Alexander Gordon (bishop of Galloway)

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Alexander Gordon
Bishop of Galloway
In office1559–1575
PredecessorAndrew Durie
SuccessorJohn Gordon
Consecrationdoubtful if ever consecrated [1]
Personal details
Borncirca 1516 [1]
Died11 November 1575 (aged c. 59)
Clary, Penninghame, Wigtonshire, Scotland [1]
DenominationRoman Catholic / Church of Scotland
ParentsJohn Gordon, Lord Gordon and Margaret Stewart
SpouseBarbara Logie
Childrenfive sons and one daughter [2]
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Alexander Gordon (c. 1516–1575) was a 16th-century Scottish churchman who was successively archbishop of Glasgow, titular archbishop of Athens, bishop of the Isles and bishop of Galloway. His father was John Gordon, Lord Gordon and his mother was Margaret Stewart, an illegitimate daughter of James IV of Scotland. He was the brother of George Gordon, 4th Earl of Huntly, the ex-Chancellor of Scotland. He acquired his first ecclesiastic appointment, as administrator of Caithness, despite competition with Robert Stewart, brother of the Earl of Lennox.[3] He was provided and consecrated to the archdiocese of Glasgow in the year 1550. This see was resigned to the pope in 1551, and he was given a pension and the title archbishop of Athens in partibus, along with the commendam of Inchaffray. In 1553, he was translated to the bishopric of the Isles (Sodor) at Iona. In 1559, after the death of the bishop of Galloway, Alexander was translated that bishopric. Alexander became a Protestant, and died on 11 November 1575.

In 1544, Alexander described himself as a servant of Francis I of France, and he was a loyal and well rewarded servant to the Queen Dowager, Mary of Guise. Apart from his ecclesiastical preferments, Guise gave him a yearly pension of £200 on 17 January 1547. The next year Alexander claimed poverty because Robert Stewart had possession of his Caithness rents, but he wrote that he would not tempted by English offers, 'for suppose poverty banish me from your grace's service, riches shall not cause me offend.'[4] Alexander sent Mary of Guise a vivid account of the capture of Ferniehirst Castle from the French in February 1549. He was there in the company of his brother George, Earl of Huntly.[5]

Alexander travelled through England to Scotland with a retinue of 12 followers in April 1553.[6] Alexander preached at the wedding of his niece Jean Gordon to the Earl of Bothwell on 24 February 1566.[7] A year later, Alexander was a signatory to Ainslie's Tavern Band in April 1567, agreeing to the marriage of Mary, Queen of Scots to Bothwell.[8]

John Gordon, future Bishop of Galloway, was the son of Alexander Gordon and his wife Barbara Logie. John seems to have been illegitimate; his parents married, perhaps clandestinely, only in 1546, before Alexander obtained ecclesiastical preferment.[9]


  1. ^ a b c Scott 1928, Fasti Ecclesae Scoticanae, volume 7, p. 343.
  2. ^ Scott 1928, Fasti Ecclesae Scoticanae, volume 7, p. 344.
  3. ^ Cameron, Annie I., ed., Scottish Correspondence of Mary of Lorraine, Scottish History Society, (1927), 12-13, 239-240.
  4. ^ Cameron, Annie I., ed., Scottish Correspondence of Mary of Lorraine, Scottish History Society (1927), 40, 96, 102, 214, 240
  5. ^ Cameron, Annie I., ed., Scottish Correspondence of Mary of Lorraine, SHS (1927), 286-290, 20 Feb. 1549.
  6. ^ Strype, John, Ecclesiastical Memorials, vol 2, part 2, Oxford (1822), 235 (passport from Edward VI).
  7. ^ Calendar State Papers Scotland, vol. 2, Edinburgh (1900), 258.
  8. ^ Wormald, Jenny, Lords and Men in Scotland, John Donald (1985), 406.
  9. ^ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. 2004. Retrieved 2007-05-01.


Religious titles
Preceded by
Gavin Dunbar
Archbishop of Glasgow
Succeeded by
James Beaton II
Preceded by
Roderick MacLean
Bishop of the Isles
Succeeded by
John Campbell
Preceded by
Andrew Durie
Bishop of Galloway
Succeeded by
John Gordon