The Six Johns.

The six Johns were Knox, Spottiswoode, Willock, Row, Douglas and Winram, who jointly produced the First Book of Faith. This gave a creed to the new Church and, amongst other things, justified the action taken by the Congregation. They also produced the First Book of Discipline, or the Policie and Discipline of the Church which addressed the practical issues of managing church matters.  Collectively they brought together clear, emphatic, and logical documents that were also scriptural, and gave a firm framework to the Presbyterian Church in Scotland. It is perhaps important to affirm that this was teamwork of the highest order and not the work of John Knox alone. No doubt he had a major input by virtue of his status and also because of his experience in Geneva , and knowledge of the Geneva Confession of Faith, but these were men of considerable scholarship, experience and strong character.

Wynram ( 1492-1582) was  from Fifeshire  and a graduate  who spent all his days in the cultured atmosphere of St Andrews. He entered the Augustinian monastery and became a sub prior and was actually involved in the assize  that tried the martyrs George Wishart and Walter Mill, but became a Protestant  in 1560. A doctor of theology his conversion bore further fruit  becoming the first Superintendent of Fife  and he was involved in compiling the Second Book of Discipline , and held the priorship of Portmoak.

Willock ( d 1585) was an Ayrshire man  who had been a monk. He had been exiled  for having Reforming opinions and fled to the continent. Here he practiced as a doctor of medicine before returning to Ayrshire  in 1558 and proclaimed the reformed church under the protection of the Lollard landlords. He was appointed Superintendent of Glasgow and the West, and was five time Moderator of the General Assembly.  He was also unique in that he was the only English cleric to hold the Moderator`s position, as he was rector of Loughborough until his death.

John Row (1526-80) of Row near Stirling, was a graduate of St Andrews, an advocate and Doctor of Law who was appointed  procurator  for the Scots clergy in Rome. He gained a Doctor of Law degree at the University of Padua and was highly thought of in Church circles. He returned to Scotland as a papal nuncio to investigate  and suggests methods for dealing with the heresy in the north (Scotland). From such a strong catholic background he turned to join the heretics and was Moderator  four times. Appointed to the Superintendence of Galloway , he helped compile the Books of Discipline , was minister of Kennoway and died while minister in Perth. He was the stalwart on legal matters  where his knowledge of canon and civil  law  and the forms of judicial procedure were especially valuable.

Douglas (1494-1574) was Provost of St Mary`s college and  Rector of St Andrews University who was later made the first Protestant Archbishop of St. Andrews. He was essentially a scholar but his educational experience enabled a singular contribution to the Standards of the new Church.

Spottiswoode (1510-1585)  was a graduate of Glasgow and had been in England under the patronage of Archbishop Cranmer which ensured he was well grounded in the principles of the Reformation. He was settled as the parson at Calder  Reputedly  a mild, witty man, and wise in his councils he became the first Superintendent  of Lothian and the Eastern Marches.

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