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Reference list

Moderators of the general assembly of the Church of Scotland in the Oxford DNB

The Church of Scotland, or kirk, was established in law by the Scottish Reformation Parliament of 1560, and its general assembly first convened in December that year. Originally composed of a large number of protestant nobility, the assembly evolved into a body made up of ministers and lay elders who represented regional synods and local parishes, and met annually. Superintendents of regions were nominated in 1560, but the office of moderator emerged more slowly. Probably held by John Willock in 1564 and 1565, and certainly by John Erskine of Dun in 1565–6, the office is that of a chair of the assembly, rather than head of the church. Initially, a moderator was elected for each session; subsequently the period of office lasted one year.

In the late sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries, there was conflict over the nature and government of the Scottish church between the crown or civil power and those who sought a Genevan-style kirk. This led to periods when the assembly did not meet (1619–37, 1654–89), and to controversy over the office of moderator. The assembly was reactivated in the wake of the solemn league and covenant of 1638, but was powerless to prevent its own forcible dissolution by English troops in 1653. Only with the political and religious settlement negotiated in 1688–9 did the kirk, doctrinally Calvinist and structurally presbyterian, achieve its permanent place as the national church; thereafter the assembly resumed regular annual meetings.

Subsequent moderators still faced dissension. Disagreements that surfaced periodically from the mid-eighteenth century culminated in 1843 with the exit of about a third of the church's lay and clerical membership. Further splits occurred, but significant numbers of Free Church members and ministers were reunited with the established Church of Scotland in 1900 and in 1929.

1564–1690

1564 (June); 1565 (June)John Willock (d. 1585)
1565 (Dec); 1566 (June and Dec)John Erskine of Dun (1509–1590)
1567George Buchanan (1506–1582)
1567 (July and Dec)John Row (c.1526–1580)
1568 (July)John Willock (d. 1585)
1569 (Feb)David Lindsay (1531–1613)
1569William Christison (d. 1599)
1570John Craig (1512/13?–1600)
1570 (July)Robert Pont (1524–1606)
1571George Hay (c.1530–1588)
1572 (March)Robert Hamilton (d. 1581)
1572John Erskine of Dun (1509–1590)
1573 (March)David Ferguson (b. in or before 1533, d. 1598)
1573 (March)Andrew Hay (d. 1593)
1573 (Aug)Alexander Arbuthnot (1538–1583)
1575 (Aug)Robert Pont (1524–1606)
1576 (April)John Row (c.1526–1580)
1577 (April)Alexander Arbuthnot (1538–1583)
1577 (Oct)David Lindsay (1531–1613)
1578 (April)Andrew Melville (1545–1622)
1578 (June)John Row (c.1526–1580)
1578 (Oct)David Ferguson (b. in or before 1533, d. 1598)
1579Thomas Smeaton (1536–1583)
1580 (July)James Lawson (1538–1584)
1580 (Aug)Andrew Hay (d. 1593)
1581 (April)Robert Pont (1524–1606)
1582 (April and June)Andrew Melville (1545–1622)
1582 (Oct)David Lindsay (1531–1613)
1583 (April)Thomas Smeaton (1536–1583)
1583 (Oct)Robert Pont (1524–1606)
1586 (May)David Lindsay (1531–1613)
1587 (June)Andrew Melville (1545–1622)
1588Robert Bruce (1554–1631)
1589James Melville (1556–1614)
1590Patrick Galloway (c.1551–1626)
1593 (April)David Lindsay (1531–1613)
1594 (May)Andrew Melville (1545–1622)
1596 (March)Robert Pont (1524–1606)
1597 (March)David Lindsay (1531–1613)
1597 (April)Robert Pont (1524–1606)
1597 (May)Robert Rollock (1555–1599)
1602Patrick Galloway (c.1551–1626)
1608James Law (d. 1632)
1610John Spottiswoode (1565–1639)
1638Alexander Henderson (c.1583–1646)
1639David Dickson (c.1583–1662)
1640Andrew Ramsay (1574–1659)
1641Alexander Henderson (c.1583–1646)
1642Robert Douglas (1594–1674)
1643Alexander Henderson (c.1583–1646)
1645Robert Douglas (1594–1674)
1646Robert Blair (1593–1666)
1647Robert Douglas (1594–1674)
1648George Gillespie (1613–1648)
1649Robert Douglas (1594–1674)
1650Andrew Cant (1584/1590–1663)
1651Robert Douglas (1594–1674)
1652David Dickson (c.1583–1662)

1690–1843

1695Patrick Simson (1628–1715)
1698; 1703George Meldrum (1634?–1709)
1705William Carstares (1649–1715)
1706William Wishart (1660–1729)
1712William Hamilton (1669–1732)
1713William Wishart (1660–1729)
1715William Carstares (1649–1715)
1716William Hamilton (1669–1732)
1718William Wishart (1660–1729)
1720William Hamilton (1669–1732)
1723James Smith (1680–1736)
1724William Wishart (1660–1729)
1727William Hamilton (1669–1732)
1728William Hamilton (1669–1732)
1730William Hamilton (1669–1732)
1732 (May)James Smith (1680–1736)
1732Neil Campbell (1678–1761)
1733John Gowdie (c.1682–1762)
1737Neil Campbell (1678–1761)
1740George Logan (1678–1755)
1742Thomas Tullidelph (d. 1777)
1743Robert Wallace (1697–1771)
1745William Wishart (1691/2–1753)
1748George Wishart (1702/3–1785)
1749; 1752Patrick Cuming of Relugas (bap. 1695, d. 1776)
1753Alexander Webster (1707–1784)
1756Patrick Cuming of Relugas (bap. 1695, d. 1776)
1757William Leechman (1706–1785)
1762Robert Traill (1720–1775)
1763William Robertson (1721–1793)
1764Alexander Gerard (1728–1795)
1765James Oswald (1703–1793)
1769James Macknight (1721–1800)
1770Alexander Carlyle (1722–1805)
1771Robert Walker (1716–1783)
1773John Drysdale (1718–1788)
1774Robert Henry (1718–1790)
1780Henry Spens (1714–1787)
1781William Dalrymple (1723–1814)
1782Joseph Maccormick (1733–1799)
1784John Drysdale (1718–1788)
1785Sir Henry Moncreiff Wellwood, eighth baronet (1750–1827)
1786Duncan Shaw (1727–1794)
1789George Hill (1750–1819)
1790John Walker (1731–1803)
1792Andrew Hunter (1744–1809)
1793Thomas Hardy (1748–1798)
1796William Greenfield (1755–1827)
1799William Moodie (1759–1812)
1802James Finlayson (1758–1808)
1803Gilbert Gerard (1760–1815)
1804John Inglis (1762–1834)
1809Francis Nicoll (1771–1835)
1811Alexander Ranken (1755–1827)
1816John Cook (1771–1824)
1819Duncan Macfarlan (1771–1857)
1821Duncan Mearns (1779–1852)
1822David Lamont (1753–1837)
1823Alexander Brunton (1772–1854)
1825George Cook (1772–1845)
1827Robert Haldane (1772–1854)
1828Stevenson Macgill (1765–1840)
1832Thomas Chalmers (1780–1847)
1834Patrick Macfarlan (1781–1849)
1836Norman Macleod (1783–1862)
1838William Muir (1787–1869)
1839Henry Duncan (1774–1846)
1841Robert Gordon (1786–1853)
1842David Welsh (1793–1845)
1843Duncan Macfarlan (1771–1857)

1844–

1844John Lee (1779–1859)
1845Alexander Hill (1785–1867)
1857James Robertson (1803–1860)
1859John Cook (1807–1869)
1862James Bisset (1795–1872)
1864William Robinson Pirie (1804–1885)
1866John Cook (1807–1874)
1867Thomas Jackson Crawford (1812–1875)
1869Norman Macleod (1812–1872)
1870John Wilson (1804–1875)
1872Robert Jamieson (1802–1880)
1873Robert Gillan (1799–1879)
1878John Tulloch (1823–1886)
1882William Milligan (1821–1893)
1885Alexander Ferrier Mitchell (1822–1899)
1886John Cunningham (1819–1893)
1889Paton James Gloag (1823–1906)
1890Andrew Kennedy Hutchison Boyd (1825–1899)
1891James MacGregor (1832–1910)
1892Archibald Hamilton Charteris (1835–1908)
1893John Marshall Lang (1834–1909)
1894Robert Herbert Story (1835–1907)
1897William Mair (1830–1920)
1898Thomas Leishman (1825–1904)
1917James Cooper (1846–1922)
1919William Paterson Paterson (1860–1939)
1923George Milligan (1860–1934)
1925; 1929John White (1867–1951)
1931John Anderson Graham (1861–1942)
1932Hugh Ross Mackintosh (1870–1936)
1943John Baillie (1886–1960)
1949George Simpson Duncan (1884–1965)
1956George David Henderson (1888–1957)
1957George Fielden MacLeod (1895–1991)
1961Archibald Campbell Craig (1888–1985)
1966(Robert) Leonard Small (1905–1994)
1970Hugh Osborne Douglas (1911–1986)
1972Ronald William Vernon Selby Wright (1908–1995)
1976Thomas Forsyth Torrance (1913–2007)
1986Robert Craig (1917–1995)
1988James Aitken Whyte (1920–2005)