November 6th 1690
The Bishop of DunkeldThe last Bishop of Dunkeld was John Hamilton who succeeded Dr Andrew Bruce in 1686. Dr Bruce had been deposed from office by James 7th (2nd of England) because he had refused to comply with the King’s edict that the penal laws against Catholics should be abolished. He was not alone in this attitude.
Dr Drummond, Bishop of Brechin was first designated as his successor but declined the appointment on the grounds that in his opinion the Bishopric was not vacant. (In other words, that Dr Bruce was still legally Bishop of Dunkeld.)
John Hamilton had no such scruples, though even he had some difficulty in persuading the Dunkeld Chapter to agree to his election. There was great indignation among the members at the removal of Dr Bruce but “one of them threatened the dissenters with a process of treason for questioning the King’s perogative; and there was ane order from the Chancellor to commit any sticklers to prison; so he was elected.”
He had previously enjoyed a somewhat controversial appointment as Minister of South Leith where he fascinated and probably flummoxed the congregation by his high flown oratory. Preaching on the text ‘Oh Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself’, he began “I shall not nibble at niceties, nor ingeminate prolixities, but with the sword of brevity shall cut the Gordian knot of obscurity; and so proceed to give you the genuine purport of this mellifluous and aromatical subject, calculated allenarly for the meridian of that microcosm man.”
His period in office was short, for by 1688 James had fled the country and all the bishops in Scotland were dismissed. He died November 6th 1690.