Clerics and Clansmen

The Diocese of Argyll between the Twelfth and Sixteenth Centuries


The Highlander has never enjoyed a good press, and has been usually characterised as peripheral and barbaric in comparison to his Lowland neighbour, more inclined to fighting than serving God. In Clerics and Clansmen Iain MacDonald examines how the medieval Church in Gaelic Scotland, often regarded as isolated and irrelevant, continued to function in the face of poverty, periodic warfare, and the formidable powers of the clan chiefs. Focusing upon the diocese of Argyll, the study analyses the life of the bishopric, before broadening to consider the parochial clergy – in particular origins, celibacy, education, and pastoral care. Far from being superficial, it reveals a Church deeply embedded within its host society while remaining plugged into the mainstream of Latin Christendom.
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Biographical Note

Iain G. MacDonald, Ph.D. (2009) in History, University of Glasgow, is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow of the British Academy. He has written several articles on the late medieval Church in Argyll and Gaelic Scotland, and is currently researching Highland Hospitality.

Table of contents

List of Figures ... ix
Figures ... xi
List of Tables ... xix
Tables ... xxi
List of Maps ... xxxiii
Maps ... xxxv
Acknowledgements ... xli
Abbreviations ... xliii
Note on Nomenclature ... xlix

Introduction ... 1
1 The Origins of the Bishopric of Argyll ... 19
2 The Late Medieval Bishopric and Its Bishops ... 61
3 The Origins of the Clergy ... 109
4 Clerical Celibacy, Illegitimacy and Hereditary Succession ... 163
5 Education and Learning ... 205
6 Pluralism, Non-Residency and Pastoral Care ... 233
Conclusion ... 265

Appendix A Parochial fasti of the Diocese of Argyll to 1560 ... 271
Appendix B List of University-Educated Benefijiced Clergy by Institution ... 359

Bibliography ... 367
Index ... 391


Academic libraries worldwide and public libraries in Scotland, and individuals interested in Gaelic Scotland or the medieval Church, the medieval priesthood and celibacy.


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