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Death, life, and religious change in Scottish towns c. 1350-1560$
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Mairi Cowan

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780719080234

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719080234.001.0001

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How the dead influenced the living

How the dead influenced the living

(p.52) 2 How the dead influenced the living
Death, life, and religious change in Scottish towns c. 1350-1560

Mairi Cowan

Manchester University Press

This chapter examines the reciprocal relationship between the living and the dead in Scottish towns by considering how the dead were thought to intervene in the world of the living both by making material claims and also by providing supernatural intercession. The dead, whether sainted or not, maintained a physical and a metaphysical presence in Scottish towns. Their bodies lay under and immediately around the main centres of religious activity, and their names – for a price – were remembered from year to year through commemorative masses, charters, and even inscriptions on church furnishings. Through both burial and remembrance the dead remained present in Scottish towns, enmeshed still within networks of kin, class, and occupation, as they had been during life. Of these networks, the most important for many people was that of their kin. The bond of kinship brought the responsibility of remembrance, since it was kin to whom the dead called, through their religious foundations, for help in the afterlife.

Keywords:   Dying, Funerals, Burial, Purgatory, Saints, Kinship, Family, Scotland, Britain

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