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Sharp, James

Sharp, James (1613–79). Archbishop. Sharp was educated at Aberdeen University and appointed professor of philosophy at St Andrews. In 1649 he was admitted to the living at Crail and rapidly became a leader of the resolutioners, the more moderate presbyterian group. At the Restoration he worked closely with Monck and was sent to Breda to negotiate with Charles II. Burnet accused Sharp of systematic hypocrisy in praising presbyterianism while working to restore episcopacy. He was appointed royal chaplain in Scotland, made archbishop of St Andrews in 1661, and confirmed in the primacy. He then began a determined attack upon the presbyterian clergy he had just left. In 1668 he escaped a serious attempt at assassination but in 1679 fell into the hands of a covenanting group in Fife and was murdered. The incident led to the covenanting rising, suppressed at Bothwell Bridge, and was used by Scott in Old Mortality.

J. A. Cannon

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Sharp, James

James Sharp, 1613–79, Scottish prelate. As a Presbyterian minister, Sharp became (1650) a leader of the moderate wing of the Scottish church called the Resolutioners. He was captured (1651) by Oliver Cromwell's forces and imprisoned until 1652. Sent (1657) to London to represent the interests of the Resolutioners, Sharp became involved with George Monck in his schemes for the restoration of the monarchy and secretly shifted his loyalties to the restoration of episcopacy in Scotland. After the Restoration of Charles II he was appointed (1661) archbishop of St. Andrews and primate of Scotland and thereupon embarked on a policy of severe repression of the principles of the Covenanters. He was murdered by a group of Covenanters on Magus Moor. In Scottish history Sharp is usually pictured as a hated figure.

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