Charles FERME – a
vigorous opponent of Episcopacy

Fasti Ecclesiae
Scoticanae, H Scott (1915) rev 1917, 1920
vol 6 p 220-1Fraserburgh, 1598


], born in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh in 1567; described in a
manuscript of Thomas Crawford, as ” a man of obscure parentage,” and
“brought up by Alexander Guthrie, Town Clerk”; educated at the Grammar
School and Univ. of Edinburgh, where he was one of Principal Rollock’s
first students; M.A. (1587); was assistant to Rollock as regent of
Philosophy, 1590-8; in 1596, and again in 1597 he declined calls to the
proposed Second Charge at Haddington; app. min. of this parish in 1598;
app. by the General Assembly which met at Montrose, 18th March1600, as
master or principal of a college founded at Fraserburgh by Sir Alexander
Fraser of Philorth. This college was never actually opened for students,
and though building was begun, it was not completed. There is no
contemporary notice, direct or indirect, of any student, and the
arrangement by which the ministers of Crimond, Rathen, and Tyrie were to
act as regents under Ferme, appears never to have been carried out. The
recent founding of Marischal College, the remote situation of Fraserburgh,
the lack of endowments, and, perhaps, most of all, the troubles of the
time, prevented the realisation of Fraser’s generous and enlightened

 Ferme vigorously
opposed the reconstitution of Episcopacy. He denounced the appointment, in
Oct. 1600, of Peter Blackburn as Bishop of Aberdeen with a vote in
Parliament. In Feb. 1605 he appeared before the Privy Council along with
John Forbes to answer for their excommunication of Lord Huntly. He
attended the Assembly which met at Aberdeen on 2nd July 1605, contrary to
the King’s wish. For this he was imprisoned, 3rd Oct. that year, in Doune
Castle, Perthshire, at his own expense. On 24th Oct. he was summoned
before the Council but refused to own its authority in matters spiritual.
He succeeded in escaping, but was again cited for 24th Feb. 1607, and
having appeared on 20th May, again escaped for four days, during which he
lay hid in Edinburgh  He was once more captured at Doune, after which
he was transferred to the Isle of Bute, where he passed nearly three years
in prison.

 He had the stipend of
Fraserburgh in 1607, but not that of 1608. After 1609 he was restored to
his parish, where he discharged his duties with great fervour and
devotion, spite of much bodily suffering brought on by incessant study and
toil, until his death on 24th Sept. 1617. He was buried in the church. He
has been described as a “Tydeus in body and a Hercules in spirit.” He marr.
and had issue Agnes (marr. Andrew M’Culloch of Glastullich, Provost of