Biography of Robert Leighton

Robert Leighton was the Bishop of Dunblane from 1661 to 1670, and later became the Archbishop of Glasgow from 1670 to 1674. Leighton was born in 1611 to a family of distinction, in the area of Montrose. Three generations of the Leighton family epitomised the changing face of religion in the seventeenth century in Scotland. Robert Leighton's grandfather, Dr. Alexander Leighton, was a Presbyterian who endured torture due to his expression of his religious beliefs. Robert's father was a pre-reformation Catholic.

Robert started as the Minister at Newbattle before becoming the Principal of Edinburgh University. During his time at the University, Leighton founded two bursaries in Philosophy and was not only the Principal but also a Divinity Professor. Leighton was then appointed to become the Bishop of Dunblane by King Charles II as part of the monarch's plan to restore episcopacy. It has been reported that Leighton agreed to become Bishop on the condition that the King gave him the poorest diocese in Scotland which happened to be Dunblane. Leighton went on to fulfil his duties as Bishop of Dunblane with humility and the hope that he could help with the reconciliation between conflicting ideologies.

Leighton remained a figure of moderation and tolerance even during his time in Glasgow when he encountered opposition from Covenanters in the southwest. Robert eventually retired and lived in Sussex with Sophia Lightmaker, his half sister. Leighton passed away in Sussex on the 25th of June, 1684. He was buried in the Horsted Keynes churchyard.

Robert Leighton was never a man of great wealth but he did bequeath a sum of money and his collection of books so that a library could be built in Dunblane to house the collection. His reason for doing this was primarily to provide materials for the local clergy. The library was completed in 1687, a few years after Leighton's death.

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