See also History and
Description of Orkney
A Flame in the
Bishop of Orkney,
1541 - 1558
century saw the Scottish nation resisting the incursions of the
English, and the Scottish Church fighting a rearguard action
against the Protestant Reformation. Whilst the nation was largely
successful in keeping the English at bay, the Church had, eventually,
to give way to the overwhelming desire of the people for reform.
Robert Reid, Bishop of Orkney, was a champion of both causes.
As a diplomat he succeeded in achieving peaceful settlements
both with the English and among the warring factions of his own
countrymen, and in conducting negotiations for the marriage of
two monarchs. As a churchman he was a staunch upholder of the
Catholic faith but not blind to its failings. As Abbot of Kinloss
he was a humanist who made his monastery a place of learning
and, as President of the College of Justice, he became the leading
lawyer of his time.
In Orkney he reformed the cathedral chapter; repaired the Bishop's
Palace, adding a round tower, the ruins of which still stand
as a landmark in Kirkwall; and completed the extension to the
Cathedral and restored the Grammar and Sang Schools.
Bishop Reid lived at a time when dark clouds hung over the medieval
church. Yet, whilst he lived, one candle flame, at least, kept
at bay the encroaching shadows.
His death in 1558 deprived both Orkney and Scotland of a great
cleric and statesman but saved him from having to confront the
changes that were to face the clerical hierarchy after 1560.
8 colour photographs, 188 pages, paperback, indexed.
in Sterling £11.95 plus £1.50 P&P
ISBN No. 0 907618 48 0