Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Graduates to AD 1410

The Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Graduates to AD 1410, published in 1977 by the late D. E. R. Watt, remains one of the major sources used by historians of medieval Scotland. For those studying Scottish legal history it is indispensible for help in tracking the numerous law graduates found in the Kirk, who in many ways were to be the foundation of the Scottish legal profession in a later century. Dipping into the entries on these men is very evocative, as one sees them collecting and trying to hold on to their benefices, spending time in Avignon, Orleans and Bologna, and schmoozing at the Papal Court, as they try to climb the greasy pole.

Your blogger has recently had the good fortune to acquire Donald Watt's own copy. It is identifiable as such not because of an ex libris inscription, but from material tipped in (including correspondence with one distinguished Scottish medievalist) and the glossing of some of the entries in Watt's hand – including one vehement "No!" (doubly underlined) next to one statement. There are also some amendments on papers tipped in.

It is interesting to see that in 2000 Watt corresponded with Oxford University Press about the sales of the volume, to be told the print run had been 750 and the book had gone out of print in 1997 (there had been 244 pre-publication sales). Perhaps he was contemplating the possibility of a second edition.

The end date of the research reflects the foundation of the University of St Andrews, where Watt, an Aberdeen and Oxford graduate, spent his entire teaching career.

For an excellent account of Watt's life by A.A.M. Duncan, see