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Significant Scots
John Leslie


LESLIE, JOHN, bishop of Clogher, was born at Balquhain, in the north of Scotland, after the middle of the sixteenth century. He was of an ancient and highly respectable family. The earlier part of his education he received at Aberdeen, the latter part at Oxford. He afterwards travelled into Spain, Italy, Germany, and France, and acquired such a proficiency in the languages of all these countries, excepting the last, that he spoke them with the fluency of a native. In the Latin language he particularly excelled, and was so familiar with it, that it was said of him in Spain, when he resided there, Solus Lesleius Latine loquitur. He remained on this occasion twenty-two years abroad, and, during that time was present at the siege of Rochelle. He also accompanied the duke of Buckingham on the expedition to the isle of Rhee.

Leslie stood high in favour with Charles I., and was by that monarch admitted a member of his privy council. In 1633 he was appointed to the bishopric of Raphoe, in Ireland, where he built a handsome palace. This building he afterwards held out against Cromwell, adopting the loyal alternative of enduring a siege rather than submit to the usurper.

On the death of his royal patron he went abroad, where he remained till after the restoration. He then returned to England, and in 1661 was translated to the see of Clogher. Here he remained till his death, which took place in 1671, when he was upwards of one hundred years of age. He was then the oldest bishop in the world, having filled that dignified station for fifty years.


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