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The Conference At Leith: Ecclesiastical Finance And Politics In The 1570s

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Chapter Summary

This chapter re-examines one of the points at which leading churchmen and politicians tried to agree on a workable financial and organisational structure for the church: the Leith agreement of 1572, often (though anachronistically) called a 'Concordat'. The negotiators were primarily trying to reach a compromise financial settlement rather than trying to decide whether the church should have bishops; controversies over the abstract principle of episcopacy began later. By 1567 Scotland had many different types of bishops: reformed bishops working alongside the superintendents; a superintendent turned bishop; pre-Reformation bishops; lay titulars appointed by the crown; and more explicitly Catholic post-Reformation appointees such as John Leslie, Mary's appointee as bishop of Ross in 1566. The First Book of Discipline recognised the need for an office of oversight in the kirk, envisaging ten or twelve superintendents with particular responsibility for planting kirks and admitting ministers.

Keywords: episcopacy; financial settlement; First Book of Discipline; kirk; Leith agreement of 1572; pre-Reformationchurch; sixteenth-century Scotland; titular bishop



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