Biography: Bishop of Ross, historian and conspirator. Born 1527, Kingussie, Inverness-shire. Granted dispensation to become a priest 1539, whilst still a scholar in Moray. Graduated M.A., King's Coll., and became acolyte in the cathedral church there. Inducted to a canonry. Went to France to continue his studies 1549. Read theology, Hebrew and Greek in Paris, then studied canon and civil law at Poitiers for four years. Returned to Paris and gained his doctorate in canon and civil law. Appointed canonist, King's Coll., 1553. Official of Aberdeen, 1558. Made parson, canon and prebendary of Oyne, 1559. Summoned to Edinburgh to dispute with John Knox 1561. Sent to France to counsel Mary, Queen of Scots on her husband's death, 1560, and invite her to return home. Professor of canon law, King's Coll., 1562. Ordinary judge of the Court of Session and privy councillor 1565. Acquired the abbacy of Lindores, Fife, and the bishopric of Ross 1566. Now chief adviser to Mary on ecclesiastical affairs. Travelled to England for Mary's official enquiry at York. Arrested and held prisoner Feb-April 1569 for his role as commissioner to Mary, again in November 1569-May 1570 for involvement in the rising of Catholic earls in Northumberland and Westmorland. Embroiled in the Ridolfi plot 1571, sent to the Tower for refusing to make a full confession. Remained in prison for 18 months. Exiled 1573 by order of Queen Elizabeth. Crossed to France 1574 and tried to ingratiate himself with the French court. Sent as Mary's ambassador to Pope Gregory XIII at Rome 1575. Whilst there, wrote a Latin history of Scotland, published 1578. Travelled back to Paris via Austria and Prague, gathering support for Mary's cause, although captured in Lorraine for a month after being mistaken for the papal legate. Rumoured to be in Dieppe, 1580, waiting to return to Scotland. Appointed suffragan and vicar-general to the archbishop of Rouen. Comprised in an act of pacification after Mary's death in 1587, but this would have required him to give a confession of faith. Translated to the bishopric of Coutances, Normandy 1592 but unable to take up his post due to the unsettled nature of the country. Said to have retired to a monastery near Brussels, where he died and was buried, but this is uncertain.
Biography Date: 1527-96
Biography References: LOC; CERL; DNB; Fasti 29; ESL 42; Drummond 302;
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