Blogging the Reformers: George Wishart

George Wishart

George Wishart was born in Scotland in 1513. He fled to England after being convicted of heresy for reading the Greek New Testament to his students. He returned to Scotland in 1544, and began preaching the Bible all over in Scotland. He traveled to Montrose, Dundee, Ayr, Glasgow and many other places. Many people were converted by his preaching. An attempt was made by a monk to kill him, but Wishart, seeing that he was holding a weapon under his gown, snatched it from him. He then protected his would-be assassin from the crowds. After this his friends always had someone accompany him to protect him. John Knox, who was later the greatest reformer of Scotland, served in this capacity for a time, but when Wishart knew that he was about to be arrested he sent him away.

St. Andrew's Castle, where Wishart was kept

In December, 1545, he was seized and then transferred to Edinburgh Castle, and then delivered to Cardinal Beaton, one of the great persecutors of the Reformers in Scotland, and was placed in St. Andrew's Castle. After a mock trial he was sentenced to be burnt. He was killed in front of St. Andrew's Castle on March 1st, 1546. As he was burning, seeing Cardinal Beaton sitting in the castle watching his execution, he said, “He who sits in such state, from that high place, feedeth his eyes with my torments, within a few days shall be hanged out at the same window to be seen with as much ignominy as he now leaneth there in pride.”1 This prophesy was fulfilled just two months later when he was killed in the same castle by some conspirators who desired to revenge Wishart's death.

The letters in the pavement mark where Whishart was burned

1 As quoted in As quoted in J. H. Merle D'Aubigne, History of the Reformation in Europe in the Time of Calvin (Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications, 2000) volume 3, book x, p. 206


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