Notes taken down by Thomas Kirkton from the dictates of James Sharp, 1643-1646

Scope and Content

Notes from the dictates of James Sharp, regent, St Leonard's College, University of St Andrews, taken down by Thomas Kirkton.

  • p.1 Scribbles.
  • pp.3-16 Compendium Logicum [Compendium of logic] [incomplete].
  • pp.37-86 Prologomena in Petri Rami [Pierre de la Ramee] dialecticam a magistro Jacobo Sharpio dictita inchoataque, 12 Decembris anno domini 1643 [On dialectics] [finished 26 January 1644].
  • pp.87-93 Annotationes in secundum librum dialecticae Ramae 27 Januarii inchoatae anno 1644 [On dialectics] [finished 30 January 1644].
  • pp.97-120 Prologomena in universum [Preliminaries on universals].
  • pp.121-141 De Universali [On Universals].
  • pp.143-263 De quinque predicabilibus [On predicates] [elements variously completed on 11 April 1644, 28 May and 1 June].
  • pp.264-316 [On explanations].
  • pp.317-359 De Priorum analyticorum [Prior Analytics] [begun 18 November 1644].
  • pp.361-396 Topicorum [On The Topics].
  • pp.397-420 [A refutation of the Sophists] [part i completed 30 January 1645].
  • pp.421-512 [Posterior Analytics] [part i completed 19 March 1645, part ii completed 28 March 1645].
  • pp.515-598 On the Nichomachaean Ethics [finished 7 June 1645].
  • pp.603-650 'Compendium metaphysicum a magistro Iacobo Sharpio dictatum et a Thoma Kirktonio conscriptum inchoatumque Junii 1645' [finished 17 November 1645].
  • pp.653-657 On the Spheres [begun 17 February].
  • pp.661-699 Axiomata philosophica [incomplete].
  • p.706 Testimonial from James Sharp to Thomas Kirkton attested by Andrew Bruce, 23 July 1646.
  • p.708 scribbles.
  • p.710 scribbles.

Ruled borders, wanting some capitals. Occasional line decoration of capitals. One diagram [p.316]. Small rough sketch / doodle of bearded man [p.708]. pp.97-512 originally foliated from 1 to 207, volume repaginated as one sequence.

Administrative / Biographical History

James Sharp (1618-1679) was a Scottish prelate whose political realism saw him shift from moderate Presbyterianism to became a supporter and agent of episcopacy in Scotland. Born at Banff Castle, the son William Sharp, Sheriff Clerk of the county of Banffshire, Sharp studied divinity at King's College, Aberdeen. In 1638, after the signing of the national covenant, he travelled to England in search of preferment there but was back in Scotland by 1642 as a regent at St Andrews University. Appointed minister at Crail in 1648, he became leader of the moderate wing of the Church of Scotland known as the Resolutioners in 1650 and led the search for reconciliation in the divided church for the next decade. In 1651, he was taken prisoner by Oliver Cromwell's forces and held for a year. Following Cromwell's death, Sharp was sent to London to represent the interests of the moderate Resolutioners, but appeared to his former associates to have conspired with General George Monk (1608-70) to bring about the restoration of King Charles II, and to restore the Episcopalian system in Scotland. Although he claimed to believe in a Presbyterian future for Scotland when in 1661, he moved back to St Andrews as principal of St Mary’s College and professor of divinity, he was also king’s chaplain in Scotland and tainted by Royalist connections. When the Scottish parliament passed the Act Concerning Religion and Church Government on which imposed royal supremacy on decision-making in the governance of the church, re-establishment of episcopacy in Scotland became inevitable and Sharp chose to try to influence it from the inside rather than oppose it as a Presbyterian, leaving him vulnerable to accusations of treachery. He accepted the post of Archbishop of St. Andrews and head of the Church in Scotland, though opposed by Samuel Rutherford (1600-61) and Robert Blair (1583 - 1666). Sharp began to repress the nonconformists and while his ability to act depended on the political ascendancy of his allies or enemies, he was a marked man. The Scottish parliament passed the Act of Supremacy in 1669 and again Sharp was seen to be to blame, although he had in fact opposed it. His vision for an independent church governed by a moderate episcopacy was in ruins. He became the focus of popular hatred and on the 3rd May, 1679 he was hauled from his coach on Magus Muir (west of St. Andrews) by a group of Covenanters and murdered.

Thomas Kirkton entered as a student at St Leonard's College in 1642 and gained his MA in 1646.


Single item

Access Information

By appointment with the Keeper of Manuscripts. Access to records containing confidential information may be restricted.

Other Finding Aids

Individual Manuscripts and Small Collections database available as part of Manuscripts Database.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Binding: vellum boards with the remains of two clasps clasping a lower board; blind three line fillet round outside of board with initials TK flanking a flower in the middle on both covers.Paper: 15x19.3cm

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Maia Sheridan, Archives Hub project archivist, based on material from the Manuscripts Database

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Keeper of Manuscripts. Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents.