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Presbyterian Conventicles in Restoration Scotland

Presbyterian Conventicles in Restoration Scotland Presbyterian Conventicles in the Restoration Era Neil McIntyre The proliferation of conventicles in house and field was, and perhaps is, the most readily identifiable feature of Scottish presbyterian dissent in the Restoration era. It remains one of the most celebrated if contentious aspects of the ‘Covenanting tradition’, and has been integrated successfully, although not unproblematically, into the general history of the Church of Scotland. Yet despite being recognised by scholars as a crucial element of presbyterian culture in the seventeenth century, conventicling has yet to receive detailed analysis. This essay will therefore provide an outline of work recently undertaken on conventicling in the 1670s – a decade labelled previously by one historian as the ‘golden age of nonconformity’. Touching briefly on the chronology, geography and dynamics of conventicling, this article will also illuminate key Ulster connections that have been underplayed in the history of the later Covenanting movement. The remarkable exploits of fugitive ministers preaching to clandestine gatherings of presbyterian dissenters has remained the most enduring image of Restoration Scotland. Indeed, it is notable that hagiographic appraisals of the Covenanting movement up to the mid-twentieth century have tended to favour this period of privation and martyrdom rather than the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Scottish Church History Edinburgh University Press

Presbyterian Conventicles in Restoration Scotland

Scottish Church History , Volume 45 (1): 16 – Jun 1, 2016

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
Copyright © Edinburgh University Press
ISSN
2516-6298
eISSN
2516-6301
DOI
10.3366/sch.2016.0006
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Presbyterian Conventicles in the Restoration Era Neil McIntyre The proliferation of conventicles in house and field was, and perhaps is, the most readily identifiable feature of Scottish presbyterian dissent in the Restoration era. It remains one of the most celebrated if contentious aspects of the ‘Covenanting tradition’, and has been integrated successfully, although not unproblematically, into the general history of the Church of Scotland. Yet despite being recognised by scholars as a crucial element of presbyterian culture in the seventeenth century, conventicling has yet to receive detailed analysis. This essay will therefore provide an outline of work recently undertaken on conventicling in the 1670s – a decade labelled previously by one historian as the ‘golden age of nonconformity’. Touching briefly on the chronology, geography and dynamics of conventicling, this article will also illuminate key Ulster connections that have been underplayed in the history of the later Covenanting movement. The remarkable exploits of fugitive ministers preaching to clandestine gatherings of presbyterian dissenters has remained the most enduring image of Restoration Scotland. Indeed, it is notable that hagiographic appraisals of the Covenanting movement up to the mid-twentieth century have tended to favour this period of privation and martyrdom rather than the

Journal

Scottish Church HistoryEdinburgh University Press

Published: Jun 1, 2016

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