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Sir James Sempill (1566 - February, 1625/1626) was the son of John Sempill of Beltrees, and Mary Livingstone, one of the "four Marys," companions of Mary, Mary Queen of Scots.


He was brought up with James VI under George Buchanan, and later assisted the king in the preparation of his Basilikon Doron. Ambassador to Englandmarker 1591-1600, he was made a knight bachelor, and in 1601 was sent to Francemarker. He died at Paisley in 1626. His wife was Egidia or Geillis Elphinstone of Blythswood.


He wrote some theological works in prose:

  • Cassander Scotiana to Cassander Anglicanus (1616);
  • Sacrilege sacredly handled (1619);
  • Sacrilege saved by Cassander (1619);
  • An Answer to Tilenus' Defence of the Bishops and the Five Articles (1622).

He is chiefly remembered for the poem The Packmans Pater Noster, a vigorous attack upon the Church of Rome. An edition was published at Edinburgh in 1669 entitled A Pick-tooth for the Pope, or the Packmans Pater Noster, translated out of Dutch by S. I. S., and newly augmented and enlarged by his son R. S. (reprinted by Paterson). Seven poems, chiefly of an amorous character, are printed in TG Stevenson's edition of The Sempill Ballates.



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