Scougal, Patrick (DNB00)

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SCOUGAL or SCOUGALL, PATRICK (1607?–1682), bishop of Aberdeen, son of Sir John Scougal of that ilk, in the county of Haddington, was born about 1607. He was educated at the university of Edinburgh, where he graduated in 1624. Ordained in 1636 by Archbishop Spotiswood [q. v.], he was presented by him to the parish of Dairsie in Fifeshire; the church there had been built by the primate as a model for imitation in Scotland. Scougal so far complied with the dominant covenanters that in 1641 he was appointed by parliament one of the commission for visiting the colleges of St. Andrews. He was presented by Charles I in 1644 to Leuchars in the same county. In 1648 he removed as superstitious the ‘crosier staffes and glorious partition wall, dividing the bodie’ or nave of the grand Norman church of that parish, ‘fra the queir,’ with ‘divers crosses about and beside them.’ But if he accepted presbyterianism, he never ceased to be a royalist; and when Charles II came to Scotland as king in 1650, Scougal contributed 100l. towards levying a regiment of horse for his majesty's service. This may have helped, after the defeat at Dunbar, to hinder his settlement at Cupar, to which he was unanimously called; but in 1658 he was translated to Salton in Haddingtonshire. There, in his native county, he was surrounded by eminent men, who were much of his own way of thinking—Robert Leighton [q. v.] (afterwards archbishop) was at Newbattle; Lawrence Charteris [q. v.] at Yester; while Robert Douglas [q. v.] was minister of Pencaitland in the same presbytery. In 1661 Scougal was one of the commissioners appointed by the Scots parliament for ‘trying the witches in Samuelston.’ In October 1662 he signified his compliance with the restored episcopacy by accepting a presentation from Charles II to the parish which he held; in 1664 he was promoted to the bishopric of Aberdeen, and on 11 April was consecrated at St. Andrews by Archbishop Sharp and others. ‘In him,’ says Bishop Burnet (Preface to the Life of Bishop Bedell, 1685), ‘the see of Aberdeen was as happy in this age as it was in his worthy predecessor, Forbes’ [see Forbes, Patrick, (1564–1635)]. ‘With a rare humility, tolerance, and contempt of the world, there was combined in him a wonderful strength of judgment, a dexterity in the conduct of affairs which he employed chiefly in the making up of differences,’ ‘and a discretion in his whole deportment.’ The dissenters themselves seemed to esteem him no less than the conformists; he could, however, be severe enough on the quakers, who more than the covenanters opposed him in his diocese, and his treatment of Gordon, the parson of Banchory, was harsh. In both instances, and indeed throughout his episcopate, he was blamed for being too much under the influence of the primate, Sharp. One signal service, however, the church of Scotland owed him: his courageous opposition to the Test Act (1681). He thought of resigning his see on account of it; and to him chiefly it was due that the privy council allowed it to be taken in a mitigated form. He died on 16 Feb. 1682, in the seventy-fifth year of his age, and was buried in the south aisle of the nave of his cathedral, where his monument, bearing his effigy, is still preserved. Bishop Scougal married, on 6 Jan. 1660, Ann Congaltoun, who died in 1696; and had three sons—John, commissary of Aberdeen; James (afterwards elevated to the Scottish bench by the title of Lord Whitehill); and Henry [q. v.] —and two daughters: Catherina, who married Bishop Scrogie of Argyle; and Jane, the wife of Patrick Sibbald, one of the ministers of Aberdeen.

Portraits of the bishop are in the university of Aberdeen.

[Epitaph; Burnet; Keith's Cat. of Scottish Bishops; Grub's Eccles. Hist. of Scotland; Hew Scott's Fasti Eccl. iii. 886.]

J. C.