Dr Tom Turpie


History University of Stirling, Stirling, FK9 4LA

Dr Tom Turpie

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About me

About me

I am a late medieval and early renaissance Scottish specialist with expertise in religious and urban history, and a strong interest in community engagement. I am particularly interested in how society functioned in the 12th to 17th centuries, and how the people and religious, economic, political and social structures of pre-modern Scotland understood and coped with the cataclysmic environmental, religious and political changes of that period.

It was at Stirling as an undergraduate 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. My research in this area has been heavily influenced by Eamon Duffy, and a most positive vision of the vitality of religious life in late medieval England that he has espoused in works such as 'Stripping of the Altars' (1992).

Since completing my doctorate at Edinburgh in 2011, I have worked on a series of research projects which have helped to broaden my interests to include late medieval religious practice and sacred landscapes more generally, medieval and early modern burghs, as well as a keen interest in the response to infectious disease (especially Plague), climate stresses and warfare in pre-modern Scotland.

Working 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 (2020/2023), 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-). 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, as well as methodologies for helping local communities to better understand and explain their own past.


RATE Teaching Award Nominations in various categories
University of Stirling

Nominated for Recognising Achievement in Teaching Excellent (RATE) Awards as below; 2024- Outstanding Academic Mentor 2021- Fantastic Feedback 2020- Excellence in teaching in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and Best Tutor 2019- Excellence in teaching in the Faculty of Arts & Humanities and Best Tutor 2017- Excellence in teaching in the Faculty of Arts & Humanities and Fantastic Feedback Award and I love my Tutor Award 2016- I love my Tutor Award and Excellence in teaching in the School of Arts & Humanities

Nomination Research Culture award in the category ‘Outstanding Collaborator’.
University of Stirling

Highly Commended Marsh Award for Community Archaeology Projects
Fife Council and Council for British Archaeology
The Inverkeithing Community Burgh Survey was winner of the Highly Commended Marsh Award for community archaeology projects (Council for British Archaeology (CBA) in 2021. Innovative archaeology outreach group recognised by National Awards | Fife Council

Jeremiah Dalziel prize for British History
University of Edinburgh
The prize is awarded annually to the most deserving students registered at the University of Edinburgh as candidates for a postgraduate degree in the field of British History. The award was received in 2011 for my dissertation entitled; ‘Scottish saints cults and pilgrimage from the Black Death to the Reformation, c.1349-1560’

Magnus Magnusson Essay Prize
The essay prize is named in memory of Magnus Magnusson KBE, scholar and journalist of the northern world and is awarded by the Scottish Society for Northern Studies. I was awarded the prize in 2011 for my essay; ‘The many lives of St Duthac of Tain. Tracing the origins of a late medieval Scottish saint’, Northern Studies, 44 (2013), 3-20

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

Wellbeing Through Heritage in Dunfermline and West Fife
Handbook introducing people to heritage and history volunteering opportunities and activities in Dunfermline and West Fife


PhD in History
University of Edinburgh

MSc in Medieval History
University of Edinburgh

BA (Hons) History
University of Stirling

Event / Presentation

Poor, small and plain or splendid and venerable buildings? The Parish Church in late medieval Fife

Saline and District Heritage Society, 22 November 2023

‘Splendid and venerable buildings: How to discover more about Scotland’s Medieval Parish Churches’,
National Records of Scotland
National Records of Scotland Seminar Series, 14 November 2022

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

Professional membership

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy


My research span the religious and economic history of pre-modern Scotland, as well as how this period is, and has been, used in a community and heritage context. I have a particular interest in;

a) the cult of the saints b) religious practice and belief in the wider population (beyond the political elite) c) medieval and early modern burghs and their international connections d) the impact and response to climate change and epidemic disease in the past

I am currently working on these main research projects;

i. The Parish Church in Late Medieval Scotland. Building on my work on the Corpus of Scottish Medieval Parish Churches (2012-2013) (https://arts.st-andrews.ac.uk/corpusofscottishchurches/index.php) and Sacred Landscapes of Fife (2020-2022) (https://sacredlandscapes.org/projects/sacred-landscapes-of-fife/), to explore what patronage and investment in these churches can tell us about the health of religious life in late medieval Scotland beyond the elite

ii. Devotion to the Saints, Piety and Religious Practice and the Late Medieval Crisis. Continuing my research into the trends in devotion to the saints in medieval Scotland, with a particular concern for connections between religious practice and pandemic disease, climate change and warfare

iii. Public and Community History. a) Exploring the public history application of medieval and early modern research (for example in pilgrim way projects, community history/archaeology projects such as Burgh Surveys and other publications) b) To further develop methodologies to help communities across Scotland access the past of their places through collaboration and co-production, c) explore and promote the Health and Wellbeing potential of Heritage Activities

Outputs (20)


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 following two modules;,

HISU9X4 Back to the Future; Putting History and Heritage to Work, and HISU9H3 Key to the Kingdom. The History and Heritage of Stirling

I also lecture and tutor on the large Scottish Medieval and Early Modern courses;

HIS9A1 For the Lion: Scotland in the British Isles and Europe, c.1100-1542 HIS9A2 Renaissance, Reformation & Revolution : Scotland 1542-1715

-provide lectures for the modern British history course; The making of modern Britain, 1707 – 2000: an introduction

-and research-led seminars for the Heritage MSc module; 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 a range of medieval and early modern modules and broader thematic modules listed below;

HISU9C2 Concepts of History: themes and transformations

HIS9S3 Reputations in History

HISU9J4 War, Famine. Disease and Death, c.1250-1650

HIS9Q4 Scotland in the Age of Wallace and Bruce 1286-1329

HIS9P5 The Stewart Kings of Scotland, 1424 - 1513

HISU9I6 Castles: Power and Authority, Landscapes and Contexts

HISU9H5 Medieval Archaeology and Heritage

HIS9X7/X8 History Dissertation

HERPPD2 MSc Heritage Dissertation


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