Prof David Worthington

University of the Highlands and Islands Centre for History
Burghfield House
IV25 3HN
tel: +44 (0) 1847 889 624

Available to talk to the media about

  • The Highlands, Scotland and Europe (1500 - 1800)
  • The north of Scotland in the seventeenth century
  • Coastal history
  • Scottish-Polish historical relations
  • British and Irish diasporas
  • 'Central Europe' in history

In these languages

English, Polish


Professor Worthington is an historian of Scottish (and wider British and Irish) connections with central Europe (c.1500-c.1700). He researches and publishes also on the history of the firthlands of mainland northern Scotland from within a Coastal History context.

He completed his PhD in the Department of History, University of Aberdeen, in 2000, and, prior to taking up his position at the University of the Highlands and Islands, held the following posts: Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences Postdoctoral Fellow at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth (2001-2002); Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow at the University of Aberdeen (2005-2007); Visiting Professor on two separate occasions at Polish universities, in the cities of Kielce (2004-2005) and Wrocław (2007-2008).

Having arrived at the Centre for History as a lecturer in July 2008, he led on the development and launch of both the BA (Hons) History and Politics in 2010 and the online MLitt History of the Highlands and Islands in 2011. He has been programme leader for the latter ever since and now also leads on the MLitt History, the MLitt History and Archaeology of the Highlands and Islands, and, from 2017, the MLitt Coastal and Maritime Societies and Cultures.

Professor Worthington has been head of the Centre since 2011 and was awarded a readership in 2015.

Current research

Current plans include a collaborative project looking at cultural memory of Scottish emigrants in late medieval and early-modern Poland, an exploration of the arrival of sugar in the Highlands and Islands, and further projects - involving public talks, teaching, research and publications - on coastal history.

Selected publications

Edited volumes

  • The New Coastal History: Cultural and Environmental Perspectives from Scotland and Beyond (Palgrave MacMillan: London, 2017)
  • British and Irish Emigrants and Exiles in Europe, 1603-88 (Brill: Leiden, 2010)


  • British and Irish Experiences and Impressions of Central Europe, 1560-1688 (Ashgate: Aldershot, 2012)
  • Scots in Habsburg Service, 1618-1648 (Brill: Leiden, 2003)

Selected Chapters in Edited Volumes

  • ‘“Men of Noe Credit”? Scottish Highlanders in Poland-Lithuania, c.1500-1800’ in T.M. Devine and David Hesse eds., Scotland and Poland: Historical Encounters, 1500-2010 (Edinburgh, 2011)
  • ‘Alternative Diplomacy? Scottish exiles at the courts of the Habsburgs and their allies, 1618 to 1648’, in Steve Murdoch ed., Scotland and the Thirty Years’ War, (Leiden, 2001).

Selected Journal Articles

  • ‘The Settlements of the Beauly-Wick Coast and the Historiography of the Moray Firth’, The Scottish Historical Review, 95(2), (2016)
  • ‘Ferries in the Firthlands: Communications, Society and Culture Along a Northern Scottish Rural Coast (c.1600-1809)’, Rural History, 27(2) (2016)
  • ‘“Unfinished Work and Damaged Materials”: Historians and the Scots in the Commonwealth of Poland-Lithuania (1569-1795)', Immigrants & Minorities, 20(10) (2015)
  • ‘“All Our Dear Countrymen”? British and Irish Expatriates East of the Rhine as Recorded in the Triennial Travels of James Fraser of Kirkhill (1634-1709)’, Britain and the World, 6(1) (2013)
  • 'A Northern Scottish Maritime Region: The Moray Firth in the Seventeenth Century', The International Journal of Maritime History, 23(2) (2011)