George Gleig

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This article is about the bishop and Primus. For his son the soldier, priest and chaplain-general, see George Gleig (priest).

George Gleig (12 May 1753 – 9 March 1840) was a Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church.


He was born at Boghall, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, the son of a farmer. At the age of thirteen he entered King's College, University of Aberdeen, where the first prize in mathematics and physical and moral sciences fell to him. In his twenty-first year he took orders in the Scottish Episcopal Church, and was ordained to the pastoral charge of a congregation at Pittenweem, Fife, whence he removed in 1790 to Stirling. He became a frequent contributor to the Monthly Review, the Gentleman's Magazine, the Anti-Jacobin Review and the British Critic.[1]

He also wrote several articles for the third edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, and on the death of the editor, Colin Macfarquhar, in 1793, was engaged to edit the remaining volumes. Among his principal contributions to this work were articles on Instinct, Theology and Metaphysics. The two supplementary volumes were mainly his own work.[1]

He was twice chosen bishop of Dunkeld, but the opposition of Bishop Skinner, afterwards Primus of Scotland, rendered the election on both occasions ineffectual. In 1808 he was consecrated assistant and successor to the bishop of Brechin, in 1810 was preferred to the sole charge, and in 1816 was elected Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, in which capacity he greatly aided in the introduction of many useful reforms, in fostering a more catholic and tolerant spirit, and in cementing a firm alliance with the sister Church of England. He died at Stirling.[1]

Besides various sermons, Gleig was the author of Directions for the Study of Theology, in a series of letters from a bishop to his son on his admission to holy orders (1827); an edition of Thomas Stackhouse's History of the Bible (1817); and a life of Robertson the historian, prefixed to an edition of his works. See Life of Bishop Gleig, by the Rev. W. Walker (1879). Letters to Alexander Henderson[disambiguation needed] of Edinburgh and John Douglas, bishop of Salisbury, are in the British Museum.[1]

His third and only surviving son, George Robert, was a noted soldier and chaplain.



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Religious titles
Preceded by
John Skinner
Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church
Succeeded by
James Walker (bishop)