Index for Chapters XXI-XXIX

Previous page

Next page

Chapter XXII: The New Order

“The old order changeth, yielding place to new."

WITH many of our readers all interest in the subject of our story ceases with the dissolution of the Convent. There are, however, some more modern associations connected with the Church and Place of Paisley which are of an interesting character, and which are perhaps worthy of notice. To some of these we will now refer. Up to the death of the Archbishop no preachers of the new opinions “obtained a settlement in Paisley.” The doors were “steyked” against them ; and as we have seen, the Assembly of the Kirk vehemently denounced those who turned away the ministers “when they presented themselves to have preached the Word.” In the year after the Archbishop's death, 1572, Paisley continued hostile to Protestantism. Mass was still said there, and the Kirk called on all the neighbouring professors of religion to assist in putting down and finally stopping what they felt to be a great scandal and sin. [1] It was probably in consequence of the measures taken in pursuance of this order that the first Protestant minister obtained an entrance into the Church. His name was Patrick Adamson or Constant, and he afterwards rose, through his interest with Lord Morton, to eminence, as Archbishop of St. Andrews,—one of the tulchan prelates, as they were called derisively, who were appointed to the different Scottish Sees. [2] He was a man of great ability and eloquence; but does not appear to have been much appreciated in Paisley. He resided in Glasgow, not being able to obtain a lodging in his parish, and was sharply rebuked by the Assembly for not “waiting on his cure.” He seems to have been connected with Paisley for three years, during part of which time Lord Claud and his wife resided at the Abbey, and they were not likely to shew much kindness to the Protestant divine. On Mr. Adamson leaving Paisley, Mr. Andro Polwart was appointed minister. He also was unable to make any way among his parishioners. Like his predecessor, he was found fault with by the Assembly for not waiting on his cure, [3] and indeed he had but little inducement to do so. He was hindered in the discharge of his duties in every possible way, and his life was threatened if he remained. The Assembly itself seemed to give the place up in despair, and, on his supplication, they released the minister from his charge, after he had been there for two years, “that he might serve other where it pleases God to call him.” The stipends of Mr. Adamson and his successor were not very large. Each of them had £200 5s., Scots money, per annum. [4] They were assisted by a reader of the name of William Makfingoun, who received £20. As the term “Maister” [5] is prefixed to his name in the list of ministers, it is probable he was one of the old clergy who had conformed. Such were frequently employed as “readers” throughout the country, though they were not allowed to preach or administer the sacraments. It was the duty of the reader to conduct a service preliminary to that of the minister. “He took his place at the lectern, read the Common Prayers, and, in some churches, the Decalogue and the Creed. He then gave out large portions of the Psalter, the singing of which was concluded with the Gloria Patri, and next read chapters of Scripture from the Old and New Testaments, going through in order any book that was begun, as required by the First Book of Discipline. After an hour thus spent, the bell rang, and the minister entered the pulpit.” [6] We hope the “reader” met with a better reception than his superiors in the parish.

[1] Book of the Universal Kirk, p. 319.
[2] Melville's Diary, Ban. Club, p. 42, 1575.—“There was then resident in Glasgow Mr. Patrick Adamson alias Constant, minister of Paisley, a man of notable ingyne, letters, and eloquence. After he had craftilie insinuat himself in Mr. Andros' favour, and the Ministrie of Edinburgh, he began to step in forwart to the first degree of a Bishop, and leaving Paisley, past to Court, and became minister to the Regent.”
[3] Book of the Universal Kirk, Ban. Club, Vol. III., pp. 324, 342. 1577.—“Andro Polwart was decernit to be frie and at liberty fra the Kirk at Paisley that he may serve uther qubair it pleases God to call him, because of the contempt of discipline, thair manifest vices, minacing and boasting of doing his deutie, his labours cannot be profitable to them.” He became sub-Dean of Glasgow.
[4] Regist. of Ministers. Miscellany of the Wodrow Society, Vol. I., p. 382.
[5] M.A.
[6] Introduction to “Book of Common Order,” by Messrs. Leishman and Sprott, a book that should be read by all interested in the history of public worship in Scotland.