Acts and Proceedings: 1578, 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: 1578, April', in Acts and Proceedings of the General Assemblies of the Kirk of Scotland, 1560-1618( Edinburgh, 1839), British History Online [accessed 15 July 2024].

Maitland Club, 'Acts and Proceedings: 1578, April', in Acts and Proceedings of the General Assemblies of the Kirk of Scotland, 1560-1618( Edinburgh, 1839), British History Online, accessed July 15, 2024,

Maitland Club. "Acts and Proceedings: 1578, April". Acts and Proceedings of the General Assemblies of the Kirk of Scotland, 1560-1618. (Edinburgh, 1839), , British History Online. Web. 15 July 2024.

In this section


The Generall Assemblie conveinit at Edinburgh, the 24 day of Apryle, in the Magdalene Chappell, 1578: Wherein was present Commissioners of Countreyes, Kirks, Townes and Vniversities, with Ministers. Mr Andro Melvill, Moderatour.

At the Moderatours instance, the Assemblie appointit Mrs. Johne Row, Robert Pont, James Lowsone and David Lindesay, to concurre and conferre with him at extraordinar houres, to advyse vpon sick matters as salbe thocht best to be proponit to the Assemblie.

Sessio 1a.

[Mr John Row, Minister of Perth, complained upon Mr Patrick Adamson, That he had given collation of a benefice lying within the bounds committed to his visitation, to David Hume, without his advice and consent: Mr Patrick granted he had given collation, but pretended ignorance of the Act of the Kirk in the contrair, and alledged a recommendation of the said person to the Generall Assembly; and that he being presented in the end of the last Regents Government, that he hastened the said collation left he should have been prevented be others; submitting himselfe alwayes to the correctioun of the Assembly: The Assembly: finds the act of the Kirk transgressed herein, and ordaines the samen to be keeped in tymes coming: and as for order to be taken with the said David, it was continued till his coming on Monday the 28th of this instant. C.]

Sessio 2a.

It was thocht good be the Assembly, that Mr Andro Hay, Johne Craig, Johne Duncansone, should be direct to the Kings Hienes Counsell, requyreand the Counsell to direct some of the same as Commissioners from his Hienes, to assist the Assemblie with thair presence and counsell; quho returnit thair ansuer, That be reason of vrgent affaires they could not be present this day, bot the morne ther should be twa deput to be direct to the Kirk.

Sessio 3a.

[George Johnston, Minister at Ankrum, complained upon Mr James Boyd, That he being Minister at Ankrum thir five or six years by past, the said Mr James, upon a presentation directed to him, gave collation to Mr Hector Douglass of the Parsonage of Ankrum, howbeit the benefice lieth not within the bounds committed be the Assembly to his Visitation, and without consent also of the Visiters of that part: The said Mr James declared, He had given the said Mr Hector collation of the said Personage, and had made the Commissioner foreseen in the matter; but the other denyed that he gave consent to his collation: The Assembly finds the act to be transgressed be the said Mr James Boyd, and ordaineth the same to be keeped in tymes coming. C.]

It was ordained, That Bischops, and all vthers bearand Ecclesiastical functioun, be callit be thair awin names, or Brethren, in tyme comeing.

Anent the ordinance made in the last Assemblie, concerning the presenting of the Booke of Policie of the Kirk to my Lord Regents Grace: The brethren haveand commissioun thereto declarit, That they had presentit the same to him, with the supplicatioun appointit; and ane day beand appointit to conference, the alteration of the Authoritie hes inter veinit: And alwayes, to stay corruption in the entrie of the Kings Majesties Government, they had presentit to his Hienes Counsell, a supplicatioun with foure Articles; ane, for observation of the Act of Parliament, tuiching sick as beares publick office within this realme; and vther, for putting ordour to the late murther in Striveling and Edenburgh; the thrid, for the Policie of the Kirk; the fourth, for support of the appeirand samein: Of the quhilks articles as ȝet they receivit no ansuer.

[The Articles, in a certain manuscript, set doun fully after this manner:

1. That substantial remedy be found out for relief of the poor commons, in this present dearth.

2. That none be admitted to publick office, or Counsell, but such as have given confession of their faith, subscribed the articles of religion, and communicat at the Lords Table, conforme to the Act of Parliament made at Edinburgh, the 15 of December 1567.

3. That the Book of Discipline, or Policy of the Kirk, presented to the Regent, might be advised upon, and Commissioners chosen be the Secret Council, to reason and conferre with the Commissioners of the Generall Assembly, and that time be appointed thereto in the Kings Graces presence, before the time of Parliament.

4. That the Sabbath day be universally observed; mercats, playes, and all other impediments, which may hinder the people to conveen to hear the word, be discharged.

5. That adultery, incest, murther, and other hainous offences, specially the late murther of the Chanceller at Striline, be punished.

6. That no general Collector be chosen without the Kirks advice; but that the Kirk may intromett with their own third, according to the Act of Parliament. C.]

The haill Assemblie thought the same meitt to be craved of the Counsell, and desyred my Lord Herreis and the Abbot of Deir present, of thair opinioun concerning the said Articles: Whose ansuer was, They came not to vote nor conclude, bot were directed be the Counsell to heir and sie the proceidings of the Assemblie, and alwayes should insist at the hands of the Counsell for ansuer to the saids Articles.

Anent the complaint made vpon David Fergusone, That he had oversein the executioun of the act made tuitching Mrs Thomas Bigger and George Boswell, anent thair resorting to the Exercise of Dumfermling: The said David present declarit, That vpon thair promise to erect ane Exercise in Kirkcadie he stayit, quherin they have failȝeit. The Kirk ordaines the said act to be put to execution be him, as accordis.

Sessio 4a.

It was thoght meitt be the brethren, that certaine should be direct to my Lord Herries and the Abbot of Deir, to put them in remembrance of the ansuer to the articles given in to the Counsell; and lykewayes [to require them] to demand of the Counsell, Whither they be direct to the Assemblie to give thair advyse in all things tending to the glorie of God and weill of his Kirk, or to heir allanerlie; and if the brether finds it expedient, to propone the ane and the vther themselves to the Counsell: And to that effect were direct Mrs Andro Hay and David Lindesay, quho returning reportit, [touching an answer to the Articles,] That some difficulties are in the articles; and for reasoning therof with sick as the Kirk will appoint therto, they have ordainit twa of the Counsell to concurre with them the morne at aught houres: As to the persons they direct to the Assemblie, they gave them no power as Commissioners of the King to vote in the Assemblie, for they had not spokin the King in this behalfe; alwayes, as brether and members of the Kirk, they fall give advyse, counsell, and vote. The Kirk appoints Mrs Robert Pont, Johne Row, James Lowsone, Andro Hay, Andro Melvill and David Lindesay, to concurre with the deputes of the Counsell, to reason vpon the saids articles the morne at aught houres.

Forsameikle as the heids of the Policie beand concludit and aggreit in the last Assembly of the Kirk, be the most part of the brether; certaine of the brether sand some difficultie and questione in that heid de Diaconatue, quher throw father reasoning was reservit to this Assembly theranent: It was therfor requyrit that if any brether had any reasonable doubt or argument to propone, that he salbe readie the morne to offer his reasons, quher he salbe heard and resolvit.

It was ordained, That ane generall Fast be observed vniversallie within the kirks within this realme, to begin the first Sonday of Junij nixt to come, and to continue quhill the nixt Sonday therafter inclusive, with the accustomit exercise of doctrine and prayers, and [that the Moderator and the brethren joyned to consult with him, advise upon the causes of the Fast, and, to the end the same may be the more solemnly observed, that] intimation be made heirof, with the tyme and causes, to the King and Counsell, together with a supplicatioun to his Grace and Counsell to discharge be opin proclamation, all kynd of insolent playis as King of May, Robin Hood, and sick vthers, in the moneth of May, played either be bairnes at the schools or others.

Sessio 5a.

The brethren appointit to conferre with the deputs of the Counsell tuiching the difficulties they had to propone agains the articles givin in to the said Counsell, reportit, That the said deputs willed the Assemblie to name the persons quhom they suspectit of Papistrie, and to direct from the number of the Kirk certaine brethren, to admonisch them to subscryve to the articles of the religioun, [presented, confirmed and] presentlie allowit be the act of Parliament, [within this realme,] and to participat the Communion; and if they find dissobedients, to intimat the same to the Counsell, and lykewayes to proceid against the dissobedients with the censures of the Kirk.

The Assemblie nominat my Lord Chancellar, the Erles of Cathnes and Montgomerie, and my Lord Ogilvie; and ordanit Mrs Johne Row and James Lowsone to communicat with the Chancellar; and Mrs Johne Craig and Johne Duncansone, with the rest; and to report thair ansueris at fyve houres to the Commissioners of Countreyis, [in the great kirk.]

[As to the second and third articles: no full resolution given, but delayed till five hours.

The observation of the Sabbath, taking away of the mercats, and such lyke: The deputs thought meet, That a supplication should be given to the Council, with the judgement of the Assembly thereanent, whereunto the Assembly agreeing appointed Mr David Lindsay and John Duncanson to pen the samen betwixt and five hours.

As for the Collectorie, and Book of Policie, They should take order before the time of the Parliament: It was answered, That it belonged to the Kirk to provide for the Collectory according to their own libertie, granted be act of Parliament.

As to the Policy: It was required that instantly time and place be appointed, persons chosen to conferr with their Commissioners, that all things may be duely advised upon befor the Parliament: Upon this heid they promised to advise with the Council. C.]

Sessio 6a.

According to the ordinance made ȝesterday, all persons that hes any reasonable doubt or argument to propone agains the heids of the Policie, were requyrit to propone the same; and nane offerit any [reason or] argument in the contrair.

[The Assembly continues the Commissioners of Provinces in their office and charge of commission till the next Assembly. C.]

Sessio 7a.

Forsameikle as ther is great corruption in the estate of Bischops, as they are presentlie made in this realme, quhervnto the Kirk wald provyde some stay in tyme comeing, so farre as they may, to the effect farther corruptioun may be brydlit: Therfor the Kirk hes concludit, That no Bischops salbe electit or made heirafter, befor the nixt Generall Assemblie; dischargeing all Ministers and Chapiters to proceid any wayes to electioun of Bischops in the meanetyme, vnder the paine of perpetuall deprivatioun from thair offices; and that this matter be proponit first in the nixt Assemblie, to be consultit quhat farder ordour salbe tane therin.

Anent benefices vakand in the kirks quher ther is qualified Ministers serving: The Kirk hes determinat and ordained, That no Visitors of Countreyes give collation of the saids benefices to any vther person by the Minister of the kirk quherof the benefice vaikes, quhill the nixt Generall Assemblie of the Kirk, vnder the paine of deprivation from thair offices: and if they be vrgeit be the Princes letters therto, to shew this ordinance for thair defence; and that this same matter be proponit in the nixt Assemblie, that ordour may be takin therin.

[Item to consult in the next Assembly, what order shall be taken with Ministers, who set fewes and takes of their benefices, or the Chaptours that consent thereto; sicklyke with them that send their children to Universities where papistrie is taught. C.]

Sessio 8a.

Forsameikle as the Generall Kirk hes thocht meitt that the travells tane be them vpon the Policie be presentit to the Kings Majestie and his Hienes Counsell: It was found good, That befor the copies therof were delyverit, they should be ȝet revewit and oversein be Mrs Robert Pont, James Lowsone and David Lindesay; and beand wrytin over according to the originall, ane copie to be presentit be them to his Hienes, with a supplication pennit be them to that effect, with ane vther copie to the Counsell; the tyme to be at the discretioun of the said brether, so it be befor the generall Fast: And in cace conference and reasoning be craveit vpon the saids heids, the kirk hes nominat Mrs Johne Craig, Alexander Arbuthnot, the Laird of Dune, William Chrystesone, Johne Row, David Fergusone, Robert Pont, James Lowsone, David Lindesay, Johne Duncansone, Andro Melvill, Andro Hay and James Greig, to concurre and conveine at sick tymes appointed be the King and Counsell, as advertisement fall be made to them be the said thrie brether; and that the saids Commissioners at the said Conference reason also on the heid of the ceremonies; and how farre Ministers may meddle with civill affaires, and if they may vote in Counsell or Parliament.

The Generall Assemblie of the Kirk finding the vniversall corruption of the haill Estates of the body of this realme, the great caldness and slack nes of religioun in the greatest part of the professours of the same; with the daylie increase of all kynd of fearefull sins and enormities, as incest, adulterie, murder, and namelie, recentlie committed in Edenburgh and Striveling, cursed sacriledge, vngodlie seditioun and divisioun within the bowells of the realme, with all manner of dissordourit and vngodlie living, quhilk justlie hes [moved and] provockit our God, although long suffering and patient, to stretch out his arme in his anger and to correct and visite the iniquitie of the land, and namely be the present seueritie of famine and hunger, joinit with the civill and domestick feditiouns, quhervnto doubtles greater judgements must succeid, if these his correctiouns worke no reformatioun nor [true] amendement in mens hearts; seeing also the bloodie conclusiouns of the cruell counsells of that Romane beast, tending to extermine and raze from the face of all Europe the true light of the blessed word of salvatioun: For these causes, and that God of his mercie wald blesse the Kings Hienes and his regiment, and make him to have a happie and prosperous government, as also to put in his Hienes heart, and in the hearts of his noble Estates in Parliament, not only to make and establisch good and politick lawes for the weill and good government of the realme; but also to sett and establish sick a policie and discipline in the Kirk as is craveit in the word of God, and is conceivit and pennit already to be presentit to his Hienes and Counsell; that in the ane and the vther, God may have his due praise, and the age to come ane example of vpright and godlie living and dealing: [The Generall Assembly therefore hath concluded, That an universall Fast shall be keeped through all the Kirks of this realme, to beginne the first Sunday of June next to come, and to continue till the next Sunday thereafter inclusive, keeping the accustomed use of exercise according to the Book of Public Fasting; and that this act be intimat to the King his Majestie and Counsell, and his Grace and Counsell humbly required to discharge be proclamatioun, all kind of insolent playes, as Robin Hood, King of May, and such like, in all persons, as well scholers as others, under such paines as they shall think good. C. & B.]

Sessio 9a.

[The brethren appointit to travell with the Lords of the Kings Majesties Counsell, which were nominat by the Generall Assembly of the Kirk, suspect in religion, reportit, That the Erle of Cathnes desyrit to sie the articles of religion which he was desired to subscrive, and he should give his answer. My Lord Ogilvie declarit, That he had subscryvit the Articles of religion, and receivit the Communioun befor he past out of the countrey, and if any man doubted of his profession, he was content to subscrive the saids articles, and to participat the supper of the Lord. As to my Lord Chancellour and the Erle of Montgomerie, they had not commoditie to meit with them, and now are both off the Toun. The Assembly ordained the Ministers and Session of Edinburgh, or the Minister of the Castle of Stirline, to admonish and require the saids Lords to subscryve the Articles of religion presently professed within this realme, and to participat the holy Communion, in case they resort within their bounds: Otherways ordaines the Ministers and Sessiouns of these townes quher they fall happin to make repaire, to admonisch them in lyke manner; and if they find dissobedience, after due admonitiouns, to proceed against them with the censures of the Kirk. C. & B.]

Mr Thomas Smeitoun [Minister of Pasley] was nominat among the brether, to ansuer the bills.

Sessio 10a.

[It was proponed,] What salbe the punishment of communicants that violats the generall Fast: Ansuer, They sall make repentance twa severall Sondayis; and according to the contempt in the violatioun, the paine to be aggravat.

The Convention nixt appointit at Edenburgh the 7 day of Julij nixt to come, in cace the Parliament already proclaimit hald fordwart; vtherwayes, in cace that the same hald any vther tyme betuixt and the twentie four day of October nixt to come, that the brether conveine in the place quher it salbe haldin for the tyme, four days befor the same; and failȝeand of baith, vpon the 24 day of October nixt to come, within the towne of Edenburgh.