Acts and Proceedings: 1590, August

Pages 762-778

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.XC.

The Generall Assemblie of the Kirk of Scotland, conveinit at Edenburgh vpon the fourth day of August 1590: Quher ther was assemblit the Commissioners and Brethren vnderwrytin.

The Kings Commissioners.

My Lord Chancellour.
My Lord Blantyre


Mr Neil Campbell.

ȝetland, absent.
Orknay, absent.
Cathnes, absent.
Sudderland, absent.


Mr James Robertsone.


Mr John Innes.
Mr Alexander Rawsone.
Mr James Raith.

Bamfe, absent.


Mr Peeter Blackburne.
Mr Gilbert Gardein.

Angus and Mernes.

Mr George Glaidstanes.
Mr James Dowglas.
Mr Patrick Lindsay.
Mr James Melvill.
Mr Andro Leich.
Mr Robert Ramsay.
Johne Durie.
Mr Johne Rig.
Johne Fullertoun.
William Chrystesone.
James Andersoun.
Mr James Nicolsone.
Mr George Hay.
Mr Johne Hepburne.
Mr Thomas Ray.


Mr William Edmestoun.
Mr William Glasse.
George Graham.


The Erle of Marre.
The Laird of Airth.
The Laird of Kers.
Mrs Hendrie Livingstoun.
William Couper.
Richard Wicht.
James Smith.


My Lord Drumound.
The Laird of Keir.
The Laird of Glennegies.
Mrs William Stirling.
Andro ȝoung.
Johne Davidsone.
Alexander Chisholme.


Mrs Archibald Moncreiff.
William Rynd.
Hendrie Guthrie.


Mrs Andro Melvill.
James Mertin.
Patrick Melvill.
William Cranstoun.
William Marche.
Andro Duncan.
Thomas Buchannan.
James Melvill.
Nicoll Dalgleische.
David Fergusone.
Johne Fairfull.
James Stewart.
fEdmond Myles.
The Earle of Mortoun.
My Lord Lindsay.
Lumdie, Elder.
Raith, Elder [and] ȝonger.
Weymis, ȝonger.
The Abbot of Culros.
The Maister of Sincklair.
The Goodman of Stravithie.
James Elphingstoun.
Johne Logane.


The Goodman of Carbarrie.
James Richesoun of Smeitoun.
Thomas Hamiltoun of Preistfeild.
James Hamiltoun of Rochbank.
Mrs Robert Bruce.
James Balfour.
David Lindsay.
Robert Pont.
Johne Davidsone.
Johne Craig.
Johne Brand.
Johne Hall.
Patrick Simson.


Mrs James Carmichell.
Thomas Mcgie.
Thomas Graig.
The Lairds of Clerkingtoun.


Mr Robert Cornewall.
Mr John Spotiswood.
George Dundas of that Ilk.
Nicoll Cornewall of Ballinhard.


William Sandersoun.
Mr James ȝoung.
James Dowglas, appeirand of Spot.
Archibald Dowglas.


My Lord of Newbattle.
The Laird of Ormestoun.
Robert Porteous.
Adame Johnstoun.
Mrs Johne Bennett.
James Bennett.
Johne Herreis.

Mers, Teviotdaill, Tweddaill.

Mr Thomas Storie.
Mr Johne Hoome.
Robert Hislop.
Mr Patrick Gaitis.
Duncane Walker.
Johne Smith.
Alexander Lawder.
Mr Adam Dowglas.
Mr Williame Achmowtie.

Cliddisdall, Ranfrow, Lennox.

Andro Hay.
Thomas Jack.
Mrs David Weymis.
Johne Hamiltoun.
Robert Darroch.
Mrs Robert Lindsay.
Johne Loverance.
Walter Stewart.
Archibald Spittell.

Kyle, Carreck, Cunighame.

Mrs John Porterfeild.
Johne Mckorne.
Peeter Prymrose.
Mrs John Inglis.
Johne Cunighame.
Alexander Writtoun.


Alexander Stewart of Garlies.
James Lidderdaile of the Ile.
Sir John Gordoun of Lochinvar.
Johne Neilsoun of Craigcaffie.
Mr James Hamiltoun.
Mr David Blyth.
Mr Niniane Mcklennochane.
Mr James Adamsone.


Mr James Brysoun.
Mr Hew Fullertoun.
Robert Lord Sanchar.
The Laird of Drumlangrig.
The Laird of Closburne.
James Creichtoun of Carkeith.



Arthur Bruce.
David Foster.


William Menteith.
John Kyle.


Sir Alexander Stewart.
Johne Hannay.
Mr James Adamsone.


William Litle.
Edward Galbrath.

Acta Edinburgi 4 Augusti 1590.

Sessio 1a.

Exhortatioun made be Mr James Melvill, Moderatour of the last Assemblie, the Kirk proceidit to the electioun of a new Moderatour; and appointing on the leits, Mrs Peeter Blackburne, Patrick Galloway, Johne Davidsone, David Fergusone, Nicoll Dalgleisch, the said Mr Patrick was chosin be pluralitie of votis hac vice.

Who desyrit certaine of the grave and learned brethren to be givin Assessours to him, be whose advyce he may propone such things as were meitest to be treatit at this time, viz. Mrs Robert Bruce, Andro Melvill, Robert Pont, David Lindsay, David Fergusone, Peeter Blackburne, Neill Campbell, William Rynd, Johne Duncansone, James Melvill, elder and younger, James Carmichaell, Johne Davidsone, Nicoll Dalgleish, James Hamiltoun, Andro Hay, Robert Pollock, Peeter Prymrose, Johne Innes, James Nicolsone, William Glass, quho were appointit to conveine with him at ten hours the morne, and two afternoone in the Gallerie, and on vther dayes, quhen ther is no sermoun, at aucht houres, and two afternoone.

Acta. Sessio 2a. Eodem die.

Commissioners of all countreyes were inquyrit quhat they had done concerning the executioun of the last act made against Papists, Jesuites, Seminarie Preists, excommunicats, and thair intertainers, mercatts and vthers profanatiouns of the Sabboth day, non residents, and the rest of the heids committit to the Presbytries and Commissioners.

Sessio 3a. 5 Augusti.

Mr Johne Innes was accusit for admitting Robert Dumbar to the Ministrie without the advyce of the Presbytrie of Forres; quho ansuerit, Ther was no Presbytrie ther the tyme of his tryall, but it was erected befor his admissioun, and he did it be the advyce of the Presbytrie of Elgine, quherin he confesses he did raschlie. The Kirk ordaines the said Robert to be tryit de novo, and to be heard be the brether of Edenburgh, [and] the Presbytrie therof, so many as salbe present, with so many as are heir of the Presbytrie of Forres; and therafter, as the brethren beis satisfied, and the Assemblie informit, farther to be proceidit agains the said Mr Johne.

Sessio 4a. Eodem die.

It being bruitit that the Erle of Montrois intertainit Fintray, excommunicat, The Assemblie ordainit the Presbytrie quher it sould happin him to remaine, to charge him befor them, to try the bruit, and to admonisch, conforme to the act of the Kirk; and in case of dissobedience, to proceid according to the mynd therof.

Sessio 5a.

My Lord Angus his excommunicatioun reduceit be reasoun of informalitie; and because there is sufficient cause of such censure aganis my Lord in the said sentence, if the processe had bein formallie led, therfor the Kirk hes instantlie desyrit his Lordship to remove the cause; and to that effect most diligentlie care that the Sabboth be not violatit be faires or mercatts within his awin bounds; that no labouring nor carriage be vsit within the samein, and that his vassalls compells not his tennents to vse carriage on the Sabboth; and lykewayes to travell with them, that they give some day of the weik to thair tennents, as to sheare and lead thair cornes, that they be not abstractit from the kirk on the Sabboth: Whose ansuer was, That with all the diligence he could, he sould travell to that effect; and, at the rysing of the Lords, sould ryde home himselfe to Dowglas, and hold a court, and make laws and penalties for restraining of violatioun of the Sabboth.

My Lord Somerwaill being present, alledgit the priveledge of his inseftment for halding the mercatt of Carnwath on the Sabboth; notwithstanding he condiscendit that no mercat nor faire sould be keiped ther on the Sabboth: and in cace of his failyie, the Presbytrie ther was commandit to proceid against him according to the act of the Kirk.

Anent the lament made be the brether of the manifold kynds of violatioun and profanatioun of the Lords day, as ganging of mylnes, salt pannes, shearing and leading of cornes, carieing of victuall and furnishing to and from burowstounes: The Assemblie, as of befor, declares the same to be vnlaufull, aganis the Law of God and acts of Parliament, and ordaines the violatours therof to be punished according to the ordinance made of befor; discharging [the] burrowstounes for receiving of the loads and cariages brocht vnto them on the Sabboth day. Ordaines the Presbytries to travell with the gentlemen within thair bounds, to grant some weik day vnto thair tennents to that effect, [to lead and shear their oun corns.]

And farther, for better observatioun of the Sabboth, ordaines the haill pastours that are present to give in a roll of the names of the persons quhilk may best stop the [holding of] mercatts within thair bounds, [upon the Lords day;] to the effect his Majestie may be requeistit to interpone his authoritie, to command the samein to them, or vtherwayes to call them in cace of refuseall.

Sessio 6a. Eodem die.

Mr Thomas Dowglas was accusit for mariage of my Lord Errol and his spous without his awin parochin, being ane of his parochiners.

Sir James Williamsone, Johne Logane, sometyme Monk of Newabbay, excommunicat for prosaning of the sacraments.

Sessio 7a.

Simsone transportit from Cramond to Stirling.

Sessio 8a.

Ane supplicatioun was presentit be the parochiners of Endercharitie, craveand a Pastour quho will not, in thair prejudice, transact with the patron of thair kirk, my Lord of Craufurd, and sell thair teinds ovir thair heids; and that no person be admittit to the said benefice bot such as sall interdyte themselfe either to the Provinciall Assemblie of Angus and Mernes, or then to the Presbytrie quhilk sall happin to try him: and they desyre ane commissioun to be givin to the Presbytrie of Dundie to that effect, in respect non patet tutus accessus to the Presbytrie of Brechin, and [the paroche] is neirer to Dundie.

The Assemblie, after advysement heirof, ordaines the brethren of the Presbytrie of Brechin, or such as they sall direct of thair number, instructit with thair commissioun, together with the Presbytrie of Dundie, to concurre together within the Towne of Dundie to the tryall of the person quhilk sall happin to be presentit be the said Lord; and befor they give him any admissioun, that he be sworne and interdytit that he sall on na wayes sett taks or make rights of the saids complainers teinds to no maner of person, without the speciall consent of the Generall Assemblie had ther to, according to the acts of the same; and lykewayes give his speciall consent that the said interdictioun salbe publischit, vtherwayes not to admitt him in any wise.

In presence of the Kings Majestie, the Moderatour proponit to his Grace three speciall articles, quhilk the Kirk hes presentlie to crave at his [Hienes] hand, viz. the ratificatioun of the liberties of the Kirk; the purging of the land of Jesuits, Papists, Seminarie Priests, abusers of the Sacraments; and last, provisioun of every kirk of a sufficient Pastour, and a sufficient living: To the quhilks his Majestie ansuered, That in all Parliaments, first, the liberties of the Kirk are ratified. His will they know concerning Papists and Jesuites, and how earnest he is to purge the land of all such. As to the provisioun [of Kirks,] he hes but his part: many moe hes entres therin; desyring that they would cause Mrs Robert Bruce, David Lindsay, Robert Pont, and the Moderatours selfe, to awaite vpon the Counsell for ansuering therof, and conferring with the Counsell theranent; quhom the Assemblie nominat to that effect.

[The King willed the Ministers to purge themselves, and to be impartiall in their oun cause. It was his duety, said he, as well to see them reformed, as it was theirs to urge him and the Nobility to reforme themselves. In no point was he so earnest in as in this. In end, his Majesty praiseth God that he was born in such a time, as in the time of the light of the Gospell, to such a place as to be King, in such a Kirk, the sincerest Kirk in the world. The Kirk of Geneva, said he, keepeth Pasche and Yuile. What have they for them. They have no institution. As for our neighbour Kirk in England, it is ane evill said messe in English, wanting nothing but the liftings. I charge you my good people, Ministers, Doctors, Elders, Nobles, Gentlemen, and Barrons, to stand to your purity, and to exhort the people to do the same; and I forsooth, so long as I brooke my life and croun, shall maintain the same against all deadly &c.

The Assembly so rejoyced, that there was nothing but loud praising of God, and praying for the King, for a quarter of an hour. C.]

Humble petitions of the Generall Assemblie cravit at his Majesty and honourable Counsell.

First, In respect that many things hes being promised befor, and no executioun following thervpon, that now performance may be therof, and the special declaration of the meane and performance therof.

Item, A ratificatioun is craveit of all lawis that hes being made for the weill of the true Kirk, togither with ane new act of Parliament specially establishing the Kirks jurisdictioun, thair Generall and Syndall Assemblies, Presbytries, and Discipline; and all acts made contrair to the libertie and jurisdictioun of the said Kirk, preceiding the dait heirof, may be abolishit: and quhill ane Parliament may be had, the said acts to be concludit in Counsell and Conventioun of Estates, if any sall happin in the meane tyme to be haldin.

The purging of the Kirk and countrey of all Jesuits, and Papists, Seminarie Priests, and excommunicats.

Ane law for repressing of the abusers of the holy Sacraments.

Ane law and meane quherby Ministers may be possest in thair gleibs and manses, and peaceablie enjoy them, and the contraveiners may be represt and punished.

Ane ordour for thame that were at the Brig of Die.

And law and ordinance for breaking of the Sabboth.

Ane law and ordinance agains them that troubles or hurts Ministers gangand to thair kirks and executing thair offices.

Ane strait law for repressing of the great bloodshed and murther in the countrey and all the quarters therof, that the land may be purgit of the samein.

That all kirks within the countrey be sufficientlie plantit with Ministers, Teachers, and vther necessar Office Bearers, and sufficient stipends appointit to them for serving of thair cures, out of the best and readiest of the teynds and vther rents mortified to the vse of the Kirk; and the haill rest to be imployit vpon Colledges, vpbringing of the ȝouth, sustentatioun of the poore, the fabrick of the Kirk, and vther commoun affaires therof.

Sessio 9a. 8 Augusti.

My Lord Angus gave in ane supplicatioun, desyreand command to be given to the Presbytrie of Lanerick vpon his presentatioun to the Personage of Carmichell, quherof he is patrone, to give admissioun. The Kirk ordaines the Presbytries of Glasgow and Lanerick to concurre together for decyding and taking ordour finally therin.

Sessio 10a. Eodem die.

Forsameikle as it is certaine that the Word of God cannot be keipit in the awin sinceritie without the holy discipline be had in observatioun: It is therfor, be commoun consent of the haill brether and Commissioners present, concludit, That quhosoever hes borne office in the Ministrie of the Kirk within this realme, or that presentlie beares or heirafter sall beare [office therin,] salbe chargit be every particular Presbytrie quher thair residence is, to subscrive the heids of Discipline of the Kirk of this realme, at lenth sett downe and allowit be the act of the haill Assemblie in the Booke of Policie, quhilk is registrat in the Register of the Kirk; and namely the contraverted heids be the enemies of the Discipline of the reformed Kirk of this realme; betuixt and the nixt Synodall Assembly of the Provinces, vnder the paine of excommunicatioun to be execute aganis the non subscryvers; and the Presbytries quhilk salbe fund remiss or negligent heirin, to receive publick rebuik of the haill Assemblie: and to the effect the said discipline may be knowin, as it aught to be, be the haill brether, it is ordainit, That the Moderatour of ilk Presbyterie sall receive from the Clark of the Assemblie a copie of the said Booke, vnder his subscriptioun, vpon the expenssis of the Preshyterie, betuixt and the first day of September nixt to come, vnder the paine to be oppinlie accusit in the face of the haill Assemblie.

It is thought meitt and concludit be the Assemblie, Quher the Presbitries are weill constitute, that the ordour of Commissioners of Countreyes sall cease; and ane act to be advisit heirvpon aganis the nixt meitting vpon Monday; quheras every Presbytrie sall have ready the names of such as they think meitt for thair Presbytries, to expede the plat for thair kirks, admitt persons presentit to benefices, and designe manses.

Anent the prejudice done to the Kirk be beneficed men, quhilk stands in two sorts, viz. these within the Ministrie, and of vthers beirand no functioun therin: The Kirk ordanes the acts of the Assemblie to be considderit and sichtit againe on monday nixt, that it may be sein if ther be any act concludit aganis these persons that are not of the functioun of the Ministrie.

Sessio 11a. 10 Augusti.

[The excommunicatioun of William Earle of Angus, for the informality therof, was reduced, and] Johne Liverance, for his rasch excommunication of the Erle of Angus, was ordainit to confesse his offence to God and to the said Nobleman, in presence of the congregatioun on a Sabboth day, at the kirk quher the said sentence was pronouncit; and the sentence reduceing the said processe to be publicklie intimate be a brother in audience of the congregatioun. [Yet because there was just cause of offence in the said Lord, the Assembly desired him to have a care that the Sabbath day be not violated within his bounds, be faires or mercats, labouring or cariage, and that his vassells compell not their tennands to cary loads on the Lords day; and that they grant to their tennands some week day to shear and lead their corns. The Earle promised, at the rising of Session, to hold a court in Douglasse. C.]

Sessio 12a. Eodem die.

Robert Dumbar his admissioun to the Ministrie without the advyce of the Presbytrie of Forres, was found null, and rescindit be the haill Assemblie.

Anent the examinatioun befor the communioun: It is thoght meitt for the commoun profite of the haill peiple, that ane vniforme ordour be keipit in examinatioun, and that ane short Forme of Examinatioun be sett downe be their breither, Mrs Johne Craig, Robert Pont, Thomas Buchannan, Andro Melvill, to be presentit to the nixt Assemblie.

Forsameikle as it beand with commoun consent of the haill brether of the Assemblie, resolvit, That quher the Presbytries are weill and ordourlie [constitute,] the ȝearlie electioun and nominatioun of Commissioners over Countreyes, hitherto customablie observit in the Assemblie, is not necessar nor expedient, the samein Presbytries having establischit in thair awin selves a sufficient power to send out [of] thair awin number instructit with thair commissioun pro re nata, to take ordour with such things as falls out in thair bounds: Therfor it is thought meitt and universallie concludit, That the said ȝeirlie electioun of Commissioners over Countreyes quher Presbytries are weill and sufficiently constitute, sall cease, in tymes comeing, and quherof befor the saids Commissioners buire the charge, to inroll the Ministers and their stipends at the plat, receive presentatiouns, and give collatioun thervpon, designe manses and gleibs; that the saids weill constitute Presbytries sall ȝeirlie, lik ane of them, ay and quhill the necessitie therof craves, elect and choose ane out of thair awin number ane brother, in name of the haill Presbytrie, for inrolling and expeditioun of thair stipend at the plat; authorizit and instructit be them, with commission subscrivit be the Moderatour and Clark of the Presbytrie to be shawin and producit to the Modifiers; and the samein Commissioner to designe manses and gleibs within the bounds of the said Presbytrie; [and] in all things concerning the execution of his commissioun, to be comptabill and subiect to the censure and judgment of the Presbytrie, quhom fra he receivit the same; and that all presentatiouns, in tyme comeing, be direct to the Presbytries quher the benefice lyis: Alwayis in admissioun or deprivatioun of Ministers in Buchane, Aberdein, Garioch, and Marre, that Aberdein and Buchan proceed with mutuall advyse in admissioun and deprivatioun of Ministers; and likewayes Mar and Garioch, with mutuall advyce of vthers; in cace of variance the matter to be committit to the Assemblie.

Anent the supplicatioun givin in be James Herring, desyring the Kirk to call in William Blair, and to travell with him to give his consent to the marriage of Agnes Blair his daughter, and if he had no cause of refuseall, to give command to the Minister of the paroch to proclaim their bands and compleit the mariage, notwithstanding quhatsumever ordinance made be them of befoir: The Assemblie having heard both the said parties, Finds that the said James hes not ȝet satisfied thair ordinance, and therfor ordaines him to delyver peaceablie in the hands of the Magistrats of Perth, the said Agnes to be delyverit to her father, vpon cautioun and securitie to be tane be the Magistrats forsaids for her securitie; or sailyeing of the said securitie, to be delyverit be the saids Magistrates to her goodfather, betuixt and the first day of September nixt to come, vnder the paine of excommunication, to be execute against him be the Presbytrie of Dundie, be the advertisement of the Presbytrie of Perth, befor quhom, after her delyverance, the said father sall propone his reasons of refuseall, to be judgit be them: and in the meanetyme discharges all Ministers of proclamatioun of the saids bands, or compleiting of the said mariage, quhill the said cause be tryit, and delyverance made, as said is.

Sessio 14a. Eodem die.

Forsameikle as it is considderit that the patrimonie of the Kirk hes bein wastit with sick as are clad with benefices, quhilk is the occasioun of lake of provisioun to the Ministrie: Therfor all Presbytries are commandit to try the beneficit men within thair bounds, and to examine in quhat estate and conditioun they receivit thair benefice, and in quhat conditioun they are presentlie; and els quhat they were that sett taks and titles of thair benefice, or of any part therof, but consent of the Generall Assemblie; and to report to thair Synodall Assemblies quhat they have found; and als the said Synodalls to try quher any thing is neglectit be them, and to report to the Generall Assemblie.

Because great slander lyis vpon the Kirk throw manifold murthers, notorious adulteries and incests, and the parties being [brought] vnder proces, oft tymes eludis the Kirk, and schists from place to place, quhairthrow the proces cannot weill be brocht to ane finall sentence; during all the quhilk tyme the slanders continues and increases: Queritur, Whither such persons falling into such odious and horrible crymes may summarlie, vpon the notoritie of the cryme, be excommunicat or not. It is ansuerit to the said questioun affirmative.

Sessio 15a. 12 Augusti.

According to the directioun of the Kirk for restraining of the mercatts, and prosanatioun of the Sabboth day, within Edinburgh, be ganging of thair mills, receiving of loades within thair portes, selling of floure and fructuages, and such other violation of the said day: The Bailyies of the said brugh having directioun from the Counsell, declarit that the mynd of the Counsell is, notwithstanding of quhatsumevir difficulties, to doe quhat may ly in thair power for removeing therof, that all the rest of the burghes sall take no slander by them.

Sessio 16a. Eodem die.

Ordaines the brether of the Presbytrie of Edinburgh to pervse the ansuer sett out be Mr Craig, against a pernicious wryting put out against the Confessioun of Faith, together with the preface made be Mr Johne Davidsone; and if they find meitt the samein be publisched, that they may be committit to print.

Sessio 17a. 13 Augusti.

Forsameikle as the dangerous insurrectioun made at the Brig of Die being considderit to have cotoriouslie importit speciall prejudice to the true religioun, publicklie profest and establischit be the mercie of God within this realme, nottheles the speciall authors and interprysers of the same remaining vnder the said slander, hes never meanit to purge themselves therof, be confellioun of thair offence, and satisfieing of the Kirk of God therfor: The Generall Assemblie presentlie conveinit, for this cause, has given thair full power [and commissioun] to the brether of the Presbytrie of Edenburgh, with the concurrence of ane of the Kings Majesties Ministers, viz. Mrs Robert Hepburne, William Sandersoun, James Carmichaell, Thomas M'gie, George Ramsay, Adame Johnstoun, James Law, John Spottiswood, to summound befor them in Edinburgh, the Erles, Lords, Barrones, Friehalders, quhilk were at the [said] insurrectioun, and speciall traffiquers and counsellers to the said Noblemen, and to charge them to acknowledge and confesse thair offence aganis the true Kirk of God and his religioun, and make satisfactioun for the slander committit be them therthrow, vnder the paine of excommunicatioun, and that betuixt and the first day of February nixt to come: Referring to thair discretioun the parti cular dyatts and ordour [of proces] to be keipit therin; provydeing alwayes the said commissioun be execute betuixt and the said day: Requyreing thair brother, Mr Johne Craig, to remember this matter to the saids Commissioners, as he wold eschew the blame of the brether in cace of negligence.

Anent the provisioun of the Generall Visitours direct to the north and south parts, as als Commissioners to be nominat be thair Presbytries: The brether nominat to the plat be the Kings Majestie, are ordainit to travell with the Modifiers, that the Commissioners of the Kirk may be provydit, and assignatiouns givin for that effect.