The Beggars Summons or Warning.
[ Extract from The Works of John Knox, David Laing (1895) Vol 1 fn p 320-1 Also Calderwoods History of the Kirk of Scotland, vol 1 p 423 where he quotes 1 January 1559]
The Beggars Warning was a formal summons that was affixed to the door of every friary in the kingdom. Its message was a stark warning [Allegedly from the genuine recipients of alms – the sick, the poor, aged, infirm, widows etc ] and demands that the friars remove themselves from the realm. Dated 1 January 1558 the notice was posted on the friary doors in Edinburgh. In this connection It is relevant to note that action against the friars and the Church of Rome was already taking place long before Knox arrived from France ( 2 May 1559). It reflected the increasing concern particularly in the burghs, who had the task of providing some support for the genuinely needy, sick etc. Much of what little there was came from the Guilds who looked after their own members. But the increasing numbers of able bodied beggars capable of work, including mendicant friars, who converged on the bigger towns and cities was a burden they could well do without.
“Zealous Brether [ two sentences of this instruction are missing ]. ……………………….upon the gaittis and ports of all the Freiris places within this realme, in the moneth of Januar 1558, preceding that Whitsunday that they delodged, which is this, etc.
The Blynd, Cruked, Bedrelles*, Wedowis Orphelingis and all uther pure, sa viseit be the hand of God as may not worke, To the Flockes of all Freires within this Realme, we wische the Restitutioun of Wranges bypast, and Reformatioun in tyme cuming; for Salutatioun.”
“YE yourselfes ar not ignorant, and thocht ye wald be, it is now, thankes to God, knawen to the haill warlde, be his infallible worde, that the benignitie or almes of all Christian pepill perteynis to us allanerly; quhilk ye, being hale of’ bodye, stark, sturdye, and abit to wyrk, quhat under pretence of povertie, (and nevirtheles possessing maist easelie all abundance,) quhat throw cloiket and huided simplicitie, thoght your proudnes is knawen, and quhat be feynzeit holines, quhilk now is declared superstitioun and idolatrie, hes thir many yeirs, exprese against Godis word, and the practeis of his holie Apostles, to our great torment, (allace!) maist faislie stowen fra us. And als ye have, be your fals doctryne and wresting of Godis worde, (lerned of your father Sathan,) induced the hale people, hie and law, in sure hoip and belief, that to cloith, foid, and nurrcis yow, is the onlie maist acceptable almouss allowit before God; and to gif ane penny, or ane peice of bread anis in the oulk, is aneuch for us. Evin swa ye have perswaded tbame to bigge to yow great Hospitalis, and rnanteyne yow thairin be thair purs, quhilk onlie perteinis now to us be all law, as biggit and dottat to the pure, of whois number ye are not, nor can be repute, nether be the law of God, nor yit be na uther law proceiding of nature, reasoun, or civile policie. Quhairfore seing our number is sa greate, sa indigent, and sa heavitie oppressit be your false meanis, that nnne takes care of ours miserie; and that it is better for us td provyde thir our impotent members, quhilk God hes gevin us, to oppone to yow in plains contraversie, than to see yow heirefter (as ye have done afoir) steill fra us our lodgeings, and our selfis, in the meintyme, to perrcis and die for want of the same. We have thocht gude thairfoir, or we enter with yow in conflict, to warne yow, in the name of the grit God, be this publick wryting, aflixt on your yettis quhair ye now dwell, that ye remove furthe of our said Hospitalis1,betuix this and the Feist of Whitsunday next, sua that we the onelie lawfull proprietaris thairof may enter thairto, and efterward injoye thai commodities of the Kyrk, quhilke ye have heirunto wranguslie halden fra us. Certifying yow, gif ye failyc, we will at the said tcrme, in.haile number, (with the helpe of God, and assistance of his sanctis in eirthe, of quhais reddie supports we dout not,) enter and tak possessioun of our said patrimony, and eject yow utterlie furthe of the same.
“Let him thairfor that befoir hes stollen, steill na mair; but rather tak him wyrk wyth his handes, that he may be helpefull to the pure.
“FRA THE HAILL CITIES, TOWNIS, AND VILLAGES OF SCOTLAND THE FYRST DAY OF JANUARE 1558’