Clerics and Clansmen
Iain G. MacDonald, University of Glasgow
The Highlander has never enjoyed a good press, and has been usually characterised as peripheral and barbaric in comparison to his Lowland neighbour, more inclined to fighting than serving God. In Clerics and Clansmen Iain MacDonald examines how the medieval Church in Gaelic Scotland, often regarded as isolated and irrelevant, continued to function in the face of poverty, periodic warfare, and the formidable powers of the clan chiefs. Focusing upon the diocese of Argyll, the study analyses the life of the bishopric, before broadening to consider the parochial clergy – in particular origins, celibacy, education, and pastoral care. Far from being superficial, it reveals a Church deeply embedded within its host society while remaining plugged into the mainstream of Latin Christendom.