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Definition: Melville, Andrew from Dictionary of British History

(1545-1622) Scottish Presbyterian leader. After returning to Scotland from Geneva in 1574 Melville undertook the reform of the Scottish universities and, in the Second Book of Discipline, pressed Presbyterian reforms on the Church of Scotland. These were resisted by James VI, who gradually succeeded in establishing royal control over the church. In 1606, after James had succeeded to the English throne, Melville was summoned to London and arrested. Freed from imprisonment in 1611, he spent the rest of his life teaching in France.


Summary Article: Melville, Andrew from The Columbia Encyclopedia

1545–1622, Scottish religious reformer and scholar. He studied abroad, came under the influence of Theodore Beza, and was a professor at Geneva. He was principal (1574–80) of the Univ. of Glasgow; in 1580 he became principal of St. Mary's College, St. Andrews, and in 1590 he was made rector of St. Andrews. He reorganized the Scottish universities and greatly broadened their educational scope. However, Melville's greater task was the molding of the Scottish church; upon him fell the mantle of John Knox. He was entrusted (1575) with drawing up The Second Book of Discipline and was largely responsible for the introduction of a presbyterian system into the somewhat tentative church organization developed by Knox. A foe of prelacy and of royal supremacy, Melville asserted the independence of the church, which brought him into conflict with the court party of James VI (later James I of England). He was called before the privy council on a charge of treason in 1584 and fled to England, but shortly returned to Scotland. He was several times moderator of the general assembly. Melville's struggle to protect the independence of the Scottish church continued. In 1606 he and other clergymen were summoned to confer with James I, but no settlement was reached. Melville offended the court by his harsh criticism of the king and particularly by a Latin epigram directed against Anglican practices. In 1607 he was committed to the Tower of London, where he remained for four years. On his release he was allowed to teach at Sedan, France, a leading Calvinist center. Melville wrote a number of Latin poems of some merit. The standard biography is that of Thomas McCrie (1819).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, © Columbia University Press 2017

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