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Title: The origins of covenanting thought and resistance : c.1580-1638
Author(s): Wells, Vaughan T.
Issue Date: 1997
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: Until quite recently it has been argued that the Scottish Reformation of 1560 removed the trappings of Catholicism from the kirk, but retained the old machinery of ecclesiastical government. Since the 1970s, however, this notion has been placed under increasing pressure by an alternative interpretation which suggests the Reformation rejected episcopal government in favour of a conciliar form of kirk polity. This study, by adopting as its basis the more recent interpretation of the Reformation noted above, proposes the view that the genesis of the presbyterian polity of c. 1580 lies in the thought and intent of the reformers of 1560. The prevalent historiographical view that the hybrid polity of 'bishop-in-presbytery (established in 1610) represented a popular restoration - rather than a stoutly resisted introduction - of an erastian episcopate is therefore challenged. In particular, resistance to the new regime emanated from the lairds, merchants and professional classes of Scottish society, and thus the role of this 'middling group in supporting presbyterianism features prominently in this work. The role of women in the events of the period is likewise discussed, as historiography (in Scotland at least) has neglected their important contribution to the maintenance of resistance during these key years. The thought and actions of two prominent Scottish presbyterian exiles - Alexander Leighton and Robert Durie - worried the king on his English doorstep, and the contribution which these two men made to covenanting thought and resistance, particularly in the 1620s and 1630s, is also examined. Archibald Johnston of Wariston played a major role in the revolution of 1637, and the motivations which led him to become the architect of revolution in 1637 are examined. The overall theme of the thesis is one of continuity of thought and resistance, and thus the thesis looks finally in detail at the nature and process of presbyterian protest and petition from c. 1580 to 1637.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Affiliation: School of Arts and Humanities
History and Politics

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