Mapping Religious Change with Messy Data: 'Mapping The Scottish Reformation, 1560 - 1689'

This presentation explores the data that underpins Mapping the Scottish Reformation, a project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities that traces the careers of Scottish clergymen between the Reformation of 1560 and the Glorious Revolution of 1689.

At first glance, the Church of Scotland’s meticulous records present an image of a rigid structure consistent over time and space that would ideally suit a digital approach. However, our period was one of dramatic shifts and regional diversity. Ecclesiastical policy was hotly debated; parishes were created, dissolved, or united with each other; and ministers’ roles changed, from mere exhorter to preacher of God’s word. This presentation discusses how Mapping the Scottish Reformation seeks to capture this data while remaining sensitive to messiness of clerical experiences during the pivotal post-Reformation era.


Michelle Brock is Associate Professor of History at Washington and Lee University (Virginia). She is the author of Satan and the Scots: The Devil in Post-Reformation Scotland (Routledge, 2016) and editor of Knowing Demons, Knowing Spirits (Palgrave, 2018) among other publications.

Chris Langley is Senior Lecturer in Early Modern British history at Newman University. He has published widely on Protestant culture and identity in early modern Britain and Ireland.


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Digital Scholarship Centre

Digital Scholarship Centre, 6th floor
Main Library 
University of Edinburgh 
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ

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