[Draft articles for ordering the house of parliament]

Articles for ordering the house of parliament

16 July 1641

1. Agrees

It is represented to the estates of parliament that none be admitted to remain in the parliament house with the estates but only the members of parliament.

2. Agrees

It is also represented that none who are admitted to remain within the house of parliament shall have any weapons except the members of parliament; and these only to have their swords if they please. Reserving to [Gilbert Hay, earl of Erroll], constable, and [William Keith, earl Marischal], marischal, and their servants their ordinary arms which they are only permitted to have at the riding days of the parliament: that is the first and last days thereof.

3. Agrees

It is also thought necessary that [Archibald Johnston of Wariston], the clerk of the assembly, and [Master Robert Dalgleish], agent for the kirk, shall be permitted to remain in and sit at the table with the clerks of parliament and their servants for attending what concerns the kirk.

And it is declared that only three depute clerks of parliament are the only number of clerks hereby allowed, with one servant to each one of them.

4. Agrees

It is likewise thought expedient for the better ordering of the house of parliament and that the members thereof may the better hear, that those seats appointed for the noblemen, which are upon either side of the throne, be advanced from the gable and side walls of the house of parliament according to the pattern set down. And that the commissioners for shires shall sit on wooden benches beneath the earls upon the east side of the throne, and the commissioners for burghs upon the west side thereof beneath the lords. And that each wooden bench be of that length as may serve 12 persons. Item, that the table for the clerks be set directly at the lower end of the wooden benches appointed for the commissioners of shires and burghs. Item, that there be likewise an empty room and rail without the bar directly opposite the throne of the height of two or three foot from the floor, for those to stand in who are cited to the parliament.

5. Agrees

Item, it is thought expedient that there be two session each day: one from 9 o'clock to 12 o'clock, another from 3 o'clock to 6 o'clock (except only on Mondays, upon the which there shall be no session but the same shall be altogether free). And on Saturdays, one session from 9 o'clock to 12 o'clock in the forenoon and no meeting in the afternoon. And that for the better keeping these diets, the sermon be appointed to end each day before nine. And that the members of parliament may the better attend and keep these diets, it is desired that a great bell may be ordained to ring a competent space at the several hours of meeting; as also that a little bell be presently hung in the parliament house to ring at the hours and diets of dissolving. And represents to the estates those who shall not keep these diets of meeting.

The roll to be called every time when the president sits down, and those who enters after the calling of the roll to pay the penalties following, namely: 18s for the nobleman, 12s for the baron, and 6s for the burgess on every occasion.

Here to insert the fines of the absents.

6. Agrees

Item, for eschewing of contest and debate and that all may hear what is spoken, it would be ordained that none speak without licence asked and granted by the president. And who be permitted to speak, that he be heard to an end without interruption. And that he who shall reply direct his speech to the president and not to the former speaker for eschewing of heat. As also that none interrupt the time of voicing.



Item, it is thought expedient that the noblemen and commissioners of shires and burghs shall take their places as they are or shall be called by the rolls, which places to remain void in their absence. To advise until tomorrow.

9. Agrees

Item, it is represented to the estates that the whole committees of estate, as well those lords of the session who were upon the committee as the other barons and burgesses of that number, with the clerk of the committee and his colleague and the procurators for the estate nominated by the said committee, shall be permitted to come in, sit and hear.

10. Agrees

Item, it is thought expedient that all those who are permitted to remain in the parliament house and are not members of parliament shall keep their places appointed and be uncovered and silent unless they be desired to speak.

11. Agrees

Item, that a minister be appointed to attend every day for the prayer at morning and evening.

12. Agrees

Item, that order be also given to the constable and marischal of the house and their deputes to see these things put in execution so far as conserves their office.

13. Agrees

Item, it is desired that order be given for hanging of the parliament house presently, and appoints the lyon king at arms to go to the keeper of the wardrobe and cause bring hangings and the cloth of state.

14. Agrees

And that every Sabbath day a minister be appointed to preach to the members of parliament in the parliament house.


Item, it is agreed by the whole estates that when an overture is proposed, every estate have 24 hours to advise the same before he be urged to answer thereto.

The two last, namely: the 12th and 13th articles added since the former, were read and agreed to.

19 July 1641

Agreed as inside in the writings.3

  1. NAS, PA6/3, 'July 16 1641', f.1r-1v.
  2. This clause is deleted.
  3. This clause is written on the rear of the document.