The individual in the community
in Death, life, and religious change in Scottish towns, c.1350–1560
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This chapter examines Scottish townspeople’s personal and private religious practices by considering religious exclusion, private devotion, personal donations to religious institutions, and the case study of Jonet Rynd’s foundation of the Magdalen Chapel and Hospital in Edinburgh. It argues that people often personalized their religious practices to suit individual circumstances, with many of the wealthier inhabitants of Scottish towns taking a growing interest in individualized, private religious experience, but that the trend of individualization evident in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries ought not to be used simplistically as evidence for a breakdown in corporate Christianity of the kind discussed in Chapter 3; rather, inhabitants of Scottish towns joined their individual welfare to that of the wider society so that personal efforts and communal forms of devotion converged in pursuit of salvation. The personal and the particular were important for many in the towns of Scotland, but individual religious responsibility was undertaken in the context of the wider religious society and individuals could establish their own personal religious priorities while remaining connected to others within corporate religious structures.

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