Did you know Scotland had its own Test Act?

I was browsing the Dumfries Kirk Session Minutes indexed online at http://www.dgcommunity.net/historicalindexes/default.aspx recently and came across several merchants in August 1689 who were being appointed as deacon and elders either regretting that they had taken “the Test” or saying that they had not taken “the Test”.
Now maybe there’s a massive gap in my knowledge, but I’d always thought that the Test Acts only applied in England and Wales so I’ve been doing some digging.  (By the way the 1911Encyclopedia at http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Test_Acts is better than Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Test_Act for this.)

After the Restoration, in 1662  Charles II re-introduced Episcopalianism to Scotland under the “Act for the restitution and reestablishment of the ancient government of the church by archbishops and bishops” (http://www.rps.ac.uk/trans/1662/5/9).  The Test Act in England and Wales was passed in 1672.  There doesn’t seem to have been a similar Act in Scotland until 1681 when the “Act Anent Religion and the Test” was passed (http://www.rps.ac.uk/trans/1681/7/29)

The Dumfries Kirk Session indexes only start in 1689 so I don’t know if this Test Act was causing a problem before then.  William and Mary accepted the Scottish Crown on 11 May 1689, just before these Dumfries merchants were being ordained as elders and deacons.  However given that the act applied to “all magistrates, deans of guild, councillors and clerks of burghs royal and regality, all deacons of trades and deacon-conveners in the said burghs” the merchants could have been in an embarrasing position.
The Scottish Test Act was repealed in June 1690 by the “Act ratifying the Confession of Faith and settling presbyterian church government” (http://www.rps.ac.uk/trans/1690/4/45)
The National Archives of Scotland appear to have various listings in their online catalogue at http://www.nas.gov.uk/onlineCatalogue/ :
  • Aberdeen Test – subscribed by the barons PA7/25/2
  • Caithness Test  - signed by the barons and freeholders PA7/25/8
  • Clackmannan Test – signed by the barons and freeholders PA7/25/9
  • Dumfries (Stewartry of Annandale)  - Test subscribed by the freeholders PA7/25/11
  • Dunbarton  - Test subscribed by freeholders PA7/25/12
  • Edinburgh – Test subscribed by the barons and freeholders PA7/25/13
  • Fife – Test subscribed by the barons and freeholders PA7/25/14
  • Forfar – Test subscribed by the barons PA7/25/15
  • Inverness – Test signed by the barons and freeholders PA7/25/17
  • Kincardine – Test subscribed by the barons and freeholders PA7/25/18
  • Kirkcudbright – Certificate by the clerk of the stewartry that the freeholders have taken the Test PA7/25/20
  • Lanark – Test subscribed by the electors PA7/25/21
  • Moray (Elgin and Forres) – Test subscribed by the barons etc PA7/25/23
  • Nairn – Test subscribed by the electors PA7/25/24
  • Peebles – Test subscribed by the freeholders PA7/25/26
  • Perth – Test subscribed by the small barons and freeholders PA7/25/27
  • Renfrew – Test subscribed by the freeholders and depute sheriff-clerk PA7/25/28
  • Ross – Extract Test subscribed by the barons, freeholders and feuars PA7/25/29
  • Roxburgh – Test subscribed by the freeholders PA7/25/30
  • Selkirk – Test subscribed by the freeholders PA7/25/31
  • Sutherland – Test subscribed by the heritors PA7/25/33
All of these tests appear to have been signed in 1685.
My brain hurts now!
Sheena
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2 Responses to Did you know Scotland had its own Test Act?

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Did you know Scotland had its own Test Act? « Sheena Tait – Scottish Genealogy Research -- Topsy.com

  2. Bill Barclay says:

    The Scottish Test Act was published in the London Gazette Sept 5 to Sept 8, 1681.

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