Scottish Studies Zoom Talk

A Brewing Storm:
Alewives in sixteenth-century Inverness

an online talk by Dr. Elizabeth Ewan

Saturday, January 14, 2023
11 a.m. EST (Eastern Canada/USA)
4 p.m. UK

A recording of this event is available on YouTube at

This talk looks at the lives of the brewsters and alewives as they appeared in the surviving town court records of Inverness, 1556-86, and examines what they can reveal more generally about women's contributions to urban society. It describes the colourful life of Elspeth Barnet, a domestic servant who went on to spend her adult life in the brewing trade. From earning her living and breaking the rules while doing so, brawling with customers and other townspeople, assisting other brewsters, supporting her husband when he also got into trouble, and even being banished from the town on occasion, Elspeth Barnet demonstrates the assertiveness and agency of women in early modern Scottish towns.

Elizabeth Ewan recently retired as Professor of History and Scottish Studies at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada. She researches medieval and early modern Scotland with a particular interest in gender history, urban history, and crime.

To register for this event, kindly contact David Hunter by email at You will then be sent the appropriate Zoom login information. Please register no later than Friday, January 13th. This is a free event, but you are welcome to make a donation to our Scholarship Campaign.

You can donate, either online by clicking on the PayPal button above, or by mail using our donation form which you can access here. Your support will be greatly appreciated.

The Scottish Studies Foundation is a Canadian charitable organization (No.119253490 RR0001). For Canadian residents, a tax receipt will be issued for donations in excess of $10.