04: “From Mull to Munlochy: Stepping from the known to the unknown background in understanding local history” by Jo Currie

This talk is about the childhood inheritance that made the author want to look deeper into the background of Mull, and how that had a bearing on the people she chose to write about. How working in bookshops, university libraries, publishing , and even the shadowy world of ghost writing led inevitably to an obsessive interest in the history of Mull individuals and the creation of a card file of names which were waiting only to be explained and fleshed out by two of the most outstanding collections of manuscript letters ever to reach the safe havens of British Record Offices. 
Jo speculates about the long lives that would be required to do justice to such information, and then, because the two enterprises under examination are so different, Mull so familiar, Munlochy at first a mere name, but a place in the Black Isle not unknown, this talk surveys all the means of discovery, given the tail end of a life only. Jo appeals to listeners for help in finding future historians who may be able to step in to secure the survival of an extraordinary heritage.

Lecture 03

“The Highland dimension to Empire with a Jacobite twist, 1707-53”

by Prof. Allan Macinnes,

9 December 2021 @ 19:30 GMT.

While the Union of 1707 is particularly identified in Scotland with the Whigs and the Presbyterians, the predominantly Episcopalian and Jacobite Highlands also took advantage of the political and commercial opportunities opening up in the British Empire in the first half of the eighteenth century. This talk explores the incursions of leading clans and satellite families in America, Asia and Africa, not just in terms of their acquisitive geographic presence but also of their colonial engagement in commodity exchange. Case studies, drawn from different Highland districts, examine the integral and the peripheral participation of clans in Empire and how this participation impacted on political support up to the last Jacobite plot in 1753.

02: “James VI and I, and the creation of a ‘British’ maritime policy – The view from the west” by Prof. Alison Cathcart

“James VI and I, and the creation of a ‘British’ maritime policy – The view from the west”

, by Prof. Alison Cathcart,

11 November 2021 @ 19:30 GMT.

When James VI of Scotland succeeded to the thrones of England and Ireland in 1603 he inherited an English fleet of agile, fairly nimble vessels, capable of carrying a cargo but also armed with cannon. Given James’ emphasis, post-1603, on ‘British’ projects, it is understandable that James sought to extend this ‘Britishness’ to maritime affairs across the archipelago too, especially as he had now the means to do so. The general narrative is that there was a distinct change in policing of Scottish waters post-1603, and an initial decline of piracy, and certainly James did attempt to coordinate both men and vessels across his three kingdoms and their dominions. Taking the view of the so-called ‘periphery’, this talk seeks to examine such a coordinated policy, and its success or otherwise, from the perspective of the western Highlands and Isles and the north of Ireland and bring more nuance to our understanding of James VI and I’s maritime policy in the early seventeenth century.

01: “The origins of plaid wearing in Scotland” by David Caldwell

Dr Caldwell reviews documentary and pictorial evidence from the thirteenth to the sixteenth century concerning the wearing of plaids by men. Initially, sixteenth-century sources that specifically use the term ‘plaid’ are examined, in order to build a working definition, and this is then applied to earlier sources in languages other than Gaelic, where the terminology is uncertain. The early sources provide insight regarding the origins of traditions associated with plaid wearing. It is suggested that the origins of Highland military dress lie in the West Highlands and Islands in the mid-sixteenth century with the adoption of tartan plaids by local warriors.