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Riches and Reform

Ecclesiastical Wealth in St Andrews, c.1520-1580

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Bess Rhodes

The Scottish Reformation is often presumed to have had little economic impact. Traditionally, scholars maintained that Scotland’s late medieval church gradually secularised its estates, and that the religious changes of 1560 barely disrupted an ongoing trend. In Riches and Reform Bess Rhodes challenges this assumption with a study of church finance in Scotland’s religious capital of St Andrews, a place once regarded as the ‘cheif and mother citie of the Realme’. Drawing on largely unpublished charters, rentals, and account books, Riches and Reform argues that in St Andrews the Reformation triggered a rapid, large-scale, and ultimately ruinous redistribution of ecclesiastical wealth. Communal assets built up over generations were suddenly dispersed through a combination of official policies, individual opportunism, and a crisis in local administration, leading the post-Reformation churches and city of St Andrews into ‘poverte and decay’.

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Edited by Stuart Jenks

Catholics and Protestants have disputed the validity and legitimacy of papal plenary indulgences for 500 years without a unitary corpus of the relevant texts documenting the indulgence campaigns which so exercised Luther and his contemporaries. This volume prints for the first time in a modern edition the full text of all available papal bulls and brevia between 1300 and 1517 which granted plenary indulgences (i.e. those which cancelled all previously accrued temporal punishment due to sin), the instructions to the commissioners on how to preach (and defend) the indulgences and conduct the campaigns, and finally the extensions of indulgence campaigns. The Regnum Teutonicum provides the geographical framework, since it includes all the areas where the Reformation initially broke out.