Acts and Proceedings: 1567, December - 1568, January

Pages 111-122

Acts and Proceedings of the General Assemblies of the Kirk of Scotland, 1560-1618. Originally published by [s.n.], Edinburgh, 1839.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


In this section


The Convention of the Brethren, haldin in Edinburgh the 15 of December 1567 ȝeirs, befor the Generall Assemblie of the haill Kirk to begin the 25 of the month forsaid.

First, were nominat and chosen for every province certaine brethren to reason and conferre upon sick things as appeirandly sould be necessar for setting fordward the affaires of the kirk, without prejudice of the Generall Assemblie and actiouns therof.

xxii Decembris 1567.

Anent the crymes of incest and adulterie, and punishment to be takin theranent in the nixt Generall Assemblie, the brethren presentlie conveinit thinks it necessar that every minister, with the elders and deacons, sall search out within ther awin bounds at ther sessiouns the foirsaid crymes, if they be notour; therafter to signifie the same to the superintendent of the dyocie at his synodall conventioun; and he therafter to notifie the same to the supreme magistrat, requyreing him to minister justice and punisch sick haynous offences according to the law of God, as he will answer to that Supreme Judge at that day when no respect of persons salbe had: And wher no superintendent is ȝet placed, that the ministers, elders, and deacons, declare the saids crymes to the Generall Assemblie, to the effect forsaid.

The Generall Assemblie of the Kirk conveinit in Edinburgh, in the Nether Tolbuith therof, the 25 of December 1567. In the quhilk were present Erles, Lords, Barrones, Superintendents, Ministers, and Comissioners of Townes and Kirks. The invocatioun of Gods name was made be Mr Johne Craig ane of the Ministers of Edinburgh.

For eschewing of confusioun in reasoning in this present Assemblie, was chosen Mr Johne Row minister of St Johnstoun to be moderator.

[The Superintendent of Fife was complained upon for not visiting kirks, nor teaching in kirks subject to his charge, nor taking up crymes and offenses to be punished.

Adam called Bishop of Orkney, Commissioner for Orkney, being absent, was delated for not visiting the kirks of his country, but from Lambmess to Hallowmefs. Item, That he occupied the room of a judge in the session, the sheep wandering without a pastor. Item, Because he retained in his own companie Sir Francis Bothuell, a papist, to whom he had given benefices, and placed a minister. Item, Because he solemnized the marriage of the Queen and the Earl of Bothuell, which was altogither wicked, and contrair to Gods law and statutes of the kirk.

Alexander called Bishop of Galloway, commissioner, was accused, That he had not visited these three years bygone the kirks within his charge; that he had left off the visiting and planting of kirks, and he haunted Court too much, and had now purchased to be one of the Session and Privie Councell, quhich cannot agree with the office of a pastor or bishop; that he had resigned Inchchaffrey in favours of a young child, and set diverse lands in feu, in prejudice of the kirk.

Certain commissioners were appointed to visit kirks: Mr John Knox minister of Edinburgh, was appointed to assist the superintendent of Louthian, in his visitation from Stirline to Berwick, and therafter to visit Kyle, Carrict, and Cuninghame. C.]

Sess. 2da. 26 December 1567.

[Mr John Craig, David Lindsay, George Buchanan Principall of Sanct Leonards Colledge, and Mr George Hay, or any two of them, were appointed to direct their edicts to all ministers, elders, and deacons of kirks, under the Superintendent of Fife his charge, to compear at Couper the 22d day of Januar, with their complaints against the said superintendent, to try and report to the nixt Assemblie. C.]

The haill kirk assemblit thoght it meitt, that certaine brethren be appointit to concurre at all tymes with sick persons of parliament or secreit counsell as my Lord Regents Grace hes nominat for sick affaires as pertaines to the kirk and jurisdictioun therof, and also for decisions of questiouns that may occurre in the meane tyme, whose names followe: Mrs Johne Knox, Johne Craig, ministers of Edinburgh, the superintendents of Angus and Lowthiane, David Borthwick, Thomas M'Calȝean, Mr David Lindesay minister of Leith, George Hay of Ruthwen, and Johne Row of St Johnstoun.

[Mr Clement Little, Alexander Sim, and Richard Strang, were appointed Procurators, to desend and pursue all Actions pertaining to the Kirk, before whatsoever Judge or Judges; Mr George Makeson was chosen Solicitor, James Nicolson was Comptroller, keeping the rentalls of the Thirds of Benefices, and Assumptions therof. C.]

Sess. 3a. 28 Decembris 1567.

[The Lairds of Braid, Whittinghame, and Elphingstone, Mr Alexander Arbuthnot, John Braid minister, were joyned to the Brethren nominat in the Second Session, appointed to concur with the Lords of Secret Counsell for decision of questions after the Assembly. C.]

Ordaines that Superintendents and Commissioners appointit sall plant Ministers vacand in sick rowmis wher the parochiners will gladlie sustaine them on their awin expensis, whill uther ordour be had; and that they remove none out of the rowmes, being found qualified, without advyse and consent both of the Kirk and Minister that is found worthie of the place.

Sess. 4a. 30 Decembris 1567.

[Mr Patrick Craigh minister of Ratho, for celebrating the marriage of James Lindsay, and a woman whom he had abused in fornication, without proclamation of bands or a testimonial therof, and upon a ferial day, contrair to all order established in the Kirk, and chiefly ane Act made in December 1565, was suspended from his ministrie, and lifting up of his stipend. C.]

Anent the accusatioun laid to my Lord Argyles charge, tuitching the separatioun betuixt him and his wyfe, declarit that he was not the occasioun therof. As to uther offences quhatsoever, quherthrow he hes bein any wayes slanderous to the Kirk, he was content to submitt himselfe to the discipline of the Kirk at all tymes most willinglie; and therfor the Kirk ordainit the Superintendent of Argyle to take tryall of the saids slanders committit be the said Erle, and therafter to cause sick satisfaction be made as Gods law appoints, and to report the ordour therof to the nixt Generall Assemblie of the Kirk, together with his awin diligence in execution of his office of Superintendentrie.

[The Bishop of Galloway, accused for neglect of preaching and overseeing the kirks within his jurisdictioun these three years bygone, and attending upon Court, Session and Secreit Counsell. He granted that he offended in all that was laid to his charge. His Commission continued till the nixt Assemblie, with admonition to be diligent in visitation. C.]

Anent the Mariage of the Queine with the Erle of Bothwell, be Adam callit Bischop of Orkney, the haill Kirk finds that he transgrest the act of the Kirk in marrying the divorcit adulterer; and therfor depryvis him fra all functioun of the ministrie, conforme to the tenour of the act made therupon, ay and quhill the Kirk be satisfied of the slander committit be him.

The same day, Mr Johne Craig was bruitit for proclameing the bands betwixt the Queine and the Erle Bothwell; who answerit be word, justifieing his proceidings theranent, and was ordainit to give in his purgatioun in wryte, to the effect that his good mynd and proceidings may be knawin to all and sundrie that heirafter wald be satisfied heiranent.

Tenour of the forsaid Purgatioun.

To the end that all that feares God may understand my proceidings in this matter, I sall shortlie declare what I did, and what moved me to desend the same, leaving the finall judgement of all things to the Kirk. First, be the request of Mr Thomas Hepburne, in the Queins name, to proclame her with my Lord Bothwell, I plainly resuseit because he had not her hand wryte; and also the commoun brute that my Lord had both ravischt her and keipt her in captivitie. Upon Wedinsday nixt, the Justice Clerk broght me ane wryting subscryvit with her hand, bearing in effect, That sho was neither ravischit, nor ȝet retainit in captivitie, and therfor chargeit me to proclame. My answer was, I durst proclame no bands (and cheiflie such) without consent and comand of the Kirk. Upon Thuresday nixt, the Kirk, after long reasoning with the Justice Clerk and amangst the brethren, concludit that the Queines mynd schould be publishit to her subjects thrie next preaching dayes; but because the Generall Assemblie had prohibited all sick marriages, we protestit we wold neither solemnize, neither ȝet approve that mariage, bot wald only declare the Princes mynd, leaving all doubts and dangers to the counsellours, approvers and performers of the mariage. And so upon Fryday nixt, I declarit the haill mynd and progresse of the Kirk, desyreing every man in Gods name to discharge his conscience befor the Secreit Counsell, and to give boldnes to vthers. I desyrit of the Lords ther present tyme and place to speake my judgement befor the pairties, protesting if I were not hard and satisfied, I either wald desist from proclaming, or els declare my mynd publicklie before the Kirk. Therfor being admittit after noone before my Lord in the Counsell, I laid to his charge the law of adulterie, the ordinance of the Kirk, the law of ravisching, the suspicioun of collusioun betwixt him and his wyse, the sudden divorcement, and proclaming within the space of soure dayes, and last, the suspitioun of the Kings death, quhilk her mariage wald confirme. Bot he ansuerit no thing to my satisfactioun; quherfor after many exhortatiouns, I protestit that I could not but declare my mynd publicklie to the Kirk. Therfor, upon Sonday, after I had declarit quhat they had done, and how they wald proceid quhither we wold or not, I tooke heavin and earth to witnes that I abhorrit and detestit that mariage, because it was odious and slanderous to the world; and seeing the best part of the realme did approve it, either be slatterie or be their silence, I desyrit the faithfull to pray earnestly that God wald turne it to the comfort of this realme, that thing quhilk they intendit agains reason and good conscience. I, because I heard some persons gangand against me, usit thirreasons for my desensis; First, I had brockin no law be proclaming of thir persons at their request; secondlie, if their mariage was slanderous and hurtfull, I did weill in forewarning of all men of it in tyme; thirdlie, as I had of duetie declareit to them the Princes will, sa did I faithfully teach them be word and example what God craveit of them. Bot upon Tuesday nixt I was callit befor the Counsell, and accuseit that I had past the bounds of my commissioun, calling the Princes mariage odious and slanderous befor the world. I ansuerit, The bounds of my commission, quhilk was the word of God, guide lawes and naturaȝon, was able to prove quhatsoever I spake; ȝea that their awn conscience could not but beare witnes that sick a mariage wald be odious and scandalous to all that sould heir of it, if all the circumstances therof were rightlie considderit: Bot quhill I was coming to my probatioun, my Lord put me to silence and send me away. And so upon Wedinsday, I first repeited and ratified all things befor spokin, and after exhortit the brethren not to accuse me, if that mariage proceidit, bot rather themselves, who wold not for sear oppone themselvas, bot rather sharpit their tongues aganist me because I admonished them of their duetie, and sufferit not the cankerit consciences of hypocrites to sleip at rest, protesting at all tymes to them that it was not my proclaming bot rather their silence that gave any lawfulnes to that mariage. For as the proclaming did take all excuse fra them, so my privat and publick impugnatioun did safe my conscience susficiently; and this farre I proceidit in this mariage, as the kirk of Edinburgh, Lords, Erles, and Barrones that heard me will beare me witnes. Now seeing I have been shamefullie slanderit both in [England and] Scotland, be wrong informantioun and false report of them that hateit my ministrie, I desyre first the judgement of the Kirk, and nixt the same to be publishit, that all men may understand quhither I be worthie of sick ane brute or not.

Sess. 5a. ultimo Decembris 1567.

[The power of commissioners appointed to visit and plant kirks, was limited in manner following: They are to consider what persons possess benefices within the bounds of their visitation, how long, and at whose presentation, also their qualities and sufficiencies: And if any vaick in the time of their presentation, to dispone the same to qualified persons, being presented be the right patrons; and if they dispone any benesice to unqualified persons, they shall underly the censure of the kirk at the nixt Assemblie, shall be punished accordingly, and the benefice shall be bestowed upon another who is qualified. C.]

Anent the complaint given in against my Lady Argyle, declaring how sho once, being at the table of the Lord Jesus, and prosessing his Evangell, had revoltit therfra in giving her assistance and presence to the baptizeing of the King in a Papisticall maner. The said Ladie being present, grantit that sho had offendit to the eternal God, and bein ane slander to the Kirk, in committing the premisse, and therfor willinglie submittit her selfe to the discipline of the Kirk and discretioun of them. Therfor the Kirk ordaines the said Ladie to make public repentance in the Chappell Royall of Striveling, upon ane Sonday in tyme of preaching, and this to be done at sick tyme as the Kirk heirafter sall appoint be the superintendent of Lowthiane, provydeing alwayes it be before the next Assemblie.

[Twelve or thirteen brethren wer appointed to conveen and choose Collectors, for uplifting and inbringing the Thrids of Benefices in every province, and enjoin what every one of them shall observe.

The Kirk presently assembled in the Tolbooth of Edinburgh, hath elected, nominat, made, constitute and ordained, and be the tennor hereof elects, makes, nominates, constitutes and ordaines their beloved Brother N. their collector within the bounds of N. granting, giving, and committing to him full power, authority, special command, and charge, to ask, crave and receive, in name of the said Kirk, intromett and uptake all and sundrie the thrids of whatsomever benefices lying within the said bounds; together with the whole fruits of common kirks, and all other common rents; whole fruits and rents of Freirs lands, places and livings; whole superplus omitted, and benefices or chapplanries not given up in rentalls, lying within the bounds above specified, which are now be Parliament givin and assigned to the Ministrie of the Kirk, of the crop and year of God 1567 years instant, and sicklike yearly in time coming, quhill he be lawfully discharged; acquittances and discharges thereupon to make, give and subscrive; and generally all and sundry other things to doe and exerce, that to the office of collectorie in such cases, by law and consuetude, is knowen to pertain; firm and stable holding and for to hold all and whatsomevir things the said collectors doeth in the premises, or lawfully leadeth to be done; provyding alwise that he use the said office of collectorie, and behave himself therin, according to the injunctiouns given to him therupon; and make compt reckoning and payment of his intromissions, after the form and tenor therof. Given in the General Assemblie, and fifth Session therof.

The Tennor of the Caution for everie Collector, according to the Injunctions, followeth:

We N. and N. Forsameikle as the Assembly holden at Edinburgh the 2d of Januar 1567 years, hath made and constitute their loving brother N. within the bounds of N. collector, and hath made and given to him certain injunctions, with commission for using of the said office for the crop and year of God 1567 years instant, and sicklike yearly, and in time coming, quhill he be lawfully discharged, as at more lenth is contained in these said injunctions and commission: Therfor we bind and obleige ourselves, our Heirs, Executors and Assigneys, to Mrs Clement Little and Richard Strang, Procurators for the Kirk, and in their names, that the said N. shall truely, leilly and diligentlie use and exerce the said office, to the weel and utility of the Kirk, without fraud or guile, according to the commission and injunctions given to him therupon; and shall make reckoning and thankfull payment of his intromissions during all the time of his office; and if he fail, we shall refound and pay to the Kirk all and whatsomever things the said N. shall happen to be addebted to them, during all the time forsaid: And for more sure payment of the premises, we are content and consents that this our assignation be acted in the books of Counsel, and decerned to have the strength of a decreit of the Lords, and executorials to passe thereupon in form as effeirs. And I the said N. bind and oblige me myself, my heirs, executors and assigneys, to free, releeve and keip skaithless the said N. and N. my soverties, &c. In witness of the whilks, we have subscrived this obligation with our hand at Edinburgh the day of.

It is required, that every collector be known to be of sound religion; that they shall do their office without suspicion of fraud or avarice, make payment to every superintendent, commissioner of the Kirk, minister or reader living within their bounds, of the stipend appointed to them quarterly, at four terms in the year, and that the said payment be made to every one that serveth that hath stipend or fee, at their own houses, that they be not compelled to seek abroad, and leave their vocation: That where the rental beareth victuall, they shall not have power to sell the victuall or any part thereof, or sett price thereupon, but be the advice of the Assembly allenerly, or such as they shall deput commissioners thereto in every province; and that the said collectors shall have their hand-writs to shew at their compts, and shall sell no victuall till the ministers be first furnished, or els refuse to receive the samein upon the prices which shall be appointed: And if the poor labourers be not able for povertie to deliver the bolls, he shall take no higher prices than is appointed, nor put up in the garnel, where he may have the prices befor appointed.

Item, that they shall not drive time fraudulently, in payment of ministers stipends; that they be not compelled through necessity to give acquittances of greater sumes than they shall happen to receave, or take the victualls at dearer prices than shall be appointed: And if it be known that he hath dealt fraudulently or covetously, to the hurt either of ministers or subjects, that he shall incurr the pain of twa hundereth pounds, to be applyed to godlie uses.

Item, That they shall make a just account to the Assembly, or others to be appointed to receave the same, of their particular intromissions with their foirsaids thrids, and make faithfull payment of the superplusses resting in their hands above the payment of the ministers, or els give in letters of horning sufficiently execut and indorsed, of their diligence.

Item, That they resign their office in the hands of the Assembly, whensoever they shall be charged, or found negligent or fraudulent. Item, That they find some sufficient landed man or burgess, cautioner, one or more if one be not sufficient for the faithful administration of their office, under pain of refounding all damages, skaiths, and entress which the Kirk or any member therof shall sustain through their defaults, the samein being summarily liquidat and known, and loss of their office ipso facto, and under pain before expressed in the fourth Article.

Sess. 6ta. … Januarij 1567.

The Superintendent of Angus presented a supplication in write, or rather a dimission of his office of superintendantrie, be reason he was not able to discharge that office in respect of his age and infirmity: The Assembly notwithstanding would not accept this his dimission, for divers respects, to be shown to the said superintendent, and continued him in the said vocation till farder advisement.

Sess. 7ma. … Januarij 1567.

It was ordained, That a letter sould be sent to England to Mr Willocks to request him to return; the tennor wherof followeth.

Videbam Satanam sicut fulgur de cælo cadentem.

As the Lord our God hath at all times been from the beginning of this his work of reformation and restitution of the purity of his true worship and religion within Scotland, loving brother in the Lord, most beneficiall and bountifull toward this realme, so hath he now be this last, but most miraculous victory and overthrow, poured forth in greatest abundance the riches of his mercies, in that not only he hath driven away the tempest and storm, but also hath quited and calmed all sourges of perfecution; as now we may think weal our ship is receaved, and placed in a most happy and blessed port; our enemies, praised be God, are dashed; religion established; sufficient provision made for ministers; ordour taken, and penaltie appointed, for all sort of transgression and transgresspirs; and above all, and a godly magistrat, whom God of his eternall and heavenly Providence hath reserved to this age, to put in execution whatsoever he by his law commandeth. Now then, loving brother, as your presence was to us all in time of trouble most comfortable, so it is now of us all universally wished, but most earnestly craved be your own flock, who continually at all Assemblies have declared the force of that conjunction, the earnestness of that love, the pith of that zeal and mutual care that bindeth the pastor with his flock, which neither be progress of time is diminished, nor be separation and distance of places restringed, nor yet be tyrannie and fear dissolved. True it is, that at this their most earnest and just petition, we have ever still winked this time past; not but that to us all your absence was most dolourous; but in respect of troubles, we judged more meet to await for such opportunity as now God, in this most wonderfull victory of his evangel, hath offered: Therfor seing all impediments are removed, and your flock still continueth in earnest suit for you, and now every where throughout the realme commissioners and superintendents placed, and one offered to them, and be them refused altogither, awaiting for you; we could no longer stay, but agree to this their desire, in suit whereof neither through fear have they fainted, nor by charges retarded, nor yet by any kind of offer desisted; and as we have been moved to grant to them that which they have thus humbly and continually suited, we cannot but perswad ourselves but ye will satisfie the same; neither can we think that the shepherd will refuse his flock; that the father will reject the just petition of his son; least of all, that the faithfull servant of God will shut up his ears at the voice and commandment of the Kirk, or yet deny his labours to his own country. The time is proper now to reape with blythnesse that be you before was sowen in tears, and enjoy the fruit of your most wearisome and painfull labours. It shall be no less pleasant to you to fee your own native country at liberty and freedom, quhich ye left in mourning and fobbing, under the heavie burden of most cruell servitude, then comfortable to behold the religioun of Jesus Christ throughout all the realm flourishing, vertue increasing, vertuous men in reputation; and finally to embrace those dayes, quhich howsoever hath been be your self most piously desired, yet could ye never look to obtain the same. Now, at last to conclude, unless ye will be ane enemie to your country, ye will not resuse these requeists; unless ye will be stubborn and disobedient, ye will not contemn the commandment of the Kirk; unless ye will be careless and unthankfull, ye will not dispise the humble, continuall and earnest suit of your flock; and last we assure our selves, that ye are not so astricted and addicted to your own particular, as that this generall and common cause should be in anywise be you neglected. Now shall ye fee the kaipstone of that work wherof ye laid the foundation. Thus we cannot look for any other answer then ye shall give be your self, and that with all expedition possible. Our state, ye know, is not so sure but we ever stand upon our watches; but that, we know, will not stay you, seing your compt is so laid. Thus we commit you to the protection of our Lord Jesus. At Edinburgh, in our Generall Assembly, and seventh session therof. C.]