Reading 17th Century Scotland Essay

Submitted By tylerg529
Words: 1990
Pages: 8

Reading 17th Century Scotland
Source Review The church during the 17th century in Scotland had a lot more power within the country than churches do now in modern society. The general motive of the church was to set the standard of what was right and wrong in their society and how to behave as a church going person. Also, the church kind of served as a place of law, where people were sent to be disciplined if they did something against the moral conduct of the church. In the documents, there are cases of plundering, witchcraft, and adultery that in today’s society wouldn’t fit in within the rules of the church, but in this time period it falls under in the churches shadow. The first thing that really came out to me in The Annals of Banff, was the statements about the conducting of witchcraft in the town. Within the document it says that “about this time active measures were being taken against witchcraft and superstition in the district “Our Ladie Wei," near the Kirk of Ordiquhill, was a favourite spot for “ignorantes" resorting to, and thereafter kneeling about the said Kirk, but no one, so far as record bears, suffered death therefor, except one unfortunate man who was resident in that district. This was John Philp... his only offence apparently being that he was consulted and that he prescribed for the cure of simple ailments. Whether he was burned to death at the Market Cross of Banff, or on the Gallow-hill thereof, cannot now be determined, the arguments in favour of each view being perhaps nearly equal.”1 Being accused of witchcraft during these times was a huge offence, and often ends up being killed. This was one of the biggest crimes you could commit against the church, but the way they kill these people is a little intense, burning someone to death is a pretty cruel way to kill a human being. Another thing that was considered a terrible thing to commit to the church was the act of adultery. Often cases with adultery are that the people involved are shunned from the church and have to do certain things to get permission to come back into the church. Examples from this are in the Records of the Meeting of the Exercise of Alford, when “James Gordoune and Janet Innes having been delated by the Sessione of Kildrumie as guiltie of adulterie, and being both fugitive together, the said Sessione upon that account having referred the matter to the meitting of the Exercise; it is ordained, in respect they could not be found whereby a personal summons might bee fixed upon them, that the said James Gordoune bee summoned from the pulpit of Kildrummie, and the said Janet Innes bee summoned from the pulpit of Towy, within which parish she had her residence, to appear befor the next meitting.”2 What is interesting about these records is that next to a lot of the statements is the word ‘discipline.’ And for the ones that say discipline, they keep track if the people are doing what they were sentenced to do after they received their punishment. For example, for the case used above, although they didn’t receive a punishment because they were not there, the church still keeps track of their case and updates it, and for the two that committed adultery “no report anent James Gordoune and Janet Innes, the minister of Towy being necessarily absent. It is reported anent Janet Smith, that she is continuing in her publick professione of repentance.”3 And even after this update it goes on to another one later that states “anent James Gordoune and Janet Innes, the minister of Towy reported, that they had not only not entered to the professione of repentance, but that also they were continuing their sinne, and travelling through the country in company together. Whereupon it is ordained that the minister of Kildrummie proceed in processe against them, and that it be intimated from the severall pulpits within oar precinct, that none receipt them in company together, under pain of Church censure.”4 So it is easy to see