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George Strachan of the MearnsSeventeenth-century Orientalist$
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Tom McInally

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781474466226

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474466226.001.0001

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(p.8) Chapter One Heritage
George Strachan of the Mearns

Tom McInally

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter outlines the Strachan of Thornton family’s networks with ties of loyalty and religion to Mary Queen of Scots. George’s early education at home and subsequent training at Jesuit colleges in France is explained along with the difficulties that following a Catholic education abroad caused his family.The Strachan family’s involvement in the affair of the ‘Spanish Blanks’ and the threat of financial ruin which this caused, forced them to convert to Calvinism. This incident is used to exemplify the political dangers faced by noble families in late 16th-century Scotland. George Strachan’s options of jeopardising the family fortunes or adhering to Catholicism shows the problems of the divided loyalties in Scottish society of the time.

Keywords:   Mary Queen of Scots, Strachan of Thornton, Spanish Blanks, Conversion to Calvinism

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