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KNOX’S LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT.
Knox’s last Will, written on the 13th of May 1572, is, of its kind, a remarkable document. It was Confirmed by the Commissaries of Edinburgh, 13th January 1572–3. As it is already printed in the Appendix to Dr. M’Crie’s “Life of Knox,” and in Pitcairn’s edition of Richard Bannatyne’s Memorials, it was thought unnecessary to give in detail that portion of it which contains the inventory of “debts owing to the deid.” His allusions to the state of public affairs, his disclaiming anything like a prophetical spirit (as he “never exceeded the bounds of God’s Scriptures”), and his earnest exhortations to constancy in the truth, are very characteristic and worthy of notice.
The Testament Testamentare and Inventare of the gudis, geir, sowmes of money, and dettes perteining to umquhile Johnne Knox, Minister of the Evangell of Christ Jesus, the tyme of his deceis; quha deceissit upoune the xxiiij day of November, the yeir of God JM vC lxxij yeiris, ffaithfullie maid and gevin up be him self upoune the xiij day of Maij, the yeir of God foirsaid; and presentlie, be Margaret Stewart, his relict; quhome, with Martha, Margaret, and Elizabeth Knoxis, his dochteris, he upoune the xiij day of Maij, in his Lattir Will underwrittin, nominate his Executoris Testamentaris: As the samin, of the dait foirsaid, beiris.
In the first, the said umquhile Johnne grantit him to haif had, the tyme foirsaid, tua sylver drinking cowpis, markit with J. K. M. one the ane syde, and on the uthir syde with E. B. N., contening xxv unces, or thairby; tua saltfattis of sylver, of xxxj unce vecht and ane half; auchtene sylver spunes, contening xx unce wecht and a quarter, price of the unce xxvj s. viij d., summa, ffoureskoir pundis; off the quhilk sylver work abone written, the airschip is to be deducit and takin of. Item,the said Margaret, ane of the saidis executouris, grantit that the said umquhile Johnne had at the tyme of his deceis foirsaid, in pois, ane hundreth pundes. Item, his buikis, alsweill upoune the Scriptures as uther prophane authoris, worth vjXX and x li. Item, in utensile and domicile, the airschip being deducit, to the availl of xxx li.
Summa Inventarii, ijC lxxxxvj li. vj s. viij d. (£296, 6s. 8d.)
followis the dettis awin to the deid.
Item, thair wes awing to the said umquhile Johnne, the tyme of his deceis foirsaid, be Andro Lord Stewart of Uchiltrie, his guidfader, the sowme of lxxx li. of lent money. Item, be Williame Fiddes, baxter, x li. restand awand to the said umquhile Johnne of quheit, quhilk he ressavit to gif breid for…………..
Summa of the dettis, abone writtin, awing to the deid, viijC xxx li. xix s. vj d. (£830, 19s. 6d.)
Na dettis awing be the deid.
Summa of the Inventare, with the dettis awing to the deid, IM vC xxvj li. xix s. vj d. (£1526, 19s. 6d.)
To be dividit in thre pairtis. the deidis pairt thairof extendis to iijC lxxv li. xiij s. ij d. (£375, 13s. 2d.)
followis the latter will and legacie.
Lord Jesus, I commend my troublit spreit in Thy protectioune and defence! and thy troublit Kirke to Thy mercie! Becaus I haif had to do with dyvers personages of the Ministrie, quhairunto God of His mercie erectit me, within this realme, my dewetie cravis that I sall leve unto thaim now ane testimony of my mynd. And first unto the Papistis, and to the unthankfull warld I say, that althocht my lyfe hes bene unto thaim odious, and that oftentymes thai haif socht my destructioune and the destructioune of the Kirk, quhilk God, of His mercie, hes plantit within this realme, and hes alwayis preservit and kepit the samin fra thair crewale interprysis; yit to thaim I am compellit to say, that onles thai spedelie repent, my depairting of this lyfe salbe to thaim the gretest calamitie that evir yit hes apprehendit thaim; sum small apperance thai may yit haife in my lyfe, gif thai haif grace to sie; ane deid manne haif I bene, almaist thir tua yeiris last bipast, and yit I wald that thai suld rypelie considder in quhat bettir estait thai and thair materis standis in, than it hes done befoir, and thai haif hard of lang tyme befoir threatnit: Bot becaus thai will nocht admit me for ane admoniser, I gif thaim ovir to the judgement of Him quha knawis the hartis of all, and will disclose the secretis thairof in dew tyme. And this for the Papistis. to the ffaithfull God, befoir His Sone, Jesus Christ, and befoir His halie angellis, I protest that God be my mouth, be I nevir so abject, hes schawin to yow His trewth, in all simplicitie. Nane I haif corrupted; nane I haif defraudit; merchandise haif I not maid; to Godis glorie I write of the glorious Evangell of Jesus Christ, bot according to the measour of the grace graunted unto me, I haif dividit the sermont of trewth in just pairtis; beatin doun the pryde of the proude, in all that did declair thair rebellioun againis God, according as God in His law gevis to me yit testimonie; and raising up the consciences trublit with the knawledge of thair awin synnis, be the declaring of Jesus Christ, the strenth of his death, and the michtie operatioune of his resurrectioune, in the hartis of the faithfull: of this, I say, I haif ane testimony this day, in my conscience, befoir God; how that evir the warld rage: Be constant, thairfoir, in doctrine that anis publictlie ye haif professit: Lat nocht sclandrous dayis draw yow away fra Jesus Christ; nather lat the prosperitie of the wickit move yow to follow it nor thame; ffor howsoever it be that God appeiris to neglect His awin, for ane seasoune, yit He remanis ane just juge, quha nathir canne nor will justifie the wickit! I am nocht ignorant that mony wald that I suld entir in particulare determinatioune of thir present trubles; to quhome I planelie and simplie ansuer, that as I nevir excedit the boundes of Godis Scriptures, sua will I not do, in this pairt, by Godis grace; bot heirof I am assurit be Him quha nathir canne dissave nor be dissavit, that the Castell of Edinburcht, in the quhilk all the murthour, all the truble, and the haill destructioune of this puir Commounweill wes inventit, and as our awin eis may witnes, by thaim and by thair mantenaris, wes put in executioune, sall cum to destructioune, mantene it quha sa list; the destructioune, I say, of body and saul, except thai repent! I luik not to the momentary prosperitie of the wickit, ye, not althocht thai suld remane conquerouris to the cuming of our Lord Jesus! Bot I luik to this sentence, that quhasaevir scheddis innocent bluid defyles the land, and provoikis Godis wraith againis him self and the land, untill his bluid be sched agane, be ordour of law, to satisfie Godis anger. This is not the first tyme that ye haif hard this sentence, althocht that mony at all tymes sturrit at sik severitie, I yit afferme the same, being reddy to entir to gif compt befoir His Majestie of the stewartschip He committit unto me. I knaw in my death the rumouris salbe strange, bot be ye nocht trublit above measour, belovit in the Lord Jesus! Bot yit agane I say, remane constant in the trewth, and He quha of His mercie send me, conductit me, and prosperet the work in my hand aganis Sathan, will provide for yow abundantlie, quhenne that athir my bluid sall wattir the doctrine taucht be me, or He of His mercie utherwayis provide to put ane end to this my battell. My executouris I mak, constitute, and ordane Margaret Stewart, my spous; Martha, Margaret, and Elizabeth Knoxis, my dochteris; and the ffaithfull to be overs-menne. to my tua sones, Nathanaell and Eleazare Knoxis, I unfenedlie leif that same benedictioune that thair darrest moder, Marjorie Bowse, left unto thaim, to witt, that God, for His Sone Christ Jesus saik, wald of His merci mak thaime His trew feireris and als upricht worschipperis of Him as ony that evir sprang out of Abrahames loynes; quhairto now, as thanne, I fra my troublit hart say, Amenne! Farther, I haif delyverit, be Maister Randulphe, to Mr. Robert Bowse, Schereff of the Bischoprick, and bruder to the said Marjori
e, my umquhill darrest spous, the sowme of fyve hundreth pundis of Scottis money, to the utilitie and proffett of my saidis tua sones: the quhilk money is that pairt of substance that fell or pertenit to thaim be the deceis of Marjorie Bowse, thair moder, of blissit memorie, and augmentit be me as I mycht or may spair, to mak out the said sowme; for I ressavit of thairis bot ane hundreth merkis stirling, quhilk I of my povirtie extendit to fyve hundreth pundis Scottis:†1 And that in contentatioune of thair bairnis pairt of geir, quhilkis may fall to thaim be my deceis. Item, I leif to my saidis tua sones, tua sylver drinking cowpis, the ane of thaim markit with J. K. M. one the ane syde, and one the other syde with E. B. N., and in lyke maner the tother with the same mark and lettres; the wecht of the saidis tua cuipis contenand xxij unce, or thairby; tua saltfattis of sylver, and xviij sylver spones, weyand xxxiiij and ane quarter unces, price of the unce overheid xxvj s. viij d. the quhilkis cuipis, saltfattis, and spunes, I leif in keping to the said Margaret, my spous, quhill my saidis sones be of the aige of xxj yeiris; at the quhilk tyme, I ordane and commandis hir to delyver the samin to my saidis sones, or to ony ane of thaim, gif be deceis the uthir faillis. Item, I leif also to my saidis sones, ane pairt of my saidis buikis, of the availl of xxx li. And failzeing of my saidis sones, and thair airis, I ordane the foirsaidis fyve hundreth pundes, with the sylver cuipis, spunes, saltfattis, and buikis, to returne agane, as efter followis; that is to say, the ane equale half thairof to the said Margaret, my spous, and my saidis thre dochteris; and the uthir half of the same to my bruder, Williame Knox, and his airis quhatsumevir. Item, I leif to my said spous, Margaret Stewart, the aucht hundreth merkis whilkis ar laid upoune the landis of Pennymoir, quhairin scho is infeft be Andro Lord Stewart of Uchiltrie, my fader of law; and failzeing of the said Margaret, I leif the samin to my saidis thre dochteris; and failzeing of thaim, I leif the samin to the said Andro Lord Stewart of Uchiltrie, and his airis quhatsumevir: Chairgeing and requyring my said fader of law, and his airis, as thai will ansuer befoir that incorruptible Juge, the Lord Jesus, that thai suffer not my said spous and childrene to be defraudit, or evill payit, of the males and annuelrent of the saidis landis, during the non-redemptioune of the samin. Item, I leif to Paule Knox, my bruder sone, ane hundreth pundis, quhilk lyis in wodset upoune Robert Campbellis landis in Kynzeancleucht, and quhairin the said Paule is ellis infeft; and that to be ane help to hald him at the scuilis. And as concerning the rest of my haill guidis quhatsumevir, I leif to be dividit betuix my said spous and my saidis thre dochteris. And becaus my said spous man tak the cair of my saidis dochteris, and faithfullie travell for thair guid nurishment and upbringing, thairfoir I leif my said spous the use of thair geir, quhill thai be mareit, or cum to perfite age; at quhilk tyme I ordane that every aire, as the tyme approtches, to haif thair awin that to thaim appertenis.
(Sic subscribitur)Johne Knox.Johne Adamesone, witnes. Rot. Watsoune, witness. Johne Johnestoun, witnes.
Quotta gratis. The Quote of this Testament is gevin gratis, at speciale command of my Lordis Commissaris.
We, Maisteris Robert Maitland, &c., Commissaris of Edinburghe, specialie constitut for confirmatioune of Testamentis, be the tennour heirof, ratefeis, apprevis, and confirmis this present Testament or Inventar, insafar as the samin is deulie and lauchfullie maid, of the gudis and geir above specifeit alanerlie. And gevis and committis the intromissioune with the samin to the saidis Margaret Stewart, relict of the said umquhile Johne Knox, Martha, Margaret, and Elizabeth Knoxis, his dochteris, his Executouris Testamentaris nominat be him, conforme to the Lattir Will above writtin: Reservand compt to be maid be thame thairof, as accordis of the law. And the said Margaret Stewart, ane of the saidis Executouris, being suorne, hes maid faith treulie to exerce the said office; and hes fundin cautioune that the gudis and geir above specifeit salbe furthcumand to all pairteis havand interes, as law will; as ane Act thairupoune beiris.
The Supplication of his faithful servitor, Richard Bannatyne, regarding Knox’s manuscripts, may be here added:—
The Works of John Knox. Vol. 6:liii-lix