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John Erskine of Dun
(c. 1508 - 1591)

Erskine grew up in the north east of Scotland where Lutheranism was beginning to make an impact. He was educated at King's College, Aberdeen. After his graduation he spent some time on the continent where he met a Frenchman who taught Greek, he brought this particular gentleman back to Scotland to teach at Montrose. He was an associate of George Wishart, to whom he was a neighbour (Wishart also taught in Montrose at the beginning of his career) and who he was also connected by marriage. Erskine was Provost of Montrose, this was a position of considerable influence, especially for someone who wished to promote the Reformation. He was persuaded by the arguments of John Knox, he entertained him for a while at his home in Dun and from 1555-6 he was against attending Mass. In 1557 along with Lord Lorne as well as the Earls of Argyll, Glencairn and Morton he signed his name to the 'First Bond' which pledged him to work for the setting up of a Protestant church and the overthrow of the 'Anti-Christ'. This sounds very dramatic but in actuality he acted as a mediator between Mary of Guise and the Reform party.

He attended the first General Assembly as a representative of the burgh of Montrose but he was considered to be an 'apt and able minister' and by 1562 he had been promoted to superintendent of Angus and Mearns. In addition to this he was Moderator of the General Assembly five times. Some Presbyterian arguments he opposed and he always considered himself a supporter of episcopacy and never moved away from the Lutheran ideals that had originally converted him. He was well liked, on one occasion he gave sympathy to Queen Mary after John Knox had reduced her to tears, in return she described him as 'mild and sweet tempered man'.