Miss Christian MacLagan, pioneer Victorian antiquary and archaeologist

her early life, family and social context

Morag Cross (Author)

Stirling, Indigo, Pilkington, Female archaeologists, Free Church, Women’s architectural patronage
Annfield House, Marykirk, St Mary’s Wynd, Wester Livilands Estate, Stirling, Laws Hillfort, Laws Estate, Monifieth, Angus, Scotland, UK, Krishnanagar, West Bengal, India
Victorian, Late Regency


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.


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How to Cite
Cross, M. (2021). Miss Christian MacLagan, pioneer Victorian antiquary and archaeologist. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 150, 119-161. https://doi.org/10.9750/PSAS.150.1310

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