Professor Jackson Armstrong

Professor Jackson Armstrong
Professor Jackson Armstrong
Professor Jackson Armstrong

BA (Hons) Queen's MPhil PhD Cantab FRHistS FSAScot

Chair in History

Accepting PhDs

Email Address
Telephone Number
+44 (0)1224 272456
Office Address

Department of History, Crombie Annexe, Meston Walk, King’s College, Aberdeen, AB24 3FX

Room: 206

School of Divinity, History, Philosophy & Art History


I am a historian of Scotland and England, principally of the later middle ages. I joined the University of Aberdeen as a Lecturer in 2008, became a Senior Lecturer in 2018 and received a Personal Chair in History in the 2023 promotion exercise (April 2024). In summer 2023 I took up the role of Head of History. I am an Honorary Curatorial Fellow to University Museums, and I have previously served in various roles including School Director of Postgraduate Research and Deputy Head of School.

A native of Toronto and a graduate of Queen's University at Kingston, Canada (2001), I completed a MPhil (2002) and PhD (2008) at Trinity Hall, Cambridge.

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Memberships and Affiliations

Internal Memberships

Dr Jackson Armstrong has served as: 

  • Head of History (2023-)
  • History Research lead (2022-2024) 
  • History Postgraduate Research lead (2020, 1 semester; 2022-2023)
  • Enterprise & Innovation Champion for DHPA and member of (University) Enterprise & Innovation Committee (2022-2023)
  • Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation Awards, review panel member (2021-2023)
  • History Postgraduate Research and Postgraduate Taught lead (2022, 1 semester)
  • Deputy Head of School (2017-2020)
  • School Director of Postgraduate Research (2018-2020)
  • Postgraduate Officer (PGO) (2020, 2 semesters)
  • Undergraduate Programme Coordinator for History (2016-2017, 3 semesters)
  • Honorary Curatorial Fellow, Museums and Special Collections (2012-)
External Memberships

Dr Jackson Armstrong serves as: 

  • External Examiner (MSc Genealogical, Palaeographic & Heraldic Studies), University of Strathclyde (2022-)
  • Advisory Group member, The Fifteenth Century Conference (2021-)
  • The Burn Management Committee member, as University of Aberdeen representative (2019-)

Completed roles:

Prizes and Awards

External awards

BAFTA Scotland Awards Nomination (Game) for Strange Sickness (2022 BAFTA Scotland Awards)

Scottish Games Awards Nomination (longlist), Creativity Award, for Strange Sickness (2022 Scottish Games Awards)

Royal Historical Society, Whitfield Prize 2021 (joint winner), for England's Northern Frontier: Conflict and Local Society in the Fifteenth-Century Scottish Marches (Cambridge, 2020).

University of Aberdeen awards

Best Postgraduate Taught Lecturer Award (Nomination) (2024 Excellence Awards)

Best Lecturer (Award winner) in the 2016-2017 Aberdeen University Students Association Student-Led Teaching Awards.


Research Overview

I am 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. I am particularly curious about regions typically considered to be ‘peripheral’. I lead the Aberdeen Burgh Records Project which investigates Aberdeen's late medieval civic archives, and much of my work to date has concerned the fifteenth-century Anglo-Scottish borderlands, and the themes of frontiers and conflict. My book, England's Northern Frontier (2020) was joint winner of the Whitfield Prize. 

I was co-producer, historian and supporting writer for the game Strange Sickness, which received a BAFTA Scotland Awards nomination in 2022.

I am co-founder of the Aberdeen Humanities Fund, created in 2012. This initiative is related to my enthusiasm for advancing use and understanding of historical collections within the academy across different disciplines, and among wider audiences.


Research Areas

Accepting PhDs

I am currently accepting PhDs in History.

Please get in touch if you would like to discuss your research ideas further.

Email Me


Accepting PhDs

Past Research

I am additionally interested in life writing and in 2004 I edited and published, as Seven Eggs Today, the diaries of a nineteenth-century Canadian woman. During my postgraduate research at the University of Cambridge I held a doctoral fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.


My current supervision areas are: History.

Dr Armstrong welcomes approaches from prospective postgraduate students. He is currently supervising five PhD students.

PhD (and other research) theses supervised to completion (by year of viva):

2021    Dr Dan Cutts, “Layered kingship in early Anglo-Saxon England” (took over lead supervision in 2020 from D Dumville, with D Parsons as external second supervisor)

2020    Dr Deniz Cem Gülen, “Understanding Knýtlinga Saga” (second supervisor with M Gelting, S Brink, L Collinson, and R O’Connor)

2019    Dr Alexander Crawford, “Comites, curiales, and kings: the role of Earls in the Scottish Royal Court, 1153-1249” (co-supervised with A J Macdonald)

2019    (Archaeology MSc by Research) Dr John Barrett: “The Civilisation of Moray: Burghs in the landscape and the landscape of burghs, cc 1150-1250” (co-supervised with J Oliver)

2018    Dr Mads Heilskov, “The commemoration of the lay elite in the late medieval Danish realm, c. 1340-1536 rituals, community and social order” (second supervisor with M Gelting)

2016    Dr Amy Hayes, “The late medieval Scottish Queen, c.1371-c.1513” (co-supervised with A J Macdonald)

Funding and Grants

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 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 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 
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

I regularly participate in teaching on, or lead, 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           Honours dissertation supervision
  • 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
  • Level 5           MLitt dissertation supervision

I received the award for Best Lecturer (2016-2017) in the Aberdeen U1niversity Students Association Student-Led Teaching Awards. I was nominated for Best Postgraduate Taught Lecturer in the 2024 Excellence Awards.

My teaching involves collaboration with colleagues in History and outside of the department, including across other Schools in the University and with Museums & Special Collections. In my level three (Stewart Scotland), level four special subject (Peacemaking and Bloodfeud) and level five (Approaching Archives) modules I work closely with Museums & Special Collections for class visits to consult examples of archives and rare books, and I also work closely with Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Archives for class visits to engage with archival materials. These visits are regularly praised by students as among the highlights of the course.

I embrace teaching and assessment methods which encourage collaborative learning and creative work, for example a session in History in Practice where students critically explore the relationship between History and gaming, a session in Stewart Scotland where students play assigned roles to enact ‘a day in court’ in late medieval Scotland, and in the same course a team-based assessment to work together to analyse and interpret the Aberdeen Registers Online: 1398-1511.


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Books and Reports

Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings

Contributions to Journals

Contributions to Specialist Publications

Non-textual Forms