Seton, Alexander.


Dominican friar and evangelical reformer, was unusual among Scottish Dominicans in having noble parentage, being the son of Sir Alexander Seton of Touch and Tullibody and Elizabeth Erskine, daughter of Thomas, earl of Mar. Recorded in the university rolls of St Andrews as becoming bachelor and licentiate in 1516 and 1518 respectively.

From 1530 to 1533 he was mainly in residence at St Andrews, acting as the prior of the Dominican convent there. Books survive which were in his use in the convent, some with his subscription. His next recorded appearance was in 1536, when he gave a series of Lenten sermons in St Andrews. In his sermon  he attacked the bishops of Scotland, especially for failing to preach, which he argued was essential to their office.He joined the reformers and fled to England c1537. From Berwick he wrote a letter to James V which is a curious mixture of self-defence, bitter recrimination, and accusations that his enemies were blinding the king's judgement.

By July 1539 he was under the patronage of Duke of Suffolk, recanted before Bishop Stephen Gardiner.  Despite his refusal to stand trial in Scotland and his recantation at Paul's Cross, he was remembered and revered by the reformers as a good preacher, and an account of his travails in 1541 was included by Foxe in the Acts and Monuments.

Biography Date: d. 1542

Biography References: ESL 142, Foggie, J.P. Seton, Alexander, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford. 2004.

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