News and Events

This is an archive of ongoing news and events for the current Curious Travellers project (2022-Ongoing), and the first Curious Travellers project funded by the AHRC (2014-2018). Members of the team continue to work on the digital editions and on C18th-C19th travel literature, and relevant talks and publications will continue to be advertised here. Please get in touch if you would like any of us to talk to your group or society; you can also follow us on twitter.


Fundraising in Whitford, Crowdsourcing in Aber 04 June 2024

Travels at Home: Thomas Pennant, the Dee Estuary and Greenfield Valley (Exhibition, April-July 2024) 12 April 2024


Curious Travellers Creative Commission: working with schools in Whitford
and Holywell
24 November 2023

Podcast – Stories from Glasgow, episode three 16 October 2023

Textual Collaborations and National Identities 8 September 2023


Curious Travellers 2: A New Project 28 October 2022

Funding for two new pilot projects on Thomas Pennant’s Outlines of the Globe 1 July 2022


Shortlisted for the Saltire National Book Awards 2021, Best Research Book of the Year 29 November 2021


Nigel Leask, Stepping Westward: Writing the Highland Tour c.1720-1830 (Oxford: OUP, 2020) 28 May 2020


Curious Travellers in 2019

A resumé of talks, events, and work in progress

Our AHRC funding came to an end in 2018, but work has continued on the project, and we expect several key publications to come out over the next two or three years. We continue to work on our editions, and hope to take the project in new directions in due course.

Mary-Ann Constantine was based in Oxford for a three-month period early in the year, working on the correspondence of the antiquarian Richard Gough with Thomas Pennant as part of a Bodleian Visiting Scholars scheme. She gave two papers while there: ‘Richard Gough and Thomas Pennant’: Bodleian Library Visiting Fellows Seminar, and ‘Encounters with Ancient Britons’, Oxford Celtic Studies Seminar, Oxford. She also had a chance to read Gough’s unpublished tours of Wales, undertaken in 1761 (in south Wales) and 1770 (in the north). Both proved to be engaging and unusual pieces of writing, with valuable observations on some of Wales’ most important medieval buildings; we plan to produce on-line editions of them for the website in due course. Work continues on her monograph exploring The Welsh Tour 1720-1820; Nigel Leask’s monograph, Stepping Westward: Writing the Highland Tour 1720-1830 was completed and went to press.

Three team members presented a panel at a conference on Reading, Writing, and Collecting: Books and Manuscripts in Wales, 1450-1850 held in the stunning setting of Brecon Cathedral in April 2019: Mary-Ann Constantine, ‘My companion through the Principality’: Richard Colt Hoare & Gerald of Wales’ ; Ffion Mair Jones, ‘Before the Book: Thomas Pennant’s Correspondence’; Elizabeth Edwards, ‘Reading and the Welsh Tour’.

At the Hay Festival (May 2019) Mary-Ann Constantine spoke on ‘Literature and Landscape’ for a radio interview for BBC Radio Wales Arts Show; and a panel discussion. Over the summer Ffion Jones gave a paper on Pennant’s Welsh networks at the International Celtic Congress held in Bangor, while Liz Edwards offered a paper at the British Association for Romantic Studies in Nottingham on the fascinating 1802 Welsh tour of scientist and watercolourist Cornelius Varley (you can read his tour here). Nigel Leask gave a seminar in Oxford on Dorothy Wordsworth’s travels in Scotland.

In July Nigel Leask and Glasgow colleagues organized ‘Old Ways and New Roads’, a Research Workshop, at the Hunterian Museum and Gallery. This was in preparation towards a forthcoming major exhibition on travel and tourism in Scotland: an illustrated catalogue with essays will be published by Birlinn in 2020.

In November, Nigel Leask and Mary-Ann Constantine presented the Curious Travellers project, and spoke about hopes for a future digital edition of Pennant’s Tours, at a digital-focused conference organized by Anna Marie Roos at the Royal Society in London.

In December, Mary-Ann Constantine gave a paper to the London-Paris Romanticism Seminar group entitled ‘Welsh Bard Walking’, which looked at Iolo Morganwg’s long, disturbed journey on foot from London to Glamorgan in the summer of 1802.


Ifor Ap Glyn & Alec Finlay [14.12.2018, Dr Johnson’s House] 21st November 2018

The Scottish Tours of Dr Johnson and Thomas Pennant [15.11.2018] 29th October 2018

Ffion Mair Jones: Thomas Pennant Society Annual Lecture, ‘”The lad at Baron Hill”: The career of Moses Griffith (1747– 1819)’, (18 October 2018)

An Exhibition at Dr Johnson’s House, London 24th September 2018

Curious Travellers Thomas Pennant, Travel and the Making of Enlightenment Knowledge 18th September 2018

Research Visitor to Curious Travellers from India. 26th July 2018

18th Century Scottish Studies 31st Annual Conference, Kelvin Hall, Argyle St, University of Glasgow. 17th – 21st July 2018 11th July 2018

June 14th 1726, Thomas Pennant’s Birthday 13th June 2018

Curious Travellers: Update and Events 2018 7th June 2018

Curious Travellers: Thomas Pennant and the Welsh and Scottish Tour 1760-1820 1st February 2018


Curious Travellers in 2017 20th February 2017

New publication: Volume of essays on Pennant:

Nigel Leask gave the 26th Annual Thomas Pennant Society Lecture at Holywell (October 18).

Curious Travellers at the British Association for Romantic Studies. (July 29-31, York). We presented a panel of three papers by Alex Deans, Kirsty McHugh and Mary-Ann Constantine; Liz Edwards spoke on the tours of Hester Piozzi, and Nigel Leask gave a key-note lecture on radical pedestrian tours.

Borders and Crossings International Conference (July 10-12, Aberystwyth) Mary-Ann Constantine gave a key-note lecture on Romantic-era travel writing and Coasts, and Liz Edwards spoke on Hester Piozzi’s Home Tours.

Mary-Ann Constantine gave a keynote lecture to the annual Eighteenth Century Ireland Society Conference, on C18th Welsh Travellers to Ireland (including Thomas Pennant, who visited as a young man in 1754) (June 7-9, Dublin).

A new itinerary added to the map 3rd June 2017

Mary-Ann Constantine gave the 2017 O’ Donnell lecture: ‘Curious Traveller: Britons, Britain and Britishness in Thomas Pennant’s Tours’ (May 12, Oxford)

Exhibition: Landscape, Movement, Art at Oriel Brondanw, Llanfrothen. Click here for associated talks and events at Llanfrothen and the subsequent exhibition at Old College, Aberystwyth (May-July).

Windows on the World: C18th & C19th Travellers to and from Breconshire. (May 6 Penpont, Brecon, day-conference in association with the Brecknock Historical Society): [Programme].

Oriel Môn, Llangefni, Anglesey: a Welsh-language day-conference devoted to the Morris brothers. (April 29) Ffion Jones gave a paper on mutual friends and acquaintances of William Morris and Thomas Pennant. [programme]

Kirsty McHugh spoke on ‘Leeds, Loch Lomond & the Lakes: the Marshalls, the Wordsworths and home tourism’ at Romanticism takes to the hills. April 29 (Edge Hill University).

Nigel Leask gave a lecture on Thomas Pennant to the Royal Philosophical Society in Glasgow (March 8, Glasgow).

Nigel Leask and Alex Deans spoke about mapping the Pennant Tours at the National Library of Scotland. (February 17, Edinburgh)

Alex Deans gave a paper on Pennant & Banks: ‘With a facility of communication’: Pennant, Banks and collaborative knowledge-making’ at a National Portrait Gallery Workshop: ‘Science, Self-fashioning and Representation in Joseph Banks’s Circles’. [abstract] (January 26-27, London)


An Interactive Map of Thomas Pennant’s Tours of Scotland 24th October 2016

Curious Travellers: Movement, Landscape, Art (19 November 2016) 12th October 2016

‘Curious Travellers: Movement, Landscape, Art’ – A Preview 3rd October 2016

Curious Travellers: Movement, Landscape, Art (10 October – 16 December 2016) 3rd October 2016

Hafod: 15 June 2016 25th May 2016

The Power of Place 10th May 2016

Wales and Scotland in European Travel Writing: Saturday 16th April 2016 25th April 2016


Layered Landscapes: geology and travel in Romantic-era Britain 18th November 2015

Thomas Pennant Society Silver Jubilee Lecture 11th September 2015

Thomas Pennant and Enlightenment Networks 31st August 2015

In Pennant’s footsteps… 14th June 2015

Conferences in Cardiff and Aberystwyth 12th June 2015

Fingalian Topgraphies 30th April 2015

Fully-funded PhD 13th February 2015


Curious Travellers: into darkest Ceredigion in the eighteenth century 21 November 2014

Thomas Pennant’s Scottish Tours: Travel, Knowledge Networks, and National Description 10 November 2014

The Scenic Route 19 October 2014

Classical Celtic: Wales and Scotland in Mediterranean Light 19 September 2014

Curious Travellers: a new research project 1 September 2014