Authority and discipline in Aberdeen, 1650-1700
This study is concerned with aspects of urban society in the Scottish city of Aberdeen in the second half of the seventeenth century. The principal aim is to examine the multi-faceted nature and workings of civic government, of the interlocking hierarchies of people and institutions which together formed an invisible web of authority and discipline in the town. The burgh's three main administrative and judicial bodies - the town council, the kirk session, and the justice of the peace court - are examined in some detail. Other matters discussed include the 1640's legacy of civil war, plague, and severe economic dislocation; the impact of eight years of Cromwellian occupation; the demographic and socio-economic structures of the urban community; aspects of secular and ecclesiastical politics; the continuing challenge to the established kirk posed by Catholic recusancy, and the new challenge posed by the advent of Quakerism in the town; patterns of office-holding and the characteristics of the urban elite; and poor relief and social control. The fundamental structures of urban society underwent no sudden transformation in these years, but neither did they remain static: far from obscuring the true dynamics of urban society, civic institutions remained vital social, economic, and political forums around which the forces of critical change coalesced, whether to be adopted, adapted, repulsed; or neutralised, but always in such a way as to shape the very structure and character of life in the town.