Origins & History

Heritage & Museum

Clan Court & Household

University Press


Golfing Delights


Court Records

Picture Gallery

Manor of Milton Malsor
East Lodge Prestonpans
Laird of Glencairn

Shop Online

News & Email

Site News

Prestonpans and Vicinity

Cover Contents 1 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26
28 30 32 33 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50 52 54 56 58 60 62 64
66 68 70 72 74 76 78 80 81 82 84 86 88 90 92 94 96 98 100 102
104 106 108 110 112 114 116 118 120 122 124 126 128 130 132 134 136 138 140 142
144 146 148 150 152 154 156 158 160 162 164 166 168 170 172 174 176 177 178 180
182 184 186 188 190 192 194 196 198 200 201 202 204 206 208 209 210 212 214 216
218 220 222 224 226 228 229 230 232 234 236 238 240 242 244 246 248 249 250 252
254 256 257 258 259 260 261                          

" We heartilie thank the Heavinlie Father for all thi goodnes this day past beseeking the to forgiving us our sinnes for Christ Jesus thi sonnes saik and to blis us and give us good rest this nicht. Continew the trew preaching of thi Word among us and give us grace to esteme mair of it than hitherto we have done and save us from merciles strangers. And tak not thi peace from this land. Send sesonable wether and stay this greit dearth. Lord blis the Kirk, our King, Quene, and Prince for Jesus Christ thi sonnes saik. To quhome with the, O Father and Haly Gaist, be all praise, gloire, and honour, for ever and ever.—Amen."
Several other prayers, etc., of Davidson's composition may be found in his Life and Works, first published in 1602. His "Poetical Remains" were in 1829 collected and printed by Mr James Maidment, Edinburgh. And in 1876 "A Memoir," together with many works of Davidson, were brought out by the Grampian Club by Dr Charles Rogers.
During 1596, some time after his appointment to Prestonpans, Davidson, along with five others, was appointed by the General Assembly a visitor to Nithsdale, Annandale, Lauder-dale, Eskdale, and Ewesdale. And shortly afterwards we find him in the Presbytery of Haddington, not only lamenting the various corruptions in the Church, but trying to find a remedy for them.
Referring to measures connected with the foregoing corruptions, etc., " It originated," says Melville, " with that pious and honest minister of the gospel, John Davidson. His proposal was approved of by the Presbytery of Haddington. It was thence transmitted as an overture to, and unanimously approved of by, the General Assembly.
During the Autumn of 1595, Philip II. of Spain, it became known, had begun to prepare a second Armada. His descent on this occasion was to be on the Irish Coast. The English Government prepared for resistance and the Scottish Privy Council promised co-operation. This required the levying of a tax which could only be carried out with the approval of the Church. On the 24th March 1596 the General Assembly was convened, and the Moderator entreated the brethren to sanction the civil arrangement for defending the kingdom. On this Davidson submitted an overture from the Presbytery of Haddington contending that deep humiliation on account of sin was the first and best preparation against national disaster. A
resolution embodying this view was passed by acclamation, and Mr Davidson was empowered to " give up the particular catalogue of the chief offences and corruptions in the estates." The enumeration of evils to be reformed came under the following heads: —
"Corruptions in the persons and lives of ministers of the gospel."
" Offences in His Majesty's house."
"The common corruptions of all estates."
"And offences in the Courts of Justice."
The King, under the impression that the resolution had a special reference to himself, next day entered the Assembly, and proceeding to entreat the House to sanction the proposed tax, he was firmly informed that " the purging of offences " had, in the first place, been resolved upon; and with the approval of the House Mr Davidson insisted that the estates of the exiled Popish lords—Huntly, Errol, and Angus—still held by their families, should be confiscated and the proceeds applied to national use.
To this demand the King gave an evasive answer, but expressed himself willing to undergo ecclesiastical discipline, if the censure was privately administered and not in the church.
He was held at his word, and a few days afterwards was informed by a deputation from the Assembly that he was "blotted with banning and swearing; and that the Queen was guilty of forsaking ordinances."
The purgation of the ministry was entrusted to Mr Davidson. On Tuesday, 30th March 1596, the members of Assembly and other brethren having met in the " Little High Church," Mr Davidson discoursed on the evils of an ungodly ministry, and urged his hearers to repentance and self-abasement. For fifteen minutes he sat down and remained silent, when many of his hearers became deeply moved and sobbed audibly. After another impassioned address, he called on each one to stand up, and with extended hand to pledge himself to a more earnest ministry. "There have," says Calderwood, "been manie dayes of humiliation for present judgement in imminent dangers, but the like for sinne and defectiqun was thus never seen since the Reformation."
On the 17th January 1599 Mr Davidson was admitted by the King to an interview at Holyrood. With his wonted vehemence he urged the monarch to confer familiarly with the clergy, and demanded that the right of publicly rebuking obnoxious persons might be restored to them. The King,
Back to top