George Wishart

Posted in Scottish Religious Figures

A short life with a fiery ending. Wishart was born in Pitarrow, Angus, probably around 1513. After an education at Aberdeen University, he became a teacher at Montrose. Here he was accused of heresy for teaching the Greek New Testament, and left for Cambridge in 1538. He met another reformer here, Hugh Latimer, who was also to be martyred. Being sent to Bristol to preach, he was again accused of heresy and fled to Europe.

In Europe, Wishart studied with the Calvinists in Germany and Switzerland, returning to Cambridge as a tutor between 1542-43. Going home to Scotland, he was assisted by John Knox, before being taken into custody by the Earl of Bothwell. This was conditional on him not being handed over to Cardinal David Beaton, but Bothwell was little moved by promises and handed him over to Beaton anyway. He was tried and burned at the stake at St Andrews.

In weak defence of Beaton, there is a story that a Scotsman proposed to Henry VIII a plan to murder Beaton. It may have been Wishart, we will presumably never know.