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Database Introduction

The database contains all information that can be assembled about every individual involved in actions in Scotland or relating to Scotland in documents written between the death of Malcolm III on 13 November 1093 and the death of Alexander III on 19 March 1286. The bounds of the kingdom of the Scots changed during this period; for the sake of consistency, the database covers all the territory that had become part of Scotland by the death of Alexander III. (This means that the Isle of Man and Berwick are included, but Orkney and Shetland are not.) Also, the database is not simply a list of everyone who is ever mentioned. It is designed to reflect the interactions and relationships between people as this is represented in the documents. For the sake of consistency, the database is focused on the 6016 documents from this period that are directed by one or more individuals to others (either by name or in general terms). This allows the database to be structured according to the formal aspects of these documents, giving it the potential to be used not only a source of information, but also as a means of investigating the ways in which social relationships were mediated by the documents themselves. It is important to bear in mind that this corpus of documents offers only a limited view of society. Some aspects came to be recorded routinely: the database makes it possible to see what these were, when they became routine and the particular types of document involved. Other aspects were only mentioned in passing, if at all, or were taken for granted without being stated in the text. A glossary has been provided to make it easier for beginners to make full use of the database's facilities, and also to allow experts to see how some of the more contentious technical terms have been applied.

The great majority of these documents have been published. Where there was a choice of editions, the most modern has been used. The project is particularly grateful to Elsa Hamilton, Cynthia Neville, Norman Shead, and Keith Stringer for making their unpublished editions of significant bodies of charters available. For each document a note is provided to indicate the publication that has been used. In some cases it has been necessary to go back to a manuscript source rather than use an edition.

Another key dimension of the database is the treatment of Gaelic names. Medieval Gaelic forms are given in the faceted browser for names that are Gaelic in origin, except for three special cases: (i) Patrick (Pátraic) is not included when used on its own, as opposed to in combination with Gilla or Mael; (ii) Arthur (Artúr), is included because it is found predominantly in a Gaelic context; and (iii) Alan (Ailín) is included, although its origins are ambiguous. There are also a number of Gaelic names for which a Latinate version of an English or French name was often used instead in the documents (e.g., 'Bricius', a Latin form of Brice, for Mael Brigte). It is a matter of interpretation, therefore, whether an individual called 'Bricius' in a charter would have been commonly known as Brice or Mael Brigte. (He could have been both, depending on which language he was speaking.) Medieval and Modern Gaelic forms of names have been supplied in a separate field.

If this is your first time using the database, there is a tutorial to introduce you to its range of applications. If you wish to cite the database, please use the URL of the relevant page. If you have any corrections or suggestions for improvement, we would be delighted to hear from you. Please e-mail: dauvit.broun [at] glasgow.ac.uk.