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The church and religion in the Anglo Scottish border counties, 1534 to 1572

Keeling, S. M. (1975) The church and religion in the Anglo Scottish border counties, 1534 to 1572. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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The 16th century Borders have been viewed traditionally as violent, feudal and catholic, but their feudalism is now questioned. The verdict on their religion seems often to be based either on general impressions or on lack of evidence. Recently the value of studying the social and political life of the English and Scottish Borders together has been recognised, and this approach is also viable for their religious life. The scattered evidence shows that in terms of material wealth and personnel the Border church was badly served, and that the changes of the Reformation often made the situation worse. Moreover it suffered from too close an association with the violent aspects of Border society. Popular religion in the area seems to have been more concerned with the magical aspect of the church's ceremonies than with orthodox Catholicism or Protestantism. At the same time there was a realisation of the problems, and there were educative and civilising influences at work. By the end of this period they were beginning to have some little effect, while at the same time the weakened traditional Catholicism was declining through lack of organised support. The 1569 revolt, which at first sight might suggest that the situation had changed little since 1536, in fact by its failure demonstrates the changes which had occurred. However the problems of the Border ' church went too deep to be solved easily, and the Borderers' independence in matters social, political, and religious would have to be overcome to achieve any great measure of success. Throughout this period both English and Scottish governments were by turn unable or unwilling to effect the necessary changes, and the inadequate church organisations were left to struggle on alone.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:1975
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:18 Sep 2013 10:28

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