We are compiling a timeline of key dates related to the study of History at St Andrews, and the participation of women in the study of History at St Andrews. This is a work in progress.


1707 Chair of Divinity and Ecclesiastical History established in St Mary’s College (one of just 10 professorships in the University at the time)
1747 Chair of Civil History established (from earlier Chair of Humanity) as part of the creation of the United College; was later renamed Chair of Civil and Natural History (1850) and then Chair of Natural History (1897)
1875 Universities (Scotland)(Degrees to Women) Bill was supported by eight out of fourteen professors at St Andrews – but was unsuccessful in parliament
1877 St Andrews created the ‘Literate in Arts’ (later, ‘Lady Literate in Arts’, LLA) qualification, to enable women to be examined and accredited at a level similar to that of a university degree
1878 History became one of the subjects offered in the LLA.
1889 Universities (Scotland) Act passed in parliament. Enabled women to become students at the Scottish universities; and also implemented various reforms to governance and to degree programmes.
1892 First women matriculate at St Andrews as degree students

Creation of University Lectureship in History (not yet filled)

1895 Agnes Forbes Blackadder becomes first woman to graduate MA at St Andrews (but not in History)
1896 James Mackinnon appointed University Lecturer in History (served to 1908)
1900 First (male) students graduated with MA Honours in History
1903 First female students graduated with MA Honours in History: Elizabeth Steele Hutton and Helen Douglas-Irvine
1908 John D. Mackie appointed University Lecturer in Modern History
1910 changes to University Ordinances introduced the possibility of specialisation (e.g. in History) for Ordinary degrees [in addition to Honours degrees]
1918 Janet Isabella Low served as temporary Lecturer in Modern History for 1918-19 [while Mackie was on war service]
1920 Introduction of PhD research degrees
1921 John W. Williams (1885-1957) appointed University Lecturer in History (became Chair, 1929-55) [see Who was Who; paywall]
1925 William Burn (1904-66) appointed as Assistant to the Lecturer in Modern History (later became Lecturer in American and Colonial History, resigned 1937) [See DNB; paywall]
1927 First woman PhD in History: Edith E. MacQueen
1927 Ronald Cant appointed as Lecturer in Scottish (and Mediaeval) History
1928 Second woman PhD in History: Edith Thomson
1929 Anonymous donor: creation of Chair of History (John W. Williams, to 1955) and Lectureship in American & Colonial History (William Burn, to 1937)
1935 [Caroline] Doris Ketelbey (1896-1990) appointed as Assistant Lecturer in Modern History (1945: Lecturer; 1956 Senior Lecturer; retired 1958)
1950 As well as Williams (professor) and Cant (soon-to-be reader), there were now 5 lecturers in History (including modern, mediaeval, economic and ‘American and colonial’)
1954 Creation of Bonar Chair of Modern Social and Economic History, in Queen’s College Dundee: Donald Macdonald
1955 Retirement of John Williams.

Reorganisation of History teaching and departments: ‘Modern History’ now split into ‘Mediaeval’ and ‘Modern’, each with a professor. But also, teaching subjects of Scottish history and Economic history.

Norman Gash (1912-2009) appointed Chair of Modern History (retired 1980) [See Who Was Who; paywall]

Lionel Butler (1923-1981) appointed to Chair of Mediaeval History (moved to Royal Holloway, 1973) [see Who was Who; paywall]

1956 Dr Margaret Lambert appointed as Lecturer in Modern (European) History (resigned in 1960)
1961 Lorna Walker appointed as Warden of University Hall, and Lecturer in Mediaeval History
1964 Ann Kettle appointed as a Lecturer in Mediaeval History
1966 Anne Chaloner Wright (c1925-1981) appointed as Warden of Hamilton Hall, and Lecturer in Modern History (in post until her death 1981)
1971 Barbara Crawford appointed as Lecturer in Mediaeval History (but had been temporary lecturer earlier)



St Andrews University Calendars, 1905 onwards (especially the short history in the 1965-66 volume)

Robert Anderson, ‘The development of History teaching in the Scottish universities, 1894-1939′, Journal of Scottish Historical Studies 32 (2012): 50-73

Ronald Cant, The University of St Andrews: a short history (1948, revised edn 2002)

Bruce P. Lenman, ‘The Teaching of Scottish History in the Scottish Universities’ The Scottish Historical Review 52 (1973): 165-90