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Archiver > Scotch-Irish > 2001-01 > 0980299878

From: "Edward Andrews" <>
Subject: RE: [Scotch-Irish] Re: Religion in the 1500's, 1600's
Date: Wed, 24 Jan 2001 01:31:18 -0000
In-Reply-To: <>

Sorry Linda, but I think that you are quite badly wrong in your analysis of
16th and 17th Century religion.
> The very interesting question about Catholic Scots has had me
> thinking too. One of the ways in which the 1500's and 1600's
> differed from now is that a lot of what later became very
> differentiated was not in the 1500's and early 1600's. This
> includes established religion in England and Scotland and of course
> Ireland. Queen Elizabeth I was definitely a Protestant but her
> beliefs were not so different from Catholicism (which irritated the
> Calvinists). After her death religious practice wavered in England
> throughout the 1600's. Eventually today's Episcopal church emerged.

Ignoring the coming and going of the immediate Post Reformation times,
Elizabeth, understanding the importance of religion in the lives of her
people tried to et up a Via media, which would be acceptable to all but the
most stiff necked.
I am not an expert in English Church History, but my understanding of the
Reign of Elizabeth is that there were still Roman Catholics getting
executed - through arguably for treason. I am not aware of Protestants being
executed. Your statement that her beliefs were not so different from
Catholicism is confused. Elizabeth was a Catholic. Her Spiritual advisors
would have argued that Rome moved away from the true faith at Trent.

There is no doubt that James I tightened the whole religious thing. Of
course that was to deal with the Presbyterians in Scotland who even though
they had lost out were still making a noise. What happened during James'
reign set the ground for Laud and the Carolinian Prelates.

To understand the English context you really need to go back to McCarthyism
in America, and for Communism read Roman Catholicism, and for Moscow read
Rome. You can see why the things happened.

> In the mid and later 1500's in Ireland it was not always clear who
> was Catholic, who was established church, and who was Presbyterian.
> Many people didn't care. People who moved from Scotland to Ireland
> who didn't care conformed. That mean in the 1630's they conformed
> to Laude's church and in the 1650's to Cromwell's and in the 1670's
> to the post Restoration church. It was much more of a mish mash,
> which some jumping off or on the boat of conforming. I also recall
> one lister telling us his family switched from Catholic to Protestant
> four times that he has traced.

The Song the Vicar of Bray was about a later 17th Century phenomena, but he
caught the spirit of the times except - In Scotland there was the taking of
the Covenants, and it would appear that Scotland - or at least lowland
Scotland was much more closely policed by the Kirk Sessions than was
> Through much of the north in the 1500's there was very little
> religion of any type. The churches were in ruins due to the wars.
> It was very much a frontier society in the early years of the
> Plantation, with parishes that had primarily Scottish people
> and maybe a nominally Presbyterian minister (in the period before
> 1630 there was no differentiation between Presbyterians and
> Church of Ireland). Other places you had nothing but Catholics.
> Most places the representation of the church of Ireland was quite
> small due to chronic shortages of ministers.

In post O'Neill Ulster there was very little but ruins.
Edward Andrews

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