Kevin Hall

Thesis title: Purging the Poor and Undesirable: Urban Government and the People in Edinburgh and Canongate, 1560-1640


I’m originally from Gateshead in Tyne and Wear and have lived in Edinburgh for the past 15 years. As my birthday falls on 30th November and my great grandfather came from Edinburgh, it’s not surprising that I have a long-held interest in Scottish history. I am a member of the congregation of St Giles’ Cathedral and am the cathedral’s archivist, a role I am honoured to have. More importantly – above research interests or any connection to the university or cathedral – I am a husband, father, and grandfather.  


MA (Hons) Scottish History (agreed 1st for dissertation)

MSc by Research, Scottish History (with distinction)

Responsibilities & affiliations


Early Career Member - Royal Historical Society

Member - Newbattle Abbey Historical Research Group

Member - St Giles' 900th Anniversary Celebration Committee

Undergraduate teaching

Course Tutor in - The History of Edinburgh: From Din Eidyn to Festival City (HIST08036).


Research summary

I'm an urban/social historian interested in early modern Scottish history.  My PhD is part funded by the Society for the Education of the Deaf (I am registered Deaf/HoH), the Sir Richard Stapley Educational Trust, and through a research grant awarded in 2020 and 2022, the Royal Historical Society, and the Scottish International Education Trust.


My PhD research will focus on three related themes of vagrancy, poverty and crime within the conjoined burghs of Canongate and Edinburgh, from 1560 -1640. Amongst other things, I am interested in the level of cooperation and conflict between the contiguous burghs, and the significance of intersections of jurisdictional boundaries.

I am also particularly interested in the process, mechanics, and rituals of early modern judicial punishment, along with the preparations made by authorities relating to same. 













Current research interests

In addition to my PhD research, I am currently researching the trial of Jean Livingston, the Lady Wariston, and the details of her execution. It had been thought that the assize records of this case were lost, but they are held in Edinburgh City Archives.

Past research interests

My MSc by Research focused on the causes – both actual and perceived – and consequences of the famine of 1623, which reduced the population in some areas of Scotland by as much as 20%. This little-known famine was equally, if not more, devastating than the 1690s famine, and I hope that my MSc by Research (passed with distinction) has shed a little light on this demographic catastrophe