Politics or Religion?: The Reformation in Perth 1540-1570

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9781903765357: Politics or Religion?: The Reformation in Perth 1540-1570

On May 11, 1559, a riot erupted in Perth, Scotland, which resulted in an open revolt against the authority of the Regent, Mary of Guise, and her 'foreign' religion. On that day, the Scottish Reformation slipped out of its covert phase and began to gather momentum as a revolution. The enthusiastic response by the townspeople of Perth to John Knox's preaching is widely documented. The question of why this happened in Perth remains unanswered. This account of Perth in the 16th century addresses the question of 'why Perth?' and reveals some answers to what lay behind the iconoclastic riot of 1559. A tradition of radicalism amongst certain burgesses had proved to be eminently successful over the decades preceding 1559. Political activism had resulted in some very successful manipulations of the system of town government and the extension of these processes to religion was a natural progression. This pattern of reform was unique amongst Scottish towns but was to be found in certain continental cities, where laymen's political ambitions often had as much or more to do with shaping urban reformations than did religious conviction. Politics or Religion?-written in a narrative style and supported by extensive documentation-complements the regional studies of the Scottish Reformation already in print and draws upon more than a decade of research into the phenomenon of urban reformations across Europe.

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About the Author:

Mary Verschuur was born in Perth and was raised just a few miles from town in the village of Bridge of Earn. She emigrated to the United States in 1962, but returned to Scotland to complete work on her PhD at the University of Glasgow. She is currently a part-time lecturer in the department of History at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She lives with her husband Larry in Omaha and travels frequently to Scotland to pursue research and to visit family and friends.

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