Simson, Andrew (d.1590?) (DNB00)

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Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 52
Simson, Andrew (d.1590?)

by Edward Irving Carlyle
Contains subarticle Alexander Simpson (1570?–1639) & William Simson (d. 1620?).

SIMSON, ANDREW (d. 1590?), Scottish divine, studied at St. Andrews, at St. Salvator's College in 1554, and in 1559 at St. Leonard's. He was schoolmaster of the ancient grammar school in Perth between 1550 and 1560, and embraced the doctrines of the Reformation after perusing ‘The Book of the Monarchie’ by Sir David Lindsay (1490–1555) [q. v.] In 1562 he became minister of Dunning and Cargill in Perthshire, but was transferred to Dunbar on 28 June 1564. He also discharged the office of master of the grammar school there, and numbered David Hume (1560?–1630?) [q. v.] of Wedderburn among his pupils. He demitted his charge at Dunbar before 11 Sept. 1580, and was admitted to Dalkeith in Midlothian about October 1582, with the added charge of the churches of Lasswade and Glencorse.

On 2 Nov. 1584 a summons was issued, in compliance with the Uniformity Act passed by the parliament in August, requiring all ministers south of the Forth to appear before Patrick Adamson [q. v.], archbishop of St. Andrews, and to sign the obligation prescribed by the act, binding them to acknowledge the spiritual jurisdiction of the crown. Simson, with a great number of his colleagues, refused to sign. He was not, however, so steadfast in his opposition as many of the clergy, for before 18 Dec. he invented a milder formula of his own which he was permitted to subscribe (Reg. of Scottish Privy Council, 1578–85, pp. 703, 713; Calderwood, History of the Kirk, iv. 211, 247). Notwithstanding this compromise, his stipend was taken away in 1587 and given to the abbey of Newbattle, but it was restored two years later.

On 15 Dec. 1575 Simson, who was a distinguished latinist and grammarian, was appointed member of a committee to consider the best method of teaching Latin in the Scottish schools. In consequence of their report an order of the privy council, issued on 20 Dec. 1593, directed that the numerous grammars in use should be superseded by two books of Latin etymology, one simple and one more advanced, which had been revised by the committee. The first of these was ‘Rudimenta Grammatices’ (Edinburgh, 1587, 8vo), by Andrew Simson, but frequently reprinted without his name. The second was the ‘Liber Secundus’ of James Carmichael [q. v.] (Reg. of Scottish Privy Council, 1569–1578 p. 478, 1592–9 pp. 110, 112).

Simson died ‘in a good old age,’ probably in 1590. He married Violet Adamson, sister of the archbishop of St. Andrews. By her he had six sons and three daughters. Five of his sons—Patrick [q. v.], Archibald [q. v.], Alexander, Richard, and William—became ministers.

The third son, Alexander (1570?–1639), was laureated at Glasgow University in 1590, and became minister of Muckhart in Perthshire in the following year. In 1592 he was transferred to Alva in Stirling, and on 9 Nov. 1597 to Merton in Berwickshire. While preaching in Edinburgh on 22 July 1621, ‘he spared neither king, bishop, nor minister, and found fault with the watchmen of both countries for not admonishing the king to forfeare his oaths, and omitting to put him in mind of the breache of Covenant.’ In consequence he was brought before the privy council, and confined in Dumbarton until 2 Oct., and afterwards in his own parish. He demitted his charge before May 1632, and died on 17 June 1639. He was the author of ‘The Destruction of Inbred Corruption, or the Christian's Warfare against the Bosom Enemy,’ London, 1644, 8vo (Scott, Fasti Eccl. Scot. I. ii. 529, II. ii. 690, 776; Calderwood, History of the Kirk, vii. 470, 511; Reg. of Scottish Privy Council, 1619–22, p. 577).

The youngest son, William Simson (d. 1620?), became minister of Burntisland or Kinghorn-Wester in 1597, and was transferred to Dumbarton in 1601. He died about 1620. He was the author of ‘De Accentibus Hebraicis breves et perspicuæ regulæ,’ London, 1617, 8vo (Bodleian Cat.), one of the first treatises on Hebrew by a Scotsman (Scott, Fasti Eccl. Scot. II. i. 338, ii. 528).

[Scott's Fasti Eccl. Scot. i. i. 262, 267, ii. ii. 756; Tweedie's Select Biographies, 1845, i. 65, 66, 71; M'Crie's Life of Melville, 1819, ii. 313.]

E. I. C.