Framing the Year: The Enigmatic Presence of the Kalendar in the Psalme Buik of the Kirk, 1564-1644

Martin Ritchie

This paper was given by doctoral student Martin Ritchie at the Society’s Study Day in 2015, the year of the Sesquicentenary of the Society, which featured the work of young scholars. It derived from ongoing doctoral studies at the University of Edinburgh, and asks why the Kalendar continued to be included in the Psalme Buik and Forme of Prayers following the Reformation and what relevance it had for the spiritual landscape and worship practice of the day. It appears publishers and printers responded to the desire of purchasers in forming each new edition, in spite of stipulations in the First Book of Discipline, and the practice was the result of public demand.  Many editions also included an Almanack which included lists of local fairs and markets as well as key church festival dates. In addition to the latter, the Kalendar added some fifty festivals and feast days over the different editions. The paper finds that the commercial dimension of the Kalendar is not the only motive but that matters of identity and piety were also important and it seems that popular piety and local cultural customs over-rode the more austere policies of the Reformers. It would seem that Scots attended worship with a spiritual landscape that still had a memory of the Kalendar of the pre-Reformation church. ‘What Scots “brought” to worship was surely as significant as what they heard while they were there’.


Volume 51 2016, p38