Holy Blood Devotion in Later in Medieval Scotland



Oram R (2017) Holy Blood Devotion in Later in Medieval Scotland. Journal of Medieval History, 43 (5), pp. 562-578.

Of the Christocentric devotions which achieved widespread in popularity in later medieval Scotland, the cult of the Holy Blood gained the greatest prominence. Connections with the blood-relic centres at Bruges and Wilsnack, primarily established by merchants, provided the conduit for the development of the cult in Scotland’s east coast burghs from the second quarter of the fifteenth century. The cult remained principally an urban phenomenon and was associated closely with the guildry of those burghs where Holy Blood altars were founded. Holy Blood devotion, while not exclusively associated with members of the merchant community, provided a vehicle for expression of guild identity and, as in Bruges, a mechanism for the regulation and control of guild members’ public behaviour. That regulatory function was secondary to the cult’s soteriological significance, its popularity in urban Scotland reflecting the wider late medieval European lay quest for closer and more direct personal connections with God.

Holy Blood; Christocentric devotion; blood-devotion; soteriology; lay spirituality; conformity; regulation

Journal of Medieval History: Volume 43, Issue 5

FundersArts and Humanities Research Council
Publication date31/12/2017
Publication date online23/10/2017
Date accepted by journal05/11/2016
PublisherTaylor and Francis

People (1)


Professor Richard Oram
Professor Richard Oram

Professor, History

Projects (1)

Corpus of Scottish Medieval Parish Churches