1638 - An Cùmhnant Nàiseanta – National Covenant

In 1638, the National Covenant was presented and signed in front of the pulpit. This was a document of great importance in the history of Scotland (an original copy is on displayed in our museum). This was a crucial development in a turbulent period in Scotland’s history, revolving around religious and civil freedom. For centuries, the idea of monarchs ruling by ‘divine right’ was the established norm; but reformers, though loyal to the monarch, could not accept the idea of his or her divine authority to govern. The Covenant was the resulting declaration of rights; the right of ordinary people to exercise their God-given consciences in matters of faith and life. By promoting the idea that no individual had privileged access to, or knowledge of, the divine, and by encouraging people to read the scriptures for themselves, it could be argued that the Reformation movement led eventually to the ideas of democratic rights that developed during the eighteenth-century Enlightenment.