Scotland and the Flemish People Conference, 16-17 June

Claire Hawes
Friday 29 April 2016

The purpose of this blog posting is to share with readers the draft programme for the  conference that will take place in St Andrews on 16 and 17 June 2016.  There may still be some changes to the programme but it is now substantially in place. The goal of the conference is to bring the results of recent research on issues surrounding Scotland and the Flemish People into the public arena for comment and discussion.We are opening up a range of new topics that have not hitherto been discussed in the blog or other fora. There are a wide range of such topics and so there should be sessions that will be of interest to those attending the conference whether they be family historians, genetic genealogists, academics or local historians. The Gateway venue is ideal for networking with others interested in the theme. 

Registration for the conference is via our website:  

You can also contact us at [email protected]


Conference Programme

Thursday 16 June

09.00-09.45       Registration

09.45-10.00       Welcome

10.00-11.00       Plenary I: Prof. Jan Dumolyn (University of Ghent)                         

‘Flemish Immigration to Scotland and to Britain during the Middle Ages’ 

11.00-11.30       Coffee

11.30-13.00       Parallel Sessions I

  1. When and How the Flemish came to Scotland

A panel discussion chaired by Dr Alex Fleming (project co-sponsor and researcher) will address a number of issues surrounding the migration of Flemish people to Scotland at various times.

Dr David Dobson (Universities of St Andrews and Edinburgh), ‘Flemish Migration to Scotland: An Overview’.

Mr Charles Rigg (Biggar and Upper Clydesdale Museum), ‘Baldwin and the Twelfth-Century Incomers to Upper Clydesdale’.

Mr George English (genealogist and independent researcher), ‘Religious Persecution: The Flemish and Migration to Scotland’.

  1. Material Culture in Flanders and the Influence of the Low Countries on Scottish Church Architecture.

In the first part of this session Professor Wim De Clercq (University of Ghent) will give a talk titled: “Home is where the Hearth is” – Domestic Worlds and Material Culture in Late Medieval Flanders. He will assess the material worlds and landscapes in Flanders in the medieval period that the migrants to Scotland would have left behind.

In the second part of the session Professor Richard Fawcett (University of St Andrews) will discuss The Architectural Relationships of Scotland’s Late Medieval Church with the Low Countries.

13.00-14.00       Lunch

14.00-15.30       Parallel Sessions II

  1. What is DNA telling us about our Flemish Origins?

Alasdair MacDonald (University of Strathclyde) and Dr Maarten Larmuseau (University of Leuven) are leading experts on the use of DNA in genealogical research. Their session will explore the challenges of comparing Scottish DNA with that from Flanders drawing on the results of the study being undertaken as part of the Scotland and the Flemish People Project. Representatives of some of the main Scottish families, thought to have Flemish roots, will also talk briefly about the results of their family DNA analyses to date. Mr John M. Sutherland-Fisher, Ms Alexandrina Murray, and Mr Sven Vermaete will also discuss the results of specific family DNA analysis.

  1. Flemish Settlement in Scotland: Prosopography and Networks

Dr Matthew Hammond (University of Glasgow) has worked extensively on migration, settlement and social networks in 12th and 13th century Scotland. His talk will explore the movement of Flemings to Scotland during this period and the extent and nature of the networks that bound them together as a distinct group in the Scottish kingdom. Prof. Dauvit Broun (University of Glasgow) will chair the session and offer a response to Dr Hammond’s findings.

15.30-16.00       Coffee

16.00-17.00       Plenary II: Prof. Richard Oram (University of Stirling)

‘Enterprise and Environment: Flemish Colonisation, Economic Development and Environmental Change in Medieval Scotland’

18.30                   Wine reception

19.30                   Conference dinner


Friday 17 June 

09.30-10.30       Plenary III: Dr David Ditchburn (Trinity College Dublin)

‘Scotland and the Low Countries in the Later Middle Ages: Doing Diplomacy and its Consequences’

10.30-11.00       Coffee

11.00-12.30       Parallel Sessions III

  1. Hints from the Hinterland: Place-Name Evidence for the Nature of the Flemish Presence

Chaired by Dr Alex Woolf (University of St Andrews), this session will feature presentations from Dr Simon Taylor (University of Glasgow) and Dr Peadar Morgan (formerly University of St Andrews), two of the leading experts on place names in Scotland, on what these reveal about the nature and extent of Flemish settlement.

  1. Politics, Diplomacy, War and Commerce

This session will feature three papers on aspects of the commercial and political links between Scotland and Flanders in the Middle Ages.

Dr Alexander Stevenson (independent researcher), ‘Philip d’Alsace, Count of Flanders and the first Franco-Scottish Alliance’

Ms Amy Eberlin (University of St Andrews), ‘The Flemish Dimension of Fifteenth Century Scottish Politics’

Dr Lauran Toorians (independent researcher), ‘Jan Moffet and Scottish Traders in Bergen op Zoom in the Early Sixteenth Century’

12.30-13.30       Lunch

13.30-15.00       Parallel Sessions IV

  1. Leisure, Pleasure and Recreation

The three talks in this session will examine another aspect of the linkage between Scotland and Flanders, specifically the cultural and recreational links that materialised in the medieval and early modern periods.

Dr Christine McGladdery  (University of St Andrews)

‘”The sport of diplomacy”: the Scoto-Burgundian tournament of 1449’

Ms Morvern French (University of St Andrews)

‘”Ostentatious by Nature”: Flemish Material Culture at the Marriage of James IV and Margaret Tudor’

Mr Robin Bargmann (independent researcher).

“Has there been a Flemish influence on early games in Scotland?”

  1. The Flemings of Biggar and Cumbernauld

The Fleming family was a significant player in the history of medieval Scotland. From their original lordship of Biggar, the family acquired property in many other parts of Scotland, most notably in Cumbernauld where their main castle was located.  Prof. Michel Brown and Dr Bess Rhodes (both University of St Andrews) will explore the family’s history and changes in fortune in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. 

15.00 -15.30      Coffee                                                

15.30-16.30       Plenary IV: Dr Katie Stevenson (University of St Andrews)

‘Cultural Kindred: Sharing Tastes and Talents in Early Renaissance Scotland and Flanders’

16.30                   Closing remarks