The return of migrants to their places of origin has been subject to significant theoretical enquiry in recent decades, but testing the resulting modelling against historical data has so far been limited and reliant mainly on nineteenth- and twentieth-century evidence. This article builds upon these foundations by offering detailed analysis of the process of return migration as it affected Scottish migrants to England in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Utilising theoretical insights from social science and a broad range of empirical evidence to explore the mechanisms and motivations of return, the article utilises a six-category typology, involving: circular, self-improving, retirement, employment and failed returnees, as well as those returning from forced exile. Nevertheless, while these individual narratives provide a qualitative insight to returnees, their stories remain very much a minority experience since Scottish migrants were more likely to settle permanently in England than to enact returning strategies. Indeed, the relative rarity of return migrants underlines the relative openness of English society to Scottish incomers and the ease with which early modern Scots assimilated to the Anglicised idiom of the emergent British state.