Acts and Proceedings: 1577, April

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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Maitland Club, 'Acts and Proceedings: 1577, April', in Acts and Proceedings of the General Assemblies of the Kirk of Scotland, 1560-1618, (Edinburgh, 1839) pp. 383-391. British History Online [accessed 21 May 2024].

Maitland Club. "Acts and Proceedings: 1577, April", in Acts and Proceedings of the General Assemblies of the Kirk of Scotland, 1560-1618, (Edinburgh, 1839) 383-391. British History Online, accessed May 21, 2024,

Maitland Club. "Acts and Proceedings: 1577, April", Acts and Proceedings of the General Assemblies of the Kirk of Scotland, 1560-1618, (Edinburgh, 1839). 383-391. British History Online. Web. 21 May 2024,

In this section


The Generall Assemblie conveinit at Edinburgh, in the Counsell house, the first of Aprile 1577: Wherein were present the Bischops of Glasgow and Dumblane, Superintendents, Commissioners of Countreyes, Kirks and Vniversities, Ministers and vthers. Mr Alexander Arbuthnet, Principall of the Colledge of Aberdein, Moderatour.

Because the said Mr Alexander, Moderatour, was absent from the last Assemblie, and, in that respect, not forsein of the things done therin, at his desyre the Kirk appointit [their loved brethren] the Laird of Dun, Mrs James Lowson [Minister of Edinburgh,] Robert Pont, [Provest of the Trinitie Colledge,] David Lindesay, [Minister of Leith,] Andro Hay, [Commissioner of Cliddisdaill,] John Craig, [Minister of Aberdeen,] Andro Melvill, [Principall of Glasgow,] to concurre with him the morne at seven houres in the morning, [in the Nether Tolbuith, to conferr] and advyse with him vpon sick things as salbe thoght good to be handlit in this Assemblie.

Sessio 1a

[Forsameikle as the chief and principal argument to be treatit and reasoned in this Assemblie, is the Policie of the Kirk, reserved in their last Assembly to be handled and disputat at this, the brether deput to the conceiving and forming of the heids therof, being callit to give count of thair diligence and industrie in this behalf, presented the heads of the Policie, as they had made partition therof at thair Assemblie in Striveling, with the judgment of the labours of the whole brethren tane therein. C. & B.]

Thereafter was presented the heids pennit be Mrs Johne Row and James Lowsone, which were red, and nothing agains said, except ane of the said Mr Johnes articles referrit to farther disputation; all men beand requyrit, that had good reason or argument to propone in the contrair, to alledge the same; or if they wald not publicklie reason vpon the said heid, to refort to the saids Commissioners, quher travell sould be taken to satisfie them, leavand to them also libertie, befor the heids be recollectit and ordourit in ane bodie, to make argument as they think good against the same.

The heid given to the Laird of Dun, conforme to the order of distribution foresaid, being thocht be him obscure and mystick, the Kirk desyrit him to conferre with the remanent Commissioners the morne at sevin houres, that he may be resolvit of the meaning therof.

The remnant heids beand prolixe, [and amplie written be the Commissioners,] were thocht good to be contractit in short propositiouns [and conclusions,] to be presentit to public reiding [thereafter.]

Sessio 2a.

The heid committit to Mr Andro Hay red in face of the Assemblie: nothing was opponit against the same, except the article anent the Suspension of Ministers, referrit to farther reasoning.

[The part of the Policie given to David Ferguson red: Sicklyke the 18 article was reserrit; and nothing spoken be any man against the rest. C. & B.]

The pairts committit to Mr Andro Hay, Robert Pont, David Lindesay: nothing alledgit in the contrair.

The heids committit to Mr Johne Craig red: some things were desyrit to be contractit, andvthers referrit to farther reasoning.

Sessio 3a.

The haill labours of the brethren tane vpon the matter and argument of the Policie beand haililie red in publick audience of the Kirk, it was thoght expedient [and good,] That thair haill travells and wark in this matter, being now dispersed, sould be revisit and pervsit be some brethren, and digestit and disposit in good and convenient ordour, and therafter to be presentit to the Assemblie: And for that effect the Kirk appoints thair brethren, Mrs James Lowsone, Andro Melvill, Johne Craig, George Hay, to conveine together, to appoint the houres and place therto, and remaine therat quhill the matter be brocht to end; and, in the meane tyme, if it please any man to reason with them in the matter, to have accesse therto.

[In the trial of the Visitors, John Clapperton, Commissioner of the Merce, was accused, That he resused to designe the gleeb to the Reader of Langtoun: He answered, That he could not have the concurrence of the parishioners conforme to the act of Parliament. The Assembly ordaines the Reader to seek remeed at the Lords of Counsell, and the Commissioner to designe the said gleeb conforme to the acts of Parliament.

The Assembly ordained the Commissioners to be placed in the parts of Fife, where Mr John Colvill remains, to burthen him with the cure of a kirk there conforme to the act made before, and to proceed against him if he disobeyed; and sicklyke the same Commissioners, and the Commissioners to be appointed for Cliddisdaill, to charge him to provide his kirk in Cliddisdaill. C.]

Sessio 4a.

Anent the accusatioun laid agains Mr Patrick Adamsone, callit Bischop of Sanct Androes, That he had entrit in the said Bischoprick agains the acts of the Generall Assemblie, and usurpit the office of Visitatioun within the bounds of Fyfe, vnauthorized be the commission or power of the Kirk, and left his ordinar office of Ministrie: The Generall Kirk, in respect of his absence to ansuer heirto, Gives thair full power and commission to [their brethren] Mrs Robert Pont, James Lowsone, David Fergusone, and the Superintendent of Lowthiane conjunctlie; and in case of the said Superintendents inabilitie, to Mr David Lindesay, or John Brand, to direct out summounds agains the said Mr Patrick, summounding him befor them at sick day or dayes as they sall think good, within the towne of Edinburgh, to try and examine his entrie and proceiding to the said Bischoprick, vsurpatioun of the said office of Visitatioun, and diserting his ordinar office of Ministrie quhilk he had of befor; with power to them to summound the Chapter of Sanct Androes, or so many of the Chapter as sall seime to them expedient, if neid requyre, and the Ordinars and Inaugurers of the said Mr Patrick, as they sall thinke good, for the better tryall of the premisses: And what heirin they find be proces of examination, to report againe to the next Generall Assemblie; and, in the meane tyme, in name of the Kirk to discharge him of farther visitation of the saids bounds quhill he be admittit be the Kirk.

Sessio 5a.

[The which day, James Blackwood, Person of Sanquhar, being accused, That he bruikit twa benefices, viz. the Personage of Sancquhair and Vicarage of Saline, yet serves not at ane of the kirks: The Assembly, after some reasoning, Found he sould demitt ane of the said benefices, and appointed him the morne to advise, and resolve which of them he would resigne. C. & B.]

[Concerning the Bishop of Glasgow his diligence, and feeding of a particular flocke as was promised in the last Assemblie before: It was found be report, and witnessing of the countrey, and Commissioners thereof, that he had keeped his promise theranent; for which the Assembly praised God, and required farther that he should accept of a particular flock in tyme coming, conforme to the order and acts of the Assembly, who willingly agreed thereto.

Sessio 6a.

Anent the resolution to be given be James Blackwood, Person of Sanquhar, to the determination of the Assembly given yesterday: The said James present resolved, and declared, That, for fear of his life, he dar not resort to Sanchar to discharge his cure there, and always he shall serve at Sawling while he get security of Sanchar: In this mean time, matters standing uncertain, humbly prayed the Assembly, that he were not compelled to resign any of them. That answer being considered be the said Assemblie, they ordained him to travell at the kirk of Sauling till the next Generall Assembly, if he may not securely exercise his office at Sanquhar; and, in the mean time, that John Fouller support the kirk of Sanchar upon his costs; always providing that the said James insist diligently be the laws of the realme, to get possession of his benefice at Sanchar, and shew his diligence thereupon, betwixt this and the next Generall Assemblie: And ordaines the Commissioners of the country to admonish the Tutor of Sanquhar to make no impediment or trouble to the said James, in using his office, and serving the cure at Sanchar, under the paine of the censures of the Kirk to be used against him, if he disobey. C.]

It was thoght expedient be the Kirk, that certaine of the brether be direct to the Regents Grace to informe him, that the Kirk is travelling in the matter and argument of the Policie; and quhat beis farther proceidit therin, his Grace sall receive advertisement befor the end of the Assemblie. In this meane tyme, sundrie inconvenients may sall out befor this be perfytit, quhilks it wald pleis his Grace to considder and remeid: And for this effect were dispatchit from this Assemblie Mrs David Lindesay and Johne Duncansone, quho returneit and reportit, His Grace lykit weill of thair travells and labours that they tooke in that matter, requyring expeditioun and hastie outred therof: As for the particulars they informe wald be occurritt, let them be givin, they sall have good ansuer.

Sessio 8a.

The particulars of sick things as are desyrit to be ordinat be my Lord Regents Grace, befor the worke of the Policie came out, beand conceivit in a few articles, quhilk after sall appeir, were delyverit be the Kirk to thair brether Mrs David Lindsay, Andro Polwart, Johne Duncansone, to be proponit to his Grace, and to that effect to awaite afternoon for his Graces ansuer; quho returning reportit that his Graces ansuer was, That if the articles might be resolvit be himselfe without the Counsell, they sould receive his ansuer the morne in the morning; vtherwayes the Counsall sould be conveinit the morne at afternoon, and therafter ansuer sould be given to sick as the Kirk directit to receive the same; for the quhilk effect the Kirk directed Mrs John Craig and David Lindesay.

The tenour of the Articles above specified.

First, That provisioun may be had for visitors of the Countreys.

2. That ordour may be tane, that persons depryvit be the Kirk for not doing thair offices, may be depryvit of thair benefices.

3. That his Grace will putt ordour to sick as receives benefices, and therafter coupes them.

4. That quhen benefices vaikes, they may be disponed rather to sick as hes servit at the kirks therof, than to vthers not so weill qualified.

5. That the acts of Parliament made against adulterers may be put to executioun, namelie, agains Willian Cochron, notorious adulterer.

6. That his Grace wald discharge playes of Robin Hood, King of May, and sick vthers, on the Sabboth day.

7. Because ther is diverse Reidars not entrit in the Booke of Assignatioun, partlie be reason of inlaik of Commissioners, and partlie be thair negligence, That ordour may be provydit therefor.

The proces persewit be the Laird of Tulliealane agains Johne Dykes, Minister of Culros, was sichtit be some brether, and the head of the bill was not found provin. The debait was finallie endit be the travells and perswasion of the brether appointit therto.

Sessio 9a.

Anent the complaint made be David Fergusone vpon Mr James M'Gill, Clark of Register, and the yoghong Laird of Rossyth, That, agains the actis of the Kirk, they causit burie the vmquhill Laird of Rossyth in the Kirk of Dumferling, albeit the said David made them foirsein of the said act: The Kirk ordainit Johne Durie to warn the Clerk Register to ansuer heirto, the first of May nixt to come.

Sessio 10a.

[The Assembly] ordaines the brether [appointed] to waite on my Lord Regents Graces ansuer, to make sute for Mr John Davidsones libertie to come in the countrey, for his favour, quhen he lykes to returne.

Anent the ordinance made in the last Assembly, and execution thereof, concerning the inbringing of the names of the persons defunct be the Commissioners of the Countries, conforme to divers other acts past of before: The Superintendent of Lothian answered, He hath presently certain names ready to be delivered to the Procurator Fiscal; Mr John Craig for his part declared, He had delivered the names of the defunct within his bounds to the Commissioner of Aberdeen; William Christeson, That he had delivered the names to the said pursevant, direct to the Commissioners. The Assembly and Commissioners present have ordained the whole Commissioners of Countries to send in the names of the persons defunct within their bounds to the Procurator Fiscal at Edinburgh, if they be ready betwixt and the next Assemblie; otherwise simpliciter to produce them then to be delivered to him, and to keep the act and ordinance made theranent before. C.]

The brethren appointit to collect the heids of the Policie presentit of before, reportit the same collectit in ordour, and digestit in one bodie; and all men requyrit that had good reason or argument to propone, to offer them thereto.

Thrie heids were callit in doubt be certaine; and de Diaconatu, another de Jure Patronatus, the thrid de Divortiis, quherin they were not resolvit nor satisfied: As to the rest, nothing was thought to the contrair, nor opponit.

Thir thrie heids standand in contraversie being publickly disputed and reasoned in utramque partem, yoghet farther disputation was reservit till the morne, to any man that lykit to take the part of reasoning upon him agains the saids heids.

The Commissioners appointit to awaite vpon my Lord Regents Graces ansuer, reportit, Because they had no commission in wryte, his Grace gave no ansuer to them.

[Questions proponed in the Generall Assembly, and their decisions.

Q. What shall be done concerning such persons who will not receive the Communion but in Lentron. A. Such persons ought not to be satisfied, nor their superstition nurished therein.

Q. What shall therefore be done to Ministers and Readers, that, at such tymes in Lentron, or upon Saints dayes as they call them, as yoghule and Pasche and such superstitious times, read, preach, or minister the Communion, to retain the people in blindness. A. The Visitor, with advice of the Synodall Assembly, ought to admonish such Ministers or Readers to desist and abstain therefrom, under the paine of deprivation; and if they disobey, to deprive them.

Anent the complaint made upon the Clerk of Register, That he caused burie the late Laird of Rossyth in the Kirk of Dumfermline against the acts of the Kirk: C.] The Clerk Register beand present, declared, That the Provest and Bailyoghies of Dumfermline aggreit to burie the Laird of Rossyth in the Kirk, and that he was not the cause therof; submittand himselfe alwayes to the judgement of the Kirk, if any offence be found done by him.

[The Assembly requiested the Commissioners of Countries to continue in their commission and office of Visitation till the next Generall Assembly, and to use such diligence and travels as they may goodly doe for the comfort of the Kirk. Mr Andrew Hay, Commissioner of Clidesdale, protested, That he be not burdened with the Over Ward of Cliddisdaill from Hamiltoun up; always promised to keep Synodall Assemblies. C.]

The Generall Assemblie of the Kirk of this realme, considderand the great aboundance of iniquitie overflowing vniversallie the haill face of the commoun weill, now in so great light and revelatioun of the true and Christian religioun, justlie provocking and stirring up the justice and equitie of God to take judgement and vengeance on this unworthie and vnthankfull nation; seeand also the many perrillous stormes and rage of persecutioun daylie invadeing the Kirk and Spous of Jesus Chryst; the found and extreame troubles of the zealous members therof in the partes of France and els quher, professing with them ane Saviour, Lord, and Messias; the work of establisching a perfyte ordour and policie in the Kirk being presentlie in hand, Hes thought it good [meet and expedient] for the same reasons and good causes, That earnest and speidie recourse salbe had to God with commoun supplicatiouns and prayers: And to that effect, a generall Fast be observit vniversallie through all the kirks of this realme, with doctrine and instruction to the peiple; to begin the second Sonday of Julij nixt to come, quhilk is the nynt day therof, and to continue to the nixt Sonday therafter, vsing, in the meanetyme, exercise of doctrine according to the accustomit ordour; and to that effect, that intimatioun be made heirof be Com missioners of Countreyes to the Ministers within their bounds, as appertaines. Givin in the Generall Assemblie.

[Concerning the proposition of Mr James Lowson, Minister of Edinburgh, desireing the mind and declaration of the Assemblie, How they think to be done with the money which was collected to the support of the French Kirks, being yet in his hands undisposed: The Assembly present willeth the said money, or sameekle farther which shall be inbrought of that which was promised for their support, to be employed to the use and necessity of the Kirk. C.]

Because the matter of the Policie of the Kirk, collectit be the brethren, is not ȝet in sick perfyt forme as is requisite; and sundrie things largelie intreatit, quhilk wilbe more summarlie handlit; vthers requyring farther dilatioun: For recollecting therof, and puting the same in good ordour and forme, and for avoyding of superfluitie and obscuritie, the substantialls beand keipit; the Kirk presentlie hes willit thair belovit brethren, Mrs Robert Pont and James Lowsone, to take travells and labours in the premisses: and to the effect that the worke may be the better compleit and in readines against the nixt Generall Assemblie, quhilk is ordainit to begin at Edenburgh the 25 day of October nixt to come, the Kirk hes ordainit thair brethren, the Laird of Dun, Mrs Alexander Arbuthnet, Andro Melvill, Johne Craig, Andro Hay, George Hay, Johne Row, David Lindesay, Johne Duncansone, to conveine and assemble together, the 19 of October nixt, in Edenburgh, to revise and considder the travells of their said brether, that the same may be the more advysedlie proponit publicklie, as said is. In this meanetyme, sick as pleases to reason in the matter, to have accesse to the said brether: and lykewayes ordainit the Visitors of Countreyes to make intimatioun to the Barronis, that the said warke is in hand, and to be treattit in the nixt Generall Conventioun; desyreand thair presence and concurrence therto.