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The Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge (SSPCK)

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New Register House

3 West Register Street

Edinburgh

EH1 3YT

United Kingdom

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Jamie J. Kelly, PhD Researcher, University of Glasgow

Founded in Edinburgh in 1709, the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge (SSPCK) was a joint-stock charity organisation that aimed to extend education provision in the Highlands and Islands. Schooling in English literacy and Presbyterian doctrine, it was believed, was the means by which Jacobitism and Catholicism would be stamped out in the region, and by which hearts and minds would be won for the post-1690 Revolution settlement and, latterly, the British imperial project.

As the only organisation of its kind operating in the Highlands in the 18th Century—a time of profound social, economic, political and religious change—many scholars have acknowledged the historical importance of the SSPCK. However, scholars have yet to produce a dedicated study of the organisation rooted in archival evidence.

This talk interrogates the established historical arguments surrounding the SSPCK using evidence primarily from the Society’s own archive. As well as re-evaluating the impact of the SSPCK in the Highlands, the talk will explore the extent of education provision in the region prior to the Society’s foundation, and trace the relationships that developed between the organisation and the communities it sought to affect.

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New Register House

3 West Register Street

Edinburgh

EH1 3YT

United Kingdom

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