“Noli Me Condemnare”—Migrant Memories Set in Stone: The Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century Scottish Memorials in Poland
In the early modern period a large number of Scots migrated to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Some stayed there for a short time, while others settled permanently and ran commercial business and practised crafts. The migration stopped in the late eighteenth century, and the Scots who remained seem to have lost their ethnic identity. Despite the fact that this once flourishing ethnic group is now long forgotten, we can reconstruct much about its past from external repositories of memory—memoirs, travel diaries, poll-tax records, parish registers, and council minutes. This article focuses on examining artefacts in the form of memories “set in stone”, namely seventeenth and eighteenth century monuments belonging to some of those immigrants. I pose the following questions: What type of memories do the monuments personify? What can we learn about the people for whom the memorials were raised and about those who erected them? To what degree can data extracted from such artefacts assist us in finding out who they were and what they did? Could the knowledge contained in the epitaphs reveal the extent to which the Scots remained a distinct ethnic group and how deeply they integrated into the Polish society? By examining the memories “set in stone” comparatively, I will attempt to assess the value of such “contained memories” in recreating the past, especially when cross-referenced with other primary documents.