Religious Changes in Scotland and the end of the Personal Rule

Religious Changes in Scotland and the end of the Personal Rule

Religious Changes in Scotland 1625- 1640

Charles’ Early Reign

Most Scots were Presbyterian. Scottish churches called the Kirk and for many scots their church was their identity. James I restored Bishops to Scotland in 1618 through the articles of Perth, but these bishops were only in an advisory capacity. For religious matters in Scotland the General assembly were in charge

In 1626 Charles issued a proclamation commanding observation of the Articles of Perth and he sent personal instructions for kneeling at communion. This was very repugnant to the scots (Charles had no understanding of this)

IT was 8 years before Charles visited Scotland after his coronation and he only stayed for 2 weeks- It was important to see a king regularly as he was a symbol of patronage and power. It was important that Charles spent time everywhere (something Charles ignored). Scots therefore felt neglected and bitterness spread towards England.

In 1625 without warning or explanation, Charles first act with regard to Scotland had been to revoke all grants of land made by the crown since 1540. This included church and monastic (land owned by the monastery) lands given to the nobility as a result of the reformation. –very tactless move by Charles as it affected all families of substance.

The cannons new prayer book

The religious aim in Scotland by Laud and Charles was to make Scottish worship conform more closely to their idea of decency and reverence. The Scottish bishops drew up a Book of Common Prayer and canons “For the unity and discipline” the canons laid down; east end tables, kneeling, obedience to the prayer book and confession- which caused much offence. There was a lack of consultation with the clergy and the imposition of the canons through Royal degree.

Before Charles introduced the prayer book he carefully consulted the bishops and made a number of changes to render the book more acceptable to Scots for example the word “Priests” was not to be used. But the Bishops in Scotland didn’t really represent the scots and the Scottish nobles at court.

The biggest mistake of the prayer book was its imposition. It was not shown to the Scottish parliament or church assembly before it was introduced by royal proclamation, abandoning all pretence of government consent.

The congregations in Scotland reacted badly to the new prayer book. One bishop felt he had to conduct services with two loaded pistols in each hand in the pulpit.

Charles brought matters to a head by issuing a proclamation making protests against the new prayer book an act of treason – so the scots now had to choose between loyalty to the King and loyalty to the Presbyterian Church.

The Scottish covenant 1638 (the Scottish promise)

A document drawn up to which hundreds of thousand subscribed swearing to resist to the death the innovations of religion.

Charles response to this was that he refused to back down and send Marquess of


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