Alexander Henderson

A Presbyterian clergyman second only to John Knox in stature as a leader in the reformed Church of Scotland, Henderson was born in Creich, Fife. He taught philosophy at St Andrews University, before assuming duties in Leuchars, Fife. He almost didn't mind you; his parishioners were upset by his stubborn and unorthodox practices. However, he compromised and reverted to more standard Presbyterian practice and then followed a tranquil 25 years looking after his parish.

Then in 1637 the ripples of the national crisis lapped at his door. He refused to obtain copies of the newly issued book of canons and a subsequent book of worship imposed by Charles I. He was summoned to Edinburgh, where his leadership and bold defence made him stand out. He was also, fortunately, a good counterbalance to those Covenanters who were more fanatical, and he was one of the main authors of the National Covenant in 1638.

Henderson rapidly became a major figure in the politics and negotiations which eventually led to the Solemn League and Covenant of 1643. With this, the Scots committed military support on behalf of Parliament, and won a place at the table in the English assembly of Westminster, a religious body that advised Parliament.

He spent several months at Newcastle following the surrender of Charles I in 1646, trying, without success, to persuade the King to accept the Covenant. He died at Leith on his return to Scotland, on 19 August, 1646.