JOHN FORBES – Prisoner
at Blackness and Banished.

Fasti Ecclesiae
Scoticanae, H Scott (1915) rev 1917, 1920
vol 6 p 117 Alford, 1593

JOHN FORBES, born about
1568, was third son of William F. of Corse and Elizabeth, daugh. of
Alexander Strachan of Thornton. He graduated M.A. at St Andrews in 1583,
and was settled in this charge in 1593. In Nov. 1602 the General Assembly
chose him as one of those whom the King might select for nominating
commissioners from the various Presbs. to Parliament. At Alford he came
into conflict with the powerful sept of the Gordons, who were vigorous
opponents of Protestantism, and when the Synods of Aberdeen and Moray
excommunicated the Marquess of Huntly, and Huntly had appealed
successfully to the Privy Council, F. was sent by these Synods to London
to represent the case to King James. He was elected Moderator of the
Assembly which met at Aberdeen on 2nd July 1605 contrary to the King’s
order. Of twelve Aberdeenshire ministers who were present ten afterwards
admitted the illegal nature of the Assembly, but F. [and Charles Fearn,
min. of Fraserburgh] having been summoned before the Privy Council,
declined the Council’s jurisdiction, on the ground that the Assembly had
dealt wholly with spiritual matters. For this he was imprisoned at
Blackness, tried for high treason, and banished the country.

On 7th Nov. 1616 he sailed
from Leith for Bordeaux, and after spending a time with Boyd of Trochrig
at Saumur, he proceeded to Sedan. Much of his work thereafter consisted in
visiting the Reformed Churches and Universities on the Continent, in which
were many Scots students and professors. In 1611 he became min. of the
English congregation at Middelburg, Holland, and soon after he was offered
release from his sentence, but upon conditions he could not accept. In
1616 he came to London, where he had an interview with the King, who
promised to annul his banishment a promise which was not fulfilled. In
1621 he was min. at Delft, but the hatred of his former ministerial
brethren, some of whom were now bishops, instigated Laud and the English
Government procure his dismissal in 1628

He died in Holland in 1634.
He was held in much honour bythe Reformed Churches abroad for his
consistently faithful character, his eminent talents and learning, and,
above all, for his sufferings in the cause of religion. He marr.
Christian, daugh. of George Barclay of Mathers, and had issue John,
colonel in the Dutch Service; Arthur, colonel in the Dutch Service;
Patrick, Bishop of Caithness
James, min. of Abercorn; Margaret (marr. Andrew Skene in Kirktown of Dyce);
a daugh. (marr. William, son of Alexander Forbes, Bishop of Aberdeen);
Katherine (marr. John Oswald, min. of Prestonpans).