Cultures of Care

Domestic Welfare, Discipline and the Church of Scotland, c. 1600–1689


Cultures of Care: Domestic Welfare, Discipline and the Church of Scotland, c. 1600–1689 explores voluntary networks of charity and their interaction with the Reformed Church of Scotland. Whereas most previous histories have assessed the growth of institutional charity, this book contends that the Reformed Church of Scotland was heavily reliant on informal, domestic modes of self-help throughout the seventeenth century.
The existence and widespread acceptance of informal care dramatically changes our understanding of the impact of the Calvinist Reformation. Local ecclesiastical and secular leaders did not have a concerted policy to affect or ameliorate informal networks of care. Reformed authorities were members of these networks, as well as agents to police them, collapsing distinctions between informal and formal modes of Calvinist authority.

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Chris R. Langley, Ph.D. (2012, University of Aberdeen), is Senior Lecturer in Early Modern British History at Newman University, Birmingham. He is the author of Worship, Civil War and Community, 1638–1660.
“The strengths of Langley’s work lie in its readability. The prose is engaging and the various specific examples allow for connection with the individuals living in the distant past. He takes a broad concept—‘care’—and makes it more digestible.” Charlotte Holmes, in: Scottish Historical Review, Vol. 100, No. 2 (August, 2021), pp. 287–288.

“This book provides a significant step forward in early modern Scottish social history. However it also has important implications for the history of the Reformed Kirk in demonstrating that kirk sessions did not seek to marginalise, downgrade, or control informal care.”
John McCallum, Nottingham Trent University. In: Scottish Church History, Vol. 50, No. 2 (2021), pp. 171–173.


1 Poor Relief
2 Non-Institutional Charity, Domesticity and Reformed Intervention
3 Method and Sources
4 Charity and the Kirk Session

1 Kindness and the Parish
 1 Carers and Care Acts
 2 Petitioning

2 Childcare
 1 Fosterage and Wet Nursing
 2 Childcare and Sermons

3 Illegitimacy
 1 Parish Networks
 2 Fostering Bastards
 3 Negligence and Infanticide

4 Illness
 1 Neighbourly and Kin Assistance
 2 Disciplinary Consequences
 3 Charming

5 Disability
 1 Attitudes towards Disability
 2 Parish Stability

6 Death
 1 Providing Deathbed Care
 2 Clerics and Carers
 3 Post-Mortem Practices

1 Informality
2 Social Capital

Academics, postgraduates and advanced undergraduates interested in the history of Reformed religious culture, discipline and charity.
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