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Sir Robert Spottiswoode


1596 - 1646

Judge and royalist. Born near Mid Calder, Spottiswoode was educated at the Universities of Glasgow and Oxford and then in France. He assisted his father, Archbishop John Spottiswoode (1565 - 1639) in the compilation of his book "History of the Church of Scotland" (published in 1655). He had inherited his father's lands at New Abbey (Dumfries and Galloway).

He was appointed a Privy Counsellor by King James VI and then a judge as Lord New Abbey (1622). He became Lord President of the Court of Session, Scotland's superior court, in 1633, and was appointed Secretary for Scotland (1636). He is noted for his great work "Practicks of the Law of Scotland".

Spottiswoode supported King Charles I against the Covenanters and was forced to resign his position and flee to England (1638). He returned to fight alongside James Graham, Marquis of Montrose (1612-50), at the Battle of Philiphaugh (1645) but was captured and beheaded the following year at the Mercat Cross in St. Andrews. He was posthumously pardoned on the restoration of King Charles II (1660).


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