History at St Andrews in 1965

Aileen Fyfe
Tuesday 23 March 2021

In 1965, there was no ‘School of History’ at St Andrews, but History was being taught in a number of different contexts. The annual St Andrews University Calendar [i.e. directory or year book] for 1965-66 provides a fascinating view into the staff, and what they taught. The only three women historians on the staff at this time were all in Mediaeval History: Lorna Walker and Ann Kettle (lecturers) and Barbara Crawford (temporary assistant lecturer).

In St Andrews itself, the Faculty of Arts was based in St Salvator’s College. Teaching was available in Ancient, Mediaeval, Modern and Scottish History.

The two lecturers in Ancient History offered ‘a sketch of Ancient Greek and Roman Civilization’ to first years; and special classes on ‘The Ancient State’ and ‘A detailed study of Roman History, 70BC to AD37’ to second-year students. Their Honours teaching ‘augmented’ this (p.214)

Mediaeval History included nine staff, led by Professor Lionel Butler (appointed 1956). The ‘general’ (i.e. first-year) class focused on ‘Outlines of European History during the Middle Ages’, while second-years could take ‘special’ classes in ‘English Political and Constitutional History of the Middle Ages’; and either ‘Mediaeval English Economic History’ or ‘Scottish History to 1542’. Honours courses were offered in ‘Mediaeval British and Eruopean History with special reference to political, constitutional, economic, ecclesiatical and artistic developments, and to archaeological aspects’. Students could also attend courses ‘in Mediaeval Palaeography and Diplomatic’ (p.229-30)

Modern History also had nine staff, led by Professor Norman Gash (appointed 1955), and all male. The ‘general’ class studied ‘Outlines of European History since the end of the Fifteenth Century’, followed in second-year by a Special class in ‘British History since the end of the Fifteenth Century’. Second-year students also had the option of studying ‘the history of the British North American Colonies before 1783 and of the United States’. Those who proceeded to Honours would study ‘the general field of modern British political history in conjunction with the study of either constitutional or economic history; the detailed examination of certain optional periods of European and American history; and the study, with reference to original sources, of certain optional subjects in British and foreign history’. (p.230-31)

There was just one Reader in Scottish History, Ronald Cant. He offered a special class in ‘the History of Scotland, with special emphasis on the mediaeval and early modern periods and on the evolution of Scottish institutions’. For those taking Honours, unspecified ‘advanced instruction’ was available (p.231).

For those studying for a B.D. degree, in the Faculty of Divinity, at St Mary’s College, Ecclesiastical History was taught by Regius Professor James Baxter (appointed 1922) and a lecturer. The first-year course covered ‘General Ecclesiastical Hsitory to Hildebrand’, including British Ecclesiastical History, Celtic and early Mediaeval. In second-year, students continued from Hildebrand to the end of the seventeenth century, including the Scottish Reformation. At Honours, students had to study the history of the early Church (from AD325 to 451); the Reformation (‘with Documents’); and two other topics chosen from a selection that included the African Church, the Crusades, The Presbyterian Polity 1560-1690 and The Church, Missionary and Ecumenical 1790-1910. (p.418-19)

Queen’s College, Dundee was still part of the University of St Andrews at this point. It was home to the Faculty of Social Science, and its department of Modern History & Modern Social & Economic History, which had eleven staff led by Professor Donald Macdonald (appointed 1955). They offered a Part I class in ‘The Evolution of Modern Britain’, dealing with ‘the changing pattern of the British economy, institutions and policies, especially in the last hundred years’; and a Part II class in the ‘Evolution of Modern Europe’. Those taking Honours studied ‘the Modern, Social and Economic History of Britain an other World Powers and their mutual relationships’, some unspecified European history, ‘the Growth of Modern Economies’ and ‘International Relations since 1918’ (p.317-18)

Queen’s College, Dundee was also home to the Faculty of Law, which had two staff members teaching Constitutional Law and History. They offered ‘at least eighty lectures’ on ‘the principles of the British Constitution, its laws and practice and the constitutional relations of the Commonwealth. The historical development of the more important institutions is sketched; and reference will be made to other constitutions, more particularly those of the Commonwealth countries’. They offered a list of set texts, including Keir’s Constitutional History of Modern Britain and Chrimes’s English Constitutional History. (p.231-2)

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