Queen Victoria Saved the Church of Scotland from English Enemies

Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland), January 7, 2001 | Go to article overview

Queen Victoria Saved the Church of Scotland from English Enemies


Byline: MIKE MERRITT

QUEEN Victoria saved the Church of Scotland from destruction at the hands of English clerics, new research claims.

On the eve of the centenary of her death, Britain's longest-serving monarch has been hailed as the church's most vital ally.

At the end of the 19th century, key figures in London wanted the Scots church to be disestablished.

But a leading theologian says Queen Victoria "killed off" the threat because she thought the Church of Scotland was "the real and true stronghold of Protestantism".

The Rev Ian Bradley, senior lecturer in practical theology in the School of Divinity at the University of St Andrews, says leading English clerics and politicians were alarmed by the Queen's preference for the Church of Scotland.

Rev Bradley - whose views will be broadcast on Radio 4 on January 21, the day before the centenary of her death - says Victoria was the church's greatest defender.

Writing in the Church of Scotland's monthly magazine, Life and Work, he says the film Mrs Brown - about her relationship with her Scots servant John Brown - showed that Anglicans were worried about the Queen's fondness for Scottish Presbyterianism.

Rev Bradley said: "Such unease was widespread in Anglican circles, as the Queen made little secret of her distaste for the ritualism and priestcraft which she detected in the Church of England.

"Victoria had a clear and simple faith and a preference for worship that was both Protestant and plain."

She loved attending services at Crathie Parish Church when in residence at Balmoral and even took communion there - much to the horror of leading English clerics, including the powerful Archbishop of Canterbury and other influential spiritual leaders. …

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