Religious affiliation in Lowlands Scotland is pluralistic, and sissenting churches have included the Secession, Relief, Episcopal, and Roman Catholic churches. The Free Church of Scotland was created in the mid-1800s, and the Catholic church underwent a significant increase during roughly the same period, largely as a result of a major influx of Irish immigrants who fled to Scotland to escape the Irish potato famine. Also during this period, the Secession and Relief churches, which had formed in rebellion against the control of the Crown over the established Church of Scotland, were merged to form the United Presbyterian church. Church affiliation is to some degree linked to socioeconomic position in the Lowlands, with tradespeople predominating within the United Presbyterian church, the "landed gentry" associated most strongly with Episcopalianism, and rural laborers largely belonging to the Church of Scotland. Church influence in daily life was and remains strongest in rural areas as compared to urban ones.
The contribution of Scots to literature and the arts is immense. Lowlanders of world renown include R. L. Stevenson, Walter Scott, A. Conan Doyle, J. M. Barrie, David Hume, and Adam Smith. The Borders are famed as the heartland of minstrels and were the home of Walter Scott. Thomas Carlyle was born in the rural southwest. Burns wrote of the rich agricultural world of East Lothian.