James Melville, Min. of Kilrenny (1556 - 1614)

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Death: Died
Managed by: Alisdair Smyth
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About James Melville, Min. of Kilrenny

Biographical Summary

James Melvill [or Melville], born 26th July 1556, son of Richard M. of Baldovie, min. of Maryton, and Isobeil Scrymgeour, and nephew of Andrew M. ; educated privately, and at Univs. of St Andrews, B.A. (9th Feb. 1572), and Glasgow; became regent in St Andrews Univ. and assistant to his uncle Andrew M., Professor of Greek there ; app. Professor of Hebrew and Oriental Languages there in 1580 ; ord. to Anstruther 17th Nov. 1586 ; was clerk to the " Convention of the maist wacryff and cearfull of the breithrin " Jan. 1588 ; was elected Moderator of the General Assembly 17th June 1589 ; app. by Privy Council one of four Commissioners for Preservation of the True Religion in the Sheriffdom of Pife ; removed here 6th Oct. 1590 ; pres. to the vicarage by James VI. before 21st March 1592 ; coll. 12th April 1593. In the public affairs of the church he took a deep interest, and had powerful influence among his brethren, so that the King, to whom he had proved himself serviceable, strongly wished him to support the measures of Church polity which were in contemplation for subverting Presbyterianism and establishing Episcopacy in its place. All the efforts of royalty proved unavailing to that effect, and were only the means of rousing M. to greater decision. He strenuously supported the brethren condemned and banished for holding the Assembly at Aberdeen in 1605, and signed the Protest to Parliament with forty-one others, 1st July 1606, against the introduction of Episcopal government. In the same year, he was one of eight mins. called by the King to London, where he remained till 10th May 1606, when he was ordered to confine himself to Newcastle. Five months after, his friend and parishioner. Sir William Anstruther, authorised by the King, made him an offer of a bishopric, which he refused. The elders of Kilrenny petitioned for his release Feb. 1608, and again July 1609, without avail. He was removed in 1610 to Berwick - upon - Tweed. Further solicitations were made for him by his parishioners, and again renewed in 1611 and 1612. Under the anxiety and grief he felt for the state of the Church, his health declined and he died at Berwick-upon-Tweed 20th Jan. 1614, where a tablet was erected to his memory 20th Jan. 1914. Calderwood says, "He was one of the wisest directoures of Kirk affairs that our Kirk had in his tyme, and was ever employed by the General Assemblies and other publick meetings. He acted his part so gravelie, so wiselie, so calmlie, that the adverserie could gett no vantage." "Though gentle and not easily provoked, he possessed great sensibility, could vindicate himself with spirit, and testified an honest indignation at whatever was base and unprincipled, especially in the conduct of men of his own profession." He marr.

(1) 1st May 1583, Elizabeth (died about 1610), daugh. of John Durie, min. of Edinburgh, and had issue —

  • Ephraim, min. of Pittenweem ;
  • Andrew, born 9th July 1586, died 1588;
  • Andrew, born Aug. 1588, died before Jan. 1614 ;
  • Margaret, born 28th Aug. 1593, died in infancy ;
  • John, min. of Newton, born 27th March 1595 ;
  • Isabella Anna, born 1597-8

(2) before July 1612, Deborah, daugh. of Richard Gierke, B.A., vicar of Berwick-upon-Tweed ; she survived him.

SOURCE: Fasti ecclesiae scoticanae: the succession of ministers in the Church of Scotland from the reformation, Vol. V, page 212

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James Melville, Min. of Kilrenny's Timeline

1556
July 26, 1556
1585
January 15, 1585
Age 28
1595
March 27, 1595
Age 38
1614
January 20, 1614
Age 57
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