Andrew de Durisdeer

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Andrew de Durisdeer [Durisdere] or Andrew Muirhead (died 1473) was a 15th-century bishop of Glasgow. "Muirhead" is not used in any contemporary sources, and may be inaccurate. However, his geographical appellation indicates that he came from Durisdeer in Galloway. Durisdeer is often taken as an Anglo-Latin corruption of dorus doire, entrance to the wood or thicket; but the word dair is also an old Gaelic word for an oakwood, and this is probably why Andrew had acorns on his seal. This moreover also indicates that Muirhead may very well have been his surname, because other prominent Muirheads of the period also had acorns on their seals.

Andrew de Durisdeer obtained a Bachelor's degree at the University of St Andrews, and in 1437 was admitted into the University of Paris, gaining a licentiate upon graduation in 1438. As a subdean of the diocese of Glasgow he had a close relationship with Bishop William Turnbull. By 1450, Andrew was a dean of the diocese of Aberdeen, and in the period 1451-1453 he effectively became the ambassador of King James II of Scotland to the papal court. Andrew was highly thought of by Pope Nicholas V. On 7 May 1455, Pope Calixtus III personally provided Andrew to the bishopric of Glasgow, despite not yet having risen to the rank of sub-deacon. His provision followed the death of William Turnbull on 2 September 1454. He was consecrated at some point between September 1455 and May 1456.

Andrew was an active player in the national governmental scene. He attended the parliaments of 1464, 1467, 1468, 1469 and 1471. After the death of James II in 1460, he was appointed as one of the seven people on the Council of the Regency. Andrew also played a role as an ambassador. He went to England, for instance, in 1463 to negotiate the treaty of York. In 1468, he went to Denmark to arrange a marriage between the young king James III and Margaret of Denmark.

Muirhead died on 20 November 1473.


  • Dowden, John, The Bishops of Scotland, ed. J. Maitland Thomson, (Glasgow, 1912)
  • Watt, D.E.R., Fasti Ecclesiae Scotinanae Medii Aevi ad annum 1638, 2nd Draft, (St Andrews, 1969)
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
William Turnbull
Bishop of Glasgow
Succeeded by
John Laing