James Beaton

Last updated
James Beaton
Archbishop of St Andrews
Church Roman Catholic Church
Archdiocese St Andrews
Appointed10 October 1522 [1]
In office1522-1539
Predecessor Andrew Forman
Successor David Beaton
Consecration15 April 1509
Personal details
Bornc. 1473
Died14 February 1539 (aged c. 66)
St Andrews, Fife, Scotland
ParentsJohn Beaton of Balfour
Previous post(s) Archbishop of Glasgow 1509-1522
Bishop of Galloway

James Beaton (or Bethune) (1473–1539) was a Roman Catholic Scottish church leader, the uncle of David Cardinal Beaton and the Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland.



James Beaton was the sixth and youngest son of John Beaton of Balfour, in Fife. He graduated as Master of Arts at St. Andrews University in 1493, was appointed Precentor of Dornoch Cathedral (Diocese of Caithness) in 1497 and in 1503 was appointed Provost of the Collegiate Church of Bothwell. In 1504 he became Prior of Whithorn and Abbot of Dunfermline and in 1505 was made Lord High Treasurer of Scotland by James IV. [2]

In 1508 he was elected as Bishop of Galloway, in succession to George Vaus, but before his consecration he was chosen to succeed Robert Blackadder as Archbishop of Glasgow and was consecrated at Stirling on 15 April 1509. With the archbishopric he held the commendatory Abbeys of Arbroath and Kilwinning, and in 1515 he became Lord Chancellor of Scotland. King James V was at this time a child and Beaton, as one of the Council of Regency, was one of the most important people in the kingdom during the minority of the young king. [2]

In 1522 Beaton was transferred to St. Andrews bishopric, vacant by the death of Archbishop Forman. As primate he threw all his powerful influence into the scale against the intrigues of Henry VIII to obtain predominance in Scotland. He was chiefly responsible for the king's action in allying himself with France and not with England. The English ambassador described him as "greatest man both of lands and experience within this realm, and noted to be very crafty and dissimulating". [3]

In 1528 he ordered Patrick Hamilton burned for heresy. The Regent Albany's jealousy had deprived Beaton of the chancellorship some years previously, and he was never reappointed, though he enjoyed the full favour of the king. A few months after the second marriage of James to Mary of Guise, the primate got his nephew Cardinal Beaton appointed his coadjutor with right of succession. Archbishop James Beaton died in the autumn of 1539 in his castle at St. Andrews. [2]

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  1. "Archbishop James Beaton [Catholic-Hierarchy]".
  2. 1 2 3 Hunter-Blair, Oswald. "James Beaton." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 24 July 2015
  3. "O'Brien John. "Beaton, James, d 1539, Archbishop of St Andrews", Glasgow University Archive Services, 2002". Archived from the original on 23 February 2014. Retrieved 25 July 2015.

Further reading

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by Bishop of Galloway
not consecrated
Succeeded by
Preceded by Archbishop of Glasgow
Succeeded by
Preceded by Archbishop of St Andrews
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by
Alexander Stewart
Archbishop of St Andrews
Lord Chancellor of Scotland
Succeeded by
Preceded by Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland
unknown unknown
Succeeded by
Academic offices
Preceded by
Andrew Forman
Archbishop of St Andrews
Chancellor of the University of St Andrews
Succeeded by
Cardinal Beaton
Archbishop of St Andrews