Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Gordon, James (1664-1746)

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GORDON, JAMES (1664–1746), Scotch catholic prelate, son of Patrick Gordon, who possessed the estate of Glastirum, and was a cadet of the Letterfourie family, was born in the Enzie, Banffshire, in 1664. He was sent to the Scotch College at Paris in 1680, and after being ordained returned to Scotland in 1692. He officiated as missionary priest in his native district till 1702, when he was sent to assist William Leslie, who had long been agent to the Scotch mission in its intercourse with the holy see. While there he was elected coadjutor, cum futura successione, to Bishop Thomas Joseph Nicholson. Owing to the severity of the persecution of catholics in Scotland, extraordinary pains were taken to keep Gordon's appointment and consecration secret. By direction of Clement XI he was consecrated at Montefiascone, with all secrecy, by Cardinal Barberigo, on 11 April 1706, for the see of Nicopolis in partibus. He returned to Scotland in the autumn of that year, and in October 1718 succeeded Bishop Nicholson as vicar-apostolic of Scotland. In 1727 Benedict XIII divided Scotland into two districts or vicariates—the lowland and the highland. Gordon became in February 1730-1 the first vicar-apostolic of the lowland district, and continued in that office till his death, which took place on 1 March (N.S.)1745-6at Thornhill, near Drummond Castle, the seat of Mrs. Mary Drummond, a catholic lady.

[London and Dublin Orthodox Journal, iv. 83; Catholic Directory, 1888, p. 60; Gordon's Catholic Mission in Scotland, p. 3; Brady's Episcopal Succession, iii. 457, 459.]

T. C.