Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Knox, John (d.1688)

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KNOX, JOHN (d. 1688), presbyterian divine, was younger son of John Knox, minister of Bowden in Teviotdale, Roxburghshire, and grandson of John Knox (1555?–1623) [q. v.], minister of Melrose, who is said to have been nephew of John Knox the reformer. He graduated M.A. at Edinburgh University on 15 July 1641. When still a probationer he joined the royalist army as chaplain to Sir John Brown's regiment of horse, and was present at the royalist defeat at Inverkeithing on 19 July 1651. He shortly afterwards became chaplain to Archibald Douglas, earl of Ormonde (1609–1655) [q. v.], or, as he is more often called, Earl of Angus. He was one of the inmates of Tantallon Castle when it was besieged by Colonel Lambert, and during the progress of the siege was selected to escort the Countess of Ormonde and her sister-in-law, Lady Alexander Douglas, to North Berwick, whence it was arranged that they should cross to Fife to place themselves under the protection of the royalist army. At North Berwick, while waiting for the tide, the party was surprised by a body of the enemy, upon which the lieutenant and troops, to whose protection they had been entrusted, made a hurried escape in fishing boats, leaving Knox and the ladies to the care of a sergeant and a few sentinels. Knox offered to surrender on being allowed to convey the ladies to a boat, and as the rank of his charges was unsuspected his terms were accepted, and the countess, together with her infant son and sister-in-law, was safely put on board. By a bold and dashing stroke Knox subsequently managed to escape from his captors, and, riding off on their officer's horse, rejoined the garrison in Tantallon. There he remained until the castle was surrendered, when he was carried a prisoner to Edinburgh. He appears to have regained his liberty in 1653, in which year he received a letter under the king's own hand, dated St. Germains, 31 Aug. 1653, and asking for a ‘seasonable obligation’ in the shape of a loan. (The letter is given in full in Wodrow, iv. 39.) In this same year he was ordained minister of North Leith, but at the Restoration his services were forgotten, and in consequence of his firm adherence to the presbyterian church he was in 1662 deprived of his charge by the privy council. Indulged by the council in September 1672, he ministered at West Calder until 16 Sept. 1684, when he appeared before the council on a charge of breaking his confinement, not keeping Restoration day (29 May), and baptising children of other parishes. Convicted of these offences, he was imprisoned until the close of Charles II's reign. (Wodrow's statement, iv. 41, that he was confined on the Bass Rock, is disputed by M'Crie in his ‘History of Bass Rock,’ p. 380.) Liberated on 5 March 1685, ‘under bond to re-enter, when called upon, under pain of five thousand merks,’ he returned to his charge at Leith, where he continued unmolested until his death in March 1688.

Knox married, on 23 June 1659, Jean Dalgleish of Cramond. She died on 26 Oct. 1673, leaving a son and a daughter, Jean, who married, on 20 Feb. 1691, the Rev. John Tullidelph, minister of Dunbarney, Perthshire, son of Principal Tullidelph of St. Leonard's College, St. Andrews.

[Hew Scott's Fasti, pt. i. pp. 94–5, pt. ii. p. 544; Rogers's Memoirs of John Knox, pp. 72–3; Wodrow's Hist. ed. Burns, iv. 38, 39, 214; Crichton's Life of Col. Blackader, p. 382.]

T. S.