The Strathmartine Press
The first book to come from the Stathmartine Press was Crail and its Fisheries, 1550 – 1600, by Professor Thomas Riis. Subsequent publications now available are: Pittenweem Priory by R Anthony Lodge, Law, Lordship and Tenure by Alan R Borthwick and Hector L MacQueen, and Arbroath Abbey and Its Abbots by Ishbel Barnes. (Links go to Amazon website)
All titles are also available directly from the Strathmartine Centre or good bookshops.
Crail and Its Fisheries 1550-1600
Crail is an ancient Scottish trading and fishing burgh, situated in East Fife at the outermost edge of the Firth of Forth. Its medieval coat of arms is the earliest depiction of a herring fishing boat in Europe. In this book Professor Thomas Riis of the University of Kiel shows how the fishing operations were organised in the sixteenth century. The dangerous waters off the Northern Isles and in the Minch attracted in late autumn the fishers of herring and cod from the whole of East Fie, but particularly from Crail. Their financial backers were the local merchants, or sometimes capitalists from the Edinburgh area; the wood for the barrels was brought to Crail by the coopers directly from Norway; and the catch, cured with Scottish or French salt, was often sold in Baltic cities like Danzig. Using the Crail burgh court books, Riis has reconstructed in remarkable detail the economic ventures of brave and enterprising Scots in the century of the Reformation.
R Anthony Lodge
Pittenweem Priory has a history stretching back to the 12th century, when it was established as a manorial base for a priory on the Isle of May, a daughter-house of Reading Abbey. The priory was transferred to the great Augustinian priory of St Andrews in the 14th century, after which the island community was disbanded. The manorial function continued in Pittenweem, however, and by the mid-15th century a small monastic community in its own right had been established there, which was maintained for over a century, until after the Protestant reformation. This is the first full-scale treatment of the priory’s history, with meticulous research marrying archival, archaeological and architectural material to produce a work which seamlessly binds together the rich religious, political and social history of the community in both local and national contexts.
Law, Lordship and Tenure: The Fall of the Black Douglases
Alan R Northwick and Hector L MacQueen
This book is a new interpretation of the fall of later medieval Scotland’s greatest noble family, the Black Douglases, in 1455. The discussion reaches back in time to over a century before, as the family began its rise to the pinnacle of Scottish society. The killing of William eighth earl of Douglas by King James II in 1452 receives particular attention, as also the way in which he, his brother James (his successor as earl), and their predecessors exercised their power and authority as earls and lords. The identifiable failings of the Douglases in this regard are the key to understanding the catastrophe that befell the family in 1455. The book’s principal analytical tool is the law relevant to these events and the specific meaning and significance of the documents (which is often a legal question) that evidence them. This form of analysis is at least as relevant as any based more on contests for raw power, with ‘legal consciousness’ a vital feature of Scottish noble society.
Arbroath Abbey and Its Abbots
This is the first history of Scotland’s richest abbey. It describes how religious worship in Angus developed from Pictish Christianity into the new Roman faith encouraged by the foundation of the abbey in 1178, richly endowed by King William. The development of the abbey’s estates and wealth through the centuries, its influence on the men and women living on the abbey’s lands, and the reasons for the abbey’s centrality to medieval Scottish politics, religion and education are all thoroughly explored, ending with a discussion of the sixteenth-century Scottish Reformation, and the parts played by the abbots, the abbey and its religious community in that religious and political revolution.
Other titles available
In addition to the publications of the Strathmartine Press, the Strathmartine Centre also has a small range of publications for sale, written by researchers connected to the Trust. These can be purchased direct from the Centre’s office, or can be posted out at an additional cost of £3 postage and packing.
Reid, Norman H. Alexander III, First Among Equals (Edinburgh, 2019) (£40)
Cant, R.G. The University of St Andrews, A Short History (The Strathmartine Trust, 2002) (£14)
Crawford, Barbara E. ed. Church, Chronicle and Learning in Medieval and Early Renaissance Scotland, Conference proceedings presented to Professor D.E.R.Watt (The Mercat Press, 1999) (£5)
Hulse, Elizabeth, ed. Thinking with Both Hands: Sir Daniel Wilson in the Old World and the New (University of Toronto Press, 1999) (£5)
McKay, Alex Cullykhan, Troup Castle and Fort Fiddes (Banffshire Field Club, 2017) (£18)