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What's in a Name? Language, Image, and Urban Identity in Early Modern Perth

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image of Nederlands Archief voor Kerkgeschiedenis / Dutch Review of Church History
For more content, see Church History and Religious Culture.

The corporate identity of the Scottish royal burgh of Perth was in the Middle Ages tied closely to its patron saint, John the Baptist. After the reformation of 1559-60 had abolished all veneration of saints, this identification did not disappear. The town was still called Sanctjhonstoun, the festivals of the Baptist continued to serve as calendar dates, and the St. John's bell continued to call parishioners to the kirk. Even more striking, images of the Baptist survived — on the bells, in the hammermen's silver marks, and in the town seal. Protestant usage would eventually shift the meanings associated with the Baptist, but the saint would never disappear entirely from the town's constructed identity.


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