He was the second son of Edmund Chisholm of Cromlix, near Dunblane, a son of Chisholm of that ilk in Roxburghshire, and half-brother of James Chisholm, who was bishop of Dunblane from 1486 to 1527, when he resigned his see, with the consent of Pope Clement VII and King James V, in favour of his nephew William Chisholm (II).
William Chisholm was consecrated bishop at Stirling on 14 April 1527, but James continued to administer the affairs and receive the income of the see until his death in 1534. Chisholm seems to have been a man of immoral character, and a nepotist, for, being an adversary of the Reformation, he alienated nearly all the property of the bishopric of Dunblane to his relations.
Most of it he gave to his nephew, Sir James Chisholm of Cromlix; and large portions also to his illegitimate son, James Chisholm of Glassengall, who married Joan, daughter of Sir John Drummond of Innerpeffray, and to his two illegitimate daughters, who were married respectively to Sir James Stirling of Keir and to John Buchanan of that ilk. His daughter Jean, who married Sir James Stirling of Keir, is said in an old genealogy of the Drummonds, quoted by Fraser in his "Stirlings of Keir", to have been the daughter of the bishop by Lady Jean Grahame, daughter of the Earl of Montrose, and in the same book are contained many grants of land from the bishop to this daughter and her husband.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Stephens, Henry Morse (1887). "Chisholm, William (d.1564)". In Stephen, Leslie (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. 10. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
- Keith, Robert, An Historical Catalogue of the Scottish Bishops: Down to the Year 1688, (London, 1824), pp. 179–80
| Bishops of Dunblane
William Chisholm (II)