Research Stream


Dolly MacKinnon (2012, 2016)
The University of Queensland


Emotional landscapes: English and Scottish battlefield memorials 1638-1936

This project explores how  highly charged emotional sites of post-Reformation battlefield memorials in the British Isles are not only the focus of pilgrimage to the monuments erectedin the centuries following, but are also the fledgling mechanisms for nation building and nationhood.

Emotional landscapes: English and Scottish battlefield memorials 1638-1936

This project analyses the emotional landscape of post-Reformation battlefield memorials to the Civil Wars, and Killing Times, in the British Isles from the First Bishops Wars to the Cromwell Association Monument at Naseby. Focusing on the sites of Marston Moor (1644) and Naseby (1645) in England, and two Covenanter monuments (c1679-c1689) in Scotland, each of these Protestant sites has a long history of memorialisation, commemoration and pilgrimage. Each space is reconfigured by the highly emotional experience of a hard fought battle in these seventeenth–century religious wars that spilt the blood of martyrs–each loyal to their own version of the true religion–into the landscape.

Rituals of commemoration become associated with these spaces, first through the physical and emotional wounds and scars of the living, then through memory, printed texts, and finally through monuments erected from the seventeenth century onwards continuing right up to the present. Given battlefields are contested sites–joyous for the victors, and sites of despair, anguish and fear for the vanquished–their memorialisation provides contested collective emotional regimes in response to these landscapes.

The active commemoration of battlefields, and the reconfiguration of their importance in the national story, reflects the stark realities of opposing theological views about the need for an ongoing Reformation within Protestantism. The emotional landscape of civil war battlefield monuments, memory and religious conflict forms an important new aspect of the cultural history of the British Isles.


D. MacKinnon "This humble monument of guiltless Blood': The Emotional Landscape of Covenater Monuments' in Andrew Lynch, Stephanie Downes, and Katrina O'Loghlin (eds)  Emotions and War (Palgrave Macmillan)[Forthcoming].