Martyrs of the Scottish Reformation.

There were relatively few martyrs in Scotland in the early days of the Reformation - as it happened far more were burnt for witchcraft. Those that were burnt at the stake for religion were sometimes prominent persons eg Hamilton and Wishart, but all died as an example to others - to demonstrate the power of Rome and Popery. What appears surprising is that the prelates persisted in making the events so prominent "in terroram", because it only excited public opinion to ask why these men had been burned. The people were familiar with the ways of the clergy and of buying absolution and like dissolute practices, but executing by fire men who were eminently virtuous raised doubts in their minds. There was very little public preaching as such, yet the interest created an ever increasing demand for the Bible to learn more of the arguments and declarations that had been made at trial and on the scaffold. Thus the evangelical opinions gathered strength by the day to the consternation of the Prelates.

Apart from Cardinal David Beaton whose claim to martyrdom ( for faith) is questionable, there is evidence of three Roman Catholic priests / monks who died for their faith.  The proto martyr was a Father Frank a monk, who was stabbed to death in the sacking of the Trinity Friars monastery in Aberdeen , on 4 December 1559. Next was another monk, a Father Robson about whom there is very little known, who was hanged for saying mass in Glasgow. The third was John Ogilvie , a Jesuit missionary who was badly treated, assaulted and eventually entrapped in an arguement about the Pope having power to depose kings. He was convicted of treason and hanged in Glasgow on  28 February 1615. He, too, had been guilty of saying mass. No laymen or women are known to have been executed  for the Catholic faith during the Scottish Reformation.

Patrick Hamilton St Andrews 28 February 1528 Burnt
James Hamilton     Confiscation of lands
Katherine Hamilton     Persecution and insult
Henry Forrest St Andrews 1532 Burnt
David Straiton Edinburgh 27 August 1534 Hanged, Burnt
Norman Gourlay Edinburgh 27 August 1534 Hanged, Burnt
Friar Keilor Edinburgh 1 March 1538-9.* Burnt
Duncan Simson Edinburgh 1 March 1538-9.* Striuelyng  Burnt
John Beveridge Edinburgh 1 March 1538-9.* Striuelyng  Burnt
Robert Forrester Edinburgh 1 March 1538-9.* Striuelyng  Burnt
Thomas Forrest Edinburgh 1 March 1538-9.* Striuelyng  Burnt
3 or 4 others  no details   Also of Stirling.  Burnt
Ninian Kennedy Glasgow 1539 Aged 18  Burnt
Jerome Russell Glasgow 1539 Burnt
Robert Lamb (Lambe) Perth 1544 Executed
William Anderson Perth 1544 Executed
James Ronaldson (Raueleson) Perth 1544 Executed
Helen Stark  (Stirke) Perth 1544 Executed,  wife of Ronaldson ?
James Hunter Perth 1544 Executed
James Finlayson
( Founleson)
Perth 1544 Executed
George Wishart At Andrews 28 March 1546 Burnt
Adam Wallace Edinburgh 12 October 1550 Burnt
Walter Mill or Mylne St Andrews 28 April 1558 Burnt
Earl of Moray, Regent Linlithgow 23 January 1570 Assassinated.
 * 28 February 1538 according to Howie`s Scots Worthies.


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