Dr Michael Penman

Senior Lecturer

History University of Stirling, Stirling, FK9 4LA

Dr Michael Penman

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About me

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, burial and monumental tombs, cartulary records, and subsequent heritage 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).

Community Contribution

National Trust for Scotland Bannockburn Academic Advisory Board
Advisory Panel of academics/professionals re representation of Bannockburn Battlefield Heritage Site 2011-.

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.

Divisional / Faculty Contribution

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.

Deputy Head (History/History & Politics)
I acted as Deputy Head for History in 2088, 2009, 2010; then Deputy for History & Politics 2011-14.


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.

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].

Event / Presentation

Organisor/host at University of Stirling, 13-14 August 2011.. CONFERENCE - Monuments and Monumentality in Medieval and Early Modern Europe

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

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-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.

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.

Other Academic Activities

Secretary, Scottish History Society

Board Member, Centre for Scottish Studies (Director 2010-12)

Professional membership

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)

Samuel Muir Shaw, M.Res, The Earls of Dunbar c.1283-c.1368

Nicola Scott, M. Phil & PhD, The Court and Household of James I of Scotland, 1424-37 (AHRB/C)

Lisa Shaw, M.Res, The Cult of Chivalry in Fourteenth century Scotland

Amanda Beam, M. Phil & PhD, The Balliol Dynasty, c.1210-c.1364

Research programmes

Research centres/groups

Research themes