Bishop of Moray

The Bishop of Moray or Bishop of Elgin was the ecclesiastical head of the Diocese of Moray in northern Scotland, one of Scotland's 13 medieval bishoprics. If the foundation charter of the monastery at Scone is reliable, then the Bishopric of Moray was in existence as early as the reign of King Alexander I of Scotland (1107–1124), but was certainly in existence by 1127, when one Gregoir ("Gregorius") is mentioned as "Bishop of Moray" in a charter of king David I of Scotland. The bishopric had its seat (Latin: Cathedra) at Elgin and Elgin Cathedral, but was severally at Birnie, Kinneddar and as late as Bishop Andreas de Moravia at Spynie, where the bishops continued to maintain a palace. The Bishopric's links with Rome ceased to exist after the Scottish Reformation, but continued, saving temporary abolition between 1638 and 1661, under the episcopal Church of Scotland until the Revolution of 1688. Episcopacy in the established church in Scotland was permanently abolished in 1689. The Bishops fortified seat for over 500 years was at Spynie Palace.

List of known bishops of Moray

Tenure Incumbent Notes
fl. x 1114-1127 x 1131Gregoir of Moray
fl. 1152 x 1153-1162William
fl. 1166 x 1171Felix of Moray
1171-1184Simon de Tosny
1187-1203Richard de Lincoln
1203-1222Bricius de DouglasHe was Prior of Lesmahagow before ascending the bishopric of Moray. In this period, the name Bricius is more often a Latinization of the Gaelic names Máel Brigte and Gilla Brigte than a real name; but it is still possible that Bricius was indeed the bishop's real name. He is sometimes called "Bricius of Douglas".
1222-1242Andreas de Moravia
1244–1251Simon de GunbyDean of the cathedral from 1232 until his election as bishop. He was buried in the choir of the cathedral.
el. 1252Radulf of LincolnRadulf was a canon of the Bishopric of Lincoln; all we know about him was that he was elected. How Archibald came to consecrated in 1253 instead of Ralph is not known.
1253-1298ArchibaldHe rebuilt the palace of Kinneddor and made it his main residence. He died in December 1298.
1299-1326David de MoraviaConsecrated at Anagni in Italy on the vigil of the holy apostles Peter and Paul in 1299. He founded the Scots College in Paris by donating the land on which it was built. The foundation confirmed by Charles le Bel, King of France in August 1326.
1326-1362John de PilmuirThe son of a Dundee burgess, he was consecrated by Pope John XXII. He continued what his predecessor began with the Scots College of the University of Paris. Its administration was to remain the responsibility of the Bishops of Moray until the Reformation.
1362-1397Alexander BurConsecrated by Pope Urban V at Avignon in December 1396. Bar suffered at the hands of Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan when Stewart burned the cathedral along with the city's two monasteries, the church of St Giles and the hospital Domus Dei.
1397-1406William de SpynieBefore his consecration by the anti-pope Benedict XIII in 1397, he was the Chantor of Moray. He died on 2 August 1406.
1407-1414John de Innes
1414-1422Henry de Lichton
1422-1435Columba de Dunbar
1436-1460John de Winchester
1460-1462James Stewart
1462-1476David Stewart
1477-1482William Tulloch
1482-1501Andrew Stewart
1501-1514 x 1516Andrew Forman
1516-1524James Hepburn
1525-1527Robert Shaw
nom. 1528Alexander Douglas (elder)Had crown nomination, but failed to obtain consecration because of political circumstances.
1529-1537Alexander Stewart
1538-1573Patrick Hepburn
1573-1589George DouglasTemporalities annexed to the crown after 1587, which were largely granted to Alexander Lindsay, 1st Lord Spynie in 1590, until surrendered back to crown in an arrangement with Bishop Alexander Douglas.
1602-1623Alexander Douglas (younger)
1623-1638John GuthrieEpiscopy abolished on 13 December 1638.
1662–1677Murdoch MacKenzieEpicopy restored in 1661. Became Bishop of Orkney.
1677–1680James AitkenBecame Bishop of Galloway.
1680-1686Colin FalconerPreviously Bishop of Argyll.
1687Alexander RoseBecame Bishop of Edinburgh.
1688William HayThe Revolution of 1688 led to the abolition of Episcopy in Church of Scotland.


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