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Andrew Melville

Mitchell Library, Glasgow Collection

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Andrew Melville

Andrew Melville 1545-1622, religious and educational reformer, scholar and Principal of the University of Glasgow, 1574-1580.

Born in Forfarshire, Melville studied at Montrose, St Andrews and abroad, becoming a professor at Geneva. In 1574 he accepted the post of Principal at the less than prosperous University of Glasgow. He reorganised the finances, broadened the curriculum, and brought in fundamental reforms by replacing the old system (whereby a teacher taught the entire curriculum) with the modern system of specialist lecturers. A new charter, the Nova Erectio, was granted to the University in 1577 by King James VI. Melville moved to St Andrews University in 1580.

Melville succeeded John Knox (c 1513-1574) as the leading light of the Scottish Reformation and was closely involved in writing the Second Book of Discipline which confirmed that the Church of Scotland would adopt a Presbyterian system of government. He was opposed not only to episcopacy but to the interference of royalty in church affairs, angering King James VI (who became James I of Great Britain) whom he famously described as "God's sillie vassal". In 1606 he was sent to the Tower of London for five years, and on his release went to France where he spent the last ten years of his life teaching theology.

Reference: Mitchell Library, G 941.435 EYR

Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Libraries Information and Learning

Keywords:
Church of Scotland, lecturers, Nova Erectio, presbyterianism, principals, professors, Reformation, religious reformers, teachers, theologians, University of Glasgow



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