Archibald Campbell ca. 1669-1744

From Book Owners Online

Archibald CAMPBELL ca.1669-1744

Biographical Note

Bookplate of Bishop Archibald Campbell, NLS Jolly.1434(1)

Son of Lord Neil Campbell of Armaddie (1630–1692), and of Lady Vere Ker, daughter of William the third earl of Lothian. He was the grandson of the covenanting leader Archibald, Marquis of Argyle. Attended the University of Edinburgh (A.M) in 1692, and took his M.A at the University of Oxford in 1693. He joined his Uncle’s insurrection against James VII in May-June 1685 and was subsequently exiled to Surinam, until his forfeiture was rescinded in 1689. He returned to Britain in the same year with entirely changed principles; he refused to take the oath of allegiance to William and Mary and instead defended the rights of the Stuarts.

Campbell joined a communion of nonjurors in London and was ordained priest in around 1694. In Dundee in 1711, he was consecrated a Bishop of the Scottish Episcopal Church, during a time in which the nonjuring Church appointed Bishops to a College, rather than a diocese. He continued to reside in London, where he became involved in the Usages Controversy, supporting their aim to restore the primitive liturgies to the Church, including the prayer for the dead. He also supported the re-establishment of diocesan Bishops in Scotland, an issue, like the Usages, which divided the Scottish Episcopal Church. In 1721, Campbell was elected Bishop of Aberdeen by the clergy of the diocese, but remained in London, sending James Gadderar (1655-1733) to act in his stead, who replaced him when he reigned the see in 1725. Campbell's work The Doctrines of a Middle State between Death and Resurrection (London, 1721), in which he advocated for a prayer for the departed, was extremely influential in the development of the Scottish Communion Office of the Episcopal Church. He died in London in 1744, having become a figure of controversy after attempting to establish an uncanonical line of nonjuring Bishops in London.


Campbell had an extensive theological library, which he likely began on his return from exile. Notable among these is a copy of Edward VI Booke of the common prayer (1549) H.25.a.10. The book was central to the beliefs of the Usagers, as it contained the four “Usages” of the Church, which Campbell and others aimed to restore to nonjuring worship. He also owned Basili Magni Opera (Paris, 1523) Jolly.1434(1), gifted to him by the nonjuring Scottish Episcopal priest Charles Littlejohn (1650-1732).

Not long after the 1688-1689 Revolution, Campbell was given a catalogue of books by Alexander Rose (1647–1720), Bishop of Edinburgh. Though historiography often reports Rose as gifting the physical books, Campbell only records that he was given the “catalogue” by Rose. It is more likely that Rose was compiling a course of study with recommended reading, as Campbell had only recently converted to Episcopacy. The books were divided into categories, beginning with polemical theology, which included Instructiones Historico-Theologicae by the Aberdeen Doctor John Forbes of Corse (1593-1648).

Campbell had a particular interest in books pertaining to Scotland, valuing books not only for their Scottish authorship, but their rarity, language, and place of printing. His colleague, Patrick Dunbreck, a Jacobite presbyter in Aberdeen, referred to this as Campbell’s “Scots Library,” which by 1717 included the 1553 edition of Bishop Gavin Douglas’ Scots Translation of Virgil’s Aeneid, Eneados (London, 1553) and a first edition of Buchanan’s Chronicles Rerum Scoticarum Historia (Edinburgh, 1582). While he was exiled in France, Dunbreck wrote to Campbell advising him that he had “pickt up in different corners” a variety of books for Campbell’s “Scots Library.” The first of these was Funerals of a right reverend father in God Patrick Forbes of Corse, specifically the edition printed by in 1635 in Aberdeen by “Edward Raban their first printer.” Other notable Scottish books owned by Campbell included William Drummond of Hawthornden’s Flovvres of Sion (Edinburgh, 1623) STC 7247, and Supplementum Apollonii (Paris, 1612) Sp Coll Mu45-i.19 by Scottish mathematician Alexander Anderson (1582-1619).

In 1738 Campbell attempted to sell his “books by Scottish authors and concerning Scottish Affairs” to the Advocate’s library, which comprised of seven folios, forty quartos, forty-seven octavos, twenty-seven octavo and smaller, and ninety-two duodecimo and smaller volumes." This was not his entire collection, but rather books Campbell believed the Advocate’s library did not possess. Thomas Ruddiman refused as many of the books were duplicates or not considered of value. Among the books listed was a collection of John Knox’s pamphlets, including A faythfull admonition (1554) H.36.g.26(1) purchased by Campbell in 1713.

Campbell's books were dispersed, though it is uncertain whether this happened before or after his death. Many of his books were later acquired by Alexander Jolly (1756-1838), Episcopal Bishop of Moray, and now reside in the National Library of Scotland. Other examples are Sion College K24.4/M45; Cambridge University Library Keynes.N.1.22.

Characteristic Markings

Campbell’s armorial bookplate has the motto “ne oblivis caris” with the date 1708. He used several engraved bookplates

Franks 4975 Campbell, The Honble. Archibald, Esqr. (The large plate.) 1708.

Franks 4976 (Campbell), The Honble. Archibald, Esqr. (The medium plate.) 1708.

Franks *512 Campbell, The Honourable Archibald, Esqr. (Another impression of the last plate.) 1708.

Franks 4977 Campbell, The Honble. Archibald, Esqr. (The small plate.) 1708.

Campbell often annotated his books, especially those pertaining to the theological controversies he was involved in, but he did not inscribe his books with his name.


  • Bertie, David M. Scottish Episcopal Clergy, 1689–2000. Edinburgh, 2000.
  • Gambier Howe, E. R. J. Franks bequest: catalogue of British and American book plates bequeathed to the ... British Museum. London, 1903.
  • Nimmo, Emsley, A. “Archibald Campbell: A Pivotal Figure in Episcopalian Liturgical Transition” in Macinnes, Allan I., Patricia Barton, and Kieran German (eds), Scottish Liturgical Traditions and Religious Politics: From Reformers to Jacobites, 1560-1764. Edinburgh, 2021.
  • National Records of Scotland CH12/12/452, Letter from Patrick Dunbreck, Aberdeen, to Bishop Archibald Campbell, 29 Aug 1717
  • National Records of Scotland CH12/12/302 Letter from Thomas Ruddiman, Edinburgh, to Hon Archibald Campbell, Marsham Street, Westminster, London, and catalogue of Scottish books belonging to Campbell, 14 Mar 1738
  • Strong, Rowan. "Campbell, Archibald (c. 1669–1744), Scottish Episcopal bishop." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography