Alexander Pitcairn, Min. of Dron

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Alexander Pitcairn, Min. of Dron

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Dreghorn, Ayrshire, , Scotland
Death: Died in Scotland
Immediate Family:

Son of Alexander Andrew Pitcairn, Min. of Tannadice and Lucrece Cairncross
Husband of Janet Clark and Rachel Adam
Father of David Pitcairn of Dreghorn; Alexander Pitcairn, Min. of Kilmany; Joseph Pitcairn, Min. of Newburgh and Anna Pitcairn

Managed by: Angus Wood-Salomon
Last Updated:

About Alexander Pitcairn, Min. of Dron

The new 2004 Oxford Dictionary of National Biography records:

"Pitcairne, Alexander (d. 1695), Church of Scotland minister and college head, was the son of Alexander Pitcairne, minister of Tannadice, Forfarshire, and Lucrece Cairncross. He matriculated at St Salvator's College, St Andrews, in February 1639 and graduated MA in 1643. On 31 March 1645 he married Janet Clark of St Andrews. They had four children: David (d. 1709); Alexander, later minister of Kilmany, Fife; George (d. 1744), later commissary of Dunkeld; and Lucretia. In February 1648 Pitcairne returned to take up the post of regent in his alma mater. Here he remained until December 1656. Having been called to the pastorate of Dron parish church in Perthshire in October that year, he was ordained and inducted to the charge on 24 December.

Pitcairne's conscientious commitment to presbyterianism, which he had solemnly sworn to uphold in his ordination vows, made him a target of both the ecclesiastical and secular authorities after the Restoration and the reinstitution of Erastian episcopacy. On 11 June 1662 he was deprived of his living by an act of parliament, which injunction was reinforced by the privy council on 1 October that same year. However, the apparent support of his parishioners and the tacit connivance of Robert Leighton, the bishop of Dunblane, in whose diocese Dron was situated, ensured that repeated attempts to remove him proved fruitless. Leighton in particular appears to have admired Pitcairne for his personal and theological integrity and his scholarly erudition. His earliest and best-known work, The spiritual sacrifice, or, A treatise … concerning the saint's communion with God in prayer, which he dedicated to Viscountess Stormont, was first published in two volumes by Robert Brown in Edinburgh in 1664. A single-volume edition was also published in London that year. His Compendiaria et perfacilis physiologia idea Aristotelicae … unacum anatome Cartesianisimi, a treatise discussing the ideas of Aristotle and Descartes, which he dedicated to the renowned philosopher and scientist Robert Boyle, was published at London in 1676. Although Bishop James Ramsey of Dunblane did not share his predecessor's eirenicism and initiated synodical proceedings to censure Pitcairne in October 1678, it was only after the introduction of the Test Act in August 1681 and a sustained resolve to oust him from Dron that he was finally forced out of his incumbency. In May 1682 an attempt to replace him with John Taylor as minister provoked a riot, which in turn provided a suitable pretext for sending in troops under the auspices of the marquess of Atholl to eject him forcibly.

Before 1678 Pitcairne's wife, Janet, died and he married Mary Anderson. It is not clear whether she was living, and accompanied him, when he fled Scotland and settled in the more amenable environment of the Netherlands in the company of other notable Presbyterian exiles. While there he appears to have written his Harmonia evangelica apostolorum Pauli et Jacobi in doctrina de justificatione, which was published at Rotterdam in 1685 and dedicated to James Dalrymple, first Viscount Stair. His name is also inscribed on the top of the manuscript of The faithfull pastor his sad lamentation over, heart-renting challenge and dreadfull thunders against, sharp reproof of, and seasonable warning to his apostate-flock (1687). This suggests that it was he who translated and prepared for publication this 'letter written by a French minister' admonishing backsliders from the faith.

Pitcairne returned home after the passing of the Toleration Act in 1687, and was eventually restored to his former charge by act of parliament on 25 April 1690 after the re-establishment of presbyterianism in the revolution of 1688. In January 1691 he successfully petitioned the privy council for restitution of financial losses incurred by his earlier removal from the parish. He was appointed provost of St Salvator's College, St Andrews, at the invitation of King William in January 1691 and elevated to the principalship of St Mary's College some two years later. Probably in the early 1690s he married his third wife, Rachel, the daughter of Colin Adams, minister of Anstruther Easter. They had five children together: Joseph, who became minister of Newburgh; Andrew (d. 1737); Rachel (b. 1695), who married Alexander Spence of Berryhill; Jean; and Annie, who married Walter Wilson, minister of Kilconquhar. Pitcairne died at St Andrews in September 1695."

A. S. Wayne Pearce

Sources :

Fasti Scot., new edn, 4.202 · DNB · R. Wodrow, The history of the sufferings of the Church of Scotland from the Restoration to the revolution, ed. R. Burns, 4 vols. (1839-41) · Reg. PCS, 3rd ser., vols. 15-16 · Register of the diocesan synod of Dunblane

© Oxford University Press 2004-6

http://www.oxforddnb.com/index/101022321/

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The Fasti (Synod of , Presbytery of , Parish of ) records:-

"ALEXANDER PITCAIRN, born 1622, son of Alexander P., min. of Tannadice ; educated at Univ. of St Andrews ; M.A. (1643) ; became Regent in the Old College, St Andrews, Feb. 1648; called in Oct., ord. and adm. 24th Dec. 1656; though deprived by Act of Parliament llth June, and Decreet of Privy Council 1st Oct. 1662, he continued, through connivance, it is said, of Robert Leighton, Bishop of Dunblane, till after 12th Oct. 1680, when he was probably deprived on account of the Test. He had been "an eyesore to the Episcopal clergy," and had withstood many citations and summonses of removal, until turned out by John, Marquess of Atholl. He took refuge in Holland and returned at the Toleration in 1687 ; was restored by the Act of Parliament 25th April 1690; promoted to be Provost of St Salvator s College, St Andrews, 1691; Principal of St Mary s in 1693; died Sept. 1695, aged about 73. He marr. (1) 31st March 1645, Janet Clark, St Andrews, and had issue David of Dreghorn, died 27th Jan. 1709 ; Alexander, min. of Kilmany ; George, Commissary of Dunkeld, born 1675, died 1744 ; Lucretia : (2) before 1678, Mary Anderson : (3) Rachel, daugh. of Colin Adams, min. of Anstruther Easter, and had issue Joseph, min. of Newburgh ; Andrew, died 1737; Rachel, born 1695 (marr. Alexander Spence of Berryhill) ; Jean ; Annie (marr. Walter Wilson, min. of Kilconquhar).

Publications: The Spiritual Sacrifice; or a Treatise concerning the Saints Communion with <!od in Prayer (Edinburgh, 1664); Compendiaria et perfacilis Physiologic idea Aristotelicw una cum Anatome Cartesianismi (London, 1676) ; Harmonia Evanyelica Apostolorum Pauli et Jacoli in doctrina de Justificatione (Rotterdam, 1685). [Hist, of the Fife Pitcairns, 464; Lament s Diary, 98; Fife Sas., ix., 123 ; Brodie s Diary ; Dict. Nat. Biog.]

http://worldconnect.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=maclaren&id=I21554

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Biographical Summary

"Alexander Pitcairn, born 1622, son of Alexander P., min. of Tannadice ; educated at Univ. of St Andrews; M.A. (1643); became Regent in the Old College, St Andrews, Feb. 1648; called in Oct., ord. and adm. 24th Dec. 1656; though deprived by Act of Parliament 11th June, and Decreet of Privy Council 1st Oct. 1662, he continued, through connivance, it is said, of Robert Leighton, Bishop of Dunblane, till after 12th Oct. 1680, when he was probably deprived on account of the Test. He had been "an eyesore to the Episcopal clergy," and had withstood many citations and summonses of removal, until turned out by John, Marquess of Atholl. He took refuge in Holland and returned at the Toleration in 1687 ; was restored by the Act of Parliament 25th April 1690 ; promoted to be Provost of St Salvator's College, St Andrews, 1691; Principal of St Mary's in 1693; died Sept. 1695, aged about 73. He marr.

(1) 31st March 1645, Janet Clark, St Andrews, and had issue —

  • David of Dreghorn, died 27th Jan. 1709 ;
  • Alexander, min. of Kilmany ;
  • George, Commissary of Dunkeld, born 1675, died 1744 ;
  • Lucretia

(2) before 1678, Mary Anderson

(3) Rachel, daugh. of Colin Adams, min. of Anstruther Easter, and had issue —

  • Joseph, min. of Newburgh;
  • Andrew, died 1737;
  • Rachel, born 1695 (marr. Alexander Spence of Berryhill) ;
  • Jean ;
  • Annie (marr. Walter Wilson, min. of Kilconquhar)."

SOURCE: Fasti ecclesiae scoticanae: the succession of ministers in the Church of Scotland from the reformation, Vol. IV, page 202

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Alexander Pitcairn, Min. of Dron's Timeline

1622
1622
Dreghorn, Ayrshire, , Scotland
1645
March 21, 1645
Age 23
1648
November 28, 1648
Age 26
Dreghorn, Ayrshire, , Scotland
1650
1650
Age 28
1674
1674
Age 52
1695
September 1695
Age 73
Scotland
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