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John Spottiswoode

Birthdate: (75)
Birthplace: London, Middlesex, England
Death: December 5, 1585 (75)
Immediate Family:

Son of William Spottiswoode and Elizabeth Spottiswoode of Forsonee
Husband of Beatrix Spottiswoode
Father of John Spottiswoode, Archbishop of St. Andrews and Dr. James Spottiswoode, Bishop of Glogher
Brother of David Spottiswoode
Half brother of Barbara Haig

Managed by: James Hutchison
Last Updated:

About John Spottiswoode

JOHN SPOTTISWOOD, superintendent of Lothian, descended from an ancient family of that name in the Merse, as above shown, was born in 1510. He was scarcely four years of age when his father was slain at Flodden. In June 1534 he was entered a student at the university of Glasgow, where he applied himself chiefly to the study of divinity, and took the degree of M.A. Having imbibed the doctrines of the Reformation, and perceiving the danger of professing them openly, he went to England in 1538, and at London was introduced to Archbishop Cranmer, by whom he was admitted into holy orders. In January 1543, on the return of the Scots nobles who had been taken prisoners at Solway Moss, he came back to Scotland, in company of the earl of Glencairn, with whom he resided for several years. In 1544 he was employed by the young earl of Lennox in a private mission to the English court, relative to his marriage with the Lady Margaret Douglas, niece of Henry VIII., in which he was successful. In 1547 he was presented to the parsonage of Calder, by Sir James Sandilands, afterwards the first Lord Torphichen, a zealous promoter of the Reformation. IN 1558 he accompanied Lord James Stewart, afterwards the Regent Murray, and the other parliamentary commissioners, to Paris, to witness the marriage of the young Queen Mary to the dauphin of France. On the establishment of the Presbyterian religion in Scotland, he was one of the six ministers appointed by the lords of the congregation to prepare the First Book of Discipline, and he also assisted in framing the old Confession of Faith. When ecclesiastical superintendents were, in July 1560, placed over the different districts, Mr. Spottiswood was appointed to superintend the counties of Lothian, Berwick, and Teviotdale; and to this office he was formally admitted in the following March. On this occasion John Knox presided and preached the sermon. In all the public proceedings of the church he now bore an active part, and on the birth of James VI. in June 1566, he was sent by the General Assembly to congratulate Queen Mary on the auspicious event, and to desire that the prince “might be baptized according to the form used in the Reformed church.” He was graciously received by her majesty, who commanded that the child should be brought and placed in his arms, on which, kneeling down, he offered up a prayer for the young prince’s happiness and prosperity. Although the queen was much touched by this affecting incident, she did not comply with the request of the Assembly. At the coronation of the young king, at Stirling, 29th July 1567, the crown was placed upon his head by the superintendents of Lothian and Angus, and the bishop of Orkney. On the escape of Queen Mary from Lochleven, in May 1568, he published an admonition, addressed to all within his bounds, declaring that that “wicked woman, whose iniquity, knowen and lawfully convict, deserveth more than ten deaths,” had been most justly deposed, and denouncing and warning all Protestants against assisting her cause. In Calderwood’s ‘Historie of the Kirk of Scotland,’ (vol. ii. p. 476,) it is stated, that in the General Assembly which met 25th February 1568, “Mr. Johne Spotswod, superintendent of Lothiane, was delated for slacknesse in visitatiouns, &c. He alledged non-payment of his stipend for three years bypast; and that diverse times he had exhibited to the justice-clerk the names of haynous offenders, but could fine no execution.” In 1574 he and the superintendents of Angus and Strathearn demitted their offices, but the Assembly did not accept of the same, but continued them. At the next Assembly he again gave in his demission, “partly because he was unable to travel, partly because he received no stipend.” He was again requested to continue in the office, and at the Assembly which met at Edinburgh 24th April 1576, he was complained upon for having inaugurated the bishop of Ross in the abbey of Holyrood-house, after being admonished by his brethren not to do it. He admitted his fault. In a subsequent Assembly, that of the 10th October 1583, the synod of Lothian craved that the Assembly take order with Mr. John Spottiswoode for setting the tack of his benefice, without consent of the Assembly. His health had for some time been impaired, which rendered him unable to overtake the active superintendence of the churches in his extensive district, and as he had for several years received no stipend or remuneration for his labours, on 16th December 1580, a pension was granted to him and his second son for three years of £45 9s. 6d., besides an allowance for grain, and this grant was renewed, November 26, 1583, for five years. He died December 5, 1585, in his 76th year.

John, second son of William Spottiswoode, of that ilk, No. VI of this genealogy, was born 1509, and, though young at his father's death, had a liberal education, and passed his course at the College of Glasgow, where he took his degrees of Master of Arts, and Doctor of Divinity. He was a man of great learning and piety. Theology having been his chief study, he became a great ornament to the church of Scotland. See Spotswood's Church History/, etc. He took great pains in promoting the interest of the reformation. He married Beatrix, daughter of Patrick Crichton, by whom he had two sons and one daughter :

1, John, his heir, afterwards archbishop of St. Andrews 2, Doctor James, of whom, immediately. His only daughter married .... Tennant, of Lynch House, in East Lothian. Doctor James Spottiswoode, 2d son of John, No. VII, was born 1567. He had a regular education at the University of Glasgow, and made great application to his studies. In the year 1589 he was appointed one of the gentlemen ushers, and attended the king, James I, in his voyage to Denmark. Became a great favorite at court. In 1603 he accompanied his majesty into England : entered into holy orders there, and that same year, had the rectory of AYells, in Norfolk, bestowed upon him. He was afterwards promoted to the bishopric of Cloglier, in Ireland, 1621, where he continued till the troubles of king Charles the first's time obliged him to return to London, in 164^. He died there, in 1644 ; was interred in Westminster Abbe}^, near his father, the chancellor. By his 1st wife, a relation of the family of Norfolk, he had two sons and one daughter.

1, Henry, afterwards Sir Henry 2, Richard Spottiswoode of Drumcote : his daughter was married to Archibald, son of Sir James Erskine. His eldest son. Sir Henry, had the honor of knighthood conferred upon him, when a young man, by King James VI. He married Jean, daughter of Tristram Bulkley, Esq., of Castle Farm-Hill, in Anglesey, by whom he had several sons, whose posterity still exists in Ireland, where they are possessed of opulent fortunes. His daughter Jean was married 1st to George Hay, Esq., a younger son of John Hay, of Barra, clerk register, and had issue. She was married 2d, to James Sinclair of Roslin, to whom she also had issue.

John, father of Doctor James, who died anno 1685, in the 76th year of his age, and was succeeded hy his eldest son

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John Spottiswoode's Timeline

London, Middlesex, England
Age 55
Mid Calder, West Lothian, UK
September 7, 1567
Age 57
Calder, Scotland
December 5, 1585
Age 75