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- For the eighteenth-century Somerset archaeologist and antiquarian, see John Skinner (archaeologist)
Brought up as a Presbyterian, he became an Episcopalian and ministered to a congregation at Longside, near Peterhead, for 65 years. He wrote The Ecclesiastical History of Scotland from the Episcopal point of view, and several songs of which The Reel of Tullochgorum and The Ewie wi' the Crookit Horn are the best known, and he also rendered some of the Psalms into Latin. He kept up a rhyming correspondence with Robert Burns.