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New book on Declaration of Arbroath to feature fresh translation of Pope XXII’s response

A fresh translation go the Declaration of Arbroath and Pope John XXII’s response is to be revealed in an upcoming book.

While celebrations of the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath are on hold due to the ongoing pandemic, the new book that will explore the untold stories of the Scots behind the document continues at pace despite current restrictions. The Declaration of Arbroath dates back to April 6 1320—exactly 700 years ago from today.

Over 50 writers are collaborating to create Conquered by No One, a ‘people’s history’ of the barons and nobles who sealed the 1320 letter intended to confirm Scotland’s independence.

The new translation of the declaration and the pope’s response was translated by Dr Roger Collins of the University of Edinburgh and Dr Marie-Luise Ehrenschwendtner of the University of Aberdeen which will help reconsider the meaning of various elements within both documents.

700 year history

The project is being edited and coordinated by Neil McLennan, a former history teacher and now director of Leadership Programmes at the University of Aberdeen.

He said: “On this day 700 years ago the document was drawn up so it is a fitting date by which to have drafts for each of our chapters. In late April or May the Declaration of Arbroath was sent to the Pope and he responded on August 28 so we are following this historic timeline for publication.

“The project was audacious at best when we first started with 50 people from across the country—ranging from historians and writers to teachers and civic figures—contributing to a single text.


“The current restrictions on freedom of movement have caused some difficulties but today (April 6) we have chapters and biographers for each noble and Baron whose name appears in the historic Declaration of Arbroath. It has been a truly cooperative effort and we thank each of them for bringing history alive.

“Readers will be fascinated with the stories of the people behind the treaty, never before shared in this way, and moreover the local stories which impact on each area of Scotland.”

The 50 plus contributors, consist largely of history educators and teachers from across Scotland.

Mr McLennan said the wide range of authors gives the book a unique perspective.

‘Broad range of voices’

“Just as the 1320 document brought together noblemen with different views from very different parts of Scotland, we wanted Conquered by No One to represent a broad range of voices of Scottish life.

“The book is very much a people’s history bringing together for the first time the stories, motivations and viewpoints of those who collaborated to sign the Declaration of Arbroath—written by a wide range of enthusiastic teachers, historians, writers, civic files from across Scottish cultural, education and civic life.”

To be notified when Conquered by No One is available, sign up for the mailing list at hammerandmirror.com

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