John Paterson (archbishop of Glasgow)

Last updated

The Most Reverend

John Paterson
Archbishop of Glasgow
John Paterson portrait.jpg
Church Church of Scotland
See Archdiocese of Glasgow
In office16871689
Predecessor Alexander Cairncross
SuccessorEpiscopacy abolished
by  Robert Leighton
Personal details
Died9 December 1708
Previous post(s) Bishop of Galloway; Bishop of Edinburgh

John Paterson (1632–1708) was the last archbishop of Glasgow in the Church of Scotland. He was the youngest son of John Paterson, bishop of Ross. John, after some preliminary studies at Marischal College, University of Aberdeen, was admitted as a student of theology at the University of St Andrews on 13 March 1655, and he is entered as regent in St Leonard's College under date of 3 February 1658, indicating that he had taught the junior class in the preceding year.



Early career

He probably continued to teach there until called to succeed his father, though not without some opposition, [1] at Ellon on 6 November 1659, to which charge he was admitted before 15 July 1660. On 24 October 1662 he was elected by the town council of Edinburgh as minister of the Tron Church, and was admitted on 4 January following. From that charge he was promoted to the deanery of the High Kirk of Edinburgh (St Giles) on 12 July 1672, and was admitted a burgess and guild-brother of the city on 13 November 1673.

Bishop of Galloway

He strongly opposed the proposal of the more moderate party in the Scottish church in 1674 to hold a national synod. Through the influence of his patron, the Duke of Lauderdale, he was appointed on 20 October 1674 to Bishop of the see of Galloway, but was not consecrated until May 1675 at Edinburgh. [2] For a few years father and son were thus occupants of Scottish sees at the same time. On 27 September 1678 he was appointed a privy councillor.

Bishop of Edinburgh

He was translated to the bishopric of Edinburgh on 29 March 1679. In the previous January he had obtained licence from the king to reside in Edinburgh, on the ground that he had not a competent manse or dwelling-house in Galloway. [3] A pension of was granted him on 9 July 1680. He is found assisting on 15 March 1685 at Lambeth at Sancroft's consecration of Baptist Levinz, the bishop of Sodor and Man.

On 20 July 1685 an order was made for an annual payment to him by the city of Edinburgh of twelve hundred marks until the city should build him a house and chapel. He went to London in February 1686, returning at the end of March to give the king assurances that the bishops would support his proposed toleration, although it was reported by the Duke of Hamilton in the following year that he was not in favour of such an entire repeal of the penal laws as the king desired. [4]

Archbishop of Glasgow

He was rewarded by being nominated to the see of Glasgow on 21 January 1687, upon the illegal deprivation of Archbishop Alexander Cairncross. On 29 January 1688 he preached a thanksgiving sermon at Edinburgh for the queen's being with child, in which he mentioned that she often spent six hours at a time on her knees in prayer. At the Revolution he, with the majority of the bishops, adhered to James II. At the meeting of the estates in April 1689, when nine bishops were present, of whom seven were against declaring the throne vacant, "the Bishop of Glasgow made a long discourse of passive obedience". [5]

After the revolution

He remained in Edinburgh, living in privacy, after the Revolution, but is said to have been arrested in 1692 on suspicion of holding correspondence with the exiled court, and to have been imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle. [6] The authority for this statement is not given; and a further statement that he remained in prison until 1701 is incorrect, as, at some date previous to 1695, he was banished from Scotland to England, and was restrained to London. Among the papers of the Earl of Rosslyn at Dysart House there is a journal kept by Paterson in London in 1695–6, in which he records interviews with statesmen while seeking permission from William III of England to return to Scotland. Leave was at that time refused, and he was also forbidden to reside in any of the northern counties of England. He was, however, shortly afterwards permitted to return to Edinburgh, and probably regained complete liberty upon the accession of Queen Anne in 1702.

Episcopal clergy

In that year he wrote a letter from Edinburgh to Henry Compton, Bishop of London, on the subject of toleration for the episcopal clergy. He exerted himself in the following years, together with the other Scottish bishops, in endeavouring to obtain grants from the government for relief of poor clergymen, as well as some allowance for themselves out of the revenues of their sees. It was the queen's intention that such grants should be made, but it was not carried into real effect, except with regard to Bishop Alexander Rose of Edinburgh and Paterson himself.

On 7 December 1704 Paterson and Bishop Rose, with others, accredited Dr. Robert Scot, Dean of Glasgow, as an agent to make collections in England. Their letters, with a list of contributions, were printed in 1864. [7] At the beginning of 1705 he went to London to approach the queen personally on the subject. He was favourably received, and obtained a promise of £1,600 annually, out of which George Lockhart of Carnwath charges him with securing £400 for himself, although he was then worth £20,000, or, as the Archbishop of Canterbury reported (according to Paterson's own statement), £30,000. But Paterson declared that he never had a third of the latter sum. On 25 January 1705, in consequence of the number of surviving bishops being reduced to five, he, with Bishops Rose and Douglas of Dunblane, consecrated, in a private chapel in his own house at Edinburgh, Bishops Fullarton and Sage.


He died at his house in Edinburgh on 9 December 1708 and was buried on 23 December in the Chapel Royal of Holyrood [8] , at the east end of the north side, at the foot of Bishop Wishart's monument. He married Margaret Wemyss of Contin in 1654. She had died before 1696, in which year he records in his diary an offer of marriage from Lady Warner. He speaks in several letters of his numerous family.


  1. Synod Records of Aberdeen, Spalding Club, 1846, p. 260.
  2. LAWSON, Hist. of Scottish Episcopal Church, p. 34; GRUB, Eccl. Hist. of Scotl. iii. p. 249)
  3. STEPHENS, Life of Sharpe, p. 568.
  4. Hist. MSS. Comm. 11th Rep. App. vi. p. 175.
  5. Hist. MSS. Comm. 12th Rep. App. vii. p. 237.
  6. W. Nelson Clarke's preface to a "Collection of Letters", &c. (Edinburgh, 1848), p. xxxi.
  7. I.e. in the "Antiquarian Communications of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society", ii. pp. 226–231.
  8. Collection of Epitaphs and Monumental Inscriptions: Chiefly in Scotland

Related Research Articles

William Carstares

William Carstares was a minister of the Church of Scotland, active in Whig politics.

Henry Compton (bishop)

Henry Compton was the Bishop of London from 1675 to 1713.

The Dean of the Chapel Royal, in any kingdom, can be the title of an official charged with oversight of that kingdom's chapel royal, the ecclesiastical establishment which is part of the royal household and ministers to it.

The College of Chaplains of the Ecclesiastical Household of the Sovereign of the United Kingdom is under the Clerk of the Closet, an office dating from 1437. It is normally held by a diocesan bishop, who may, however, remain in office after leaving his see. The current Clerk is James Newcome, Bishop of Carlisle.

The Scots College in Rome is the main seminary for the training of men for the priesthood from the dioceses of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland.

Robert Blair (moderator) Scottish nonconformist minister, 1593–1667

Robert Blair was a Scottish presbyterian minister who became a Westminster Divine and Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1646, after failing to emigrate to Boston in 1636. Born in Irvine in 1593, the sixth son of John Blair of Windyedge, a merchant-adventurer and cadet of Blair, and Beatrix Mure of the Rowallan family, he gained an MA at the University of Glasgow in 1612 and became regent there in 1615. When the episcopalian John Cameron was appointed Principal, Blair resigned and went to Ireland, to become minister of a Presbyterian congregation at Bangor, County Down. He was ordained for it by Robert Echlin, Bishop of Down and Connor, Blair was "very careful to inform... of what accusations had been laid against me of disaffection to the civil powers, whom he was the use of the English liturgy nor Episcopal government.... I declared my opinion fully to the Bishop at our first meeting... [who] said to me, 'I hear good of you, and will impose no conditions on you.'" Echlin, however, turned against him. In September 1631, he was suspended from his ministry and on 4 May 1632 deposed. Though bent on emigrating to New England, the ship in which he and other ministers sailed was driven back by weather, a sign, Blair thought, that his services were still required at home. He dodged an order for his arrest by escaping to Scotland and was admitted to the Second Charge of Ayr in July 1638. After periods in Scotland and Ireland, he accompanied the Scottish army to England in 1640 and helped to negotiate the 1641 Peace of Ripon. In 1646, Blair was elected Moderator of General Assembly, then Chaplain-in-Ordinary to King Charles I. He was also on a committee endeavouring in 1648 to get Cromwell to establish "a uniformity of religion in England." He was summoned to London by Cromwell in 1654, but excused himself on grounds of ill-health. On the establishment of episcopacy he was removed from his charges in September 1661, confined to Musselburgh, then to Kirkcaldy for three and a half years, and then to Meikle Couston, Aberdour, Fife, where he died on 27 August 1666 and was buried.

Sir William Dawes, 3rd Baronet

Sir William Dawes, 3rd Baronet, was an Anglican prelate. He served as Bishop of Chester from 1708 to 1714 and then as Archbishop of York from 1714 to 1724. Politically he was a Hanoverian Tory, who favoured the Hanoverian Succession.

Robert Douglas (1594–1674) was the only minister of the Church of Scotland to be Moderator of the General Assembly five times.

John Paterson may refer to:

Alexander Rose (bishop)

Alexander Rose (1647–1720) was a Scottish scholar, minister and bishop. He was a Church of Scotland minister before becoming Professor of Divinity at the University of Glasgow and Principal of St Mary's College, St Andrews. He rose to become Bishop of Moray and then Bishop of Edinburgh. He was responsible for failing to convince King William III of England that the Scottish bishops could be trusted, leading to the abolition of Episcopacy in Scotland. Rose continued as a nonjuring bishop, eventually becoming leader of the informal and embryonic Scottish Episcopal Church.

James Ramsay (c.1624–1696), bishop of Dunblane, bishop of Ross, was son of Robert Ramsay (1598?–1651). The latter was successively minister of Dundonald (1625–40), of Blackfriars or College Church, Glasgow (1640–7), and of the High Church, Glasgow (1647–51); was dean of the faculty of Glasgow University 1646 and 1650–1, rector in 1648, and principal from 28 August 1651 until his death in the following September. He is buried in Canongate Churchyard. His grave is officially "lost" but the ornate, illegible stone on the east side of the church, now somewhat spuriously ascribed to Rizzio is probably his.

John Paterson (1604–1679) was the Bishop of Ross in Scotland.

James Wedderburn, bishop of Dunblane, was the second son of John Wedderburn, a mariner and shipowner from Dundee, and Margaret Lindsay. James Wedderburn (1495?–1553), a poet and playwright and early Scottish proponent of Protestantism, was his grandfather.

Walter Whitford was a seventeenth-century Scottish minister, prelate and Royalist. After graduating from the University of Glasgow in 1604, he began a career in the Church of Scotland taking a variety of posts until being appointed Bishop of Brechin in 1635.

Michael Russell (bishop of Glasgow and Galloway)

Michael Russell was the first Bishop of Glasgow and Galloway from 1837 to his death in 1848.

John Sage (1652–1711) was a Scottish nonjuring bishop and controversialist in the Jacobite interest.

Abraham Wright was an English theological writer and deacon.

Sir William Rawlinson (1640–1703) was an English serjeant-at-law and Commissioner for the Great Seal of the Realm between 1688 and 1693.

John Brown, of Wamphray, church leader, was probably born at Kirkcudbright; he graduated at the university of Edinburgh 24 July 1630. He was probably not settled till 1655, although he comes first into notice in some highly complimentary references to him in Samuel Rutherford's letters in 1637. In the year 1655 he was ordained minister of the parish of Wamphray in Annandale. For many years he seems to have been quietly engaged in his pastoral duties, in which he must have been very efficient, for his name still lives in the district in affectionate remembrance. After the restoration he was not only compelled by the acts of Parliament of 1662 to leave his charge, but he was one of a few ministers who were arrested and banished, owing to the ability and earnestness with which they had opposed the arbitrary conduct of the king in the affairs of the church. On 6 November 1662 he was sentenced to be kept a close prisoner in the Tolbooth of Edinburgh, his crime being that he had called some ministers ‘false knaves’ for keeping synod with the archbishop. The state of the prison causing his health to break down, he was banished 11 December from the king’s dominions, and ordered not to return on pain of death. He went to Holland. In 1676 Charles II urged the States-General to banish him from their country, a step which they refused to take. For a few years he was minister of the Scottish church in Rotterdam, and shortly before his death, which occurred in 1679, he took part in the ordination of Richard Cameron.

John Row (c1525–1580), was a Scottish reformer, born around 1526 near Dunblane. He was educated at the Grammar School of Stirling and St Leonard's College, St Andrews, where he matriculated in 1544. After graduating with an M.A. he studied Canon Law and practised as an advocate in the Consistory Court of St Andrews. In 1550, he was appointed agent for the Scottish clergy at Rome, where he remained seven or eight years. He was awarded Licentiate of Laws, and LL.D. Padua. The fame of his talents and learning led to his intimacy with Pope Paul IV and some of the cardinals, and would probably have led to his promotion ; but owing to ill-health he was compelled to return to Scotland, when he was appointed nuncio to investigate the causes of the Reformation and to devise means for checking its progress. He reached Eyemouth on 29 September 1558, but finding himself unable to fulfil his injunctions, returned to Rome before 11 May 1559. After a short residence there, he came back by persuasion of James, Prior of St Andrews, afterwards Earl of Moray, and having seen the falsehood and imposition of a pretended miracle at St Allaret's Chapel, Musselburgh, he joined the Reformers. He was admitted to Kennoway in April 1560, before the Reformation was fully established. John Row was one of six ministers appointed by the Lords of the Congregation for "writing in a book their judgments touching the Reformation of religion." These appeared in the Confession of Faith and First Book of Discipline. He was translated to Perth 17 July, and admitted before 20 December 1560. He was appointed by the General Assembly, 10 July 1568, to visit Galloway. He was styled Commissioner of Nithsdale and Galloway, March 1570 and elected Moderator of the General Assembly 21 July and 25 December 1567, 24 April 1576, and 11 June 1578. He died on 16 October 1580, at which time he held the vicarages of Twynholm and Terregles in Galloway. He was regarded as "a cautious and prudent reformer, of moderate views, benevolent disposition, and amiable and winning manners, a wise and grave father, of good literature according to the time." He was skilled in the original languages of Scripture, and did much towards building up the Reformed Church in Scotland. He was married in 1560 to Margaret, second daughter of John Beaton of Balfour.



Wikisource-logo.svg This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : "Paterson, John (1632-1708)". Dictionary of National Biography . London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.

Church of Scotland titles
Preceded by
James Hamilton
Bishop of Galloway
Succeeded by
Arthur Rose
Preceded by
Alexander Young
Bishop of Edinburgh
Succeeded by
Alexander Rose
Preceded by
Alexander Cairncross
Archbishop of Glasgow
Succeeded by
Episcopacy abolished
Academic offices
Preceded by
Alexander Cairncross
Chancellor of the University of Glasgow
Succeeded by
The Earl of Hyndford