John Lesley bigraphy, stories - Scottish bishop

John Lesley : biography

29 September 1527 - 31 May 1596

John Lesley (or Leslie) (29 September 1527 – 31 May 1596) was a Scottish Roman Catholic bishop and historian. His father was Gavin Lesley, rector of Kingussie, Badenoch.


  • Anonymous life of John Lesley c.1594 and his letters, in

Category:1527 births Category:1596 deaths Category:Bishops of Coutances Category:Bishops of Ross Category:16th-century Roman Catholic bishops Category:Scottish abbots Category:Scottish historians Category:Scottish scholars and academics Category:People from Badenoch and Strathspey Category:Alumni of the University of Aberdeen Category:University of Paris alumni Category:University of Poitiers alumni Category:François Rabelais University Category:Historians of Scotland Category:Clan Leslie Category:1596 in Scotland


The chief works of Lesley are as follows:

  • A Defence of the Honor of Marie, Queene of Scotland, by Eusebius Dicaeophile, London, (1569)
    • reprinted, with alterations, at Liege (1571), under the title, A Treatise concerning the Defence of the Honour of Marie, Queene of Scotland, made by Morgan Philip pes, Bachelor of Divinitie, Piae afflicts animi consoleiones, ad Mariam Scot. Reg., Paris, (1574)
  • De origine, moribus, ac rebus gestis Scotiae libri decem, Rome (1578). This History of Scotland from 1436 to 1561 (10 volumes) was presented to Mary Queen of Scots in 1571. The general title of Lesley's History of Scotland is: De origine, moribus, et rebus gestis Scotorum, Libri decerm. E quibus septem, veterum Scotorum res in primis memorabiles contractius reliqui vero tres posteriorum Regum ad nostra tempora historiam, quæ hucusque desiderabatur, fusius explicant; and the title prefixed to the second part is: De rebus gestis Scotorum posteriores libri tres, recentiorum regum historiam, quæ hucusque desiderabatur, ab anno Domini . usque ad annum . fusius continentes. Nunc primum in lucem editi. It owes much, in its earlier chapters, to the accounts of Hector Boece and John Mair, though some portion of the topographical matter is first-hand. In later sections he gives an independent account, from a Catholic point of view, which is a valuable supplement and corrective in many details, to the works of George Buchanan and John Knox.
    • , second Latin edition.
    • Cody, E. G., ed., History of Scotland, 2 vols., Scottish Text Society (1888, 1895). A Scots language translation of the published Latin made in 1596 by James Dalrymple of the Scottish Cloister at Regensburg.
    • Thomson, Thomas, ed., from a Scottish manuscript of De Origine.
    • Lesley's Latin continuation of his history from 1562 to 1571, is translated in Forbes-Leith ed., Narrative of Scottish Catholics, (1885), from the original manuscript in the Vatican.
  • De illustriun feminarum in repubtica administranda authoritate libellus, Reims, (1580). A Latin version of a tract on The Lawfulness of the Regiment of Women (cf. Knox's pamphlet);
  • De titulo et jure Mariae Scot. Reg., quo regni Angliae successioneoi sibi juste vindicat, Reims, (1580); translated in (1584).

Early career

He was educated at the University of Aberdeen, where he took the degree of M.A. In 1538 he obtained a dispensation permitting him to hold a benefice, notwithstanding his being a natural son, and in June 1546 he was made an acolyte in the cathedral church of Aberdeen, of which he was afterwards appointed a canon and prebendary.

He also studied at Poitiers, at Toulouse and at Paris, where he was made doctor of laws in 1553. In 1558 he took orders and was appointed Official of Aberdeen, and inducted into the parsonage and prebend of Oyne. At the Reformation Lesley became a champion of Catholicism. He was present at the disputation held in Edinburgh in 1561, when Knox and Willox were his antagonists. He was one of the commissioners sent the same year to bring over the young Mary, Queen of Scots, to take the government of Scotland. He returned in her train, and was appointed a privy councillor and professor of canon law in King's College, Aberdeen, and in 1565 one of the senators of the college of justice. Shortly afterwards he was made abbot of Lindores, and in 1565 bishop of Ross, the election to the see being confirmed in the following year. He was one of the sixteen commissioners appointed to revise the laws of Scotland, and the volume of the Actis and Constitutiounis of the Realme of Scotland known as the Black Acts was, chiefly owing to his care, printed in 1566.

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine