The operation of lay patronage in the Church of Scotland from the Act of 1712 until 1746 : with particular reference to the Presbyteries of Duns, Edinburgh and Brechin
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Although lay patronage was abolished in 1690, the study emphasises the importance of linking that Act with the one restoring it in 1712, since there was a difference between the landed interest and the Church in their perception of both pieces of legislation. This divergence, together with the 1690 Act's placement of the heritor class into the process of ministerial election, and the vexations caused by the Abjuration Oath, combined to create the complications which undermined the Church's ability to throw off patronage. The study questions the idea that few patronage disputes arose in the first period after the Act, and goes on to examine how the intensification of Squadrone/Argathelian rivalry in the post-Union scramble for influence drew church vacancy matters inexorably into the web of politics. The most successful manipulators of patronage were Lord Ilay and Lord Milton, and a general comparison is made between their administration and that of the Marquis of Tweeddale. Skilful management of the Church's senior courts, along with a judicious preferment of ministerial loyalists, made concerted opposition to even the worst excesses of patronage, overwhelmingly difficult. The study however draws attention to one period, between 1734 and 1736, when forces antipathetic to the abuses of patronage appeared to achieve an effective unity. Finally, the study looks beyond the influence of simple party politics, to examine what local factors may have impinged upon settlements by presentation, and to this end examines the peculiar circumstances which obtained in the Presbyteries of Edinburgh, Duns and Brechin.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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