Monday, June 16, 2014

Learning Something New Everyday: The Scottish Episcopal Church

I am reading the third of my early Summer books: The Oxford Movement: Europe and the Wider World, 1830-1930, and was thrilled to find out more about the Scottish Episcopal Church and how it came under the influence of the Oxford Movement. Stewart J. Brown writes in the chapter "Scotland and the Oxford Movement" that the Scottish Episcopalian Church had suffered under the Penal laws in Scotland enforced by the Presbyterian Kirk, the Church of Scotland. The Presbyterians (without bishops) and the Episcopalians (with) both claimed descent from the early Catholic saints of Scotland (St. Ninian, St. Columba, St. Margaret of Scotland, etc), without, of course, ties to the Holy See and the papacy.

James VI of Scotland ("No bishops; no King") favored the Episcopal Church form, the appointment of bishops being under his control, of course. When Charles I and Archbishop Laud famously tried to introduce a Scottish form of the Book of Common Prayer--which resulted in riots and rebellion--it had been with the goal of greater unity between the Presbyterian Kirk and the bishops (the book combined Knox's Book of Common Prayer with the Anglican Book of Common Prayer).

After the Interregnum and with the Restoration, Charles II and then James II supported the re-establishment of the Episcopal Church in Scotland--but when William and Mary usurped the throne of Scotland, the Episcopal bishops refused to swear oaths of loyalty, since James VII was still alive and had not abdicated--thus they were Non-jurors, just like the Non-jurors in England. As Jacobites, the Non-jurors were penalized and thus were oppressed until, after the death of the Young Pretender, Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1788, they could swear loyalty to King George III (Henry Cardinal Stuart not being a viable contender for the throne of Great Britain).

One of the leading proponents of the Oxford Movement in the Scottish Episcopal Church was Cecil, marchioness of Lothian, who contributed to the building of Tractarian style churches, designed for the High Church style liturgical services favored by the Oxford Movement. Like James Hope, later James Hope-Scott, however, the influence of the Oxford Movement led her to Catholicism. As Rowan Strong writes in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography entry for Lady Lothian, she

was born on 17 April 1808 at Ingestre Hall, Staffordshire, the daughter of Charles Chetwynd-Talbot, second Earl Talbot of Hensol (1777–1849), and his wife, Frances Thomasine (1782–1819), daughter of Charles Lambart of Beau Parc, co. Meath, Ireland. She was sixth child and younger daughter in a family of twelve children. Her mother died when she was only eleven; her father proved an attentive parent, encouraging her study of Latin and the Commentaries of Blackstone. He raised in her his own moderate high-churchmanship to respect the sabbath, the Book of Common Prayer, and the established church. She became a woman whose vitality was combined with a natural reserve, striking rather than beautiful, with a strong sense of moral duty. On 12 July 1831 she married John William Robert Kerr, seventh marquess of Lothian (1794–1841), and they made their home in Scotland, at Newbattle Abbey, Midlothian, although she preferred their house at Monteviot in Roxburghshire. They had five sons and two daughters before the marquess died suddenly at his estate at Blickling, Norfolk, on 14 November 1841. Cecil Lothian never married again and began to devote herself to the care of her children, to the very capable management of the estate, and to a new sense of religion.

Abandoning the religion of her father and husband, with its emphasis on establishment, Lady Lothian became one of the earliest sponsors and financiers of Tractarianism in Scotland. This took the form of her building and endowing a chapel for the Scottish Episcopal church at Jedburgh, near Monteviot. She supervised its construction carefully, building it in the Gothic style approved of by the Camden Ecclesiological Society and Tractarians. It included a stone altar redolent of the Tractarian doctrine of eucharistic sacrifice. She also insisted on the almost unprecedented use of the Scottish communion office, the nonjuring office of eighteenth-century Episcopalians which was preferred by many Tractarians as being more explicitly Catholic than the Book of Common Prayer. The church's consecration on 15 August 1843 was attended by leading high-churchmen and Tractarians, including Walter Farquhar Hook and John Keble. But Lady Lothian became increasingly uncertain about the catholicity of Anglicanism. Her allegiance was gradually undermined by the successive secessions to Rome of John Henry Newman in 1845; the chaplain at Dalkeith who was her spiritual adviser; and, finally, by Henry Manning in 1851, as a consequence of the Gorham judgment. Instructed by Manning, she became a Roman Catholic in June 1851. Her conversion imperilled her guardianship of her sons, as the other guardians appointed by her husband's will sought to have them removed from her custody lest she attempt to convert them to Rome. (They were not concerned about the religion of her daughters.) In a midnight adventure, she escaped from Newbattle Abbey with her younger children, taking them to Edinburgh where they were received into the Roman Catholic church. Her eldest son, William, the eighth marquess, was away at Oxford at the time, and remained a staunch Episcopalian.

Lady Lothian now became a sponsor of Roman Catholicism in Scotland. She built a Roman Catholic church at Dalkeith, began regular visits to Rome, and undertook extensive charitable work in Edinburgh assisted by her friend Charlotte, duchess of Buccleuch, who would eventually convert in 1860. One of Lady Lothian's daughters, Cecil, became a Sacred Heart nun in the convent in Paris in 1859. Having established a connection with the Jesuits in Farm Street, London, Lady Lothian encouraged their opening a church in Edinburgh, and they eventually took over the church at Dalkeith in 1861. She was active in the Refugee Benevolent Fund in London, established as a consequence of the Franco-Prussian War of 1871, but her relief work in England was never as much her own as the missions in Jedburgh and Dalkeith. Her son Lord Walter Kerr (1839–1927), later admiral of the fleet and senior naval lord, was a companion when his naval life allowed, but his marriage in 1873 brought a new loneliness in her final years. In 1877 Lady Lothian went to Rome for the jubilee of Pius IX and died there on 13 May. Her body was buried at the foot of the altar in the church at Dalkeith.

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