of the Devil': Changing Ideas about Witchcraft in Sixteenth-Century Scotland
Lizanne Henderson
Chapter 11. Glasgwegians: The First One Thousand Years
Edward J. Cowan
Chapter 12. Marian Devotion in Scotland and the Shrine of Loreto
Audrey-Beth Fitch
Annotated Bibliography
Notes on the Contributors

About the Author

Edward J. Cowan, Emeritus Professor, formerly Professor of Scottish History at the University of Glasgow and Director of the university’s Dumfries Campus, previously taught at the Universities of Edinburgh and Guelph, Ontario. A fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, he is much in demand as a speaker, journalist and broadcaster and has been a Visiting Professor in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the US. His most recent publications are The Wallace Book (revised edition 2010), For Freedom Alone: The Declaration of Arbroath 1320 (revised edition 2008), and Folk in Print: Scotland’s Chapbook Heritage (2007). He is currently working on a book on The Arctic Scots.

Lizanne Henderson is Lecturer in History at the University of Glasgow. She is the author of Fantastical Imaginations: The Supernatural in Scottish History and Culture (2009) and co-author, with Edward J. Cowan, of Scottish Fairy Belief: A History (2007).


A History of Everyday Life in Medieval Scotland demonstrates the value of innovative, interdisciplinary approaches for offsetting the limitations of conventional historical methodoloy in reconstructing the day-to-day lives of ordinary Scotland.
- Allan Kennedy, University of Stirling, History Scotland, Sept/Oct 2012
In sum, this volume represents a highly original and engaging ‘take’ on everyday history in which literature more than any other body of source-material occupies centre-stage. As a result, it is not only a major achievement for Scottish medieval history, but a work that anyone interested in what is meant by the history of the everyday will want to read and discuss.
- Professor Dauvit Broun, University of Glasgow, Journal of Historical Studies, Vol 34, No 1

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