The material culture of recusancy at Fetternear: kin and religion in post-Reformation Scotland
Bishops Palace, mansion
Fetternear; Aberdeenshire; Scotland; UK
early modern, medieval
The interdisciplinary project reported here combines art history, archaeology and the historical anthropology of religion. It consists of a study based on the material culture of recusancy from the mansion and medieval bishop’s palace at Fetternear, Aberdeenshire. After the Reformation, the property became the main seat of the Leslies of Balquhain, a recusant family. A stone plaque bearing the inscription IHS MRA, probably dating from 1691, placed on the façade of the mansion indicates the religious allegiance of the family. This study of the contents of the mansion is based on surviving material culture associated with Fetternear and documentary sources and shows that the Leslies of Balquhain were building up the necessary intellectual and material resources for sustaining Roman Catholic worship and that their property served as the headquarters of the Jesuit mission in Scotland in the late 17th century.