Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 35.djvu/392

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
Major
Major
386


the clergy as a. dangerous novelty. He took the degree of D.D. in 1791. On being appointed vicar of Hungerford in 1793, ha resigned Nether Stowey, conscientiously refusing to hold two cures of souls at the same time. In 1798 the canonry of Windsor was exchanged for one at St. Paul's, and, at the king's special request, the vicarage of Hungerford for that of Windsor (Gent. Mag. 1830, pt. ii. p. 273). On the translation of Bishop Cleaver [q. v.] from Chester to Bangor in 1800, Majendie was nominated to Chester, which he governed for nine years, holding his Windsor canonry in commendam. As bishop of Chester he preached before the House of Lords on the occasion of the peace of Amiens. Translated to Bangor in 1809, he held that see till his death, 9 July 1830. He was buried at Longdon in Staffordshire. By his wife Anne Routledge of Stapleton, Cumberland, whom he married on 11 April 1785, he had thirteen children.

Majendie was a favourable specimen of the Georgian prelates. A good preacher and, for his time, an active administrator, he took a sincere interest in the welfare of his clergy. That he was not free from the prevailing nepotism of the day is shown by the advancement of his relatives to the best pieces of preferment at his disposal. His contemporaries allude to the corpulence of the bishop's person, and the imperturbable gravity of his countenance (Cheshire Sheaf, i. 86). He only published a few sermons and charges.

Lewis A. Majendie's An Account of the De Majendie Family, both French and English, from 1365 to the present century, privately printed, 1878; David C. A. Agnew's Protestant Exiles from France, ii. 406 &c., 423 &c.; Registers of Christ's Coll., Cambridge, examined for the present writer by the Master, Dr. Peile; Le Neve's Fasti; Stubbs's Registrum; Act Books of the diocese of Chester; information supplied by Miss Majendie (of Speen) and the vicars of Nether Stowey. Hungerford, and Longdon.]

F. S.


MAJOR or MAIR, JOHN (1469–1550), historian and scholastic divine, was born in 1469 at Gleghornie, East Lothian. The estate of Gleghornie then belonged to a branch of the Lumsdens of that ilk, and contained a considerable village of the same name, the site of which is marked by some ancient trees near the present farmhouse. Major's parents, from some allusions in his works, appear to have been people of a religious character, and of some social standing. Gleghornie is within two miles of Tantallon Castle, and Major, in all probability, early attracted the notice of its owner, the Earl of Angus, the father of Gavin Douglas, bishop of Dunkeld, who was afterwards his friend and patron. After attending for a lengthened period the grammar school at Haddington, Major went to Cambridge and studied for a year at God's House, soon after called Christ's College.

In 1493 he passed to the university of Paris, then the favourite resort of Scottish students, and was enrolled, like his countrymen, in the German nation, of which he was afterwards chosen procurator and quæstor. He first joined the college of St. Barbe, but afterwards removed to Montaigu, which be calls his 'true nursing mother, never to be named without reverence.' Having taken his M. A. degree in 1498, he became one of its regents, and taught in arts and scholastic philosophy. He also held a fellowship in the college of Navarre, and lectured there. He soon became famous as a teacher, and he furnished his first work on logic in 1503. He graduated as D.D, in 1505, and though continuing to reside and teach in Montaigu, he then began to lecture on scholastic divinity at the Sorbonne. The next thirteen years was a period of great literary activity. In 1508 he published in one volume the substance of his lectures on logic, which had appeared before in separate parts, and at intervals between 1509 and 1517 he gave to the world his greatest theological work, 'A Commentary on the Four Books of Peter the Lombard's "Sentences."'

In 1509 he had declined the offer of the treasurership of the Chapel Royal, Edinburgh, which Gavin Douglas had procured for him, but in 1518 he was induced to return to Scotland to occupy the post of principal regent or professor of philosophy and divinity in the university of Glasgow. To provide him with a salary he was made vicar of Dunlop, Ayrshire, and canon of the Chapel Royal, Stirling. Among his students at Glasgow were John Knox. from his own neighbourhood in East Lothian, and Patrick Hamilton, the proto-martyr of the Scottish reformation. Before leaving France he had written the chief part of his latin 'History of Greater Britain, both England and Scotland,' and he now completed the work, and had it published in Paris in 1521. In a preface to James V, then nine years of age, he says that it is the first duty of an historian to speak the truth, and he vindicates the propriety of a theologian writing history. He admits that he might have written in a more ornate style, but doubts whether that would have served his purpose better. This, as has been said, was the first history of Scotland written in a critical spirit. Major rejects the fables of Wyntoun and Fordoun, fables some of which were soon afterwards to be repeated by Boece and