George Cook (Scottish minister)

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Rev Prof George Cook DD FRSE (1772–1845) was a Scottish minister, author of religious tracts and professor of Moral Philosophy at St Andrews University. He served as Moderator of the Church of Scotland in 1825, the highest position within the Scottish church.


The grave of Rev Prof George Cook inside St Rules Tower, St Andrews

He was born on 22 March 1772 in Newburn, Fife the son of Rev Prof John Cook FRSE (1739–1815) and Janet Hill (sister of Very Rev George Hill). He studied at St Andrews University graduating MA in 1790. He received a licence to minister in 1795 and the following year took over in the parish of Laurencekirk where he preached until 1829. In 1829 he was offered the Chair of Moral Philosophy at St Andrews University (a post held by his father from 1773 until 1802) where he continued until death in 1845.[1]

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1816, his proposer being John Playfair. Cook’s father was a co-founder of the Society.

In 1808 the University of St Andrews conferred a Doctor of Divinity (DD) upon him.[2] In 1825, during his term at Laurencekirk, he was elected Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. He continued to address the Assembly late into life.[3]

He died in St Andrews on 13 May 1845 and is buried there with his mother within St Regulus Chapel (St Rule’s Tower) in the churchyard of St Andrews Cathedral next to Robert Chambers.


  • The Reformation in Scotland (1811)
  • The Church of Scotland (1815)


In 1802 he was married to Diana Shank, daughter of Alexander Shank of Castlerig. They had seven children including Very Rev John Cook who was Moderator 1866/67.

His mother’s brothers included Rev George Hill FRSE (1750–1819) and Prof John Hill FRSE (1747–1805).


  1. ^
  2. ^ Scots Magazine: Volume 70 part 2
  3. ^ A Speech Delivered in the General Assembly, 24 May 1843, by Rev George Cook DD, published by Wm Blackwood and Sons
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