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‘Saints At The Door Don’t Make Miracles’? The Contrasting Fortunes Of Scottish Pilgrimage, C.1450–1550

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Chapter Summary

This chapter is about pre-Reformation Catholicism: it ranges from Musselburgh and Whithorn to Rome, Compostela, Breslau/Wroclaw and the Holy Land. The topic is pilgrimage, and it is revealed that this ancient practice remained a good deal more popular with Scots in the early sixteenth century than had been thought. While reformers railed against images and relics, pilgrims themselves rate little mention from that ecumenical trinity of Reformation scholars, Kirk, Donaldson and Lynch. The historiographical consensus stands at the intersection of three different intellectual approaches. Firstly, a whiff of Whiggish predestination to the notion that pilgrimage became unfashionable just as Protestantism began its supposedly inexorable advance. Secondly many political historians, with an avowedly secular outlook, are doubtful whether piety motivated human action. These quite different views have been partly substantiated from the Catholic perspective, epitomised by McRoberts, who found only limited evidence of later medieval pilgrimage.

Keywords: Compostela; David McRoberts; Holy Land pilgrimage; Michael Lynch; monarchical piety; Musselburgh; pre-Reformation Catholicism; Protestantism; Scottish pilgrimage; Whithorn



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