George Wishart (bishop)

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Bishop Wishart Monument (left), Holyrood Abbey.

George Wishart (1599–1671) was a Scottish Anglican bishop and author.[1][2][3]

Wishart was born in Haddington, younger son of John Wishart of Logie-Wishart, educated at the University of St Andrews and ordained in 1625. He was appointed minister at Monifieth, and then at St Andrews. He married Margaret Ogilvy and they had five children.

A strong supporter of episcopacy, he fled to England in 1639, where he received various preferments from Charles I. He played a key part in the defence of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1644 during the Siege of Newcastle during the Bishops' Wars, when the town held out for seven months against the Parliamentary forces, and he was one of the "diehards" who took refuge in the Castle when the town fell. The garrison surrendered on a promise of mercy, which was kept. While most of the garrison were allowed to depart, Wishart was imprisoned for his exploits with the Great Montrose, whose devoted champion and personal friend he was, and of whom he wrote a laudatory biography, published in the Netherlands in 1647. The book was so hostile to Montrose's opponents that the Royalists made half-hearted efforts to suppress it as being too inflammatory. He was freed after the Battle of Kilsyth. He played no part in Montrose's final campaign. In 1650 Montrose was executed[4] with a copy of Wishart's biography of him tied around his neck.[5]

Little is known of his life in the decade after Montrose's death, but he is thought to have spent some time in the Netherlands, and completed a second volume of the Montrose biography. After the Restoration he became the vicar of St Andrew's Church, Newcastle upon Tyne. On 3 June 1662 he was consecrated as Bishop of Edinburgh. He died on 26 July 1671 and was buried at Holyrood Abbey. Little seems to be recorded about his character or personality, apart from his obvious devotion to his friend Montrose. Accusations about his drunkenness and profanity, made by his political opponents, cannot be verified.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "The history of the Church of Scotland : from the Reformation to the present time" Thomas,S: London, John Lendrum, 1843
  2. ^ Stevenson, David. "Wishart, George (1599–1671)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/29794.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. ^ Res gestae (Amsterdam, 1647), published in English as Memoirs of the Most Renowned James Graham, Marquis of Montrose
  4. ^ Rampant Scotland
  5. ^ Family website
Church of Scotland titles
Preceded by
See abolished
Bishop of Edinburgh
1662 –1671
Succeeded by
Alexander Young