I have a wide range of Scottish historical interests having taken my MA in Scottish History at the University of St Andrews (1995) followed by a PhD (1999) there on one of the major historiographical gaps in medieval Scottish history, the reign of David II (1329-71), son of Robert the Bruce. This work was heavily influenced by the detailed political studies-in-the round of Dr Norman Macdougall and other St Andrews historians. However, in the course of this research my interests have branched out and I have become particularly fascinated by the topic of medieval lay piety in Scotland, especially the patterns of worship of late medieval Scottish kings and their subjects. This has drawn me in turn to themes such as saints' cults and images, liturgy, pilgrimage, monastic identity and cartulary records, and commemoration. I have tried to explore many of these topics for Scottish history by making direct comparisons with contemporary England, Ireland and continental Europe (helping me ‘fill-in-the-gaps' by analogy in the often patchy Scottish evidence): this is an approach I hope to encourage in my postgraduate students. But I have also returned to a number of my earlier historical loves: national identity and the (de-)construction of iconic reputations, late 18th/early 19th century civic society, and above all the Great War, the latter first inspired by a visit to the battlefields while in High School and a 14th birthday gift of the Illustrated Press History of the Great War (13 volumes, £20 from Oxfam, with school certificates from someone named Haig from the 1920s left inside!). Finally, I am also a member of a number of academy bodies, including the Scottish Medievalists and the Scottish History Society, as well as a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.
Saltire Society Prize, History Book of the Year, 2005 for 'David II. 1329-71' (Tuckwell Press, 2004).
Teachers' Lectures Series Semester course of lectures re elements of new curriculum for excellence, e.g. Scottish Wars of Independence 1286-1329, taught 2011 to 15 teachers/heritage practitioners.
National Trust for Scotland Bannockburn Academic Advisory Board Advisory Panel of academics/professionals re representation of Bannockburn Battlefield Heritage Site 2011-.
Divisional / Faculty Contribution
Deputy Head (History/History & Politics) I acted as Deputy Head for History in 2088, 2009, 2010; then Deputy for History & Politics 2011-14.
Director/Mentor of Research (History and Politics) Since 2003 I have served across eight academic sessions (excluding research leave), forHistory (to 2010) and then History and Politics), co-ordintaing and authoring RAE/REF statements, compiling research activity data, benchmarking, mentoring colleagues and RPGs' grant applications and project development, representing my division at Scholl and occasionally University Research Committee level.
1995-1999 Ph.D., University of St Andrews, funded by a Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland Scholarship: 'The Kingship of David II of Scotland, 1329-71' [Approx. 160,000 words].
1995 First Class MA Honours (Distinction) in Scottish History - Miller Prize for the Best Honours Graduate in the Faculty of Arts, University of St Andrews.
Event / Presentation
Organisor/host at University of Stirling, 13-14 August 2011.. CONFERENCE - Monuments and Monumentality in Medieval and Early Modern Europe
Conference Organiser/Host at Stirling, 23 March 2002. CONFERENCE - The Thistle and the Rose, 1502-13
Co-author with James Smyth, Sarah Bromage, Kirsty McAlister, Jane Cameron, part of Lest Scotland Forgets project.. A Stirling 100. Exhibition of the fallen of the Great War, University of Stirling Nov. 2012-Feb 2013.
Co-organiser/author of exhibition with Dr James Smyth, SNPG and IPSOS MORE poll data commissioned by Reputations in Scottish History project.. Great Scot! En Exhibition of Scottish Reputations, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Spring 2006.
Co-organisor/host with Dr Andy King, University of Durham, 1-2 September 2004. CONFERENCE - New Perspectives on Anglo-Scottish Relations in the Long Fourteenth Century
Co-organisor/host with Dr James Smyth, University of Stirling, 28 June 2003.. CONFERENCE - Reputations in Scottish History
Co-organisor/host with Dr Frederique Lachaud (Sorbonne) at Institute of Historical Research, London, 6-8 April 2006.. CONFERENCE - Making and Breaking the Rules: Succession in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, c.1000-c.1650
Other Academic Activities
Secretary, Scottish History Society
Board Member, Centre for Scottish Studies (Director 2010-12)
Fellow of the Royal Historical Society 2011-
Supervision of Research Assistants
SangDong Lee, PhD, The Development of Dunfermline as a Cult Centre, c.1070-c.1406
Lucinda Dean, PhD, Representations of Authority in Medieval and Early Modern Scotland (AHRC)
Amy Hayes, M. Res, Margaret of Denmark, queen of Scotland (d.1486)
Nicola Scott, M. Phil & PhD, The Court and Household of James I of Scotland, 1424-37 (AHRB/C)
Samuel Muir Shaw, M.Res, The Earls of Dunbar c.1283-c.1368
Amanda Beam, M. Phil & PhD, The Balliol Dynasty, c.1210-c.1364
Lisa Shaw, M.Res, The Cult of Chivalry in Fourteenth century Scotland
My main project at the moment is a (prequel) study of the reign of Robert I (1306-29) for Yale UP, a book which will aim to focus much more upon the last fifteen years of Bruce's reign (after the battle of Bannockburn) and reposition such key themes as wider European political change, religion and the environment as factors in re-analysing his kingship and his relations with the Scottish ‘community of the realm'. I am organising a 2011 conference with Stirling colleague Richard Oram on ‘Monuments and Monumentality in Medieval and Early Modern Europe': my own contribution to this event will focus on my investigation of the development of Dunfermline Abbey as a Scottish royal mausoleum. I am also collaborating for a second time with Dr Frederique Lachaud (of Montpellier University) in organising a comparative European medieval conference on the theme of ‘Absentee Power'.Beyond the medieval period, I am collaborating with Stirling colleagues on Lest Scotland Forgets: recording Scotland's Great War Memorials: here my own particular curiosity lies in exploring the many different ways - beyond conventional stone monuments with name plaques - in which communities commemorated their war dead.Finally, I am also engaged with colleagues in creating a range of support materials and workshops/degree units for High School Teachers developing their skills and knowledge in History and Modern Studies for the new Curriculum for Excellence.
Penman MA (2017) The shape of the state in medieval Scotland, 1124-1290 (Book Review)., Review of: The shape of the state in medieval Scotland, 1124–1290, by Alice Taylor, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2016, 525 pp. ISBN 978-0-1987-4920-2, Parliaments, Estates and Representation, 37 (3), pp. 339-340. https://doi.org/10.1080/02606755.2017.1338848.
Penman MA & Lachaud F (2017) Introduction: Absentee Authority across Medieval Europe. In: Lachaud F, Penman M (ed.). Absentee Authority Across Medieval Europe, Woodbridge, England: Boydell and Brewer, pp. 1-20.
Reid N & Penman MA (2017) Guardian – Lieutenant – Governor: Absentee Monarchy and Proxy Power in Scotland’s Long Fourteenth Century. In: Lachaud F, Penman M (ed.). Absentee Authority Across Medieval Europe, Woodbridge, England: Boydell and Brewer, pp. 191-218.
Penman MA (2017) Barbour's Bruce and Its Cultural Context: Politics, Chivalry and Literature in Late Medieval Scotland (Book Review)., Review of: Barbour’s Bruce and Its Cultural Context: Politics, Chivalry and Literature in Late Medieval Scotland, edited by S Boardman and S Foran. DS Brewer: Cambridge, 2015, Pp. xi, 244 pp. ISBN 9781843843573, American Historical Review, 122 (3), pp. 913-915. https://doi.org/10.1093/ahr/122.3.913.
Penman MA (2016) Who is this King of Glory? Robert I of Scotland (1306-29), Holy Week and the consecration of St Andrews Cathedral. In: Buchanan K, Dean L, Penman M (ed.). Medieval and Early Modern Representations of Authority in Scotland and the British Isles, London: Routledge, pp. 85-104.
Penman MA (2014) The resonance of Scottish History and Heritage in current Referendum discourse. CARMEN Annual Meeting 2014, 12.9.2014 - 13.9.2014, Stirling, Scotland. Available from: http://www.carmen-medieval.net/cz/carmen-annual-meeting-%E2%80%93-stirling-scotland-12-13-september-2014-a-report-1404041589.html
Penman MA (2013) Book review of: The Firth of Forth - An Environmental History, by T.C. Smout and M. Stewart (Glasgow: Birlinn, 2012, 240pp, ISBN 9781780270647), Reviews in History, Review number: 1425.
Penman MA (2013) A Programme for Royal Tombs in Scotland? A Review of the Evidence, c.1093-c.1542. In: Penman M (ed.). Monuments and Monumentality across Medieval and Early Modern Europe, Donington, UK: Shaun Tyas, pp. 239-253.
I have now managed to develop a run of courses progressing from first (level 8) to fourth (level 10) year which provides a chronological coverage of medieval Scotland from c.1286 to. c.1542. These courses have a predominantly political focus but have increasingly begun to draw on cultural and religious themes, reflecting my research interests; but they also rely heavily on comparisons with contemporary England and other European realms. As each course prgresses there is an increasing emphasis placed upon students' greater and independent use of primary source materials and more demanding secondary reading. These research-led teaching themes link closely to my supervision interests on our M.Res and PhD programmes.
HTRP11 M.Res Historical Research - Historiography
HTRP03 M.Res Historical Research - Dissertation
HTRP12 Sources and Methods
HTRP14 M.Res Historical Research - Research Skills
HTRP16 M.Res Historical Research - Medieval Scotland c.1100-c.1600
HIS9X7/X8 History Dissertation
HIS9S3 Reputations in History
HIS9Q4 Scotland in the Age of Wallace and Bruce 1286-1329
HIS9P6 The Stewart Kings of Scotland II: The Glory of Princely Governing, 1488-1542?
HIS9Q7 Dark and Drublie Days: Bruce and Stewart Scotland, 1329-1406
HIS9S1 Kingship and Nationhood – Scotland c.1100-1513
HIS9S2 Renaissance to Revolution – Scotland 1513-1689