Who was Robert Cockburn?
Cockburn was a university graduate, and appears for the first time in 1501 when he was presented to James IV of Scotland for the position of parson of Dunbar, being styled "Master Robert Cockburn, dean of Rouen". Cockburn was later praised for his skill in the Latin language.
He became Bishop of Ross in 1507, by which time he was holding the position of Chancellor of the diocese of Dunkeld. He had received crown nomination to the bishopric on either March or May, and was provided to the see on 9 July. Cockburn was a chaplain to Louis XII of France and acted as a diplomat for James IV of Scotland. On 10 July 1507, Louis asked Cockburn to request 4,000 Scottish troops to assist in the defence of the French possession, the Duchy of Milan. In October James replied that he would send military support if warned in advance, and Cockburn was instructed to discuss another project. This was probably the Scottish king's plans for a crusade. Cockburn carried similar messages in 1512, in the crisis that culminated for Scotland in the Battle of Flodden
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