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All Links this Colour

The following links are direcly related to Edinburgh Sherwood Guest House and not at all related to John Knox who's information appears just to the right.

Availability Check

Cancellation Policy

Eating Nearby

Scottish Guide

Golf

main page

offers

rates   maps   photos

Hogmanay

Links   Whats On

Christmas

email us at our Edinburgh guest house


While most Edinburgh people can direct you to john Knox's house John Knox's House on Edinburgh's Royal Mile, most would be hard pressed to give any great details on the man himself. This is a wee attempt to rectify that.
John Knox Scottish Protestant leader, born in Haddington, Scotland, somewhere between 1505 and 1515; died in Edinburgh, 24 November, 1572. All the older biographies assign his birth to 1505, but recent authorities (Lang, Hay Fleming, etc.) give grounds for the latter date from contemporary evidence, and from certain facts in his career. john Knox Nothing authentic is known of his ancestry or kinsfolk, excepting that his mother was a Sinclair; His father, William Knox of Haddingtonshire, had fought at the Battle of Flodden. The young Knox received his education via the Scottish Church, which was regarded as liberal when compared with the pre-reformation Catholic standards of the day.. Educated at the Haddington burgh school, he is not known to have graduated at any university, though both Glasgow and St. Andrews have claimed him. The name "John Knox" is listed amongst Glasgow's incorporati in 1522 but this conflicts with a birth date of 1515.

John Knox did not shine as an outstanding scholar when compared with contemporaries such as George Buchanan and Alesius. Indeed there is no evidence that he even graduated. He did however know Latin well, and was familar with the works of classical writers of such as Saint Augustine and St. Jerome. From his writing it is clear that he learnt the Greek and Hebrew languages after ending his formal studies.
John Knox is first mentioned as a priest in 1540, and in 1543 he was still an ordained Catholic minister. His mastery of vernacular Scottish is shown in his "History", as well as the fact that he had studied law, for his citations from the Pandects are apt and not infrequent. We know from his own words that he was a priest -- "one of Baal's shaven sort" -- and practised as a notary by ecclesiastical authority. In a still extant document, he is styled "Johannis Knox, sacri altaris minister, sancte Andreś diocesis auctoritate apostolica notarius." A notarial instrument dated 27 March of 1543, signed by him in his capacity as a priest is still in existence, and is kept in the charter-room at Tyninghame Castle. Up to this time, however, he seems to have employed himself in private tuition, rather than in parochial duties. At the moment when he last signed his name as a priest he was probably already engaged in the office - which he held for several years - of tutor in the family of Hugh Douglas of Longniddry, in East Lothian. He was also responsible for the education of the son of a neighbour, John Cockburn of Ormiston. Both of these lairds, like Knox himself, had an interest in new religous ideas sweeping Europe at this time. He continued to be engaged as private tutor to certain "bairns", a profession in which he continued until 1547.
However, it is thought that the Knox's actual conversion was probably the result of his friendship with George Wishart. John knox's friend George Wishart Wishart, who had returned to Scotland in 1544 after a period of banishment, had preached in favour of the reformation in a number of places around Scotland, and he made Knox's acquaintance during a visit to East Lothian in December 1545.
Knox became one of Wishart's closest associates, and he followed him everywhere. He acted as Wishart's body-guard, bearing, it is said, a two-edged sword in order to defend Wishart against supporters of Cardinal David Beaton, leader of the anit-protestant movement within the Scottish church.
In December 1545, Wishart was seized on Beaton's orders, and transferred to Edinburgh Castle on 19 January 1546. Knox was present on the night of Wishart's arrest, and was prepared to follow him into captivity, and consequently, in all probability death. Wishart persuaded him against this course however, saying: "Nay, return to your bairns [pupils]. One is sufficient for a sacrifice."
Wishart was subsequently tried for heresy and burnt at the stake in St Andrews in March 1546. Knox went on to become a Protestant minister in St Andrews, a place with which he had strong links throughout his life. Two years later, Beaton was assassinated by "parties unknown."
This page is just meant to be an introduction to some of the more well known "facts" about John Knox.
A full description of the life and works of John Knox can be found at here and from a slightly different viewpoint here
In response to Knox's prayers, Mary Queen of Scots is reputed to have said: "I fear the prayers of John Knox more than all the assembled armies of Europe." In response to the rising resistance of the Scottish Reformers, Mary fled Scotland and was later put to death by a court of English who had accused her of plotting to assassinate Elizabeth I. Knox was survived by the Scottish Covenanters, who drew up a compact in 1638 asserting their right, under God, to national sovereignty.
I will try to do a wee page on the Covenanters in the near future

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