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The University of Aberdeen
Deputy Head of School
School of Divinity, History and Philosophy, 50/52 College Bounds, King’s College, Aberdeen, AB24 3DS
and Department of History, Crombie Annexe, Meston Walk, King’s College, Aberdeen, AB24 3FX
Aberdeen Registers Online: 1398-1511 (https://www.abdn.ac.uk/aro)
Unlocking Aberdeen's archives to interrogate medieval law (Aberdeen 2040 Research Showcase)
Dr Jackson Armstrong is a historian of Scotland and England, principally of the later middle ages.
A native of Toronto and a graduate of Queen's University at Kingston, Canada, he completed a MPhil (2002) and PhD (2008) at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. In 2007/8 he taught at the universities of Edinburgh and St Andrews in European and Scottish history.
Dr Armstrong joined the School in September 2008. He is an Honorary Curatorial Fellow to University Museums, and has previously served as Undergraduate Programme Coordinator for History.
Dr Jackson Armstrong is primarily interested in Scotland and England in the period 1300-1600, and especially in the ligatures of local societies (including ideas of kinship), relations with ‘centres’ of political power, and frameworks of law and related aspects of government. He is particularly curious about regions typically considered to be ‘peripheral’. Much of his work to date has been concerned with the fifteenth-century Anglo-Scottish borderlands, and the themes of frontiers and conflict, and latterly with law and legal records in an urban context. His work has also taken in chivalry, heraldry and the law and office of arms.
Dr Armstrong is co-founder of the Aberdeen Humanities Fund, created in 2012. This initiative is related to his enthusiasm for advancing use and understanding of historical collections within the academy across different disciplines, and among wider audiences.
He is additionally interested in life writing and in 2004 edited and published, as Seven Eggs Today, the diaries of a nineteenth-century Canadian woman. During his postgraduate research at the University of Cambridge he held a doctoral fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
Finance, Law and the Language of Governmental Practice in Late Medieval Towns: Aberdeen and Augsburg in Comparison (2020-2023) AHRC-DFG UK-German Collaborative Research Projects in the Arts and Humanities, £284,273 (AHRC 80% fEC amount), AHRC Principal Investigator. (DFG Principal Investigator Jörg Rogge.) For more information see the aberdeenregisters.org project website.
Chivas Brothers Research Fellowship (Aberdeen Burgh Records Project) (2019-2020), Academic PI. (RF William Hepburn.)
Playing in the Archives: Game Development with Aberdeen's Medieval Records (2019) AHRC Creative Economy Engagement Fellowship, £51,843 (80% fEC amount), Academic PI. (RF William Hepburn.)
Law in the Aberdeen Council Registers, 1398-1511: Concepts, Practices, Geographies (2016-2019) Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant £310,455. Principal Investigator. Housed within the Research Institute of Irish and Scottish Studies, this project investigates the first eight volumes of the Aberdeen council registers. For more information see the aberdeenregisters.org project website.
A Text Analytic Approach To Rural And Urban Legal Histories (TALH)(2014)
RCUK Digital Economy Hub £54,206. Co-Investigator (PI Adam Wyner).
This 6-month partnership grant between the University of Aberdeen and the Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Archives developed a text analytic tool that specifically relates to the language, content, and structure of the Aberdeen council registers transcript generated through the 2013-2014 RIISS pilot (see below). Link to the dot.rural website.
Connecting and Projecting Aberdeen's Burgh Records (2013-2014)
RIISS £17,456. Joint Principal Investigator (PI Jackson Armstrong and Andrew Mackillop)
This was the pilot grant for the Aberdeen Burgh Records Project. The technical core of the project was to produce the Aberdeen Burgh Records Database, making a transcription of a sample of council register volume 13 searchable and connected to images of the register manuscript.
Dr Armstrong was also co-investigator on the AHRC-funded Bennachie Landscapes Project, and related awards:
Sharing All Our Stories Scotland (2013-2014)
AHRC £66,384. Co-Investigator (PI Elizabeth Curtis)
This grant focused on public engagement with community groups in Scotland carrying out heritage research.
Bennachie Landscapes: Investigating Communities Past and Present at the Colony Site (2013-2014)
AHRC £79,739. Co-Investigator (PI Jeff Oliver)
This development grant expanded the 2012 Bennachie project (below). It was a collaborative effort between the Bailies of Bennachie and the University of Aberdeen to explore the history of the nineteenth-century farming community known as the Bennachie Colony.
Sustainable Community Heritage in Scotland's North East: Bennachie and Beyond (2012)
AHRC £25,000. Co-Investigator (PI Gordon Noble)
This was an interdisciplinary community-centred research project on the past, present and future of one of north-east Scotland's most significant cultural and physical landmarks: the hill of Bennachie and its environs. The project facilitated public engagement with the region's landscape heritage and provides training and development opportunities for community research. Bennachie Landscapes Project website
Participates in or teaches the following modules:
Level 1 Making History
Level 1 Renaissances and Reformations, c.1450–c.1750
Level 2 Kingship, Clearances & Conflict: Debates in Scottish History
Level 2 Power and Piety: Medieval Europe, 1100–1500
Level 2 The Pilgrim City: Medieval Christianity 500–1500
Level 3 Thinking History
Level 3/4 Late Medieval England: Politics and Society, 1272–1509
Level 3/4 Stewart Scotland, 1406–1603
Level 4 History in Practice
Level 4/5 Peacemaking and Bloodfeud in Scotland, c.1390–1513
Level 5 Approaching Archives
Level 5 Approaches to Research: Archives and Sources
Level 5 Scotland: A Millennium of History
Dr Armstrong welcomes approaches from prospective postgraduate students.
- Further Info
Reviews Editor, Scottish Historical Review (2013-2018)
Chair, Aberdeen & North East Section, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (2015-2018)
Deputy Head of School (2017-)
School Director of Postgraduate Research (2018-)
Dr Jackson Armstrong has also served as Undergraduate Programme Coordinator for History (January 2016 - July 2017).
Society and Culture in the North Sea World, RPAS Project Leader (2010-2016)
The North Research Theme, Board member (2012-2016)
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- Armstrong, J 2020, England's Northern Frontier: Conflict and Local Society in the Fifteenth-Century Scottish Marches. Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and Thought: Fourth Series, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge .
- Simpson, A & Armstrong, J 2020, The Aberdeen Burgh Court Roll of 1317. in Miscellany VIII. Stair Society, Edinburgh.
- Frankot, E, Havinga, AD, Hawes, C, Hepburn, W, Peters, WTM, Armstrong, J, Astley, PW, Mackillop, A, Simpson, ARC & Wyner, AZ, Aberdeen Registers Online: 1398-1511, 2019, Database, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen.
- Armstrong, J 2018, 'Arbitration in late medieval Scotland: ‘Bon accord’ in urban and rural contexts', Journal of Irish and Scottish Studies, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 50-67.
- Armstrong, J (Guest ed.) & Mackillop, A (Guest ed.) 2018, 'Introduction: Scottish urban archives and histories: Context and a legal historical perspective', Journal of Irish and Scottish Studies, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 1-9.
- Armstrong, J, Miller, C & Oliver, JM 2017, 'Bringing Archives and Archaeology Together: community research at the Bennachie Colony', Scottish Archives, vol. 21, pp. 18-29.
- Armstrong, JW & MacKillop, A 2017, 'Introduction: Communities, Courts and Scottish Towns', Urban History, vol. 44, no. 3, pp. 358-364. [Online] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0963926816000754
- Armstrong, J 2016, Centre, Periphery, Locality, Province: England and its far North in the Fifteenth Century. in P Crooks, D Green & WM Ormrod (eds), The Plantagenet Empire: Proceedings of the 2014 Harlaxton Symposium. Harlaxton Medieval Studies, vol. XXVI, Shaun Tyas, Donington, pp. 248-272.
- Oliver, J, Armstrong, J, Milek, K, Schofield, JE, Vergunst, J, Brochard, T, Gould, A & Noble, G 2016, 'The Bennachie Colony: A Nineteenth-Century Informal Community in Northeast Scotland', International Journal of Historical Archaeology, vol. 20, no. 2, pp. 341-377. [Online] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10761-016-0336-7
- Armstrong, J 2015, Concepts of Kinship in Lancastrian Westmorland. in B Thompson & J Watts (eds), Political Society in Later Medieval England : A Festschrift for Christine Carpenter. Boydell Press, Woodbridge, United Kingdom, pp. 146-165.