BA (Hons) Queen's, MPhil PhD Cantab, FSA Scot

Senior Lecturer


Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 272456
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
Room: 206

Law in the Aberdeen Council Registers, 1398-1511, Research Institute of Irish and Scottish Studies



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.



Research Interests

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.

Research Grants

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 (2013-14)
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 (2013-14)
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 (2013-14)
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 
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


Teaching Responsibilities

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

External Responsibilities

Reviews Editor, Scottish Historical Review (2013-2018)

Chair, Aberdeen & North East Section, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (2015-2018)

Admin Responsibilities

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).

Other Responsibilities

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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  • 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, 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, Miller, C & Oliver, JM 2017, 'Bringing Archives and Archaeology Together: community research at the Bennachie Colony' Scottish Archives, vol. 21, pp. 18-29.
  • 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.
  • Armstrong, JW 2014, 'Review of A Military History of Scotland. Edited by Edward M. Spiers, Jeremy Crang, and Matthew Strickland.' Scottish Historical Review, vol. 93, no. 2, pp. 312-314. [Online] DOI: https://doi.org/10.3366/shr.2014.0234
  • Wyner, AZ, Armstrong, J, MacKillop, A & Astley, P 2014, Text Analysis of Aberdeen Burgh Records 1530-1531. in Proceedings of the 8th Workshop on Language Technology for Cultural Heritage, Social Sciences, and Humanities (LaTeCH). Association for Computational Linguists, pp. 95-99, 8th Workshop on Language Technology for Cultural Heritage, Social Sciences, and Humanities (LaTeCH) @ EACL 2014, Gothenberg, Sweden, 26/04/14.
  • Armstrong, J, Convery, S, Frankot, EBI, Macdonald, AJ, MacKillop, A, Simpson, ARC & Wilson, ALM, The Aberdeen Burgh Records Database, 2014, Database, Aberdeen.
  • Armstrong, J 2013, Discovering the Archives. in C Shepherd (ed.), Society and Ecology in the History of North-East Scotland: Bennachie and the Garioch. Bennachie Landscapes Series, vol. 2, The Bailies of Bennachie, pp. 25-29.
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