Lectures of William Leechman (1706-1785)

Scope and Content

The lectures are composed of Observations on the truth of the Christian religion taken from the lectures of Dr L. at Glasgow, 1761, and Lectures on composition by the Reverend Mr. Leechman, 1770.

Administrative / Biographical History

William Leechman was born in 1706 at Dolphinton, Lanarkshire. He was educated at the local school until the Baillie family - in gratitude for the cutting down of the executed body of Baillie of Jerviswood (d. 1684) by Leechman's father - helped him to attend Edinburgh University and the study of Divinity. He graduated in 1724. He then became a tutor to James Geddes (died circa 1748) and to William Mure of Caldwell, Ayrshire. Leechman was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Paisley in 1731 and he was ordained Minister of Beith in 1736. In 1743 he was elected Professor of Divinty at Glasgow University. In 1744 the Presbytery of Glasgow accused him of making heretical statements in a sermon On the nature, reasonableness, and advantages of prayer (1743). In 1757, Leechman was Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and in 1761 he was appointed Principal of Glasgow University. William Leechman died on 3 December 1785.

Access Information

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.


The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of national biography.. London: Vol. 11. Kennett-Lluelyn, 1909.

Compiled by Graeme D Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Division.

Other Finding Aids

Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.


Check the local Indexes for details of any additions.

Related Material

The local Indexes show another reference to Leechman related material (check the Indexes for more details): a letter to J. Sharpe, 1781, at La.II.99. In addition, the UK National Register of Archives (NRA), updated by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, notes: correspondence with Edmund Burke, 1783-1785, Sheffield Archives, Ref. WWM NRA 1083 Wentworth Woodhouse; letters to Mure family, 1736-1776, National Library of Scotland, Manuscripts Division, Ref. MSS 4941-46 passim; and, letters (40) to Joshua Sharpe relating to university finance, 1762-1785, Glasgow University Library, Special Collections Department, Ref. MS Murray 659.

Corporate Names