Act against clandestine and unlawful marriages

Our sovereign lord and the estates of this present parliament, considering how necessary it is that no marriage be celebrated but according to the laudable order and constitution of this kirk, and by such persons as are by the authority of this kirk warranted to celebrate the same and that, notwithstanding thereof, sundry, either out of disaffection to the religion presently professed within this kingdom, or being desirous to eschew the censures of this kirk, or to satisfy their promise of marriage formerly made to others, or to decline the concurrence and consent of their parents or others having interest, or out of some other unlawful pretext, do procure themselves to be married and are married either in a clandestine way, contrary to the established order of the kirk, or by Jesuits, priests, deposed or suspended ministers or any others not authorised by this kirk; therefore, his majesty, with advice of his said estates, statutes and ordains that whatsoever person or persons shall hereafter marry or procure themselves to be married in a clandestine and inorderly way, or by Jesuits, priests or any others not authorised by this kirk, that they shall be imprisoned for three months, and beside their said imprisonment shall pay: each nobleman £1,000 Scots; each baron and landed gentleman 1,000 merks; each gentleman and burgess £500 and each other person 100 merks, and that they shall remain in prison until such time as they make payment of these respective penalties above-mentioned, which are hereby ordained to be applied to pious uses within the several parishes where the said persons dwell, and that the celebrator of such marriages be banished from the kingdom never to return therein, under the pain of death; likewise his majesty, with advice foresaid, prohibits and discharges all men and women having both their ordinary residence within this kingdom to get married themselves with others within the kingdoms of England or Ireland without proclamation of banns here in Scotland, and against the order and constitution of this church or kingdom, under the pains following namely, for each nobleman so married £1,000; for each landed gentleman 1,000 merks, for each burgess £500, and for each other substantial person 500 merks, for a yeoman £100, for each person of inferior quality 100 merks, the one half of the which penalties shall belong to the king's majesty, the other to the parish or parishes where the married parties did reside, and ordains his majesty's advocate and the procurator of the kirk to pursue before the civil judge the parties contraveners of this act or either part thereof, for payment of the penalties respectively above-mentioned, and in case of the poor condition of any man married in manner foresaid, ordains him to be punished with stocks and irons, which pains corporal and pecuniary shall in no way be prejudicial to or derogate from the order and censures of the kirk to be inflicted against the delinquents.

  1. NAS. PA2/27, f.3-3v.