Scott, Hew (DNB00)

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SCOTT, HEW (1791–1872), annalist of the Scottish church, son of Robert Scott, excise officer, was born at Haddington on 5 Feb. 1791. He attended Edinburgh University, but graduated M.A. at Aberdeen. For a time he found employment in collating the old ecclesiastical manuscripts in the Register House, Edinburgh, where he was known as ‘the peripatetic index.’ Licensed to preach by the Haddington presbytery, he was ordained to a Canadian mission in 1829; but David Laing the antiquary persuaded him to remain in Scotland. He became assistant minister successively at Garvald, Ladykirk, Cockpen, and Temple; and in 1839 was preferred to the charge of West Anstruther, Fifeshire, where he died on 12 July 1872. He received the degree of D.D. from St. Andrews University.

The labour of Scott's life was the ‘Fasti Ecclesiæ Scoticanæ,’ 6 vols., Edinburgh, 1866–71. This work gives a notice, more or less complete, of every minister who has held office in the church of Scotland from 1560 to 1839. On the score of exhaustiveness and accuracy it is unique in ecclesiastical biography. Scott personally visited nearly eight hundred parishes in search of material. He wrote the whole of the ‘Fasti’ on letter-backs, and used turned envelopes for his correspondence. With a stipend of less than 200l. a year he left about 9,000l., and bore part of the costs of publishing the ‘Fasti.’ He was an eccentric character, and curious stories are recorded of his miserly habits.

[Gourlay's Anstruther, 1888; Conolly's Eminent Men of Fife, 1866; local information.]

J. C. H.