Robert Montgomery

Biography of Robert Montgomery

Robert Montgomery (fl 1581-1585) was Archbishop of Glasgow and Chancellor of the University from 1581 until 1585.

Montgomery was a minister in Stirling, who publicly opposed episcopal government of the church but then, in 1581, was persuaded by the Duke of Lennox to accept the vacant archbishopric of Glasgow. The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and the University's Principal Thomas Smeaton, the Rector Andrew Hay, and the Dean of Faculty Andrew Polwarth opposed his appointment, which was clearly intended to allow the Duke to gain access to the revenues of the See. When Montgomery came to Glasgow in March 1582 to preach at the Cathedral, students and other supporters of Presbyterianism attempted to exclude him from the building: there were violent clashes with supporters of the Duke led by the Provost and Glasgow councillors, and many students were injured.

The 1580s witnessed a fierce power struggle between King James VI and his supporters on one hand, and the Church and disaffected nobles on the other. During this struggle, Montgomery was excommunicated by the Church but their decision was declared null and void by the Privy Council. In July 1584, when the University's four regents refused to hear Montgomery preach, they were promptly sentenced to imprisonment and the students were told that the University was closed and they should return home until new regents could be appointed. In 1585, however, the government of James Stewart, Earl of Arran, was overthrown. The regents were reinstated, the students returned, and Montgomery was forced to resign in December. He subsequently became a minister in Ayrshire.


Robert Montgomery
Archbishop of Glasgow

University Link: Chancellor
Occupation categories: clergy
Record last updated: 18th Jul 2008

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