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Death in Scotland

Chapters From the Twelfth Century to the Twenty-First


Peter C. Jupp and Hilary J. Grainger

For the past twenty years, Scottish death culture has emerged as a focus of scholars drawn from a wide variety of disciplines. Death comes to us all but too often we treat it as a private or personal matter. The former taboo about death is slowly lifting and contemporary research is playing an increasing part. Accordingly, the fifteen essays gathered in this book probe the multi-facetted role of death in Scottish history and culture. They explore personal fears of death, anxieties about Predestination, prayers for the dead and the appeal of Spiritualism. They analyse the public face of death in law, economics and medicine: changes in capital punishment, funeral poverty, the teaching of anatomy and prevention of stillbirths. Within the worlds of religion and ritual, they consider the making of saints, burial practice following the Scottish Reformation and the tradition of keening within the Gáidhealtachd. With an Introduction by Professor Jane Dawson, these essays by specialists in the field not only highlight the richness of the primary sources for studying death in Scotland but reveal how death studies identify key features of Scottish life and society across ten centuries.

Peter Jupp is an Honorary Fellow in the School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh, a United Reformed Church minister and former Chair of the Cremation Society of Great Britain. Co-founding editor of the journal Mortality and co-founder of the conference series «The Social Context of Death, Dying and Disposal», he has published several books in death studies. He was the recipient of the Robert Fulton Center for Death and Education Founder’s Award in 2010.


Hilary J. Grainger OBE is Dean and Professor of Architectural History at the University of the Arts London and Honorary Professor in the Department of Theology and Religion, Durham University. She is the leading authority on both the late Victorian architect Sir Ernest George and the architecture of British crematoria. She is Chair of the Victorian Society, President of the Association for the Study of Death and Society and Vice-Chair of the Cremation Society of Great Britain.