Perth Charterhouse Project

Another of Stirling colleagues’ current inter-disciplinary projects embracing ecclesiastical heritage focuses on another major royal burgh central to Scotland’s medieval past, Perth, with its rich intertwined political and religious history. As with our Dunfermline Abbey project this will seek to explore medieval events and settings as well as the destructive impact of the Reformation.

After John Slezer, Prospectus Gwitatis Perth, The Prospect of ye Town ... |  Lot 1379

Stirling’s Professor Richard Oram and collaborating researchers Dr Lucinda Dean of the University of the Highlands and Islands (a past-Stirling PhD on royal ceremonial, 2013), and Paul Wilson of Glasgow School of Art (the School of Simulation and Visualisation), have come together to work with a number of Perth-based and national agencies: this includes Perth & Kinross Heritage Trust, Perth & Kinross Council, Culture Perth & Kinross and Visit Scotland. They will seek to integrate history and archaeology with digital recreation and community engagement to investigate and reimagine the history and form of the Carthusian monastery – or Charterhouse – founded in Perth by King James I of Scotland (1406-37), but destroyed and overbuilt after 1560.

Sheen Priory, f. by Henry V in 1414 in Richmond, London
King James 1 of Scotland - The Perth Charterhouse Project

This ruthless Stewart king was often accused of greed (‘covetise’) by his subjects and he famously decried the church patronage of David I (1124-53) in founding numerous great monasteries as ‘ane sair sanct for the croun.’ Nonetheless, James, drawing on his experience of English and French Carthusian houses supported by royal patrons, felt it important to establish a new monastic presence in Perth, his chosen political and cultural capitol. However, the burgh and another of its religious establishments, the Blackfriars, became the scene of his bloody assassination on the night of 21 February 1437, at the hands of minor nobles and disgruntled townsmen in league with Walter Stewart earl of Atholl. This project’s multi-media and 3-D digital approach will seek to explain the context to this dramatic regicide at the same time as trying to relocate the Charterhouse and the graves of James and his oft-controversial queen, Joan Beaufort (as well as that of another Stewart king’s English consort, James IV’s Margaret Tudor). Their royal tombs and their liturgical settings and meaning will then be re-visualised.

The project has already undertaken a number of community story-telling and research-training workshops and has a rich website and blog of its own at .

Lady Joan Beaufort, Queen of Scots | Unofficial Royalty

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