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Gilbert Burnet


(Bishop of Salisbury)

1643 - 1715

Churchman and historian. Born in Edinburgh, Burnet studied law and divinity at Marischal College (Aberdeen). He went on to take the Chair of Divinity at the University of Glasgow in 1669. However, having fallen out with John Maitland, Duke of Lauderdale (1616-82), who ran Scotland for King Charles II (1630-85), Burnet moved to London. Here he aligned himself with the opposition to Charles II and was excluded following the Rye House Plot, although he was not directly implicated. Fearing his situation would deteriorate further, Burnet left for the Netherlands when James VII (1633 - 1701) acceded to the British throne. There he became friendly with the Prince William of Orange and was an important figure in preparing the ground for the 'Glorious Revolution' of 1688. After this event, Burnet was able to return to Britain as Royal Chaplain. William II appointed his favourite as Bishop of Salisbury in 1689.

He wrote a History of the Reformation (in three volumes, published 1679, 1681 and 1717) and History of My Own Time (1724-34).


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