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Guthrie, Henry (DNB00)

GUTHRIE or GUTHRY, HENRY (1600?–1676), bishop of Dunkeld, author of 'Memoirs of Scottish Affairs,' was descended from the old Forfarshire family of Guthrie of that ilk. He was born about 1600 at Cupar-Angus, of which parish his father, John Guthrie, was minister. He was educated at the university of St. Andrews, where he graduated M.A. 16 July 1620, afterwards studying divinity in St. Mary's College there. For some years he was a tutor in the family of the Earl of Mar, and at an unknown date became minister of the collegiate church of Guthrie, founded in 1479 by his ancestor Sir David Guthrie, armour-bearer to James III. Through the recommendation of the Earl of Mar he was in 1632 presented by Charles I to the parish church of Stirling, over which he was episcopally ordained on 13 May. He was in 1634 a member of the court of high commission. Although his ecclesiastical sympathies were rather with the government party, he disapproved of the measures adopted by the king in 1638 for the introduction of a liturgy, and on the abolition of episcopacy in the following year subscribed the covenant. This prudent conduct enabled him for some years to retain considerable influence in the deliberations of the church, and he was frequently chosen a member of the general assembly. In 1640 he brought before the assembly at Aberdeen the irregularities connected with the holding of 'circular' night meetings for family worship, and after long debate got an act passed forbidding 'families to convene together for religious exercise' (Gordon, Scots Affairs, iii. 221-31; Robert Baillie, Letters and Journals, i. 248-55; Guthry, Memoirs, pp. 77-9). On Sunday, 3 Oct. 1641, Guthrie had the honour of preaching before the king in the abbey church of Holyrood. When in 1643 a letter was presented from the English divines at Westminster to the general assembly, proposing to extirpate episcopacy 'root and branch,' Guthrie moved that the proposal should not be entertained, and that the divines at Westminster should be asked to explain themselves, especially 'concerning that which they proposed to introduce;' but his motion met with no support. Although the assembly of 1647 condemned the 'engagement' of the Scottish parliament for the release of Charles from the Isle of Wight, because it contained no provision for the maintenance of the national religion, Guthrie and others preached in favour of it. After the defeat of the Scots army under the Duke of Hamilton he was, therefore, on 14 Nov. 1648, dismissed from his charge as a 'malignant.' For some time he lived in retirement, devoting himself to a close study of the Fathers; but the sentence of deposition having been removed by the synod 12 April 1655, he was on 7 April of the following year admitted minister of the parish of Kilspindie, Perthshire. After the Restoration he was on 9 July 1661 allowed 150l. by parliament 'on account of his sufferings.' The church of Stirling having also become vacant through the execution of James Guthrie [q. v.] on 1 June of the same year, he was restored to his old charge. There he remained till 1665, when, through the recommendation of John, earl of Lauderdale, he was translated to the bishopric of Dunkeld, to which he was consecrated on 24 Aug. Along with the bishopric he also held for a time the parish of Meigle. He died in 1676 at the age of about seventy-six. Guthrie was the author of 'Memoirs of Scottish Affairs, Civil and Ecclesiastical, from the year 1637 to the death of Charles I,' Lond. 1702; 2nd edit. Glasgow, 1747; same edition with memoir of the author by George Crawfurd, 1748. The work is of value as a contemporary account by a writer both of ability and moderation, notwithstanding that it is not quite free from party bias.

[Memoir by George Crawfurd prefixed to Memoirs; Hew Scott's Fasti Eccles. Scot.; Guthrie's Memoirs; Gordon's Scots Affairs (Spalding Club); Robert Baillie's Letters and Journals (Bannatyne Club); Nimmo's Hist. of Stirlingshire; Keith's Scottish Bishops.]

T. F. H.