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Culross and Tulliallan
Chapter XIV. The Kirk-Session Records from 1676 to 1684.

IN the year 1657, when the second volume of the session minutes of Culross terminates, we left Presbytery still vigorous and dominant, though beginning to be rather hemmed in and circumscribed by the policy of Cromwell, who had no idea of allowing the civil power to be overshadowed or controlled by any one religious denomination or ecclesiastical authority. As might have been expected, this rendered his sway equally distasteful to Presbyterians and Episcopalians, and, along with other reasons, contributed largely, in less than two years after his death in 1658, to the restoration of Charles II. in 1660 — a consummation which had been mainly brought about by the English adherents of the latter party. In England the genius of the people has always attracted its sympathies to a liturgical service and an Episcopal hierarchy with a gradation of ranks in the Church. In Scotland, on the other hand, the disposition of the people has, in ecclesiastical matters, always led them to prefer a severely simple mode of worship and a democratic system of Church government. Law-abiding, submissive, and obedient even to excess in political and civil matters, the Scotch have always shown themselves most resolute in resisting any attempt to interfere with their spiritual independence. How far their dislike to Episcopacy might have been modified or overcome had they been quietly left to regulate their Church matters for themselves, is a question that cannot easily be determined. Certain it is that the proceedings of the governments of Charles and James II. in endeavouring to force a prelatical system upon them, and the cruelties and injustice with which these proceedings were carried out, made such a consummation perfectly impossible. The lapse of 200 years has not yet sufficed to extinguish the remembrance of the oppressions endured by the Presbyterians in the period between the Restoration and the Revolution, or eradicate the hatred of Episcopal government and ritual which these sufferings left planted in the Scottish mind.

It may well excite wonder how the Scotch, with so strong a predilection for Presbytery, and such a vigorous and successful struggle for its maintenance against the power of Charles I., should yet have acquiesced so unresistingly in the altered state of matters under his son. Part of this might be owing to the overwhelming power of England, who had contributed her influences so zealously for the restoration of monarchical government and Episcopacy. Part of it might be due to the existence of divided counsels among the Presbyterians themselves, who, as they always have done, and as most bodies religious or secular do, comprised two parties—one inclined to be moderate and accommodating, the other uncompromising and thorough in the objects which they sought to attain. And much also must be ascribed to the trimming and unworthy policy of a large portion of the nobility and gentry of Scotland, who, as had too often been the case in bygone times, went over to the English side and lent their aid to the enthralment of their country. Many were certainly faithful, and suffered accordingly, more or less; but the tide of fashion set the other way, and the generality, when not actually supporting, were tamely submissive to the despotic measures of the Scottish Privy Council, which usurped all the functions both of legislation and government.

Episcopacy was re-established in Scotland in 1662, but it was of a different kind from what has generally been supposed. In England, when the old Church government was reconstituted, there was simply a return to the old state of things as it had existed previous to the great Civil War, and all holders of benefices were required, before St Bartholomew’s Day, to declare their unfeigned assent to everything contained in the Book of Common Prayer. As is well known, nearly 2000 clergymen refused to do so, and were in consequence ejected from their livings. In Scotland the terms imposed were different. There the English Prayer-book had never found a footing, and though a Liturgy and Directory of Public Worship drawn up under the auspices of John Knox had been used for some time subsequent to the Reformation, they had never been made compulsory; and the disposition of the clergy and people tending in an opposite direction, the services of the Church had come generally to be conducted in the so-called extempore fashion—the form which has prevailed in Scotland down to the present day. The changes in the government of the Church from Presbytery to Episcopacy in the reigns of James VI. and Charles I., had introduced some changes in the mode of celebrating the sacraments which had been greatly objected to, and never entirely or generally carried into practice. And though government by bishops and archbishops had been introduced, the whole machinery of the Presbyterian system, with its ordinary services, Church courts, and discipline, was retained—the only difference being, that the bishop held a right of veto on all proceedings, and in the presbyteries and synods sat as a perpetual moderator. When Charles I. and Laud, in the superabundance of their zeal, endeavoured to introduce a service-book as well, the attempt was utterly discomfited from the first, and resulted, as we have seen, in the total abrogation of Episcopacy.

It has long been popularly supposed that when Prelacy was again triumphant at the Restoration, there was not merely that form of Church government re-established in Scotland, but the whole liturgical service of the Church of England, with the Prayer-book, instrumental music, and other appendages, introduced into every parish. Some expressions in the Waverley Novels have contributed to strengthen this idea, which, however, is a thoroughly erroneous one, and has been very satisfactorily dispelled by Dr M‘Crie in his review of the * Tales of My Landlord.’ The fact is, that with the exception, perhaps, of the King’s Chapel at Holyrood, where the English Prayer-book might be used with the accompaniment of a choir and organ, the services in the parish churches were absolutely identical with those of the present day. A Scottish Episcopal minister of the period in question, speaking of the mode of worship then prevalent, says that it only differs from the Presbyterian form in the recitation of the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer. And this assertion is confirmed by the following extract from the ‘Ecclesiastical Records of the Synod of Fife,’ edited for the Abbotsford Club :—

“St Andrews, April 25,1666.

“Moderators are to take notice of the vniformity of ministers in their practise of causing the Creed to be recited at baptismes, and of saying of the Doxologie, and of making use of the Lord’s Prayer in publik.”

Little difference was then perceptible in outward form between the services of the Church and the conventicle, excepting that in the former the minister had conformed to Episcopacy by acknowledging the authority of, and receiving collation to his benefice from, the bishop of the diocese; whilst the latter, rather than acknowledge the authority of the prelate and what he deemed an unscriptiiral form of Church government, had been ejected from his living, and turned out with his family on the world a proscribed and houseless wanderer. One cannot be surprised at the pertinacity with which the parishioners followed, in face of all dangers, the ministry of these men, when we consider both the high character which the latter bore, and the frequent utter worthlessness of those who were called in to fill their places. Bishop Burnet, an impartial witness, has given us a very striking description of the general low character of the curates, as they were called. Notwithstanding this name, however, their ministrations, after making the all-important deduction in point of piety and earnestness, were just those of the ordinary Presbyterian description.

In further connection with this subject, reference may be made to ‘A Short Account of Scotland,’ published in 1702, and written by the Rev. Thomas Moser, minister of St Ann’s Within, Aldersgate, when he was chaplain to a Scotch regiment. In the preface the author says that the book was made out of some few notes he had taken when in Scotland fourteen years previously. This would bring the date of the account to about 1688; and after making some allowance for Episcopal prejudices, it may be regarded as a tolerably correct picture of Scotland in the time of the last Stewart king. It shows that up to and after the commencement of the eighteenth century the Presbyterian and Episcopalian forms of worship were nearly identical. After speak-mg of the failure in Charles I.’s time to impose a liturgy, the author continues:—

"For which and some such reasons ’tis no mighty wonder the Scottish liturgy succeeded so ill; and I doubt whether the like attempt would not be dangerous at any time proposed, tho’ I know withal that not only the Episcopal clergy, but generally speaking the nobility and gentry, think veiy well of it, wish it established by law, and would be content to be made a province to England, that the English service might take place in that country. However, the Episcopal Church have hitherto used no liturgy at all, no more t.han the Presbyterians who now govern; yet they everywhere agreed in the way of worship and their whole service on the Lord’s Day, having no other holidays except fasts and feasts upon special occasion. For tho’ they had a calendar in the Directory above, where there are the names of divers saints, yet ’tis more for the use of their fairs, and to know the age of the moon, or when the sun enters the signs, than anything else depends on these particulars. First, the precentor, about half an hour before the preacher comes, reads two or three chapters to the congregation, of what part of Scripture he pleases, or as the minister gives him directions. As soon as the preacher gets into the pulpit, the precentor leaves reading, and sets a psalm, singing with the people till the minister by some sign orders him to give over. The psalm ended, the preacher begins confessing sins and begging pardon, exalting the holiness and majesty of God, and setting before Him our vileness, and propensity to transgress His commandments. Then he goes to sermon, delivered always by heart, and therefore sometimes spoiled with buttologies, little impertinences, and incoherence in their discourses. The sermon finished, he returns to prayer,—thanks God for that opportunity to deliver His Word, prays for all mankind, for all Christians, for that particular nation, for the Sovereign and Royal family without naming any, for subordinate magistrates, for sick people (especially such whose names the precentor hands up to him); then concludes with the Lord’s Prayer, to sanctifie what was said before. After this, another psalm is sung, named by the minister, and frequently suited to the subject of his sermon; which done, he gives the benediction, and dismisses the congregation for that time.

“This is the morning service, which, being repeated pretty early in the afternoon (because in the interim they eat nothing), makes up the Lord’s Day duty as to public worship, saving that they forget not the poor, who are numerous and unprovided for by law, and so put into the bason what they think fit, either at their going in or coming out, to be disposed of by the ministers and elders in such proportions as the necessities of the people require and the sum will allow ’em.

“This is the Church’s way in Scotland, and it seems to us Presbyterian; and therefore we the more admire that the two parties should so much disagree between themselves when they appear to the world so like brethren. Truly their difference is hardly discernible; for their singing of psalms, preaching, and collections are the same, —’tis the whole of their worship in both the congregations. They both do it after the same manner, saving that after the psalm the Episcopal minister uses the Doxology, which the other omits; and concludes his own prayer with that of the Lord’s, which the Presbyterian refuses to do. Then for the discipline, it is the very same. Both practise it the same way in their parish consistories. Both have their Presbyterian and classical meetings. Both their meetings are accountable to synods, with this difference, that in the one synod the bishop presides, but in the other sometimes there is a chancellor and sometimes a settled moderator in the chair. So that the distinction of Churchman and Presbyterian is barely nominal and impertinent in this country, and in the judgment of unprejudiced people a very little charity might unite them.

“Their farther agreement in christenings, marriages, burials, and the like, is obvious to eveiy foreigner, and are administered in the following manner.”

Mr Moser’s statement in reference to the last I have summarised as follows: The communion was administered only once or twice a-year, and the elements were distributed to the congregation sitting. Baptism was administered just as it is in Scottish Churches at the present day. Marriages seem generally to have been celebrated in church, but otherwise there was no difference. No religious service of any kind was performed at funerals: even a clergyman, it is said, was seldom seen there.

The above account of Scottish religious services towards the end of the seventeenth century is extremely interesting, as it applies both to the Episcopal and Presbyterian persuasions, and gives us a thorough idea of the general mode of worship in those days. It will be obvious, therefore, that neither at the Restoration nor the Revolution, when Presbytery was supplanted by Episcopacy, and vice versd, was there any change in the Church services that would have been visible to a superficial observer. A great difference would no doubt have been manifest in the fervour of the ministrations, and also in the religious character and moral tone of the parishioners. For the bulk of the people, in the Lowlands at least, held the tenet of the divine origin of Presbytery as strongly as the more important tenets of their faith, and considered the introduction of the authority of bishops as an unscriptural intrusion, which must nullify any benefits to be received from the ministrations of those who owned their jurisdiction. We may be the less surprised at the obstinate resistance of the Scottish nation to what may appear so small and imperceptible a change, when we remember the strong feeling excited on the occasion of the Disruption of the Scottish Church in 1843, and when, in the case of an entirely voluntary secession, and the absence of any change whatever either in government or ritual, a large portion of the Scottish nation, who had quitted the Church of their fathers, could for a long time hardly regard as Christians those who had remained within her pale.

To conclude this portion of my subject, it only remains to state that the Book of Common Prayer scarcely attained a footing among the Scottish Episcopalians till towards the end of Queen Anne’s reign. Its adoption seems to have been hastened by the Act of Toleration passed in 1712, which bestowed liberty of worship on all belonging to that denomination who used the Church of England service and took the oath of abjuration. Many, indeed, refused the last condition, and were subjected to penalties in consequence. And notwithstanding the gradual adoption of the English Prayer-book, which is now universally used in the Scottish Episcopal Church, its adherents in the northern parts, where alone it has enjoyed any large amount of popular support, continued, till far down in the eighteenth century, to practise the same simple Presbyterian-like ritual which had characterised their Church in the days when Scottish Episcopacy involved no further question than one of ecclesiastical polity.

The maxim of James VI. is well known—“No bishop, no king.” This was the main reason for the pertinacity with which the English Court sought to force Episcopacy on the Scottish nation, — the dread of the democratic tendency of Presbytery, and the expectation, through having the appointment of the bishops in the King’s hands, of restraining the Church, and thereby maintaining the uncontrolled authority of the Crown. Charles I., though fully imbued with the most exalted ideas of royal prerogative, had also in his disposition a good deal of the religious enthusiast; and it was his ambition to reduce his northern as well as southern dominions to a reception of High Church and Ritualistic Episcopacy. The struggle cost him his throne and life. His son, Charles II., had no zeal for religion of any kind; but he was thoroughly desirous of securing his own personal ease and comfort, and drawing from his subjects what supplies of money he pleased without being subjected to any unpleasant interference or questioning. In England his aspirations were held under some constitutional check; but in Scotland, where the limits of authority and submission had never been very clearly defined on either side, he and his Ministers were more daring and successful in their arbitrary procedure. The period between the Restoration and Revolution is about the darkest in Scottish history. A paralysis seems to have laid hold of the nation, and for twenty-eight long years its annals present us only with a dismal picture of misgovemment and oppression, varied by one or two abortive and unsuccessful attempts at resistance on the part of the Presbyterians.

The kirk-session records of Culross, as already stated, break off in 1657, and are not resumed till 1676. What was the cause of this hiatus does not very clearly appear; for Mr Fleming and Mr Ed-monston, who then filled respectively the first and second charges, continued to do so till some years after the Restoration. Possibly the session-clerk is to be credited with this negligence in the first instance. Great confusions certainly, indeed, did arise after the Restoration; and both ministers fell under the ban of the Archbishop of St Andrews, the notorious James Sharp. In the ‘Ecclesiastical Records of the Synod of Fife/ already quoted, we find, under date “St Andrews, 1 April 1668,” the following entry:—

“Deposition of Me Robert Edmistoun.

“The Lord Archbishop declaired that he had keepit a visitation at Dunfermling, and that he had, upon good grounds, deposed Mr Bobert Edmistoun, minister of Culros. As for Master Matthew Fleming, his colleige, the Archbishop delayit to proceed again him, seing ther wer some hopes of gaining him; and for that end Mrs Walter Bruce, William Peirson, John Shaw are appointed to tell him that he is noticed that he hes not joyned with his brethren of the Presbitiy.”

In connection with the above, we find in the list given in Wodrow’s ‘ History of the Sufferings of the Church of Scotland,’ of ministers ejected from their charges in 1663 for nonconformity, the names of Robert Edmonston and Matthew Fleming of Cul-ross. The latter has C. appended to his name, signifying that he was confined to his parish. My conclusion is, therefore, that Mr Edmonston having proved the firmer of the two, and declined to make any compromise, he was deposed by the Archbishop, as above recorded; while Mr Fleming was found more pliable. The latter seems also to have been ultimately deprived of his charge, but continued to reside in Culross till his death, some years previous to the Revolution. A strange charge is brought against him and Lady Blairhall, one of his parishioners, and is detailed in the burgh records. It is only fair to say that it seems to have' been wholly unfounded.

After Mr Edmonston’s deposition, the second . charge, of which he was incumbent, remained vacant till 1684, when Mr Alexander Young was appointed to the office. It would also appear that, for some time prior to 1676, both charges were vacant till the appointment of Mr Burnet to the first charge in that year. From the burgh records we gather that at this time the spiritual destitution of the parish was extreme; and, as we shortly see, this was also accompanied by a considerable moral declension. Though Culross and Tulliallan did not, perhaps, experience so keenly the miseries of the period as the western and southern counties of Scotland, they nevertheless had a sufficient share. Fortunately perhaps for them, they belonged to the diocese of Dunblane, of which the gentle and saintly. Leighton had been appointed bishop at the Restoration. He endeavoured, as far as he could, both to conciliate nonconformists and mitigate the severity of the measures taken against them. But his efforts in the latter direction were frowned on, both by Government and his brother rulers in the Church; and after passing from the bishopric of Dunblane to the archbishopric of Glasgow, he was at last fain to resign his charge and retire into private life. No traditions regarding him are preserved at Culross, unless it be one not very well authenticated, that in occasional visits there he lodged in a house in the Middle Causeway, opposite the Dundonald Arms. He was succeeded in the see of Dunblane by Bishop Ramsay, of whom we shall afterwards hear a good deal in connection with Culross.

Another distinguished person who, like Leighton, exerted himself to check the arbitrary proceedings of the time, and also, like him, only procured thereby disfavour for himself, was Alexander Bruce, second Earl of Kincardine. He had resided for some time in Holland before the Restoration, and had brought over from thence his wife, Lady Veronica Van Arsen, daughter of Baron Sommelsdyck, a Dutch nobleman. He had also there been intimate with, and assisted liberally in their difficulties, Charles II. and his brother, the Duke of York. Shortly alter returning to this country he succeeded, in 1662, his brother, Edward Bruce, in the earldom of Kincardine; and he also, about the same time, seems to have removed from the old family mansion in the Sand Haven of Culross to the stately palace of Culross Abbey, which had hitherto belonged to his kinsman, the Earl of Elgin. Our information regarding him is mainly derived from Bishop Burnet, who characterises him as “both the wisest and the worthiest man that belonged to his country, and fit for governing any affairs but his own, which he, by a wrong turn and by his love for the public, neglected to his ruin.”

At the Restoration, Lord Kincardine became a member of the Privy Council; and it is to be recorded to his credit that he was the only one who opposed the re-establishment of Episcopacy, though his action went no further than proposing that the opinion of the nation should first be taken on this subject. At a subsequent period the government of Scotland was placed in his hands and in those of the Earl of Tweeddale and Sir Robert Murray, and was conducted by them with considerable mildness and impartiality. But this did not meet the views of the arbitrary Court party, headed by the Duke of Lauderdale, who had little difficulty in getting Lord Kincardine and others dismissed from their posts as Councillors. His lordship retired in disgust into private life, and died shortly afterwards, in 1680. His worldly affairs, as indicated by Burnet, had Mien into such confusion, that his large estates were adjudged by his numerous creditors, and the greater portion of them finally purchased, in 1700, under a process of sale before the Court of Session, by the celebrated Colonel John Erskine, generally known as the “ Black Colonel.”

We are now, however, getting a little in advance of our Culross ecclesiastical annals. In 1665 we find the Earl of Kincardine, with others, made the subject of a complaint to the Court by Archbishop Sharp for having countenanced by their presence a Communion occasion at Tulliallan, at which Mr John Forrest, the minister, officiated, with the assistance of several ejected ministers. Mr Forrest himself was deposed, and Lord Kincardine had to write a letter of apology to the King. It is easy to see that with such proclivities he would be regarded with extreme suspicion.

Lord Kincardine seems to have taken a great interest in the welfare of the Church, and to have attended regularly the meetings of kirk-session. On the resumption in 1676 of a record of the session minutes, which we now proceed to consider, his name is prominently set forth. Very probably it had been owing to his bestirring himself in the matter that a regular minute-book began again to be kept, and a serious exertion made to remedy the disorders which had for a long time prevailed. Here is the first entry in the volume:—

“Att the Paroche Church of Culrois, the twenty-sixt day of March 1676.

“The whilk day their did conveene within the session hous of the said church ane noble and potent Earle, Alexander, Earle of Kincardin, Johne Sands, ane of the lait baillies of Culrois, and Patrick Sands in Yaleyfield, lait elderis of the said church-seasion of Culrois, with Maister Johne Birnet, minister thairof; and considering the manifold disorderis that hes bene in this church through want of discipline thir many yearis bygone, they thairfor thought it most fitt to ad some new persons within the toun and landwart paroche of Culrois, who, together with thameeelves, might concur and assist the minister in exercing of Christian discipline within the said church in tyme coming, and in taking notice of the people within the samyne; and for that effect, having nominat and choysen Bobert Newall thair present dork, did unanimouslie elect, nominat, and choose thir persones following to be elders in the said church— they are to say,

And the foirsaidis elderis, conveaned as said is, did, with consent of the said number, recommend the premiss to the presbitrie their approbatione as to the forme and maner therof.

“This is seene and approven by the presbitrie of Dum-fermling, March 29, 1676, and subscryvit befor. Sic sub.? scribitur. M. Shaw, Pres. See.”

The next entry is important as giving an account of the session registers as they then existed:—

“The teventh day of May 1676.

“The samyne day William Blaw ther reported that he had receaved from Gavin Weir, lait reader and precentor within the said church, two registers containing the actis and references of the sessions of Culrois—one therof from the elleventh of January 1629 to the eight of September 1646, the other register being from the twentie of October 1646 to the first of December 1657. As also the said William Blaw declared that he had receaved some other registers of baptisme and marriage, with some papers and bonds, conforme to ane inventar under Gavin Weir’s owne hand, whilk inventar is ordained to be kept in retentis.”

The reader will perceive that the above account corresponds strictly with the materials composing the kirk-session records up to this date, and which I have just been reviewing. Between 1657 and 1676 it is evident that no minutes of the session proceedings had been kept; and latterly, from there being a vacancy in both charges of the Abbey Church, no meetings of session had been held at all, and a period of disorder and confusion had ensued. Endeavour was now made to remedy this state of things—mainly, I have no doubt, through the influence of the Earl of Kincardine; but, as both the burgh and kirk records show, in the then condition of the country it was hopeless to expect any material improvement.

Here is something like a return to old Presbyterian discipline:—

“16th July 1676.

“The said day the Bearchers declared that they found Christian Makforlane cutting caill in tyme of divyne service, who was therfor ordained to be cited in befor the sessione against the next sessione day.”

Christian fails to appear, and is cited three times to do so without effect. How the case was settled we are not informed.

The condition of Culross is reported to the presbytery, and then to the synod and bishop. The Bishop of Dunblane, to whose superintendence Culross belonged, was now James Bamsay, who had succeeded Leighton in that office a few years before. He had originally been minister of Kirkintilloch, and had been translated from thence to Linlithgow, of which he was minister when the notorious ceremony was performed of burning the Solemn League and Covenant—an act in which Linlithgow stood alone among Scottish burghs. From Linlithgow, Ramsay passed in 1670 to be parson of Hamilton and Dean of Glasgow, and in 1673 he was made Bishop of Dunblane. He is said to have advocated both political and ecclesiastical reform, and was the friend both of Burnet and Leighton, the latter of whom he aided strenuously in a vain endeavour to effect a union between the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians. By the active part which he took in drawing up the Glasgow remonstrance against the Act of Supremacy, and by advocating the calling of a national synod, he incurred the displeasure of the Court party. It is more difficult to understand the disapprobation of the latter of Ramsay’s proposal of the compilation of a liturgy; but, as we have seen, the introduction of any manual of that sort formed no part of the schemes of those who then governed the affairs of the Church. Indeed, with regard to some of them, such as Archbishop Sharp and the Duke of Lauderdale, there seems little doubt that, notwithstanding all their political servility and tyrannical measures, their own predilections as regards the services of the Church were for the Presbyterian form of worship. Be this as it may, a Royal letter was procured through the influence of Sharp, ordering the translation of the Bishop of Dunblane to the see of the Isles. Ramsay proceeded to London to obtain a reversal of this sentence; and Sharp having also repaired thither, a fierce altercation ensued between the two dignitaries. Ramsay's representations seem, however, so far to have prevailed, that in 1676 he was reponed in his bishopric of Dunblane. At this point we proceed again with our extracts:—

“17 September 1676.

“The session thinks fitt some thing be done for removing the scandalla which fell out the preceding years when there was no session; and referrea therfor to the presbytrie for advice.”

“1 October 1676.

"Anent the old scandalls, the minister declares that he had craved advice of the presbytrie, bot they declined to meddle with it, the case being extraordinarie; therfor referred it to the synod for advice.”

The following brief minute points to a state of matters that continued to within the memory of many persons still living, and was only terminated by Lord Exmouth’s bombardment of Algiers in 1816. The suzerainty of all these Barbary States belonged still in the seventeenth century to the Sublime Porte:—

“10 March 1678.

“Collection for the prisoners with the Tarcks to be intimate the next day.”

The next entry is a peculiar one, and records the appointment of James Ramsay, Bishop of Dunblane, to the incumbency of Culross—a living within his own diocese. Mr Burnet had been translated to the parish of Monymusk:—

“14 September 1679.

“Whilk day the session was convened be the Right Reverend James, Bishop of Dumblane, who declared to the said session that he had a presentation from the Earl of Kincardine to the minister’s place vacant. The heritors present and members of session do veiy gratefully acknowledge the Earl’s kindness to them in presenting the said James, Bishop of Dumblane, to be their minister.”

Here come two interesting entries, which are readily explained by a reference to Mr Moser’s account, previously quoted, of the Episcopalian and Presbyterian services as conducted in his day in Scotland. We there learn that marriages were generally celebrated in church; and in such a case it was desirable that they should take place on the occasion of the week-day sermon, both with a view to the convenience of the minister and the edification of the marriage - party. The practice of having a “ sermon day ” every week, in addition to the regular services on Sunday, had originated in the palmy days of Presbytery, and, as we learn from the burgh records, was maintained after the Restoration. It has now Mien almost wholly into desuetude, but was kept up to a recent period in Glasgow, and became famous there in connection with Dr Chalmers’s celebrated Astronomical Discourses, which were delivered on a week-day in the Tron Church.

The second entry quoted below refers to the singing of the Doxology or Gloria Patri at the close of the psalm—a practice which, as Mr Moser informs us, was a distinguishing peculiarity of the Episcopalian service:—

“11 December.

“It is thought fitt that those who have minde to marrie upon sermon-day, be oblidged to be present at sermon; wherfor the session ordains that the bridegroom shall pay 12 lb. Scots ad pios usus when he is after the third belL”

“The doxologie is moved to be sung, which was never in use since the reatauration of the Government; which was accordingly done the following Sabbath.”

“2 May 1680.

“Those who stay in the kirkyeard in tym of reading, to be delated be the collectours.”

“4 June 1680.

“Those who have not brought in their offering for the bell are to be advertized to bring it in upon Sabbath, or, at farthest, to B. Halliday upon Thursday.”

“John Moutray to apeak with the deacon of the cordinars anent the removall of the black stoole.”

“8 July 1680.

“Mr Robert Colvill hes mortified to the kirk, for the minister’s use, ane cellar.”

“29 December 1680.

“Tennants of Blair and Bordie, delated for carying fish from the cruives to Dunfermline upon Sabbath last, to be cited.”

“10 May 1681.

“Intimation the next Sabbath to be given from the pulpit that none keep their doors shut when the searchers offer to come to see who is at home in tym of divine service/’

“15 November 1681.

“The heritors are desired to meet upon Saturday at 10 o’clock about the ordering of the windows, and considering how soon the little bell may conveniently be hung.”

The following entries are interesting as showing that, till near the close of the seventeenth century at all events, the kirk-session of Culross claimed a right of property in the chapel and burying-ground attached, founded by Archbishop Blackadder of Glasgow in honour of St Mungo at the east end of Culross, and generally known as St Mungo’s Kirk and St Mungo’s Kirkyard. They are described in a separate chapter; and in the account of the girdle-smiths some notice will be found of Mrs Margaret Anderson or Sands, who comes into collision on this occasion with the kirk-session, as she also did at another time in reference to her own craft of girdle-making with the Culross magistrates:—

“24 April 1682.

“It is recommended upon the D. of Gild to look umquhile. Robert Sands 'writs of his house that’s near St Mungo’s kirkyeard, that they encroach not upon it.”

“31 Ap. [rie].

"George Wilson, Dean of Gild, reports that Bobert Sands marches to the kirkyeard on the east, and is of opinion that ther is not so much wast ground betwixt the house and the kirk as is disponed to him.

"George Wilson is to try yet more fully.”

“21 May.

“George Wilson reports that Margt. Andersone, relict of umquhile Bobert Sands, hes 6 rud of ground from her house to the kirkyeard, and John Sands offered in her name 50 m, or the annual rent of it yearly.

“George Wilson, Bob. Hunter, Wm. Blaw, Bob. Bill are to agrie with Margt. Anderson for that peice of ground betwixt her house and St Mongo’s Kirk.”

“28 June.

“These appointed to agrie with Margt. Anderson, report that she will not stand to her first offer; the D. of Gild is to cause stop the bigging.

“11 July.

“Grange desires ther may be a collection for building a bridge abov the water that runs betwene Shyrsmilne and Grange. This to be spoken of when the sess. is more frequent.” .

“27 Augut

“Margt. Anderson’s business to be spoken to the clerk, that securities may be drawn.”

As nothing further is recorded about Margaret Anderson’s case, it .may be concluded that her dispute with the kirk-session regarding the piece of ground adjacent to St Mungo’s Kirk was amicably adjusted.

"17 Septr. 1688.

“Three basins sent for from Edinburgh—one for baptisms, the other two for bearing the bread elements at the Communion.”

“26 Setptr. 1688.

“Some one to be thought upon against the next day who may serve as officer, to whom the care of the bells and dock may be committed.”

“10th Oct. 1688.

“Collection for Grange Bridge to be intimat. Letters to be sent to the neighbouring parishes for help to repair Grange Bridge.”

“17 Octr. 1682.

“The hospitall men are to be advertized to wait better upon the publick ordinances.

“Given two dollars for to buy a suit of clothes, shoes, and stockings to Robert Marret, who is going to a trade.

“Sarah Gibson is to get as much from the treasurer as will buy shoes.”

“8 Julie 1688.

“The which day it was thought fitt by the members of the session that the Communion tables be sett in the body of the Church.”

Formerly they had been in the so-called “quier” or chancel.

“15 Julie 1683.

“The which day it was intimat that the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was to be celebrat the next Lord’s Day, and the people were exhorted to be present on Saturday next at th& preparation sermon.

“The which day the elders were desyred to be present at the distribution of the tokens the ensuing week, to give notice if there be any under scandall who are to communicat.”

"21 Julie 1683.

“The which day the elders were placed for ordering the elements at the tables.”

This seems to have been the only time between at least 1676 and 1684 that the Communion was celebrated in Culross.

The following entry is about the only one in the present volume where any reference is made to public affairs. A general thanksgiving had just been ordered throughout the kingdom for the King's escape from the Ryehouse Plot:—

"2 Septr. 1683.

“The people were exhorted all of them the next Lord’s Day to conveine, to testifie their thankfulnes to God for the great delyverance or King hath mett wt all a late from the conspiracie laid against him; and publict edict having been read from pulpit for that effect.”

The whole of the records in this volume (1676-84), which was compiled under the reign of Episcopacy, are meagre in the extreme. In the two previous volumes the session proceedings are chronicled with great minuteness, and exhibit a state of zeal and energy in the Church of Scotland which seem to have been lamentably deficient under the sway of Prelacy. Little more is detailed than a formal record of the meetings of session, and of the sums of money collected and disbursed. Whatever may be said of the rigour and oppression of Presbyterial surveillance, it is quite refreshing to turn to the more active state of things as evidenced by the parochial records after the Revolution.


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