Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Geddes, John

GEDDES, JOHN (1735–1799), Scottish catholic prelate, elder brother of Alexander Geddes [q. v.], born at the Mains of Curridoun, in the Enzie of Banffshire, on 9 Sept. 1735, entered the Scots College at Rome in 1750, and after being ordained priest in 1759 returned to the mission in Scotland. He was superior of the seminary at Scalan from 1762 till 1767, when he was appointed to the mission of Preshome in succession to Bishop Hay. In 1770 he was sent to take charge of the college which Colonel Semple had founded in Madrid in 1627, and which had been under the jesuits until they were expelled from Spain. He procured the restitution of the effects of that college in favour of the secular clergy, and its removal to Valladolid, where he continued to superintend it for ten years. In 1779 he was appointed coadjutor to Bishop Hay, vicar-apostolic of the Lowland district of Scotland, and was consecrated bishop of Morocco in partibus on 30 Nov. 1780 at Madrid. He resided for the most part at Edinburgh, making occasional excursions through the country. He resigned the coadjutorship on account of paralytic attacks in 1797, and died at Aberdeen on 11 Feb. 1799.

He published: 1. ‘A Treatise against Duelling.’ 2. ‘Life of St. Margaret, Queen of Scotland.’ His collection of materials for a history of the catholic religion in Scotland, arranged as annals to A.D. 1795, is preserved among the manuscripts in the library of the catholic bishop of Edinburgh (Hist. MSS. Comm. 1st Rep. 121).

[Gordon's Catholic Mission in Scotland, p. 454 (with portrait); London and Dublin Orthodox Journal (1837), iv. 120; Notes and Queries, 4th ser. iii. 21.]

T. C.