Discipline, reformation and community in Perth, 1577-1600

Gair, H., 2020. Discipline, reformation and community in Perth, 1577-1600. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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Abstract

This thesis explores the development of ecclesiastical discipline administered by the kirk session of Perth between 1577 and 1600. Using the archival records of Perth's kirk session, as well as other local sources such as burgh court and guild records, it analyses the impact of the local networks of session members on the implementation of discipline, and examines the complex relationship between Perth’s kirk session and its congregation, evaluating how discipline developed over the first few decades of the Scottish Reformation.

The first two chapters of this thesis focus on the proceedings of the kirk session and those who administered discipline. The first chapter addresses the elections, turnover and roles of the session members, and the second chapter demonstrates how the occupations and personal relationships of the town's eldership significantly influenced the exercise of discipline in Perth. The third chapter leads on from this by evaluating the offences pursued and prioritised by Perth's kirk session, and by considering how this changed over time. It also analyses the level of cooperation between the kirk session and local burgh court, and how this connection influenced what types of offence were more commonly pursued.

The fourth and fifth chapters shift in focus to evaluate the relationships of Perth’s parishioners with the kirk session. Chapter 4 considers how a person's experience of discipline could be affected by their gender and social status, and whether the session consciously treated parishioners differently according to individual circumstances. Chapter 5 explores the levels of negotiation between the kirk session and the congregation, focusing particularly on interactions involving suspects who denied the charge, reoffenders and those who disobeyed the session.

The thesis concludes that Perth's kirk session was significantly influenced by its local community and by the relationships of its constantly rotating membership, and that the exercise of discipline developed as the roles of the eldership became firmly established and as the kirk session’s authority strengthened.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Gair, H.
Date: August 2020
Rights: This work is the intellectual property of the author. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed to the owner of the Intellectual Property Rights.
Divisions: Schools > School of Arts and Humanities
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 05 Nov 2021 14:02
Last Modified: 06 Dec 2021 09:17
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/44626

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