William Chisholm (I)

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William Chisholm (called I in some biographies; c. 1498[1] – December 1564) was a British divine, and bishop of Dunblane.


He was the second son of Edmund Chisholm of Cromlix, near Dunblane, a son of Chisholm of that ilk in Roxburghshire, and half-brother of James Chisholm, who was bishop of Dunblane from 1486 to 1527, when he resigned his see, with the consent of Pope Clement VII and King James V, in favour of his nephew William Chisholm (II).

William Chisholm was consecrated bishop at Stirling on 14 April 1527, but James continued to administer the affairs and receive the income of the see until his death in 1534. Chisholm seems to have been a man of immoral character, and a nepotist, for, being an adversary of the Reformation, he alienated nearly all the property of the bishopric of Dunblane to his relations.[2]

Most of it he gave to his nephew, Sir James Chisholm of Cromlix; and large portions also to his illegitimate son, James Chisholm of Glassengall, who married Joan, daughter of Sir John Drummond of Innerpeffray, and to his two illegitimate daughters, who were married respectively to Sir James Stirling of Keir and to John Buchanan of that ilk. His daughter Jean, who married Sir James Stirling of Keir, is said in an old genealogy of the Drummonds, quoted by Fraser in his "Stirlings of Keir", to have been the daughter of the bishop by Lady Jean Grahame, daughter of the Earl of Montrose, and in the same book are contained many grants of land from the bishop to this daughter and her husband.[2]

One of the Lords of the Congregation, the Earl of Arran, looted the Bishop's palace and carried him and his valuables to Stirling Castle on 9 November 1559.[3]

He died on 14 or 15 December 1564 and was succeeded in the bishopric of Dunblane by his nephew, William Chisholm (II) of the family of Cromlix, who had been appointed his coadjutor in 1561.[2]


  1. ^ Miscellany of the Scottish History Society, vol. 9, 'Report of De la Brosse and D'Oysel', 103, said to be about 60 in 1559.
  2. ^ a b c Stephens 1887.
  3. ^ Alexander Laing, "An incident in the reformation" (PDF). , Proceedings Society Antiquaries Scotland, vol. 11 (1874-6), 517-525,

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainStephens, Henry Morse (1887). "Chisholm, William (d.1564)". In Stephen, Leslie. Dictionary of National Biography. 10. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 


  • Keith, Robert, An Historical Catalogue of the Scottish Bishops: Down to the Year 1688, (London, 1824), pp. 179–80

Religious titles
Preceded by
James Chisholm
Bishops of Dunblane
Succeeded by
William Chisholm (II)