"the Reformation principles had long before that time taken a powerful hold of the hearts and affections of the people of Scotland"

The Reformation was a Europe-wide religious movement triggered by a spiralling resentment of the Catholic Church. Its origins can be traced back to 1517 when Martin Luther pinned his 95 Theses on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. Luther’s document attacked the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical malpractice of the Catholic Church. Though he began by wanting to reform the church, differences soon proved irreconcilable. The result was a split within Christianity, leading to the establishment of Protestantism.

Other prominent figures within the movement were John Calvin (see note for p. 30) and John Knox. It was the latter who led the Scottish Reformation, culminating in Scotland’s formal break with papacy and the establishment of the Church of Scotland in 1560.