Alex Patterson. Final Reflection Blog Post.

What have been the major obstacles faced in putting a research project together?

It was difficult to tie down a relevant and unique dissertation topic and argument. This was because the Scottish Wars of Independence has already been exhaustively covered by many historians.

Having chosen an area of Scotland – Moray – to study, there is a lack of Primary material from the time period. Of which, only some has been translated into english. A final issue, once having chosen Moray, is that there is not a a definitive definition of what, geographically, Moray looked like.


What Strategies have you adopted to overcome these obstacles?


Sitting down with my supervisor, Michael Penman, helped me move away from the obvious and well researched subjects of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce and pointed me towards a biographical study of an area of Scotland and argue its significance in the Wars of Independence.

Michael Penman directed me towards online archives that will help with primary material that will give more information about Moray. This will mainly involve taking a small amount of information from each source and use numerous sources. The language barrier will be hard to overcome accurately. The use of a basic translate platform will allow me to get an idea of what the source is talking about.


What has this module taught you about your dissertation?


This module has taught me that reading, more reading, and further reading will be key to a good dissertation. Without the sample dissertation, it would not have been clear the amount of reading that will be needed. It has taught me that I will need to, restrictions permitting, need to travel up to Moray to undertake in person research of the area. Finally the module has taught me that setting deadlines for stages of my dissertation will be important instead of having an overall deadline for the dissertation submission.


Which aspect of the 9X6 module have been the most useful in helping you get your project together?


I have found the breakout rooms very helpful in getting ideas and perspectives of how to tackle each part of writing a dissertation. They were also very useful for discussing our dissertations as a whole, time permitting; which gave me confidence that I was on the right track. The module has given me greater examples and insight on how to find and access resources for the dissertation. Previously, my coursework research has been limited to the Stirling University Library.

Annotated Bibliography

I am currently researching the 1st interregnum of the Scottish Wars of Independence (1286-1328). I am thinking of looking at Andrew Moray  (d.1297), the often forgotten hero of the early part of the 1st interregnum and especially The Battle of Stirling Bridge; and also William Wallace. I have a lot broader knowledge of William Wallace so this annotated bibliography will mostly be centred around him.

Blind Harry. The Wallace. 1471-79. MS. National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh. Robbins Library Digital Project.

This is a biography of William Wallace written in the form of a poem, more than 160 years after Wallace’s death. It is based on an original biography written by a close boyhood friend, John Blair. Unfortunately this original biography has been lost through time. Therefore Blind Harry’s, The Wallace, is the closest biographical source regarding William Wallace.

Bower, Walter. Scotichronicon

Scotichronicon is a 15th century chronicle written by the Scottish Historian, Walter Bower. It is a history of Scotland pre 15th century and is a follow on of the work of John of Fordun’s Chronica Gentis Scotorum. Part of Scotichronicon details Wallace’s life.

The Lubeck Letter.

This letter was written after the Battle of Stirling bridge by Wallace and Moray to the leaders in Lubeck and Hamburg detailing that Scotland was able to open up trade links again and the merchants of Hamburg and Lubeck would have access to all the ports in Scotland to trade free from English interference. This letter is one of the first sources to declare that Scotland was free from the English overlordship.

The Lanercost Chronicle

This Chronicle is from Northern English history and covers the period of 1201- 1346. It mainly covers English history but also the wars of independence; during which events including Wallace and Moray are described. Post 1297 it is assumed to have been written by a man who had a hatred of Scots and Scotland. So this needs to be taken with a view that it may be biased and not contain the truth.


Gray, D. J. William Wallace: The King’s Enemy. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1991.

This is a Biography of William Wallace which is, not only about his life, but also his legacy after his death in 1305. It goes into great depth about his life

These are all sources I have read or partly read during my time at university. Once it is safe to do so and restrictions are lifted I plan on going to archives for souces. If not, I will have to make do with online sources.


Alex Patterson Introduction

Hi folks, my name is Alex and I live just outside Crieff, about 20mins from Perth. I am originally from Templepatrick, just outside Belfast in Northern Ireland.

I am currently looking at a dissertation linking the work, actions and legacy of William Wallace with the work and actions of Robert the Bruce in bringing about Scottish Independence in 1320. I intend to look at the experiences of Wallace and Bruce in key events such as the Battles of Stirling, Falkirk and Bannockburn and how they led to the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320.

Learning online has been a bit of experience, but as last semester progressed I  became more comfortable being on camera for the seminars. The only issue I have to contend with is the fact, on a good day, I get 1.5mbps Wi-Fi speed which can make contributing in seminars difficult if other people are using the Wi-Fi at home.