Act in favour of the University of St Andrews

Forasmuch as our sovereign lord, among the rest of his princely and fatherly cares for the welfare and conservation of the good estate of this his highness's native and ancient kingdom, has been concerned and provident for the conservation of learning therein, not only by large and princely donations given out of his own property to the universities of colleges of learning, but also in his own royal person bestowing pains for visiting the estate of the said universities, and in special of St Andrews, the most ancient matrix and fountain of science and knowledge, for the benefit as well of kirk as common good; likewise his majesty in his tender years having commiseration of the abuses of the said university then conveyed to his highness in the year of God 1579, gave commission to the most noble and renowned persons: they are to say, the late [Robert Stewart], earl of Lennox, then prior of St Andrews, his highness's great uncle, Robert [Pitcairn], commendator of Dunfermline, his highness's secretary and conservator of the privileges of the said university, Master George Buchanan, Master James Haliburton, provost of Dundee, and Master Peter Young of Easter Seaton, to take order with the said abuses and reform the said university, as the report of their commission being seen and considered his highness, with the estates, in the said year authorised, ratified and confirmed in most ample form the order, rules and constitutions set down by the said commissioners, as the act of parliament of the date at Edinburgh, 10 November the year foresaid, most amply purports. Nonetheless, it being of verity that albeit both the said parliament gave commission to certain spiritual and temporal lords of his highness's council and nobility to see the said reformation put in practice, and likewise that his highness has urged the same by visitation made in his highness's own presence and by his late chancellor of good memory, John [Graham], earl of Montrose, with certain of his highness's privy council adjoined to him, and lately in a visitation held by his highness's councillors George [Gledstanes], archbishop of St Andrews, James [Elphinstone], sometime lord Balmerino and president of the session, Sir Thomas Hamilton [of Binning], his highness's advocate, the late James [Nicolson], bishop of Dunkeld, David [Lindsay], bishop of Ross, Andrew [Lamb], bishop of Brechin, and others, in the which also upon occasion of emergent abuses and defects in the said university sundry good acts and constitutions are set down, both regarding the form of studies and employment of the rents of the said colleges and government thereof, yet the said act of parliament made regarding the reformation of the said university is almost neglected and come in disuse, the form of studies, employment of rents and government in no way kept accordingly thereto, and the acts of the said visitations made by our said sovereign lord, his highness's chancellor and foresaid lords of council contemned and disobeyed; therefore the king his majesty, with advice of the estates of this present parliament, authorises, ratifies and confirms the act of parliament made for reformation of the said university, day and year foresaid, in all the heads, clauses and conditions thereof, as the tenor thereof bears, presently exhibited and produced before the estates of this present parliament, with express command and charge to the chancellor, conservator, rector, deans of faculty, masters, regents, bursars and all students and persons whatsoever having residence or privilege in the said university to conform themselves to the said act of parliament in all time coming without any fail, under the pains of deprivation of them from their honours, places and rooms in the said university, and further under all higher pain to be inflicted upon the disobeyers by the commissioners mentioned below. And to that effect, our sovereign lord, with advice foresaid, makes, constitutes and ordains his highness's honourable councillors and others, his beloveds after-following: they are to say, Alexander [Seton], earl of Dunfermline, his highness's high chancellor of Scotland, George [Home], earl of Dunbar, high treasurer, George, archbishop of St Andrews, chancellor of the said university, John [Graham], earl of Montrose, Patrick [Lyon], earl of Kinghorn, Alexander [Lindsay], bishop of Dunkeld, Andrew, bishop of Brechin, David, bishop of Ross, Alexander [Forbes], bishop of Caithness, James [Law], bishop of Orkney, David [Murray], lord Scone, Sir James Hay of Kingask, comptroller, Sir Thomas Hamilton of Monkland, advocate, Master John Preston of Penicuik, collector, Master John Skene [of Curriehill], clerk register, Sir David Carnegie of Kinnaird, knight, Sir John Learmonth of Balcomie, knight, Master John Wemyss of Craigton, commissioner of St Andrews (or any seven of them, the said lord chancellor and Archbishop of St Andrews being always two, and in case of the said lord chancellor's absence, his commissioner and depute), his highness's commissioners and visitors of the said university, with power to them to convene at such times and places as they shall think most expedient upon the premonition directed by our said sovereign lord, his highness's chancellor or Archbishop of St Andrews as shall be thought fittest, and until his highness, with advice of his privy council, shall discharge the same; and in their said meeting to take order with all and sundry abuses committed or to be committed inducing the space of the said commission, in the government, discipline, studies, administration of rents or others whatsoever against the said acts of parliament, to displace unworthy, unqualified and evilly disposed persons, and in their rooms to place others by consent and advice of electors, designed in the act of parliament, to take account of the administration of the rents of all the said three colleges, and in case of unrighteous and partial disposition thereof, to set down order for amendment and reparation thereof, to fill up all places and rooms which shall happen to be found vacant at whatsoever their meetings of visitation and generally to do, practice and exercise the office of visitors and councillors of the said university during the space foresaid.

  1. NAS, PA2/17, f.47v-48r. Back
  2. '27' written in margin beside heading. Back