Dr Ciaran Jones (BA, MSt, PhD)

Resources Administration Assistant


Before joining Moray House's Professional Services staff in January 2021, I completed my PhD in Scottish History in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology, where I wrote a thesis on Protestantism and witchcraft in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Scotland. During my PhD, I worked part time as one of the School's receptionists, and as a receptionist at the Main Library.

Alongside my duties at Moray House, I am currently working as an independent consultant to the National Trust for Scotland, where I am researching their properties for connections to the Scottish witch trials.


PhD Scottish History, University of Edinburgh (2016-21)

MSt British and European History, Distinction, University of Oxford (2015-16)

BA History, First-Class Honours, Oxford Brookes University (2012-15)

Responsibilities & affiliations

In my role as a Resources Administration Assistant, I am usually based at St Leonard's Land, where I provide a professional receptionist service, but I also regularly support other Moray House departments across the Holyrood campus and the Centre for Open Learning.

Research summary

I am interested in the legal and religious cultures of early modern Scotland, and I have particular interests in the history of witchcraft, the witch trials and aspects of Protestant piety. My thesis looked at the construction and expression of, what I termed, 'spiritual roles' in early modern Protestantism, particularly in sixteenth, seventeenth and early eighteenth-century presbyterian sermons, diaries and letters. I compared these religious sources with evidence from the witch trials, using witchcraft confessions, to see whether ordinary peasants and parishioners also articulated 'spiritual roles' and thus engaged with wider Scottish Protestant spiritual culture.

Current research interests

I am currently researching the presentation and performance of Christian identities in criminal trials; the relationship between witchcraft and Protestant piety; and I am researching a small witch hunt that took place in Queensferry in 1643-44 under the direction of the covenanting minister, Ephraim Melville, grandson of the renowned sixteenth-century presbyterian, James Melville.

Peer-reviewed publications

  • ‘An Account of a Confession of Raising the Devil at Irvine on 10 February 1682’ in Miscellany of the Scottish History Society, XVI (Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2020), 143-58.


  • Michael Ostling (ed.), 'Fairies, Demons, and Nature Spirits: 'Small Gods' at the Margins of Christendom', Journal of Religious History, Literature and Culture 5 (2019), 137-40.
  • Michelle D. Brock, 'Satan and the Scots: The Devil in Post-Reformation Scotland, c. 1560 - 1700', Journal of Religious History, Literature and Culture 4 (2018), 154-56.

Popular articles & blogposts

  • ‘Role Theory and Protestant Spirituality in Early Modern Scotland’, History Journal (2020).
  • ‘Isobel Watson: Fairies and Witchcraft in 16th-Century Perthshire’, History Scotland 20 (2020), 13-15.

Consultant, ‘Wretched Souls’, Afeared, BBC Two Northern Ireland, 7 February 2021.

Radio guest, ‘Jacobite Songs and Cruel Husbands’, Time Travels, BBC Radio Scotland, 28 June 2020.

Radio guest, ‘Witch Hunt’, BBC Radio Scotland podcast series, 21 October - 5 November 2019.

Radio guest, ‘High Flats, Quacks and Witches’, Time Travels, BBC Radio Scotland, 28 May 2019.

Radio guest, 'Poltergeists, Witches and Major Weir', Time Travels, BBC Radio Scotland, 30 October 2018.