Scotland: Presbyterianism

Scope and Content

The volume contains various documents relating to Presbyterianism in Scotland:

  • Folios 2-12v, Roll of the Names of the Ministers of the Kirks in Scotland who refused to submit to prelacy, and continued stedfast in owning Presbyterian Government after the Re-establishment of Episcopacy 1661, 1662 ;
  • Folios 13-53v, An account of those who were Ministers, and Episcopall, or conformed to it and were legally possessed of Churches in Scotland, 1688, at the Revolution, and what became of them ;
  • Folios 54-80v, List of The Parish-Kirks in Scotland, with the names of Several Ministers in Sundry Kirks ;
  • Folios 81v-83v, An Account of the Provincial Synods and Presbyteries in Scotland and the Number of Ministerial Charges in each Synod and Presbyterie ;
  • Folios 1, 81 and 84-88 are blank.

Administrative / Biographical History

Presbyterianism is a form of Christian church organization based on administration by a hierarchy of courts. These courts are composed of both clerical and lay presbyters (elders), coming between episcopacy (government by bishops) and congregationalism (government by local congregation). Presbyterianism embodies the principles of Calvinism, seeking a return to the early church's practice of appointing elders, as described in the New Testament.

After the church in Scotland broke with Rome in 1560, led by John Knox, there was over a century of uncertainty and conflict over its form of governance: whether it would be episcopal or presbyterian. Charles I preferred the episcopal form, while the Scots insisted on Presbyterianism. Finally, when William and Mary assumed the English throne in 1689, the Presbyterian Church of Scotland was permanently established by constitutional act.

Access Information

The manuscript is available for consultation by any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

Purchased by the John Rylands Library from W.H. Lillie of Hazel Grove, Stockport, in February 1944.


Description compiled by Jo Humpleby, project archivist, with reference to

Other Finding Aids

Catalogued in the Hand-List of the Collection of English Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library, 1937-1951 (English MS 966).

Geographical Names