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Pilgrimage in Late Medieval Scotland

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

A one-day course exploring the phenomenon of pilgrimage through the lens of late medieval Scotland, using a variety of original sources and including insights into local sites and landmarks.

Course Details

Content of Course

The idea of pilgrimage, usually involving a journey to a holy place, is common to many human societies. This one day course will provide an insight into the important role of pilgrimage in late medieval Scotland. Students will learn about the structures of belief that underpinned medieval pilgrimage, as well as more practical elements of the pilgrim experience. There will also be an opportunity to explore a range of sources, where necessary in translation.

1. Introduction.

2. Pilgrimage in the Middle Ages: The development of an idea.

3. The pilgrim experience.

4. How do we know? Exploring the evidence.

5. Centres of pilgrimage: Whithorn and St Andrews.

6. Case study: James IV, the pilgrim king.

7. The end of pilgrimage? The impact of the Reformation.

Teaching method(s)

The course will be taught via interactive lecture, illustrated with slides, and group discussion. Students will be introduced to a range of historical sources which they will analyse and discuss.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Understand the key features of pilgrimage in late medieval Scotland;

  • Place these in a broader geographical and historical context;

  • Handle and analyse historical source material.


Core Readings


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.