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Robert Leighton


1611 - 1684

Archbishop of Glasgow. Born into a family from Fishertown of Ulishaven (near Montrose, Angus). His father, a physician and Presbyterian minister, was severely punished for taking a stand against the Episcopacy. The young Leighton was educated at the University of Edinburgh, graduating in 1631. Thereafter he spent time in France before returning to be ordained as parish minister of Newbattle (Midlothian) in 1641. He signed Solemn League and Covenant in 1643. Leighton resigned his charge and took the position of Principal and Professor of Divinity at the University of Edinburgh (1653). He was appointed Bishop of Dunblane in 1661 as King Charles II re-imposed the Episcopal system on the Church in Scotland. Leighton was embarrassed by this position and the pomposity of his fellow bishops. He did his best run his diocese with fairness, and to reach a compromise with the outlawed Presbyterian ministers. He tried to persuade the Government not to persecute the Covenanters and went to London in 1665 determined to either persuade his King or resign his post. Charles agreed to some changes but Leighton continued his campaign, hesitantly accepting the Archbishopric of Glasgow in 1670, which was offered at Charles' personal request, to enable him to bring greater influence to bear. He faced a difficult tenure; although supported by Glaswegians, the hard-line Covenanters in the South West of Scotland opposed him, regarding him as a traitor. He retired in 1674 and spent the remainder of his life with his step-sister in Sussex (England). He died while visiting London and was buried at Horsted Heynes (Sussex).

Remember for his kindness, piety and love of learning, he left his collection of 1500 books and £100 for the erection of Leighton Library to benefit the people of Dunblane.


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