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Sketch of Brechin Cathedral and Round Tower, north-west, drawn by W.R. Billings and engraved by J. Godfrey, in the 1800s.
Modern photograph.

The Bishop of Brechin is the ecclesiastical head of the Diocese of Brechin or Angus, based at Brechin Cathedral, Brechin. The diocese had a long-established Gaelic monastic community which survived into the 13th century. The clerical establishment may very well have traced their earlier origins from Abernethy. During the Scottish Reformation, the Presbyterian Church of Scotland gained control of the heritage and jurisdiction of the bishopric. However, the line of bishops has continued to this day, according to ancient models of concecration, in the Scottish Episcopal Church. For the post-Reformation bishops, see Bishop of Brechin (Episcopal).


List of known abbots

Tenure Incumbent Notes
fl. 1131x1150 Léot He was the father of the first bishop. It is very probable that the Gaelic Abbot of Brechin simply became Bishop of Brechin, so that the later bishopric of Brechin was based on the earlier monastic establishment.
fl. late 1100s Domnall Domnall nepos Léot, grandson of Abbot Léot, and probably son of Bishop Samson.
fl. early 1200s Eoin mac in Aba Grandson of Léot's son Máel Ísu. He was the father of Morgánn, Lord of Glenesk.

List of known bishops

Tenure Incumbent Notes
x 1150-1165 x 1169 Samson
1178-1189 x 1198 Turpin
x 1198-1199-1212 Radulphus
1214 x 1215-1218 Hugh (Áed) Probably from the native clerical family.
1218-1248 Gregory
1246-1269 Albin
1269 x 1275 William Had been the dean of Brechin; the Papal legate, Ottobone, refused to consecrate him. One source says he appealed to the Pope and was consecrated, but authorities such as John Dowden doubt this. At any rate, he died on or before the year 1274.
1275-1291 x 1297 William de Kilconcath Also William Comyn; Dominican friar.
1296 x 1298 Nicholas
1298-1323 x 1327 John de Kininmund
1328-1349 Adam de Moravia
1350-1351 Philip Wilde
1351-1373 x 1383 Patrick de Leuchars
1383-1404 x 1405 Stephen de Cellario
1407-1425 x 1426 Walter Forrester
1426-1453 John de Crannach Had previously been Bishop of Caithness.
1454-1462 George de Schoriswood
1463-1465 Patrick Graham Translated to the Bishopric of St. Andrews.
1465-1488 John Balfour
1488-1514 x 1516 William Meldrum
1516-1557 John Hepburn
1557-1559 Donald Campbell He had been the Abbot of Coupar Angus, and was the son of Archibald Campbell, 2nd Earl of Argyll. He was unable, despite the help of powerful patrons, to secure the bishopric.
1565-1566 John Sinclair
1566-1607 Alexander Campbell Provided while a minor. Resigned 1607.
1607-1619 Andrew Lamb Became Bishop of Galloway.
1619-1634 David Lindsay Became Bishop of Edinburgh.
1634-1635 Thomas Sydserf Translated to be Bishop of Galloway.
1635-1638 Walter Whiteford Deprived on December 13, 1638, along with other Scottish bishops in a general abolition of episcopacy which lasted until 1661.
1662-1671 David Strachan Episcopacy restored.
1671-1677 Robert Laurie
1678–1682 George Haliburton Became Bishop of Aberdeen.
1682-1684 Robert Douglas Translated to be Bishop of Dunblane.
1684 Alexander Cairncross Translated to be Archbishop of Glasgow.
1684-1688 James Drummond Episcopacy abolished in 1688.


  • Broun, Dauvit, “The Seven Kingdoms in De Situ Albanie: A Record of Pictish political geography or imaginary Map of ancient Alba”, in E.J. Cowan & R. Andrew McDonald (eds.), Alba: Celtic Scotland in the Medieval Era, (Edinburgh, 2000, rev. 2005), pp. 24-42
  • Dowden, John, The Bishops of Scotland, ed. J. Maitland Thomson, (Glasgow, 1912)
  • Keith, Robert, An Historical Catalogue of the Scottish Bishops: Down to the Year 1688, (London, 1924)
  • Watt, D.E.R., Fasti Ecclesiae Scotinanae Medii Aevi ad annum 1638, 2nd Draft, (St Andrews, 1969)

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