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Title: Cosmo Innes and the sources of Scottish History c. 1825-1875
Author: Marsden, Richard
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis examines how primary sources were used to build conceptualisations of the Scottish past during the nineteenth century. To achieve this it focuses on the work of the record scholar and legal antiquary Cosmo Innes (1798-1874). Innes was a prolific editor of source material relating to parliament, the burghs, the medieval church, family history and the universities. He was also an authority on Scotland‘s legal history, an architectural antiquary, a practising lawyer, a university professor and one of Scotland‘s earliest photographers. Through an investigation of these activities, this thesis explores the ways in which Scots perceived their own history during the period of what Marinell Ash calls the 'strange death of Scottish history‘. What differentiates this study from previous investigations is its emphasis on the presentation and associated interpretation of primary sources, as opposed to institutional frameworks or secondary narratives. Innes put particular types of source to specific uses in an attempt to rehabilitate the tarnished reputation of Scottish history. However, he was not a radical operating on the intellectual fringes, but a respected mainstream figure who worked within the traditions of Enlightenment and the boundaries of Romanticism. He relied upon an institutional interpretation of history which placed abbeys, bishoprics, burghs, universities, families and the apparatus of law and government within broader narratives of national progress. Yet he also used both documentary and architectural sources as the basis for an imagistic and imaginative evocation of the textures of the past. Whilst Innes‘s work illustrates how conflicted Scottish historiography was in the period, it also shows how a prominent antiquary sought to heal those historiographical wounds. The thesis will demonstrate that many of his attempts met ultimately with failure, particularly those which tried to imbue the Scottish past with an ideological validity derived from Whiggism and Enlightenment. However, it will also argue that Scottish historical Romanticism, to which Innes was an important contributor, provided the basis for a broad consensus about the value of Scottish history in the later decades of the century. The significance of this romantic consensus has been neglected by recent scholarship, and the study therefore sheds new light on the 'strange death‘ that occurred in the 1840s and 1850s.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: DA Great Britain