A timeline of peace in the Medieval period

Throughout 2022, a team of undergraduate students at the University of St Andrews have been working on a ‘Vertically Integrated Project‘ called ‘Visualising Peace‘. Directed by Dr Alice König, this project seeks to extend the work of the Visualising War project by examining how war’s aftermath, conflict resolution and peace-building are conceived. Our aim is to study different habits of imagining, understanding, representing and working towards peace, and we are particularly interested in analysing how different narratives and ideas of peace have evolved and gained influence over time. 

Students involved in the project have been drawing on their subject-specific expertise to explore and experiment with different ways of visualising peace, in different periods and places. History undergraduate Kara Devlin decided to dig deep into narratives of peace from Scottish and English perspectives during the Medieval period, and as part of this work she created a timeline which she introduces in the video below:

In what follows, Kara discusses her project in her own words.

Mission Statement

Welcome to a timeline on visualised peace!

This resource was created as part of the University of St Andrews’ Vertically Integrated Project Visualising Peace, which seeks to explore habits of narrating and representing peace, as well as how those habits might shape our mindsets and behaviours. This timeline shares this aim, but has a few of its own too: 

  • To give an overview on the temporal complexities of peace
    • To create an accessible resource which showcases first-hand narratives of peace around a central conflict

The conflict which I chose to centre these goals around was Anglo-Sottish relations throughout the medieval and early modern periods. I chose this issue as I believe it contains interesting sources, it has lasted through varied generations, and it is of modern interest with Scottish and English history being a large part of each nation’s national identity and politics. However, this was also a very complex conflict to choose. By keeping a focus on English and Scottish voices in the timeline entries, narratives that shaped the Anglo-Scottish relationship such as from French royalty or European reformation leaders were somewhat excluded. It is impossible to represent the true complexity of a conflict which has lasted for over 1000 years, with hundreds of sources feeding into the conflicting perspectives of the era. 

My hope is that as more items are added to the timeline, it becomes a more representative depiction of the relationships between England and Scotland. That is why feedback is important not just in keeping the project unbiased and free from inaccuracies, but also in adding more varied and encompassing sources. 

Notes on Data Used

The sources used in this resource were as varied and complex as the subject they represented. A few notes are necessary to work through the reasoning behind the selection of sources, as well as some issues that arise with sources from this era. 

Firstly, the accessibility of each source was kept in mind when adding it to the resource. I avoided non-English, Old English, or particularly difficult Scots language posts to make sure that the general English reader could understand what was being spoken about in each extract. I also referenced the full source within each post so that readers are encouraged to find each extract within its full context and to read more from the authors presented. I also picked out extracts which mention peace, or the resolution of conflict in an explicit way so that the reader does not have to jump to conclusions to figure out how medieval Scots and English visualised peace. 

There was some difficulty in finding sources, which explains a lack in women or non-elite voices. It was also trickier to find manuscripts which looked towards the future of each country, rather than looking back or discussing a present event. This non-representation will hopefully be resolved through feedback and further research. 

There were also some types of sources that were utilised repeatedly throughout this resource. A few further notes on each of these can explain their utility, as well as their drawbacks.

Chronicles: These sources make up a majority of the resource as they were a popular method of recording a country’s history within the medieval and early modern era. As they usually span centuries of events, these sources look back on the past with the aid of hindsight and any biases of the time from when they are written. It is always necessary to keep in mind the era which the chronicle was written within to analyse its content successfully.

Treaties: These are a unique source as they offer a look back at the past, a direct connection with the present situation, and a vision towards the future. They are also often (but not always!) drafted with the collaboration of both sides, meaning that they are not fully biased towards one or the other. These sources can be very useful in delving into the legal process of peace negotiation, as well as inferring what each side valued the most in their relationship with the other. However, these sources cannot be as accurate at showcasing relations as they might seem. In cases where kings are forced to sign treaties in order to live or keep their kingdoms, many false narratives crop up. It is therefore important to take the entire situational context when examining the source.

How to Use the Resource

How to use Tags: There are two types of tags utilised within this resource. The first groups together extracts from the same text (ex: Walter Bower’s Scotichronicon). This allows the user to explore one author’s narrative of what they have perceived peace to have looked like for their country over the centuries. 

The second type of tag categorises posts by whether they look back on the past, describe a current event in the present, or look towards the future. These tags allow the user to discover differences in visualising peace and events by how close the author was to them chronologically. These tags also make it easier to distinguish the effects of temporality in visualising peace, ex: narrating on the past might lead to a more negative outlook on peace than narrating on the future. 

How to Use Each Post: Each post includes an overall depiction of the event, an extracted narrative on the event, and an analysis on the connection between the event and the visualisation of peace. Each post is intended to be read in order, and each analysis is intended to invoke further thoughts and reading, rather than to explain each detail. 

Each post is also categorised by colour to make it clear what nationality the author is writing from. Blue posts are from Scottish writers, yellow are for English, black are for outsiders (usually travellers), and green is for treaties between the two sides. 

How to Use Groupings: Narratives about similar time periods are grouped together whether they are written before, during, or after the events.  Looking at multiple entries surrounding one event or time period allows users to compare the perspectives laid out within each narrative. 


In the future, this resource aims to grow by making the connections between sources clearer, sorting the data into further categories, and adding more sources to the resource. Feedback is very helpful in achieving each of these goals, as well as diminishing inaccuracies and biases in the data and analysis already presented. For these reasons, any form of feedback on the resource would be truly appreciated! If you have any thoughts to share, please email us at vispeace@st-andrews.ac.uk.

Further Resources

I have compiled a list of further resources on Anglo-Scottish relations and the connection between temporality and peace. These are useful for the user who wants to delve in deeper into these topics beyond this resource. 

Primary Accounts

  • A History Book for Scots: Selections from Schotichronicon by Walter Bower, Edited by D. E. R. Watt
  • The Chronicle of Lanercost, 1272-1346: Translated, with notes by Sir Herbert Maxwell
  • John of Fordum’s Chronicle of the Scottish Nation, translated from the Latin text by J. H. Skene, edited by William F. Skene
  • Chronichle of the War Between the English and the Scots in 11734 and 1174 by Jordan Fantosme, translated and edited by Francisque Michel 
  • Anglo-Scottish relations, 1174-1328: some selected documents, edited and translated by E.L. G. Stones

Modern Historiography

  • Land, Law and People in Medieval Scotland by Cynthia Neville
  • Scottish public opinion and the Anglo-Scottish Union, 1699-1707 by Karin Bowie
  • Anglo-Scottish relations from 1603 to 1900, edited by T.C. Smout
  • The Anglo-Scottish Border and the Shaping of Identity, 1300 – 1600, edited by Katherine Terrell and Mark P. Bruce
  • England’s northern frontier: conflict and local society in the fifteenth-century Scottish marches by Jackson W. Armstrong
  • Scotland’s Second War of Independence, 1332 – 1357 by Iain A. MacInnes
  • England and Scotland at war, c. 1296 – c.1513, edited by Andy King and David Simpkin
  • England and Scotland in the fourteenth century: new perspectives, edited by Andy King and Micheal A. Penman
  • England and her neighbours, 1066-1453: essays in honour of Pierre haplais, edited by Micheal Jones and Malcom Vale
  • Religion, culture, and society in early modern Britain: essays in honour of Patrick Collinson, edited by Anthony Fletcher and Peter Roberts