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Edina Research Project

Over the summer two history students found themselves leafing through archival documents and grubbing around in graveyards. Margaret MacIver and Rhona McQueen were selected to participate in a national project designed to understand the background and perspectives of the ministers who wrote the 1791 Statistical Account of Scotland. Each minister was sent a questionnaire about their parish, covering queries about agriculture, geology and the ‘habits of the people’. These were collated in a series of volumes which now provides a fascinating insight into eighteenth-century Scotland. The project is being co-ordinated by EDINA. Both students researched men from their areas, in this case Moray and Lewis, so they could utilise local knowledge, museums and archives. Last year three students participated and we hope to provide the opportunity for more in the future. Rhona and Margaret were selected for the research skills they had developed and demonstrated in their undergraduate study, and the project has enabled them to add to their practical research experience on their CVs.

Margaret, above, says "This is a photo taken of me at Baile na Cille cemetery in Uig parish, Isle of Lewis. One of the ministers that I was researching for the project, served here for nearly 46 years and is buried here - Rev Hugh Munro born 16 April 1747 and died at the manse 1st May 1823 in his 76th year.  He served in Uig from 1778 - 1823, I am kneeling at he and his wife's grave stones. He must have been highly thought of by many of his parishioners as some called their sons Hugh or Uisdean after him. It is a very interesting spot for a number of reasons.  Baile na Cille church was built in 1829 and was able to accommodate 1000 people, this was at the height of the religious revivals in the 1820s. 1822 is known as Bliadhna an Fhaomaidh (the year of the swoonings)".

A research project by Scottish History student Morrison McKay makes the news!

Perth-based third year Scottish History student, Morrison McKay, has been researching one of Tayside's oldest legends, the Nine Maidens and the Dragon. Morrison used a variety of sources to research and analyse the variations of the legend and its historical importance to the region. Morrison says "The research project was undertaken in second year for the Traditional Custom and Belief module run by Dr Innes Kennedy. This module provided an amazing opportunity to undertake research outwith the University; I had a chance to go into local archives and engage with people in the local community. The legend itself is interesting as it exemplifies the changable nature of oral traditions; and has evidently made an impact on Dundee. Yet evidence regarding it is difficult to come by, therefore I had to rely on the sources I could find in archives, libraries, the local museum, and residents of the Strathmartine Parish. They were indeed very useful, and combined with reading regarding dragon symbolism and longevity of legends, I was able to trace the legend from its source to the present day. I feel that overall the project can bring a new awareness of the legend, as well as provide the beginnings of a more up to date analysis".

Read Morrison's story in the Dundee Courier.