Religion and Society to c.1900

Stewart J. Brown

in The Oxford Handbook of Modern Scottish History

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199563692
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

Religion and Society to c.1900


The Revolution of 1688, which brought the Dutch Calvinist Stadtholder William of Orange and his consort, Mary, to the English throne, was mainly a political event, but it also had important religious dimensions, and this was especially true of Scotland. This article provides an overview of religion in modern Scotland up to 1900, with emphasis on the movement from a unitary Calvinist state, an aspiring ‘godly commonwealth’, to a multi-denominational, increasingly pluralist society. After discussing the Reformation in Scotland, it looks at the rigorous Calvinism of the Covenanting period, and especially the Westminster Confession that was adopted in the 1640s and still remains the official standard of faith in the Church of Scotland. Following the restoration of the Stuart monarchy in 1660 under Charles II, the Crown reimposed episcopacy within the Scottish Church, proscribed the Westminster Confession, and declared royal supremacy over the Church. For many Presbyterians, the early eighteenth century was the golden age for the Scottish Church. The article also examines pluralism and mission culture in Scotland during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Keywords: Scotland; religion; society; Calvinism; Reformation; Westminster Confession; Church of Scotland; Presbyterians; pluralism; mission culture

Article.  10051 words. 

Subjects: History ; Social and Cultural History

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