This text provides the first full-length consideration of women’s economic roles in early modern Scottish towns. Drawing on tens of thousands of cases entered into burgh court litigation between 1560 and 1640 in Edinburgh, Dundee, Haddington, and Linlithgow, Women, credit, and debt explores how Scottish women navigated their courts and their communities. This includes a consideration of the lifecycle stage of these women, and whether those active in litigation were wives, widows, or singlewomen. The employments and by-employments that brought these women to court, and the roles these women had in the economy, are also considered. In particular, this book explores the roles of women as merchants and merchandisers, producers and sellers of ale, landladies, moneylenders, and servants. Comparing the Scottish experience to that of England and Europe, Spence shows that through the latter half of the sixteenth century and into the seventeenth century women were conspicuously active in burgh court litigation and, by extension, were active and engaged participants in the early modern Scottish economy. This book reevaluates what we thought we knew about women in the early modern period. As such, it will be of particular interest to those studying and teaching Scottish social and economic history and valuable to anyone studying the history of work and gender. It will also appeal to all feminists who have an interest in how women negotiate economic roles.
serve to illustrate both the diverse ways in which people, and particularly
married women, engaged in networks of debt and credit in early modernScotland, how frequently they might do so, and what the litigation resulting from these networks could reveal about women’s economic roles.
Marion and Patrick are shown to be moneylenders, landlords, and consumers, while the people with whom they contracted these debts acted
as borrowers, tenants, and ale sellers. Roles changed depending on the
transaction at hand, and networks were forged between multiple people
four towns that help
bring to light the real and dynamic role that women played in the economy of debt and credit in early modernScotland, whether acting as wife,
widow, or servant.
This chapter examines the ways and extent to which women
were involved in the debt and credit networks of Edinburgh, Dundee,
Haddington, and Linlithgow between 1560 and 1640. Their involvement
is explored through their appearances as both creditors and debtors in
the burgh court records throughout the different stages of the life cycle.
The categories of women under consideration were
, while cloth and wine were common imports.
Secondly, as merchandisers, a larger number of women, of a wider range of
social statuses, were involved with the retail of imported and ready-made
goods. These women, who came from high, middling, and lower social
standing, sold cloth, wine, and miscellaneous items termed ‘merchandise’
in small amounts to a wide range of consumers. As a result, the different
manners in which women in early modernScottish towns participated
as merchants and merchandisers were similar to the distinction made by
Maryanne Kowaleski in her
. Upon transcription of these
cases, the sheer number of women who were active in debt litigation
became a focal point. When imagining the burgh courts of early modernScotland, I believe most people picture them as populated almost exclusively by men. As this book has shown, this was not the case. Instead,
women asserted themselves in these courts, suing and being sued for
amounts of money both large and small, and arguing their cases on a
daily basis. Thus, this book moved from simply identifying the activities in which women were engaged to a quantitative
of the early
modernScottish diet. Further, the extent to which women appear in the
records as purchasers of the raw materials associated with the production of ale and as distributors of the finished product attests to ale being
a craft whose production fell primarily under the purview of women in
Scotland. Although previous studies, particularly those concentrating on
England between 1300 and 1640, have argued that women had mostly
disappeared from the drinks trades by 1600, this does not seem to have
been the case for Scotland.1 Although the roles of women in
payment of 30s (a not insignificant
sum for a servant at this time), was a participant in this changing world,
whether she knew it or not.
Servants like Janet represent a unique grouping of women as
regards economic life, especially in early modernScotland. The classification of ‘servant’ explicitly denotes neither age nor marital status, yet when considered as part of the life cycle servants were, by
definition, young and unmarried and, indeed, it is overwhelmingly
life-cycle service that has been uncovered for early modernScotland.
Although these servants are often
was thus another manner in which women could participate in the economy of early modernScottish towns by providing a necessary service that seldom left evidence in the debt records.
Women’s roles as landladies, as evidenced through both the 1635
Annuity Tax Roll for Edinburgh and debt litigation, help to illustrate the
importance of this type of endeavour to women of all marital and social
statuses. Requiring only a spare room to participate, women of lower
social statuses could acquire a valuable source of income. At the same
time, renting out property was
This book examines the changing nature of Catholicism in modern Scotland by placing a significant emphasis on women religious. It highlights the defining role they played in the transformation and modernisation of the Catholic Church as it struggled to cope with unprecedented levels of Irish migration. The institutions and care-networks that these women established represented a new age in social welfare that served to connect the church with Scotland's emerging civil society. The book examines how the church reacted to liberalism, legislative reform, the rise of evangelicalism and the continued growth of Irish migration between the late 1820s and the late 1850s. A mutual aversion to the Irish and a loyalty to nation and state inspired a recusant and ultramontane laity to invest heavily in a programme of church transformation and development. The recruitment of the Ursulines of Jesus, the first community of nuns to return to Scotland since the Reformation, is highlighted as a significant step towards legitimising Catholic respectability. The book focuses on the recruitment and influence of women religious. It also focuses on the issue of identity by considering how gender and ethnicity influenced the development of these religious communities and how this was connected with the broader campaign to transform Catholic culture in Scotland. The book also examines the development of Catholic education in Scotland between the late 1840s and 1900 and prioritises the role played by women religious in this process.
The importance of the covenant in Scottish presbyterianism, 1560–c.
R. Scott Spurlock
Church polity and politics in the British Atlantic
Polity, discipline and theology:
the importance of the covenant in Scottish
presbyterianism, 1560–c. 1700
R. Scott Spurlock
hilst some of the chapters in this volume focus on conceptions of
church government and the use of the keys, the present chapter will
discuss early modernScottish presbyterian understandings of ecclesiology
and who was understood to be the subject of the keys. A number of recent
studies have demonstrated the fluidity of polity in seventeenth-century
Britain, which is