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Hamilton, John

Hamilton, John (c.1511–71). Archbishop of St Andrews. Hamilton was an illegitimate son of the 1st earl of Arran and brother of Sir James Hamilton of Finnart. He became a Benedictine monk as a boy. After study at Paris, he used his influence with his half-brother, the Regent Arran, on behalf of the old religion and was appointed lord privy seal in 1543. He was made bishop of Dunkeld in 1544 and three years later, after the murder of Cardinal Beaton, was translated to the archbishopric of St Andrews and primacy. He was a strong persecutor of protestant heresy. After 1560 he lost much of his power though Mary, whose cause he supported, restored his consistorial authority in 1566. Captured in Dumbarton castle in 1571 after Mary's cause had collapsed, he was accused of complicity in the murders of Darnley and of Moray, and hanged at Stirling.

J. A. Cannon

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