Burnet, Gilbert

Biography: Bishop of Salisbury, historian and theologian. Born Edinburgh, 1643. Educated by his father at Dalkeith and Crimond, Aberdeenshire 1648-52. Sent to Marischal Coll., aged 9, but still lived at home with his strict father as his "chieff tutor". Grad. M.A., 1657, aged 13. Studied at the court of justice in Edinburgh for a year before deciding to study divinity at home til 1661. Licensed to preach by his 18th birthday. Began to read moral philosophy after his father's death. Journeyed to London 1661 after the arrest of his uncle, returned 1663 after his execution. Travelled in Europe 1664. Returned to Scotland and lived with Sir Robert Fletcher, educating his sons. Minister of Saltoun 1665, continued his studies whilst there. Active role in promoting church policy of indulgence 1667-9. Professor of divinity at University of Glasgow, 1669-74. Became engaged in historical writing from 1669. Offered a bishopric 1671, but declined as he felt he was too young. Presented to the king 1673 on a visit to London, made a royal chaplain but struck off again on a visit in 1674 after losing favour. Did not return from his visit to London in 1674. Anxious to prove loyalty to the king through his sermons 1674-5. Chaplain to the Rolls Chapel 1675. Appointed Thursday lecturer at St Clement Danes 1675. Devoted himself to preaching and writing til 1685. Close relationship with leading latitudinarians in London. Wrote a History of the Reformation of the Church of England, published 1679, very successful and well received. D.D., Oxford 1680. Began to study natural philosophy and chemistry 1682. Friends of his implicated in the Rye Plot, which drew the enmity of the king, June 1683. Travelled to France Aug-Nov 1683, on his return discovered he had been removed from his posts at St Clement Danes and the Rolls Chapel. Began work on literary projects. Left England for France again May 1685, shortly before his wife died. Travelled into Switzerland, then Italy for a few months, then back through France, Switzerland, Germany, arrived in the Netherlands in May 1686. Invited to the Hague, where he was in favour with the prince and princess of Orange, although he was dismissed from their court as it enraged James II. Prosecution for high treason launched 1687 (possibly to stop his forthcoming marriage), naturalized by the states of Holland to protect him. Outlawed 1687 and extradition demanded, Holland refused. Chaplain to the prince of Orange, 1688. Sailed for England in the prince's expedition 1688. Served a variety of roles to the prince after the invasion of England. Chosen to preach the coronation sermon of William III and Mary II in April 1689. Appointed royal chaplain and clerk of the royal closet 1689. Appointed Bishop of Salisbury 1689. Wrote A Discourse of the Pastoral Care 1691/2, to encourage dissenters back into the Church. Tutor to the Duke of Gloucester 1698-1700. Out of favour with Queen Anne in 1702. Controversially voted against the Occasional Conformity Bill 1702. Withdrew from society after the death of his third wife in 1709. Preached to George I 1714. Died London, 1715. Left legacies to Marischal Coll., and the parish of Saltoun.

Biography Date: 1643-1715

Biography References: LOC; CERL; DNB;


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