John Kennedy fl.1561-1589

From Book Owners Online

John KENNEDY fl.1561-1589

Biographical Note

Kennedy was the minister of Tullyneddle in Aberdeenshire between 1561 and 1589, though the specific dates are not know with any certainty. He is described as M.A in Fasti Ecclesia Scoticanae\, and signs his book as “Magistri.”


Kennedy donated twenty books to the Common Library of Aberdeen, forming part of its foundation collection when it was established in 1585. The books donated by Kennedy are especially strong in editions of the Church Fathers, including St Clement of Alexandria, St Irenaeus and St Gregory the Great. His library also contains a defence of the Eucharist by the Italian protestant theologian Peter Martyr (AUL pi f2653 Ver, Zurich, 1559) and Index Bibliorum (Zurich, 1537) (AUL pi f2203 Pel, 1537) by the German protestant reformer Konrad Pellikan.

Kennedy received at least three books from his friend Adam Heriot (d.1574), the first protestant minister of St Nicholas, Aberdeen. These are:

The Sermons of St Bernard of Clairvaux [Paris, 1517] (pi f2646 Ber) which is inscribed Liber magistri adami heriot quem reliquit post decessum suum magistro Ioanne Kennedy ad quem attinet [The book of Master Adam's legacy that he left after his death to Master John Kennedy to whom it relates]

Sacrorum utriusque Testamenti librorum absolutissimus index (Basel, 1561) (AUL pi f2203 Her, 1561)

And a volume of St Ambrose printed in Paris in 1516 (AUL pi f276 Amb H).

Not all of Kennedy’s books were given to the Common Library of Aberdeen. The NLS holds Kennedy’s copy of Expositio in omnes Pauli epistolas (Paris, 1499) inscribed “liber magistri Joannes Kennedy scribe communis abirdonensis 1560” which still retains its contemporary binding with a horn window (NLS Inc 279.2). The volume was later owned by William Guild, as was Kennedy’s copy of Jacques Lefèvre d'Etaples Commentarij initiatorij in quatuor Euangelia… (St Andrews TypGC.B41EB)

Edinburgh University holds Kennedy’s copy of Sabellico’s Enneades Marci Antonij Sabellici ab orbe condito ad inclinationem Romani Imperij (Venice, 1498) inscribed “Liber mgri Johannis kennedy rectoris de tullynessill 1570." Kennedy purchased this book locally, as evidenced by the wealth of provenance Aberdeen based formed owners who have inscribed it, including Hector Boece. (CRC Inc.FF.21)

Characteristic Markings

Kennedy inscribed many of his books with his name and occupation. He used a printed book label, reading “LIB. MAGISTRI/IOANNIS KENNEDY” of which there are three different variations, identifiable by the variations in the setting of the type and accompanying ornaments.


  • Aberdeen University Library Provenance Database
  • Mitchell, W.S. ‘The Common Library of New Aberdeen, 1585’, Libri, 4 (1954), pp.330-344
  • Scott, Hew et al. Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae: The Succession of Ministers in the Church of Scotland from the Reformation, 9 vols, new edn. Edinburgh, Oliver & Boyd, 1915–61.