SPOTTISWOODE (SPOTTISWOOD, SPOTISWOOD or SPOTSWOOD), JOHN (1565-1639), archbishop of St Andrews and historian of Scotland, eldest son of John Spottiswood, minister of Calder and " superintendent " of Lothian, was born in 1565. He was educated at Glasgow University (M.A. 1581), and succeeded his father in the parish of Calder in 1583. In 1601 he attended Ludowick, duke of Lennox, as his chaplain, in an embassy to the court of France, returning in 1603. He followed James to England on his accession, but was the same year nominated to the see of Glasgow, his consecration in London, however, not taking place until October 1610. Spottiswoode had originally become prominent as an ardent supporter of the strict Presbyterian party, but gradually came to see the inconveniences of " parity in the Church," attributed little importance to the existing matters of dispute, and thought that the interests of both church and state w"ere best secured by keeping on good terms with the king. He was therefore ready to co-operate with James in curtailing the powers of the Kirk which encroached on the royal authority, and in assimilating the church of Scotland to that of England. On the 30th of May 1605 he became a member of the Scottish privy council. In 1610 he presided as moderator over the assembly in which presbytery was abolished, in 1615 he was made archbishop of St Andrews and primate of Scotland, and in 1618 procured the sanction of the privy council to the Five Articles of Perth with their ratification by parliament in 1621. In 1633 he crowned Charles I. at Holyrood. In 1635 he was appointed lord chancellor of Scotland, an office which he retained till 1638. He was opposed to the new liturgy as. inexpedient, but when he could not prevent its introduction he took part in enforcing it. He was a spectator of the riot of St Giles's, Edinburgh, on the 23rd of July 1637, endeavoured in vain to avoid disaster by concessions, and on the taking of the Covenant perceived that " now all that we have been doing these thirty years past is thrown down at once." He escaped to Newcastle, was deposed by the assembly on the 4th of December on a variety of ridiculous charges, and died in London on the 26th of November 1639, receiving burial in Westminster Abbey. Spottiswoode published in 1620 Refutalio libelli de regimine ecclesiac scolicanae, an answer to a tract of Calderwood, who replied in the Vindiciae subjoined to his Altare damascenum, (1623). The only other writing published during his lifetime was the sermon he preached at the Perth assembly. His most considerable work was The History of the Church and State of Scotland (London, 1655, seq.). It displays considerable research and sagacity, and even when dealing with contemporary events gives a favourable impression, upon the whole, of the author's candour and truth. The opposite side can be studied in Calderwood's History.
Spottiswoode married Rachel, daughter of David Lindsay, bishop of Ross, and besides a daughter left two sons, Sir John Spottiswoode of Dairsie in Fife, and Sir Robert, president of 1 To each of his comrades in this journey Spotswood presented a small golden horseshoe, lettered " Sic juvat transcendere monies."
the Court of Session, who was captured at the battle of Philiphaugh in 1645 an( i executed in 1646.
See the accounts prefixed to the first edition of Spottiswoode's History of Scotland and to that published by the Spottiswoode Society in 1851 ; also David Calderwood's Hist, of the Kirk of Scotland (1842-1849).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)