Acts and Proceedings: 1588, August

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: 1588, August', Acts and Proceedings of the General Assemblies of the Kirk of Scotland, 1560-1618, (Edinburgh, 1839), pp. 729-739. British History Online [accessed 17 June 2024].

Maitland Club. "Acts and Proceedings: 1588, August", in Acts and Proceedings of the General Assemblies of the Kirk of Scotland, 1560-1618, (Edinburgh, 1839) 729-739. British History Online, accessed June 17, 2024,

Maitland Club. "Acts and Proceedings: 1588, August", Acts and Proceedings of the General Assemblies of the Kirk of Scotland, 1560-1618, (Edinburgh, 1839). 729-739. British History Online. Web. 17 June 2024,

In this section


The Generall Assemblie of the Kirk conveinit at Edenburgh, in the New Kirk thereof, the 6 day of August 1588: Quher ther was assemblit the Commissioners and brether.

Exhortatioun made be Mr. Robert Bruce. Leits, Mrs Robert Pont, Thomas Buchannan, Nicoll Dalgleische, and James Robertsone: The said Mr Thomas was chosen Moderatour be pluralitie of vottis hac vice.

The Kirk nominated Mrs Robert Bruce, Robert Pont, David Lindesay, Johne Robertsone, John Keith, Peeter Blackburne, James Balfour, Robert Hepburne, Johne Durie, James Robertsone, James Nicolsone, Andro Melvill, David Fergusone, James Andersone, Andro Ʒong, Andro Mill, Andro Hay, Johne Proterfeild, George Gordoun, John Clappertoune, Andro Clayhills, the Master of Lindsay, the Laird of Lochlevin, [the Tutor of Pitcurr,] the Lairds of Elphinstoun and Kers, and Johne Johnstoun [of Elphinstoun,] Assessours, [to concurr with the Moderator, and to give their advice and counsell, at certaine hours, in all matters which are to come before the Assembly. C.]

Sessio 2a.

It is thoght expedient, that, in the frequencie of this Assemblie, the most necessar things be first handlit, [and that there are certaine generalls which before all others come to be resolved, namelie,] concerning the present danger imminent to the Kirk [of Christ] within this realme, and to the commoun weill thereof, be the arrivall of [forraigne nations, as] Spainyeards and Barbares; as also the danger and decay of the religioun be the raritie and povertie of the Ministers of the Evangell, [occasioned by the continuall spuilyie of the partrimoney of the Kirk.

For the first,] The Kirk hes thocht for thair part and duetie in this behalse, that ane fast be proclaimit the morne be the ordinarie teacher in the Kirk of Edenburgh, to be continued in the said towne, [with supplications to God, and continuall exhortations to be used,] the whole week, [by the brethren underwritten: The dayes of fasting to be the Thursday and Sunday nixt; and likewise the samin fast to be keeped on the said Sunday by so many kirks about this toun as may have the opportunity: And for using the said exhortations, in the mean time, appointeth the brethren following, viz. Mr Gaulter Balcalnquall upon Wednesday afternoon; and upon Thursday in the morning at 7 hours, Mr John Craig; at 5 hours afternoon, Mr Patrick Simpson; upon Fryday at eight hours, David Ferguson, and afternoon, James Andersone; Saturday befor noon, John Durie, and Mr James Robertson, afternoon; on Sunday before noon, in the New Kirk, Mr James Ballfour, in case of absence of Mr Robert Bruice; and in the High Kirk, after noon, Mr John Knox; and these brethren to lay out the dangers of the saids enemies, and circumstances thereof, to the people, exhorting them to the defence of the true religion, libertie of the countrey, and in maintenance of the Kings Majesty: And because of dutie also they ought to put his Highness in mind of the saids dangers, and that his Majesty, with concurrence of the Nobilitie and realme, may be provided for timous defence, they ordained their brethren, Mr David Lindsay and John Duncansone, the morn in the morning, to pass over to his Highness for that effect; and to vrace some present order for the papists; wherenent to receve infunctions from the Assessors at five hours.

As concerning the second head of the raritie and poverty of the Ministry: The Assemblie hath desired the Laird of Colluthie, the Provist of Edenburgh, John Johnstone, Mr David Lindsay, Mr Robert Pont, and David Ferguison, to take a consideration of the estate of the thirds, what quantities disponed to the Ministry, what the superplus, and to give their advice how the present necessity of the Kirk may be releeved.

Ordains a Commission of Justitiary to be craved of the Kings Majesty and Counsell to be granted to the persons underwritten, or any three of them, to witt, my Lord Chanceller, my Lord Justice Clerk his Depute, the Treasurer or his Depute, the Clerk of Register, Mr John Grahame, Mr John Lindsay, the Captan of the Castell, the Laird of Marchinstoune, the Laird of Elphinstoune, the Provist of Edenburgh, John Johnstone, Mr John Sharp, Mr John Nicolsone, giving them pouer as Justicers in that parte, to punish such crimes as in speciall shall be given in ticket be Mr David Lindsay; and ordains the Presbytries there of to give in the names of papists, and excommunicated, and maintainers of them, to their Commissioner, to the effect they may be presented to the said Justicers. C.]

Sessio 3a.

Forsameikle as, vniversallie throuchout this realme, ther is neither religioun nor discipline with the poore, bot the most part lives in filthie adulterie, [incest,] fornication, [their] bairnes vnbaptizit, and themselves never resorts to kirk, nor participats the sacraments: Therfor it is thocht expedient that all Ministers, in thair paroch kirks, fall make intimatioun, and denunce to all poore that either be parochiners or resort to them, having wemen and bairnes, that if they report not to them sufficient testimoniall of thair mariage and baptizeing of their bairnes, so many as hes wyves and bairnes, and sicklyke quher they have participat the holy communioun, that they wilbe refused [of their almes] at the hands of all good and charitable persons: exhorting also thair parochiners that they rather extend thair liberalitie to such as be of the houshould of faith, and be of discreit judgement in giving any such persones of thair almes, that gives not evidence to them as said is.

Anent the citatioun direct be the Moderatour of the Generall Assemblie agains Mr Patrick Adamsone, callit Bischop of Sanct Androes, making mentioun, that forsameikle as, be ane act of the Presbytrie of Edenburgh, it was ordainit concerning the marriage of George Erle of Huntlie, that his bands sould be proclaimed vpon his aggreing to subscryve to certaine articles of religioun profest in this realme, quhilk he did subscryve; and vnder hope that he sould subscryve the rest befor his marriage, ane inhibitioun was made conforme to the tenour of the said act, to diverse of the Ministrie, and speciallie to the forsaid Mr Patrick, that none of them sould take in hand to celebrate the forsaid marriage, vnto the tyme the said Lord Huntlie take in hand to subscryve the Confessioun of Faith conteinit in the acts of Parliament; with certification to them, and every ane of them, if they failzie heirin, they sould be callit, for disobedience to the voyce of the Kirk, to the Generall Assemblie, and punished therefor, as accords: Notwithstanding of the said inhibitioun, the forsaid Mr Patrick proceidit to the solemnizatioun of the said marriage, and celebrate the same vpon the 21 day of Julij instant, disobeying thereby the forsaid inhibition and admonitioun; as the said citatioun beirs: Quhilk being callit, and the said Mr Patrick compeiring be Mr Thomas Wilsoun, his procuratour, quho produceit ane testimoniall of his seiknes, subscryvit be the Doctour, Mr Robert Nicoll, and twa of his bailȝies, [and desired the brether, in his name, that they wald rather suffer him to depart in peace nor disquiet him in his sickness. The Assembly findeth the testimonial not sufficient to excuse his absence. C. & B.]

Sessio 4a.

[Mr Thomas [Wilson] was enquired if he had any mandat to compear for Mr Patrick [Adamsone,] and if he would take in hand to warne him to compear before them, before their disolving, or then produce a sufficient testimonial of his seikness: He answered, He had no pouer, but compeared nomine excusatorio. The Assembly findeth it expedient to take away all pretext, that he be warned to compear before them upon the tuelveth of this instant, to answer according to the first summonds; with certification, if he compeared not, they will proceed so far as they may, according to the law of God and with a good conscience. C.]

Sessio 5a.

The Kirk being informit that ther is ane ship latelie arriveit in the Firth from Dunkirk, suspect to be ane spy, out of the quhilk, ane man, as appeirs, to be of some marke is landit, they, with the Counsell present, desyrit the Bailyies and Provest of Edenburgh to man the ship, take the men and keip them quhill his Majestie come ovir; ȝet it is reportit they refuse, in respect it wilbe ane hinderance to thair traffick: The brether thinks it meit that Mrs Robert Bruce, Andro Hay, and Andro Melvill, pass to the Chancellour to let him vnderstand of the said ansuer, and offer vnto his Lordship [all] thair concurrence to requeist the towne.

Forsameikle as in no countrey quher any religioun is allowed, it is permitted that the deid be buried in the kirks, and albeit inhibitioun hes bein diverse tymes made for avoyding of that abuse, ȝet the acts and constitutiouns of the Kirk are daylie brockin: Therfor the Kirk inhibites in tyme comeing, that any persons be buried in the kirks, and that no Ministers give consent therto, bot directlie oppone thereto; certifeing such persons as salbe the authors and inbringers of the deid into the kirk, they salbe suspendit from the benefites of the Kirk, quhill they make publick repentance therfor; and the Minister that gives his consent, and discharges not his conscience in opponeing therto, salbe suspendit from his functioun in the Ministrie: And to the effect this act may have the better executioun, supplicatioun salbe made to his Majestie that ane ordinance may passe be his Hienes and Counsell, discharging the said buriall within kirks, and sicklyke erecting of tombis, and laying of troghes in kirkyeards, vnder such paines as his Hienes and Counsell pleases to devyse.

[It was enacted as followeth,] Forsameikle as sen the late act of annexatioun, his Majestie hes transferritt the rycht of the patronage of diverse benefices, from his Hienes to temporall men, as Erles, Lords, Barrones, and vthers, and hes annexit the same to thair lands; of quhom some hes gottin confirmatioun in Parliament, vthers hes obtainit the same sen the Parliament, and the third sort hes gottin gift of the nakit patronage allanerlie, to the evident [danger,] hurt, [and prejudice] of the haill Kirk: Quherfor it is thought good, that his Majestie be intreatit be earnest sute [and supplication,] that the saids dispositiouns authorizit, as said is, be Parliament, may be brocht back in the nixt Parliament, and sick vthers as hes bein [sincesine] grantit sen the said Parliament, in lyke manner, [may] be annullit: and that, in the meane tyme, it may please his Majestie to close his hands from disponing of the said right of patronage, and transferring the samein from his Majestie, quhilk remaineth as ȝet vndisponit; and that his Majestie will provyde, that the Commissioners and Presbytries, to quhom the collatioun of the saids benefices appertaines, be not processit or hornit for not giving admissioun thervpon: Inhibiting in the meane tyme all Commissioners and Presbytries, that they in no wayes give collatioun or admissioun to any persons presentit be the saids new patrons, as is above specifeit, vnto the nixt Generall Assemblie of the Kirk.

Anent the supplicatioun givin in be James Gibsone, desyring that he may be heard to purge himself of the contumacie for not compeirance in the last Assemblie, [and] to repone him in his awin functioun: The Kirk thocht it expedient that he sould declare the cause of his none compeirance befor the brether of the conference; quho reportit that he had declarit [of] his conscience, the cause of his absence was nevir rebellioun, stubbornes, nor evill will, bot only in respect of the good affectioun he had to the weill of the Generall Kirk, being informit that if he had compeirit, and had not bein punished, the matters of the Kirk wald be castin off [by the King:] Quhilk reason being considderit be the brether, they thought the same sufficient to purge him of contumacie, [but not to be reponed. P.]

[The Commissioner of the toun of Edenburgh desired the Assemblie to requiest Mr Robert Bruce to accept upon him the ordenar charge of the Ministrie in their toun, which they promised to doe when he came to the Assembly. C.]

Sessio 6a.

Compeirit Mr Alexander Forbes, Minister and Person of Fettercarden, and, in presence of the haill Assemblie, ratified ane promise quhilk befor he made in his Presbytrie, that he sould sett no tacks nor factorie of the teynds of the said kirk, without the speciall advyce of the Generall Kirk; declaring in thair presence that he hes sett none as ȝit; and farther [promising before them,] that he sall not sett in tyme comeing, nor make any right therof to any person, without the consent and advyce of the Generall Assemblie.

Sessio 7a.

[Report being made by the brethren of the conference, and certan others past out of the Assembly with them, be Mr David Lindsay, of the Kings Majesty his good mind and earnest affection to the defence of the true religioun, and of his commonwealth against the forraigne enemies, of his Majestys singular and good will offered thereunto: The Assembly most heartly thanked God for the same, and ordained the right honourable the Lairds of Coluthie and Dundasse, with their brethren, to witt, Mr Robert Bruce, Mr Patrick Galloway, Mr Andrew Melvill, and David Ferguisone, to passe unto his Majesty afternoon, giving unto him most humble thanks in name of the whole Kirk, and to exhort his Majesty to continue in that good mind, to the glory of God, and singular comfort of his Hienes subjects.

Sessio 9a.

Mr Robert Bruce, Mr Andrew Melvill, John Duncansone, were directed to crave of the Earle of Huntlie subscription to the Confession of Faith.

Sessio 10a.

[Anent the requiest of the Commissioner of the toun of Edinburgh, desyreing the Assemblie to requiest Mr Robert Bruce to accept upon him the ordenar charge of the Ministrie in thair toun:] Mr Robert being heard, answered, That he would not presentlie accept the said ordenar place; alwise offered his labours, as he had done of before, till the nixt Assemblie: The Assemblie thought it not expedient to urge him further for the present. C.]

Sessio 11a.

[It was found expedient before any other sute be made to his Majesty, that Mrs Robert Bruce, David Lindsay, and John Craig be directit vnto his Majestie to vnderstand be quhat means the religion salbe mantainit within this realme, and continuit to the posteritie. They were presently sent surth, and ordained to bring back the Kings answer with expedition. C. & B.]

[Mr Patrick Adamsone was called on to answer for the solemnizing of the marriage of George Earle of Huntlie and his spouse, contrarie to the inhibition of the Moderator of the Presbytrie of Edenburgh and Commissioners of the Generall Assembly, and for such other things as should be said to his charge. Mr Thomas Willson compeared for him, and produced a testimoniall of his sickness: Although they find the testimoniall not altogither sufficient, they gave commission to the Presbytrie of Edenburgh to summon him to compear before them, at such convenient times as they think expendient, to answer for the action contained in the said summonds, and for such other complaints and accusations as shall be in particular given against him, namelie by Mr Robert Pont and Mr Adam Johnstone; to hear and consider his defence, and to proceed and give sentence as they Assembly itselfe might doe, according to the law of God, good order and discipline of the Kirk. C.]

Sessio 13a.

Forsameikle as in default of visiteing of the North parts, quher cheife and greatest necessitie is, hes great inconvenience followit, albeit no wayes in default of the brether appointit to that charge, bot for lake of provisioun and expenses, the assignatioun of thair charges being made to be payit be the Bischop of Sanct Androes, quho contemptouslie dissobeyis good ordour, and lyes at the horne: It is not the less found expedient, that the brether, to quhom commissioun was given befor, sall ȝet vndertake the burdein of [the said] commissioun, thair charges and expences being assignit them out of some readie payment; and that to this effect the Commissioners of the North, viz. Mrs John Keith, Gilbert Gardein, and Alexander Rausone, sall travell with the Lords of the Checker, and delait the necessitie of thair visitatioun, and crave that the samein assignatioun be alterit, and the Commissioners payment more commodiouslie appointit.

[Touching the ordenar Commissioners and Visiters of the Kirk: Nominatethe the persons following, viz. for Orkney, Thomas Swintoun; for Cathness, Mr Robert Inneis; for Rosse, Mr John Robertson; for Murray, Mr Alexander Douglas, for whose better support the brethren requist the Bishop of Murray to give his aid to further the discipline there, and for Assessors to the said Mr Alexander, has appointed Mr John Forrester, William Dumber, Mr John Keith, with the rest of the Assessors granted to the former Commissioner; for Bams, Mr George Hay; for Aberdeen, Mr Patrick Bleckburne, ordaining the Bishop there to concurre with him in the Ministrie of the said Kirk, as well in his presence as absence; for Angus and Merns, the Superintendent of Angus; alwise in respect of the infirmity of the said Superintendent, giveth power to their brother, William Christesone, to designe the manses and gleibs within the said bounds; for Fise, Mr Thomas Buchanan; for Dumblane, James Anderson; for Nithsdale, Mr John Houysone, ordaining the Presbytrie of Glasgow to provide for his absence in his place, and the brethren directed to the Exchequer to be carefull that some reasonable remedy be made to bear his charges; for Lothian, Mr David Lindsay; for Merce, Tiviotdale, and Tweddale, John Clappertoun; for Galloway, John Duncansone; for Kyle, Carick, and Cuninghame, Mr John Porterfield; for Cliddisdaile, Renfrew, and Lennox, Mr Andrew Hay; for Dunkelden and Perth, Mr Patrick Galloway. C.]

Anent the requeist of the Commissioner of Edenburgh, desyring the Assemblie to ratifie the calling of Mr William Watsone to the Ministrie of Edenburgh: The Generall Kirk ratifies and approves the same in presence of the said Mr William, desyreaned to be transportit from the said Kirk; quhilk the Assemblie refused.

All Ministers and Pastours are exhortit in their sermouns to delate opinlie the prejudice done to the haill Kirk be the spuilȝie of the patrimonie therof, and publicklie to dissallow and oppone againis the public abuse thereof.

The Generall Assemblie vnderstanding the appeiring ruine and decay of the Evangell within this realme, for fault of provisioun of Ministers, and intertainment of the Schooles and Colledges, hes thocht good and expedient to give thair commissioun, and be the tenour heirof to grant full power to Mrs Robert Pont, Robert Bruce, David Lindsay, Adame Johnstone, Johne Craig, Andro Mill, Thomas Buchannan, Andro Hay, Johne Porterfield, Peter Blackburne, Johne Duncansone, David Fergusone, William Stirling, Gilbert Gardein, Ministers of the Evangell, or any sevin of them, to compeir before his Majestie and Counsell, on Monday nixt, or sick vther day as his Majestie [and Counsell] sall appoint, to call, conferre, [reason,] and advyse vpon the said heid; and to crave humblie of his Majestie that the Ministers and Reidars assignatiouns may be [yearlie] givin out at All Hallowmes; and that sick as are provydit already of thair stipends as vitam, and vthers that are content with the assignatiouns already made to them, be unalterit therin, quhill they may obtaine better provisioun; and to that effect to travell earnestlie with his Majestie and Counsell; and to report againe ansuer to the nixt Generall Assemblie of the Kirk: firme and stable &c.

Anent the requeist of the Presbytrie of Dumblane, in respect of the few number and povertie of thair Presbytrie, to joyne to thair Synodall Assemblie the Presbytrie of Lynlithgow: The Assemblie present he found [it] more meit and dicernit that the Presbytries of Perth and Dunkeld sall be joynit with the Presbytrie of Dumblane, and in ane Synodall Assembly, to be haldin first in Perth, and therafter in any place quher the Synodall sall think it meitest.

The Generall Assemblie hes given thair authoritie and commissioun to the Presbytrie of Edenburgh, to call before them papists and apostates quho sall happin to resort to Court, or to the said towne; and in speciall to summond my Lord Seatoun, the Earle of Hyntlie, William Schaw, Johne Chisholme, and Collonell Stewart, [and proceed against them, and every one, according to the acts of the Assembly. C.]

Sessio 14a.

According to the loueable custome observed amongst the ancients of humiliatioun and fasting of the Pastours [before the Assembly,] the brether and Kirk conveinit hes thoght meitt, and be ordinance statute, that in tyme comeing, quhen it sall please God to conveine the Generall Kirk of this realme, That the first day of the Assemblie, at the place and towne quher they conveine, ane publick fast and humiliatioun be of the haill inhabitants therof, asweill as of the Pastours ther conveinit, and the chayre of veritie asweill occupied before noone in the morning as afternoone, be the ordinar Pastours therof; the tyme and houres of the exhortatioun made befor the Assemblie being keipit as of befor, to the effect it may please God to give his blessing to the Conventioun, and good issue to thair travells: And because the nixt Assemblie is concludit to be in Edenburgh, the Pastours therof is ordanit to give intimation heirof to the congregatioun, the Sonday before the [said] Assemblie.

Anent the questioun movit, If a man, convict of adulterie six ȝeirs sensyne, satisfieing the ordour of the Kirk be repentance, and presentit new to serve in the Ministrie of the Evangell, sould be admittit thereto or not: The Assemblie ansuerit negative, and thinks he ought not to be admittit.

[Questions and bills remitted to the full Assembly, which have not receved answer: The brethren remitte the decision of them to the Commissioners which are appointed to attend upon his Majesty, giving them full power to decide. C.]

The nixt Assemblie was appointit to be in Edenburgh the 3 Tuesday the 17 day of Junij nixt to come, 1589.