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John Knox
Fact Files | Biographies | John Knox

John Knox

Born between 1505 and 1515, died 1572. Knox was the leading Protestant voice during the crucial years leading to the Scottish reformation in 1560. Afterwards his best-known role was as opponent and antagonist of Mary Queen of Scots during her years in Scotland.

Originally trained as a Roman Catholic priest, Knox became a devout advocate of the new Reformed faith that was sweeping the continent of Europe, in particular, the teachings of Calvin.

In 1547 a group of Protestant lairds killed Cardinal Beaton in St Andrews Castle. When the lairds took control of the Castle, Knox joined them to help in their struggle. After a year-long siege, a French force retook the Castle. Knox was captured and spent nineteen months as a galley slave.

After his release, he spent time in England and Europe, before returning to Scotland in 1559 to help the Protestant cause

During these crucial years, he provided the Protestant faith with detailed proposals for the organisation, doctrines and financing of a Scottish Reformed Church.

Knox never trusted Mary, the Roman Catholic queen. He openly preached against her and tried to persuade all who would listen that she was a danger to the Protestant cause.


For more information about Religion, the Reformation or Protestantism, see the Religion section in the fact files.


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