Morag Cross (2021) Miss Christian MacLagan, pioneer Victorian antiquary and archaeologist, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 150, 119-161. 

In November last year Morag Cross published Part One of the biography of Miss Christian MacLagan (1811-1901), who was a self taught antiquarian- archaeologist, church builder and irrepressible activist for the recording of Scotland’s carved stones, hillforts. She had many interests, and felt strongly about her own admission to male learned societies, and in later life supported women’s suffrage and religious and charitable causes. A conflicted character, and not easy to categorise under any simplelabels of feminist or ‘victim of straightforward misogyny’, although those were undoubtedly parts of her story. 


Christian MacLagan (1811-1901), from Stirling, occupies the intersection of amateur antiquarian-ism and modern archaeology. Although not Scotland’s earliest female archaeologist, she pioneered the compilation and publication of prehistoric sites, using her own plans and fieldwork. This paper examines her previously undocumented social background and the roots of her maternal family, the Colvilles, and their fortune in the colonial indigo trade in Bengal. Colville links with Annfield estate, Stirling and Laws, Monifieth, are noted. A large Calcutta-derived legacy in 1859 enabled MacLagan to circumvent many conventional restrictions on women.

You can read it here –

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Morag Cross is an independent researcher and archaeologist, specialising in histories of buildings and land ownership. Her archival research explores the unexpected links between previously unknown figures, especially women, and their social networks. She has worked on over 80 projects including business histories for the Mackintosh Architecture website, Glasgow Council’s official WW1 website, M74 industrial archaeology research, and Edinburgh’s India Buildings, Victoria St.

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