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Rethinking the Scottish RevolutionCovenanted Scotland, 1637-1651$
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Laura A. M. Stewart

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198718444

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198718444.001.0001

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Politics in the Parishes

Politics in the Parishes

The National Covenant

Chapter:
(p.87) 2 Politics in the Parishes
Source:
Rethinking the Scottish Revolution
Author(s):

Laura A. M. Stewart

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198718444.003.0003

The 1638 National Covenant is an iconic document in Scottish history. Yet we know almost nothing about how the Covenant was received in the parishes. This chapter sites the events of 1638 in the longer history of covenanting and bonding to argue for important distinctions between these practices on either side of the Anglo-Scottish border. Two overlooked issues are central to this reassessment. It is well known that the Covenant was signed by thousands of people, but equal consideration needs to be given to the communal swearing ceremonies that attended this act. In some places, these ceremonies involved everyone in the parish, including women and children. Many parishes swore the Covenant before it had been sanctioned by parliament or general assembly and its lawfulness was justifiably questioned by adherents to the existing ecclesiastical order. This chapter discusses the ambiguities and tensions generated by uncertainty over the source of the Covenant’s authority.

Keywords:   National Covenant, bonding, oaths, Protestation Oath, swearing, confession, general assembly, congregation, community

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