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Politics & State

Mary Queen of Scots

Declaration from James VI confirming the Earl of Erroll as Constable of Scotland


This declaration grants the Earl of Erroll powers to appoint deputies and officials to administer justice throughout the realm. It also states that those unwilling to support him in his duties would themselves be subject to punishment by law and would forfeit both their rights and titles.


James VI was the son of Mary Queen of Scots & Lord Darnley. The Boyd family inherited the title of Earl of Erroll through Lady Anne Livingstone, wife of William Boyd, 4th Earl of Kilmarnock. This declaration is from the Boyd Family Album - a portfolio of documents, images and other manuscripts collected by the Boyd Family after they inherited the title Earl of Erroll.



James be the grace of god King of Scottis To our

provest and baillies of [our] burgh of Edinburgh now

present and being for the tyme in all tymes cuming

we greit you weill Forsamekill as for punischement

of tras[p]assouris invaideris and schedderis of utheris

blude within foure myllis to our presens It hes

pertenit and pertenis to our constabill and his

deput[t]is to mak inquisitioun of all sic personis

quhatsumevir apprehendit culpabill or being convict

to caus be put in waird thairintill to remane ay and

quhill thay mak satisfactioun for thair trespass conforme

to the lawis and constitutionis maid and useit thairanent

of befoir For executioun of the quhilk it being necessyr

an[d e]xpedient that all our tolbuithis preasones and

wairding placeis within our burrowis and utheris pa[r]tis

our realme quhair ir sallappin [__________] for the tyme be

maid patent and reddie to our said constabill his

deputtis and offitia[r]is at all tymes pertening to be

adjudgeit be the jurisdictioun of the said office As

alsua requisite that all magistratis of our burrowis

with diligence gif thair fortificatioun and assistance

thairto Thairupoun we directit our utheris lettres under

our signet and hand wri[ti]s of us and our counsale to you

and your utheris magistrattis of all and sindrie our saidis

burrowis Chargeing and commanding that not allanerlie suld

all tolbuithis and wairding houssis be patent Bot as that

ye and thay suld diligently concur to the effect foirsaid

Like as hes bene done in all tymes bygane to our

constabillis thair deputtis and offitiaris as was cleirlie

understand and sene be us and our secreit counsale be

sindrie ordinanceis and lettres direct thairupoun be our

maist nobill pr[o]genitouris of gude memorie Notwithstanding

it hes bene divers tymes meaint unto us and last now

laitlie that ye and y[our] jevelouris not onelie [ar slaw]

and reddie to mak your tolbuith and preason oppin and

reddie to our said constabill his deputtis and offitiaris

and to concur and assist thame in executioun of the said

office Bot as oftymes ye and your clerkis Imy [     ] your

selffis to be assysouris and ta[k] administratioun and

rewleing of our said constabill courttis as ye pleis

maist wrangusli[e] and violentlie usurpand

the said honorabill office upoun you quhairof ye haif

na maner of rycht nor tytill Like as we haif sene be and

transsumpt of your predicessouris obligatioun quha[ir]by

ye war faithfullie oblist to umquhile our rycht traist

cousing Wi[lliame] erle of errole [lord] hay consta[bill] of

our realme with all thair power to advance him and his

deputtis in executioun of [the] said office and at na

tyme to cum to the courttis therof unrequireit or to

hald ony courtis your self or to attempt ony uther thing

that may dirogat or diminishe the facultie or privilege

of the said constabill courttis and specialie that our

saidis provest and ba[il]ies for the tyme nor thair

successouris suld sit nor knaw upoun ony actioun of

blude or trubulance committit be ony maner of

p[er]soun within our said burgh of edinburgh Oure

predicessouris or thair successouris being in the

samyn or within foure myillis thairto [a] mair amplie

is contenit in the said obligatioun and antentit transsumpt

thairof In contravenying quhairof we man esteme you to

do wrang and except ye abstene thairfra in tyme cuming

and suffer our said constabill and his deputtis frielie

to exerse and use the s[aid] office be thame selffis and

thair offitiaris and onnawayis to interpone you in ony

thing concerning the samyn bot quhan yo[ur] assistance

is craveit we will se sum gude ordour tane for oppressing

of your contempt quhairunto we wer laith ye suld mak [u]s

forder occasioun Oure Will Is heirfoir and with advise

of the lordis of our secreit counsale we charge straitlie

and commandis you and your successouris with all your

clerkis present and being for the tyme That ye nor nane

of you pretend to enter [in our] said constabill courttis

athir as [jud]geis assyisouris or ony rewlaris thairin bot

onelie to gif your assistance quhan ye ar [re]quireit be

thame And that ye [anie] tyme under our mak impediment

to our said constabill and his deputtis frielie and

full[ie] to use and exerce the said office [be your] selffis

at all o[c]casionis according to his accustumat liberteis

and previlegeis of t[he] samyn grantit be us and our maist

nobill predicessouris thairupoun and as hes bene friequentit

and useit be our constabillis and thair deputtis in tymes

bygane As ye and ilkane of you will declair your obedience

dew to us and under all hiest pane charge and offence

quhilkis ye may incur and [in]rin aganis our majestie in

that behalf Persuading your selffis we will not omit the

punischement of your inobedience incais ye or ony of you

attempt to do ony thing in the contrait thir our lettres

and charge forsaid and that in respect of the privelege and

heid of the said office and that we haif sene quhair your

predicessouris oblist thame and thair successouris to the

same effect of befoir Ordaining our offitiaris of armes to

pas to our                         of our said burgh of edinburgh

and thair be oppin proclamatioun mak publicatioun of thir

our lettres and charge abovewritten to all and sindrie our

liegeis Commanding and chargeing thame to reddelie ansyr

intend and [o]bey to our said contabill and his deputtis in

all and sindrie thingis concerning thair said office in

tymes cuming under the panes foirsaidis as ye will ansyr

to us thairupoun delivering thir our lettres be you sene

and considderit [      ]ane to the beirar Gevin under our

signet and subscriveit with our hand Att halyru[idh]ous the

aucht day of december And of our regnne the 20 fyft yeir



                                      James R.


Seal of James VI


Dean Castle
Accession number:
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East Ayrshire Council