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of Kincavil from attempting to rescue his brother by force. Foiled in this he appears to have openly shown his resentment and his desire for revenge, in his wrath probably adopting the propositions attributed to his theological brother and condemned as heretical.
In the result he and his sister were with other alleged heretics cited to appear at Holyrood, in the summer of 1534, before the Bishop of Ross, as Commissioner for the Archbishop of St. Andrews, who, besides being primate, was also the ordinary of the diocese. The story is first told by Foxe,1 from whom Calderwood and other writers seem to have copied it.
Within a year after the martyrdom of Henry Forest or thereabout was called James Hamelton of Linlithgow, his sister Katharine Hamelton the spouse of the Captain of Dunbar also another honest woman of Leith: David Straton of the house of Lawristone and Master Norman Gurley. These were called to the Abbey Church of Holyrood House in Edinburgh by James Hay bishop of Ross Commissioner to James Beton Archbishop in presence of King James the Fifth of that name, who upon the day of their accusation was altogether clad in red apparel. James Hamelton was accused as one that maintained the opinion of Master Patrick his brother, to whom the King gave counsel to depart and not to appear for in case he appeared he could not help him, because the bishops had persuaded the King that the cause of heresy did in no wise appertain unto him. And so Hamelton fled and was condemned as an heretic and all his goods and lands confiscated and disposed unto others.
Katharine Hamelton his sister appeared upon the scaffold and being accused of a horrible heresy to wit that her own works could not save her, she granted the same: and after a long reasoning between her and Master John Spens the lawyer she concluded in this manner Work here work there; what kind of working is all this? I know perfectly that no kind of works can save me but only the works of Christ my Lord and Saviour.' The King hearing these words turned him about and laughed and called her unto him and caused her to recant because she was his aunt, and she escaped.
The forfeited estates of Sir James Hamilton were at once granted to a variety of persons, as appears from the Great Seal Register of the time. In particular, Sir James Hamilton of Finnart, then high in favour with the King, on December 10, 1535, obtained a charter of the lands of Kincavil and the office of Sheriff of Linlithgow, then in the King's hands, ‘ob Jacobi Hammyltoun olim de Kincavil existentiam convicti et fugitivi a legibus pro heresi.'
1 Book of Martyrs, Edn. 1846, vol. iv. p. 579; see also Letters and Papers Foreign and Domestic, passim, for references to Hamilton.
But in spite of the bishops the King was still minded to save his kinsman. In a letter to the Pope, dated 29th March, 1537," he asks direct for the offender's pardon. Though printed by Father Theiner, this letter, because of the light it throws on the situation, may appropriately be given here at length. It is as follows:
Beatissime Pater. Ad sanctos pedes officiosam salutem. Hic Iacobus Hammiltonn ex nobili domo originem trahens, et alias nobis familiaris, iuvenili quadam facilitate et rerum imperitia a priscis patrum institutis antea descivit, vocatusque in iudicium non gravate abiuravit omnem heresim et cum detestatione execratus est, sese ut orthodoxum decet vivere velle professus. Postea paucis interpositis annis rursum in iudicium vocatus ob quasdam suspiciones metu periculi e nostro regno discessit. Quare iudicum conspectum fugisse, tandem per contumaciam, ut suspectus iudicatus est, in opiniones abiuratas relapsus. Quoniam autem ipse nobis non vulgare exhibet penitudinis specimen, eo libentius adducimur ut Sanctitatem tuam supplices rogemus, quatenus is, qui insano cuique patet Christi exuperantis clemenciae amplexus per tuam Beatitudinem obvius sit ea tamen lege rogamus, si certe pre se ferre respiciencie constantieque specimen visus fuerit, quod nobis profecto multis magnisque de causis pre se ferre videtur: in summa oramus hanc nostram petitionem frustra non haberi; etiamsi quedam nostre littere antea forte ad tuam Beatitudinem misse viderentur aliquid durius de homine sentire. Reliquum est ut diu felixque Christi ecclesie regimen vivas precemur. Ex Rothomago XXIX Martii anno domini millesimo quingentesimo trigesimo septimo.
The royal appeal seems to have been successful, and Sir James, now purged of heresy, was able to return to Scotland. But the sentence against him was not quashed and it appears from subsequent proceedings in Parliament that the Bull which he obtained was without prejudice to the rights of the Crown or other parties in his forfeited estates.2
Back in Scotland, he before long found, or made, an opportunity of settling accounts with Sir James of Finnart, whom, in 1540, he delated to the King in respect of an alleged plot some twelve years old. The royal consent to his arrest having been obtained, Sir James of Finnart was tried, condemned, and executed with a celerity that must have reminded him of the fate of the Abbot of Fearn.
It would not have been surprising if, during the troublous 1 Vetera Monumenta, p. 607. 2 Acts, ii. 469.
times that followed, Sir James Hamilton of Kincavil had found some short-hand method of reacquiring his forfeited estates and ignored mere legal formalities. To some extent he appears to have done so. Moreover, when the papal jurisdiction was swept away in 1560, it might also have been expected that the old sentence would have been civilly ignored-and, if remembered at all, been regarded as a mark of distinction. But the Scots have always attached importance to the due observance of legal forms, and accordingly Sir James took steps to have it properly reduced. The method which he adopted is interesting. He 'purchased edicts' from the superintendent of Lothian, for trying an action of reduction before the General Assembly, calling as respondents certain persons who appear to have been in possession of his forfeited estates. That action was duly entertained by that Reverend Court, and what happened is told in the extract already referred to, and which is as follows:
At Perth the xxvi day of Junii the zeir of God ane thousand five hundre threscore thre zeris anent ye edictis purchassit and rasit upon ye complaint of James Hammiltoun of Kyncavill Shereff of Linly'qw fra maister Johnn Spottiswod superintendent of Lotheane the said James reproducit ye saidis edictis in ye public assembley grantit to him be ye said superintendent under his signett and subscriptioun manuall datitt at Edinburt ye ellevint day of Junii instant execute and indorsate be Johnn Knox minster of Edinbur Patrik Kinloquhy minster of Linly'qw Johnn Duncansoun and Alexander Oswald minster of Streviling and [
respective, ye threttene day of ye same mone' aganis Patrik Crummye in Carribbin James Gib of Carribder Johnn Čokburn of Clarkingtoun Elizabet Danielstoun his spouse Robert Danielstoun sone and apperand aire to umq" James Danielstoun his tutouris and curatouris gif he any James Witherspoun provest of Linly'qw, William Hammiltoun of Hombye and all uthers havand or pretendand to have any interes to ye actioun and caus eftir following that they and every ane of thame suld compeir before ye generall assembley of ye Kirk of this realme ye xxvi day of this mone w continuatioun of dayes to heire and see ye articlis quhairof James umq" bischope of Ros commissionare to James umq" Archebischope of Sanctandrois w' certane utheres his collegis condempnit ye said James Hammiltoun as ane heritik, to be decernit godlie and catholick and naway repugnant to ye scriptures of God and ye said pretendit sentence wrangouslie led and gevin aganis him in penam contumacie to be cassit annullit and decernit wrangouslie gevin and proceditt from ye begynnyng wall yat followit yairupoun and thairfor ye said James (be yair pretendit sentence and decreit infamit) to be reponitt agane in integrum to his fame hono and dignitie lik as he wes before ye geving and pronuncing yairof for the causis foirsaidis and uthers to be proponit lik as at mair lenth wes contenit in ye saidis edictis in lik maner ye said James producitt ye foirsaid sentence
gevin be ye said commissionare of ye daitt at Halyruidhous ye xxvi day of
register to hir hienes w uthers diverss Extractit out of ye register of ye Acts of ye said Assembley be me Johnn Gray notare public and scribe to yis generall conventioun testifeing ye same be my signett and subscriptioun manuall
JN. GRAY. (Subscripsi)
Although this extract speaks for itself, one or two points may be noted. First, the extremely detailed and formal procedure is interesting. Next, it is plain that at that time there was not thought to be any break in the continuity of the Church. The papal jurisdiction had no doubt been abolished by statute, but its previous acts remained unaffected. The old sentence thus stood. But the General Assembly, being now the supreme court of the Church, could reduce it on cause shown. The use of the word Catholic is also to be noted. Further, it is not the Court of Session but the Assembly that is asked to reduce this judicial sentence, now thirty-nine years old-and that although the reduction was obviously intended to have civil consequences.
There is thus, it will be noted, a remarkable distinction between the present case and that of Sir John Borthwick in 1561. Here the inherent jurisdiction of the General Assembly was assumed and acted on by all concerned. There the sentence was reviewed by Mr. Ihon Wynram superintendent of Fyff, minister eldaris and diaconis of Cristis Kyrk within the reformed citie of Sanctandrois,' under a remit from the Lords of Secret Council, and quashed after consultation with certain theologians. [St. Andrews Kirk Session Register, Scottish Hist. Society, pp. 88 et seq.]
J. R. N. MACPHAIL.