Acts and Proceedings of the General Assemblies of the Kirk of Scotland, 1560-1618. Originally published by [s.n.], Edinburgh, 1839.
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A. D. M.D.LXIII.
The Generall Assemblie conveinit at Edinburgh, the xxv of December 1563, in the New Tolbuith; the exhortatioun and prayer made be Johne Willock. In the whilk were present James duk of Chatelearult, Archibald erle of Argyle, James erle of Murray, James erle of Mortoun, William erle Marschell, Alexander erle of Glencarne, Williame Metland of Leithingtoun, secreitar, Sir John Wischart of Pittaro, comptroller, Sir Johne Ballantyne of Achnoull, justice clerk, Lords of the Secreit Counsell, [the Superintendents of Angus, Lowthiane, Fyse and the West, Alexander styled Bishop of Galloway, Adam Bishop of Orkney, Ministers and Commissioners, Barons, Burgesses and Gentlemen in a great number. The exhortation was made be Mr Willcok, Superintendent of the West. C.]
Sessio 1ma, 25 of December 1563.
It was proponit be the haill Assemblie, that a moderatour should be appointit for avoyding consusion in reasoning, but that everie brother should speake in his awin rowme. The Lords of the Secreit Counsell, with the haill brethren of the Assemblie, appointit Mr Johne Willock, Superintendent of the West, moderator dureing this Assemblie.
Anent the question moveit be Johne Knox, minister of Edinbrugh, to the haill Assemblie, whither he receivit charge of the haill kirk conveinit in Edinburgh after the beginning of the Reformation, to advertise the brethren to conveine at what tyme any member of the kirk should chance to be troublit, and that for the counsell to be had.
To the whilk the Lord Lindesay, lairds of Kelwood and Abbotishall, Cunighameheid, the superintendents of Angus, Fyfe, Louthinane, West, and Galloway, Mr John Row, Mr Christiesone, Mr Robert Hamiltoun, Mr Christopher Goodman, ministers, with the most part of the whole Assemblie, made there declaratioun, that they remembrit verie weill that the said Johne Knox wald have had himselfe exonoured of the foirsaid charge, and that the kirk then present wald na wayes suffer him to refuse the same, but that he should continue as befoir to advertise fra tyme to tyme as occasion salbe givin.
[When the superintendents war to be tried, Mr Johne Spottiswod superintendent of Lowthiane was removed; when he was called in again, he requested the Assemblie to give him libertie to returne to his former cure, becaus he was not able to discharge so great a burthen as he was burthened with. The superintendent of Fyfe being removed, it was complained that he preached not in his visitations, bot caused the minister of the kirk to occupie the rowme. The commissioners of Fyfe desired a diett to be appointed, wherin to give in complaints against him, which was granted. The Superintendent of the West being removed, it was complained that he did not his endevoure to procure the extirpation of idolatrie in his bounds. He layed the blame upon the duke and the erle of Cassils. Farther, he desired to be disburthened of the great charge layed upon him, which he had undertaken onlie for a time, and requested the Assemblie to lay no greater burthen upon him then he was able to beare. The superintendent of Angus and Mernes being removed, it was said plainlie, that no discipline was used in manie of the kirks of Angus and Mernes: That there was no convention of elders and deacons at kirks for correction of faults; that he preached not in his visitations: That being burthened with the visitation of the north, he might not attend upon the charge allotted to him. The question, Whether superintendents ought to preache in all the kirks where they did visite, was reserved to be discussed at the end of the Assemblie. C.]
Sessio 2da, 27 Dec. 1563.
[Mr John Hepburne, commissioner of the north, excused his not visiting, be reason of his great sicknes. Mr Alexander Gordon, commissioner of Galloway, being removed, the laird of Gairlies younger delated him for retaining in his house two persons, after their publict repentance for their fornication. He denied be retained the woman; and as for the man, after he had removed him for a time, knowing no offense to him, he receaved him. Mr Donald Monro, commissioner of Rosse, being removed, it was complained that he was not so apt to teache as his charge required. Therefore the Assemblie ordained the superintendent of Angus, Mr Robert Hammilton, Mr John Row, Mr Robert Pont, Mr Christopher Gudman, Mr Johne Wood, and Mr Clement Littill, to take a tryell of his gift, and to report to the Assemblie. Mr Robert Pont, commissioner of Murrey, Enuernesse, and Bamf, declared how he had travelled in these parts, but confessed his inabilitie, in respect of the laicke of the Irish tongue, and therefore desired the Assemblie to appoint an commissioner expert in the Irish tongue. C.]
Sessio 3a. 28 December 1563.
[Mr Thomas Drummond and Johne Duncansone, commissioners for visitation of Menteith, presented their commission, and a roll who war to be continued, according to the tenor of their commission.
Complaints war made upon Robert Gibson, for saying messe everie Sabbath day in Fishwicke, maintained be the laird of Blacader; Sir Robert Achesoun, preest, for saying messe in Cranston; Johne Pillor, preest, for saying messe in the chappell of Fosse beside Dow; Robert Patersone for saying messe at Logyraitt, and for messe daylie said in Sayfield. The Justice Clerk desired the relations to be qualified and delivered to him, and he promised to call them to particular dietts.
It was ordained, That all ministers should give in their supplications to the superintendent, to the effect the superintendent might present their supplications to the Lords of Secreitt Counsell, that order might be taken for payment of their stipends, speciallie where the thrids war remitted to the possessors be the Queins Majestie. Item, That supplication should be presented to the Secreitt Counsell, that everie minister may have his stipend assigned in the bounds where he serveth the cure. Item, That the act of Parliament anent manses and glebes, be more speciallie condiscended upon. The nobilitie there present, and others having interest, war required to condiscend, that the poore labourers might have the tithes of the ground, which they manured for a reasonable composition ather in money or victuall, to be paid to the erles, lords, barons, or other takismen. A full answere was differed till a fuller convention: Notthelesse my Lord Dukes Grace, the erles of Argile, Murrey, Marshall, Glencairne, and Rothesse, the lords Areskine, Ruthven, Lindsay, and the Comptroller, there present, consented for their own parts. It was father ordained, the superintendents sould travell with erles, lords, barons, and other takismen within their bounds, to the same effect, and to report their answeres to the nixt Assemblie. C.]
The haill Assemblie heir present hes farder concludit, and finallie confentit, that for there awin part the tenents and occupiers of the ground fall have there awin teinds upon composition.
Sess. 4ta, 29 Dec. 1563.
It was thoght neidfull, for farther affirmation of the Booke of Discipline, that the Erle Marschell, Lord Ruthven, Lord Secretarie, Commendator of Kilwinning, the bishop of Orknay, Clerk Register, Justice Clerk, Mr Henrie Balnaves, David Forrest, and Mr George Buchannan, onie thrie or foure of them, oversie the said booke diligentlie, consider the contents therof, noteing there judgements in wryting; and to report the same to the nixt Assemblie Generall of the kirk; or if ane Parliament happin to be in the meanetyme, that they report the saids judgements to the Lords of the Articles that sall chance to be chosen befor the said Parliament, [and that they beginne immediatelie after the dissolving of this Assemblie; at the least in the sext day of Januarie nixt to come, and thereafter continue till the said booke be throughly revised.
It was concluded, that offenders, whose offenses war published, sould mak their publict repentance, without exception of persons; and if they refused, that after due admonitions, the censures of the kirk sould strike upon them: And therefore it was ordained that Mr Robert Richardsone sould make his publict confession for his whoredome, and satisfie the kirk of Edinburgh.
Mr Andrew Johnstone, brother-german to umquhill Mr William Johnstone, humblie required processe for reduction of the sentences pronounced by umquhill James archbishop of St Andrews, and his commissioners, against his and his brother, for alledged heresies, as also edicts to that effect, as effeirs. The Assemblie ordained the Superintendent of Lowthiane, with the assistance of the session of Edinburgh, to tak cognition in the premisses, to give and lead processes therein, as hath been led in the shireff of Linlithgow, Sir John Borthwick and others, for the like edicts, and other summons necessaire and requisite to grant; and after summarie processe led therein, to pronounce and give finall sentence.
Johne Baron minister of Gastone, complained that his wife Anne Goodacker had deserted him, and fled to England. The Assemblie ordained letters to be directed to the archbishops of Yorke and Canterburie, in name of the Assemblie, subscrived be the Superintendent of Lowthiane, Mr Knox and Mr Craig ministers of Edinburgh, and the scribe; requesting them to be executed against the said Anne, that she might compeir before the Superintendent of Lowthiane, and session of the kirk of Edinburgh, the sextie day after the citation, be herself, and be no procutor, to answere as law will; with intimation, if she compeir not, the said superintendent and session sall proceed against her at the said Johnes instance.
The Paroshiners of Calder complained, That Mr John Spottiswood, presented to the parsonage of Calder fifteen yeeres since be the laird of Calder, had been promoved three yeeres since to be superintendent of Lowthiane, without their knowledge; and that be reason of his publict office and exercise, he is abstracted from his cure at the said kirk the most part of the yeere; desired therefore, as before, to cause him renounce his superintendentship, and returne to his former vocation; or ellis to demitt the said parsonage, to the effect ane other qualified man might be presented, in consideration that it is impossible that one man may brooke and exerce two offices in the kirk of God, bot one of them must be neglected; otherwise we shall differ little frome the popish kirk, where one persone had pluralitie of benefices, as in the said complaint at lenth was contained. The Assemblie judged the former answere given 4 Julie 1562 sufficient. C.]
Sess. 5ta. 30 Dec. 1563.
[Mr George Hay, minister to the privie counsell, had summoned certaine ministers, exhorters and readers of the north, to compeir in this Assemblie, to answere for their doctrine and maners. David Rae, minister of Forrest, compeired, and was admonished be the brethren to boserve a decent order and forme of doctrine, with such gravitie as becumeth the teachers of Gods word, and to follow the text, without inveying otherwise then the text sall require. Other ministers, exhorters and readers, not compeiring, war suspended from their offices till farther triell, to be taken be some superintendent or commissioner to be sent to these parts.
The commissioners and brethren of Fyfe presented a row, wherein war diverse complaints given against the superintendent of Fyfe: His answere was, That some of these things layed to his charge lay not in his power to amend. The complainers war commended for there zeale in delating things worthie of redresse, and admonished the superintendent to be diligent in preaching and execution of his office. C.]
Forsameikle as ministers, exhorters and reidars, remains not at the kirks wher ther charge lyes, but dwells in townes farre distant fra the saids kirks, wherethrow the peiple wants the continuall confort whilk ther daylie presence sould give be mutuall conference of the minister with the flocke; heirfor the kirk ordaines the ministers, exhorters and reidars, having mansses to dwell in, that they make residence at the same, and visite the seik as they may, and where the parochin is great, that the minister crave the support at the elders and deacons, to help him in the said visitatioune.
Touching the buriall of the poore in every parochin to landwart, it is ordainit that a beere be made in every paroch to carrie the dead corpes to buriall, and that village or house wher the dead lyes, with the nixt house adjacent therto, or a certaine number of every house, sall convey the dead to the buriall, and eird it saxe foote under the eird; and that every superintendent within his awin bounds requyre the lairds and barrones within to same to make ane act in ther court tuiching this ordour, and cause ther officers warne ther narrest neighbours wher the dead lyes, to convey the samin to buriall as said is, according to ther said act; and farder, that the superintendents take ordour heir as occasioun sall serve.
Becaus divers times Superintendents ordaine certaine notorious offenders to make publict repentance in the kirk where the offense was committed, and yitt give not signification of the same to the ministers and elders of the congregation, wherethrough offenders may easielie escape the making of their repentance in due time: Therefore it was ordained, That when anie superintendent enjoyneth anie person to mak publict repentance for anie offense deserving the same, that he fall signifie to the parish where the offense hath been committed, what he ordaineth to be done be the offender, to the end the ministers, elders and deacons of that congregation may notifie again to the superintendent whether the said offender obeyed the superintendents ordinance or not, that order may be taken with him in case of disobedience.
Sess. 6ta, the last of Dec. 1563.
[Foure women war delated for witchcraft be the superintendents of Fyfe and Galloway. The Lords of Privie Counsell war requiested to take order therein. The complainers war ordained to give in their informations. It was ordained, That everie superintendent within his bounds sould cause a collection to be made for sex brethren taken at Rowan, and detained in the galeys for want of ransoum. The erle of Glencarne was requested to concurre with the Superintendent of the West to visite the hospitall of Glasgow, and consider how the revenues pertaining to the same ar bestowed or possessed, that order may be taken for support of the poore; and that they report the same to the Lords of Privie Counsell and to the Assemblie.
Commissions war renewed for a yeere to Mr Robert Pont, to plant kirks from Nesse to Spey; to Mr John Hepburn, minister at Brechin, to plant kirks in Bamf, from Spey to Aithan, comprehending Strabogie land; to Mr Patrick Couston, minister at Seres, to plant kirks from Dee to Aithan. Mr Robert Pont accepted of the commission, bot with provision that he sould not be burthened with the kirks speeking the Irish tongue in the saids bounds.
Robert Ramsay was accused for entering in the ministrie within the Superintendent of Angus his bounds, without election or his admission, and that he had affirmed there was a mid-way betwixt papistrie and our religion; that he had borrowed some money from the town of Ennerneffe upon caution, alledging that he wald buy bookes with the same, bot did not returne nor pay the summe: He was suspended from his ministrie till farther triell war taken. Commission was given to the Superintendent of Fyfe to try him, and he ordained to compeir the 19 of Januarie at Sanct Andrews. C.]
Anent the determination of the kirk, tuiching Thomas Duncansone, schoolemaster and reidar in Striveling, who had committed fornication, and thereafter had made publick repentance, whither he sould be restored to his office in the kirk or not after his publick repentance, it was ordainit, That he should abstaine fra the said office, untill sick tyme as the kirk of Striveling made requeist to the Superintendent for him, and that he sould present the said sute or requeist in the nixt Generall Assemblie. Attour, if the woman was a maiden with whom he had comitted the said fornication, that he sall marie her if sho requyre the samein, in part of satisfactioun to the kirk.
Tuiching the question proponit be the Superintendent of Fyfe, anent Alexander Jarden, minister of Kilspindie, Inchesture, and Rait, wha had committed fornication with a virgine, and therafter had maried her, and satisfiet the kirk, whither he sould be admittit againe to the ministrie or not; the kirk suspends the said Alexander fra all functioun of the ministrie within the kirk whill the nixt Assemblie, and then to receive ansuer.