Welcome to the wider world of pre-Modern Scottish studies online. Here you’ll find links to resources, societies and events relevant to Older Scots literature and culture.

Research Tools

DSL: Dictionaries of the Scots Language: includes the pre-1700 DOST (Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue) and the post-1700 SND (Scottish National Dictionary); offers both definitions and citations from original texts

Scottish Handwriting: an excellent guide to Scottish handwriting of the 16-18th centuries from the National Records of Scotland

Manuscripts from Scotland at the National Library of Scotland: fully digitized versions of 77 manuscripts from pre-Modern Scotland. Althoguh not all are written in Scots, this collection includes some of the most famous Older Scots literary anthologies such as the Asloan Manuscript (c. 1515-25) or the Bannatyne Manuscript (c. 1568)

An Atlas of Scottish History to 1707: maps of all kinds of things that give context to literary and historical texts: historical events themselves; linguistic boundaries between Gaelic, English/Scots and Norn; the foundation of (English-speaking) burghs; castles, baronies and lordships, and much more

Records of the Parliament of Scotland: see especially section 3. ‘I’m interested in researching the Scots language. What sort of material can I find in RPS?’

LAOS: Linguistic Atlas of Older Scots, Part 1: 1380-1500. This old website is not for the faint-hearted, but you can still access some revealing maps of the geographic distribution of certain variable forms in Older Scots. It was the sister project to the widely-used Linguistic Atlas of Late Medieval English

The Scottish Book Trade Index : database of people involved in printing in Scotland from its beginnings up to 1850, including printers, publishers, booksellers, bookbinders, printmakers, stationers, and papermakers

Societies, Studies and Projects

Scottish Text Society: has been publishing scholarly editions of earlier Scottish texts since 1884. Series 1-3 have been digitised and made available by the National Library of Scotland. Members receive new volumes against subscription; otherwise sold through Boydell & Brewer

Scottish Record Society: has been publishing calendars, indexes and texts of historical records since 1897: members receive new volumes against subscription. Volumes in their publication list labelled ‘Read Online’ are free digitisations; those labelled ‘electronic copy’ are available for purchase from Tanner Ritchie. The many notaries’ protocol books, in particular, offer fascinating glimpses of daily life in pre-modern Scotland and often have extensive quotations from the original Older Scots

Association for Scottish Literature: publishers of several key editions of Older Scots poets, including the works of William Dunbar and Sir David Lyndsay. Their ‘ScotNotes’ series includes brief guides to Robert Henryson, William Dunbar, and Sir David Lyndsay’s A Satire of the Three Estates

Studies in Scottish Literature: open-access journal based at the University of South Carolina: often features articles on Older Scots literature

International Review of Scottish Studies: open-access journal based at the Centre for Scottish Studies at the University of Guelph: the majority of its articles are on pre-Modern Scottish history and literature

Wee Windaes ‘A continuum o the Scots Leid’ from the National Library of Scotland

The Scottish Medievalists: a scholarly society for Scottish Medieval and Renaissance Studies. Holds an annual conference in January

Scots Language Centre / Centre for the Scots Leid : primarily Modern Scots, but houses the invaluable Aitken Papers, the collected writings by A. J. Aitken on the historical development of Scots. Papers curated and edited by Caroline Macafee

From Inglis to Scots: a University of Edinburgh study of the spelling variation of Older Scots c.1380-1500

Symposium for Seventeenth-Century Scottish Literatures: a postgraduate research association based at the University of Glasgow which hosted online symposia in 2021 and 2022

Historic Environment Scotland Blog: several of these engaging pieces look at pre-Modern Scotland

Soundyngs: Conversations on the History of Scottish Music

Esther Inglis (ca. 1570-1624): Calligrapher, Artist, Embroiderer, Writer: Inglis was famed for the unique, jewel-like manuscripts she produced for the elite society of her day. A research hub run by Dr Georgianna Ziegler

Bridging the Continental Divide: the Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum project: Scots, Gaelic and English were not the only languages of pre-Modern Scottish Literature — a vigorous tradition of Latin writing continued alongside them