Mess Johns

Mess Johns in the Church of England, is, according to Broughton (Bibliotheca Hist. Sac. s.v.), a name given last century to a certain class of chaplains kept by the nobility and families of higher rank, who were generally expected to rise from table after the second course, and were in little better esteem than menials. In Scotland, Eadie (Ecclesiastes Cyclop. s.v.) informs us, the name of Mass or Mess John was given to Presbyterian ministers, not from any connection with the mass, or because they succeeded mass-priests, but probably because they were called Mr. or Messrs., the title "reverend" not being applied to them.

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