The Church Patronage (Scotland) Act 1711 or Patronage Act is an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain (10 Ann. C A P. XII). The long title of the act is An Act to restore the Patrons to their ancient Rights of presenting Ministers to the Churches vacant in that Part of Great Britain called Scotland. Its purpose was to allow the nobles in Scotland to gain control over their parish churches again, having lost that custom in the Glorious Revolution.
Only five years after the Parliaments of England
had united in the Act of Union 1707
, the independence of the parish churches to elect their own minister in the Presbyterian
belief was threatened by the nobles reinstituting patronage
over the parishes of their estates
. The Scottish clergy was highly annoyed and thus for the following Jacobite
uprising in 1715 easy to convince into supporting the attempt of a Stuart restoration to the throne of Scotland (including the separation of Parliaments).
The Act was highly opposed by the Church of Scotland
(both the Presbyterian
parties) because of its intrusion into church elections and was considered lay investiture
. However, due to the strength of the aristocracy
the act was not abolished until 1874 by the Church Patronage (Scotland) Act 1874