Following the example of its parent church in Scotland, the Presbyterian church courts in Ireland exercised control over all aspects of its members’ lives. The making of marriage, sexual conduct, family feuds, alcohol misuse and neighbourhood disputes all came under the purview of the church court. The decisions of these courts, however, were technically not legally enforceable. As a dissenting minority in a confessional state, the Presbyterian church in Ireland held no legal authority. Compliance with Presbyterian codes of behaviour were therefore undertaken on a voluntary basis. The minutes of these courts offer a unique insight into the informal ways that the lives of Presbyterian women and men in Ireland were subject to regulation. Focusing on cases of discord, dispute and defamation, this chapter examines the role that the Presbyterian church courts played in the lives of its members and, in doing so, highlights their importance to historians of law, religion and the family in Ireland.
|Title of host publication
|Law and Religion in Ireland, 1700-1970
|Niamh Howlin, Kevin Costello
|ISBN 978-3-030-74373-4, https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007%2F978-3-030-74373-4
|Published - 2 Nov 2021