Bannatyne, Richard (DNB00)
|←Bannatyne, George||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 03
|Bannatyne, William Macleod→|
BANNATYNE, RICHARD (d. 1605), secretary to John Knox, the Scottish reformer, has left no 'memorials' whatever of himself, though his 'Memorials of Trans- actions in Scotland from 1569 to 1573' is an important historic authority. It has been inferred that he was of the same family with George Bannatyne [q. v.], and that he was a reader or catechist under Knox. But there is really nothing to rest these inferences on. Beyond the facts that he appeared repeatedly in the general assembly of the 'kirk' of Scotland, and before the 'kirk' session of Edinburgh during the illness or absence of the great reformer, and that he was permitted to address the courts as a 'prolocutor' or speaker, there is no evidence that he filled any public office.
At the first general assembly held after the death of Knox, which took place in November 1572, Bannatyne presented a petition or supplication, praying that he should be appointed 'by the kirk to put in order, for their better preservation, the papers and scrolls left to him' by the reformer. The general assembly agreed to his request. About 1575, after he had completed the task, Bannatyne became clerk to a Mr. Samuel Cockburn, of Tempill, or Tempillhall, advocate. He remained in his service for thirty years, and at last appointed him joint-executor of his last will and testament, in association with an only brother, James Bannatyne, a merchant of Ayr. He died on 4 Sept. 1605. It is his relation to John Knox that gives him his chief interest. The following notice of him, and of one of the latest appearances of the reformer in the pulpit, is taken from the 'Diary' of James Melville (1556-1601):—
'The toun of Edinbruche [Edinburgh] recouered againe, and the guid and honest men therof retourned to their housses. Mr. Knox, with his familie, past hame to Edinbruche; being in Sanct Andros he was verie weak. I saw him every day ... go hulie and fear [lie], with a furring of martriks about his neck, a staff in the ane hand, and guid godly Richard Bellanden [Banna- tyne], his servand, haldin vpe the other oxtar [arm-pit] from the Abbay to the paroche kirke, and be the said Richard and another servant, lifted vpe to the pulpit, whar he behouit to lean at his first entrie; bot or he haid done with his sennont, he was so active and vigorous, that he was lyke to ding the pulpit in blads, and flie out of it' (p. 26). Just when the reformer was breathing his last, Bannatyne is said to have addressed his beloved master thus: 'Now, Sir, the time yee have long called to God for, to witt, an end of your battell, is come, and seeing all naturall powers faile, give us some signe that yee remember upon the comfortable promises which yee have oft shewed unto us.' 'He lifted up his one hand, and incontinent thereafter rendered his spirit about eleven hours at night' (Calderwood's History, iii. 237). Bannatyne's 'Memorials' (fully and carefully edited by Pitcairn for the Bannatyne Club) make no pretence to either learning or literary style. They are of permanent value for details of the time not ascertainable elsewhere.[McCrie's Life of Knox; Sir J. G. Dayell's and Pitcairn's edition of the Memorials; Anderson's Scottish Nation.]