Slonosky, Timothy

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  • Publication
    Civil Reformations: Religion in Dundee and Haddington C.1520-1565
    (2014-01-01) Slonosky, Timothy
    ABSTRACT CIVIL REFORMATIONS: RELIGION IN DUNDEE AND HADDINGTON, C.1520-1565 Timothy Slonosky Prof. Margo Todd In 1559-60, Scotland's Catholic church was dramatically and rapidly replaced by a rigorous Protestant regime. Despite their limited resources, the Protestant nobles who imposed the Reformation faced little resistance or dissent from the Scottish laity. A study of burgh records demonstrates that the nature of urban religion was crucial to the success of the Reformation among the laity. The municipal governments of Dundee and Haddington exercised significant control over religious worship in their towns, as they built and administered churches, hired clergy and provided divine worship as a public good. Up until 1560, the town councils fulfilled their responsibilities diligently, maintaining good relations with the clergy, ensuring high standards of service and looking for opportunities to expand public worship. The towns nonetheless acted to protect those who were interested in discussing religious reform. The circulation of reform proposals from the 1520s on accustomed a generation of Scots to the idea that the religious order would eventually be reformed, even if the exact shape was the reform was not yet clear. Many Scots saw the war and plague which devastated Scotland in the 1540s as a sign of divine anger, and sought reforms to prevent further miseries. In Dundee, the Protestants were welcomed partly because of their emphasis on discipline, which was seen as a means of appeasing God. In Haddington, years of war and plague may have caused the burghers to emphasize civic unity and peace and to avoid religious discord, which muted opposition to the Reformation. Even if they were not yet all enthusiastic Protestants, the openness of the urban laity to religious reforms was a crucial aspect to the success of the Scottish Reformation.