Jenny Wormald

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Jenny Wormald

Jennifer Mary Tannahill

(1942-01-18)18 January 1942
Glasgow, Scotland
Died9 December 2015(2015-12-09) (aged 73)
Portobello, Scotland
ChildrenThree sons
  • Fellow of the Royal Historical Society
  • Honorary Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
Academic background
Alma materUniversity of Glasgow
Academic work
The grave of Jenny Wormald, Dean Cemetery

Jennifer "Jenny" Wormald FRSA, FRHistS HonFSA Scot (18 January 1942 – 9 December 2015) was a Scottish historian who studied late medieval and early modern Scotland.


Jennifer (Jenny) was born in Glasgow on 18 January 1942, and was adopted by Margaret (née Dunlop) and Dr Thomas Tannahill, a general practitioner, and was then known as Jenny Tannahill.[1]

She was educated at Glasgow High School for Girls, and went on to study history at the University of Glasgow, where she completed her PhD[1] Her thesis was on the history of the late medieval Scottish nobility through analysis of a kind of document known as a bond of manrent.[2]

Wormald taught at the University of Glasgow between 1966 and 1985, and then St Hilda's College, University of Oxford, between 1985 and 2005. She held a variety of other posts in this time, including Fellow Librarian and Senior Tutor at St Hilda's.[3]

Her most important research was on bloodfeud in early modern Scotland, particularly in her article "Bloodfeud, Kindred and Government in Early Modern Scotland", which was highly influential.[4] Wormald also produced a study of the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots. She was most recently an Honorary Fellow in Scottish History at the University of Edinburgh. Wormald was elected an Honorary Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland on 30 November 2015.

She died in Edinburgh on 9 December 2015. She is buried in Dean Cemetery on the south side of the main entrance path.

Personal life[edit]

In 1963, Jennifer Tannahill married Alfred Lawson Brown. As Brown was a devout Roman Catholic, she converted to Catholicism when they married. They had one son and later divorced.[1] In 1980 she married the historian Patrick Wormald, and together they had two sons. They divorced in 2001.[5]

Select bibliography[edit]

  • "Bloodfeud, Kindred and Government in Early Modern Scotland", Past and Present, 87 (1980).
  • Court, Kirk and Community: Scotland 1470–1625. Edward Arnold. 1981
    • reprinted Edinburgh University Press. 1991
  • "James VI and I: Two Kings or One?", History, 68 (1983).
  • "Gunpowder, Treason and Scots", Journal of British Studies, 24 (1985).
  • Lords and Men in Scotland: Bonds of Manrent, 1442-1603. John Donald. 1985
  • Mary Queen of Scots: a Study in Failure. George Philip. 1988
    • 2nd edition, as Mary Queen of Scots: Politics, Passion and a Kingdom Lost. George Philip. 2001
  • (editor) Scotland Revisited. Collins & Brown. 1991
  • (Editor & contributor), The Oxford Illustrated History of Scotland. Oxford University Press. 2005


  1. ^ a b c Heal, Felicity (29 January 2016). "Jenny Wormald obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  2. ^ "Jenny Wormald - Historian who argued that Mary Queen of Scots was a monarch of 'little wit and no judgment'". The Daily Telegraph. 31 May 2016. p. 29. Retrieved 26 January 2019.
  3. ^ "Jenny Wormald, former Fellow and Tutor in Modern History at St Hilda's, has died". Archived from the original on 5 February 2016. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  4. ^ Davison, Phil. "Dr Jenny Wormald". The Herald. Glasgow. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  5. ^ Jack, Sybil. "Jenny Wormald Obituary". Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies. Retrieved 29 December 2015.