Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Nicoll, Francis

NICOLL, FRANCIS (1770–1835), Scottish divine, third son of John Nicoll, merchant, Lossiemouth, Elgin, was born there in 1770. He studied at King's College, Aberdeen, graduated M.A. in 1789, and was licensed as a preacher by the presbytery of Elgin in 1793. After spending several years as tutor in the family of Sir James Grant of Grant, bart., he was presented by the Earl of Moray to the parish of Auchtertool in Fife, and ordained 21 Sept. 1797. Two years afterwards he was translated to the united parishes of Mains and Strathmartine in Forfarshire, which were then newly conjoined, and he was admitted to the charge on 19 Sept. 1799. The church of Mains was built for him in 1800, and the degree of D.D. was conferred upon him by St. Andrews University in 1807. He held a high position in the church courts both as a debater and a man of affairs, and in 1809 he was elected moderator of the general assembly of the church of Scotland. In 1819 he was presented by the Prince Regent to the parish of St. Leonard's, Fife, and was in the same year made principal of the united colleges of St. Leonard's and St. Salvator's in the university of St. Andrews, in succession to James Playfair. In March 1822 he was chosen rector of St. Andrews University, and he drew up the address presented to George IV during the royal visit in August of that year. Nicoll resigned his office as minister of St. Leonard's parish in 1824, and died on 8 Oct. 1835. In his government of St. Andrews University he proved an efficient administrator.

[Scott's Fasti, ii. 401, 525, iii. 721; Grierson's Delineations of St. Andrews, pp. 188, 204; Millar's Roll of Eminent Burgesses of Dundee, p. 256.]

A. H. M.