Michael Russell (bishop of Glasgow and Galloway)

Michael Russell (1781–1848) was the first Bishop of Glasgow and Galloway[1] from 1837 to his death in 1848.[2][3]


He was the eldest son of John Russell of Edinburgh. Matriculating at the University of Glasgow November 1800, he graduated M.A. in 1806. He was then appointed second master of Stirling grammar school; but, having become a convert to the Scottish Episcopal Church, he resigned the post and opened a school of his own.[4]

In 1808 Russell was admitted into deacon's orders, and ordained to the charge of a small congregation in Alloa; he continued with his school until his appointment in the autumn of the following year to the charge of St. James's Chapel, Leith. In 1831 he was made dean of the diocese of Edinburgh, and on 8 October 1837 he was ordained bishop of Glasgow and Galloway, on the separation of the diocese from Edinburgh and St. Andrews. The religious opinions of Russell were liberal enough to cause his orthodoxy to be questioned.[4]

Russell was active on behalf of the bill passed in 1840 removing religious disabilities from Scottish episcopalians. In 1820 he received the degree of LL.D. from the University of Glasgow, and in 1842 the University of Oxford conferred on him the diploma degree of D.C.L., for which he was admitted a member of St John's College.[4]

Russell died suddenly on 2 April 1848, and was buried at Restalrig. A marble slab was erected to his memory in St. James's episcopal chapel, Leith.[4]


Russell was a prolific author. He was a contributor to the Encyclopædia Metropolitana and the British Critic, and he was for some time editor of the Scottish Episcopal Review and Magazine. To the Edinburgh Cabinet Library he contributed volumes on Palestine, 1831, Ancient and Modern Egypt, 1831, Nubia and Abyssinia, 1833, The Barbary States, 1835, Polynesia, 1842, and Iceland, Greenland, and the Faroe Isles, 1850. For Constable's Miscellany he wrote a life of Oliver Cromwell (1829, 2 vols.).[4]

Besides sermons and charges, Russell was also the author of:[4]

He published an edition of Robert Keith's Scottish Bishops (1824), and edited Archbishop John Spotiswood's History of the Church of Scotland for the Bannatyne Club and the Spotiswood Society jointly (1847 and 1851).[4]


  1. ”Scottish Episcopal Clergy, 1689-2000” Bertie, D.M: Edinburgh T & T Clark ISBN 0-567-08746-8
  2. Electric Scotland
  3. "The Continuing City: a sermon preached after the funeral of the Right Rev. Michael Russell, Bishop of Glasgow and Galloway (Edinburgh, 1848) > British Library website accessed 21:53 20 December 2010
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7  Lee, Sidney, ed. (1897). "Russell, Michael". Dictionary of National Biography. 49. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
Anglican Communion titles
Preceded by
Inaugural appointment
Bishop of Glasgow and Galloway
1837 1848
Succeeded by
Walter John Trower

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Lee, Sidney, ed. (1897). "Russell, Michael". Dictionary of National Biography. 49. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 

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