William Colvill

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For the American Civil War colonel, see William J. Colvill.

William Colvill, sometimes spelt William Colville[1] (died 1675) was a Scottish clergyman and scholar and was the Principal of the University of Edinburgh from 1662 to 1675.


Colvill was educated at the University of St Andrews and left with an MA in 1631.[2] Colvill had originally been elected Principal of the University in 1652 on the death of John Adamson. However at this time, Colvill was minister of the English church at Utrecht, and it is thought that there was some obstruction on the part of Cromwell's Government that prevented him from taking possession of the office. Therefore, the position was declared vacant again on 17 January 1653, with Dr Robert Leighton being elected Principal instead. However, since Colvill had already given in his demission to his church and left the Netherlands, he was allowed a year’s stipend for his trouble and expense.

When Leighton became Bishop of Dunblane in 1662, Colvill - having since returned to Scotland - finally became Principal.

Colvill was the author of a work entitled Ethica Christiana, which was in considerable repute in those days.


  1. ^ Colville
  2. ^ "William Colville (d. 1675)". The University of Edinburgh.


External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Robert Leighton
Principals of the University of Edinburgh
Succeeded by
Andrew Cant