Guthrie, John (DNB00)
GUTHRIE, JOHN (d. 1649), bishop of Moray, was eldest son of Patrick Guthrie, a goldsmith of St. Andrews and bailie of the city in 1601-2, by his wife Margaret Rait. The family were connected with the original line through John Guthrie of Hilton, the youngest son of Sir Alexander Guthrie of Guthrie, who fell at Flodden in 1513. John was educated at the university of St. Andrews, where he graduated M.A. in 1597. The same year he became reader at Arbroath, and on 27 Aug. 1599 was presented by James VI to the parish of Kinnel, Perthshire, whence in 1603 he was removed to Arbirlot, Forfarshire. He was a member of the Glasgow assembly of June 1610, and on 7 Sept. of the same year was elected clerk to the synod of St. Andrews. In 1617 he was translated to Perth as minister of the second charge. He was a member of the privy conference nominated by the moderator of the Perth assembly in 1618, and composed for the most part of such 'as were already disposed to yield' to the king's proposals for the establishment of a modified episcopacy (Calderwood, vii. 318). In 1621 he became minister of St. Giles, Edinburgh, and at Christmas following, although the ministers of Edinburgh had agreed that there should be no sermon except 'one in the old kirk,' he consented, at the instigation of the provost, to 'teach in the little kirk' (ib. p. 518). In 1623 he was promoted to the bishopric of Moray; and on the occasion of the return, in October 1623, of the prince to England from Spain after the failure of the Spanish marriage project, he was chosen by the ministers of Edinburgh to preach 'in the great kirk' of Edinburgh, that the 'people might convene and give thanks to God' that the project was at an end (ib. p. 580). In 1631 the bishop was appointed one of four commissioners to inquire into the origin of the fire which had destroyed the house of Frendraught (Spalding, Memorialls of the Trubles, i. 24). When Charles I was crowned in Edinburgh in 1633, Guthrie was chosen lord eleemosynary, and threw among the crowd in the kirk silver pieces coined for the occasion (ib. p. 36). As lord eleemosynary he rode in the procession beside the Bishop of London. On the following Sunday he caused much scandal among the stricter presbyterians by preaching before the king in 'his rotchet, quhilk wes neuer sein in Sanct Geillis kirk sen the Reformatioun' (ib. p. 39; see also Row, Hist. of the Church of Scotland, p. 363). After the subscription of the covenant in the towns of the north of Scotland in 1638 the bishop began to furnish his palace of Spynie with men, arms, and provisions, in order to be prepared for a siege (Spalding, p. 88). The following December he was cited to appear before the general assembly to answer various accusations, including especially that of having preached before the king in a surplice. As the summons had not been served on him personally, it was decided that meanwhile he should only be deposed, and that if he failed to make public repentance in Edinburgh he should be excommunicated (Gordon, Scots Affairs, ii. 139; Peterkin, Records of the Kirk, pp. 171-2; Spalding, Memorialls, i. 122). In the following March commissioners were sent to him to intimate the finding of the assembly, upon which he ceased to preach on Sunday, and kept within his castle of Spynie (Spalding, i. 142). On the approach of General Monro, the bishop, on 10 July, surrendered his castle, which was placed under the command of the covenanter commission of Elgin (Gordon, iii. 213; Spalding, i. 305). The bishop was carried by Monro to Aberdeen (Spalding, i. 333), whence he was brought in September to Edinburgh, and presented to the estates, who immediately sent him prisoner to the Tolbooth (ib. p. 339). On his presenting a petition for his liberation to parliament in the following November, it was granted on condition that he did not return to the diocese of Moray. After his release he took up his residence at Guthrie, which he had purchased from his relative Peter Guthrie; he had obtained a crown charter 28 Nov. 1636. He died 28 Aug. 1649, and was buried beside his wife in the aisle of the church of Guthrie (MS. Diary of his brother James Guthrie of Arbirlot, quoted in Jervise, Epitaphs and Inscriptions, ii. 149). His character is highly eulogised by Bishop Henry Guthrie [q. v.], who says: 'As he chose not to flee, so upon no terms would he recant, but patiently endured excommunication, imprisonment, and other sufferings, and in the midst of them stood to the justification of episcopal government until his death' (Memoirs, p. 35). By his wife, Nicolas Wood, he had two sons, John, parson successively of Keith and Duffus, who died in 1643 without issue, and Andrew, who, having joined Montrose, was taken prisoner at Philiphaugh (13 Sept. 1645) and executed at St. Andrews; and two daughters, of whom Bethia, heiress of Guthrie, married her kinsman Francis Guthrie of Gagie, from whom descend the present Guthries of Guthrie. Among the family relics at Guthrie Castle are a bible and a curious old bell, both of which formerly belonged to the bishop.
[Calderwood's Hist. of the Church of Scotland; Spalding's Memorialls of the Trubles (Spalding Club); Gordon's Sufferings of the Church of Scotland (Spalding Club); Bishop Henry Guthrie's Memoirs, 1748; Nicols's Diary (Bannatyne Club); Robert Baillie's Letters and Journals (Bannatyne Club); Row's Hist. of the Church of Scotland (Wodrow Soc.); Peterkin's Records of the Church of Scotland; Jervise's Land of the Lindsays, 2nd ed. 1882; Jervise's Epitaphs and Inscriptions, vol. ii. 1879; Hew Scott's Fasti Eccles. Scot. iii. 451, 789, 799; Keith's Scottish Bishops; Burke's Landed Gentry.]