The Primus, styled The Most Reverend the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, is the presiding bishop of the Scottish Episcopal Church. The current Primus is the Most Revd David Chillingworth who became Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church on 13 June 2009. He was elected at a meeting of an Episcopal Synod which took place on the final day of the Scottish Episcopal Church General Synod.

Roles of the Primus

The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church has the following tasks:

  • to preside at all Provincial Liturgical Functions
  • to preside at all meetings of the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church
  • to preside at all meetings of the Episcopal Synod
  • to declare and carry out the resolutions of the General Synod, the Episcopal Synod and the College of Bishops
  • to represent the Scottish Episcopal Church in its relation to all other Churches of the Anglican Communion and other Communions
  • to perform the functions and duties of Primus as specified in the Canons of the Scottish Episcopal Church
  • to correspond on behalf of the Scottish Episcopal Church with Primates, Metropolitans and the Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council.

History of the Primus

The Primus does not have any metropolitan jurisdiction - such authority was last held by Archbishop Arthur Rose (of St Andrews) up to his death in 1704,[1] and is now vested with the diocesan bishops.

Bishops elected as Primus

Holders of the role since the creation of the post in the 18th century.[2]

From Until Primus Notes
1704 1720 Alexander Rose Bp of Edinburgh, 1688–1720
1720 1727 John Fullarton Bp of Edinburgh, 1720–1727
May–Oct 1727 Arthur Millar Bp of Edinburgh, May–Oct 1727
1727 1731 Andrew Lumsden Bp of Edinburgh, 1727–1733
1731 1738 David Freebairn Bp of Galloway, 1731–1733
and Bp of Edinburgh, 1733–1739
1738 1743 Thomas Rattray Bp of Dunkeld, 1727–1743
1743 1747 Robert Keith Bp of Caithness, 1731–1741
1747 1761 Robert White Bp of Fife, 1743–1761
1761 1776 William Falconer Bp of Moray, 1742–1778
and Bp of Edinburgh, 1776–1784
1778 1788 Robert Kilgour Bp of Aberdeen, 1768–1786
1788 1816 John Skinner Bp of Aberdeen, 1786–1816
1816 1837 George Gleig Bp of Brechin, 1810–1840
1837 1841 James Walker Bp of Edinburgh, 1830–1841
1841 1857 William Skinner Bp of Aberdeen, 1816–1857
1857 1862 Charles Hughes Terrot Bp of Edinburgh, 1841–1872
1862 1886 Robert Eden Bp of Moray, Ross & Caithness, 1851–1886
1886 1901 Hugh Willoughby Jermyn Bp of Brechin, 1875–1903
1901 1904 James Butler Knill Kelly Bp of Moray, Ross & Caithness, 1886–1904
1904 1907 George Howard Wilkinson Bp of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane, 1893–1907
1908 1935 Walter John Forbes Robberds Bp of Brechin, 1904–1934
1935 1943 Arthur John MacLean Bp of Moray, Ross & Caithness, 1904–1943
1943 1946 Ernest Denny Logie Danson Bp of Edinburgh, 1939–1946
1946 1952 John Charles Halland How Bp of Glasgow & Galloway, 1938–1952
1952 1962 Thomas Hannay Bp of Argyll & The Isles, 1942–1962
1962 1974 Francis Hamilton Moncrieff Bp of Glasgow & Galloway, 1952–1974
1974 1977 Richard Knyvet Wimbush Bp of Argyll & The Isles, 1963–1977
1977 1985 Alastair Iain Macdonald Haggart Bp of Edinburgh, 1975–1985
1985 1990 Lawrence Edward Luscombe Bp of Brechin, 1975–1990
1990 1992 George Henderson Bp of Argyll & The Isles, 1977–1992
1992 2000 Richard Frederick Holloway Bp of Edinburgh, 1986–2000
2001 2006 Andrew Bruce Cameron Bp of Aberdeen & Orkney, 1992–2006
2006 2009 Idris Jones Bp of Glasgow & Galloway, 1998–2009
2009 present David Chillingworth Bp of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane, 2005–present


  1. "A Short History of the Episcopal Church in Scotland" by Frederick Goldie (revised edition — 1975) ISBN 0-7152-0315-0
  2. "Scottish Episcopal Clergy 1689 – 2000" by David M Bertie ISBN 0-567-08746-8

See also

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