Welcome! I'm Ilene Johnnestoune, a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism. Come join me on my wanderings, as I share my interests both within and sometimes slightly outside the SCA.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Kirk, the Saints, and a Place to Live

This week has been mostly about saints and religion.  Living in early 16th Scotland, Ilene would most definitely have been Catholic.  The reformation didn’t really take hold until the 1560’s, and I have placed myself as currently living in 1540.  Being Catholic, saints would have been important to me.  When I was asked in my persona interview who my patron saint was, I managed to rattle something off, but afterwards I was a little appalled that I never thought to research who it would be.  So that’s what I’ve been doing.  The best part is, it’s a wee bit complex. 

Patron saint of Edinburgh  Living in Edinburgh, I would have known that the patron saint of the city was St Giles.  I also would have known that there was a church on the Royal Mile dedicated to him.  

Patron saint of Cordiners  As my husband was a cordiner (shoemaker), I would have known who the patron saint of the guild was.  In this case it was St Crispan.  He was also the patron saint for lace makers and weavers, which I think is very cool.

Patron saint of our church (kirk)  I would also have known which saint our church was dedicated to.  I have determined that if I was living nears Kings Stables Rd, West Port, etc, then I would have most likely attended St Cuthbert’s Church.  As the name implies, the patron saint is St Cuthbert.  Unfortunately the church took very severe damage several times over the years, so the current structure only dates back to the 1800’s.  St Cuthbert himself seems pretty cool, so I’m pretty happy with this discovery. 

My personal patron saint  So apparently in addition to all the saints I listed above, I also would have had a personal patron saint.  After talking to a friend who is Catholic both in real life and in her persona, my patron saint would have been a woman.  This makes sense, since there was quite a bit of superstition about the female sex, and there were things that could not be said to/in front of a man because of it.  For the time being I have chosen St Hilda.  From what I’ve read she was firm in her faith, but adaptable to the times as well.  She was both compassionate and business-like.  My friend is going to loan me some books on the Catholic saints when I’m ready, so that I can learn more than just the tidbits that are online.  Once I do, I might change this, but it will work for now.

In the midst of all this religious research, I’ve been trying to learn a little more about where in the city I would have lived.  So far I have not had much luck in determining when Kings Stables Rd and Johnston Terrace came into being, so I’m still searching about those.  I have confirmed that Cowgate Road and the Grassmarket were both most definitely in existence, as well as West Port.  I did find just this morning a great site with some period maps of the city.  It’s pretty exciting to look at them, and see how the city grew over the ages. 

I’m also finding quite a few books that are now in the public domain, and available for download via Google Books.  Here’s the ones that seem especially interesting.

  • Burgh laws of Dundee: with the history, statutes, & proceedings of the Guild of merchants and fraternities of craftsmen by Alex Johnston Warden
  • The incorporated trades of Edinburgh with an introductory chapter on the rise and progress of municipal government in Scotland by James Colston
  • History of the incorporation of cordiners in Glasgow by William Campbell
  • Old Glasgow weavers: being records of the Incorporation of Weavers by Robert M’Ewan
  • The Baxter books of St. Andrews: a record of three centuries by JH Macadam
  • Cassell's old and new Edinburgh by James Grant
 Needless to say I’ve got some reading to do.  I’m not sure what direction I’m going to take next in my research.  I know I want to find out what the restrictions were on purchasing wool and spinning.  Maybe I’ll head there next!  Anybody have any suggestions on topics?

1 comment:

  1. A very thoughtful post, good job on the research and best of luck with the rest of your endeavors.