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Alexander Burnet

(1614—1684) archbishop of St Andrews


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Alexander Burnet died in St Andrews in 1684 and was buried in St Salvator's Chapel. He was the son of the Reverend James Burnet, minister of Jedburgh, and Katherine Dundas, a member of the Traquair family. Alexander graduated MA from Edinburgh University in 1633, and became chaplain to the Earl of Traquair. He was presented to the parish of Coldingham in 1639, but was not settled. He possibly fled to England to avoid having to sign the Covenant, and was installed as rector of Burmarsh in Kent in 1641. Ejected from there in 1650 for his Royalist sympathies, he became chaplain to the governor of Dunkirk, General Lord Rutherford, a cousin of his father's, and minister to the English garrison there. In 1660 he became rector of Ivychurch in Kent, and returned to Scotland in 1663 after the Restoration as the Bishop of Aberdeen. Holding Laudian views on Church government and hating dissent, he became Archbishop of Glasgow in 1664, and a Privy Councillor and Extraordinary Lord of Session. A friend of Dalyell, Drummond, Hamilton and Rothes, and known by the nickname Longifacies (or Long Nez), he was outspoken and repressive against the non-Episcopalians, provoking the Covenanter rising in 1666. Fiercely loyal to Charles II, he underestimated the embarrassment to the Crown caused by his too honest letters to Sheldon about the sorry state of affairs in Scotland. Because of his public and vehement opposition to Lauderdale's conciliatory policy to the Covenanters, the 1669 Act of Supremacy was used against him, and he was forced to resign. Burnet returned to England, but was reappointed Archbishop of Glasgow in September 1674 on the retirement of Leighton. He became Archbishop of St Andrews in August 1679, following the assassination of Archbishop James Sharp.

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From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Philosophy.


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