Henry Forrest - Martyr, St Andrews 1532.

Henry Forrest was a native of Linlithgow, possibly the son of Thomas Forrest,  and a young monk  in the Benedictine monastery there. He had seen and heard Patrick Hamilton preaching and was secretly taken up with what he heard. In his opinion the execution was a step too far and he spoke out against it. Inevitably it came to the attention of the Archbishop who had him arrested  and imprisoned in the sea tower at St Andrews. It was bad enough that by condemning  Hamilton`s heresy that he was therefore calling Beaton a persecutor, but even more heinous was the discovery that he had been reading the New Testament. This was probably a copy of Tyndale`s translation which was slowly becoming available in the Lowlands and it was enough to have it in his possession to be committed to the stake.

As one of their own, however, they determined to make an example of him and sought by devious means to gather further evidence. Forrest was visited by another friar, Walter Laing, who wormed his way into his confidence and learnt the young man`s views on the doctrine of Patrick  Hamilton.  Despite the sacred oath of the confessional (on which Forrest had relied) the favourable opinion was relayed to the archbishop. When brought before the court and he saw the assembled throng he realised what had happened - betrayal had ensured his death. Indignantly he cried "Fie on falsehood, fie on false friars revealers of confession." to no avail. Having what they wanted he was condemned, but first they went through the procedures of degrading him from his priesthood. This consisted in first dressing him up in the full paranaphalia of the Order of St Benedictine and then ceremoniously divesting them from him. Forrest then made a final defiant gesture by  telling them to take back also their baptism of him - meaning the Catholic ceremony, the salt the spittle and exorcisms. His open contempt for the rites of the Church infuriated the throng, and Beaton directed that Forrest be burnt on the highest point of the city.  This was a prominence near the north end of the Abbey Church from where the fire could be seen across the Tay and visible in Forfarshire and Angus.

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