‹‹‹ prev (30) Page xxvPage xxv

(32) next ››› Page xxviiPage xxvii

(31) Page xxvi -
suspicius’, was convicted by the presbytery of‘selling of the sacra-
mentis and utheris benefeittis of the kirk’ and so was suspended from
the ministry in 1583.1 In another instance, a minister who had
permitted bridals, banquets and the playing of pipes during a period
of general fast was fined by the presbytery and ordered to make
public repentance in his own parish church; and aware of the ‘ grit
abuse and superstitioun usit be sindrie personis that cumis to parroche
kirkis to be mareit in causing pyperis and fidlayeris play befoir thame
to the kirk and fra the kirk, to the grit dishonour of God’, the
presbytery proceeded to prohibit all such ceremonies and to insist
that couples ‘ cum to the kirk reverentlie as becumis thame without
ony playing’.2 More mysterious was the presbytery’s investigation
into whether Alexander Mure, a minister who had officiated at the
laird of Tulliallan’s marriage, was ‘ musellit or ony wayis disgysit the
tyme he mareit him’. The laird maintained that the ‘ minister was na
manir of way disgysit on his faice nor utherwayis the tyme of the
said manage bot was honestlie claid in blak as becumis ane minister’.
Yet the presbytery still sought the depositions of witnesses who
testified that the marriage had taken place on St Lawrence’s day 1581
‘ be ane honest lyk man cled lyk ane minister, with ane taffety hatt,
quhais name thai knew nocht, undisguysit on faice or utherwayis’,
with which the presbytery declared itself satisfied.3
In an effort to regulate and standardize disciplinary procedures in
the parishes, the presbytery had undertaken to inspect the ‘books of
discipline’ or registers of disciplinary cases kept by ministers and
kirk sessions; and by 1583 it was ‘statute and ordeinit’ that these
records should include a list of all marriages, baptisms and alms
collected and distributed to the poor, and that inspections of the
books should take place twice-yearly.4 In a similar manner, the
exercise for interpreting scripture, which formed an initial part of
presbytery meetings and which might take place in public before an
assembled congregation or in private behind the closed doors of the
session house, had an important role to play not only in examining
prospective ministers and in increasing educational standards among
ministers, but also in maintaining a uniformity in doctrine.
At each weekly meeting of the exercise, one minister was ex-
1 See below, 134, 142 * See below, 190-2
* See below, 196-7,199 4 See below, 7<5-77. 88, 102, 106, 224, 253

Images and transcriptions on this page, including medium image downloads, may be used under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence unless otherwise stated. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence