The 450th Anniversary of the
Reformation in Scotland
Arise, O Lord, and
let thy enemies be confounded: Let them flee from thy presence
that hate thy godly name: Give thy servants strength to speak
thy word in boldness; and let all nations cleave to thy true
Conclusion of Article 25
2010 marked the
450th Anniversary of the Reformation in Scotland with the
passing of a law on the 24th August 1560
by the Scottish Parliament establishing the Scottish Reformation
Church of Scotland,
presbyterian in government and independent of papal authority.
Just a week earlier, on 17th August 1560
Parliament had ratified the
25 Articles of the Scots Confession drawn up by John Knox
and five of his fellow reformers, John
Winram, John Spottiswoode, John Willock, John Dougland and John
Row. Prior to this Scotland had been under the Regency of
of Guise, ruling on behalf of her daughter, Mary Queen of
Scots. This period, which had seen the presence of French
troops in Scotland was the lowest point of the
"Auld Alliance", and in electing for a Calvinist Church in
Scotland it rejected possible union with Roman Catholic France
and saw alignment with the
already protestant neighbour, England.
The Treaty of Edinburgh saw the withdrawal of French and
English Troops from Scotland. Following this the
Scottish Parliament (otherwise known as the Reformation
Parliament convened in Edinburgh on 10 July 1560, attended by 14
earls, 6 bishops, 19 lords, 21 abbots, 22 burgh commissioners,
and over 100 lairds and began the steps that lead to the
Reformation in Scotland.
The new Church was tolerant of
the Roman Catholic clergy who did not convert. They were
allowed to retain two thirds of their revenue for life.
Monks and friars were allowed to stay in their accommodation for
the rest of their lives.
Scotland's education system
benefited, with a more secure foundation for the parish school
network, with more than half the eight hundred schools recorded
being located alongside parish churches.
Churches were reminded of their
responsibility for the real poor. Widows, orphans, the old and
disabled were to be taken care of.
There was a loss to the fabric of
the churches as statues and church pipe organs were removed. The
ban on organs was not lifted until
Some suggest that it was at
around this time that The Order of St John and the Temple
ceased in Scotland, as the last Preceptor, Sir James Sandilands
converted to protestantism*.
The Reformation of 1560 - The Age of Reformation, 1542-1603 -
Higher Scottish History
Society and Culture - The impact of the Reformation on Scotland
to 1603 - Higher Scottish History
* Knights Templar: Their
Rise and Fall, G.A. Campbell
ISBN 0-7661-5658-3 page 335