Reformation in the diocese of Dunblane
The study of the Reformation as a religious and political movement within a particular diocese offers several attractions. A limited study in terms of ecclesiastical jurisdiction and organisation, it is able in greater detail to take into account the influence of the old church diocesan structure. Religious institutions within the diocese can as well be examined in terms of their local influence. Although the new church superintendent, John Wynram, supervised Fife and the other parts of Perthshire as well as Dunblane diocese, the diocesan structure of the old church, and the all important benefice revenues associated with that structure, remained intact long after 1560. To the extent that the new church clergy attempted to continue the cure of souls within the basic parochial structure they inherited from their predecessor, the diocese is a reasonable ecclesiastical unit within which to observe the functions of both churches. The political and religious activities of local lay families can be examined within this setting as well. Their acceptance or rejection of the Reformation would be particularly significant in a rural area such as Dunblane diocese, in the main removed from the powerful and persuasive pulpits of Edinburgh and the east coast. Several lairds and minor nobles within the diocese were heads of families whose adherence to the new church was essential for its local development. The attendance of many Protestant lairds at the Reformation parliament of 1560 has long been recognised as a significant indicator of support for the Reformation by the rural gentry, but the influence of these men within their local surroundings has been less studied.