Kennedy, Quintin (DNB00)

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KENNEDY, QUINTIN (1520–1564), abbot, was son of Gilbert Kennedy, second earl of Cassillis [q. v.], and his wife Isabel, daughter of the second Earl of Argyll. He was born in 1520, and received his early education at St. Salvator's College, St. Andrews. He afterwards went to the university of Paris, where he studied theology and civil and canon law. Returning to Scotland, he became vicar of Girvan, and in 1547 succeeded a relative as abbot of Crosraguel, in the parish of Kirk Oswald, a monastery founded by Duncan, earl of Carrick, from whom the Kennedys claimed descent. In 1558 he published a work on the authority of the church, and dedicated it to his nephew, the master of Cassillis, one of the five Scottish nobles who, two years afterwards, gave their votes in parliament against the acts in favour of the Reformation. In the spring of 1559 Willock, one of the reformed ministers, afterwards superintendent of the west, preached in Ayr against the mass as idolatry, whereupon the abbot came to the town with a cartload of the writings of the fathers, and challenged him to a public discussion. The challenge was accepted, and place and hour agreed on, but the abbot was not punctual. When he arrived, finding that the preacher had left, he nailed a protest to the market cross: ‘that the cause of the reasoning ceasing was in John Willock.’ Bishop Keith, in an appendix to his ‘History of the Church and State of Scotland,’ publishes a letter of Kennedy to the Archbishop of Glasgow on the subject, and a copy of the correspondence that passed between him and Willock. In 1561 the abbot wrote a treatise against the reformed ministers, which was printed in 1812 from a manuscript in the library of Boswell of Auchinleck, and in the same year a work in defence of the sacrifice of the mass, which was widely circulated in manuscript. John Knox having gone to Ayrshire in 1562 to preach the reformed doctrines, the abbot challenged him to a public discussion. They met by arrangement in the house of the provost of the collegiate church of Maybole, a short distance from Crosraguel, with forty witnesses on each side, and as many more as the house could hold, ‘at the sight of my Lord of Cassillis.’ Knox insisted upon opening the proceedings with prayer. To this the abbot demurred, but afterwards ‘he and his gave audience,’ and when the prayer was ended he said, ‘By my faith, it is well said.’ The disputation lasted for three days, and turned mainly on the doctrine of the mass. The Roman catholics boasted that the abbot came off with flying colours, and to vindicate himself Knox, in the following year, published an account of the discussion. Part of Crosraguel was destroyed in 1561 by order of the privy council, and the abbot got into some trouble with the government afterwards for continuing to say mass, but ‘because of his age and quality … it was thought fit that he should be overseen.’ He died on 22 Aug. 1564. He was one of the chief defenders of the papal cause in Scotland at the Reformation, and he was respected by all parties for his ability and learning, his high character, and exemplary life. This did not, however, prevent Patrick Adamson, afterwards archbishop of St. Andrews, from writing the following lines on the occasion of his death:—

    Væ mihi quod papæ dederam nomenque, fidemque;
    Væ mihi, quod Christi strenuus hostis eram.
    Væ vobis papistæ omnes, nisi tempore vitæ
    Vos, Christum amplexi, pontificem fugitis.

The title of the work he published in 1558 is ‘A Compendious treatise, conform to the Scriptures of Almighty God, to Reason and Authority, declaring the nearest and only Way to establish the Conscience of a Christian Man, in all Matters which are in Debate concerning Faith and Religion.’ The following are among his unprinted writings: ‘De publico ecclesiæ sacrificio;’ ‘De præsentia corporis in sacramento altaris;’ ‘De illicito presbyterorum matrimonio.’

[Life in Charters of the Abbey of Crosraguel, Edinb., printed for the Ayr and Gal. Arch. Assoc.; m'Crie's Life of Knox; Scott's Protestant Reformers in Scotland.]

G. W. S.