Reformation and record-keeping: Dundee’s sixteenth-century burgh books

Amy L. Blakeway*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Dundee was Scotland’s second-wealthiest burgh for much of the early modern period. The English invasion and burning of the town during the Anglo-Scottish wars of the 1540s led to the loss of a significant portion of its archives; more materials were destroyed when General Monck sacked the town in 1651. Despite these losses, Dundee remains possessed of an extensive and interesting sixteenth-century archive. This article undertakes a close examination of the extant pre-Reformation materials originating with the burgh council, unpicking the relationship which various copies have to each other, to explore how record keeping re-started in 1550 after the English had finally withdrawn from the nearby fort of Broughty Craig. In doing so it reveals an adaptive and flexible record keeping culture, exposing, in particular, the impact of religious reformation in 1559 on municipal records.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-49
Number of pages18
JournalScottish Archives
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2023


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