[MR] Death of George Wishart

Garth Groff and Sally Sanford mallardlodge1000 at gmail.com
Fri Mar 1 04:22:19 PST 2024

Noble Friends,

While I normally don't comment on historical acts of religious intolerance
by any side, the death of George Wishart was a seminal moment in Scottish
history. His martyrdom was the key to Scotland embracing Protestantism, and
underlies much of the nation's later 16th century political history,
including the tragic reign and eventual death of Mary Queen of Scots.

George Wishart (circa 1513-1 March 1546) was a scholar and theologian who
embraced reformist protestant doctrines. He was a tutor to the later
protestant firebrand John Knox. By 1544 Wishart had become a popular
itinerant preacher, wandering across Scotland preaching protestant
doctrines, sometimes accompanied by Knox.

In January of 1546 Wishart was arrested on the specific orders of
Scotland's Cardinal David Beaton. He was convicted of heresy after a show
trial staged by John Lauder, Cardinal Beaton's secretary, a priest
generally known as "Scotland's Public Accuser of Heretics". Wishart was
then taken to St. Andrews University where on 1 March 1546 he was strangled
to near death upon a gibbet on 1 March 1546, then burned at the stake while
still barely alive.

Cardinal Beaton watched Wishart's execution and burning from his bedroom
window at St. Andrews Palace. It was here that Beaton himself died when a
protestant hit squad invaded the palace on 29 May 1546. The Cardinal was
severely perforated in the usual Scottish fashion by multiple swords and
daggers, and his corpse suspended from what may have been the same window.
Beaton's body was later removed to his own dungeon and pickled in a barrel
of brine by the assassins (who occupied the palace in an abortive
rebellion). This gave rise to a popular rhyme that ended with " . . . For
stickit is your Cardinal and salted like a sow."

Today the spot outside the Cardinal's palace where George Wishart died is
marked by the initials "GW" set into the pavement. Cardinal Beaton was
buried in St. Andrews Cathedral, but his tomb was destroyed in 1559 when
the church was trashed by a protestant mob led by none other than John Knox.

Wishart's story is found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Wishart .

Yours Aye,

Mungo Napier, Laird of Mallard Lodge  🦆

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