Archbishop of Glasgow

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The seal or signet of Jocelin, a Cistercian monk and former Abbot of Melrose, who became one of the most significant bishops of Glasgow.

The Archbishop of Glasgow is an archiepiscopal title that takes its name after the city of Glasgow in Scotland. The position and title were abolished by the Church of Scotland in 1689; and, in the Scottish Episcopal Church, it is now part of the Episcopal bishopric of Glasgow and Galloway. In the Roman Catholic Church, the title was restored by Pope Leo XIII in 1878.

The present Roman Catholic Archbishop is William Nolan, who was installed on 26 February 2022.


The Diocese of Glasgow originates in the period of the reign of David I, Prince of the Cumbrians, but the earliest attested bishops come from the 11th century, appointees of the Archbishop of York. The episcopal seat was located at Glasgow Cathedral. In 1492, the diocese was elevated to an archdiocese by Pope Innocent VIII. After the Scottish church broke its links with Rome in 1560, the archbishopric continued under the independent Scottish church until 1689 when Episcopacy in the established Church of Scotland was finally abolished in favour of Presbyterianism, requiring bishopric continuity to occur in the disestablished Scottish Episcopal Church.

In the following centuries Roman Catholicism slowly began a process of re-introduction, culminating in 1829 with legalisation through the Catholic Emancipation Act. A new papally-appointed archbishopric in the Roman Catholic Church was introduced when the Vicariate Apostolic of the Western District was elevated to archdiocese status on 4 March 1878 on the restoration of the Scottish hierarchy, and then to metropolitan archdiocese status on 25 May 1947.

Pre-Reformation office holders[edit]

Bishops of Glasgow[edit]

Tenure Incumbent Notes
fl. 1055 x 1060 Magswen Name is a corruption of either Magnus or Mac Suein. Said in York sources to have been consecrated by Cynesige, Archbishop of York.
fl. 1055 x 1060–1066 (?) John Scotus Said to have been consecrated by Cynesige; probably the John "the Scot" who later became bishop of Mecklenburg.
fl. 1109 x 1114 Michael of Glasgow
1114 x 1118–1147 John Capellanus
1147–1164 Herbert of Selkirk
1164–1174 Enguerrand (Ingelram)
1174–1199 Jocelin
1199 (Hugh de Roxburgh) Bishop-elect only, he died less than four months after his election.
1199–1202 William de Malveisin Translated to the higher ranking Bishopric of St Andrews in 1202.
1202–1207 (Florence of Holland) Was bishop-elect for five years, but apparently never received consecration.
1207–1232 Walter Capellanus
1232 x 1233–1258 William de Bondington
1259 (Nicholas de Moffat) He travelled to the Holy See to receive consecration; but he did not pay the money requested of him, and his travel companions turned against him. He therefore returned to Scotland unconsecrated, and had to give up the see.
1259–1268 John de Cheam
1268–1270 (Nicholas de Moffat) (again) This time, Nicholas died before consecration.
1270–1271 (William Wishart) He was translated to the higher ranking Bishopric of St Andrews before receiving consecration for Glasgow.
1271–1316 Robert Wishart
el. 1316 x 1317 (Stephen de Dunnideer) Travelled to the Holy See to receive consecration, but the Pope rejected his election under pressure from King Edward II of England; he died at Paris on his return home.
1317 (John de Lindsay) Elected but rejected by the pope; later successfully appointed in 1323
1318–1323 John de Egglescliffe He was provided and consecrated by Pope John XXII, acting in accordance with King Edward II, after rejecting the election of John de Lindesay. As a pro-English appointee, he never took possession of the see, and was translated to the Bishopric of Connor in March 1323.
1323–1334 x 1336 John de Lindsay
1336–1337 John Wishart
1338–1367 William Rae
1367–1387 Walter Wardlaw Created Cardinal by Pope Clement VII of the Avignon Obedience 23 December 1383
1387–1408 Matthew de Glendonwyn In 1391, during the Western Schism, the Roman Pope tried appoint John Framisden to the see, but it was politically unsuccessful.
1408–1425 x 1426 William de Lauder
1426–1446 John Cameron
1447 James Bruce
1447–1454 William Turnbull
1455–1473 Andrew de Durisdeer
1474–1483 John Laing
1483 (George Carmichael) He was never consecrated because the Pope, Pope Sixtus IV rejected his election because he had previously reserved the see for himself.
1483-1492/1508 Robert Blackadder During Robert's episcopate, the Bishopric of Glasgow was elevated to the status of Archbishopric. Thereafter, Robert and his successors would bear the title "Archbishop" instead of merely "Bishop".

Archbishops of Glasgow[edit]

Tenure Incumbent Notes
1483/92-1508 Robert Blackadder During Robert's episcopate, the Bishopric of Glasgow was elevated to the status of Archbishopric. Thereafter, Robert and his successors would bear the title "Archbishop" instead of merely "Bishop".
1508–1523 James Beaton (I.)
1523–1547 Gavin Dunbar
1547–1548 (James Hamilton) Crown nomination in 1547, but rejected by papacy in summer 1548 on grounds of illegitimacy.
1548 (Donald Campbell) Crown nomination in 1548 to papal nuncio, but nuncio died and nomination dropped.
1550–1551 Alexander Gordon
1551–1570 James Beaton (II.) James Beaton was the last Archbishop before the Scottish Reformation. Although there continued to be archbishops of the see, they were no longer part of the Roman Catholic Church.

Post-Reformation office holders[edit]

Church of Scotland succession[edit]

Tenure Incumbent Notes
1571–1572 (John Porterfield)
1573–1581 James Boyd of Trochrig
1581–1585 Robert Montgomerie
1585–1587 William Erskine
1585–1587 Walter Stewart
1598–1603 James Beaton Reinstated to title, style, dignity and benefices of the Archbishopric by King James VI, but "being not of our religion" not to the actual exercise of the office.
1603–1615 John Spottiswoode
1615–1632 James Law
1632–1638 Patrick Lindsay
1638–1661 See temporally abolished.
1661–1664 Andrew Fairfoul First bishop of the Restoration Episcopate.
1664–1669 Alexander Burnet
1671–1674 Robert Leighton
1674–1679 Alexander Burnet (again)
1679–1684 Arthur Rose
1684–1687 Alexander Cairncross
1687–1689 John Paterson Deprived of the temporalities in 1689 when episcopacy was permanently abolished in the Church of Scotland following the Glorious Revolution.

Scottish Episcopal Church succession[edit]

Tenure Incumbent Notes
Archdiocese of Glasgow
1689–1708 John Paterson After the Glorious Revolution, continued as a non-juror until his death.
1708–1724 See vacant
Diocese of Glasgow
1724–1733 Alexander Duncan
1733–1805 See administered by the Bishops of Edinburgh
1805–1809 William Abernethy Drummond Previously Bishop of Edinburgh 1788–1805.
1809–1837 See administered by the Bishops of Edinburgh
Since 1837, the see is part of the united Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway.

Restored Roman Catholic bishopric[edit]

The archdiocese covers an area of 1,165 km2. The Metropolitan See is in the City of Glasgow where the seat is located at the Cathedral Church of Saint Andrew.

(Any dates appearing in italics indicate de facto continuation of office. The start date of tenure below is the date of appointment or succession. Where known, the date of installation and ordination as bishop are listed in the notes together with the post held prior to appointment.)

Tenure Incumbent Notes
Vicariate Apostolic of the Western District
13 February 1827 to 20 September 1832 Bishop Ranald MacDonald, Vicar Apostolic of the Western District Vicar Apostolic of the Highland District; died in office
20 September 1832 to 15 October 1845 Bishop Andrew Scott, Vicar Apostolic of the Western District Coadjutor Vicar Apostolic of the Western District; resigned
15 October 1845 to 15 December 1865 Bishop John Murdoch, Vicar Apostolic of the Western District Coadjutor Vicar Apostolic of the Western District; died in office
15 December 1865 to 4 March 1869 Bishop John Gray, Vicar Apostolic of the Western District Coadjutor Vicar Apostolic of the Western District; resigned
16 April 1869 to 15 March 1878 Archbishop Charles Eyre, Apostolic Administrator of the Western District Apostolic Delegate for Scotland and Titular Archbishop of Anazarbus; became Archbishop of Glasgow on the restoration of the Scottish Hierarchy in 1878
Archdiocese of Glasgow
15 March 1878 to 27 March 1902 Charles Eyre, Archbishop of Glasgow Apostolic Administrator of the Western District, died in office
4 August 1902 to 14 October 1920 John Maguire, Archbishop of Glasgow Auxiliary Bishop of Glasgow, died in office
14 October 1920 to 24 February 1922 Sede vacante
24 February 1922 to 8 December 1943 Donald Mackintosh, Archbishop of Glasgow Priest; ordained 21 May 1922; died in office
6 January 1945 to 25 May 1947 Donald Campbell, Archbishop of Glasgow Bishop of Argyll and the Isles; became Metropolitan Archbishop
Metropolitan Archdiocese of Glasgow
25 May 1947 to 22 July 1963 Donald Campbell, Metropolitan Archbishop of Glasgow Hitherto Archbishop; died in office
29 January 1964 to 23 April 1974 James Scanlan, Metropolitan Archbishop of Glasgow Bishop of Motherwell; retired
23 April 1974 to 17 June 2001 Thomas Winning, Cardinal, Metropolitan Archbishop of Glasgow Previously Auxiliary Bishop of Glasgow; created Cardinal 26 November 1994; Died in office
22 February 2002 to 24 July 2012 Mario Conti, Metropolitan Archbishop of Glasgow Bishop of Aberdeen from 1977, now retired.
8 September 2012 to 13 January 2021 Philip Tartaglia, Metropolitan Archbishop of Glasgow Bishop of Paisley; died in office
13 January 2021 to 26 February 2022 Sede vacante
26 February 2022 to present William Nolan, Metropolitan Archbishop of Glasgow Bishop of Galloway

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Historical successions: Glasgow". Crockford's Clerical Directory. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
  2. ^ Bertie, David M. (2000). Scottish Episcopal Clergy, 1689–2000. Edinburgh: T & T Clark. p. 585. ISBN 0567087468.
  3. ^ "Archdiocese of Glasgow". David M. Cheney. Retrieved 27 July 2012.[self-published source]


  • Dowden, John, The Bishops of Scotland, ed. J. Maitland Thomson, (Glasgow, 1912)
  • Keith, Robert, An Historical Catalogue of the Scottish Bishops: Down to the Year 1688, (London, 1824)
  • Lawrie, Sir Archibald, Early Scottish Charters Prior to A.D. 1153, (Glasgow, 1905)
  • Watt, D. E. R. & Murray, A. L., editors, Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae Medii Aevi Ad Annum 1638, revised edition, Scottish Record Society, Edinburgh, 2003, p. 187–196. ISBN 0-902054-19-8