Tuesday, 22 February 2011

The Law of the Land!

Look what I found today - and yes it is still current and indeed in force!!!

Scottish Episcopalians Act 1711
1711 CHAPTER 10 10 Ann

 An Act to prevent the disturbing those of the Episcopal Communion in Scotland in the Exercise of their Religious Worship and in the Use of the Liturgy of the Church of England and for repealing the Act passed in the Parliament of Scotland intituled Act against irregular Baptisms and Marriages

Some interesting sections:

Persons of the Episcopal Communion in Scotland, empowered to meet for the Exercise of Divine Worship, and to be protected therein by Magistrates, &

It shall be free and lawful for all those of the Episcopal Communion in Scotland to meet and assemble for the Exercise of Divine Worship to be performed after their own Manner by Pastors ordained by a Protestant Bishop and who are not established Ministers of any Church or Parish and to use in their Congregations the Liturgy of the Church of England if they think fit without any Let Hindrance or Disturbance from any Person whatsoever And all Sheriffs of Shires and Magistrates of Boroughs and Justices of the Peace are hereby strictly required to give all Manner of Protection Aid and Assistance to such Episcopal Ministers and those of their own Communion in their Meetings and Assemblies for the Worship of God held in any Town or Place except Parish Churches within the Extent and Jurisdiction of Scotland

(Does this mean we should be using Common Worship?)

I've never done this in my ministry!:

Provided always That none shall presume to exercise the Function of a Pastor in the said Episcopal Meetings and Congregations except such as shall have received Holy Orders from the Hands of a Protestant Bishop and that every Person who shall be called or appointed to be a Pastor or Minister of any Episcopal Congregation or Assembly before he take upon him to officiate as Pastor of the said Congregation be hereby obliged and required to present his Letters of Orders to the Justices of Peace at their General or Quarter Sessions to be held for the Shire City Town or other Place in which the said Episcopal Congregation is or shall be and that the said Letters of Orders be there entred on Record by the Register or Clerk of the said Meeting of the Justices for which there shall be no greater Fee or Reward taken than the Sum of [F15p]

And just to confirm I am legal when at mass:

V Scotch Act, 1695, repealed. No Penalty incurred by resorting to Episcopal Meetings, &

And whereas since the Establishment of the Presbyterian Government in Scotland some Laws have been made by the Parliament in Scotland against the Episcopal Clergy of that Part of the United Kingdom and particularly an Act passed in the Parliament held in the Year One thousand six hundred ninety five intituled Act against irregular Baptisms and Marriages by which all Episcopal Ministers who were turned out of their Churches are prohibited to baptize any Children or to solemnize any Marriage upon Pain of perpetual Imprisonment or Banishment the said Act abovementioned be hereby repealed and annulled and that in all Time coming no Person or Persons shall incur any Disability Forfeiture or Penalty whatsoever upon account of his or their resorting to the said Episcopal Meetings held for the Worship of God and that it shall be free and lawful for all the Subjects in Scotland to assemble and meet together for Divine Service without any Disturbance and to settle their Congregations in what [X1Town] or Places they shall think fit to choose except Parish Churches and for the Episcopal Ministers not only to pray and preach in the Episcopal Congregations but to administer the Sacraments and marry without incurring any Pain or Penalty whatsoever Any Law or Statute to the contrary notwithstanding.

However, whilst we are legal others ain't!

IX Proviso against Papists, &

Provided likewise That neither this Act nor any Clause Article or Thing herein contained shall extend or be construed to extend to give any Ease Benefit or Advantage to any Papist or Popish Recusant whatsoever or to any Person that shall deny in his preaching or writing the Doctrine of the blessed Trinity.

(Tough luck for RC's and Unitarians!)

Do not however, gatecrash the Midnight Mass whilst sozzled or this might happen to you!

Disturbing Congregations so assembled. Sureties for Appearance at Sessions. Penalty £100.

And if any Person or Persons at any Time after the Twenty fifth Day of March next to come shall willingly and of Purpose maliciously or contemptuously come into any Congregation or Assembly of religious Worship permitted by this Act and disquiet or disturb the same or give any Disturbance to the said Congregation at the Doors or Windows or misuse any Minister or Pastor of such Congregation such Person or Persons upon Proof thereof before Two Justices of the Peace by Two or more sufficient Witnesses shall find Two Sureties to be bound by Recognizance in the penal Sum of Fifty Pounds Sterling for his or their Appearance at the next General or Quarter Sessions or before the Court of Justiciary or other Judge or Judges competent and in default of such Sureties shall be committed to Prison and upon Conviction of the said Offence at the said General or Quarter Sessions or before the said Court of Justiciary or other Judge or Judges competent shall forfeit the Sum of One hundred Pounds Sterling one Moiety thereof to the Informer the other to be disposed of for the Use of the Poor of the Parish where such Offence shall be committed

So glad I'm not a legalist!


  1. I've come across some very disturbing congregations in my life.

  2. Indeed! Some would benefit from lithium in the chalice!

  3. Peter Ranscombe2 March 2011 at 16:14

    They don't have to use "Common Worship" but they can do "if they think fit".

  4. Most of us us don't "think it fit" as we have a nice modern Scottish Liturgy!

  5. That was most excellent. I was wondering if you were considering being a legal scholar in the Church my friend? I loved it.