Thomas Smeton

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Thomas Smeton, Smeaton or Smieton (1536–1583) was a Scottish minister and Principal of Glasgow University.



He was born at Gask, near Perth, was educated at the school at Perth, and in 1553 incorporated a student in St. Salvator's College, St. Andrews. A promising scholar, he was made a regent of the college, and remained there until the reformers gained the ascendency. He was then ejected, and went to Paris. There he associated with many of the reformers, and enjoyed the friendship of Andrew Melville. Still a Catholic, he entered the Company of Jesus as a probationer, and proceeded to their college at Rome, visiting Geneva on his way. After continuing in Rome about a year and a half, he found himself suspect in Rome as a favourer of Protestant doctrine. He left for Paris, and shortly after proceeded to Clermont, in both places lecturing on the humanities. In Paris in 1571, Thomas Maitland, a younger brother of William Maitland of Lethington, persuaded Smeton to accompany him to Italy. Maitland died there, and Smeton went on to Geneva, where he conversed with the reformers, and finally decided to leave the Roman Catholic church. He was in Paris during the massacre of St. Bartholomew, taking refuge with Francis Walsingham, the English ambassador. On arriving in England he publicly renounced Catholicism, and settled in Colchester as a schoolmaster.

Findo Gask village in the United Kingdom

Findo Gask is a small village in Perth and Kinross in Scotland, just off the main A9 road. It is in Strathearn.

Perth, Scotland City in Scotland

Perth is a city in central Scotland, on the banks of the River Tay. It is the administrative centre of Perth and Kinross council area and the historic county town of Perthshire. It has a population of about 47,180. Perth has been known as The Fair City since the publication of the story Fair Maid of Perth by Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott in 1828. During the later medieval period the city was also called St John's Toun or Saint Johnstoun by its inhabitants in reference to the main church dedicated to St John the Baptist. This name is preserved by the city's football teams, St Johnstone F.C.

Andrew Melville Scottish scholar, theologian and religious reformer

Andrew Melville was a Scottish scholar, theologian, poet and religious reformer. His fame encouraged scholars from the European continent to study at Glasgow and St. Andrews.

In 1577 he returned to Scotland, and was appointed minister of Paisley Abbey and dean of faculty to Glasgow University. He soon took a prominent part in church matters. In October 1578 he was nominated one of the assessors to the moderator in the general assembly, and in the following year was himself chosen moderator. On 3 January 1580 James VI appointed him principal of Glasgow University, in succession to Andrew Melville. In April 1583 he was again chosen moderator of the general assembly. At this time Andrew Melville was anxious that Smeton should succeed him at the University of St. Andrews, but the king, instigated by the prior of St. Andrews, who was opposed to the appointment, forbade his nomination, on the grounds of the loss it would inflict on the university of Glasgow. On his return to Glasgow Smeton was seized with a high fever, and died on 13 December 1583. He married before 1575, and had a son Thomas.

Paisley Abbey Church in Renfrewshire, Scotland

Paisley Abbey is a parish church of the Church of Scotland, located on the east bank of the White Cart Water in the centre of the town of Paisley, Renfrewshire, about 12 miles (19 km) west of Glasgow, in Scotland. Its origins date from the 12th century, based on a former Cluniac monastery. Following the Reformation in the 16th century, it became a Church of Scotland parish kirk.


Smeton was author of Ad Virulentum Archibaldi Hamiltonii Apostatae Dialogum, de Confusione Calvinianae Sectae apud Scotos, impie conscriptum. Orthodoxa Responsio, Edinburgh, 1579; a reply to Archibald Hamilton. With this work was a life of John Knox, Eximii viri Joannis Knoxii, Scoticanae Ecclesiae Instauratori, vera Extreme Vitae Obitus Historia. Thomas Dempster also attributes to Smeton Epitaphium Metellani.

John Knox Scottish clergyman, writer and historian (1513-1572)

John Knox was a Scottish minister, theologian, and writer who was a leader of the country's Reformation. He was the founder of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland.

Thomas Dempster Scottish scholar and historian

Thomas Dempster was a Scottish scholar and historian. Born into the aristocracy in Aberdeenshire, which comprises regions of both the Scottish highlands and the Scottish lowlands, he was sent abroad as a youth for his education. The Dempsters were Catholic in an increasingly Protestant country and had a reputation for being quarrelsome. Thomas' brother James, outlawed for an attack on his father, spent some years as a pirate in the northern islands, escaped by volunteering for military service in the Low Countries and was drawn and quartered there for insubordination. Thomas' father lost the family fortune in clan feuding and was beheaded for forgery.

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The Dictionary of National Biography (DNB) is a standard work of reference on notable figures from British history, published since 1885. The updated Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB) was published on 23 September 2004 in 60 volumes and online, with 50,113 biographical articles covering 54,922 lives.

Academic offices
Preceded by
Andrew Melville
Principal of the
University of Glasgow

Succeeded by
Patrick Sharp