David Fergusson, Min. of Dunfermline (b. - 1598)

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Death: Died
Managed by: Alisdair Smyth
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About David Fergusson, Min. of Dunfermline

Biographical Summary

"David Fergusson [or Ferguson], said to have been a native of Dundee, though this is not certain. The date of his birth is also conjectural. Spottiswood believed it to be about 1533, while Wodrow suggests ten, or even twenty years earlier, and David Laing thought it could not have been later than 1525. F. was a glover to trade, and though he never attended a university he had a good knowledge of classical languages and had given much study to divinity. Nominated to this charge 19th July 1560, he had Rosyth under his care in 1567, and in 1574 Carnock and Beath, Rosyth being excluded. He was a member of thirty-nine General Assemblies — from 25th June 1563 to 10th May 1597, and in two of these, 6th March 1572 and 24th Oct. 1578, he was Moderator. He had a place on all the important committees of the Church, and assisted the Moderator in arranging the business of the Assemblies — a position analogous to a modern Convener of the Business Committee. He was one of the mins. who attended the Regent Earl of Morton at his execution, 2nd June 1581. In 1576, and again in 1582, he was app. Visitor or Commissioner for various districts in establishing kirks and settling mins. He was frequently selected as intermediary when the Assembly wished to communicate matters of importance to the King, and he did not hesitate to admonish King James " to beware of innovations in Court, to try reports before credit was given to them, and to put him in remembrance of Holt, the English Jesuit." "He jocularly said that Fergus was the first King of Scotland, and that he was Fergus - son ; but, recognising that King James had the possession, and was 'an honest man,' he would give him his right." By his tact and ready wit he was able to calm the more turbulent spirits, and upon one occasion he so effected a conciliation that when the mins. departed the King " laid his hands [shook hands] upon every one of them." At a meeting of Synod at Cupar, Feb. 1597-8, F. (then the oldest min. in Scotland) strongly opposed a proposal for giving mins. a vote in parliament, comparing it to a "busking up of the brave horse for the overthrow of Troy." He died Father of the Church 23rd Aug. 1598. He is described as "a good preacher, wise, and of jocund and pleasant disposition." He had a remarkable knowledge of the Scottish vernacular, and many of his sayings lingered long in the speech of the people. A portrait of him painted on timber in a small oval, and presented by John Row to the Univ. Library, Edinburgh, cannot now be traced. He marr. Isobel Durham, and had issue —

  • Margaret, bapt. 31st May 1562 (marr. David Spens, min. of Kirkcaldy)
  • William, physician, Dundee, bapt. 10th Sept. 1564, died 25th March 1627
  • Patrick, bapt. 23rd June 1566
  • Robert, bapt. 3rd Oct. 1568
  • Janet, bapt. 24th Sept. 1570 (marr. April 1598, David Ramsay)
  • David, bapt. 21st Jan. 1572-3
  • John, bapt. 19th May 1574
  • Grisel, bapt. 15th Feb. 1575-6 (marr. John Row, min. of Carnock)
  • Isobel, bapt. 24th Feb. 1579-80."

SOURCE: Fasti ecclesiae scoticanae: the succession of ministers in the Church of Scotland from the reformation, Vol. V, page 26

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