LIke as there was no place, neyther of Germanye, Italye, or Fraunce, wherin there was not some impes or braunches sprōge out of that mooste frutefull rote and foundation of Luther. So likewise was not this Ile of Brittain without his frute and braunches: Amongst whom Patricke Hamelton a skottishman borne
The account of Patrick Hamilton is the first of two extended sections in the Acts and Monuments tackling Scottish affairs. Foxe's willingness to extend his scope to Scotland was partly a routine matter of Protestant internationalism, reflecting the cosmic scale of his enterprise. More importantly, it reflected a 'British' idealism common amongst English and Scottish Protestants in the second half of the sixteenth century, an idealism first forged in the shared Anglo-Scottish exile of the 1550s. The first edition of the Acts and Monuments proclaimed on its title page its focus on 'this Realme of England and Scotlande': strictly speaking, a meaningless statement before the union of the crowns in 1603, but an eloquent testimony to the aspiration to see a common British Protestant culture. (See Jane Dawson, 'Anglo-Scottish Protestant culture and integration in sixteenth-century Britain' in Steven G. Ellis and Sarah Barber (eds), Conquest and Union: fashioning a British state, 1485-1725 (New York, 1995).) Subsequent editions also retained Scotland on the title page, despite the relative paucity of Scottish material in the book.[Back to Top]
For the problem - as Scotland's own martyrologist, Foxe's friend John Knox, acknowledged ruefully - was that Scotland had produced relatively few martyrs. There was a single medieval burning (that of Paul Craw, mentioned in Foxe: 1563, p. 360, and subsequent editions), and twenty-one further executions during the period 1528-58 (see Alec Ryrie, The Origins of the Scottish Reformation, p. 42). However, two at least of these were of internationally prominent figures, including the first Scottish martyr of the Reformation era, Patrick Hamilton. Hamilton's commonplaces on justification, which John Frith published as Patrick's Places, won him posthumous renown in England as well as in Scotland. The case also had a major impact in Scotland, and there are numerous independent accounts of his death. Foxe's account in 1570 and subsequent editions, however, is amongst the most detailed. On Hamilton, see Ryrie, Origins, pp. 31-3; ODNB; and Gotthelf Wiedermann, 'Martin Luther versus John Fisher: some ideas concerning the debate on Lutheran theology at the University of St. Andrews, 1525-30', in Records of the Scottish Church History Society vol. 22 (1984), 13-34[Back to Top]
As with all his Scottish material, Foxe's account of Hamilton appeared in two distinct forms. In 1563 there was a short and imprecise account padded out with moralising but short on detail. This followed closely the account which he had earlier written in the 1559 Rerum in ecclesia gestarum, itself based on the account in John Bale's Scriptorum illustrium maioris Brytanniae ... Catalogus, vol. 2 (Basle, 1559), apparently derived principally from Francis Lambert's memorial of Hamilton. The account was almost completely rewritten, and greatly extended, in 1570, and remained unaltered in the two subsequent editions. This new material is detailed, circumstancial and strikingly accurate. It includes text which purports to be taken from the 'registers', presumably those of the archbishop of St. Andrews (which do not survive), as well as a letter from the university of Louvain to Archbishop Beaton. Foxe never went to Scotland in person, and he does not reveal the identity of his informant(s), beyond stating that this material was gathered in 1564. Thomas S. Freeman has argued persuasively that all of this material was provided to Foxe by John Winram, the superintendent of Fife who had (before his late but sincere conversion to Protestantism) been subprior of St. Andrews. See Thomas S. Freeman, '"The reik of Maister Patrik Hammyltoun": John Foxe, John Winram and the martyrs of the Scottish Reformation', in The Sixteenth Century Journal vol. 27 (1996), 43-60.Alec Ryrie[Back to Top]
Hamilton was the illegitimate son of Sir James Hamilton of Cadzow; his mother was a granddaughter of King James II. He was legitimized in 1513, at the age of about nine years.
II Timothy 3:12.
For there is nothinge safe or sure in thys world, but wickednesse and synne. Who euer sawe the Cardinals or bishoppes rage wyth their cruell inquisitions, againste aduoutrye, riot, ambition, vnlawfull gaming, dronkennesse, rapines, and wilfulnesse to doo all kinde of mischeues. Anye man that list for all them, maye exercise vsurye, make tumultes, haunt whores, sweare and forsweare, and deceiue at his owne will and pleasure.[Back to Top]
But if any man were truely addict to the desire and study of godlines, confessing Christ to be his only patrone and aduocate, excludynge the merites of saintes, acknowledginge fre iustification by faith in Christ, denying purgatory (for these articles Hamelton was burned) in these poyntes they nether spare age or kinred, neither is there any so great power in þe world that may withstand their maiesty or autority. MarginaliaThe comēdation of Patricke Hambletō.How great an ornament might so noble, learned and excellent a yong man haue bene vnto that realme, being endued with so great godlines, and such a singuler wit and disposition, if the Skots had not enuied their owne commodity? What and how great commendation there was of that yong man, what hope of his disposition, his singuler learning & doctrine, and what a maturitye and ripenesse of iudge-mente was in him, did appeare amongste the Germains wheras he might declare him self. For in þe vniuersity of Marpurge, which was then newlye erect by Phillip prince of Hessia, he openlye proceding: handled him selfe so, intreating and iudging matters of the Church, with such praise and commendation, passynge al expectation for his age, that he made not only the common people, but also the learned to haue him in great admiration, Amōgst whych nōber, when as many delighted in his princely wit, amongest all other, it appeared firste in Fraunces Lambert, who in the preface dedicatory, of his work vpon the Apocalips, maketh euident mention of this Patricke.[Back to Top]
At the last whē as by the vse and familiarity of learned men, he daily profited more & more, his minde being enflamed with godlinesse, he began to consider with him selfe, touching his returne into his countrye, thinkinge (as hys mind greatly desired) that it wold come to pas that like a godly marchaunt he would delyuer some frute and light of that learning, whyche he had receiued and gotten abrode. In this his thought and purpose, taking vnto him a companion, he returned home without any lōger delay, vpon a godly and holy purpose and entent, but not with like successe. For this ingenious yong manne beinge lightened bothe in spirite and doctrine, not susteining or suffring the filthinesse and blindnes of his coūtry, was first accused of heresy, and afterward constantly, & stoutly disputing with the cardinal & his band, at the last he was oppressed by the cōspiracy of his enemies, & after sentence of condēnation geuen against him, the same daye after dinner he was caried to the fire & burned, the King being yet but a child, wheras by þe most graue testimony of his bloud, he left the verity & truth of God, fixed and confirmed in þe harts and mindes of manye.[Back to Top]
NOwe the memoriall of Thomas Hytten calleth me backe again out of Skotlande into England, of whome there remaineth nothing in wryting but only his name, but that William Tindall in his Apologye againste More, and also in another booke entituled the practise of prelates, dooth once or twyse make mention of him by way of digression. He was (saith he) a preacher at Maidstone, whome the bishop of Canterbury, William Warham, & Fisher bishop of Roc. after they had lōg kept & tormented him in prison wt sundry tormēts & that notwithstanding he continued constāt. At the last they burned him at Maidstone for the constant and manifest testimonye of Iesu Christ, and of his free grace and saluation. In the yere of our Lord 1530.[Back to Top]