Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Innes, John (d.1414)

INNES, JOHN (d. 1414), bishop of Moray, a native of Moray, is reckoned by Forbes (Familie of Innes, 1698) as thirteenth laird of Innes, but it is not certain, though it is probable, that he belonged to that family. In 1389 he was a canon of Elgin Cathedral, in 1395 he held the prebend of Duffus, and in 1396 he was also archdeacon of Caithness. He desired to go to Paris to study canon law, and, ‘inasmuch as the fruits of his archdeaconry were not sufficient to enable him to fulfil his wish,’ Alexander Bar, bishop of Moray, gave a grant of certain of the tithes of that diocese by way of an exhibition (‘ad exhibendum Joanni de Innes in studio Parisiensi’). He returned by 1397, when he was judge in a question of tithe between William de Spynie, bishop of Moray, and the vicar of Elgin. On 23 Jan. 1406 he was consecrated bishop of Moray at Avignon by Pope Benedict XIII. In the list (dated 1437) of the bishops of Moray he is described as ‘bachelor in both laws and in arts.’ He died at Elgin on 25 April 1414, and was buried in his cathedral, where his monument, now demolished, told how during his seven years' episcopate he had strenuously pushed on the rebuilding of that noble church, which had been burned in 1390 by Alexander Stewart, ‘the Wolf of Badenoch’ [q. v.] At the chapter held to elect his successor the canons agreed that if any of them should be elected he should devote the third of his revenue to the completion of the cathedral. The older part of the bishop's palace at Elgin and the beautiful gateway at the palace of Spynie are Innes's work. His arms show the three stars of Innes on a bend between three keys; the shield is surmounted, not by a mitre, but by a pastoral staff. The Greyfriars Church at Elgin, sometimes attributed to him, was founded by another John Innes fifty years later.

[Chartulary of Moray; Familie of Innes (Spalding Club); Keith's Catalogue; Young's Annals of Elgin; m'Gibbon and Ross's Castellated Architecture of Scotland.]

J. C.