29 February 1528 – Patrick Hamilton

It took Scottish clergyman Patrick Hamilton six hours to slow roast today in 1528.

He’d been found guilty of heresy and sentenced to be burned at the stake.

Off the Beaton track

A churchman and one of the early Protestant reformers, he found fellow sympathisers for his thoughts on his travels before returning to Scotland to preach. But his forward thinking and ideologies caught the attention of the austere Archbishop of St Andrews, James Beaton.

Knowing he was treading on dodgy ground, Hamilton decided, rather than stick around and face being tried for heresy, that he’d hot foot it over to Germany where he laid low for a while. But the pull of his motherland was too strong and he returned to Scotland.

A real roasting

Not long afterwards, he was brought to trial by the Church and found guilty of heresy. But they couldn’t sentence him to death for his crimes. Reassured, he let himself be taken on the express understanding that he would be released back to his friends.

But they lied and had him up on some farce of an indictment, which meant he was handed over to the laws of the land. The death penalty was immediately awarded and he was burned at the stake. He apparently burned from midday day until 6pm and became a martyr to his beliefs.

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