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John Wedderburn


c.1500 - 1556

Divine and minor poet. Born in Dundee, the son of a prosperous merchant. Wedderburn was educated at the University of St. Andrews, graduating in 1528. Wedderburn became a priest but, having written against the established church, was accused of heresy in 1539. He had to flee to Germany where he was greatly attracted by the Lutheran reformers. He returned to Scotland in the more tolerant times which followed the death of King James V (1512-42).

He is best known for the Compendious Book of Psalms and Spiritual Songs, produced with the assistance of his brothers James (1495 - 1553) and Robert (c.1510-56), which included Lutheran hymns and a collection of anti-Catholic poems and songs called the Gude and Godlie Ballates.

This work was too controversial and he was forced to flee once again, this time to England, where he died.


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