Building the Reformed Kirk: the cultural use of ecclesiastical buildings in Scotland, 1560–1645
Chernoff, Graham Thomas
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This thesis examines the built environment and culture of Scotland between 1560 and 1645 by analysing church buildings erected during the period. The mid-sixteenth century ecclesiastical Reformation and mid-seventeenth-century political and ecclesiastical tumult in Scotland provide brackets that frame the development of this physical aspect of Scottish cultural history. This thesis draws most heavily on architectural and ecclesiastical history, and creates a compound of the two methods. That new compound brings to the forefront of the analysis the people who produced the buildings and for whom the church institution operated. The evidence used reflects this dual approach: examinations of buildings themselves, where they survive, of documentary evidence, and of contemporary and modern maps support the narrative analysis. The thesis is divided into two sections: Context and Process. The Context section cements the place of the cultural contributions made by ecclesiastical buildings to Scottish history by analysing the ecclesiastical historical, theological, and political contexts of buildings. The historical analysis helps explain why, for example, certain places managed to build churches successfully while others took much longer. The creative tension between these on-the-ground institutions and theoretical ideas contributed to Scotland’s ability to produce cultural spaces. The Process section analyses the narratives of individual buildings in several different steps: Preparing, Building, Occupying, and Relating. These steps connected people with the physical entity of a church building. The Preparing chapter shows how many reasons in Scotland there were to initiate a building project. The Building chapter uses financial, design, and work narratives to tease out the intricacies of individual church stories. Occupying and Relating delve into later histories of individual congregations to understand how churches sat within the world about them. Early modern Scottish church building was immensely varied: the position, style, impact, purpose, and success of church buildings were different across the realm. The manner people building and using churches reacted to their environments played no small role in forming habits for future action. Church buildings thus played a role establishing who early modern Scottish people were, what their institutions did, and how their spirituality was lived daily.