Professor Jane Dawson (BA PhD Dip Ed FRHS FSA (Scot) FRSE)

Professor in Reformation History


I am an early modern historian who is primarily interested in the four countries within the British Isles, Scotland, Ireland, England and Wales, and in the Reformation throughout Europe.

My teaching ranges from Christian origins to the present though it is concentrated upon the medieval and early modern periods.



Responsibilities & affiliations

School of Divinity, Director of Recruitment

Undergraduate teaching

History of Christianity as a World Religion 1A (ECHS 08005) Lecturer

History of Christianity as a World Religion 1B (ECHS 08004) Course Manager and Lecturer

Tudor Reformations (ECHS 10018) Course manager and sole teacher

Medieval Religion in Scotland c1400-c1560  (ECHS 10017) Course manager and sole teacher

Creation of Protestant Scotland (ECHS 10006) Course manager and sole teacher

Postgraduate teaching

People, prelates and purgatory: Religious perspectives on late medieval Scotland (ECHS 11008) Course manager and sole teacher

Reformation in sixteenth-century Britain and Ireland (ECHS 11001) Course manager and sole teacher

Scotland Reformed c1550-c1640 (ECHS 11011) Course manager and sole teacher

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Research summary

My own research interests are varied. For a number of years I worked in the 'new British history', specialising in Scottish topics, and have now returned to the Reformation in Scotland and throughout the British Isles and Europe and to studying John Knox. I am particularly interested in the creation of religious culture and in communication via images, song, material culture and the written and printed word.

Work on Scotland and the Highlands resulted in two editions of manuscript letters Clan Campbell Letters, 1559-1583; Breadalbane Letters 1548-83 and a monograph on the head of the Campbells, the fifth earl of Argyll Politics of Religion in the age of Mary, Queen of Scots. A general history of Scotland during the long sixteenth century, Scotland Re-formed, 1488-1587 was published as Volume 6 of the New Edinburgh History of Scotland.

My biography of John Knox has recently been published.

A range of Scottish research sources have already been placed online as has newly-discovered material relating to the Marian exile (1553-9). I hope to develop an umbrella website on sources for Scottish ecclesiastical history.

More information about research projects by Prof Dawson are available on her Edinburgh Research Explorer profile.


Current research interests

I have recently completed a major biography of John Knox for Yale University Press, published in 2015. I am now working on Knox's Correspondence, specialist studies on the British exiles (1553-9) and aspects of the Reformation arising from the Wode Psalter Project.

Research activities

View all 60 activities on Research Explorer

Project activity

I was Principal Investigator for the AHRC-funded Wode Psalter Project (2009-11) that brought together a team from the University Library, Music and Divinity in Edinburgh with the British Library, Trinity College, Dublin and Georgetown University, Washington DC, and a network of scholars throughout the world.

The project mounted a major exhibition in Edinburgh 'Singing the Reformation' (Aug-Oct 2011) and travelling exhibitions to Dundee and Belfast. It  gave a series of concerts and a new CD The Wode Collection has been produced. An Iphone App is freely available as is the exhibition's booklet.

I was Co-Investigator for the Sing the Renaissance and Reformation (2012-13), a follow-on project involving the Wode Partbooks. This has provided modern performing editions of the Wode material for choirs in a free downloadable format.

Details of both projects and their products can be found on the Wode Psalter website.

View all 66 publications on Research Explorer