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A son changes religion, 1688

February 18th, 2015 (12:48 pm)

In seventeenth-century Britain a change from one denomination to another threatened not just eternal damnation but damage to one's material condition in the present. This was especially true in Scotland where the identity of the Scottish Church was more contested than it was in England and the elite arguably broader and more fissured. In 1688 Walter Ogilvy, Lord Deskford, eldest son and heir of James Ogilvy, third earl of Findlater, converted to Catholicism from the (then episcopal) Church of Scotland. This is how his father warned his younger son James (later first earl of Seafield and eventually fourth earl of Findlater) about the danger his eldest son posssessed, and how they needed to rapidly exclude him from inheriting the family estates:

I cannot but desier you to remmeber to consult your bussines of the convayence of my esteat in your person; for although Walter be nou in my house, yett be his still frequenting the Popish chappell and continouing in odd and most unacountable actions, ther can be no good expected of him so ye need to be the mor circumspect in garding your selfe against his evell.

---The Correspondence of James First Earl of Seafield, pp 42-43

(Charles II appears in the userpic in the absence of his brother James VII and II, then reigning.)

Also posted at http://sir-guinglain.dreamwidth.org/2015/02/18/a-son-changes-religion-1688.html.