2Act regarding the restitution of the estate of bishops

In the parliament held at Perth, 9 July 1606, by virtue of a special commission granted by our sovereign lord to that effect under the great seal, of the date at Hampton Court, 8 February 1604, our sovereign lord, now in his absence out of his kingdom of Scotland, earnestly desiring so to provide for the just and politic government of that estate, as his faithful subjects thereof may perfectly know that absence breeds not in his royal mind oblivion of their good, but that he is daily more and more careful of such things as may tend most to the honour, profit and perpetual stability and quietness of the said kingdom, wherein understanding religion and justice to be so necessary fundaments and pillars, as by them the authority of the princes and quietness of the people in all times past have chiefly been established and maintained, until of late in his majesty's young years and unsettled estate the ancient and fundamental policy consisting in the maintenance of the three estates of parliament has been greatly impaired and almost subverted, specially by the indirect abolishing of the estate of bishops by the act of annexation of the temporality of benefices to the crown made in his highness's parliament held at Edinburgh in the month of July 1587, whereby albeit it was neither meant by his majesty nor by his estates that the said estate of bishops, consisting of benefices of cure and being a necessary estate of the parliament, should in any way be suppressed; yet his majesty, by experience of the subsequent time, has clearly seen that the dismembering and abstracting from them of their livings has brought them in such contempt and poverty that they are not able to furnish necessaries to their private family, much less to bear the charges of their wonted rank in parliament and general councils and, after the example of their predecessors, to assist and supply their prince with their counsel and goods in time of peace and war, the remedy whereof properly belongs to his majesty, whom the whole estates of their bound duty, with most hearty and faithful affection, humbly and truly acknowledge to be sovereign monarch, absolute prince, judge and governor over all persons, estates and causes, both spiritual and temporal, within his said realm; therefore his majesty, with express advice and consent of the said whole estates of parliament, being careful to restore and reintegrate the said estate of bishops to their ancient and accustomed honour, dignities, prerogatives, privileges, livings, lands, teinds, rents, thirds and estate, as the same was in the reformed kirk, most ample and free at any time before the act of annexation foresaid, by the tenor hereof, retreats, rescinds, reduces, makes void, abrogates and annuls the foresaid act of annexation of the temporality of benefices to the crown made in the year of God 1587 as said is, in as far as the same may in any sort comprehend or be extended to the authority, dignity, prerogatives, privileges, towers, castles, fortalices, lands, kirks, teinds, thirds or rents of the said bishoprics or any part thereof, with all other acts of parliament made in prejudice of the said bishops in the premise, or any of them, with all that has followed or may follow thereupon, and all acts for dismembering of particular kirks or common kirks of the said bishoprics from the same, or for separation of the thirds of the said bishoprics from the body, title and two part of the same, to the effect the persons presently provided to the bishoprics of Scotland or any of them, or that shall hereafter be provided to the same, may freely, quietly and peaceably enjoy, hold and possess the honours, dignities, privileges and prerogatives competent to them or their estate since the reformation of that religion, and all towers, fortalices, lands, kirks, teinds, rents, two part thirds, patronages and rights whatsoever belonging to the said bishoprics, or any of them, and use and exert the same, and freely convey upon the whole two part and third temporality and spirituality of their said bishoprics and all the premises belonging to the said bishoprics, as the said acts of annexation and remaining acts made in any way to their prejudice in the premise, and every one of them and all that followed thereupon, had never been made nor done, they always maintaining the ministers serving at the cure of the kirks of their said bishoprics upon the readiest of their said thirds according to the ordinary assignations made or reasonably to be made relating thereto. Moreover, because his majesty's intention is only to restore the bishoprics which are benefices of cure, and in no way to alter anything done in other benefices which are not of cure, and for the better satisfaction of his majesty's subjects and faithful servants whom his majesty, in his princely liberality, for diverse good respects and causes moving him, has beneficed, rewarded and advanced with erections, feus, patronages, teinds and other infeftments, confirmations of lands, rents, teinds, patronages and other rights of abbacies, priories and other benefices, not being bishoprics, and to the effect they be not prejudiced nor put in mistrust by this act of their security in the premise, his highness, with advice of the whole estates of parliament, ratifies, approves and for him and his successors perpetually confirms the whole erections, infeftments, confirmations, patronages, tacks and other securities of lands, teinds, patronages, rights and rents whatsoever of the said whole benefices foresaid, or any part thereof (not being bishoprics), given, conveyed or confirmed by his majesty during the time of the said parliament held in the month of July 1587, of before or since made agreeable to the laws and acts of the said parliament [15]87 and other laws and acts made since, and faithfully promises in the first word never to quarrel nor impugn the same, directly nor indirectly, in any time coming. As also for the well and security of the tenants of the lands and teinds of the said bishoprics, who since the act of annexation have disbursed diverse sums of money to his highness's treasurer for making and confirming to them of their infeftments, tacks and securities of the said lands, teinds and rents of the said bishoprics possessed by them, and to the effect that the annulling of the said act of annexation bereft them not altogether of the said lands, teinds and rents of bishoprics acquired by them upon their large charges and expenses according to the law then standing, and that upon the other part the said bishoprics be not altogether made unprofitable by the unlawful dilapidation of the rents thereof and hurtful conversion of the victual, kanes, customs and other commodities of the same for unequal and unworthy prices, therefore his majesty, with advice of his estates foresaid, ordains the said possessors of the lands or teinds of bishoprics by virtue of infeftments, confirmations or tacks of the same granted or set since the said act of annexation and according to the same and laws of the realm at the time of the making thereof, shall have the securities, conformations, tacks and rights of the said lands and teinds of the bishoprics foresaid renewed and granted to them in sufficient, perfect and valid form by the bishops, possessors of the said benefices, the said feuars, tacksmen and tenants paying to the said bishops for grassum, interest and composition for renewing of their said feus of all lands and others belonging to the said bishoprics, and also for ratification of their said tacks of all teinds pertaining thereto, of the which at the day and date hereof there are 10 years' crops of the same to run, the double of the yearly silver duty contained in their said feus and tacks, and the single of the victual duty and of all other duties expressed therein, and that in addition to the yearly duty expressed in their said feus and tacks, the which duties for grassum, interest and composition, the whole estates of parliament declare shall be paid by the said feuars, tacksmen and tenants within a year and a day after they be lawfully cited to that effect, and for that same cause or after that intimation of the same be made to them by the bishops in their own courts; and in case of not thankful payment of the double of the said silver duty, and of the single of the said victual and other duties within a year and a day after the said citation and intimation as said is, the said estates of parliament find and declare that the said feuars and tacksmen shall be astricted to pay after the expiring of the said year and a day (thankful payment not being made within that space of the foresaid grassums, interest and composition extending to the quantity above-written), the quadruple of the silver duty and the double of the said victual and other duties foresaid to the said bishops in addition to the yearly duties contained in their said feus and tacks as said is; and the said estates declare that if there is not 10 years complete to run of the said tacks of teinds pertaining to the kirks of the said bishops after the day and date hereof, in that case the tacksmen in no way shall be astricted to pay any grassum, interest or composition for the same to the said bishops, but they to be free thereof. Moreover, the said estates declare that the said act and ordinance of parliament shall in no way be extended, comprehend nor prejudice any feus of bishoprics lawfully set and confirmed before the said act of annexation, which was in the said month of July 1587, excepting and reserving always out of this present act all dispositions made of whatsoever patronages of the kirks pertaining to the said bishoprics conveyed by lawful titulars and the king's majesty, and ratified in parliament in favour of whatsoever person or persons, and no others; and find and declare all and whatsoever dispositions made of the foresaid patronages of all kirks pertaining to bishoprics conveyed by the lawful titulars and his majesty, and not confirmed in parliament, to be of no value, although the same patronages be granted and conveyed by the king's majesty and titulars thereof, and likewise excepting and reserving all common kirks pertaining of old to the said bishops and their chapter in commonty, which are conveyed by his majesty to whatsoever person at any time preceding the date of this present act. And the said estates declare that if there be any common kirks pertaining to the said bishoprics and to their chapter of old, that now pertain and fall to them by virtue of this present act, that thereby the ministers who are lawfully provided to the said common kirks by presentation, collation and admission and serving thereat shall in no way be prejudiced during their lifetimes, but that the said provisions shall be sufficient right and warrant to the said ministers to hold, enjoy and possess their common kirks foresaid according as they are provided thereto, for all the days of their lifetimes, notwithstanding of whatsoever clause contained in this present act or any other act of parliament that might make any derogation to the said provisions, excepting always and reserving the castle of St Andrews and castle yards of the same, conveyed to George [Home], earl of Dunbar upon the resignation of George [Gledstanes], archbishop of St Andrews, dissolved and dismembered from the said archbishopric by our said sovereign lord and estates, with express consent and assent of the said archbishop, personally compearing in parliament, to whom our said sovereign lord in place and recompense of the said castle has given and conveyed the provostry of Kirkhill, vicarage and archdean of St Andrews, to remain with the said archbishop and his successors in addition to a yearly pension of 300 merks given to the said archbishop, so that the said castle and castle yards shall in no way be comprehended in this present act, nor yet shall be accounted nor esteemed in any time hereafter any part or portion of the patrimony of the said archbishopric, but shall remain with the said George, earl of Dunbar, his heirs and successors as their proper heritage, lawfully conveyed to them and dissolved from the said archbishopric. And in like manner the said estates declare that the foresaid act granted in favour of the said bishops shall not be extended nor prejudicial to the infeftments, rights and titles made to Sir Robert Melville of Murdocairnie, knight, his heirs and successors mentioned therein of the lands of Monimail and Letham, with the manor place, yards and buildings of Monimail and patronage of the kirk of Monimail pertaining of old to the archbishop of St Andrews, and declare the same infeftments to stand in the own strength notwithstanding of this present act, providing always that the said Sir Robert Melville and his heirs sustain and maintain the ministers serving at the said kirk upon the fruits of the same kirk. And, notwithstanding of this present act and whole clauses therein contained, our said sovereign lord, with advice foresaid, having considered the feuars of the barony of Glasgow to be many in number and the poverty of the most part of them to be such as they are not able to furnish the ordinary charges for renewing their infeftments, has dispensed and by this present act dispenses regarding the foresaid clause of renewing of feus, with as many of the said feuars as have taken their feus, without diminution of the rental and conversion of victual and other duties in silver, and who shall obtain a ratification from John [Spottiswood], now archbishop of Glasgow, of the said feus and rights before the feast of All Saints [1 November] next; and declares the feus lawfully set as said is to the said persons valid and effectual, their heirs, successors and assignees always entering by the said archbishop as their immediate superior and by his successors to their said lands, rooms and possessions by brieves raised out of the said archbishops' chancellery, precepts of clare constat, resignations and confirmations as use is, and paying their feu mails, ferms, multures, kanes and other duties to the said archbishop and his successors in all time hereafter, without prejudice to the letters of gift and pensions granted to [Ludovic Stewart], duke of Lennox, Sir George, Sir James and Sir Archibald Erskine's pensions out of the fruits of the said archbishopric of Glasgow, to be possessed by the said lord duke during the said lord duke's lifetime only.

  1. NAS, PA2/16, f.49v-51r.
  2. 'V 2' written in margin beside heading.