Skip Navigation or Skip to Content
Dr Anna Groundwater is Principal Curator, Renaissance and Early Modern History.

Dr Anna GroundwaterAnna Groundwater joined the department in 2019 as Principal Curator with responsibility for the management and overall curation of the section’s collections of the material culture and history of Scotland from c.1450–1750. Her role is to develop and manage a collections strategy for the Renaissance and Early Modern period, informed by current research in Scottish and public history, and with a view to enhancing audience engagement with our collections. She is also responsible for developing research strands, collaborative research and public engagement projects with external institutions.

Groundwater received her doctorate from the University of Edinburgh, and an M.A. from the University of Cambridge. Her original research was on the Anglo-Scottish borders at the time of the Union of the Crowns (1603), focussing on governmental processes, networks of power, kinship and alliance, and identity. She has published widely on these themes, with further work on the blood feud, lordship, Mary Queen of Scots, Ben Jonson’s walk to Scotland in 1618, and the use of social media in rethinking historical distance and social spaces. She has been formerly a trustee of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, secretary to the Scottish Medievalists, and council member of the Scottish History Society. She is currently a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and on the editorial boards of the Antiquaries of Scotland, and of the Scottish Archives, the journal of the Scottish Records Association. She is a reviewer for multiple publications including the English Historical Review, the Innes Review, and the Journal of British Studies.

She previously worked for over a decade at the University of Edinburgh, lecturing in Scottish and British history, the digital humanities, and cultural and public history. Her postdoctoral work was in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures at the same university on a recently discovered manuscript account of the playwright Ben Jonson’s ‘Foot-Voyage’ to Scotland in 1618.

Current research interests include: the material culture of Renaissance and Early Modern Scotland; the blood feud; networks and communities; Anglo-Scottish relations; public and participatory history; mapping the early modern world; travel writing; cultural exchange and transmission; object biography.

Current objects of research include 'Auld Wat' Scott of Harden's bugle horn. See a 3D visualisation of it on Sketchfab, by colleague Hugo Anderson-Whymark.

Recent publications

  1. Scotland Connected: a Timeline for Scottish History in the Wider World (Luath, 2017)
  2. Ben Jonson’s Walk to Scotland: an Annotated Edition of the Foot-Voyage, with James Loxley and Julie Sanders (Cambridge University Press, 2014)
  3. The Scottish Middle March, 1573-1625: Power, Kinship, Allegiance (Royal Historical Society, 2010)
  4. ‘Tweeting Ben Jonson’s Walk: Experiencing the Spatial-Temporality of the “Foot Voyage”, Cultural and Social History, vol. 14, iss. 1 (2017), 107-124: DOI:
  5. ‘Foreword’ and ‘Afterword: What Now?’ in the republication of Jenny Wormald’s seminal Mary Queen of Scots: a Study in Failure (John Donald, 2017), ix-xvii, 207--38
Explore more

James VI and I by Anna Groundwater

James VI and I was a hugely significant Stewart king, but has been overshadowed by his notorious relations: his predecessor in Scotland, his mother, Mary, Queen of Scots; in England, his cousin, Elizabeth I; and his successor in both kingdoms, Charles I.
Read more
Back to top