Thomas Sydserf

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Thomas Sydserf [Sydserff] (1581 1663) was a Scottish prelate.

Prelate high-ranking member of the clergy

A prelate is a high-ranking member of the clergy who is an ordinary or who ranks in precedence with ordinaries. The word derives from the Latin prælatus, the past participle of præferre, which means 'carry before', 'be set above or over' or 'prefer'; hence, a prelate is one set over others.

The eldest son of James Sydserf, an Edinburgh merchant, Sydserf graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1602 before travelling to continental Europe to study at the University of Heidelberg. After returning to Scotland, he entered the ministry, beginning at St Giles' parish, Edinburgh in 1611. 15 years later, in 1626, he was translated to Trinity College Kirk, Edinburgh, before being admitted Dean of Edinburgh on 19 February 1634.

University of Edinburgh public research university in Edinburgh, Scotland

The University of Edinburgh, founded in 1582, is the sixth oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of Scotland's ancient universities. The university has five main campuses in the city of Edinburgh, with many of the buildings in the historic Old Town belonging to the university. The university played an important role in leading Edinburgh to its reputation as a chief intellectual centre during the Age of Enlightenment, and helped give the city the nickname of the Athens of the North.

Continental Europe continent of Europe, excluding European islands

Continental or mainland Europe is the continuous continent of Europe, excluding its surrounding islands. It can also be referred to ambiguously as the European continent – which can conversely mean the whole of Europe – and by Europeans, simply the Continent.

St Giles Cathedral Church in Edinburgh, Scotland

St Giles' Cathedral, also known as the High Kirk of Edinburgh, has been one of Edinburgh's religious focal points for approximately 900 years. Its distinctive crown steeple is a prominent feature of the city skyline, at about a third of the way down the Royal Mile which runs from the Castle to Holyrood Palace. The present church dates from the late 14th century, though it was extensively restored in the 19th century, and is protected as a category A listed building. The congregation's website says it is sometimes regarded as the "Mother Church of World Presbyterianism". The cathedral is dedicated to Saint Giles, who is the patron saint of Edinburgh, as well as of cripples and lepers, and was a very popular saint in the Middle Ages. It is the Church of Scotland parish church for part of Edinburgh's Old Town.

However, in the same year, and on the recommendation of William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, he ascended to episcopal rank, receiving consecration as Bishop of Brechin on 29 July. In the following year, on 30 August 1635, he was translated as Bishop of Galloway.

William Laud Archbishop of Canterbury

William Laud was an English churchman, appointed Archbishop of Canterbury from 1633 during the personal rule of Charles I. Arrested in 1640, he was executed in 1645.

Archbishop of Canterbury senior bishop of the Church of England

The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. The current archbishop is Justin Welby, who was enthroned at Canterbury Cathedral on 21 March 2013. Welby is the 105th in a line which goes back more than 1400 years to Augustine of Canterbury, the "Apostle to the English", sent from Rome in the year 597. Welby succeeded Rowan Williams.

Bishop of Brechin Wikimedia list article

The Bishop of Brechin is the ecclesiastical head of the Diocese of Brechin or Angus, based at Dundee. Brechin Cathedral, Brechin is a parish church of the established (presbyterian) Church of Scotland. The diocese had a long-established Gaelic monastic community which survived into the 13th century. The clerical establishment may very well have traced their earlier origins from Abernethy. During the Scottish Reformation, the Presbyterian Church of Scotland gained control of the heritage and jurisdiction of the bishopric. However, the line of bishops has continued to this day, according to ancient models of consecration, in the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Sydserf was very much a royalist, pro-Episcopacy, and inclined to be highly sympathetic towards Arminianism. These views brought him much conflict in Scotland, and as Bishop of Galloway he exercised his episcopal powers against his ideological opponents. He supported the introduction in 1637 of an English-style Book of Common Prayer, and for this he was attacked on several occasions by mobs in Falkirk, Dalkeith and Edinburgh. Some went further and accused him of being a Roman Catholic: he was alleged to wear a crucifix. He was finally deposed by the General Assembly of the Scottish church on 13 December 1638.

Cavalier Royalist supporter during and following the English Civil War

Cavalier was first used by Roundheads as a term of abuse for the wealthier Royalist supporters of King Charles I and his son Charles II of England during the English Civil War, the Interregnum, and the Restoration. It was later adopted by the Royalists themselves. Although it referred originally to political and social attitudes and behaviour, of which clothing was a very small part, it has subsequently become strongly identified with the fashionable clothing of the court at the time. Prince Rupert, commander of much of Charles I's cavalry, is often considered to be an archetypal Cavalier.

Arminianism in the Church of England

Arminianism in the Church of England was a controversial theological position within the Church of England particularly evident in the second quarter of the 17th century. A key element was the rejection of predestination. The Puritans fought against Arminianism, but it was supported by kings James I and Charles I, leading to deep political battles. The term comes from Arminianism, which in Protestant theology refers to Jacobus Arminius, a Dutch theologian, and his Remonstrant followers, and covers his proposed revisions to Reformed theology. "Arminianism" in the English sense, however, had a broader application: to questions of church hierarchy, discipline and uniformity; to details of liturgy and ritual; and in the hands of the Puritan opponents of Laudianism, to a wider range of perceived or actual ecclesiastical policies, especially those implying any reconciliation with Roman Catholic practice or extension of central government powers over clerics.

<i>Book of Common Prayer</i> Prayer book used in most Anglican churches

Book of Common Prayer (BCP) is the short title of a number of related prayer books used in the Anglican Communion, as well as by other Christian churches historically related to Anglicanism. The original book, published in 1549 in the reign of Edward VI, was a product of the English Reformation following the break with Rome. The work of 1549 was the first prayer book to include the complete forms of service for daily and Sunday worship in English. It contained Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, the Litany, and Holy Communion and also the occasional services in full: the orders for Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage, "prayers to be said with the sick", and a funeral service. It also set out in full the "propers" : the introits, collects, and epistle and gospel readings for the Sunday service of Holy Communion. Old Testament and New Testament readings for daily prayer were specified in tabular format as were the Psalms; and canticles, mostly biblical, that were provided to be said or sung between the readings.

Sydserf thereafter went to England, briefly becoming a follower of King Charles I, before moving to continental Europe. He returned to Scotland, and after the Restoration and reimposition of Episcopacy in Scotland, was reinstated as a bishop, though on this occasion becoming Bishop of Orkney. He was the only pre-1638 bishop to be reinstated as a bishop in Scotland after the Restoration. He lobbied hard to be made Primate of Scotland but without success. His willingness to ordain as a clergyman anyone who asked him attracted much criticism, a fact recorded by Samuel Pepys in his famous diary.

Charles I of England 17th-century monarch of kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland

Charles I was the monarch over the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649.

Bishop of Orkney Wikimedia list article

The Bishop of Orkney was the ecclesiastical head of the Diocese of Orkney, one of thirteen medieval bishoprics of Scotland. It included both Orkney and Shetland. It was based for almost all of its history at St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall.

Samuel Pepys English naval administrator and member of parliament

Samuel Pepys was an administrator of the navy of England and Member of Parliament who is most famous for the diary he kept for a decade while still a relatively young man. Pepys had no maritime experience, but he rose to be the Chief Secretary to the Admiralty under both King Charles II and King James II through patronage, hard work, and his talent for administration. His influence and reforms at the Admiralty were important in the early professionalisation of the Royal Navy.

Sydserf died in Edinburgh on 29 September 1663. In 1624 he had married Rachel Byers, the daughter of an Edinburgh magistrate: they had four sons and four daughters, including Thomas junior, a popular dramatist and journalist.

Sydserf was responsible for remodelling the nave of Whithorn Priory in line with the new styles or worship he tried to promote.

Whithorn Priory Whithorn Priory 20080423 nave.jpg
Whithorn Priory

Although not formally a member of the Hartlib Circle, he was on friendly terms with some of its members including Arnold Boate, who dedicated to Sydserf his memoir of his wife Margaret Dongan.

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References

Church of Scotland titles
Preceded by
William Struthers
Dean of Edinburgh
1634
Succeeded by
James Hannay
Preceded by
David Lindsay
Bishop of Brechin
16341635
Succeeded by
Walter Whitford
Preceded by
Andrew Lamb
Bishop of Galloway
16351638
Succeeded by
Vacant
next succeeded by
James Hamilton
Preceded by
Vacant
last preceded by
George Graham
Bishop of Orkney
16611663
Succeeded by
Andrew Honyman