Lang, History of Scotland, 1900-2. Bellesheim-Blair, History of 
  the Catholic Church in Scotland
, 1887 (tr. from the German, 2 
  Bde., 1883). Forbes-Leith, S.J., Narratives of the Scottish 
, 1885. Id., Memoirs of Scottish Catholics during the 
  Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries
, 2 vols., 1909. Walsh, 
  History of the Catholic Church in Scotland, 1874. Grub, An 
  Ecclesiastical History of Scotland
, 4 vols., 1861. Dawson, The 
  Catholics of Scotland (1593-1852)
, 1890. Pollen, S.J., Papal 
  Negotiations with Mary Queen of Scots (1561-67)
, 1901. Lang, 
  Mystery of Mary Stuart, 1901. Catholic Tractates of the 
  Sixteenth Century
 (edited by Law, 1901). Theiner, Vetera 
  Monumenta Hib. et Scotorum (1216-1547)
, 1864. Works of John 
, (edited by Laing), 1855-64. Herkless, Cardinal Beaton, 
  etc., 1891. Gordon, Scoti-Chronicon, 1867. Tytler, History of 
, 1879.

In Scotland a long succession of infant kings and weak regents helped to increase the power of the lords at the expense of the crown. The king or regent had no standing army at his disposal, nor were the resources of the royal treasury sufficient to allow the ruler to invoke the assistance of foreign mercenaries. As a result the king was dependent more or less on the lords, who were prepared to support him if their own demands were conceded, or to form private confederations or "bands" against him if they felt that they themselves were aggrieved. Parliament, which included the spiritual and lay lords, together with representatives of the lower nobility and of the cities, did not play a very important part in the government of the country. For years Scotland had been the close ally of France and the enemy of England. Such an alliance was at once the best pledge for Scotland's independence, and the best guarantee against England's successful invasion of France.

To put an end to the controversies regarding the primatial rights claimed by the Archbishop of York over the Scottish Church, Clement III. issued a Bull in 1188 declaring the Church of Scotland subject directly only to the Apostolic See.[1] A further step was taken by Sixtus IV. in 1472, when St. Andrew's was erected into a metropolitan See, under which were placed as suffragans the twelve dioceses, Glasgow, Dunkeld, Aberdeen, Moray, Brechin, Dunblane, Ross, Caithness, Candida Casa, Argyll, the Isles, and Orkney.[2] This measure was resented by many of the bishops, but more especially by the Bishops of Glasgow, who were unwilling to submit to the jurisdiction of St. Andrew's even after it had been declared that the latter in virtue of its office enjoyed primatial and legatine powers over Scotland (1487). In the hope of putting an end to the controversy Glasgow was erected into a metropolitan See with four suffragan dioceses, Dunkeld, Dunblane, Galloway and Argyll (1492). The bishops of Scotland were supposed to be elected by the chapters, but in reality the king or regent enjoyed a decisive voice in the selection of candidates especially during the greater part of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

As a result of this enslavement of the Church, men were appointed to bishoprics without reference to their fitness for this sacred office, and solely with the intention of providing themselves and their relatives with a decent income. Thus for example, James, Duke of Ross, brother of James IV., was appointed to the See of St. Andrew's at the age of twenty-one, and he was succeeded by Alexander Stuart, the illegitimate son of James IV., when he had reached only his ninth year. What is true of St. Andrew's is almost equally true of many of the other dioceses of Scotland, though it would be very wrong to assume that all the bishops of Scotland during the latter half of the fifteenth or the first half of the sixteenth centuries were unworthy men.