Acts of parliament of our most supreme lord King James III in the 18th year of his reign etc.

In the first it is decreed and ordained that the freedom of the holy church is to be observed and kept in the same liberty as it has been in the past during the times of our sovereign lord's most noble ancestors, and if it is in any way damaged, that compensation is to be made for it etc.

Item, because slaughter and other trespasses such as treason, robbery and common theft is and has been so commonplace throughout the whole realm, and it is supposed that greatest reason for it is the easy granting of the king's grace in pardons and forgiveness to those who commit the same, our sovereign lord, at the great present request of the lords of the three estates of his realm, and in order to avoid the said trespasses and extreme wickedness, and for the safety of his lieges and the common profit of his realm, of his special favour and grace, granted to close his hands and cease giving forgiveness and pardons to any persons for any kind of slaughter committed since he attained the age of 25 or that will be committed in the next three years, so that in the meantime the country may become peaceful and regulated and his lieges live in security, and not to grant pardons for common theft within the country; and if any pardons are granted or given for old actions, that is will be made clear and explicit in the pardon that the trespass for which the pardon is given was committed before [the king] turned 25, and if it is found to the contrary the pardon is to be of no value.

Also because our sovereign lord is informed that his realm is lacking and short of money with the reduction of coinage minted in earlier times and the old money, from both within the realm and abroad, which had course in this realm has been transmuted and smelted into bullion for other money being minted, in contradiction to the counsel of the last parliament, through which little or no old money from this country or from others is in use, either Demis, Lions, English nobles, Louis, French crowns, English groats, Fleur de Lis groats, 14d groats, but for the most part both gold and silver smelted, at the request of his three estates, our sovereign lord has agreed now to put into execution the acts of his parliament for the importation of bullion, both from the time of his ancestors and his own, to be observed and kept, and similarly the acts made for seeking and retaining money in the realm [are to] be put into swift execution and good investigators employed for this at all ports and necessary places, and, if required, rigorous regulations [are to be implemented] thereupon through the counsel and advice of his lords of council. And in the meantime, until the realm is furnished with bullion so that it can be seen and known when new money can be minted, his highness will, as said, graciously cause the cessation of all coining and minting of money, gold, silver, great or small, and cause the irons to be removed from the minters immediately and place them in safe-keeping so that no more injury is caused to the realm through the minting of money in the future. And when his highness decides that the realm is furnished with bullion, he shall then, God willing, with the advice of the lords of his council, make a convention and a regulation of his money, both gold and silver, for the weight and fineness, so that it maintains the course it is given, and to appoint and establish a chief officer and a master of the mint of wealth and intelligence who shall be accountable to his highness upon their lives and honour to keep the rules and decrees that shall be made.

Item, regarding the course of merchandise, because very heartfelt, thankful and honourable letters from [Charles of Valois], prince of Burgundy and his estates of his lands have arrived for maintaining the freedom of merchants of this realm in the future, and the compensation for the injuries they have sustained in the past, the previous alliance and confederation made between our sovereign lord and the prince of Burgundy being renewed and confirmed, it is ordained by our sovereign lord and the three estates of his realm that certain persons be appointed as an embassy to travel with our sovereign lord's letters to the duke of Burgundy, both to renew and confirm the previously made alliance and to obtain confirmation of the privileges granted previously to the merchants of this realm, and to purchase other greater privileges if they can be obtained in favour of the merchants, and also to pursue the damage sustained previously and get redress for it, and the expenses of the said embassy are to be taken from all the burghs.

Item, because victuals are very scarce within the country and the majority of assistance to the realm is through foreigners from various other nations who bring victuals, and because of various new taxes and seizures they have suffered on arrival and damages they do not have the liberty and freedom to convey their own goods, which causes them to refrain from coming to this realm, to the great damage and lack of all the king's lieges in all estates, it is decreed and ordained that all foreigners and merchants who come to the realm with victuals and other legal merchandise should be honourably received [and] favourably treated from the time they enter their goods as the habit and custom is in the tolbooth, that our sovereign lord be served first and with the best [goods], and then the lords of his council, and after that a price shall be settled with the merchants, and the rest is to be sold among the king's lieges, and that foreigners and their goods shall have no trouble nor be arrested, and that they may have the liberty and freedom to undertake and perform their legal trade as the habit and custom has been in the past.

Item, it is decreed and ordained that the act made previously by King James I regarding the cruives set in waters be observed and kept, which bears in effect that all cruives set in waters where the sea flows and ebbs, which destroys the fry of all fish, should be removed and destroyed forever, notwithstanding all freedoms or privileges given to the contrary, under the pain of £5 for each cruive; and that those who have cruives in fresh waters are to keep the laws regarding the Saturday slop8 and they are not to stand during forbidden time under the same pain, and that each bar of the framework of the said cruives is to be three inches wide as required by the old decreet made by King David, and that the midstream be left with the space of six feet, and that it shall be a point of dittay, both of those who act in contradiction of this or cause it to be done, and whoever is convicted thereof shall pay £5 as is said.

Item, regarding the ferrymen who raise the fare that is to be paid by and charged to the king's lieges and their goods for the horse, the man and his burden [to a level] higher than previously ordained and decreed by the parliament, it is decreed and ordained that in the future no ferryman is to take a higher fare for the horse, man or goods than is previously decreed by the parliament to be taken, under the pain of £5 to be paid to our sovereign lord, and compensation [is to be paid] to the party as often as they trespass, and this is to be a point of dittay in the future.

Item, regarding the muir-burning that is so openly done in all months in contradiction to the acts and decreets made previously, for the punishment and prevention thereof, it is now decreed and ordained that in the future the fine for muir-burning shall be £5 from those who are convicted before the justice in the justice ayre, and that no muir-burning is to occur from the last day of March until Michaelmas [1 November] day under the aforesaid pain.

Item, because it is heavily complained about and the realm is greatly disgraced by foreigners and others who buy salmon of the reduction of the vessels and barrels that the salmon is packed in, it is decreed and ordained that in the future all salmon is to be packed in barrels of the Hamburg measure according to the old assise of Aberdeen and not in any smaller barrel or vessel, and that no cooper within the realm is to make smaller barrels to pack fish in than the said Hamburg measure and old assise of Aberdeen, and if any do in contradiction of this in the future, the first seller who sells the fish in false packing in such small barrels shall forfeit the fish to be our sovereign lord's escheat, and the cooper who made the barrel shall pay £5 to the king, and the king's customs officers shall be investigators for this in each town, and also it shall be a point of dittay in the future.

Item, for the repression of overbearing beggars and sorners who daily oppress and harry the king's poor lieges, it is decreed and ordained that the act and decreet made previously in our sovereign lord King James I's time is to be put into swift execution without favour, that is to say, wherever any common sorners are found in the future, they are to be arrested and delivered to the king's sheriffs and they as the king's justice immediately execute the king's law on them as on a common thief or reiver, and also that dittay be annually taken thereof and punished as is said in the justice ayre.

Also, because ignorant smiths, through ignorance and drunkenness, ruin and lame men's horses through careless shoeing, it is decreed and ordained that whenever a smith shoes a man's horse carelessly, that smith shall make and pay the cost of the horse until he is recovered, and in the meantime provide the man with a horse to ride and to work until the said horse is healthy, and if the horse is lame due to shoeing and does not recover, the smith shall keep the horse himself and pay the price of the horse to the man who owned him.

Item, since our sovereign lord intends to send in all goodly haste certain lords in an embassy to [Edward IV], king of England for certain honourable matters and causes concerning the honour and worship of his highness and the public good of the realm, that is to say, the marriage of his sister, and to have a swift reply from his said ambassadors, and also regarding the summons and trial of [John MacDonald], lord of the Isles and of Sir Alexander Rait, as contained in the summons made on them in the aforewritten continuance of the same, the estates now present have, in order to reduce their work and hardship, committed their full power and strength of the whole parliament to these persons undernoted, that is to say, to eight of each estate, to discuss, advise and conclude on the said matters and all things concerning the same, and the said persons are to convene and gather together in Edinburgh, or whichever other place which pleases the king's highness, on 22 October next, with continuation of days, and these are the names of the persons: [John Laing], bishop of Glasgow, [James Livingston], bishop of Dunkeld, [Thomas Spens], bishop of Aberdeen, [William Tulloch], bishop of Moray, [Archibald Crawford], abbot of Holyroodhouse, [John Crichton], abbot of Newbattle, [Archibald Whitelaw], secretary, Master Alexander Inglis, Master William Elphinstone for the clergy; [Archibald Douglas], earl of Angus, [William Keith], earl Marischal, [William Abernethy], lord Abernethy, [James Hamilton], lord Hamilton, [Robert Lyle], lord Lyle, [William Borthwick], lord Borthwick, [John Drummond], lord Stobhall, [William Knollis], master of Torphichen for the barons; John of Knollis of Aberdeen, William of Monorgund of Dundee, Alexander Bunche of Perth, Simon Greg of Cupar, James of Crichton, provost of Edinburgh, Henry Cant of Edinburgh, Matthew Forrester of Stirling and Alexander Fowlis of Linlithgow for commissioners.

  1. The legislation given on PA2/2, f.64r-66r, of the parliamentary register is separated from the other business of the parliament by a blank folio, and written in a different, neater, hand. It is noticeable that no precise date is given, and that the legislation is ascribed simply to the '18th year of his [James III's] reign' (i.e. between 3 August 1477 and 2 August 1478). See above A1477/1 for the evidence that some of this legislation may in fact date to August 1477, and that the legislation of August 1477 and June 1478 may have been merged.
  2. NAS, PA2/2, f.64r.
  3. NAS, PA2/2, f.64r.
  4. NAS, PA2/2, f.64r-v. Not dated to 1477 by Malcolm MS.
  5. NAS, PA2/2, f.64v.
  6. NAS, PA2/2, f.64v-65r.
  7. NAS, PA2/2, f.65r.
  8. The opening or passage left in a salmon cruive, by law, from Saturday to Monday morning, to allow free passage of the fish; the period during which this takes place (DSL).
  9. NAS, PA2/2, f.65r.
  10. NAS, PA2/2, f.65r.
  11. NAS, PA2/2, f.65r-v.
  12. NAS, PA2/2, f.65v.
  13. NAS, PA2/2, f.65v.
  14. NAS, PA2/2, f.65v-66r. Not dated to 1477 by Malcolm MS.