John Knox and the Reformation eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 293 pages of information about John Knox and the Reformation.

Knox was buried on November 26 in the churchyard south of St. Giles.  A flat stone, inscribed J. K., beside the equestrian statue of Charles II., is reported to mark his earthly resting-place.  He died as he had lived, a poor man; a little money was owed to him; all his debts were paid.  His widow, two years later, married Andrew Ker of Faldonside, so notorious for levelling a pistol at the Queen on the occasion of Riccio’s murder.  Ker appears to have been intimate with the Reformer.  Bannatyne speaks of a story of Lady Atholl’s witchcraft, told by a Mr. Lundie to Knox, at dinner, “at Falsyde.”  This was a way of spelling Faldonside, {274} the name of Ker’s place, hard by the Tweed, within a mile of Abbotsford.  Probably Ker and his wife sleep in the family burying-ground, the disused kirkyard of Lindean, near a little burn that murmurs under the broad burdock leaves on its way to join the Ettrick.


The Regent has usually been accused of precipitating, or causing the Revolution of 1559, by breaking a pledge given to the Protestants assembled at Perth (May 10-11, 1559).  Knox’s “History” and a letter of his are the sources of this charge, and it is difficult to determine the amount of truth which it may contain.

Our earliest evidence on the matter is found in a letter to the English Privy Council, from Sir James Croft, commanding at Berwick.  The letter, of May 19, is eight days later than the riots at Perth.  It is not always accurately informed; Croft corrects one or two statements in later despatches, but the points corrected are not those with which we are here concerned. {275a} Neither in this nor in other English advices do I note any charge of ill faith brought against the Regent on this occasion.  Croft says that, on Knox’s arrival, many nobles and a multitude of others repaired to Dundee to hear him and others preach.  The Regent then summoned these preachers before her to Stirling, {275b} but as they had a “train” of 5000 or 6000, she “dismissed the appearance,” putting the preachers to the horn, and commanding the nobility to appear before her in Edinburgh.  The “companies” then retired and wrecked monasteries at Perth.  The Lords and they had previously sent Erskine of Dun to the Regent, offering to appear before her with only their household servants, to hear the preachers dispute with the clergy, if she would permit.  The Regent, “taking displeasure with” Erskine of Dun, bade him begone out of her sight.  He rode off (to Perth), and she had him put to the horn (as a fact, he was only fined in his recognisances as bail for one of the preachers).  The riots followed his arrival in Perth.

Such is our earliest account; there is no mention of a promise broken by the Regent.

Knox himself wrote two separate and not always reconcilable accounts of the first revolutionary explosion; one in a letter of June 23 to Mrs. Locke, the other in a part of Book II. of his “History,” composed at some date before October 23, 1559.  That portion of his “History” is an apologia for the proceedings of his party, and was apparently intended for contemporary publication. {276a}

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John Knox and the Reformation from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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