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Religion and National IdentityGoverning Scottish Presbyterianism in the Eighteenth Century$
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Alistair Mutch

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780748699155

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748699155.001.0001

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Scottish Systemic Accountability

Scottish Systemic Accountability

(p.131) Chapter 6 Scottish Systemic Accountability
Religion and National Identity

Alistair Mutch

Edinburgh University Press

An examination of practice at local level in the eighteenth century Church of Scotland indicates how far it diverged from the theory codified in printed guidance manuals. Some practices, such as regular parochial visitations, foundered on practicalities. Others, such as bookkeeping practice, emerged from practice to fill up gaps in the guidance. Over the course of the eighteenth century, practices became more formalised but tended to take on a ritualised quality. This was clearest in the ‘polite’ sessions around Edinburgh, dominated as they were by landowners and professionals. By contrast, Ayrshire, with its strong covenanting traditions, retained a more active and ‘plebian’ character. Adherence to systematic record keeping was possibly strongest in the Aberdeenshire parishes which had formerly been marked by adherence to Episcopalianism. Overall, the practices examined have to be seen in the context of parallel and complementary developments in law and education. The character of the mature system at the close of the eighteenth century is examined through the long running legal dispute in the Aberdeenshire parish of Monymusk between the heritor on one side and the minister and presbytery on the other, with the kirk session in the middle.

Keywords:   Scots law, Scottish education, Church of Scotland, Monymusk

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