John Howie (biographer)

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John Howie (14 November 1735 – 5 January 1793)[1] was a Scottish biographer.

He was an East Renfrewshire farmer from Lochgoin, who claimed descent from an Albigensian refugee.[1] His family home at Lochgoin Farm was a noted refuge for Covenanters, and was subject to several searches by government soldiers. The farmhouse was rebuilt in the 18th century, with the date 1187 on a lintel marking when the Howies first settled there. Several relics were kept in what has become a small museum, and in 1896 a stone obelisk was erected nearby as a monument "in memory of John Howie, author of the Scots Worthies". It now lies within the area of Whitelee Wind Farm and has track access from the visitor centre.[2]

Monument, and site of Lochgoin Farm
Inscription on the obelisk


Howie wrote Lives of the Protestant worthies of Scotland from Patrick Hamilton, the first martyr, under the title of Biographia Scoticana.[3] first published in 1775. It became a classic of Scottish Church History. He revised and enlarged the work, 1781-5, and this edition was reissued, with notes by William McGavin, in 1827. In 1870 the Rev. William Henderson Carslaw revised Howie's text and published it, with illustrations and notes, and a short biographical introduction; and in 1876 a further illustrated edition appeared, with biographical notice compiled from statements made by Howie's relatives, and an introductory essay by Dr. Robert Buchanan.[1]

A Collection of Lectures and Sermons by Covenanting Clergymen was issued by Howie in 1779, with an introduction by himself. He edited in 1780 Michael Shields's Faithful Contendings Display'd, an account of the Church of Scotland between 1681 and 1691. He also wrote on the Lord's Supper, patronage, and other topics, and prefaced and annotated other religious works.[1]

The Lives in Biographia Scoticana (2nd edition)[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d  Lee, Sidney, ed. (1891). "Howie, John". Dictionary of National Biography. 28. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 
  2. ^ "Lochgoin Farmhouse And Monument To John Howie". Canmore. 1956-08-23. Retrieved 2016-11-27. 
  3. ^ Biographia Scoticana : or, A brief account of the lives, characters and memorable transactions of the most eminent Scots worthies, noblemen, gentlemen, ministers, and others, from Mr Patrick Hamilton ... to Mr James Renwick ...; Together with a succinct account of the lives of other seven eminent divines ...; As also, an appendix, containing a short historical hint of the wicked lives and miserable deaths of some of the most remarkable apostates and bloody persecutors in Scotland, from the Reformation to the Revolution.
  4. ^ John Howie, Biographia Scoticana (Scots Worthies): A Brief Historical Account of the Lives, Characters, and Memorable Transactions of the Most Eminent Scots Worthies (1781, 2nd edition);

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainCousin, John William (1910). A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature. London: J. M. Dent & Sons. Wikisource  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainLee, Sidney, ed. (1891). "Howie, John". Dictionary of National Biography. 28. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 

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