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The Scottish Nation

CALDERWOOD, a local surname, derived, as well as the river Calder, which flows into the Clyde at Bothwell castle in Lanarkshire, from an ancient lordship and manor of the name, comprising also the town and village of Great and Little Calderwood. This estate was anciently possessed by the ancestors of David Calderwood, the ecclesiastical historian, a notice of whose life follows, but it went out of the family long before his birth, and the Calderwoods were dispersed some into the south of Scotland, and many to Ireland.

      The proprietor of Calderwood appears to have done homage in 1296, to Edward the First of England.

      From a genealogical table and notices by Mr. David Laing, in the eighth volume of the Wodrow Society’s edition of Calderwood’s work, it appears that a family of the name of Calderwood existed in Dalkeith towards the middle of the sixteenth century, that one of that family named James died in October 1567, leaving a son called Alexander Calderwood, and a nephew called William Calderwood; that this William, as stated in sundry instruments relative to a property in Dalkeith possessed by him and them, had two sons, one of whom, the eldest, was also called William Calderwood, the younger was David the historian; that Alexander Calderwood, son of James and nephew to the historian, was bailie in Dalkeith, and commissioner to the parliaments of 1648, 1649, and March 1661, and a justice of peace 1663; that he had nine sons, of whom the sixth was Sir William Calderwood, born 1661, sheriff-depute of Edinburgh from 1696 to 1701, knighted 1706, raised to the bench as Lord Polton 1711, and died at the age of 73 in August 1733. An account of his descendants by James Denniston, Esq., is contained in the appendix to the Coltness Collections of the Maitland Club, 1842. It further appears that besides William, and David the historian, William Calderwood the elder had a younger son, Archibald, a commissioner of war in the parliament of March 1647, and that two nephews of the historian, viz. David, an apothecary in Edinburgh, died 1657, and James his brother, minister of Humbie, died 1679, were the sons of his elder brother, William. Another near relative of the historian was Thomas Calderwood, styled merchant, but a stationer and bookseller, &c., in, and bailie and dean of guild of, Edinburgh from 1652 to 1673, a commissioner of tiends 1672, died 1675, leaving two sons, William, minister of Dalkeith, died 1680, and Archibald, minister of Holyroodhouse Abbey, died 1681. The Calderwoods of Polton are now merged in the family of Calderwood-Durham of Largo.

      A numerous branch of the Calderwoods flourished at the same time in Musselburgh, but they do not seem, says Mr. Laing, to have had any immediate connexion with those of Dalkeith.

CALDERWOOD, DAVID, an eminent divine of the Church of Scotland, and ecclesiastical historian, was descended of an ancient family, which at one period possessed the estate of Calderwood in Lanarkshire. His immediate relatives, as above shown, belonged to Dalkeith and the neighbourhood. He himself was born in that town in 1575, and received his education at the university of Edinburgh, where he took the degree of A.M. in 1593. Being early designed for the ministry, he applied with great diligence to the study of the Scriptures in the original tongues, the works of the Fathers, and the best writers on church history. About the year 1604, he was settled as minister of Crailing, near Jedburgh, and early began to take a prominent part in the ecclesiastical proceedings of the period. He was one of those unyielding presbyterian ministers who strenuously opposed the designs of James the Sixth for the introduction of episcopacy into Scotland. In 1608, when Mr. James Law, bishop of Orkney, made a visitation of the presbyteries of Merse and Teviotdale, Mr. Calderwood, together with George Johnston, minister of Ancrum, declined his jurisdiction by a paper under their hand, dated May 5th of that year. These two ministers had been elected members of the General Assembly, but to exclude them from this and other ecclesiastical courts, the episcopalian visitor ordered them to be “put to the horn” the very same night. The registration of the writ in the sheriff’s books was with great difficulty prevented, but in consequence of Bishop Law’s information, the king directed the privy council to punish the two refractory ministers in the severest manner. By the intercession, however, of the earl of Lothian, with the chancellor and the earl of Dunbar, they were ordered to be confined to their respective parishes, a restriction which continued for several years.

      IN February 1610, King James issued a commission under the great seal of Scotland, for erecting a court similar to the court of high commission in England, in each of the two archbishoprics of St. Andrews and Glasgow. “This commission,” says Calderwood, “and execution thereof, as it exalted the aspyring bishops farre above anie prelat that ever was in Scotland, so it putt the king in possessioun of that which he had long tyme hunted for; to witt, of the royall prerogative, and absolute power to use the bodeis and goods of the subjects at pleasure, without forme of processe of the common law.” [Calderwood’s Hist. vol. vii. p. 62.] In May 1617, the king arrived in Edinburgh, and the Scots parliament assembled on the 17th of June. During its sitting the ministers held several meetings in the Little Kirk, one or more of the bishops being always present. Their chief consultation was about augmentation of stipends and provisions to ministers. On one of these occasions when four or five ministers were deliberating on this subject, Calderwood entered, and hearing Knox, bishop of the Isles, make some allusion to the English convocation, he protested that such a meeting should not be acknowledged as a General Assembly, or any other meeting equivalent to it, “or anie wayes to be a meeting answerable to the Convocation house of England in time of their parliaments.” He was assured that no alteration was to be apprehended, prejudicial to the liberties of the kirk, and that the bishops had faithfully so promised. Of their fidelity in keeping their promises, he said, they had had sufficient proofs for the last sixteen years, and he was proceeding to show what had been the encroachments of the bishops, when he was interrupted by Dr. Whiteford and Dr. Hamilton, “clothed in silks and satins,” who urged upon the meeting to attend to the subject before them, of the plantation of kirks and the augmentation of stipends. Finding that they were not disposed to listen to his suggestions, he left the meeting with the indignant remark, “It is an absurd thing to sie men sitting in silks ans satins, and crying povertie, povertie, in the meane time when puritie is departing.”

      The two archbishops, being informed of what had taken place, repaired to the meeting next day, and solemnly declared that no such innovations were intended, “or els they sall be content to be ledd out to the Mercate Crosse, and be execute on a scaffold,” and yet, the day following, an article was passed among the Lords of the Articles to the effect that the king, with the advice of the bishops and such a number of the ministry as his majesty might deem expedient, might frame new laws for the church; in consequence of which a considerable number of the ministers assembled in the music-school, and resolved upon drawing up a remonstrance to be presented to his majesty and to parliament. Two of the Edinburgh clergy, Mr. Peter Ewart and Mr. William Struthers were appointed to prepare it, and when it was finally revised and agreed to, Mr. Archibald Simson, minister of Dalkeith, was directed to sign it as clerk of the meeting in name of the rest, and the names of the others, fifty-five in number, were subscribed in a separate paper, and delivered to him as his warrant. The clerk register, to whom a copy of the remonstrance had been presented, refused to read it in parliament, and Simson having been summoned before the high commission, declined to produce the list of signatures, and was committed a prisoner to the castle of Edinburgh. The list he had intrusted to the master of the music-school, Patrick Henryson, who delivered it to Calderwood. The latter was therefore cited to appear at St. Andrews on the 8th of July, there to exhibit the roll of names, and “to answer for his mutinous and seditious assistance to the said assembly.” Ewart and Simson were summoned at the same time, and they all made their appearance, but the examination was deferred till the 12th, that the king might be present, and take part in the proceedings. Ewart and Simson were deprived, and the former ordered to be confined in Dundee and the latter in Aberdeen. A long account of Calderwood’s examination is given in his History, vol. vii. commencing at page 261. On this occasion James endeavoured, using alternately threats and cajoleries, to prevail on him to yield, and “to come in his will,” but he was neither to be overawed by any earthly authority which he conceived to be unjustly exercised, nor induced by any amount of wheedling, to relinquish the grounds which had brought him in question before the high commission. From the pains taken with him it would appear that both James and the bishops thought him a more dangerous antagonist than either Ewart or Simson, whose cases had been so easily disposed of, as if they had had some prophetic warnings of the service which he as afterwards to do the church by his invaluable History. Finding him inflexible, sentence of suspension from the ministry till the following October was pronounced against him, on which he denied their power to pass such a sentence, when the king, having whispered something in the ear of the archbishop of St. Andrews, the latter said, “His majesty sayeth, that if ye will not be content to be suspended spiritually, ye shall be suspended corporally.” Calderwood, turning to the king, undauntedly replied, “Sir, my body is in your majesty’s hands to do with it as it pleaseth your majesty; but, as long as my body is free, I will teach, notwithstanding of their sentence.” The king demanded if he would abstain from teaching, for a certain time, if he should command him by his regal authority, as from himself. In the confusion, being at the time pestered with the importunities of the bishops and others beside him, he answered, thinking his majesty had been still urging obedience to the sentence of suspension, “I am not minded to obey.” The question being repeated, and the same answer given, the king, in a rage, ordered him to close confinement in the tolbooth of St. Andrews, till his farther pleasure were known. On his way to prison, accompanied by about forty ministers and gentlemen, in charge of Sir David Murray, Lord Scoon, some one asked the latter, “Where away with that man, my lord?” “First to the tolbooth, and then to the gallows,” he replied, probably anticipating that Calderwood’s declared refusal to obey the king himself would have the latter result. That same night, finding from the statements of those who resorted to him in prison, that he had mistaken the king’s meaning, he drew up a petition to his majesty, offering to obey his majesty’s own commands, if set at liberty, in desisting to preach for a certain time, but refusing to acknowledge the sentence of suspension pronounced by the bishops. Enraged at the distinction, the bishops and their favourers not only prevented the king from granting him his request, but gave out that he had made a recantation of his principles. By an order of the lords of secret council he was soon after removed to the jail of Edinburgh, and after being there ten days, on giving security (his cautioner was James Cranstoun, the son of Lord Cranstoun) to banish himself from the kingdom before the ensuing Michaelmas, and not to return without the royal license, he was released from prison.

      Hearing that the king was about to return to England, and that he was to be in Carlisle, he accompanied Lord Cranstoun to that town, where that nobleman presented to his majesty a petition in his favour. He offered himself as cautioner that, if Calderwood were allowed to remain in his own parish, he should not resort either to presbytery or any other meetings of ministers, either public or private. The king inveighed against Calderwood, and at last repelled Lord Cranstoun with his elbow. On bidding good night, his lordship again ventured to speak in behalf of the petitioner. He entreated his majesty to permit him to remain in Scotland till the last day of April, that the winter season might be over before he undertook a voyage, and his stipend taken up, for the crop of that year. His majesty, however, was not to be moved. He declared that it was no matter if he begged his bread, “he would ken himself better the next time,” and “as for the season of the year, if he drowned in the seas, he might thank God that he had escaped a worse death.” Notwithstanding this ungracious reply, his lordship still pressed his suit; but the only answer he received was, “I shall advise with my bishops.” The king was heard several times afterwards to call Calderwood “a refractory fool,” and when congratulated by any of the English ministers on his return, his common answer to them was, “I hope you will not use me so irreverently as one Calderwood in Scotland did.” Lord Cranstoun subsequently gave in a petition to the council for an extension of the time of his departure from the realm, but it was referred to the bishops, to whom also his lordship applied, and a conference was held with Calderwood himself, who made some offers to the bishops, but they were not accepted, and as he could not be prevailed upon to conform to the new regulations in the church, the application, like all the rest, was ineffectual. He continued, however, to remain in Scotland for some time, lurking principally in and about Edinburgh, and during this time he began the publication of his anonymous works in support of the presbyterian cause.

      In 1618, he printed a Latin tract on the polity of the Church of Scotland, and in the following year he produced a work, in English, the object of which was to show the nullity of the famous Perth assembly of 25th August 1618, and the unlawfulness of the five articles passed at it, relative to kneeling at the sacrament, the observance of festivals, confirmation, private baptism, and private communion. Soon after the publication of this last book, an attempt was made to apprehend him at Edinburgh in the house of James Cathkin, a bookseller, but the officers found neither him nor any copies of his work. Calderwood, was, in the meantime, concealed at Cranstoun, in a secret apartment allotted to him by Lady Cranstoun, who rendered him many services. He afterwards removed from one place to another, till the 27th of August 1619, when he embarked at Newhaven and sailed for Holland, where, in 1623, he published his celebrated controversial work, entitled ‘Altare Damascenum,’ in which he rigorously examined the origin and authority of episcopacy. From Row’s Ecclesiastical History it appears that he was known, while abroad, by the quaint title of “Edwardus Didoclavius,” being an anagram on his name, Latinized.

      During his absence from his native country, having suffered for a long time from illness, his enemies supposed him to be dead, and one Patrick Scott, a landed gentleman near Falkland in Fife, having wasted his estate, and anxious to recommend himself at court, endeavoured to impose upon the world, a recantation under his name, with the title, ‘Calderwood’s Recantation; or, a tripartite discourse, directed so such of the ministry and others in Scotland, that refuse conformitie to the ordinances of the church; wherein the causes and bad effects of such separation, the legall proceedings against the refractarie, and nullitie of their cause, are softly launced, and they lovingly invited to the Univormitie of the Church. Lond. 1622, 4to.’ Scott alleged to some of his friends that the king had furnished him with the matter, and he set it down in form as he received it. Soon after, Calderwood’s ‘Altare Damascenum’ appeared, and finding that he was alive, Scott went over to Holland, and sought him in various towns, and especially in Amsterdam, for the purpose of assassinating him, but he found that Calderwood had already returned to Scotland. [Calderwood’s History, vol. vii. page 583.]

      In 1625, after the death of King James, Calderwood returned to Edinburgh. For some years he was engaged collecting all the memorials relating to the ecclesiastical affairs of Scotland, from the beginning of the Reformation there to the death of James the Sixth. The original MS. of his history is preserved in the British Museum, having been presented to that national institution by the author’s grand-nephew, Lord Polton; and abbreviated transcripts of considerable portions of it are also to be found in the university library of Glasgow, and in the Advocates’ Library. In 1648 the General Assembly voted him a yearly pension of eight hundred pounds Scots to complete the design. An abridgment of it, entitled ‘The True History of the Church of Scotland,’ was printed in 1646, under the authority of the General Assembly. In 1638 he was settled as minister of Pencaitland, near Edinburgh. In 1643, he was appointed by the Assembly, with Henderson and Dickson, one of the committee for drawing up the Directory of Public Worship. It was he who introduced the practice in church courts, now confirmed by long usage, of dissenting from the decision of the Assembly, and requiring the protest to be entered in the record. In 1649 an act having been introduced respecting the election of ministers, he proposed that the right of electing should be vested in the presbytery, leaving to the people the power of declaring their dissent, upon reasons of which it should be competent for the presbytery to judge; but this suggestion was not adopted, and according to Baillie, “Calderwood entered a very sharp protestation against our act, which he required to be registered. This is the first protestation we heard of in our time; and had it come from any other it had not escaped censure.” [Baillie’s Letters, vol. ii. page 340.]

      Calderwood died at Jedburgh on 29th October, 1650. In 1841, the Wodrow Society, which was formed in Edinburgh in that year, brought out the first volume of his History of the Kirk of Scotland from the original manuscript preserved in the British Museum. Seven other volumes were published subsequently. They were edited by the Rev Thomas Thomson.

      His works are numerous, and were almost all published without his name. A list of them is given at the end of Dr. Irving’s life of Calderwood, and may be quoted as follows:

      De Regimine Ecclesiae Scoticanae brevis Relatio. 1618, 8 vo. – To this tract an answer was published by Archbishop Spotswood, under the title of ‘Refutatio Libelli de Regimine Ecclesiae Scoticanae.’ Lond. 1620, 8vo. Calderwood replied in the Vindiciae subjoined to his Altare Damascenum.

      A Solution of Doctor Resolutus his Resolutions for Kneeling. 1619, 4to. This is an answer to a book written by David Lindsay, D.D. who became bishop of Brechin, and afterwards of Edinburgh; ‘The Reasons of a Pastors Resolution, touching the reverend Receiving of the holy Communion.’ Lond. 1619, 8vo.

      Perth Assembly: containing, 1. The Proceedings thereof. 2. The Proofe of the Nullitie thereof. 3. Reasons presented thereto against the receiving the five new Articles imposed. 4. The Oppositenesse of it to the Proceedings and Oath of the whole state of the Land, an. 1581. 5. Proofes of the Unlawfulnesse of the said five Articles, viz. 1. Kneeling in the Act of Receiving the Lords Supper. 2. Holy Daies. 3. Bishopping. 4. Private Baptisme. 5. Private Communion. 1619, 4to.

      A Defence of our Arguments against Kneeling in the act of Receiving the sacramentall Elements of Bread and Wine, impugned by Mr. Michelsone. 1620, 8vo. 1638, 8vo. An answer to a book entitled ‘The Lawfulnes of Kneeling in the act of Receiving the Sacrament of the Lordes Supper. Written by M. John Michaelson, Preacher of Gods Word at Burnt-Yland.’ Sainct Andrewes, 1620, 8vo.

      A Dialogue betwixt Cosmophilus and Theophilus, anent the urging of new Ceremonies upon the Kirke of Scotland. 1620, 8vo. Mr. Laing says that the author of this dialogue was John Murray, minister of Leith and Dunfermline.

      The Speech of the Kirk of Scotland to her beloved Children. 1620, 8vo.

      Quaeres concerning the State of the Church of Scotland. 1621, 8vo. 1638, 8vo.

      The Altar of Damascus; or the Patern of the English Hierarchie and Church-Policie obtruded upon the Church of Scotland. 1621, 8vo.

      The Course of Conformitie, as it hath proceeded, is concluded, should be refused. 1622, 4to. According to Mr. Laing, the author of this publication was William Scot, minister of Cupar.

      A Reply to Dr. Mortons generall Defence of three nocent Cermonies; viz. the Surplice, Crosse in Baptisme, and Kneeling at the receiving of the sacramental Elements of Bread and Wine. 1622, 4to.

      A Reply to Dr. Morton’s particular Defence of three nocent Ceremonies; viz. the Surplice, &c. 1623, 4to. – Dr. Morton, who was successively bishop of Chester, Lichfield, and Durham, had published ‘A Defence of the Innocencie of the three Ceremonies of the Church of England; viz. the Surplice, Crosse after Baptisme, and Kneeling at the Receiving of the blessed Sacrament.’ Lond. 1619, 4to.

      Altare Damascenum; seu Politia Ecclesiae Anglicanae obtrusa Ecclesiae Scoticanae, a formalista quodam delineata, illustrata et examinata studio et opera Edwardi Didoclavii. Genevensis, ut ait, Disciplinae Zelotas; et adjecta Epistola Hieronymi Philadelphi de Regimine Ecclesiae Scoticanae; ejusque Vindiciae contra Calumnias Johnnis Spotsuodi, Fani Andrea Pseudoarchiepiscopi, per anonymum. 1623, 4to. Lugd. Bat. 1708, 4to. – The application of the title may be learned from 2 Kings xvi. 10.

      An Exhortation of the particular Kirks of Christ in Scotland to their sister Kirk in Edinburgh. 1624, 8vo.

      An Epistle of a Christian Brother, exhorting an other to keepe himself undefiled from the present Corruptions brought in to the Ministration of the Lords Supper. 1624, 8vo.

      A Dispute upon Communicating at our confused Communions. 1624, 8vo.

      The Pastor and the Prelate; or Reformation and Conformitie shortly compared by the Word of God, by Antiquity and the Proceedings of the ancient Kirk, &c. 1628, 4to.

      A Re-examination of the five Articles enacted at Perth anno 1618; to wit, concerning the Communicants Gesture in the act of Receaving, the Observation of Festivall Dayes, episcopall Confirmation or Bishopping, the Administration of Baptisme and the Supper of the Lord in Privat Places. 1636, 4to.

      The Re-examination of two of the Articles abridged; to wit, of the Communicants Gesture in the act of Receaving, Eating, and Drinking; and the Observation of Festivall Dayes. 1636, 8vo.

      An Answere to M.I. Forbes of Corse his Peaceable Warning. 1638, 4to. This is an answer to a tract written by Dr. Forbes, professor of divinity in King’s College, Aberdeen: ‘A peaceable Warning to the Subjects in Scotland; given in the yeare of God 1638.’ Aberdene, 4to.

      The true History of the Church of Scotland, from the beginning of the Reformation, unto the end of the Reigne of King James Vi &c. 1678, fol.

      To this list may be added –

      ‘Parasynagma Perthense,’ &c., printed along with Andreeae Melvini Musae, Anno M.DC.XX., 4to. Also Calderwood’s edition of ‘The first and Second Books of Discipline,’ printed anno 1621, 4to. And

      the History of the Kirk of Scotland. From Calderwood’s manuscripte volumes in the British Museum, Printed for the Wodrow Society. 8vols. large 8vo. Edinburgh, 1841-1849.

Calderwood from the Dictionary of National Biography

The Life of Henry Calderwood, LL.D., F.R.S.E.
By his son and the Rev. David Woodside, B.D. with a special chapter on his Philosophical Worjs by A. Seth Pringle-Pattison, LL.D. (1900)

See also his book The Parables of our Lord

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