Archbishop of St Andrews

"Primate of Scotland" redirects here; not to be confused with the president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Scotland or the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church.
Saint Andrew depicted on a coat-of-arms of the burgh, now in the St. Andrews Museum

The Bishop of St. Andrews (Scottish Gaelic: Easbaig Chill Rìmhinn, Scots: Beeshop o Saunt Andras) was the ecclesiastical head of the Diocese of St Andrews and then, as Archbishop of St Andrews (Scottish Gaelic: Àrd-easbaig Chill Rìmhinn), the Archdiocese of St Andrews.

The name St Andrews is not the town or church's original name. Originally it was Cellrígmonaid ("church of the king's mounth" hence Cill Rìmhinn) located at Cennrígmonaid ("head of the king's mounth"); hence the town became Kilrymont (i.e. Cellrígmonaid) in the non-Gaelic orthography of the High Middle Ages). Today St Andrews has replaced both Kilrymont (and variants) as well as the older English term Anderston as the name of the town and bishopric.

The bishopric itself appears to originate in the period 700–900. By the 11th century, it is clear that it is the most important bishopric in Scotland.

List of known abbots

There had been a monastery there since the 8th century. It was probably taken over by Céli Dé monks in the 9th or 10th centuries, and these survive into the 14th century. It is the Gaelic abbey, rather than the continental priory, that the abbot was in charge of; the importance of the Céli Dé abbey has come down into the modern era in the street names of St. Andrews.

Only a few abbots are known. It is often thought that the position of Abbot and Bishop were the same until the Norman era, but clear evidence for this is lacking.

Incumbent Dates Notes
Túathalánd. 747His death in the Annals of Ulster constitutes our first literary evidence of any religious establishment at St. Andrews (then called by the Scoto-Pictish name Cennrigmonaid).
Unknown number of unnamed abbots Probably all the bishops before Fothad II, and perhaps before Turgot, were also abbots of the Céli Dé community.
Gille Crístfl. 1172–1178That he is called abbot is evidence that the Céli Dé community were maintaining their independence from the priory in the period.

List of known bishops

The pre-11th century "bishop of the Scots" may have had no fixed seat before finally settling at St Andrews.

Incumbent Dates Notes
Cellach Ifl. 878–906Bishop during the reign of Giric, and was still bishop in 906.
Fothad Id. 963Bishop during the reign of King Idulb. The Chronicle of the Kings of Alba has his death in the period 962–966. According to the Annals of the Four Masters, he died in 963.
Máel Ísu I955/6–963/4According to Bower, he reigned for 8 years.
Cellach IIfl. 966–971According to Bower, he reigned for 25 years.
Máel Muirefl. late-10th century
Máel Ísu IIfl. late 10th century/early 11th century
Ailínfl. early 11th century
Máel Dúind. 1055The Annals of Tigernach place his death at 1055.
Túathal1055–59The Annals of Tigernach place his predecessor's death at 1055, and Bower tells us he was bishop for 4 years, which makes a bishopric of 1055–59 likely, although it is possible that he did not succeed immediately.
Fothad II1059?–1093He performed the marriage of King Malcolm III of Scotland to Margaret (c. 1070). According to the Annals of Ulster, died in 1093.
Giric1093–1107He appears in Version A of the Foundation Legend of St. Andrews. He is almost certainly the Gregorius mentioned by Bower.
Cathróe1093–1107He is one of four bishops-elect listed by Bower (Giric, Cathróe, Eadmer and Godric). As the list is in chronological order, only Cathróe can have been bishop elect before Turgot, Eadmer being bishop-elect in 1120, after the death of Turgot.
Turgot of Durham1107–1115
Eadmerel. 1120–1121Never consecrated.
Robert of Scone1123/24–1159Previously Prior of Scone.
Ernald1160–1162Abbot Waltheof of Melrose was offered the position before Ernald, but refused it.
Richard the Chaplain1163–1178
Hugh the Chaplain1178–1188Opposed by John the Scot
John Scotus1178–1188Opposed to Bishop Hugh. Never took possession of the see.
Roger de Beaumont1189–1202
Geoffrey de Liberationepostulated 1202Bishop of Dunkeld, his postulation was rejected by the Pope, so he remained at Dunkeld.
William de Malveisin1202–1238Previously Bishop of Glasgow.
David de Bernham1239–1253
Robert de Stutevilleel. 1253not consecrated; never took possession of the see.
Abel de Gullane1254
William Wishart1271–1279
William Fraser1279–1297
William de Lamberton1297–1328
Alexander de Kininmundel. 1328Appears to have been elected but was superseded by John Bane.
James Bane1328–1332
William Bellel. 1332–1342bishop-elect, spent ten years at the papal court, probably without obtaining confirmation
William de Landallis1342–1385
During the Great Schism (1378–1417), Scotland recognized the Pope at Avignon, who recognized the following bishops:
Stephen de Pa1385–1386Not consecrated; never took possession of the see. Was captured by pirates on his way to continental Europe, and kept prisoner in England.
Walter Trail1385–1401
Thomas Stewartel. 1401–1402Never consecrated. He was the bastard son of King Robert II of Scotland, and renounced his rights soon after his election.
Walter de Danielstonel. 1402Not consecrated.
Gilbert de Greenlawpostulated 1403Not consecrated. He had been Bishop of Aberdeen, but Pope Benedict XIII refused to confirm his postulation, and instead appointed Henry Wardlaw.
Henry Wardlaw1403–1440
In opposition, the Pope at Rome appointed the following Bishops, none of whom took possession of their See.
Alexander Nevilletrans. 1388–1392Exiled Archbishop of York, Pope Urban VI appointed him to St. Andrews. Died in 1392.
Thomas Arundeltrans. 1398–1399 Exiled Archbishop of Canterbury, Pope Boniface IX appointed him to St. Andrews before being restored to Canterbury the next year.
John Trevortrans. 1408–1410Formerly Bishop of St. Asaph. Died in 1410.
After the conclusion of the Schism, the Pope recognized the following Bishops.
James Kennedy1440–1465
Patrick Graham1465–1472/8Elevated to Archbishop in 1472.

List of archbishops

The bishopric of St Andrews was elevated into an Archbishopric in 1472 by Pope Sixtus IV. The Scottish church broke with Rome in the Scottish Reformation of 1560.

Incumbent Dates Notes
Patrick Graham1472–1478Deposed for corruption and insanity in 1478.
William Scheves1478–1497Co-adjutor since 1476.
James Stewart, Duke of Ross1497–1504
Alexander Stewart1504–1513Killed at the Battle of Flodden
John Hepburnel. 1513Elect, not accepted by the Pope.
Innocenzo Cybo1513–1514He was the nephew of Pope Leo X, and appointed by the Pope instead of John Hepburn. Owing to lack of support in Scotland, an exchange was made with Archbishop Forman of Bourges.
William Elphinstone1513–1514Received crown nomination and chapter postulation for translation from bishopric of Aberdeen but died without possession on 25 October 1514. It is not known whether or not the Pope would have accepted his translation.
Gavin Douglas1513–1514Received crown nomination after death of Elphinstone; was not accepted by the Pope and became Bishop of Dunkeld instead.
Andrew Forman1514–1521Bishop of Moray, Archbishop of Bourges, obtained St Andrews through exchange with Cibo.
James Beaton1522–1539
David Beaton1539–1546Co-adjutor since 1537.
John Hamilton1547–1571
Gavin Hamilton1571Co-adjutor since 1551.
John Douglas1571–1574
Patrick Adamson1575–1592
George Gledstanes1604–1615
John Spottiswoode1615–1638
Abolition of Episcopacy 1638–1661
James Sharp1661–1679First Archbishop of the Restoration Episcopacy.
Alexander Burnet1679–1684
Arthur Rose1684–1689 (1704)
In 1689, episcopacy was declared abolished in the Church of Scotland, but continued in the Scottish Episcopal Church: see Archbishop of St Andrews (Episcopal Church)
In 1878, the Post-Reformation Roman Catholic hierarchy was established. For the bishops (and their predecessors) of St Andrews in that tradition, see Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh


See also

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