Patrick Hamilton (martyr)


Patrick Hamilton (martyr)

Patrick Hamilton (1504 - February 29, 1528) was a Scottish churchman and an early Protestant Reformer in Scotland. He travelled to Europe, where he met several of the leading reforming thinkers, before returning to Scotland to preach. He was tried as a heretic by Archbishop James Beaton, and burned at the stake in St Andrews.

Early life

He was the second son of Sir Patrick Hamilton and Catherine Stewart, daughter of Alexander, Duke of Albany, second son of James II of Scotland. He was born in the diocese of Glasgow, probably at his father's estate of Stanehouse in Lanarkshire, and was most likely educated at Linlithgow.

In 1517 he was appointed titular Abbot of Fearn Abbey, Ross-shire. The income from this position paid for him to study at the University of Paris, where he became a Master of the Arts in 1520. [Dallmann, p.2] It was in Paris, where Martin Luther's writings were already exciting much discussion, that he first learned the doctrines he would later uphold. According to sixteenth century theologian Alexander Ales, Hamilton subsequently went to Leuven, attracted probably by the fame of Erasmus, who in 1521 had his headquarters there.

Return and flight

Returning to Scotland, Hamilton selected St Andrews, then the Scottish capital of the church and of learning, as his residence. On June 9, 1523 he became a member of the University of St Andrews, and on October 3 1524 he was admitted to its faculty of arts, where he was first a student of, and then a colleague of the humanist and logician John Mair. At the university Hamilton attained such influence that he was permitted to conduct, as precentor, a musical mass of his own composition in the cathedral.

The reforming doctrines had now obtained a firm hold on the young abbot, and he was eager to communicate them to his fellow-countrymen. [
*
* Rainer Haas, Franz Lambert und Patrick Hamilton in ihrer Bedeutung für die Evangelische Bewegung auf den Britischen Inseln, Marburg (theses) 1973

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