Manuscripts and Church Records

Mapping the Scottish Reformation uses thousands of documents created by the Kirk of Scotland. These documents are housed in the National Records of Scotland (NRS), Edinburgh, and were digitised at We are delighted to have access to these documents through our close collaboration with the NRS.

Sample of a page from the Synod Book of Lothian and Tweeddale from 1658, NRS, CH2/252/3

Since the nineteenth century, learned societies in Scotland and beyond have published edited collections of some of these Church court documents. The digitised collections of the publications of the Scottish History Society are available here (open access). We would like to thank SHS for its great support in our efforts to develop Mapping the Scottish Reformation.


The maps we use are powered by OpenStreetMap data. We also use map tiles from the National Library of Scotland (NLS) Historic Maps API. Readers can discover more about NLS map projects on their website

We have also created some of our own JSON layers that provide users with extra functionality. We have made these resources free to use and available online.

Data Structures

Mapping the Scottish Reformation uses Wikidata, an open system for structured data, to manage all of our information on clerical careers.


Mapping the Scottish Reformation is built with open technologies. This allows interested parties to easily build on our work, add in new data elements very quickly and prototype their own visualizations. We’ll be talking much more about the extensibility of MSR in the coming months.

Here is an example of how we have quickly added data on the moderators of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland between 1638 and 1660 and added them to a bespoke map layer.

Other Digital Humanities Projects

The last decade has seen a wide range of Digital Humanities projects relating to the history of Scotland. We hope some of these may be of use to followers of Mapping the Scottish Reformation.

Law in the Aberdeen Council Registers, 1398-1511

People of Medieval Scotland, 1093-1314

Records of the Parliaments of Scotland to 1707

Scottish Court of Session Records, 1757-1834

Singing the Reformation

The Scotland, Scandinavia and Northern European Biographical Database (SSNE)

The Survey of Scottish Witchcraft