George Melville

(1st Earl and 4th Lord Melville)

1636 - 1707

Royalist statesman and politician. A prominent member of the Fife family the Melvilles of Raith and Monimail who had gained status as supporters of the Reformation. George Melville had not supported Oliver Cromwell's regime and welcomed the restoration of King Charles II in 1660. However, he tried to negotiate with the Covenanters and this led to his implication in the Rye House Plot, which had threatened the King and his catholic brother James. Melville was forced to flee to the continent, where he joined the court of William of Orange who was soon to become British monarch. Under William's administration Melville became Secretary of State for Scotland (1689), Commissioner to the general Assembly of the Church of Scotland (1690) in which post he reconstituted the Presbyterian system, replacing the Episcopalianism of Charles and James.

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