William Elphinstone Scotland

Biography of William Elphinstone

William Elphinstone
William Elphinstone

William Elphinstone (1431-1514) was one of the first students at the University. He was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Arts and elected Rector in 1474.

Born in Glasgow, the illegitimate son of a canon who was Dean of the University who was also called William, Elphinstone attended the grammar school and was ordained a priest in 1455. He entered the University as a student in 1457 and graduated MA in 1462. Elphinstone was a law student as well as a regent and an examiner in Arts until 1465, when he travelled to Paris to continue his studies in Canon Law. He had graduated as a Bachelor by 1468 and then lectured at the Universities of Paris and Orlean.

Elphinstone returned to Scotland in 1471 as Episcopal Judge in the Diocese of Glasgow and Rector of Kirkmichael. He was elected Rector of the University in 1474 and held the post for one year.

In 1478 Elphinstone was appointed Official of Lothian and became a leading advisor to King James III, rising to the rank of Chancellor in 1488. He was Bishop of Aberdeen from 1484 until his death thirty years later, and in 1495 he procured a papal bull founding King's College, Aberdeen, Scotland's third university.


William Elphinstone
Bishop of Aberdeen and Founder of King's College

Born 1431, Scotland.
Died 25 October 1514.
GU Degrees: BA, 1459; MA, 1462;
University Link: Faculty Dean, Graduate, Rector, Regent
Occupation categories: clergy
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Record last updated: 30th Jul 2009

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