The Reformation in the burgh of St Andrews : property, piety and power
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This thesis examines the impact of the Reformation on the estates of ecclesiastical institutions and officials based in St Andrews. It argues that land and wealth were redistributed and power structures torn apart, as St Andrews changed from Scotland’s Catholic ecclesiastical capital to a conspicuously Protestant burgh. The rapid dispersal of the pre-Reformation church’s considerable ecclesiastical lands and revenues had long-term ramifications for the lives of local householders, for relations between religious and secular authorities, and for St Andrews’ viability as an urban community. Yet this major redistribution of wealth has had limited attention from scholars. The first part of this study considers the role played by the Catholic Church in St Andrews before the Reformation, and the means by which it was financed, examining the funding of the city’s pre-Reformation ecclesiastical foundations and officials, and arguing that (contrary to some traditional assumptions) the Catholic Church in St Andrews was on a reasonably sound financial footing until the Reformation. The second section considers the immediate disruption to St Andrews’ religious lands and revenues caused by the burgh’s public conversion to Protestantism, and then explores the more planned reorganisation of the 1560s. The disputes and difficulties triggered by the redistribution of ecclesiastical wealth are examined, as well as the longer term impact on St Andrews of the treatment of church revenues at the Reformation. Evidence for this study is chiefly drawn from the extensive body of manuscripts concerning St Andrews held by the National Library of Scotland, the National Records of Scotland, and the University of St Andrews Special Collections.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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