Conference Proceeding

The Medieval Church in the Dioceses of Aberdeen and Moray



Oram R (2016) The Medieval Church in the Dioceses of Aberdeen and Moray. In: Geddes J (ed.) Medieval Art, Architecture and Archaeology in the Dioceses of Aberdeen and Moray. The British Archaeological Association Conference Transactions, 40. British Archaeological Association Conference of 2014, Aberdeen, 19.07.2014-23.07.2014. Leeds: Routledge, pp. 16-32.

Aberdeen and Moray dioceses emerged in the second quarter of the 12th century as part of the wider development of Scottish ecclesiastical government. Growth of diocesan structures was coeval with formation of a parochial system; many parishes were quickly appropriated to the cathedrals to provide prebends for diocesan officials and canons. Consequently, whilst the cathedrals were richly-endowed and architecturally sophisticated few parish churches saw resources devoted to their enlargement. A limited pool of magnate patrons and their limited economic resources resulted in the founding and endowment of few significant monasteries but royal patronage resulted in some being conceived and built on a grand scale before crown support switched from the monastic orders to the orders of friars. Lesser nobles directed their patronage to the founding of hospitals and, later, to collegiate churches, whilst burgess communities invested heavily in endowing their burghs’ parish churches. A late medieval flourishing of patronage coincided with internal reform at diocesan and individual monastic level, resulting in a higher standard of clerical education and spiritual commitment at the time of the Reformation than in some other Scottish dioceses. Reform, when it came, was often imposed through external political direction rather than local action

appropriation; prebends; lay patronage; monasteries, almshouses, secular colleges; religious reform; Scotland; Aberdeen; Moray; Elgin

Title of seriesThe British Archaeological Association Conference Transactions
Number in series40
Publication date31/12/2016
Publication date online31/12/2016
Publisher URL…ok/9781138640689
Place of publicationLeeds
ConferenceBritish Archaeological Association Conference of 2014
Conference locationAberdeen

People (1)


Professor Richard Oram
Professor Richard Oram

Professor, History