The Dundee Messenger

George Wishart: Protestant preacher burned at the stake

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The Wishart Arch The Wishart Arch William Shand

George Wishart, a powerful Protestant preacher, confidant and mentor of John Knox preached in Dundee

George Wishart, a powerful Protestant preacher, confidant and mentor of John Knox preached in Dundee on a number of occasions.

The Wishart Arch, is named after the Protestant reformer who is reputed to have preached from the top of the gate during a period of plague in 1544. this is believed to be the only remaining part of the 16th century city walls of Dundee.

Two years later George Wishart was betrayed to Cardinal David Beaton for preaching the Protestant Reform and imprisoned in the bottle dungeon at the Castle in St. Andrews. Following a mock trial, Beaton had Wishart burned at the stake in front of St Andrews Castle on 1 March 1546.

On the fateful day the Captain of the Castle invited Wishart to breakfast and gave him bags of gunpowder to hide in his clothing. When the pyre was lit the gunpowder exploded but did not kill him outright and his agony was prolonged. Cardinal Beaton watched from his window.

Public reaction was hostile, and George Wishart's martyrdom was the real trigger which set the Reformation in train in Scotland.

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