The Tudor Society

April 28 – A priest is burnt in Scotland

A woodcut of the burning of Walter MylneOn this day in history, 28th April 1558, eighty-two year old priest and Protestant Walter Mylne was burnt for heresy outside Deans Court at St Andrews in Scotland.

Mylne had served as a priest for over 40 years and fled into exile in the 1530s after being accused of heresy for refusing to say the mass. There, he embraced Protestantism fully, got married and had children.

He returned to Scotland in 1556 and was arrested on 20th April 1558. At his trial, he denounced the Catholic Church for its errors and was found guilty of heresy.

The people of St Andrews were so appalled at the planned burning of this elderly man that they refused to provide materials for the burning, and Mylne had to be escorted to the stake by armed guard.

John Foxe records Mylne's execution:

"And so after he had made his humble supplication to God on his knees, he arose, and standing vpon the coales said on this wise. Deare frends, the cause why I suffer this day, is not for any crime layd to my charge (albeit I be a miserable sinner before God) but only for the defence of the fayth of Iesus Christ, set foorth in the new and old Testament vnto vs, for which, that as the faithfull Martirs haue offered themselues gladly before, beeing assured after the death of their bodies of eternall felicitie, so this daye I praise God, that he hath called me of his mercy among the rest of his seruaunts, to seale vp his truth with my lyfe: which as I haue receaued it of him, so willingly I offer it to his glory. Therefore as you will escape the eternal death, be no more seduced with the lies of Priests, Monkes, Friers, Priours, Abbots, Bishops, and the rest of the secte of Antichrist, but depend onely vpon Iesus Christ and hys mercy, that ye may be deliuered from condemnation. All that while there was great mourning and lamentation of the multitude, for they perceiuing his patience, stoutenes, and boldnes, constancie, and hardines, were not only moued and stirred vp, but their harts also were so inflamed, that was the last Martyr that dyed in Scotland for the Religion. After hys prayer, he was hoysed vp on the stake, and being in the fire, he sayd: Lorde haue mercy on me: Pray people while there is time, and so constantly departed."

Mylne was the last heretic executed by the Scottish pre-Reformation Church.

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April 28 – A priest is burnt in Scotland