the podcast


Welcome to our Freethinker's Footsteps podcast! Starting 27 October, we will release one podcast every Friday for five weeks. Each podcast will explore some element of Heather Richardson's historical novel, Doubting Thomas.

Episode One – Aikenhead's Last Words (27 October): In this episode, Stewart Ennis reads the final words of Thomas Aikenhead, written shortly before his execution for blasphemy on January 8, 1697. 

Episode Two – Aikenhead's Edinburgh (3 November): In late 17th C Edinburgh it was no longer common to execute people for blasphemy. What specifically doomed Aikenhead to such a harsh judgment? In this episode, Dr Michael Graham, author of The Blasphemies of Thomas Aikenhead, provides some key insights into the Thomas Aikenhead case and the zeitgeist of 17th C Edinburgh.

Episode Three – The Author (10 November): In Doubting Thomas the devil truly is in the details. In this episode – recorded at the Glasgow launch of Doubting Thomas – author Heather Richardson discusses the themes, characters and real-life story that inspired her novel.

Episode Four – 17th C Women (17 November): At Doubting Thomas's centre is a strong female character, Isobel Carruth. In this episode, Dr Catriona MacLeod, an expert on women in 17th C Scotland, will provide us with some context to enrich our understanding of what a woman's experience would have been like in 17th C Edinburgh.

Episode Five – The Politics of Religion (1 December): In the fifth and final episode of our Freethinker’s Footsteps Podcast, Dr Alasdair Raffe, an expert on Scottish religion and politics in the 17th and 18th centuries, describes the widespread political and religious conflict in late 17th and early 18th C Scotland, and explores the ways in which it impacted freethinkers like Thomas Aikenhead.


The dissected woman image above has been modified from the original image titled Woodcut 1: “The figure explained: being a dissection of the womb...” wood engraving showing woman dissected to expose child in womb. From The Compleat Midwife’s Companion: Or the Art of Midwifery Improv’d, by Jane Sharp (London: J. Marshall, 1724; Wellcome Library).

Our In the Freethinker's Footsteps project has been made possible thanks to Publishing Scotland's Go-Digital Fund.