James Sharp (1618-1679)

James Sharp (1618-1679)

Archbishop of St Andrews

James Sharp was born at Banff Castle in north-east Scotland. He studied divinity at King's College, Aberdeen, added his signature to the National Covenant in 1638 and in 1647 was appointed minister for Crail in Fife. In 1651 he was captured during the Cromwellian occupation and imprisoned in London, only to be released the following year. His diplomatic skills secured the release of many Scottish nobles. He was sent by General George Monk to Breda in order to contact the exiled Charles II, who was restored to the throne in 1660. James Sharp co-operated with the English bishops to re-establish episcopacy in Scotland, and in December 1660 he was consecrated Archbishop of St Andrews. In 1679 a group of radical presbyterians led by John Balfour of Kinloch, stopped the Archbishop's coach on Magus Moor outside St Andrews and murdered him in front of his daughter.

Testament of James Sharp

National Records of Scotland, CC20/4/14

In the eik to the testament his son wishes to collect the tithes or teinds due to be paid in cash or kind. This was a tenth of the crop of the lands that were under the jurisdiction of the Archbishopric.

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