Dr Jackson Armstrong

Dr Jackson Armstrong
Dr Jackson Armstrong

Dr Jackson Armstrong

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

Senior Lecturer

Accepting PhDs


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

Room: 206


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. 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, Director of Postgraduate Research and Deputy Head of School.

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Memberships and Affiliations

Internal Memberships

Dr Jackson Armstrong has served as: 

  • History Postgraduate Research lead (2020, 1 semester; 2022-)
  • History Research lead (2022-)
  • History Postgraduate Research and Postgraduate Taught lead (2022, 1 semester)
  • Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation Awards, review panel member (2021-)
  • 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 has served as: 

Completed roles:

Prizes and 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).

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


Research Overview

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’. He leads the Aberdeen Burgh Records Project which investigates Aberdeen's late medieval civic archives, and much of his work to date has concerned the fifteenth-century Anglo-Scottish borderlands, and the themes of frontiers and conflict. His book, England's Northern Frontier (2020) was joint winner of the Whitfield Prize.

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 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


My current supervision areas are: History.

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

PhD 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)

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 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 
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 received the award for Best Lecturer (2016-2017) in the Aberdeen University Students Association Student-Led Teaching Awards.


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  • The Bennachie Colony: A Nineteenth-Century Informal Community in Northeast Scotland

    Oliver, J., Armstrong, J., Milek, K., Schofield, J. E., Vergunst, J., Brochard, T., Gould, A., Noble, G.
    International Journal of Historical Archaeology, vol. 20, no. 2, pp. 341-377
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Concepts of Kinship in Lancastrian Westmorland

    Armstrong, J. W.
    Political Society in Later Medieval England. Thompson, B., Watts, J. (eds.). Boydell Press, pp. 146-165, 20 pages
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters (Peer-Reviewed)
  • Review of A Military History of Scotland. Edited by Edward M. Spiers, Jeremy Crang, and Matthew Strickland.

    Armstrong, J. W.
    Scottish Historical Review, vol. 93, no. 2, pp. 312-314
    Contributions to Journals: Reviews of Books, Films and Articles
  • Text Analysis of Aberdeen Burgh Records 1530-1531

    Wyner, A. Z., Armstrong, J., MacKillop, A., Astley, P.
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Conference Proceedings
  • The Aberdeen Burgh Records Database

    Armstrong, J., Convery, S., Frankot, E. B. I., Macdonald, A. J., MacKillop, A., Simpson, A. R. C., Wilson, A. L. M.
    Non-textual Forms: Data Sets and Databases
  • Discovering the Archives

    Armstrong, J.
    Society and Ecology in the History of North-East Scotland. Shepherd, C. (ed.). The Bailies of Bennachie pp. 25-29, 5 pages.
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Other Contributions
  • The Justice Ayre in the Border Sheriffdoms, 1493–1498

    Armstrong, J. W.
    Scottish Historical Review, vol. 92, no. 1, pp. 1-37
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Review of 'Border Liberties and Loyalties: North-East England, c.1200–c.1400' by M.L. Holford and K.J. Stringer

    Armstrong, J.
    Scottish Historical Review, vol. 91, no. 1, pp. 168-170
    Contributions to Journals: Reviews of Books, Films and Articles
  • Travels in Canada: Journals of Rev. Patrick Bell LLD (1799–1869) kept during his visit to Canada, 1833-37, MS 2137

    Armstrong, J.
    The Library and Archive Collections of the University of Aberdeen. Beavan, I., Davidson, P., Stevenson, J. (eds.). Manchester: Manchester University Press pp. 318-319, 2 pages.
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Other Contributions
  • Review of Anna Groundwater, The Scottish Middle March, 1573–1625. Power, Kinship, Allegiance.

    Armstrong, J.
    Journal of Scottish Historical Studies, vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 244-247
    Contributions to Journals: Reviews of Books, Films and Articles
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Books and Reports

Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings

Contributions to Journals

Contributions to Specialist Publications

Non-textual Forms