Martin A. Forrest

This article reveals that the original owner of a first edition copy of John Calvin’s Commentarii in Isaiam Prophetam (Geneva, Ioannis Crispini, 1551) in the collection of the John Rylands Library (Unitarian Printed Q.1904) was not the unknown David Forrest of Carluke, Lanarkshire as asserted and recorded by Alexander Gordon, Principal of the Unitarian Home Missionary College, Manchester, from whom the library acquired the book, but was the recognised Scottish Reformer and compatriot of John Knox, David Forrest of Haddington. An investigation into Forrest’s background, gleaned mainly from contemporary documents, provides biographical details and an insight into the role this reformer played during the Scottish Reformation and demonstrates that Forrest’s ownership of the Calvin Commentary is historically noteworthy. A comparison of Forrest’s signature in the book with one made in a document during his position as General of the Scottish Mint proves his ownership beyond doubt.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library