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Poor Relief and the Church in Scotland, 1560-1650$
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John McCallum

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474427272

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474427272.001.0001

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Beyond the Kirk Session: Mixed Economies of Relief

Beyond the Kirk Session: Mixed Economies of Relief

Chapter:
(p.206) Chapter 8 Beyond the Kirk Session: Mixed Economies of Relief
Source:
Poor Relief and the Church in Scotland, 1560-1650
Author(s):

John McCallum

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474427272.003.0009

While the focus in the previous two sections is on the formal relief system operated by the church in the localities, on the poor who received relief, and on the relationship between them, the final chapter of the book turns to consider the wider context of relief. Recent European research has demonstrated the significance of mixed economies of relief, as well as developing growing attempts to trace the lives and survival strategies of the poor on their own terms, and not merely as recipients of charity. This section applies these two trends to the Scottish experience, and contextualises the church’s relief work through an examination of the relief provided by secular authorities; hospitals; and private individuals; and the informal survival strategies employed by the poor themselves. The chapter argues that the kirk session was at the centre of the mixed economy of relief, and was by far the most significant source of support for early modern Scots in need of assistance, and furthermore that the kirk session was often instrumental in supporting, working with, and developing these other forms of relief (hospitals, testamentary charity and foundations).

Keywords:   Town councils, Urban, Poverty, Charity, Wills, Hospitals, Philanthropy

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