Dr Tom Turpie


History University of Stirling, Stirling, FK9 4LA

Dr Tom Turpie

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About me

About me

A native of south east London, I moved to Scotland in 2001 to take my undergraduate degree, choosing Stirling partly as the result of a very sunny (February) open day. During my undergraduate years I was fortunate to undertake a year abroad at the University of Kansas.

It was at Stirling that I developed my passion for medieval, and specifically Scottish, history and after graduating in 2005 I decided to take this interest further. Moving to Edinburgh I completed a MSc in Medieval History and then a PhD which explored the role of local and national saints’ cults and shrines in the devotional culture of late medieval and early modern Scotland.

After completing my doctorate at Edinburgh in 2011, I returned to the University of Stirling, first working as a researcher on the AHRC funded Corpus of Scottish Medieval Parish Churches (2012-2013), and subsequently as a Teaching Assistant, Researcher and Lecturer.

As a freelance historian, I have also collaborated on a number of projects outside of academia, writing short books on the Declaration of Arbroath (2020), a guidebook for Dunfermline, and collaborating on large projects including the Family Names UK Project (2013-2014), the Fife Pilgrim Way (2016), Kilrenny, Anstruther and Cellardyke Burgh Survey (2016-2017) and Inverkeithing Community Burgh Survey (2020-).

Community Contribution

Project Historian, Inverkeithing Community Burgh Survey
Northlight Heritage and Fife Council

The Inverkeithing Community Burgh Survey is the latest in the Scottish Burgh Survey Series. It provides an exciting opportunity for Inverkeithing’s community to share a journey of exploration and discover the fascinating history and archaeology of the town. The results will be published in a book. There have be opportunities for people to volunteer, learn, contribute and participate in four key areas of activity: Archaeological Excavations – take part in a dig on your doorstep! Help uncover and analyse what past residents of Inverkeithing left behind, hid or threw away. Archive Research – document detectives, learn how to access and use historic documents and maps to reveal Inverkeithing’s most important stories. Standing Building Surveys – learn how to read buildings, understand the significance of built evidence, and help record the Town House and Friary buildings Oral Histories – help collect and preserve memories of Inverkeithing’s places and people. As Project Historian, Dr Turpie is; • Responsible for the historical research training and supervision of volunteers • coproduction of the Burgh Survey


PhD in History
University of Edinburgh

MSc in Medieval History
University of Edinburgh

BA (Hons) History
University of Stirling

Other Project

Project Historian. Kilrenny and Anstruther Burgh Survey

• Project historian on the Public History enterprise, Kilrenny, Anstruther and Cellardyke Burgh Survey • Role involved historical research on Anstruther and Kilrenny and co-authoring the survey monograph due for publication in 2017 • Role also included organising and supervising local volunteer involvement in the project and supplying material for social media and project marketing


My research concentrates on later medieval and early renaissance Scotland, its social, religious and political history. I am interested in how this society functioned, and particularly how the people and political and social structures of pre-modern Scotland understood and coped with the cataclysmic environmental, religious and political changes of the 14th to 17th centuries.

My primary research interest is the cult of the saints, trying to understand why particular saints and saint types were venerated by particular people (or groups of people) at particular times, or why long established cults declined. More recently I have developed a keen interest in the response to infectious disease (esp Plague), climate stresses and warfare in pre-modern Scotland.

In general, my research aims to respond to Steve Boardman and Michael Lynch's statement (2000) that ‘most pressing need for medievalists is to extend their agenda beyond politics and lordship and to move towards a more complete account of Scottish society as a whole'.

Working with community groups and other heritage stakeholders has also helped me to develop a strong interest in how Scotland's pre-modern past is used in the present, and can be utilised in the future.

Outputs (19)


Manual / Guide

Turpie T (2023) Your Guide to Dunfermline. [file:///D:/Dunfermline%20Heritage%20Trust/Digital%20Version%20A5%2032pp%20DHTP%20Your%20Guide%20Booklet%20AW_SP.pdf]. Dunfermline: Dunfermline Heritage Trust, p. 30.


Turpie T (2023) ‘St Ninian; Scotland’s Forgotten Patron Saint’,. [https://www.historyscotland.com/store/back-issues/history-scotland/history-scotland-vol23issue1-janfeb23-issue-129-1/] History Scotland Magazine.

Conference Proceeding

Watson E & Turpie T (2020) Putting Historians into Work. A discipline-specific example of embedding employability at the centre of the student lifecycle in Higher Education. In: Norton S & Dalrymple R (eds.) Enhancing Graduate Employability: a case study compendium. Advance HE Employability Symposium: Pedagogy for Employability, York, 29.04.2019-29.04.2019. York: Advance HE, pp. 33-39. https://cris.brighton.ac.uk/ws/portalfiles/portal/8766873/AdvHE_Case_study_compendium_1580306728.pdf#page=35

Research Report

Penman MA, Utsi EC & Turpie T (2020) In Search Of The Royal Mausoleum At The Benedictine Abbey Of Dunfermline Fife: Medieval Liturgy, Antiquarianism, and a Ground-Penetrating Radar Pilot Survey, 2016-19 (2020). Dunfermline Abbey Church and Kirk Session; Historic Environment Scotland; Fife Council; Dunfermline Heritage Partnership; GWS BArrow Award; Strathmartine Trust; Royal Society of Edinburgh; Hunter Archaeological Trust; Faculty of Arts & Humanities, University of Stirling. https://dunfgpr.stir.ac.uk/; University of Stirling Research respository; Historic Environment Scotland CANMORE database; Dunfermline Abbey Church website; dunfermline.com.

Book Chapter

Turpie T (2016) Scottish and British? The Scottish Authorities, Richard III and the Cult of St Ninian in Late Medieval Scotland and Northern England. In: Penman M, Buchanan K & Dean L (eds.) Medieval and Early Modern Representations of Authority in Scotland and The British Isles. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 124-140. https://www.routledge.com/Medieval-and-Early-Modern-Representations-of-Authority-in-Scotland-and/Buchanan-Dean/p/book/9781472424488

Book Chapter

Turpie T (2016) North-eastern Saints in the Aberdeen Breviary and the Historia Gentis Scotorum of Hector Boece: Liturgy, history and religious practice in late medieval Scotland. In: Geddes J (ed.) Medieval Art, Architecture and Archaeology in the Dioceses of Aberdeen and Moray. The British Archaeological Association Conference Transactions. Leeds: Maney Publishing, pp. 239-247. https://www.routledge.com/Medieval-Art-Architecture-and-Archaeology-in-the-Dioceses-of-Aberdeen/Geddes/p/book/9781138640689



I currently coordinate the second year module, HISU9X4 Back to the Future; Putting History and Heritage to Work, and support teaching on HISU9A1 For the Lion: Scotland in the British Isles and Europe 1100-1542 and HERPP07 Understanding and Managing Historic Environments: a Scottish Perspective.

In the past I have also supervised MSc Heritage and BA History Dissertations, and taught on War, Famine. Disease and Death, c.1250-1650, Castles: Power and Authority, Landscapes and Contexts, The Stewart Kings of Scotland, 1424-1513, Scotland in the Age of Wallace and Bruce, Reputations in History, Concepts of History: themes and transformations and The making of modern Britain, 1707 – 2000: an introduction


Module Coordinator
University of Stirling

Coordinated module HISU9X4 Back to the Future; putting History and Heritage to Work

HIS9P5 The Stewart Kings of Scotland, 1424 - 1513

HIST07001 Medieval Scotland
University of Edinburgh

Preparing and leading seminars of 12-14 students on Level one course; Medieval Scottish History. Roles also involved providing advice on essay writing, oral performance and assessing and providing feedback on written work and presentations.

U03750 Introduction to Medieval Europe 2
University of Edinburgh

Preparing and leading seminars of 10-12 students on Level Two course; Introduction to Medieval Europe 2 (and in 2010 IME 2a in new format). Roles also involved providing advice on essay writing, oral performance and assessing and providing feedback on written work and presentations