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The Government of Scotland 1560-1625$
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Julian Goodare

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199243549

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199243549.001.0001

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New Powers in the Localities

New Powers in the Localities

(p.192) CHAPTER NINE New Powers in the Localities
The Government of Scotland 1560-1625

Julian Goodare (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter looks at a number of completely new powers being created alongside the old ones, notably the local courts of the church but also some new civil administrators. This was one of the most significant periods ever for the growth of local government in Scotland. The local courts of the church, kirk sessions, and presbyteries were powerful new institutions of government, along with justices of the peace. They generally regulated different aspects of people's lives, but one of the points that emerges from considering them together is how much practical overlap there was in membership and jurisdiction between ecclesiastical and secular authorities. Even when there was no overlap, there was usually active cooperation. One conceptual approach that has not worked for Scotland is to treat the clergy themselves as an autonomous professional group providing services to the state, while recognising the interpenetration of civil and religious ideology in the central aspirations of the state. This is because the clergy worked with the laity in the church courts themselves.

Keywords:   local government, church courts, local courts, kirk sessions, presbyteries, clergy, civil administrators, justices of the peace

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