- Alexander Campbell of Carco
name = Alexander Campbell
Church of Scotland/ Roman Catholic Church
Diocese of Brechin
Bishop of Brechin
Period = 1566–1607
July 21 1566x July 23 1569
Predecessor = John Sinclair
post = | ordination =
date of birth = c. mid-16th century
place of birth = Probably
date of death = February 1608
place of death = Kinclaven parish, Atholl
Alasdair Caimbeul or Alexander Campbell of Carco (died February 1608) was a Scottish noble and
prelate. Coming from a branch of Clan Campbellin the allegiance of the Earl of Argyll, his career began in the 1560s still only a minor, serving the Earl of Argyll's interest. He was made Bishop of Brechin, and almost immediately alienated the majority of the bishopric's historical resources into the hands of the earl.
After some traveling to receive a
Protestanteducation at Geneva, he returned to Scotland in the mid-1570s as an adult and resumed his career as minister and (now) titular Bishop of Brechin. He held this position until 1607, a year before his death.
Accession and alienation
A native of
Atholland the son of Eóin Caimbeul (Sir John Campbell), laird of Ardkinglas, he was born in the mid-16th century.MacDonald, "Campbell, Alexander".] During the minority of King James VI of Scotland, Alexander's brother Seamus Caimbeul (James Campbell of Ardkinglass), became comptroller.
Still a minor, on
May 6 1566, at the instigation of Gilleasbaig Caimbeul, the Protestant Earl of Argyll, Alasdair Caimbeul was put to the vacant bishopric of Brechin. [Keith, "Historical Catalogue", p. 166; Watt & Murray, "Fasti Ecclesiae", p. 56.] Crown nomination to the papacy was sent on July 21 1566, and although Caimbeul was acting with a bishop's authority almost immediately, there is no proof that he had received consecration until he is clearly represented as consecrated-bishop in a document dating to July 23 1569. [Watt & Murray, "Fasti Ecclesiae", p. 56.]
The earl's purpose in pushing his young kinsman into the bishopric was made clear by the new bishop's following actions. Bishop Alasdair proceeded to alienate most of the bishopric's lands and revenues, giving the lion's share to the earl. According to the historian Robert Keith, Bishop Alasdair "retained for his successors scarce so much as would be a moderate competency for a minister in Brechin". [Keith, "Historical Catalogue", p. 166; MacDonald, "Campbell, Alexander".]
In May 1567, Alasdair Caimbeul received royal license to leave Scotland, though he was still in the country in July 1569, when he voted against the proposal to annul the divorce between Queen Mary and the Earl of Bothwell. Although his activities are difficult to trace, Caimbeul was attending school in
Genevain January 1574, but travelled back to Scotland later in the year with his tutorAndrew Polwart and the latter's friend Andrew Melville, who were in Edinburghby July of the same year.
After returning to his native country, he resumed his charge as minister and titular Bishop of Brechin, attending general assemblies of the Scottish Church in his capacity as bishop.
James Paton, Bishop of Dunkeld, another Argyll acolyte, accused Caimbeul of giving out pensions on the revenues of his bishopric. This came before the Edinburgh assembly of March 1575, which ordered that John Erskine of Dun, Superintendant for Angusand the Mearnsinstruct Caimbeul on the duties befitting a bishop.
Five years later, Bishop Alasdair was once again in trouble with the church. He failed to attend a summons issued to him by the
Dundeeassembly of July 1580, and in 1582 another assembly ordered the Presbytery of the Mearns to bring charges against him. The outcome of these charges is, however, not known, as the records do not survive. In the following two decades, though, Caimbeul can be seen to take an active part in establishment politics, attending many assemblies, parliaments and meetings of the privy council, often acting as a supporter of Argyll. Notably, the privy council which met at Brechin in April 1602 denounced him as a traitor, even though Caimbeul himself was sitting on it. That was the last time that Caimbeul sat on the privy council.
Death and family
Caimbeul resigned the bishopric of Brechin on or before
April 22 1607. He retired to his estates at Carco, near Kinclavenin Atholl. He died the following year, in February 1608. [MacDonald, "Campbell, Alexander"; Watt & Murray, "Fasti Ecclesiae", p. 56.]
As marriage became acceptable in post-Reformation Scotland, Caimbeul was married twice, firstly to the daughter of the
lairdof Circlet, Margaret Bethune, and secondly to Helen Clephane. Clephane, who bore him two daughters and one son survived her husband's death as a widow.
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