Concerning the true and holy kirk

Item, forasmuch as there was an act made in the parliament held in the first year of our sovereign lord's reign, that now is entitled 'Concerning the true and holy kirk and of those that are declared not to be of the same kirk', which act, our sovereign lord, with advice and consent of [James Douglas, earl of Morton], my lord regent's grace, the three estates and whole body of this present parliament, ratifies, approves and for his highness and his successors perpetually confirms; and seeing the education of our sovereign lord is in the true religion of Jesus Christ and that the same religion, by laws and acts of parliament made in his highness's reign, is established, and that it is both godly and expedient that all his highness's subjects worship the only true God in the uniformity of religion and his highness's obedience, therefore it is statute and ordained by our said sovereign, with advice of his said regent, the three estates and whole body of this present parliament, that the lawful archbishops, bishops, superintendents and commissioners of the diocese and provinces of this realm, by themselves and the ministers and readers serving at the kirks within their charges respectively, with all diligence, after the publication of this present act, note the names of the persons, as well men as women, suspected to be papists or that have not communicated with the sacraments as they are now truly administered in the reformed kirks of this realm and, with the like diligence, lawfully admonish them according to the order of the kirk; and in case they be out of the realm, upon 60 days' warning to recant their popish errors, give the confession of their faith according to the form approved in our sovereign lord's parliament, be participant with the sacraments and submit themselves to the discipline of the true kirk within certain reasonable space, under the pain of excommunication; and if they fail, to pronounce the sentence of excommunication against them. And in case of the contumacy and non-compearance of any persons so admonished or compearing, if they refuse to obey the admonition, and they who have returned to their errors after their confession once given, that every lawful archbishop, bishop, superintendent or commissioner present a roll and catalogue of the names of the disobedient, obstinate or relapsed persons to our sovereign lord and his regent between now and 1 June 1573, to the effect that the same may be imprinted, divulged and affixed on the tolbooth of Edinburgh and other tolbooths and public places of judgement within this realm, under the pains following: that is to say, every archbishop or bishop that shall be found remiss or negligent therein by the general assembly of the kirk, under the pain of loss of the fruits of his benefice for a year to our sovereign lord's use; and every superintendent or commissioner, under the pain of loss of his stipend for a year also to our sovereign lord's use, and removing of him from his office and placing of another more diligent therein. And that the disobedient, obstinate and relapsed persons to be contained in the said catalogue (after the publication thereof) shall be held, reputed and esteemed infamous and unable to sit or stand in judgement, pursue, bear office, nor shall not be admitted as proofs, witnesses or assizers against any professing the true religion, until they have reconciled themselves to the true kirk, submitting themselves to the discipline thereof, and obtained testimonial thereupon; which inability being alleged against any judges principal or deputes, members of court, officers, parties or procurators, persons of inquest or witnesses shall be a relevant exception of the law to decline them from judgement, office, pursuit, procuration, inquest or bearing witness, unless they then presently produce sufficient testimonial witnessing them to be received as members of the true kirk. As also, the depute of the judge principal who is the excommunicate, or the procurator who will compear for the excommunicate, shall not be suffered to proceed nor heard in judgement (the excommunication being opposed and verified against the maker of the depute or constituent of the procurator), unless that the principal by whom they proceed or use their procuration first be received to the kirk and have sufficient testimonial thereupon; and that the said exception be not admitted against any which shall not be specially comprehended in the said catalogue. And in case the judge proceed, notwithstanding the said exception, the same being lawfully proposed and ratified by the catalogue aforesaid, such contemptuous proceeding testified by an instrument and produced before the lords of council shall be a sufficient cause of suspension and discharge of the execution of the decreet to be given in that matter.

  1. The Actis of King James the Sext, printed by R. Lekprevick (St Andrews, 1573), ff.6r-7r. Bound with earlier parliamentary material at NLS, Black Acts, 1566-94, H.33.c.21, Scots Acts of Parliament, H.33.c.23 or Scots Acts, H.33.c.25. See also NAS, PA6/1, 1572/3. Back