Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Forman, Andrew
FORMAN, ANDREW (d. 1522), archbishop of St. Andrews, is said to have been one of the Formans of Hatton, near Berwick-on-Tweed (Scotichron. p. 242). The 'Lord Treasurer's Accounts' record a small payment to him on 22 Oct. 1489 (Accounts of Lord High Treasurer, 123; cf. p. 128). According to Mr. Dickson, he was protonotary by September 1491, and his name appears in that capacity several times in the treasury accounts. In May 1492 he distributed the royal alms in St. Giles's, and in April 1498 won money from James IV at cards (ib. pp. 187, 386; pp. 172, 187, &c.) When Perkin Warbeck landed in Scotland (November 1495) the protonotary appears to have been told off to attend him. He received 74l. 8s. in connection with this service (21 Sept. 1496) at the time of the futile expedition across the Tweed. He probably remained with Warbeck till the impostor sailed from Ayr for Ireland in July 1497 (ib. pp. 299, 344-5, Pref. pp. cxxvii-cliii). Next September 'Andrew Forman, protonotary apostolic and prior of May,' was despatched with the Bishop of Aberdeen and Sir Patrick Hume to make terms with Henry VII. A truce was signed for seven years at Aytoun in Berwickshire (30 Sept. 1497). He was employed in other embassies in 1499 and 1501, and on 8 Oct. 1501 was empowered to treat for the marriage of James IV to Henry VII's daughter Margaret (Rymer, pp. 673, 721, 772, 778-780; Paul, No. 2602).
Forman was rewarded by permission to hold benefice in England (24 May 1498), and with a pension of a thousand merks 'till he "be promovit to a bishoprik or abbasy' (13 Oct.) (Dickson, Pref. p. clviii); and by the grant of the wardship of the Rutherford heiress (12 Nov. 1502), who ultimately married his brother, Sir John Forman (Reg. of Great Seal, Nos. 2677, 3612). By 8 Oct. 1501 he was postulate of Moray, and by 12 Nov. 1502 full bishop of this see (ib. No. 2677; Rymer, p. 778). In 1502 he was also commendator of Pittenweem in Fife and of Cottinghame in England (Reg. of Great Seal, No. 2677). On 30 July 1509 Forman was appointed ambassador to Henry VIII. Early in 1511 (January?) James IV commissioned him to bring about a general peace among Christian princes with a view to a great crusade. For the next few years he was occupied in this work. The pope, Julius II, determined to make him a cardinal (Brewer, i. 1459, 1461, 1643, &c.) Forman succeeded in making a truce between Julius and Louis XII (id. ii. 776), but not in securing universal peace. James IV made an alliance with Louis for an attack on England, and Louis made the ambassador archbishop of Bourges, for which see, after a contested election, he did homage on 12 Sept. 1513 (Michel, i. 318-21; Gallia Christiana, ii. 93-4). Henry, suspecting the king of France's intentions, refused the bishop a safe-conduct through his country (12 Nov. 1512); but Forman was abroad by April 1513, and sent news of Julius II's death to Scotland. In these days he was reckoned omnipotent with James (Brewer, No. 3651). Leo X, who succeeded Julius II in the papacy, had promoted the Bishop of Moray to St. Andrews (by 27 Jan. 1514), then vacant by the death of Alexander Stewart, James IV's son, who was slain at Flodden (No. 4682, Leslie, p. 95). His election to this see was contested by Gavin Douglas [q. v.] and John Hepburn. It was generally believed that Forman was supported by the new regent, the Duke of Albany, whom, however, the bishop did not accompany to Scotland. In March 1515 the bishop was at Lyons, and about 3 June he left Bruges for Scotland. Leo had already appointed the new archbishop his legate in Scotland, but promised to revoke the commission on hearing of Henry VIII's disapproval (2 March 1515) (Brewer, ii. Nos. 210, 291, 365, 576, 593).
The archbishop was so unpopular in Scotland that in January 1515 it was reported that the lords would league against him, and that 'the duke will be the werr ressavit if he tak his part.' His great offence seems to have been the accumulation of ecclesiastical benefices which the lords thought would be better in the hands of members of their own family. Besides the offices already noticed he had held the monasteries of Dryburgh, Dunfermline, Kilwinning, and Arbroath, and was accused of aiming at the see of Glasgow also (ib. ii. Nos. 27, 50, 776; Leslie, p. 101). He appears, however, to have very soon resigned everything, except St. Andrews and Dunfermline (No. 776); and in February 1516 the three competitors for St. Andrews consented to abide by Albany's decision. Albany gave St. Andrews to Forman, and promoted James Hepburn to the see of Moray (Leslie, p. 106). In May 1516 Albany was still urging his claims to the cardinalate (No. 1869); and it appears that, notwithstanding Henry VIII's opposition, he was ' legatus natus cum potestate legati a latere' (regni Scotise) (Great Seal, ii. No. 389). As bishop of Moray he had procured for this see an exemption from the authority of St. Andrews, much to the displeasure of James IV and his son. As archbishop of St. Andrews he sought to limit, though he could not at once annul, the exemption and authority of Glasgow (Robertson, pp. ccxxvi-ccxxviii). As primate of Scotland he issued an important series of constitutions in 1515-16, which are printed in the 'Scotiæ Concilia ' (pp. cclxx, &c.) He died in 1522, and was buried at Dunfermline (Scotichron. p. 245).
Forman is praised for his generosity, his politicalcapacity, and his scholarship. Demster makes Forman the author of three works:
- 'Contra Lutherum.'
- 'De Stoica Philosophia.'
- 'Collectanea Decretalium ' (ib. p. 243).
Robertson, in the notes to his 'Scotiæ Concilia,' prints some interesting documents showing the debts Forman incurred in his candidature for the cardinalate, and how the bishop laid his ill-success to the charge of Henry VIII, who would not suffer him to pass through England (i. p. cxxvi).
[Accounts of the Lord High Treasurer of Scotland, ed. T. Dickson; Reg. of the Great Seal of Scotland, ed. J. B. Paul, vols. i. and ii.; Cal. of Doc. Henry VIII, vols. i. and ii., ed. Brewer; Rymer's Fcedera, vol. xii., ed. 1 792; Michel, Les Ecossaisen France, vol. i., ed. 1862; Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, ed. Burnet; Burton's The Scot Abroad, i. 138-40; Registrum Moraviense (Maitland Soc.); Concilia Scotiæ, ed. Jos. Robertson; Gordon's Scotichronicon, ed. 1867; Keith's List of Scotch Bishops, ed. 1824; Leslie's Hist. of Scotland (sixteenth cent. translation).]