Petitioning in the Scottish church courts, 1638–1707

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article explores the use of petitions in, and by, the courts of the Church of Scotland. It distinguishes between routine petitions and addresses concerning matters of national significance. The former were submitted to the church courts by individuals or groups, and requested that the courts take decisions or perform particular actions. These petitions reveal much about the exercise of discipline, poor relief and ecclesiastical administration, and provide rich evidence of the engagement of ordinary people with the church courts. The second type of petition was usually addressed to parliament or another secular body by one of the higher church courts. In studying petitions on national affairs, we can identify how the formulae of humble supplication were adapted for the purpose of protest, and thus comment on the tensions between the ecclesiastical and civil authorities of early modern Scotland.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-336
JournalParliaments, Estates and Representation
Early online date15 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Scotland
  • petitions
  • presbyterianism
  • episcopacy
  • discipline
  • poor relief
  • engagement treaty of 1647
  • restoration settlement
  • Anglo-Scottish union


Dive into the research topics of 'Petitioning in the Scottish church courts, 1638–1707'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this